Truck-driving is a modern form of indentured slavery


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/06/21/pacific-9-transportation.html


#2

christ, what assholes.


#3

Truck drivers can make pretty decent money but i had no idea that there was this kind of really shady stuff going on to con some of them out of a living. I can’t see how anyone could justify such practices.


#4

Not too much different what we have in Brazil, where there’s a pandemic on drug abuse from the truck drivers (specially marijuana, cocaine and the so-called rebite, a cocktail made from guarana powder, a natural stimulant, and sometimes meth) because of the draconic contracts the cargo pushers force them to go under.


#5

To add to the horror, these jobs will go away once Capital (which views payroll as a regrettable expense) can replace human drivers who need coffee and food and sleep with self-driving delivery vehicles. And given our rapidly-shredding safety net, more people will become part of a permanent underclass. Increasingly, “disruption” seems like Rand-speak for “returning to feudalism.”

But just try talking about Universal Basic Income, even to people who’ve seen factory jobs replaced by robots…


#6

I’d like to point out that for this clause to be true, only slightly over one-half of U.S. workers would have to legally qualify for minimum wage or better and minimal workplace protections.

Without addressing the yawning gap between minimum wage and living wage, entire classes of U.S. workers fall in loopholes of minimum wage laws.


#7

America…

Fuck


#8

Notice all the suits.


#9

… so if the drivers pay for the truck, is there no court that will recognize that the drivers own the truck?


#10

I can’t add much to your comment about the addition of the holders of these once decent-paying (for HS diploma or less) positions to the growing “unneccesariat” except this infographic on the most common jobs in each state:

Given the money and motivation behind the development of self-driving vehicles, that map translates into “20%+ permanent unemployment rate 15-20 years from now.”


#11

Yeah, my thoughts exactly.


#12

Heartbreaking, isn’t it?


#13

What’s the problem? Looking at that list of grievances, I just see $AVING$ that can be passed on to consumers, making the truck drivers better off. Freedom!


#14

It’s part of the on-going destruction of the American middle class – truck driving used to be one of the few ways someone with a high school diploma or less could still make money good enough to carry a modest mortgage. The ownership class is so blindly greedy and focused on the short-term that they couldn’t even wait 15 years for automation to take its course and got the jump on things with the shoddy practises described in the USA Today articles.


#15

I think you’ve hit the nail on the head, there. Short-term thinking is a terrible way to make decisions with long-term consequences.

When I was an undergrad (back in the Mesozoic), I took a Non-Western Political Cultures course from a gentleman who’s parents had fled the Cultural Revolution in China. He was fond of saying that Americans think in years but the Chinese think in centuries. But consider the smog. After all, there’s no such thing as clean coal.

If Confucius can’t get us thinking about the future, and the far-right evangelicals are fine with trashing the place since Jesus will be back next Tuesday, where do we go from here? How do we get people to care about more than their team/side/tribe? That’s what keeps me up nights.


#16

Tell that to the graduate business schools. They churn out MBAs who think forward not in centuries or years but in the next one or two fiscal quarters.


#17

One of my first jobs was working as an AV tech at a decommissioned nuclear power station, and while there’s a lot to dislike about the industry, they necessarily have to think in longer timescales than other industries.
It appalled me when I finally got a job outside of the industry how short-term most business thinking is. Two years is considered a long time economically, when I’d been used to dealing with people who thought in chunks of 50 years.
I’m sure that’s changed since I worked there, but it left a mark on me.


#18

Hmph, late-stage capitalism is looking a lot like early-stage capitalism about now.


#19

The pay stagnation in this country is a real problem that can’t be addressed while the right is in power.


#20

That tracks with the decline in union strength over the past few decades. Next we’ll be seeing mounted-cops and ‘company security’ stampeding into union rallies and protests, busting heads for the oligarchs.