Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Wage Slavery

Why Corporate Responsibility is a Myth

People get mad at individual corporations a lot. The other week, a famous shoe company started running ads with a controversial football player in them, and that made some people very happy with the shoe company and other people very angry with it. These people wrote about the shoe company a lot, and by writing about the shoe company they gave it $43 million in free advertising. See, it didn’t matter to the shoe company which stance it took on the controversial football player–by taking any stance, it could induce the media to give it free attention, and that free attention translated into sales for the company. People thought the shoe company was taking a stand because of some kind of commitment to social responsibility–but this is a shoe company which has happily, for years, employed child labourers in sweat shops, stolen their wages, and verbally and physically abused them. But this isn’t because the shoe company is especially immoral–it’s because all companies are subject to a set of structural incentives which, by design, prevent them from taking moral considerations into account independently of their ability to contribute to revenue.

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Who is Right about Free Trade? Barack Obama vs. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren

In recent weeks, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is back in the news. TPP aims to lower barriers to trade among the United States and a variety of other nations including rich countries like Japan, Canada, and Australia and developing countries like Chile, Peru, Vietnam, and Malaysia. US Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has come out strongly against TPP, as has senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (D-VT). President Barack Obama continues to support TPP–he recently succeeded in having the agreement fast-tracked by the senate and will likely replicate that success in the house. Once TPP is fast-tracked, congress cannot debate the treaty’s contents or make amendments to it. Is TPP good for the United States? Who is right?

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The Swiss Plan to Throw Money at People

The Swiss are apparently going to hold a vote on a rather radical proposition–giving every Swiss citizen a universal monthly income of 2,500 francs (about $2,750), for an annual income of 30,000 francs (about $33,000). For perspective, this amounts to about twice what an American working for the federal minimum wage would earn annually if he were to work 40 hours a week every week without any breaks. I very much doubt that the Swiss will vote for this proposal due to how very radical it is, but I’d like to discuss the implications it would have for Switzerland if they were to do so and contemplate what a similar program would do in the United States.

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Are Men Exploited?

It is often argued by feminists that women are exploited in traditional relationships. Economically dependent and doing many hours of unpaid childcare, it’s argued that women do not, in the traditional structure, receive the full value of their labour in exchange for their services, and that the traditional marriage in which the woman does not work strips her of her freedom and independence and raises the cost to any move on her part toward autonomy. However, is it possible to also perceive the traditional relationship as exploitative of the male role? I propose it is. Here’s how.

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Universal Basic Income: Free Money

Today I had a lecture that introduced an interesting idea, one I think worth sharing and discussing–universal basic income (hereafter referred to as UBI). UBI is a radical alternative to the present welfare system existent in most western countries. In most societies, welfare is conditional on a demonstration of effort to gain employment–it has a work requirement. UBI proposes that the work requirement be scrapped and that welfare be provided to all citizens irrespective of need so that everyone has a sufficient standard of living such that employment becomes a life choice rather than a life requirement.

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