Monday, April 9, 2012

Making us Feel Like Death

So two stories come to mind that remind us evermore that the reaper's scythe is hanging ever closer to the vital organs of our ability to engage as a citizenry. NPR's voracious and longwinded Tom Ashbrook peers into the depths of a gorging swell of micro-labor, tasks, jobs, and other opportunities for work ranging from professional, to degrading, to "I'd rather wallow in frothy, vat of bile before I work like this for such little pay". From the other end, we're seeing our Supreme Court debate and ejaculate arguments as to whether the Health Care reform law is constitutional, lining themselves up ideologically, and spending time, effort and resources destroying more things sanctimoniously.  

We're seeing the nature of work and employment become more schizophrenic; more experimental, but more inhumane, more removed from our public sphere's scrutinizing eye; we're seeing some piece of safety net being eroded by the forces of special interests. I wish everyone would stop, think, and listen. 

These internet web-sites like task-rabbit and others involve competing for stupid pieces of work that are really hard to sustain yourself on. You're competing potentially with individuals from all around the world where the standard of living is much lower than it is here and of course they will be able to outbid you for work. Sometimes they're neat and useful ways to get things completed and to generate income on the side, but they're definitely iffy and have the potential to move the nature employment further out of the sphere of the public realm where  employment protections laws can be applied. Maybe that's ok, but maybe not. As an asinine young buck like myself, I don't have any sort of wisdom to decide but maybe Harold Ramis does...

At the same time, taking away the potential for accessible health care really has a duality in piercing through the flesh of having a sustainable society. I just wish Scalia, Thomas, Roberts would stop already... stop ruining so much. You've done so much damage already with citizens united that I'm haunted by the potential for Super Pacs to be lurking under my bed as I sleep, gloating at how much they're able to contribute to political candidates and calling me real mean names.


The duality of this is that if people are and feel safe to some degree, they're more useful. If I'm not worried about burgeoning debt and the potential for a injury or sickness to cost me tens, hundreds or even millions of dollars, I could be more useful to the economy and I might take a risk to engage more with the erratic tasks that could be useful in our labor force. Maybe I'd take the risk to start my own micro-labor web site. I could take these risks if I knew that I'd be mildly ok as I had something to fall back on. 

If I can potentially be taken care of in some basic way, I'll feel more comfortable experimenting with different ways to generate income and contribute to the economy in doing so. If I don't have this safety net, I'm gonna do something safe that might not be as useful in our experimental information age economy, but I'll do whatever it is that provides me with the health benefits. 

For the love of god, please give us some access to health; reasonable, health not egregious fancy health. I am not convinvced that the free market will make health care more effective and accessible. Free market individuals might argue that the nature of medical school,or the nature of medicare are what drive up the costs, but in the end, the goals of the free market; growth, higher revenue and what I feel the goals of health care should be; accessibility, keeping people healthy are fairly at odds. I don't see how a capitalistic system for health care could meet the latter goals.