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Forum Post: This is important! We can change the conversation in the media

Posted 10 years ago on July 16, 2013, 11:06 p.m. EST by Misaki (893)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

By telling people about this:

If we pay people a higher hourly rate when they work less we can fix most problems in the world. This includes

  • war
  • unemployment
  • child abuse
  • crime

An example of how this could work is paying someone 1.2 times their normal wage rate for the first 24 hours per week of work, then 0.7 times their normal rate for hours after that. The reason this works is that some people want to work more than 24 hours per week, so people would not be able to agree on how much a normal person should work.

Along with creating over a billion jobs worldwide, this would also lower costs like college tuition, housing, and health care in the United States and increase the share of national income that goes to worker compensation. Corporations in the US are making almost $1.8 trillion in profits per year, after taxes and all business costs such as CEO salaries.

Corporate executives, doctors, and even Presidents could all use this system. There is no reason for a President who takes 1000 days of vacation (while still doing some work) to make as much money as one with 50 vacation days.

Is this enough? We can list other problems like terrorism and child pornography, but I think they are implied by what is listed.



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[-] 3 points by Misaki (893) 10 years ago

By the way, I have already said that if I could do it with no risk to myself, I would cause influential people in the world to die simply so people would not assume that something is wrong because those people aren't talking about it.

[-] 3 points by gnomunny (6819) from St Louis, MO 10 years ago

I've always found your posts about working less very interesting, but not knowing anything about economics, didn't feel in a position to comment much on them. I find the concept intriguing, to say the least, and would sign a petition if you started one.

And I fully agree about influential people's need to feel some "heat," to put it mildly. Personally, I think it might be the only way to get them to see they're not totally immune to the damage they're doing. I'm not a violent man, but admit I'd get a certain bit of pleasure out of seeing the likes of Tim Geithner or Bill Gates get their 'comeuppance.'

[-] 3 points by Misaki (893) 10 years ago

I don't want to give the wrong impression though. I view most people as having good intentions, and most influential people don't know about this idea.

Those that do were trusting me to say whether it would help the world for them to support the idea. If I did somehow acquire such a means, they would accept it while blaming me for not anticipating what would happen.

I don't want to link long blog posts, but at this point it's best for the world for support for the idea to come "from the people", and not as the result of an influential person telling people about it, as it shows that influential people are fallible and did not understand that the idea would fix all of the problems it will actually fix. In other words, they are betting right now that OWS will support it and the media will listen.

For example at the end of last year I implied that influential people who don't support the idea might die, and one person said some things in a way that made me think they were upset, so I made a comment that included a link to a video about being "young".

[-] 2 points by gnomunny (6819) from St Louis, MO 10 years ago

You've posted quite a bit on this concept from what I recall. Had some pretty in-depth discussions too. I can't find a flaw in the reasoning, but like I say, my knowledge of economics is pretty lacking. I think it's just the kind of "out of the box" thinking we need. It sounds counter-intuitive, but from what I've read in your posts, it sounds like a pretty damn good idea.

[-] 2 points by Misaki (893) 10 years ago

Also, I couldn't be sure that there wasn't something wrong with it either. I think it would have been fine if someone had told someone about it regardless, because such a discussion should have been able to find any real flaws.

In this case though, there is only a small reward for people supporting the idea which is mostly psychological, and there would be a definite cost if the idea is wrong because people's social connections might suffer. So I wanted to be sure as possible that the idea would work.

[-] 2 points by Misaki (893) 10 years ago

As I said, there are lots of long blog posts but to quickly summarize, people were not sure if the total sum of effects would be positive for the majority of people they know. For example, if it fixed everything except war people might think it's still bad because the US would suffer more military casualties than current, and I even found a blog post by an economist saying that GDP needs to be high to prevent invasion by other countries — which might explain why that economist did not support the idea when I made comments about it.

Stupidity explains everything, as long as you accept that very smart people can still be stupid.

[-] 2 points by gnomunny (6819) from St Louis, MO 10 years ago

I imagine a lot of people might not be receptive to the idea because it does sound so counter-intuitive. Hard for them to wrap their heads around. And economists especially, because they've been brainwashed into accepting the economy they were taught in college.

