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Work and Business Letters

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Executive Pay

As for large executive salaries, good on them. The responsibilities are huge in those jobs, and one bad decision could throw the executive right off the ladder.

With nothing but his $5 million golden parachute severance package to break his fall.

I weep for their stressful job they must endure.

Those types of agreements are in place for a reason. It's a little like a divorce. Lump sum payment to "last a lifetime" for the displaced executive, who will likely not find a commensurate job. Also helps recruit a talented replacement.

Do you know how much time a corporate executive spends on work? In addition to the demands of the job itself, there is a great toll taken on the family. Again, no need for weeping, but most of these people have crappy personal lives while they work. You and I might think about what we would do with all that money, but the true time requirements of our jobs are not likely as high as they are for executives.


Neither the authors of Fuckology: Critical essays on John Money's diagnostic concepts nor your reviewer Simon Ings (13 December 2014, p 48) could be aware that the word "fuckology" was used and possibly coined by John Sorohan, director general of RTÉ, Ireland's public service radio and TV broadcaster, in the late 1980s. He had come up through the engineering ranks and was, therefore, a fairly straight thinker.

He was of course referring to management-speak, faffing around and in general not sticking to the point. His catchphrase was "we'll have no fuckology around here."

The high cost of low wages - each location of Olive Garden costs taxpayers $196,970 a year

(Fark thread)

$15 an hour isn't going to help when the technology's already there to kill your job altogether. And it's going to get even worse as time goes on. We need to start thinking about what we're going to do when at least 50% of the population will pretty much be unemployable. Too bad the 1% will never allow something like a guaranteed minimum income to happen.

That said, I agree with TFA's point very strongly. I am sick and tired of huge and profitable businesses getting massive indirect subsidies via paying their workers shiat wages and leaving it up to the taxpayers to keep their workers housed and fed.

The federal minimum wage needs to be AT LEAST doubled AND all food servers need to qualify for minimum wage regardless of tipping. Farm workers and prison laborers need to make minimum wage as well.

Yeah, it will likely mean the end of the McDonald's Dollar Value menu, but it won't tank the economy or cause a huge spike in unemployment or inflation. Places with high minimum wages have proven that.

On the contrary, a livable minimum wage will ultimately give the economy a big boost by putting money into the hands of people who are going to turn around and spend it. History shows again and again that wealth trickles *UP*, not down. I sure wish some of the so-called "liberal" Democrats in office would actually acknowledge this fact for once.

Increasing the minimum wage to something liveable will also greatly shrink the number of people on government assistance, reducing the deficit by a not-insignificant amount.

And frankly, if your enterprise is so marginal that you couldn't make the transition to paying a livable minimum wage, then I'm pretty sure it would be no big loss to see you go out of business.

For their part, Republicans are intimidated by the minimum wage issue - they don't want to increase it, but they know how unpopular that position is. So they say things like "I don't want people to make $10.10 an hour. I want them to make $30 an hour," but without any new law; only through growing the economy (that would be Marco Rubio), which is a laughably transparent dodge. The more obvious it is that they'd rather talk about something else, the more likely Clinton is to press the issue.

The Libertarian argument:

(That Guy Jeff) As for this whole "living wage" lunacy. You do not deserve a living wage. You are not entitled to a living wage. No owes you a living wage. Everyone else didn't fark your mom, everyone else didn't decide to have you in the world. You exist, congratulations. It's your job to keep yourself that way, not anyone else's. You sell your time and skills, your labor, for whatever they are worth to other people. If you can't get a job making a "living wage", that means you are such a piece of shiat that your time isn't even worth the amount of money it would take to keep you alive. That's pathetic. You're a net drain on society. You aren't pitching in your fair share. And if you're forcing the rest of us to support your pathetic ass, shame on you. Even worse if you have a family to feed. What kind of selfish asshole chooses to have children he or she can't support? Chooses to heap that burden on the rest of us? Not only are you near worthless but you're going to try and bring everyone else down as well? fark you.

The responses:

Wow. You're a living breathing example of that guy in the 1%er analogy: There's a 1%er (Big Business), a poor person and a self entitled asshole sitting at a table. A plate with a dozen cookies is put in the middle. The 1%er takes 11 of them and turns to you to ask if you're gonna let the poor person steal that last cookie out of your self entitled asshole mouth. You get mad at the poor person.

It's just that taken to its logical conclusion, you will be shot for your food. We have civilization to prevent that, and civilization costs money. You will either pay the employees enough to live, or you will pay taxes to allow the indigent to survive. As long as you prefer civilization, those are your choices. Also, no one will stop you from leaving. Somalia awaits.

Those fellow human beings deserve to be compensated enough (if they're working full-time or near full-time) for their labor to be able to live with some dignity. And, yes, that means a home, a car or two, plenty of food and clothing, the occasional vacation and a spouse and some kids if they wish.

Do you really think it's moral (or even accurate) to say to a man who has just spent the last 8 or 12 hours or more shoveling pig shiat "You're a net drain on society. You aren't pitching in your fair share. You are such a piece of shiat that your time isn't even worth the amount of money it would take to keep you alive...fark you."

