Based in san francisco, california, mia shaw writes, acts, and analyzes public policy. Her posts explore current events, cultural phenomena, and diverse opinions.

Notes: Case Against BS Jobs

Systematically mistrain in a redistributive system

They make money based on time

  • "Money is a thing, but it's also ideas..." almost like quantum physics, a flow to get from one place to another - change of understanding of money

Promise from the queen to pay 20 pounds - it's an IOU; 1694, wanted to fight a war, borrowed 1.2$ in silver, in exchange: give you the right to lend money - became the Bank of England, charging interest to the king. Bank notes are circulated government debt - the queen owes you

Powerful reason for debt jubilee - immediate relief, meant to remind us what money is - a series of promises we make to each other, enforced by law and ultimately violence

Make up your own money- a bunch of IOUs. Before, each store had their money. To give people change used to be hard, most stuff was on credit, tokens out of paper, good in that store; circulated like money in that neighborhood. "Widow currency" - good one sock darning

Anyone can do an IOU; modern money system is stopping anyone but banks from doing that

Not fiat currency but credit currency; asking for a loan, imagine needing to give money back into a bank, totally untrue. Not even a multiplier effect. They literally just make up money, seems crazy but ultimately all money goes back to the bank. Whole system validated by the tax system

Taxes exist not so government can get money - they can make up however much money they like. Tax system - only money produced by the bank can be used to pay taxes. Give banks monopoly on legitimate use of money "legal tender for all debts public and private" - THESE IOUs, not IOUs just made up

"Where are they going to find the money?" Just make up money they do it all the time

Bank strike vs garbage strike; no one cared vs. over in a week

Critique of work

"You're on my time"

"It is sinful to make your servants work when there's nothing to do" they don't get into trouble when busy


Hard to write history of work


Spiritual violence of jobs - time disciplining, control. We need to steal back our time


Units of time were units of work


"Three boilings of rice away" as long as it takes to cook a meal, three times


Absolute time usually has to do with gods

Wage labor comes out of slavery

"I'm not selling myself, I'm selling my time"


Selling/renting yourself is a technical distinction at best


Clock time - wouldn't allow workers to come in with pocket watches

Battles over time, demands for better hours, overtime

Now it's assumed your time belongs to someone else, if you're working



School as a place where you'd be free from the pressures of work



BS jobs,

Bullshitization of real jobs


You get the flunkees, then you decide what they should do

Time being separated from the self; "flattening of self"

Time allocation forms to give people a reason to exist

Computers: eureka moment, paradigm as factory workers as "real workers"

What is work? Play? Ritual? Combinations of interactions, different in different contexts

Care work, harder labor

Apply mechanization - increase productivity

Technological deflation - add new features, constant cost

Apply technology to caring sector - exactly opposite effect

Qualitative experiences a computer can actually recognize

Price keeps going up; profits are hard to maintain in this section, have to put a cap on wages


Labor struggles are there

"Revolt of the caring classes"


Men who bring feminist theory into their work have it taken back out


Radical transformation of, what is work exploitation


Punished for usurping God's power


theme of work theology: work as pain, production


Very patriarchal

Men do culturally what women do naturally: produce (going into labor)

Men push out products from factories: male childbirth

Most work isn't radical transformation, it's maintenance


In a communist society ticketgivers wouldn't exist, many different scenarios where you actually need people; you don't think of working class as caring labor but that's what they're there to do

"Definitely not going to get robots to do these jobs the way you want them to be done" caring work IS value producing work

Debt - a huge problem, not viable - amazed they managed to keep treading water as long as they have (emergence of fascism around the world)

The last 30 years: continual attack on human imagination; get rid of vision, intense campaign to think that nothing else could be conceivable beyond what we can do today

Obama acted like a man with a vision, but he didn't have one


Anti-visionary politics, at exactly the moment of confluence between climate crisis, economy. This is the time we need great vision in politics, we've come to believe it can't be different

People are open to new things in a way they haven't been before


"All wealth has to be made" "ALL capitalists derive from labor"

How do you justify work, if you get rid of "work = meaning"?

Who are the "wealth creators"?

Work as suffering, validating yourself as true adult (theological ideas) - anything you get out of work, it's less valuable

"Helping others should be enough - you want money too?"

People trapped in the contradiction - work should be miserable, that's what makes me a good person, enjoy my toys at home

Paid to do nothing all day - violates human nature, want to be useful

Joy of realizing you can change the world

Primordial sense of injustice in the Occupy movement

Reconstitute sense of value: instead of production and consumption, why not caring and freedom? Reconceive working class in totally new way


Mothers work so that children can play; caring and freedom


Silicon Valley as having a lot of BS plans; universal basic income

Can't legislate BS jobs away; bureaucratic attempts to get rid of it will make more of it

Reducing working hours? Hard to do without bureaucratic interference


Different kinds of UBI. Basic income - unconditionality principle? No questions asked? Substitute money to privatize

Are you expanding or contracting unconditionality? Livelihood is part of the zone of unconditionality; no one should have to worry about the basic needs of existence

We don't care who you are, what you need, you get at least this


Jobs to make rich people feel good about themselves; as a way of making poor people feel bad (are you worthy for us to throw crumbs at you?)

"Where does the money come from?" Where does money come from? Banks make it up

Like creating human freedom: do what you want to do

If you really believe in democracy and freedom, we need to overcome these ideas

Everyone can decide for themselves what to contribute to the world. Usual objections: Can't give people something for nothing, you're just not specifying what the "thing" is - assuming life is actually worth something

People are just going to sit around and watch tv - miserableness of people paid to do nothing, if it shows anything it's that people will want to do something

What's guarantee they'll do something others find useful? 37-40% of people already doing nothing of any use, they're unhappy

Do the stupid thing you want to be doing; 10,000 are crazy but one has to be sane, we'll invent something incredible ("great, we got our money back")

Technofeudalism

Rise of the robots, replace work - isn't this the clearest sign that our economic system is incredibly stupid?


Market capitalism as the only efficient system; now, we're seeing that the prospect of replacing unpleasant jobs is a bad thing because the idea of reallocating work in reasonable way, getting products out to people who need them - impossible under current system

Three layers of bureaucracy, where is efficiency? You don't need layers of private companies to get tasks - this is where pointless jobs really multiply


Basic income as transitional

Notes: Einstein