Oh yeah, smart people can still be stupid. I know this very well, heheheh.

[-] 2 points by Misaki (893) 10 years ago

Ok, so what do you think would be necessary for people to share the idea? One way that people judge success is if someone already has support, but I'm not sure if that's the only reason people aren't saying anything.

[-] 1 points by gnomunny (6819) from St Louis, MO 10 years ago

That's a good question that I don't have a ready answer for. A lot of good ideas have come and gone on this forum, and I only hope that maybe some of them have clicked with people, and they've passed the word on to people outside this forum. And unfortunately, this forum has slowed down a LOT in the last few weeks. Hardly anyone participating much anymore, even people who were long-time regulars. I'm hoping it's only a temporary lull, though, and maybe by fall it will pick up again. Maybe summer, with kids out of school and such, is the reason for the slowdown, but I don't really know.

[-] 2 points by Misaki (893) 10 years ago

I think it might be possible that other events might be responsible for this. If it seems like the public doesn't react when people are 'bad', this is where a movement like OWS can come in by using what appears to be selfish rhetoric for a common group goal. But with people reacting to things like the NSA leak, it shows that people will talk about something which they appear to be important, and by implication not enough people think that economic issues are important despite that they cause people to be on welfare and people in the US agree that being on welfare is bad.

In other words OWS was trying to show that people are just a little bit dishonest and by revealing lies we can change things, but recent evidence is more of the "people are stupid" variety.

Maybe tomorrow will be different but right now a lot of people are talking about the Trayvon Martin discussion, and I guess I don't want to spam people with links to this thread. I feel the Trayvon Martin case is not as related to OWS's goals.

Basically I don't know if people who have kept caring about OWS would be happy if I acted like the movement was unimportant.~

[-] 1 points by gnomunny (6819) from St Louis, MO 10 years ago

Yeah, the Trayvon case has kept the forum distracted from the real OWS issues these last few days. Just like it did last year when it first became big news.

And as far as your last statement, I can't say. Personally, I welcome anyone to this site, the more the merrier. Especially if they're supportive and open-minded. And new ideas should always be accepted and discussed.

[-] 2 points by forourfutures (393) 10 years ago

Only if the solution has not been identified and accepted. After that, new ideas work for the elite.

[-] 2 points by Misaki (893) 10 years ago

Well... if I wanted people who cared exclusively about the Trayvon Martin case to support the idea (even if they would), there are many sites and communities where I could do that.

Honestly though when it comes to OWS's stated goals, it really isn't clear how I can convince people to support the idea. Ok fine I will state it more plainly: if jart told people to support the idea maybe they would, but if she doesn't I'm not sure if people will. Last year I already talked about things like how it's expected that Wall Street will be highly profitable even without breaking any laws; while these other things like war and child abuse are things that people within OWS have talked about, I am unsure if the majority of people who support OWS have some conception that the movement is not about those things.

[-] 2 points by gnomunny (6819) from St Louis, MO 10 years ago

I agree, OWS started out with some fairly straightforward goals; money out of politics, for one. Somewhere along the way, that got lost in the shuffle, I guess. It's still talked about, of course, but a lot of other issues have been thrown in the mix. Technically, this forum now is about the spread of information on a variety of subjects. That's what it's evolved (or devolved, depending on your point of view) into. It only has a tenuous connection to the real OWS now.

But I'm not even sure there's a "real" OWS at all any more. I've seen a number of affinity groups pop up, each with their own stated goals. Maybe this is just the way OWS is evolving. It's organic.

Anyway, I'm about to log off, but I'll be back on tomorrow night, so if you want to continue the conversation then, we can.

[-] 2 points by Misaki (893) 10 years ago

There was some praise for one of the "working groups" that had some recommendations and analysis on the financial reform legislation.

I just don't know why there wasn't a similar effort that included this idea. I think that working group was unusual in that it was mostly, or partly online..? I think a lot of people expected better results from the physical meetings.

[-] 2 points by JeffSoke (8) from Houston, TX 10 years ago

Rejoice everyone. The Ministry of Plenty has just announced your chocolate ration has just been increased from 30 grams to 20.

