523 Matching Annotations
  1. Last 7 days
  2. Jan 2022
    1. https://www.noemamag.com/the-other-invisible-hand/?utm_source=indieweb&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=indieweb

      Raw capitalism mimics the logic of cancer within our body politic.


      Folks who have been reading David Wengrow and David Graeber's The Dawn of Everything are sure to appreciate the sentiment here which pulls in the ideas of biology and evolution to expand on their account and makes it a much more big history sort of thesis.

    2. Much popularization work remains to put newer evolutionary lessons on par with pop-science selfish-gene logic. But billions of years of harsh testing have taught all living systems to suppress certain sorts of disruptive selfishness. Economists should reflect long and hard on why the systems they study would be any exception.

      Kate Raworth's Donut Economics thesis is a step in the direction of reframing economics towards cooperation and creating a self-sustaining world.

    3. As Wilson quips, “an unregulated organism is a dead organism.”

      We definitely need aphorisms like this embedded into our political and economic spheres.

    4. Speaking of such lessons, Wilson and John Gowdy write, “the invisible hand metaphor can be justified … for humans in addition to nonhuman species, [only] when certain conditions are met.”

      Which conditions? How broad are they?

    5. Unfortunately, the ideas most economists use have been too influenced by “methodological individualism,” rather than the more scientifically supported view of us as a super-social, super-cooperative, intensely interdependent species. Often, this economics-style individualism is of the Thomas Hobbes variety, which paints humans in “a state of nature,” waging a “war of all against all.”

      This statement in the framing of biology is quite similar to the framing in anthropology and archaeology that David Graeber and David Wengrow provide in The Dawn of Everything.

      Perhaps we should be saying (especially from a political perspective): Cooperation is King!

    6. Unregulated parts can kill their wholes. 

      This is true in so many domains and not just biology.

    7. And protecting life-supporting cooperation requires suppressing certain kinds of selfishness. Biologists, unlike many economists, grasp when the “greed is good” ethos gets deadly.

      At what scale might such cooperative efforts fail?

      Look at the scale of the bitcoin bros using crypto and bitcoin as a completely selfish endeavor. Has this reached a scale for social failure? (Separate from the end date at which the bitcoin/crypto system completely fails and collapses?)

    8. Both involve “invisible hand” magic — intricate, unplanned, “self-organizing” systems.
  3. Dec 2021
    1. Dreams or vision quests: among Iroquoian-speaking peoplesin the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries it was consideredextremely important literally to realize one’s dreams. ManyEuropean observers marvelled at how Indians would be willingto travel for days to bring back some object, trophy, crystal oreven an animal like a dog that they had dreamed of acquiring.Anyone who dreamed about a neighbour or relative’spossession (a kettle, ornament, mask and so on) couldnormally demand it; as a result, such objects would oftengradually travel some way from town to town. On the GreatPlains, decisions to travel long distances in search of rare orexotic items could form part of vision quests.34
      1. On ‘dream economies’ among the Iroquois see Graeber 2001: 145–9. David Graeber. 2001. Toward an Anthropological Theory of Value: The False Coin of Our Own Dreams. New York: Palgrave.

      These dreams and vision quests sound suspiciously familiar to Australian indigenous peoples' "dreaming" and could be incredibly similar to much larger and longer songlines in North American cultures.

    2. The founding text of twentieth-century ethnography, BronisławMalinowski’s 1922 Argonauts of the Western Pacific, describes howin the ‘kula chain’ of the Massim Islands off Papua New Guinea, menwould undertake daring expeditions across dangerous seas inoutrigger canoes, just in order to exchange precious heirloom arm-shells and necklaces for each other (each of the most importantones has its own name, and history of former owners) – only to holdit briefly, then pass it on again to a different expedition from anotherisland. Heirloom treasures circle the island chain eternally, crossing

      hundreds of miles of ocean, arm-shells and necklaces in opposite directions. To an outsider, it seems senseless. To the men of the Massim it was the ultimate adventure, and nothing could be more important than to spread one’s name, in this fashion, to places one had never seen.

      Not to negate the underlying mechanism discussed here, but there's also a high likelihood that this "trade" was in information attached to these objects being used as mnemonic devices.

      Read further into the anthropology of these items, their names and histories.

    3. Already tens of thousands of years ago, one can find evidence ofobjects – very often precious stones, shells or other items ofadornment – being moved around over enormous distances. Oftenthese were just the sort of objects that anthropologists would laterfind being used as ‘primitive currencies’ all over the world.

      Is it also possible that these items may have served the purpose of mnemonic devices as a means of transporting (otherwise invisible) information from one area or culture to another?

      Can we build evidence for this from the archaeological record?