This. Don't forget, we live in a society where ever since industrialization, the wealthy have been systematically dismantling the means of self-sustenance that existed for most of human history, as a way to compel labor.

For most of human history, we could homestead and we could grow and hunt at subsistence levels with almost no limits. Now, those things are all tightly controlled legally and economically, and we generally have no choice but to either a) sell our labor to the wealthy, or b) steal from the wealthy.

So, given how the deck has been stacked, I have no problem with price controls on labor, just like we do on commodities to protect wealthy traders. You'd think the wealthy would want to pay enough to make option a) more appealing than option b), but many of them just don't seem to understand how poverty works.

Go ask the French monarchy and the Russian nobles how that whole "fark the poor" philosophy panned out for them.

Came to this thread to make a joke about the statement that "each location of Olive Garden costs taxpayers $196,970 a year." Left forgetting the joke because I was overwhelmed by the amount of self-entitled hate from the "I got mine" faction. If you're bitter because you make so much money that you feel you're being "forced" to help the poor, then you've totally lost your humanity.

We should pay people a living wage AFTER they replace those workers, too. The idea that you HAVE to work to survive is becoming more and more obsolete with every advance in technology. It won't be long before there simply aren't enough jobs to go around (assuming that isn't already the case).

We have two options: A guaranteed minimum income, or a significant chunk of the population becoming homeless and/or unable to feed themselves or their families, to the point where the current welfare system will be overwhelmed.

The first option may seem expensive, but when you consider what the fallout from the second option would cost, it's downright cheap.

People should be paid a fair wage. But it's not the panacea that many proponents say it is. As wages go up, the number of available jobs will go down.

No they don't. History has repeatedly proven your statement a lie. Wages have gone up in real terms consistently since at least the Renaissance (minus a few short term blips), and yet most of the time the vast majority of people have jobs. Please explain why the entire of modern history has employment rates that are so high if your statement was correct.

Minimum Wage

(Reddit Q): People seem to support raising the minimum wage to $15.00, but if everyone is now making at least fifteen bucks an hour, won't that just drive the prices for things up and also drive the buying power of a dollar down, effectively making the new minimum wage the same as the old minimum wage?

The best short answer to this question is "maybe, but probably not." The more appropriate answer is "there are people who have dedicated their lives to studying the impact of wages on inflation and they still have a ways to go."

If you're really curious then look at this site you'll notice from the charts and graphs that inflation has gone up while wages have stayed the same. It's simple scare tactics when people say a burger will have to cost $5 more to pay for the increased burger flippers wage. Yes, according to classical economics the price of things will go up if resources are spent on workers to offset the loss, but try and imagine every other way that companies have tried to offset losses.

For instance, governments subsidizing low worker pay because McDonald's workers can't always make a living wage. So the tax payer is paying for McDonald's workers lack of pay because massive companies act like they can't afford to pay their workers more money. If you look at how 8 companies basically own everything and 4 of the biggest oil companies are private, you can start to see how fucking over the worker is considered a break by these companies.

Now after 20-30 years of the same, people are too afraid and stupid to realize that classical economics is dead, and that if inflation and everything else has been happening without workers being paid more, what would make anyone think that doing something different for a change is going to destroy us all? Scare tactics, because corporations have successfully brainwashed people into thinking that workers are the enemy and undeserving.

If prices were competitive and firms were making negligible profits due to close to perfect competition, then an increase in the minimum wage would essentially cause a corresponding increase in prices (since cost is the main determiner of price in this scenario), though the problem with economics is that the government creates a vast amount of externalities that makes it near-impossible to gather good data that's useful in making assumptions about how markets do and should work.

However, corporations make profits, and those profits are distributed to shareholders and workers. In the US especially, those profits are unevenly distributed to shareholders and employees in more managerial positions, and these individuals find themselves unwilling to share that property. Even in cases where that is not the case, employee wage is more or less counted as a cost, and when wages increase, regardless of the reason (the company's doing well, for example), profits technically decrease as a result. For companies that thrive on showing investors, partners, and competitors that they're doing well, padding up their numbers to show high profits is a better decision than giving away money to their lower employees.

Now, whether or not these employees making minimum wage deserve to make a certain amount of money is certainly debatable, but inflation is not a direct result of an increase in the minimum wage. If there is any inflation, it's probably more due to companies wishing to pass costs to consumers to maintain current levels of profit.

In addition, given that poor workers are given food stamps and so on by the government, taxpayers essentially pay subsidies to keep prices low, while enabling companies like McDonalds and Walmart to have high profit margins at the expense of literally every other citizen in the US. Increasing the minimum wage makes it so that that cost is borne by the companies that make money by exploiting taxpayers while simultaneously making employees feel less useful as human beings.

It won't. Let's consider two scenarios - one from the supply side and one from demand.

1. Supply constrained pricing - where employers pass on the entirety of the increased labour cost to their customers. The minimum wage hike leads directly to an increase in prices. Unless the entirety of the product is labour cost and there is no profit margin, then the %age increase in price is less than the %age increase in salaries for workers. Barring gouging, this is the worst case scenario - thus the new minimum wage will have more purchasing power than the old minimum wage even if worst case price increases occur.

