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Reading List | From the Archive: Readings for a Pandemic
"Here at Places, in the Bay Area, we are sheltering in place, and adjusting to changed rhythms and new anxieties as we communicate via Skype or Zoom, check the news obsessively, and find new forms of social solidarity in the time of social distancing.

We have turned to our archive to consider how the coronavirus crisis is affecting the ways in which we think about the social and material infrastructures that shape our lives. And as we read, we have also been prompted to think ahead, to when we are on the other side of the crisis, and to the many ways in which our built and natural environments might be better equipped not only to confront a global pandemic but also to improve our ordinary daily lives.

In this reading list, we have collected some of the articles that we have been re-reading and that have become newly resonant, on topics like public health, maintenance, housing, care, and community."
coronavirus  covid-19  infrastructure  pandemics  readinglists  additivism  2020  place  maintenance  housing  care  community  publichealth  healthcare 
3 days ago by robertogreco
This Is Not the Apocalypse You Were Looking For | WIRED
"Pop culture has been inundated with catastrophe porn for decades. None of it has prepared us for our new reality."
lauriepenny  covid-19  coronavirus  apocalypse  dystopia  2020  culture  care  caring  capitalism  catastrophe  pandemics  socialdemocracy  society  catastrophism 
3 days ago by robertogreco
Take Care | Malcolm Harris
"The American viral advantage is a result of the country’s economic relation to care. For decades it has been the position of America’s political and intellectual leadership that any public provision of care is counterproductive because it acts as a disincentive to wage labor. If you get free healthcare, you’re less likely to hustle for a new gig when you’re unemployed. If you’re eligible for adequate cash welfare, you’re more likely to quit your awful job. If you have guaranteed public housing, you don’t need to fear for shelter in the event you’re laid off. We saw this line pathetically at work when venerable conservative economists came out to warn politicians not to pass any COVID-19 recovery bill that might discourage work, at a time when much of the American workforce was prevented from working. Commentators across the spectrum chuckled at Reagan-era economist Art Laffer and co. and their single-tool box: Why would we want to encourage people to find jobs at a time when employers had none to offer? When they were already involuntarily laying off workers? It’s absurd.

The Laffer line makes no sense when we think of employment as a binary state (employed or unemployed), but employment isn’t a binary state. “Work incentives” also help govern the conditions under which workers are willing to sell their labor. At the margin that looks like employment + or -, but the balance of incentives also determines workplace safety, labor intensity, and wages.
The conservative economists aren’t saying that if the state gives everyone three thousand dollars we’ll all sit at home and eat bonbons, they’re saying that we won’t be willing to work under these conditions, at these prices. This should make sense to anyone familiar with how things are going at low-wage workplaces deemed essential by authorities. Employers are refusing to slow throughput regardless of crowding hazards, withholding personal protective equipment, and continuing to pay poorly despite acknowledging that workers are essential to the continued functioning of our society.

Laffer’s warning isn’t about a rise in unemployment, it’s about a grocery-worker strike. If the government were willing to offer American workers a level of unconditional support that allowed them to be sure they could care for themselves and their families for the next few months, capital would be forced to negotiate a whole new labor bargain, with a gun to its head. The powers that be can’t afford that.

If there’s one thing most Marxists know about the Black Death it’s that it raised wages. The pestilence that ravaged Europe’s population also significantly reduced its labor supply, which forced urban employers to increase pay and rural lords to lower rents. It is a textbook example in economics of supply and demand. The goal of a strong relief program is obviously the opposite (i.e. to keep people alive), but the impact for employers is theoretically similar to mass worker death: a reduced supply of labor, not in the absolute in this case, but relative to current prevailing conditions and wages. So why can’t capital just suck it up and pay some raises? They’ve successfully repressed wage growth for decades, couldn’t they take a small loss now, under these exceptional circumstances? I don’t think so."

...

"“How many of the poor and sick must die?” is always one of capitalism’s calculations, but even to pose the question, “How many of the rich and powerful must die?” takes some work. That means thinking it, repeating it, writing it on walls. It means implicit threats, rent strikes, and the destruction of Amazon and Google’s neighborhood surveillance systems. It means sabotage, theft, leaking, doxing. Socially distanced group demonstrations are more trouble than they’re worth, and you can’t canvas door to door in a pandemic. But those aren’t the only tools we have, and the systems are exceptionally fragile right now. It’s time to put them on the defensive.
“I really don’t care,” a member of the Trump regime once told us, followed with, “Do U?” We know they don’t care, not just because they’ve told and shown us very clearly, but because they can’t. In this moment of crisis, the whole American house of cards would come crashing down if the state offered the smallest measure of real care without checking a tax return first. But we do care, we care a lot. We care all day, every day. Some of us have already died of it, and more will tomorrow.
We care; let that help define us, and them. And let us take care of us. And then let us take care of them."
malcolmharris  covid-19  coronavirus  care  caring  work  us  labor  culture  society  artlaffer  ronaldreagan  reaganism  economics  capitalism  latecapitalism  2020  productivity  capital  inequality  gigemployment  unemplyment  landlords  rent  metthewdemond  housing  scottsusin  poverty  motivation  power  crisis  children  childcare  quarantine  obamacare  affordablecareact  statecare  coercion  markets  carelessness  johnberger  measurement  amazon  google  surveillance 
3 days ago by robertogreco
Get Well Soon!
What we’re watching happen with COVID-19 is what happens when care insists on itself, when the care of others becomes mandatory, when it takes up space and money and labor and energy. See how hard it is to do? // The comments posted on gofundme.com's medical fundraisers form a revealing archive. These messages express care, well wishes, sympathy and generosity in the face of personal adversity and systemic failure. This is an archive of mutual aid in response to a ruthless for-profit health system.

It is an archive that should not exist."
covid  care  labor  insurance  archives 
3 days ago by shannon_mattern
Secure settings | Care Quality Commission
We work with HM Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP) and other inspectorates to protect and promote the interests and rights of people who use health and social care services in secure settings.
toscrape  data  prisons  cqc  care 
3 days ago by paulbradshaw
Pirate Care, a Syllabus
We live in a world where captains get arrested for saving people’s lives on the sea; where a person downloading scientific articles faces 35 years in jail; where people risk charges for bringing contraceptives to those who otherwise couldn’t get them. Folks are getting in trouble for giving food to the poor, medicine to the sick, water to the thirsty, shelter to the homeless. And yet our heroines care and disobey. They are pirates.
care  syllabus  police  surveillance  politics 
4 days ago by edsu
Avoiding Coronavirus may be a luxury some workers can’t afford – New York Times
A sick day? Remote work? Not so easy if your job is at a restaurant, a day
care  center  or  a  construction  site. 
5 days ago by terry

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