Save the Multnomah Library Staff

The library should be hiring additional staff to redress the unemployment and uncertainty caused by the coronavirus! Here is a letter I sent to

Public investment often seems to be the elephant in the room. The state should intervene to remedy market failure and to help those under the wheel. Unfortunately, we are witnesses to the misanthropic effects of neoliberalism, privatization, and the denigrated state. The poor need a strong state.

In the 1960s, the economist John Kenneth Galbraith proclaimed “Education is the great transformer.”
As a freelance translator, I am always overwhelmed by the wonder of knowledge and intercultural learning. Around four months ago, a German psychology professor Rainer Mausfeld recommended an incredible website to me DeepL is a neural translation machine or robot that can help with 11 languages including German, Spanish, French, Polish, Danish, Russian, Portuguese, Chinese, and Japanese. I can accomplish more in one hour than in three or four weeks and can translate more in 17 hours than in a whole year! Now I have oceans of free time so I can focus on the myriad homemade problems of the self-healing market!

Reducing working hours is very sensible for 100 reasons. The coming generation can only have meaningful work if we reduce working hours in a three- or four day work week. With encouragement and humility, we could all be cloud workers, translators, editors, writers, poets, and aggregators.

The financial markets made themselves independent and have taken vital resources from the real economy. People do much of their work at home. The stressful part is that cities – like NYC – become ghost-towns.
Libraries should hire additional staff to mitigate the unemployment. Because of the coronavirus, supply chains break off and sixty-percent of businesses cannot come back. The state should represent the public interest, not special or private interests, and give substantial support to small- and medium-sized businesses. Otherwise, we face exploding inequality, economic power becoming political power, and unaccountable oligarchy. Whoever sleeps in democracy, wakes up in a dictatorship.

Unlike a chair, an idea can be shared by a whole people. The old gives way to the new as the snow gives way to the spring (Rilke). The swan that floats and doesn’t sink represents the intransitory in the transitory (Heidegger).

Be strong and be of good cheer in these dark depressing times. As Soren Kierkegaard understood, individuals are infinite and finite. Attitudes are the only disability. In the age of knowledge, stupidity is a choice.
I look forward to your email and our conversation.
Marc Batko
Portland OR

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