Almost Redundant

I feel great pity for people who are in the process of being made unnecessary by the neoliberal transformation of the economy yet are so clueless that they believe they are in a position to make outlandish demands:

Ladies. You are about to be made permanently redundant. You should be in a mad dash to the workplace before everybody figures out how to do without you.

25 thoughts on “Almost Redundant”

  1. This is excerpted from an email I got from Nick Hanauer. When a billionaire says “Tax the rich,” I am inclined to listen. He is of course referring to Washington State.

    The other week, Washington’s chief economist forecast that state revenue will drop by $8.8 billion through 2023. We’ve seen pundits, politicians, and newspaper editors soberly calling for massive state budget cuts since the beginning of this crisis, and it’s inevitable those economically backward demands will only intensify now that there’s a number to attach to their trickle-downism.

    I want to be clear: These people are wrong.

    In fact, no state is better positioned to invest in a quick and robust recovery than Washington. Our secret weapon? Tax the rich.


    1. Obviously, billionaires are in favor of neoliberalism. They are willing to finance our removal from productive life. So yes, let’s bow down in gratitude to their infinite wisdom.

      Alternatively, we could question their motives but the cult of the “benevolent billionaire” is too strong.


  2. What I particularly ‘liked’ was that the very first demand of one group of state workers is to defund another group of state employees. Any Marxist would’ve had a field day with it.

    Israeli teachers’ unions are quite sane and fight for teachers’ work conditions rather than dabbing in partisan politics with no connection to education. For instance, when government both demanded from teachers to teach remotely and then wanted to cut salary since the teaching was … remote, teachers’ union fought to get remote teaching recognized as teaching.

    Don’t understand what is the matter with LA teachers’ union. Do teachers there receive record high salaries enabling them to live in La-La-Land for a while? I don’t think many (if any) actual teachers support this idiotic posturing. People in charge of that union need to be woken up, to become ‘woke’ to the needs of workers they claim to represent.

    Are you serious about “made permanently redundant”? What will children do instead of going to school? How will their mothers work? Even in higher grades, remote learning is inferior to face-to-face version. You were against remote learning for university students yourself. Obviously, the prospect seems very frightening to me.


    1. We’ll adapt. Once you do it for 18 months, any argument that it just isn’t possible will lose its value. Everybody seems excited to make do until next summer. What’s the problem with continuing after that?


      1. // We’ll adapt. Once you do it for 18 months, any argument that it just isn’t possible will lose its value.

        In Israel, kindergarten kids and grades 1-4 (till age of 10) are going to come to school as usual, so their parents won’t need to adapt.

        Other grades of older children and teens are most likely going to study in a hybrid learning model, coming to school every week at least once and also studying remotely.

        If university students experience one year of remote learning (or wait a year to enroll), does it mean no future students will choose to study normally? Distant learning is not for most students. The Ministry of Education recognizes it by cutting 30% of material teachers are supposed to cover.

        I still hope there will be some kind of a vaccine in October 2020 and we’ll receive it and return to normal for the most part. September is mostly holidays anyway in Israel and school days are very few.

        This is just one of many articles:

        “Israel in talks to buy COVID-19 vaccine possibly available by September
        U.S. company Moderna claims to be nearing its phase three trials on humans, which if successful, would allow the company to begin mass production of the vaccine – called mRNA-1373 – by December with an estimated one billion doses completed by the middle of 2021”


        1. I don’t want to be a Debbie Downer but vaccine, schmaccine. Even if there is one, we’ll discover that it lasts just a couple of months. Or there will be a new strain of the virus. Or a new virus. Or something else entirely.

          When I said a few years ago that schools and policing are going away and everybody will accept it, people thought I was nuts. And now it’s all happening.

          There is a need for schools and policing to go away. So they will go away or be dramatically diminished. Public schooling appeared to indoctrinate everybody into the myths of the nation-state, make sure everybody spoke the same language, and was prepared for the workplace as it existed then. The nation-state myths are dead, the same language requirement is dead, and the workplace doesn’t resemble a classroom anymore. So it’s all going away.