2. Alternate scenario, the price of the product is independent of the cost of making it, instead employers simply charge the price the market will bear. Minimum wage earners now have more income leading to price hikes because there's more cash to take from the minimum wage earners. The worst case here is that the entirety of the market for this product is people who make minimum wage - and here the price will increase proportional to the additional money that minimum wage earners get under the new minimum wage. Their purchasing power is unchanged in this worst case scenario. Additionally, the increased value of the product should incentivise lower cost competitors.

The idea behind raising wages to keep above inflation is to KEEP RAISING THEM, not just raise it and then stop. They do this well in other countries, particularly Australia, which is why Australia has such a high minimum wage. They constantly raise it to keep above inflation so they know people at minimum wage jobs can handle to pay their bills. Before inflation occurs, the minimum wage is raised. Then, inflation sets in and begins closing the gap, but before it effectively sinks the income of people it is raised again.

Not only that, but competition in the marketplace also prevents buying power from going down. So, if a gallon of milk is 3$, and the minimum wage is raised, the price of milk won't automatically shoot up to 5$, it will linger at 3$ for a while and maybe slowly as time goes on start to increase- $3.10 per gallon, $3.25 per gallon, etc. No milk company is going to suddenly start charging 5$ a gallon, because obviously consumers will react negatively and look for other brands of milk that do not charge as much. So, companies are going to benefit by retaining a lower price threshold because if they shoot up their prices and their competitors don't, they will be screwing themselves. Sure, all milk companies might shoot their prices up at once, but that is usually unlikely.

Last but not least, if everyone were making more money, you know who would benefit the most from it? Corporations and businesses and economy. Because if people HAD extra money, you bet your ass they would spend it, and they would spend it on everything and anything they needed or wanted that they could not afford before. So whatever additional costs of having to pay employees more would be offset by the sudden increase in sales. It would even out. People wouldn't just take this extra 8$ a month they'd suddenly be making and stash it in the bank- no, the people who need this wage increase are the ones who pick between buying new shoes for their kids or paying their electric bill that month. If they had the extra money, it would get spent, and would provide a huge boom to the economy.

Future of Work

(responses to Rise of Robots review in Salon)

This quote by some idiot down-thread is representative of entirely too many people when they think about this issue:

So? Horse meet auto.

The problem this time around is that there will be NO new jobs available once robotics controlled by AI programs take over. When automobiles came on the scene they increased the number of jobs overall compared to horses and wagons. Enormous numbers of people eventually found good-paying work in the factories of Ford, GM and Chrysler. There will be no such value-added bonanza with robotics, because there will be no more jobs for a human to do.

Thing is once we get to the point where we have AI we'll probably by then have solved the scarcity of other resources like food through non-biological means of production. If food production is a zero cost endeavor done by AI automatons that have zero cost resource needs that would mean food would cost nothing. Advanced automation will first lead to superabundance. The next step after superabundance is a post-scarcity society.


Obviously the solution is eventually going to be guaranteed incomes for everybody otherwise things will grind to a halt without customers. Why not start now? Here's a way a $12,500 guaranteed tax-free income for all citizens aged 18 and older could have been funded last year:

1) $1 trillion - A 50% tax on the amount paid out in dividends and share buybacks coupled with a 3% annual tax on retained earnings....after eliminating the corporate income tax. Payouts to shareholders would be halved with the other half of corporate profits going to the public (including those in the public who are also shareholders).The corporations themselves would actually be more profitable than before.

2) $600 billion - an annual 3% tax on the $20 trillion in wealth held by the wealthiest 0.1%. Historically the wealth of this group has grown at 6% compounded, so they should continue to get even wealthier.

3) $500 billion - a 30% minimum tariff on all imports. This assumes imports fall about 30% from last year's $2.4 trillion

4) $200 billion - collect the amount of tax revenue on investment income lost annually via the $7 trillion held by U.S. citizens in offshore accounts.

5) $150 billion - a small financial transaction tax the size of the one now being proposed

6) $250 billion - estimated reduction in safety net spending, welfare payments, earned income tax credits, etc. because of the $12,500 tax free checks.

7) $200 billion - a 2% surtax on all income, from all sources, for everybody, except the guaranteed tax free income.

Total = $2.9 trillion.......divided by 232 million adults = $12,500 each.


On the heels of a similar program in Richmond, Calif., Washington, D.C.'s D.C. Council authorized funding in January to pay stipends to notorious criminals if they stop committing crimes. Police would identify up to 50 residents likely to violently offend again in 2016 and offer them periodic cash payments plus special training and educational benefits--as long as they stay out of trouble. Officials in Richmond (once overwhelmed by gun deaths) say their program, commenced ten years ago, has produced a 76 percent drop in gun-related crime. **************************************************

Nothing at the moment is produced without resources that's why automation is so essential. It reduces the amount of resources used in production thereby reducing prices. However, many scientists do believe that eventually nano tech and advances in AI will usher in a post-scarcity society which will eliminate the need for a pricing system. Take air for example. There is no pricing system attached to the oxygen around us as for most circumstances there is an unlimited abundance of it. Yet just like food it's required for survival. If we ever gain the ability to grow food in a lab we could then eliminate the pricing system for food as well. However, that would also eliminate all agricultural jobs. I doubt that there would be a movement calling to ban zero-cost food just to keep one sector of the economy going though.

