The Changing World of Work 5: “Human Robots” and High-Level Skills

Charles Hugh Smith – While it is impossible to summarize the job market in a vast, dynamic economy, we can say that the key to any job is creating value. That can be anything from serving valuesomeone a plate of mac-and-cheese to fixing a decaying fence to feeding chickens to securing web servers to managing a complex project–the list is essentially endless.

The question is: how much value does the labor create? The value created, and the number of people who are able to do the same work, establishes the rate employers can afford to pay for that particular task/service.

As noted elsewhere in this series, work that can be commoditized has low value because it can be outsourced or replaced by software and machines. In cases where it is not tradable, i.e. it cannot be performed overseas, the value is limited by the profit margins of the service being provided and the number of people who can perform the work.

In many cases, for example, the fast food industry, workers are trained to become human robots, highly efficient at repeating the same tasks dozens of times per shift.

The severe limitation of human robot jobs is that they rarely offer much opportunity to learn a wide variety of skills–precisely what enables us to create more value with our labor.

Longtime correspondent Kevin K. describes how this lack of opportunity is a function of Corporate America, which demands every employee follow set procedures to homogenize the customer experience throughout the company and insure the product is the same everywhere in the market sector. Continue reading

Why You Should Get Active in the A.M.

David Gelfand – The alarm clock blares, startling you from a dream-filled, quiet sleep. You unhurriedly make your way to the alarm clock to shut off that dreaded noise. At a snail’s pace, over the course of the following hour or two, you make your way from the door of your home to the door of your car. Barely awake and not 100% responsive at this point, you drive to work where a demanding day awaits.

morningFeelings of lethargy, lack of energy, grogginess, etc. are common among anyone familiar with the above-mentioned routine. Rather than improve these feelings through some natural, positive and health-focused approach, more often than not, people succumb to the use of caffeine and nothing more to get their “up” feeling in the morning.

Recent commentary within the medical community suggests that physical activity in the morning can be beneficial to one’s physical health and mental alertness. A study published by the British Journal of Nutrition found that working out in the morning on an empty stomach allows for 20% more body fat to be burned.[1]

While physical results are the goal for some, they are only the beginning in a long list of both physical and mental benefits associated with an active-filled morning routine.

1) If you don’t do it now, you may not do it at all.

Cedric Bryant, PhD, chief science officer of the American Council on Exercise in San Diego explains that, “Research suggests in terms of performing a consistent exercise habit, individuals who exercise in the morning tend to do it better. The thinking is that they get their exercise in before other time pressures interfere.” Continue reading

Dear Farmers: U.S. Is Now Importing Organic Corn To Satisfy Consumer Demand

Heather Callaghan – There are three things driving a surge in organic imports:

  1. U.S. farmers have been systematically pushed into growing mostly GMO crops; grown primarily for fuel, animal feed and cheap processed foods. Russia even used our food supply as an example for the EU to dump us and join them instead.
  2. U.S. consumers are not only demanding fresh, organic produce as well as non-GMO convenience foods – but also want meat, dairy and eggs from animals that were fed non-GMO or organic feed.
  3. Other countries primarily grow non-GE crops, and plenty of organic. They’ve got the goods and they reap the benefits of trade.

This is ridiculous, as the U.S. could not only use a valuable export, but could honestly use a supportive, in-house product. Yet again, we find ourselves outsourcing for staples. Shouldn’t our own farmers be benefiting from this rise in demand coming from their country? Yet again, farmers have been tricked and kicked by the very companies with which they sign agreements.

U.S. consumers are coming into awareness about how their food affects their health and want superior products, which sadly, aren’t always available here…yet.

An analysis of U.S. trade data released Wednesday by the Organic Trade Association and Pennsylvania State University shows a spike in corn from Romania and soybeans from India. The chief executive officer of OTA is prompting farmers that the market is open for converts. She called it a “help-wanted” sign for farmers and said, “There are market distortions that are pretty striking.” [Also see: Study Quantifies Market Value of Nature’s Farming Services] Continue reading

Why I Keep Writing About Maui Vs. Monsanto

Tearing away the curtain

Jon Rappoport – First, an important development in the case I’ve just become aware of. There has been virtually no discovery process.

monsantoMeaning: The people of Maui want to know specific details of Monsanto’s years of experiments with unapproved pesticides and GMOs in their county. They want records, files, internal communications; the whole nine yards.

They’re getting nothing.

Monsanto’s history of unbridled human experimentation is still obscured in a cloud of mystery. And danger.

And this is five months after the people of Maui voted in favor of putting a temporary ban on all such experimentation.

That vote has been suspended in a void, while Monsanto and its allies have been suing Maui.

I keep writing about this case because, for one, the people of Maui voted for something far stronger than labeling GMOs. They voted to ban Monsanto’s experiments, until a complete independent investigation could be done that would unearth the range of those ongoing pesticide/GMO experiments, thus assessing the danger and the harm.