      Relate this to the idea of expanding the traditional "land, labor, capital" theory of economics to include "information" as a basic building block

    4. It’s almost asif we feel some need to come up with mathematical formulaejustifying the expression, already popular in the days of Rousseau,that in such societies ‘everyone was equal, because they were allequally poor.’

      Link this to

      A thousand years ago, the world was flat, economically speaking. —Chapter 1 of Economy, Society, and Public Policy https://hyp.is/-XJOwkOjEeqNeL-phEONOg/www.core-econ.org/espp/book/text/01.html

      I don't think we have to go back even this far. If I recall correctly, even 150 years ago the vast majority of the world's population were subsistence farmers. It's only been since the 20th century and the increasing spread of the industrial revolution that the situation has changed:

      Even England remained primarily an agrarian country like all tributary societies for the previous 4,000 years, with ca. 50 percent of its population employed in agriculture as late as 1759. —David Christian, Maps of Time (pp 401) quoting from Crafts, British Economic Growth, pp. 13–14. (See also Fig 13.1 Global Industrial Potential from the same, for a graphical indicator.

    1. We live in a society whose psychic structure is formulated on the premise of survival of the fittest and you’re either in or you’re out. If you’re in, you must play the game of kill or be killed. One-upmanship and a perpetual ladder-climbing exercise is your lot.

      Quite a pithy remark. Even though some may say it's far too reductionist, I would say reductionism remains the truest mirror of our selves. We're nothing but monkeys, except that we don't throw shit at each other, we throw nukes.

    1. In order to truly have checks and balances, we should not have the same people setting the agendas of big tech, research, government and the non-profit sector. We need alternatives. We need governments around the world to invest in communities building technology that genuinely benefits them, rather than pursuing an agenda that is set by big tech or the military. Contrary to big tech executives’ cold-war style rhetoric about an arms race, what truly stifles innovation is the current arrangement where a few people build harmful technology and others constantly work to prevent harm, unable to find the time, space or resources to implement their own vision of the future.

      She's talking about monopolies here. How can we break the monopolies of big tech?

      Here again is an example of the extreme power of granting corporations the ability to be protected as "people".

    1. oh by the way did i tell you it's hard like probably it's it's also really hard but i really don't want to stop here on a on a low note

      This is a great video on the reality of open source software. Open source hardware also faces similar funding issues.

      As long as open source is fundamentally dependent on the private sector, it will exist within at best a parasitic relationship. To truly develop an autonomous open source model requires a structural change in funding that allows it to stand alone and apart from corporate sponsorship.

      This is a classic chicken-and-egg situation. We want people to sponsor us, but many of those people also work for the private sector. Governments and NGOs may sponsor us, but they also depend on private sector for tax and donation revenues.

      This requires a much deeper discussion that unpacks the fundamental assumptions that underpin our economic, social and political systems. The structural challenges of funding open source exposes the constraints of our current system.

      Unless we examine the fundamental assumptions by which our current civilization operates, we cannot make the structural changes that would enable open source to reach its full potential, which is maximum access to shared intellectual and material resources for the benefit of all.

  4. Nov 2021
    1. They say that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, and I can only imagine the conversation between Eve and Skywoman: “Sister, you got the short end of the stick . . .”

      It's a bit funny and ironic to think that the communal/peaceful Skywoman would use such a Western-centric phrase like "short end of the stick", which as I understand it has an economic underpinning of a receipt by which the debtor and the lender used marked sticks that were broken apart with one somewhat shorter than the other. When put back together the marks on the stick matched each other, but the debtor got the shorter end. (Reference: Behavioral Economics When Psychology and Economics Collide by Scott A. Huettel; what was his source?)

      Compare with etymologies expanded upon here:

      The Long Story of The Short End of the Stick by Charles Clay Doyle. American Speech, Vol. 69, No. 1 (Spring, 1994), pp. 96-101 (6 pages), Duke University Press. https://doi.org/10.2307/455954

      Which doesn't include the economic reference at all.

    1. But how does the author know if we can actually provide in all these basic human needs within planetary boundaries and have this wiggle room left?Maybe the stuff needed for the Social Foundation already causes overshoot and the inner circle should actually be outside the outer circle?

      This is the million dollar question and requires a lot of science to calculate it.

    1. Both of the companies are providing podcasters with options to put their audio content behind a paywall and in effect giving them the ability to build up a recurring revenue stream.

      As much as I like the idea of putting your content out for free, I get that people need to make money if this is the business model. Schools and universities are probably under less pressure to do make a profit but still need to cover basic costs.

    1. Once it becomes clear that attention and praise can be garnered from organizing an attack on someone’s reputation, plenty of people discover that they have an interest in doing so.

      This is a whole new sort of "attention economy".

      This genre of problem is also one of the most common defenses given by the accused as sort of "boogeyman" meant to silence accusers. How could we better balance the ills against each of the sides in these cases to mitigate the broader harms in both directions?