The robot is coming to take your boring job. Why is this a bad thing?

What is needed is an imaginative approach to technological changes. Why not lower the definition of full time work to 35 hours per week or even 30? As Amazon incorporates more robots, it may have the same number of human workers, being paid the same amount. What's in it for Amazon? It can expand with no jobs lost. The trick is convincing Amazon that legislation dictating a shorter work week is a good idea. More time to shop?

Which industries will grow in the face of robots? Leisure is one. People might elect to work four days per week, as many workers do now, with three day weekends. Sports might become even bigger with more cities having teams in more sports. I think it will be a while before people want to watch robots play games.

Someone has to design, build and maintain the machines. Many jobs have been created by the growth of the Internet, some highly skilled, some less so. Farmers used to be able to maintain most of their equipment. Now the big farm equipment companies have teams of people who can show up on short notice to keep a a highly mechanized combine running. These are skilled jobs that require a lot of training, but not a college degree. Cars have become too complicated for most of us to do much maintenance beyond cleaning the interior. This will become more the case as alternative power trains become more common. "Car mechanic" is not a low-skill job anymore.

We really need a change in our education system. "Voc Ed" needs to lose its taint as only for the academically weak. It is not easy to get into the schools for, say, Honda mechanics. Maybe if kids who are turned off by school and see only a burger flipping job in their futures can hear from a diesel mechanic I know who makes $125 an hour, they might see that hard work and discipline doesn't need to mean four years of college and a mountain of debt. By the way, this guy works on fixed equipment, so the clock starts when he leaves his house.

A lot of this fear is being promoted by modern day Luddites. The same fear was heard all throughout the Industrial Revolution and still in the modern computer age. Interesting that you bring up the car as that created the fear that not only would it eliminate jobs, but it would eliminate culture as well. Besides that one thing people tend to leave out is that a reduction of human labor and resources expended towards production reduce the price of goods produced. The Luddites and the industrialization are perfect examples of this. With clothing becoming industrialized production became more efficient and produced higher quantities than ever before. This reduced the price of clothing so that many families who had been forced to produce their own clothes were able to buy their clothes instead and use their time elsewhere.

Besides looking at the fast food industry, like this article does, has a tendency to lead to broken window thinking. We could create more jobs by increasing subsidization of the fast food industry. Not only would it lead to more working class jobs, it would also require more white collar jobs like doctors to deal with the resulting health issues. We heavily subsidize fast food anyway in order to keep the dollar menu where it's at. Keeping that industry subsidized while also preventing automation just to keep up employment in one of the most unhealthy industries may not be good for the economy or society as a whole anyway. At the same time automation being introduced to other companies that are considered healthier, like Chipotle, would lead to decreased prices anyway as it would require less labor to produce the same product. That would then allow poorer families to provide themselves with some food while not clogging their arteries the way some pink slime or fake chicken nuggets would.

A major factor in the uprising in Baltimore is the mass unemployment because of lack of jobs. Expect more uprisings.

I love how people fail to realize that no matter how powerful these institutions get, that eventually they will have no choice but to turn over their power. What happens when no one has jobs anymore, meaning no one can buy their products anymore? What then? To believe that a scenario in which the elite maintain their status as everyone else loses their jobs and end up poor, leaving the world in that state forever is even possible is just absurd.

Basic Income movements are shooting up all over the planet in light of this. And nothing is being done about it because it's a completely unrealistic idea. The only people who want this are the unemployed and underemployed. Don't expect to get a paycheck for doing nothing. Who is going to fund it? Do you think that I'm going to want to see most of my paycheck taken so that people who aren't working can collect free money?

Raise taxes on rich people and the talent? They will all flee the country. Result: 20 years later the government is broke, companies under invested (because of insane tax rates) and all the talent is using their skills elsewhere. Because who wants to pay like 70% taxes when you can only pay 20% elsewhere. There is a reason why almost every economist is against this. You have to be stupid to think this will work.

There are always outliers, but research that I don't feel like citing has shown that humans thrive on productivity; without it we end up depressed. The problem with today is that many of the jobs you get are so soul crushing that people would much rather sit around doing nothing than actually go out and find a job.

The future ahead of us and our children is vastly different from anything humanity has seen before - we are looking at an age were slowly, one third of humankind will be without a job. Not unemployed, unemployable. Politics isn't talking about it, because who wants to future proof stuff? Not them. If we want to get to that nice future on the other side, we'll have to wade through a river of shit. We have to restructure our entire idea of social security and all cultural notions that have to do with work and the value thereof.

This tale is as old as worrying about jobs for the buggy whip maker and the ice delivery man. And Star Trek still features people doing work and exchanging latinum, credits, or "replicator rations."