[-] 1 points by Misaki (893) 10 years ago


(The recent poll about most people getting their news from TV, while similar to one I found last year, is also from Catherine Rampell's twitter feed: http://www.gallup.com/poll/163412/americans-main-source-news.aspx)

From comments on the first article:

The bottom line is that in huge swaths of the business world, a part-time job is rarer than a unicorn. I would happily cut my hours and pay in half today, but it's not a possibility. As a working mother of two small children, I am incredibly frustrated by this and constantly struggle to decide between two bad options, working too much or working too little. (30 upvotes)


"What barriers — financial, cultural, psychological — do you think keep so many fathers from working the shorter hours they say they would ideally like to work?"

The same barriers that keep single people from working shorter hours - better pay, higher bonuses, promotions. And job security.

There's nothing I would like more than to go to my manager and tell him I'd like 4 more weeks of vacation per year, and I'd offer to take a lower salary to offset those weeks. Not only would I get laughed at, I'd get flagged as the guy who's not serious about his work or career advancement, as the person who's happy to stay at the position he's in indefinitely, and a prime candidate for release when the business isn't doing so well. (39 upvotes)

[-] 0 points by JeffSoke (8) from Houston, TX 10 years ago

I'm not sure what career advancement is all about. You get taken away from technical work and pushed to be a manager to deal with problem people and shuffle paper which really does nothing of import.

But I must disagree. There are many full time jobs being wiped out and replaced with part time work. That is a definite, and it's coming to the business world, especially the admin staff and the HR staff.



[-] 2 points by elf3 (4203) 10 years ago

http://occupywallst.org/forum/retail-teamsters-union/... this would surely draw media attention ...and raise wages

[-] 1 points by Misaki (893) 10 years ago

Unions don't create jobs much if at all. Just imagine if, instead of people forming unions, we just raised the minimum wage to $20/hour (it's $15/hour in Australia so that's not unreasonable).

Would this create jobs, because people can spend more money? Or would it just cause more jobs to go to China? (Or Bangladesh where many people make just $50 per month)

Unless people work less, unemployment will remain high as will things like crime and discrimination against minorities.

Or the best evidence, unions were strong during the period of stagflation in the US in the 1970's. High inflation and unemployment — because there was no accepted system for people, especially management and educated workers, to work less.

[-] 1 points by arturo (3169) from Shanghai, Shanghai 10 years ago

I think the key to earning more by working less is to raise the technological level of society.

Some think technology destroys jobs, but with the right kind of incentives, profits resulting from technological development would be used to create more jobs.

[-] 1 points by Misaki (893) 10 years ago

"Is the purpose of innovation to provide cheaper products or to increase profits?"

[-] 1 points by arturo (3169) from Shanghai, Shanghai 10 years ago

When innovation is properly managed, it can benefit all, increasing profits and wages, while reducing the cost of goods.

To make the point more clear, consider the difference between medieval and modern economies, then imagine how much better the economy could be five hundred years from now.

[-] 1 points by Misaki (893) 10 years ago

It's a difficult thing to imagine. Not only are fossil fuels being depleted, other resources like metals are also becoming harder to obtain.

I only skimmed a few articles on this site but it might be informative: http://ourfiniteworld.com/

[-] 1 points by arturo (3169) from Shanghai, Shanghai 10 years ago

Throughout the history of humanity, we've depleted one source of energy after another, only to go on to find a better one. A source that creates more energy per smaller amount of fuel used to create it.

It's not so much the physical location of the fuel, but development of the technologies to utilize the fuel. There is no reason we couldn't rapidly progress towards the use of nuclear fusion, for which there is an extreme abundance of fuel, seawater, but also which doesn't produce pollutants.

Similarly with metals, once we have fusion, we'll be able to separate previously unusable waste materials into their constituent elements, to be reused. Or, we could apply fusion technologies to common "dirt" to separate out the useful elements.

It's not that there are any less metals on earth, we've just been depleting the natural concentrations of them. With fusion power, we can easily recover more diffusely distributed minerals.