          What will appear in its place? To understand what schooling will be like, look at the workplace. There will be dumb staring at screens (“instructional videos”) for the majority whom nobody expects to see in any workplace. And individually tailored hodge-podge of tutoring type things aimed at developing the individual talents of the minority that will be wanted in the workplace. Microschooling will be a thing. Five professors (or tech geeks or creative types) will get together and school their kids collectively.

          New schooling for a new economy.


          1. ” Public schooling appeared to indoctrinate everybody into the myths of the nation-state”

            We still need that in Israel. We have an ongoing conflict and a military draft too. Defunding police and army is even less plausible than leaving the myths. Wow, imagine, here I seem to have found an aspect in which Israel may be superior to USA.

            As for large numbers of permanently unemployed, growing Haredi and Atab populations provide that already.

            Your description of the new economy makes it sound as if only 5%-10% will work. Doesn’t seem viable in the long term. When in history were most people useless with it ending well for their society?


            1. I always say it’s 40-60%. So it’s not that bad. 🙂 We’ve already got the vocabulary for it. Essential / non-essential. People are running around, happily proclaiming themselves non-essential. And it was so easy. They are begging for more.

              Teaching meets gig economy. This will be fun. 🙂


              1. // I always say it’s 40-60%.

                40% working ? Or 60% working?

                // Teaching meets gig economy. This will be fun. 🙂

                For whom?

                I suppose you are angry at teachers and teachers’ unions now, but it’s hardly only them.

                It will also badly affect professors in more ways than one, if school system is destroyed.


          2. Also, the class mobility in your future world seems to be less than today, if one will need a tech geek of a parent to do something additional except “dumb staring at screens.”

            Previously, there was talk of fluidity increasing upward and downward mobility, providing huge potential for any talented person with readiness to use it.

            Don’t know what I can do in this world. Still hope the old arrangement will last another 20+ years till my old age.


            1. Also, there’s a whole other issue of getting the kids who have been out of school for 18 months – which is a large proportion of their lives – to go back to schedule, structure, obedience, etc. Especially for teenagers who have spent two months running around, breaking things, screaming, burning and not getting disciplined. It’s going to be so much fun teaching them.


    2. One way to greatly reduce the number of teachers would be setting up classrooms with zoom instruction. An inexpensive aide would be physically in the classroom with the students to keep discipline while the instruction is broadcasted to let’s say 100 kids in 4 different rooms. If they force the remote learning scheme for 2 more semesters, this type of instruction will become normalized. If they wanted they could easily get rid of 50% of teachers.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Exactly. Once you see how easy and cheap it is – why not? We waste $13,000 on taxpayer money to educate one secondary student. That’s a lot of money for the low value we are getting, so it’s not a long journey to see this as a useless expense.

        These teachers should be running towards the classroom like their livelihoods depend on it. Because they do.


        1. Since this all sounds frightening, ask again whether you mean 60% will work or only 40%.

          As for zoom instruction being “easy and cheap” and “the low value,” choosing to ‘teach’ via zoom will show what the word ‘low’ may mean on completely another level.

          The same logic can also be used for university students, especially since they are supposed to have self-control as adults.

          And why bring kids into classrooms at all once they are old enough to stay at home alone?


      2. “One way to greatly reduce the number of teachers”

        The easier way is what they’re doing: Move everything online and write off any kid who has problems keeping up because of household issues or whatever. Most people miss the elephant in the room – it’s not just about unemploying teachers it’s about the state disengaging from the idea of educating children. Hardly anyone really thinks the consequences of that through though.
        I hardly do because it’s too depressing.


  3. // the very first demand of one group of state workers is to defund another group of state employees.

    Turns out some people in this union think those crumbs will go straight to them:

    “United Teachers Los Angeles recently released a research paper … “We must shift the astronomical amount of money devoted to policing, to education and other essential needs such as housing and public health.” ”

    ” The Los Angeles City Council already cut the LAPD budget by $150 million and said the money will be earmarked for disadvantaged communities. ”

    Interesting whether disadvantaged communities see $1 from the ‘saved’ $150 million. Am I too cynical to doubt the council’s promises? Some journalist should do a follow up to check where the money cut from police goes in different states and cities.