I thought the purpose of technology was to make life easier. It hurts me to see ppl spend their money not thinking they are handing over their time. To me my time is the most important thing.

If no one can afford to be a customer, money loses its value and they lose their power. Hopefully they realise this and we make a change sooner rather than later.

People keep saying jobs have been replaced before and there were always new jobs to fill. They don't realise the sheer amount of jobs technology will replace and the limited amount needed to maintain it in comparison.

Basic Income would be much better than communism. At least, the communism where your job is assigned, and the state owns all of the property, and everything is shitty and everyone is miserable.

UBI is bottom up communism. Or communism with free markets. You get the basic ideal of communism (well socialism, really) where everyone is taken care of through redistribution of society's resources. But instead of a central cabal taking ownership of everything and then deciding who gets what (and how much), we let ownership remain private and redistribute a portion of the profits in the form of currency. The recipients still get to decide what to specifically spend the money on, keeping the markets (the best part of capitalism) intact. We do this already with things like minimum wage and various social welfare programs. UBI is the next logical step in maintaining our existing economic system in the face of ever increasing unemployment and under employment. In a way, UBI is what we'd do instead of communism.

There's not enough jobs anymore to keep everyone working. We're past that point now. Even if everyone wanted to work, it wouldn't be possible to employ them all. A new strategy is needed to deal with this, and minimum wage laws won't help if you don't have a job at all.

And in terms of communism as done in the past, the state decided everything about what you did. Basic Income is almost the exact opposite of that. The state gives you money, and then everything else is under your control. Where you work, where you live, if you travel, if you go to school, etc... That's the primary difference. Plus, you can keep on working and still receive a basic income on top of that.

If their profits start slipping because people can't buy their crap anymore, you can bet they'll do something to try and keep their money machines printing. We can only hope that that something looks like basic income, and not something out of the Hunger Games.

No way the rich would just pay for everyones welfare. The whole system would be scrapped and the rich would selectively pay welfare to specific poor in return for their loyalty. The world returns to Roman style patronage.

Free money, but only a little. If you want more than the BASIC lifestyle, gotta work/create your own opportunities. That may work today, but we need to get away from this type of thinking as automation increases. As automation makes things more and more abundant with less and less human labour, it makes little sense to relegate huge swaths of the population to bare survival due to some outdated sense of morals.

But if everyone has everything they want, how do I know if I'm better than someone?

Oh, this is an easy one. You aren't.

Trying telling that to someone rich.

That just shows we as a society will have to redefine what "better" means. It's always been pretty useless (I'd say dumb) to equate monetary means with "goodness" anyways. Rich people themselves are not valuable; right now their money is, because it's the "resource" people care about. Make people care more about quality food and durable products and the engineers and growers who create those will suddenly shoot up in value, for example.

To be fair, the fact we can even afford a smartphone at all means something is being passed on. If no savings were ever passed on, there would be one smartphone on the planet, owned by Bill Gates. At one point a mobile we own would have cost billions or trillions to make. Sure they still take a fair profit on these devices, but it's not as if they're not competing to make the prices lower. It might not work in all markets, but at the moment competition is helping. It's the areas with no competition we should be regulating and stimulating.

Do you use self checkout? Does the price change when you do? No, you have maximized the retailers profit. The retail price has money built in to cover the cost of an employee running a register. Hypothetically, you now work for that retailer...and you're paying them to do so.

ITT: socialists wetting themselves over the next bloody dark age to come.

Capitalism only came into existence because wealthy merchants not only outnumbered the feudal nobility but began to become more important politically and economically. In modern capitalism you have something different occurring, the wealthy merchants are the nobility. They have accrued the wealth and political power, and have become De facto nobility. There is no sign of their power waning due to some rising class of power structure outsiders/rivals.

They own the politicians, the universities, the banks and the factories. Although slavery and serfdom are outlawed 99% of people are in some form of financial debt, mortgage, credit card or student/business loans. The majority of people are not actually free, but are bound to work in order to pay off these debts, much like serfs were bound to the land. We live in a post capitalist society, where the wealthiest merchants have become feudal lords in fact if not in name. True capitalism is dead, the markets are largely fixed by the biggest players in the game who pick the winners and the losers.

I really hope robots replace all the manual labor jobs in the next couple years. That would be awesome, and it's not like valuable people would be put out of work. It would be almost a utopia to be able to go about my day without dealing with any of the no-skill bottom-rung dregs. We will have to find some place for them to live though; maybe underground so I'll never have to look at another pair of leopard print spandex pants again.

The net result will be a much MUCH smaller primary and secondary sector (mining, agriculture, manufacturing etc.) which is fine because those jobs suck. No one wants to a ditchdigger -- the Shovelbot 5000 is on its way.

But there will be a MASSIVE increase in tertiary sector jobs (service, entertainment) and high tech (programming the shovelbot). Maybe not enough to offset the loss in the primary and secondary sectors, but we've already seen a consequence thereof on Youtube: When people can't find work, they find their own things to do, even if its just dumb Let's Play videos, Gangnam Style parodies and ice bucket/cinnamon/eat-your-own-neck challenges.

