Guarding le Régime Moderne

Written by: 
Starchild

In 1798, Thomas Malthus predicted that population growth would lead to mass starvation. If things had continued as they did for thousands of years previously, he might have been right. Fortunately, the advent of the Industrial Revolution dramatically boosted productivity, and gains in productivity haven't let up since. In recent times, global productivity has increased by an estimated 1.8% per year between 1964 and 2014. With improvements in technology and know-how, a single worker today can typically produce what it would have taken dozens to produce a few hundred years ago in the same amount of time, resulting in much better standards of living for most people than were the norm in Malthus's era.

A worker in the United States today earns more in 10 minutes, in terms of buying power, than subsistence workers, such as the English mill workers that Fredrick Engels wrote about in 1844, earned in a 12-hour day. Or to put it another way, "each farmer (in the United States) in 2000 produced on average 12 times as much farm output per hour worked as a farmer did in 1950." In other words, to produce the same amount of output, less than 10% as many employees are needed in agriculture as was the case half a century ago. And that's only over the past 50 years. Go back 200 years or more, and the gains are even more dramatic. While agriculture, once the occupation of 90% of Americans, has particularly benefitted from technological changes that enhanced productivity, many other economic sectors have seen similar increases.

So how have gains in productivity affected government operations – law enforcement, for instance? How much more crime do today's police departments prevent, with how many fewer officers, compared to their pre-Industrial counterparts?

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The Luddites Are Back Again

Written by: 
Aubrey Freedman

What would you say if someone figured out a way to reduce congestion by taking vans off the roads, reduce pollution, increase convenience, and reduce costs while helping the elderly and disabled by delivering groceries and meals to their doors?  Maybe a gesture of gratitude or a pat on the back for making life better for more people?  No, here in San Francisco in the heart of the tech capital of the world, not only is such technology not being welcomed with open arms—one member of the Board of Supervisors has proposed a total ban on robot deliveries.  According to Supervisor Norman Yee, “Our streets and our sidewalks are made for people, not robots.  This is consistent with how we operate in the city, where we don’t allow bikes or skateboards on sidewalks.”  On the positive side, San Fr

Exclusive Extortion

Written by: 
Aubrey Freedman

Did you read about AB 119, signed into law by Governor Brown on June 27? Probably not, even though California voters clearly voiced their preference for transparency when they overwhelmingly approved Prop 54 last year, which was supposed to give the public a 72-hour notice before a bill became law. AB 119 was one of those goodies that legislators throw in at the 11th hour of final budget approval that the public hears little about.

Non-Existent Neo-Nazi Threat Was An Overtime Bonanza

Written by: 
Starchild

What a boon the recent, fizzled, right-wing protests in San Francisco turned out to be in providing municipal authorities with a ready-made excuse to waste a bunch of taxpayer money paying overtime wages to government employees – "The fascists made us do it!"

SFIST reports that the excessive police response to the non-event cost the SFPD (read: the taxpayers) $775,000, with 98% of that expense going toward overtime pay for police officers.

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