The financial crisis created a precariat army of RV-nomad seniors who serve as Amazon's seasonal workers


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2017/09/14/lemonade-from-others-lemons.html


#2

*throws draft of dystopian cyberpunk novel in trash.


#3

Came here to say the same thing. Who needs dystopian SF novels when we have Late Stage Capitalism?


#4

Torn between disgust and desire to reach the age (and life stage) where I can sell my house and be seasonal RV labor…

Edit: okay I started reading the Wired article. That shit is grim.


#5

Exactly!

Next chapter: precariat Amazon nomad seniors are viciously fighting each other for fuel for their beat up, falling apart RVs, a la Mad Max, when all fuel is being used to keep the Amazon servers cool and spinning.


#6

Torn between desire to own an RV and disgust that I can’t afford it!


#7
  • The walls featured murals of Amazon’s warehouse mascot, a bloblike orange character called Peccy, along with Orwellian slogans like “Problems Are Treasures” and “Variation Is the Enemy.” Wall-mounted dispensers labeled LIL’ MEDIC offered free pain relievers. A poster told workers to prepare to be sore. Everything was regimented. Handheld scanners tracked workers’ progress around the warehouse. Inside bathroom stalls, charts showing a palette of colors ranging from light yellow to terrifying puce instructed workers to examine their urine and drink more water.

:astonished:


#8

I now have intimate knowledge of the phrase “palpable disgust.”


#9

It’s a side note, but this jumped out at me as typical of the “downfall” preludes to dystopian stories:

He had invested his $250,000 nest egg in a fund that supposedly guaranteed him $4,000 a month to live on.

To get $48k in annual income from $250k principal you’d need to realise 19%/annum – guaranteed. In comparison, at his worst Bernie Madoff was guaranteeing 14%/annum. And this is a retiree, not a young person who can risk rolling the dice. His “fund manager” deserved more than the suggestion of a foot up his arse from Mr. Stout, he deserved to join Bernie in the clink.


#10

or put it in to Vancouver real estate, for a few years there was 18 -21 % growth.


#11

It may not be as bad as that – if it’s a shorter annuity, you could draw off a fair amount of that principal to cover $48K/year – it still needs a lot of returns if it’s going to be anything longer than about 5 years, though!


#12

One would think that walking 15km per day would actually be one of the benefits - although after I read the Mother Jones article where a reporter worked for one of those warehouses and even though she was very fit and tough she could not keep up with the demands (and constantly getting docked points for being slow). Or the fact that there was no ac and the owners had ambulances on standby for workers who collapsed.

I’m just reading Ed Luce - The Retreat of Western Liberalism on his take on this and the rise of populists like Trump and Brexit - ie. they are not just a bump, the last gasp of a dying white majority abetted by Putin.

here’s a youtube clip Ed Luce


#13

Holy crap!


#14

An RV is a visible symbol of late stage capitalism.


#15

15 miles - that’s 24 km.


#16

Apparently the largest growth in blue collar work is in security, which is increasingly required for the gated communities for the elites. People are quietly priced out of their homes and the reverse white flight where the rich move into the inner cities and the poor into slumburbia. Another indication of poverty is the increasingly longer commute to work.


#17

Oh, man, I could get on a rant about this. I know people. Personally know people who lost everything they saved in the financial crisis. They weren’t shy about sharing the reason they had to keep working: they couldn’t afford to retire. They’re the same people who sneer at young people and now say, “I have to keep working because young people are too lazy to work!” Aw, bullshit, you’re just pissed that your kids can’t afford to support you, and want to put the blame on them because putting the blame on the financial system would sound too much like the communism y’all were raised to fear.


#18

Strangely enough, for me, it would be a way to realize my longtime dream of making a documentary about US Highways.
Different kind of senior nomad living.

(And it wouldn’t look like an RV. The living space would be built into an ubiquitous white van.)


#19

It’s reckoned in the UK a couple needs a net worth at retirement of about £1 million to be “comfortable.” Allowing for US purchasing power, make that $1.25 million. My brother who lives in the US reckons very few Americans save enough for retirement. Actually, so do very few in this country. In our case, years of paring cheese got us there.
I’m now looking at neighbours in their 30s and 40s buying large cars and going on multiple holidays and obviously not saving.
The financial crisis merely tipped more people over the edge than would have been expected.


#20

I stand corrected. I have done 16km hikes and they are good work out, 24 would be even more (especially for seniors) but on the other hand I think of my grandfather who as a postman in central Europe in the 30s had to deliver to 6 surrounding villages (all on foot). When he did get a bicycle he paid for it himself. And yet, despite drinking and smoking he outlived all my other grandparents by a few years.