So most of us will refocus where we work and what we work for. The rest will be unemployed and unemployable, an overabundance of labor with nothing better to do but hustle for views/likes/attention on the Internet while waiting to be conscripted for the final World War which sacks this impoverished idle generation.

Pretend to Work

Someone should use screen recording software to record an entire day's worth of working on spreadsheets and post it to YouTube so that I can play it full screen and pretend like I'm working.

Part Time Work

I narrate audiobooks.For anyone wondering how to get into this, go through This is Amazon's audio book site that serves self publishers. Rates range wildly, from 50-300 dollars per finished audio hour. Usually takes 4-6 man hours for an audio hour. Pay rate will depend on experience, success, and backlist. An alternate pay structure is to split audio book royalties with the author. This is probably the best way for an unknown to break in and get experience. The narrator won't get paid a penny, but when the audio book goes on sale, they split royalties with the author. So choose projects wisely, if you're lucky you'll find an author that already sells. Keep in mind, you need equipment and technical expertise to get into this. You need audio editing software, a good mic, and some sort of sound proof work area. You need to be able to adjust the sound levels and splice in corrections and generally put out a professional product.

For anyone wanting to make a go at this themselves, this author (not me) put together a decent tutorial on producing his own audio book. I'll let the engineers in this thread pick apart his advice, but there are lots of good nuggets (like using solid state drives since they are quieter).

So far we have:
Flip Bicycles
Donate Plasma
Become an ordained minister and marry gay couples
Flip thrift store finds
Audio transcribing
Freelance graphic design
Deliver pizzas
Power washing
Wait tables / bartend
Sell drugs
Stream on Twitch
Make fake and real moonshine then sell it
Flip electronics
Freelance web design
Become first aid instructor
Do Cam shows
Cat / House sitting
Write freelance articles for various magazines
Dog walking
Officiating sporting events. Requires license
Sell Semen
Mow lawns
Detail Cars
Narrate Audio Books
Sell inflatable dragons
Dinosaur Erotica

Sell water to tourists. Sporting events, busy sidewalks, music festivals, county fairs. Anywhere people gather. Buy bottled water in bulk at Cosco and sell it for a buck a pop out of a cooler full of ice. You can make a couple hundred bucks in a few hours depending on how busy it is.

I surprisingly get a lot of people asking to detail their car. I never intend to make a business of it, but I love doing it to my cars and people ask me to do it to theirs. All it takes is a cheap orbital buffer (mines a used craftsman) and a shop vac. I normally get easily $100 for a basic wash/wax/vac, or $200 to remove scratches and polish then wax the car.

One summer in high school I posted an ad on Craigslist to do yard work after my parents bugged me to get a job. I made more money there than I could have at any other high school job. I had to buy a planner to mark down all the appointments I had. The best part about mowing lawns is that if you do a good job, people want you to come every 1-2 weeks. Some lady contracted me to mow a 4-plex every 2 weeks. The job took 2-3 hours to do and she asked me how much I would charge. I told her $150 and she said that was much too little. Instead she paid me $350. Long story short, PEOPLE HATE DOING YARDWORK AND WILL PAY OUT THE ASS TO HAVE SOMEONE ELSE DO IT.

Try tutoring :-) Go around to all the local high schools, post flyers that say "need help with algebra?" or whatever subject you feel comfortable teaching. Charge $35 per hour tutoring, and do 4 hours of tutoring on the weekend 4 times per month.

Edit: Quick edit -- a lot of people are commenting and saying "Whoa, $35 is way too high/low." Honestly, people, it varies depending on your location. If you're in a small town and there isn't a lot of demand for tutoring, you'll have to charge less, if you're in a big city you can probably charge a lot more. Check with other tutors in the area to see what a reasonable price is. Market forces will dictate the price you can charge per hour, the $35 was just a number I pulled out of my tush tush

One guy I worked with did this on the side and first charged $25/hr and nobody replied. He increased his price to $50 and the same day had several replies. People really think price equals quality in that field.

Freelance graphic design work. hire me
I'm starting a project that needs some design work. I can't pay you anything, and I have really specific needs, I'll never be satisfied, and you'll be thankful for the exposure.
Don't forget to make it really unique. Something never before seen. Something that really POPS. YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN? This will be the only guidance I will give you
It needs to be more edgy. It doesn't feel quite right.

I got this great idea, I just need you to design it, build it, market it, and fund it and I'll think about giving you 5% once it takes off. Its like twitter but with a 400 character limit. Just think of the possibilities.
Well, as I said earlier... inflatable dragons. Get a designer, buy a lot from China, sell to furries for profit. Wolves and foxes are common too but for some reason dragons are the shit.
Doesn't Uber mandate that you need a nice car, though? As much as I might like to do it, it doesn't seem like a feasible job for someone who lives outside of a city with a car from the 90's.
Well, yeah, Uber also pays better. It's got an image to uphold that doesn't involve 20-year-old cars.
Every lyft driver I ride with drives for both and says that lyft pays better and treats its drivers better and has nicer passengers, but uber is busier so that's why they drive for both.