[-] 1 points by Misaki (893) 10 years ago

Other people likely know more about this than I do, but we have been aware of the potential for fusion reactors for decades yet have not developed commercially viable technology.

I have read that we should be able to recover uranium from seawater at reasonable prices when used in breeder reactors, but there might be some problems with this.

As I see it, we already have access to a huge fusion reactor, the sun, which takes a huge amount of mass to produce the pressure needed for fusion reactions. It's possible fusion reactors will never be commercially viable.

But anyway I did not conclude that this kind of thing would prevent the world from using the idea described in the first post.


Another way to think of it, we produce around 100W of power just from living. However, in the US the average energy consumption is around 10,000W. Even if you say that a lot of food produced is used inefficiently by feeding it to farm animals, the amount of energy obtained from agriculture is still less than 10% of the total amount used including fossil fuels (maybe 40% of which is from oil in the US) so we're not about to be able to run our cars on corn.

[-] 1 points by arturo (3169) from Shanghai, Shanghai 10 years ago

The question is, why haven't we developed fusion power? You seem to suggest that its because of inability, but I would say that its just because the super rich don't want to give more "power to the people".

The sun is a fusion reactor, but we only receive a diffuse fraction of its energy. By creating our own fusion reactions, we can harness a much greater proportion of energy.

[-] 0 points by timtim6 (0) 10 years ago

The question is, why haven't we developed fusion power?

We have, and we continue to improve it. Scientists work on it everyday. You can read the latest developments on this free online science journal devoted to nuclear fusion:


You seem to suggest that its because of inability, but I would say that its just because the super rich don't want to give more "power to the people".

Your conspiracy theory is baseless. We are able to generate power using nuclear fusion, but it's not yet as efficient as nuclear fission. You should base your claims on evidence, not assumptions you pull out of a magician's hat.

[-] 1 points by arturo (3169) from Shanghai, Shanghai 10 years ago

Way back in 1980...

The Fusion Advisory Panel of the House Science and Technology Subcommittee on Energy Research and Production concluded Dec. II that there are "no scientific or technical barriers" to the development of fusion energy by the 1990s.


It has long been known, though frequently lied about for strategic-policy reasons, that there are no scientific or technological barriers to the realization of fusion energy during the 1990s. This is the judgment of international authorities on the status of fusion research. In fact, in the United States, the country best situated to realize this goal, the only barrier is the deliberate withholding of funds adequate to the task. Efforts to destroy the program by the administration of James Earl Carter and his energy czar, James Schlesinger, were only offset by the political pressure built up in fusion's favor by the energy crisis, favorable expert-panel reports, and the actual scientific breakthroughs made by fusion researchers, sensational news of which could not be suppressed. Hence, although inadequate from the historic standpoint of fusion power's unlimited promise, funding for the program did gradually creep upward, even under Carter, as it had under preceding administrations.

But now, under an ostensibly pro-nuclear Reagan administration, for the first time in its 30-year history, the fusion prdgram in the United States is facing savage cut-backs. The administration requested $483 million for fiscal year 1985, a meager increase over FY84's $470 million, and no increase at all after inflation. But Congress has cut even that request to $437 million, which assures slow-downs and stretch-outs in the program. In 1986, the Tokamak Fusion Test Reactor at Princeton was to have begun using the fuel (tritium) required to produce more energy through fusion reactions than consumed in generating those fusion reactions, called "breakeven." But Congress's FY85 funding will make this impossible before 1988. And so on across the board.


[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 10 years ago

working fewer hour would distribute the workload on everyone

[-] 1 points by Misaki (893) 10 years ago

Hm one of the people I contacted in 2011 worked at Google, but it was a very generic response and they were probably receiving a lot of email from other people at the time so I wasn't surprised when they didn't do anything with the idea.

[-] 1 points by Misaki (893) 10 years ago

I don't really have a strategy other than bumping this thread so I can be confident whether OWS is going to support the idea. It would help the world for OWS to tell people about it and I honestly don't feel like trying to get any other group of people to support it.