  4. While Western media are busy with Trump’s latest cough (or even with every statue in huge US), the second warning bell after Covid regarding the wisdom of depending on China goes unnoticed:

    “China’s massive Three Gorges Dam project on the upper Yangtze River is at risk. If that dam breaks, the resulting flooding would be a catastrophe of world-historical proportions. Hundreds of millions of people live along the lower Yangtze River. And the catastrophe wouldn’t simply be confined to China. The lower Yangtze is China’s commercial and industrial heartland — which means it is perhaps the world’s most important economic region. If it is swept away by a torrent, it could easily crater the already weak world economy.

    The Wall Street Journal‘s Jonathan Cheng reports on the mounting crisis. The story is behind a paywall, but everybody can watch his video summary. Please do — these images are dramatic:”


    1. ” Three Gorges Dam”

      I’ve been following that a bit… hard to think that a communist government would put so many people at risk….
      I remember reading reports when it was being built and thinking it was going to be a disaster….
      Thanks western governmental and financial elite! Making everything in the world dependent on a bunch of communists with no regard for anything but their own power! Good call!


      1. // Thanks western governmental and financial elite! Making everything in the world dependent on a bunch of communists with no regard for anything but their own power!

        Initially, I was confused who “with no regard for anything but their own power” referred too since it seems to be true for both groups.

        Are you sure similarly dangerously mistaken decisions couldn’t be made by western elites? What about the reliance on China itself while gutting one’s own working classes? The support for UBI as the only ‘solution’? Other issues?

        Found an interesting info about this dam in comments to Rod’s post:

        “The project was controversial even within the Chinese Communist Party. The law authorizing its construction was approved by only two-thirds of the country’s parliament (the “National People’s Congress”). 177 members actually voted no and hundreds more abstained.”


        “As I understand, the concerns at the time were (and still are) not just structural or environmental, but also of national security. A Chinese friend of mine is the daughter of a high-level hydroelectric engineer for a Chinese state company, though his projects are relatively minor compared to the Three Gorges Dam. As she translated one conversation between her father and I, he mentioned that this dam is a particular military weakness, since one bomb in the right place would catastrophically flood China’s industrial heartland and kill millions of people. It was a poor strategic choice of the Chinese leadership to make its people so vulnerable.”


        1. “Are you sure similarly dangerously mistaken decisions couldn’t be made by western elites?”

          It would be harder since there’s traditionally been more oversight and it’s possible for people to say that decisions are wrong. It’s illegal to say that the Chinese communist party is wrong…. when anything goes south they just find some local scapegoats and blame everything on them while the party retains its perfect record of being right….


  5. What I find fascinating about these demands is that all of them, except banning charter schools, have no connection to schools. This tells me that the union is not being run for the benefit of teachers, let alone for students. I may disagree with the teacher’s union but I would be far more open to believing that they had the best interests of schools at heart if they would actually focus on how to improve schools.


    1. What I find fascinating about these demands is that all of them, except banning charter schools, have no connection to schools.

      All sorts of “professional” organizations do this. The MLA is famous for it. I think there’s just a certain type who tends to get really involved in these organizations, serve on committees & etc. (the proprietess of this blog excepted…I don’t recall her demanding that the faculty union condemn factory farming or similar irrelevant things).


      1. “All sorts of “professional” organizations do this”

        Isn’t this a consequence of intersectionality (as currently practiced)? When the chips are down and your back is up against the wall…. you end up advocating for other people’s causes instead of following your mission statement.


  6. I told one should not ‘worry’ about the conversion bill passing. We are not civilized enough to ban any barbarity 😦

    “Likud sources said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called United Torah Judaism chair and Housing and Construction Minister Yaakov Litzman following the Knesset vote, to tell him “he will do everything” for the bill not to pass in the second and third readings. ”

    😦 😦


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