The vote last Election Day was a victory. It wasn’t an “almost.” It wasn’t “we’re getting there and we’ll do better the next time,” it was: We Won.

And because Monsanto sued immediately and hung up the case in federal court, the result of the legitimate vote was not implemented. Continue reading

Voting for Hillary? You May Want to Recall the Clinton Body Count

Makia Freeman – If you or anyone you know is thinking about doing such a thing, you may want to read a little further and learn some more about the Clintons. The Hillary Clinton 2016 campaign is now official, so America will be faced with the horrendous prospect next year of having to choose between continuing a Clinton Dynasty or a Bush Dynasty.

clintonIf indeed Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush become the presidential candidates for their respective parties, and get elected for 2 terms, do you realize what that would mean? In that scenario, we would have had a Clinton or Bush in the White House from 1980 to 2024! That would be 44 straight years of a Clinton or Bush (remembering that George Bush Sr. was VP under Reagan and that Hillary worked, and still works, under Obama)!

Could it be any more obvious that the US is not a Republic or democracy but rather an oligarchy of the rich and powerful? A bloodline aristocracy may be a better term, since all of the 44 US Presidents have been part of European royal bloodlines, despite having different last names.

A Brief Recap of the Clinton’s Criminal Past

Both the video embedded above and The Clinton Chronicles offer a good recap of the Clinton’s criminal history. The fact that they are still around after so many murders and scandals is tribute to their power and ruthlessness, to the fact they have very rich backers, and to the fact that the American public is under a shocking spell of amnesia. This brief list of their scandals comes from the video above:

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The Changing World Of Work 4: The “Signal” Value Of Credentials Is Eroding

Charles Hugh Smith – Economist Michael Spence developed the job market signaling model of valuing employees based on their credentials in the 1970s. The basic idea is that signaling collegeovercomes the inherent asymmetry of information between employer and potential employee, i.e. what skills the employer needs and what skills the employee actually has is a mystery to the other party.

Credentials (diplomas, certificates, grad point averages, test scores, etc.) send a signal that transfers information to the employer about the opportunity cost the potential employee sacrificed for the credential.

It is important to note that the credential doesn’t necessarily signal the employee’s actual skills or knowledge– it only signals the amount of human and financial capital the employee and his family invested in obtaining the credential.

Signaling boils down to something like this: if Potential Employee A graduated from a prestigious Ivy League university, and Potential Employee B graduated from a lower-ranked state university, this doesn’t signal that Candidate A is necessarily more intelligent than Candidate B; it does signal, however, that Candidate A probably worked harder to get into and graduate from the prestigious school.

The signal is: Candidate A will work harder for the employer than Candidate B, all other qualifications being equal.

The Signal Value of credentials is the entire foundation of higher education. The higher education system does not actually test or credential the body of knowledge or working skills of graduates; it simply accredits that the graduate sat through a semi-random selection of courses and managed to pass the minimal standards–or alternatively, that the graduate gamed/cheated the system to gain credit without actually doing any real learning.

The reason tens of thousands of parents are sweating blood to get their child into an Ivy League university is the signaling power of that degree is widely viewed as having the near-magical ability to guarantee lifelong highly compensated employment.

But the power of higher education credentials is eroding for systemic reasons.

1. Credentials of all sorts are in over-supply: there are more people holding credentials than there are jobs that require those credentials. Continue reading

Volcanic New Moon

April 18, 2:57pm EDT, 11:57am PDT, 21:57 GDT – New Moon at 28 Aries 25


Image: NASA photo of volcano on Venus. It’s intensely hot— 900F!—on our closest neighboring planet.

Kelley Hunter – Another New Moon on a cusp between signs—fiery Aries to earthy Taurus— signals another level of transition, almost like an erupting volcano pouring forth a river of lava. In the long run this mineral-rich lava gives rise to new life. (see the power of lava in this wonderful clip, thanks John:

Do you believe in magic? This Aries New Moon opens new horizons in spacetime. Intention produces that magic—as long as we believe. Subtle vibrations are in play. We stand on a thrilling threshold. What path will you take? In less than two hours, the Moon enters solid Taurus, followed by the Sun on Monday, an earthy sign that likes to get its hand around life. Practical and results oriented, Taurus demonstrates that what we sow is what we will reap. We ground our chosen ideas and ideals in a real way through the thoughts we think and the actions we take. Dreams we reaffirmed during this past eclipse month begin to take form, slowly but surely, like a bowl on potter’s wheel. A new experience of reality emerges.

VENUS in GEMINI is aligned with the Eye of the Bull, the powerful red supergiant star, Aldebaran, the Watcher of the East. This ancient star sees deep into the Universe, beyond the surface appearance into the underlying reality, beyond life and death. Through that Bull’s Eye, we see a new world emerge, slightly out of our direct vision, more clearly with our third eye. Venus confers with SATURN in SAGITTARIUS. We may be faced with a moral dilemma that challenges our integrity. How will you and I respond? And how will we respond as a collective consciousness? We cannot compromise. Rebirth is an all-or-nothing proposition.

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