Tag Archives: psychological aspects

(1084) Lotto madness


Barely anyone at large in the industrial, consumer, automotive, real estate complex we call home has escaped the call of the lottery ticket.  Deep down, even the most sensible and realistic of us harbours a fantasy of something for nothing here.  We think of all the good things we could do for those we care about or all the crazy shit we could do for ourselves.  Either way, we frequently line up at that most suburban of settings, the gas station, and lay down several hours pay in our minimum wage job for a piece of paper that could change everything. Time to think a little more about the psycho-social effects of the lotteries, yeah?
EIther way, good luck and don’t forget to give us some.
Robin Hoodwinked:how billion dollar powerballs reflect 21st century inequality. State lotteries take from the poor to give to the rich, but we have options and there is a game-changing alternative
US basic income activist Scott Santens on medium.com

image: Mark Turnauckus via Flickr/CC

(1073) Fu&k work

end-of-work
Is work a forever thing?  Probably, in the sense it just means doing stuff to secure our existence, yes, you can bet on work.  Employment in a complex consumer-industrial society on the basis of some rationalized value system (like, oh, say the Protestant work ethic) that rewards individual merit and builds up community, well, that is turning out to be a whole other thing.
With deindustrialization, financialization, free trade agreements, and automation work may soon cease to exist at anything like the scale we in North America have come to know it.  In this piece from Aeon a US academic asks us to get ahead of events and economics and free ourselves from our cultural perceptions.  Tone and logic make this a really great piece.  Statistics are used to bolster the author’s arguments and the title is nicely provocative to boot!
Fuck work. Economists believe in full employment. Americans think that work builds character. But what if jobs aren’t working anymore?

(1068) Subdivided. City Building in an Age of Hyper-Diversity [Book review]

Subdivided. City Building In An Age of Hyper-Diversity
Jay Pitter & John Lorinc, editors
2016. Coach House Books, Toronto
279 pages. $20.95 CAN
This collection of essays was much tougher reading than we expected.  After nearly six years blogging about social difficulty in the suburbs we don’t expect to be unnerved by our topic.  Subdivided unnerved us.
The good old days of multiculturalism, in which eastern and southern Europeans (and maybe a few other groups), found Toronto adjusting to, and eventually welcoming, them are long gone.  In its place, we now see an ever bigger and richer Toronto home to newcomers in a living arrangement of hyper-diversity.  This infinitely more complex Toronto is by turns depressing, ugly, unjust and unequal despite recurrent commentary about its peacefulness, high socio-cultural potential and general awesomeness.
Subdivided delivers unto us many a less-than-comfortable truth.  There’s too many people here in isolated lives centred on a combination of shit jobs and lacklustre housing.  Reading Subdivided made us feel like Toronto’s diversity is the stuff of an Adam Curtis documentary, another nightmarish expression of the global economic machine and its operating system, neoliberalism.
Toughness of presentation is what makes this collection of essays so amazing, …so real.  It’s hard to think of any other such wellspring of direct, sustained observation of what it is really like to live here.  A chapter on Brampton, for example, brings forth a wave of nausea faster than a jar of expired mayonnaise.  ‘Browntown’ is next door to suburban-poverty.com’s backyard, we can attest to the truth of what is said about Brampton.  Same for another entry on Mississauga, which is literally our backyard.  You’d almost wonder why Canada bothers attracting new residents to its Sprawlvilles.  Except perhaps as a cynical ploy to increase domestic markets and the tax base and to fulfill some corporate/ideological role in the global economy.
What to do?  Good transit, a strong social safety net, higher wages, police reform, and affordable housing would help us toward a healthy, cross-connected society according to the essays in Subdivided.  None of these things will be achieved quickly or cheaply, though.
We better get busy before something really awful comes of the present lame and indifferent regime of city building in greater Toronto.  Stress is not good for the indivdual or the community.  Stress and reaction brought us Rob Ford, the scale model mock up of Donald Trump.  Who knows what the stresses of race and class we are leaving in place will inflict on us?  We aren’t Milwaukee yet but how much longer will we sleepwalk into this?
We suggest future editions of Subdivided include a stamped, pre-addressed thank you note readers can mail to the one percent.
Buy Subdivided for your unnerved community affairs shelf.

(1004) Grinding around the GTA

subway doors
Maybe having a not-so-great-job and travelling to it via public transit is something a lot of us are kinda destined to get stuck with.  Life isn’t always fair.  But that doesn’t mean we can’t do a fair bit better than what transit riders described to Torontoist recently.  The experience of being a second class citizen is acquired in layers and getting to work here is increasingly an encounter with such a layer.
How riding the TTC has affected my mental  health
torontoist.com
See also:
(974) Way too long for too little: complex & expensive trips to work [Study]

image: Andy Nystrom via Flickr/CC