I think this is about the events mentioned in an earlier comment — the high-profile attacks in the past year, and that's not even mentioning other ones which appear to be related but people probably haven't heard about. The reason I don't really see influential people I have mentioned as bad is that they have allowed people to think they are aware about the idea through their actions, which usually meant publishing or not deleting comments I made which mentioned the idea.

So I guess there's no conclusion except the one I made in a blog post: that the influential people who know about the idea would not have acted the same if they had known that these high-profile events would occur as a result of people not supporting the idea.

For most people, such as economists, this is because they weren't sure if the idea really would have a positive effect on the world. This is, yes, partly because of their training ­— economists assume people are "rational" and if there were such huge benefits to be had from such an easy-to-describe change, people would have already thought of it or would be supporting it. Yoko Ono thought that economists and the government in general was "evil" and that even if something like these high-profile events did occur, it would allow me to show that economists were "evil". This is why she did not support the first petition even though I said in it that there were no 'villains' in the explanation for the world's problems — in other words she did not trust me and thought I was a dishonest person (which I might be, but for which I believe there is no evidence).

[-] 1 points by Misaki (893) 10 years ago

Regarding media criticism, and things like the media talking about OWS in a bad way: if the message is inadequate, it really doesn't matter what the media says. If the message is correct (it would fix your problem while also fixing other problems so people don't have to agree that your problem is more important than theirs) then more media attention is almost always good. If reporters can't find a way to talk about something in a good way, that's their fault.

[-] 1 points by Misaki (893) 10 years ago

Just to take on two current issues, would people support as much spying by the NSA and similar agencies in other countries if there was no crime or terrorism? Of course not and not only would this prevent any possible abuse, it would also lower government spending.

If there were more jobs in the US, minorities would be able to find work despite discrimination (or choosing not to work because every job opening already gets hundreds of applicants) and people like Trayvon Martin, or the dozens killed each day in major cities, would not get shot due to misunderstandings.

Two other points. Most people (over 50%) still have TV as their primary news source, not the Internet. And many people of both genders would prefer to work less time. In a recent article on the topic, some people talked about how they would love to work half as much time and get paid half as much, but their boss won't let them or it would eliminate any chance of being promoted.

This might not even be the fault of, say, the CEO if shareholders won't accept a CEO who works part time and is paid less money because of their prejudices and assumptions that the entire nation benefits when people work long hours.

[-] 1 points by Misaki (893) 10 years ago

Was hesitant to talk about this. James Holmes (Aurora shooting), Adam Lanza (Sandy Hook shooting), Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev (Boston marathon bombing) all knew about this proposal. There are people, mostly or all girls of course, who 'support' James Holmes but honestly I assumed they were all stupid and it wouldn't help to contact them.

I did contact someone who supports Dzhokhar Tsarnaev; maybe due to miscommunication problems (like she thought I didn't want her to take risks) she didn't convince people to use the idea though. Then went on to say things like...


I also called the FBI incompetent for not telling people about the idea even though I spammed them with emails. As well as spammed and contacted many different people on Twitter who did not tell people.

It's not really relevant to OWS's goals though so I have left it out of the first post.

[-] 1 points by Misaki (893) 10 years ago

This is not going to be successful if people aren't willing to tell people they know about it, whether via social media or just email and word of mouth. So, are you willing to tell people about this? If not, please say why not and what changes would be needed before you would be willing.

[-] 1 points by Misaki (893) 10 years ago

I AM NOT GOING TO CREATE A PETITION if no one is going to sign it.

White House petition

  • Uses initials of name so people with unique names don't have to worry about being identified


  • Petition text can only be 800 characters
  • Requires creating an account

I actually even called Paul Krugman this morning and left a voice message or rather two due to not being precise in the first one, basically I have said that specific people were not going to convince people to use the idea and OWS is the only group that I have not said this about. (Had to check, I don't remember saying that OWS wouldn't support it at least and at least in two specific instances I didn't actually say this, only implied it.)

Someone in the "Free Jahar" movement did tell people about it but this attempt failed.

I previously saw a disparaging comment about the use of the White House petition site, someone said that they didn't trust the government or the President to help. Compare things like the petition to pardon Edward Snowden, currently with 130k signatures. People are willing to use it.