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Started by dsanchez, February 23, 2020, 23:47:08
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QuoteAustralia's deregulated, fluid economy creates the perfect conditions for the virus to thriveMicrobes are brilliant at exploiting human economic structures. And our 21st century economy provides opportunities for them to resist even concerted attempts at elimination.As Victoria is discovering, and the rest of us may yet discover, COVID-19 is perfectly habituated to a 21st century economy centred around services delivered by outsourced, precarious workforces.Daniel Andrews, whatever his faults, at least recognises the role of insecure work in driving people to continue going to work even if they're feeling ill, enabling the transmission of the virus. And many of those jobs are in service industries, which exposes more people to potential infection.The acceleration in infection is thus a US-style outcome to a US-style feature of our economy -- that despite Medicare, and a better industrial relations system, workers are still faced with an invidious choice of working while ill or losing income.The current $1500 payment for casual workers if they become infected is little help for people deciding to lose a few days' shifts for the good of the community.It's not a choice many people on higher incomes face. And the government is giving federal politicians time off work rather than requiring them to attend parliament, without any loss of income. High-profile journalists, enjoying incomes multiples of those of people in insecure work, scold lower-income people for their irresponsibility.But many are doing exactly what our economy requires them to do. Australia was once the land -- so we told ourselves -- of worker self-indulgence, a national that honoured the great tradition of chucking a sickie, of putting the feet up rather than doing the hard yakka (funnily enough, that was also when our labour productivity was significantly higher than now, but anyway).Since the 1990s -- when the level of casualisation in the workforce dramatically increased, though it has stayed relatively level since then -- that's changed fundamentally.The rapidly expanding personal service economy enabled by the internet has accelerated that in recent years, creating terms like "gig economy" and "side hustle" to describe what has replaced full-time, secure work. And the war in penalty rates conducted by business and the Coalition has only increased pressure on the incomes of people in casual work.And these are jobs that the worried well of the middle class -- including well-paid journalists -- expect as part of the modern economy. The barista to make a coffee whenever you want; the driver to deliver your food and transport you across town at your command; the petsitter to look after your animals; the cleaner you need at home because you and your partner are too busy. All jobs where if you miss a shift, you don't get paid.That's a related but quite separate matter to the growth of labour hire and outsourcing, by both governments and the private sector, of what used to be specialist roles but now appears to be pretty much anything, including security guards.Labour hire, a sector rife with exploitation and wage theft, offers not merely a lower-cost form of labour than bothering to employ someone, but it also outsources responsibility for any problems....For millennia, viruses and bacteria have cleverly adapted to and thrived in human structures -- the settled communities that followed agriculture, the towns and cities that created employment, economies of scale and innovation, the networks that connected them together.Human economic activity provides the infrastructure for infection, and our latest innovations of outsourcing, insecure work and leaving housing to the marketplace have provided a perfect environment for COVID-19 to resist our attempts to eradicate it. It's a viral world; we just deregulate in it.
QuoteTreasurer Josh Frydenberg has identified the first cab off the policy rank in the government's quest to reverse a "free fall" in business investment: industrial relations reform, aimed at "injecting greater flexibility into the labour market"."Our view is that those flexibilities that apply to the employer, and give them the ability to change duties, to change hours and to change the location of staff, should continue, not just for those firms that meet the reapplied eligibility test, but should apply to those firms on JobKeeper right now," he said.In case you needed reminding, the vast majority of this second wave comes down to "flexible" (see deregulated) work -- casuals who worked while ill because they didn't have access to sick pay, untrained security guards hired over WhatsApp, and now, underqualified and inadequately trained staff without access to proper PPE at aged care homes.
Quote from: undefinedNews from the cultural sector has not been hope-inspiring as of late -- mass layoffs and furloughs continue to plague US institutions, with reopening dates in some states increasingly uncertain as the virus continues to spread. The latest survey to measure COVID-19's impact on the industry, conducted by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), does not augur well for museums: a third of them -- a total of 12,000 organizations -- may never reopen.
Quote from: SueC on August 02, 2020, 02:22:04So, we've been living with COVID-19 in our societies for about half a year...
Quote from: Ulrich on August 03, 2020, 09:54:35In my humble opinion, they shouldn't have allowed travelling so soon. In theory, you're supposed to go into quarantine when coming home from abroad and/or be tested, but no-one really controls if this gets done at all.
QuoteThen politicians talk about the rules, which should be followed, but at the same time there's a huge demonstration in Berlin against those rules (and most of them didn't wear masks, didn't keep distance).
QuoteI don't know... if there should be a "2nd wave", restrictions should be regionally - we can't afford to put the whole of Germany in "lockdown" again.