My dad fell for this once in the 70s. He answered an add that said want to make money with little effort send $5 to po box blah blah. And got a letter saying to buy a po box and newspaper ad asking $5 for on how to make more money.

You can easily pull in an extra $2,000 by simply installing a WordPress theme and configuring it to a local small business' needs. It's something I've been able to teach people with basic computer skills in less than a week. I can go from talking to the client to having a website built in a week or two with minimal effort.
As a developer, I can create a custom themes and pull in an easy $5-10,000 for a website.. I usually aim my efforts at a local college/university department or restaurants. It usually takes a month working a single day a week or so.

Go through your local online Yellowpages directory or similiar. Look for companies that have big ads there but no link to a homepage. That's a good clue. If they do have a homepage, run a few tests. is it mobile friendly? is it optimized? Is it responsive? If no on any of those, then you have a reason to call them. Call the list you created top to bottom. Take notes of why they say no, to be able to answer the same objection from next prospect you call

Uber vs Cabs

Icemen didn't get bailed out when refrigerators made them obsolete.

Most medallions are leased to cabbies by owners who likely never have driven a cab ... its near worthless now because of uber driving down the market value of one.

One thing I would note though is that the city originally mandated that cabbies have medallions to operate, similar to a business license. So a cab company plays by the rules, and the Gov't protects their industry, only to allow Uber to come in and take over... Not that I agree with Taxi price-gouging it's just not fair to have rules and then selectively enforce them.

That's cause most cab drivers don't own medallions. The cab companies own the medallions and hire the cab drivers to work for them. So the cab companies made a killing off of the rising medallion prices and also made a killing off the poor wages that cab drivers got. Essentially, cab drivers "rent" the taxi car from the companies for a few hours each day. The rich owners are the ones that are suffering. If it was just the poor immigrant cab drivers that were suffering, the politicians/media/etc wouldn't give a rat's ass. Since the wealthy taxi company owners are suffering, it is a big issue.

One Uber driver that I rode with who used to drive a yellow cab here in NYC said that his weekly rent for the yellow cab was $600, then he had to pay a share of the car insurance - so weekly he'd be looking at $800 out of pocket before he made a penny. If each cabbie only worked 35 hours a week, that means that they would have to make $22.86 an hour just to break even, and let's say an average of 3 rides an hour, at an average of $15 each - that'd be $23 per hour for the cabbie...then figure gas and food out of that, drop it to about $20 per hour. Not bad but not exactly amazing (~ $700 take home on a good week)

I have no idea how uber survives. In kansas city uber was half price without a tip. A 15 dollar fair was 8 bucks. That 15 dollar fair would probably be 20 bucks with tip. I don't see how uber is sustainable, so their plan has to be lower prices now to topple yellow cab, then jack up rates.

The business model is completely different. Drivers have their own cars. Drivers get most of the money from the fair so no tip is required. Uber gets a cut from every fare so the market being over saturated with uber drivers doesnt affect the company but this prompts uber drivers to look for new profitable locations. The company only has to support the overhead of keeping the software working and doing background checks. The whole thing is more efficient so it can cost less.

Why is it a problem, are we not allowed to have successful part time jobs? Maybe I only want to pay Timmy $20 once a month or so to mow my lawn when I'm feeling lazy, not enter into a contract with a professional landscaper to mow my lawn twice a week for $300 a month. And that landscaper has no right to demand I use his services or that I must pay Timmy more just because he can't compete.

Its a simple equation. Fast food workers and waiters look like most redditors and it could be a job they have or could have in the future. Taxi drivers don't look like them so "bring on the competition" so they can get cheaper rides.

App for hailing a cab and lower prices? Yes please, but it's not a level playing field. How is it fair that a cabbie in NYC pays $200k for his medallion but the Uber driver just signs up to drive people around?

The medallions are needed to pick hails up off the street without prearranging the ride. Anyone can prearrange a ride without a medallion, this is why limo and shuttle companies don't need to piss off hundreds of thousands of dollars on them. Why should Uber drivers have to pay so much for a function they don't require? Lower the overhead, and you also lower the cost for the end user. I'm completely fine with not being able to hail an Uber or limo off the street.

It is not just the price that get people to use Uber. Cabs regularly refuse credit cards or if they don't deem your fare worthy they won't take you. Uber easily lets you hail a car(giving you reliable wait times), thinks every fare is "worthy", you can see that they are not taking you on a long route, you can easily complain to Uber, you can pay seamlessly and you can also rate the driver. Even if the price was the same, I would always pick Uber - but i do like that they are cheaper :)

Most Uber drivers are part time. It's just a side job they do after work. Think about this, would you rather flip burgers as a second job or drive for Uber?

For the majority it's a part time job. I drive Uber nights and weekends and I pull about 25 an hour. I'm insured by Uber while driving and I fall under the regulations that limos and other livery services do. Ubers and Lyft cars are not cabs. You just think they are because they're popular but they're really just fleets of private limos.

Insurance is only active while you have a rider in the car. You can read the details of the policy on your driver user page. It's not a super super huge umbrella policy, it's very narrow but it's there. It's a subcontract position, I don't think it was ever even designed to be a full time job (though I know a couple of guys that make 1500 a week so it is for them). I have no complaints. I didn't have any before I drove and I have none now.

I hear the same arguments from the pro-Uber crowd: Uber is low-cost, cab companies are dodos and over-regulated, and that the free market should reign. Things that never get brought up in this Uber argument are: workers’ rights and the benefits of taxi regulations. I’m going to stick to talking about the taxi situation in NYC, since it’s on topic, and not discuss other places which have their own unique systems and taxi cultures.

NYC cab fares cost as much as they do in part because drivers fought over decades for fare increases to help them earn a living wage. While taxi drivers still don’t have a true living wage, this is even less true under Uber’s model. Uber’s drivers are not employees, they’re “contractors”, and as such have to scrape by as victims of the same unfair labor practices that other “contractors” working for companies like Fedex do. Some will ask questions like “If Uber’s that bad, then why do people drive for it?” Well lots of people do shitty jobs because they have no recourse. While I love technology, Uber and companies like it are seriously undercutting the efforts of the labor movement.

The Taxi-Limousine Commission has to adhere to a number of regulations (which means added cost): NYC Taxis have to comply with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) meaning a percentage of taxies have to be ADA accessible. These ADA taxis are less profitable (they have more expensive equipment, can carry fewer passengers, and have poorer mileage [weight]), but are necessary for an equitable society. In order to incentivize ownership of the less profitable cabs, the Taxi Limousine Commission (TLC) decided to subsidize ADA cabs (IIRC through fares earned by other cabs). To ensure there are enough ADA taxis, the medallion system was adapted so that a portion of the medallions available can ONLY be operated by as ADA-compliant taxis.

This over-regulation in the Yellow Cab system means that yellow cabs (and green cabs) have to meet environmental standards. Taxis vehicles have to be of approved models and go through rigorous and regular inspections (every 6 months I think) to ensure they meet safety and emission standards.

Another thing is that taxis have to be heavily insured to ensure that a passenger, pedestrian, or other vehicle can be compensated in the event of a collision. NYC taxis also pay in more heavily into NYC infrastructure. $0.50 of every fare goes to the MTA (which runs public transportation in NYC and is an entity apart from the TLC). Not to mention that a lot of these large medallion companies are pretty small fish in the scheme of things, meaning wealth is held more locally than in say a multi-billion dollar company like Uber. Like most of these corporate behemoths, Uber has done a very good job of tax-dodging (source and source) and therefore absconding with money that would be used to maintaining and developing the infrastructure that they depend on and exploit.

So what does all of this mean? By using the Yellow Cab service, you’re buying into a system that pays taxes, abides by environmental and insurance regulations, and abides by the ADA act. By using Uber, you’re buying into a system that is cheaper (at times) and more convenient, but that skirts all of this and that benefits you in the short-term while being a detriment to everybody in the long-term. While I would like to see improvements be made to NYC’s yellow cab system, I equate rider with Uber with shopping at Walmart.

The cab companies were the ones who lobbied for those regulations in the first place, specifically to keep competition out of the market place and it worked for decades. You reap what you sow. They deserve everything coming to them and more.

They embraced the government bureaucracy that limited consumer choice and stifled out competition in the taxi business for years. Innovation combined with a superior customer experience is what ruined their business. A slob with a dirty, smelly car who drives recklessly while screaming Arabic into a his bluetooth wouldn't last very long as an Uber driver.

I love uber, I generally hate regulation, and in paticular I hate this regulation that masks itself as safety but simply limits choice and supply in order to raise gov revenue. But I think we have to admit the city screwed these cab drivers. They had a deal with the city. The city broke it. Now the city should make them whole as it revokes the original asinine monopoly regulation and let market forces again help provide more efficiently for our transportation needs.

I can't say for everywhere, but at least where I am, the million dollar overhead is not the city's fault. Medallions are sold on the aftermarket for 300k (here). Cabbies have been treating this like a retirement fund for ages. The city sold them for 4-5k. If the city had not been stupid and made them non-transferable from the start, this would be basically a non-issue today.

Lower Wage For Disabled

Responding to an article calling for the end of programs that allow disabled people to be hired at rates below the minimum wage, this reader writes:

I have family member who did one of those programs. She needs close monitoring and regular (like every 10 minutes) direction and feedback. In hiring you have to ask yourself, “Can this person do the job without unreasonable supervision?” In her case, the answer is no.

Another reader writes:

I am an unabashed progressive who hates unfair wages, but this is a program that is helping the disabled, not exploiting them. The people who are in sheltered workshops are often extremely disabled for the work they are performing. To these individuals, the job itself means considerably more than the pay. It is a point of pride to be able to engage in meaningful work at all. If you get rid of differential wages for the disabled, people will stop hiring the disabled, and a significant source of pride and feelings of normalcy in those people’s lives will be diminished.