    1. For low-carbon practices to grow and displace high-carbon ones, integrated action across disparate spaces and coordination between many different actors are necessary (161). For example, mobility scholars (166) highlight the extent of reconfiguration required to disassociate academia from high-carbon travel, including altered institutional cultures, funding practices, and student recruitment to support virtual ways of working. Although novel low-carbon practices may emerge, policy must ensure these stabilize and become prevalent, as well as impeding the circulation of high-carbon practices.

      A new social imaginary of cosmolocality, where we spend most of our time locally, but use information technology as the prime method for nonlocal communication. In other words, replacing transportation with lower footprint communications.

      https://wiki.p2pfoundation.net/Cosmo-Localism https://wiki.p2pfoundation.net/Cosmo-Localization https://medium.com/@joseramos_30450/the-cosmo-local-reader-invitation-to-participate-dbcb6248f54b

      In the field of production and provisioning systems, cosmolocal production implies designing and sharing designs globally, and downloading the appropriate ones for local clean production, thereby minimizing global supply chains.

      Graduated relocalization that begins to replace auto transportation with pedestrian and bike traffic can result in huge decarbonization impacts. This relocalization movement is also an economic reconfiguration, echoing what community economist Michael Shuman refers to as the movement from Wall Street to Main Street - decentralizing centralizing organizations when feasible, and creating more community wealth while decarbonizing unnecessarily long supply chains.

      https://michaelhshuman.com/store/

    2. Many high-carbon activities are also highly routinized. From a psychological perspective, this bears the hallmarks of habitual behavior, in that environmentally significant actions are often stable, persistent, and an automatic response to particular contexts (159), e.g., commuting by car repeatedly over many months or years. Theories of social practice offer a contrasting account in which routines coevolve with infrastructures, competencies, conventions, and expectations (160). For example, developments in urban infrastructure, everyday routines, and the shifting social significance of private transport have culminated in the car becoming a dominant mode of mobility (161). Elsewhere, coordinated developments across spheres of production and consumption have led to the freezer becoming regarded as a domestic necessity (162), and changing patterns of domestic labor and shifts toward sedentary recreation have contributed to the rise in indoor temperature control (163). Although such assemblages shift over time, policy and action intended to reduce emissions have been ineffective in coordinating changes throughout these social and material configurations. As a consequence, routinized, commonplace, and largely unconscious behaviors remain mostly unaffected, with many high-carbon activities even growing and expanding (e.g., frequent flying).

      New stories and narratives, in other words, new social imaginaries of viable low carbon life styles can help bring about a shift. By adopting the viable story, it primes individuals to seek technology elements that are designed to fit that new social imaginary.

      As mentioned above, community economists Michael Shuman demonstrates how relocalizing can create new patterns of behavior consistent with a desirable future.

      The Swiss 2000 Watt society is another example of such a new social imaginary https://www.2000-watt-society.org/what as is Doughnut Economics https://doughnuteconomics.org/

      We must engage film-makers, artists, playwrights to create stories of such alternative futures of living within planetary boundaries, doughnut economics and eco-civilizations.

    3. As the emerging field of energy humanities (168) is beginning to show, the traditions, cultures, and beliefs of contemporary, industrial societies are deeply entangled with fossil fuels in what have been called petrocultures and carbonscapes (169). Future visions are dominated by such constrained social imaginaries (170), and hence rarely offer a “radical departure from the past” (171, p. 138).

      Constructing social imaginaries that are alternatives to the petrocutultural, carbonscape ones is critical to shift the mindset.

      Carbon pollution cannot be disentangled from colonialism and social imaginaries must consist of stories that tell alternative futures narratives that address both simultaneously.

      Replace petroculture with ecoculture, doughnut economics, living within planetary boundaries and eco-civilization

  5. Oct 2021
    1. There will be three billion gamers by next year, according to a Newzoo study. And as Loftus puts it: “People are going to need to wear something.”

      THIS is it - web 3 is making consumers mutiplicitous - opens marketts WITHIN games, subworlds that can be exploited / marketed to / fashion trends will sweep games, online subcultures (maybe) - people have markeable personas on and off the web, new context for targeted advertising / commerce.

      Will cannabalize physical economies?

      Accessorize for a zoom meeting - digital suits, etc digital costumes. Something to wear at digital concerts, in games; your Perona will not be birthed into the metaverse clothed, accessorized...

      Assets will be portable across platforms.

    1. only

      Compared to what? We have NO IDEA what the standard of living is there, only that inflation is very bad.

    1. Note also: this incentive is in fact far more hard-headed than any metric of hedonic economism—such as GDP, which is measuring the amount of desire satisfied by the productive sector. At best GDP is a revenue metric. A prudent manager will manage an enterprise to maximize capital and profit, not revenue.

      Also agreed; measures how much, not how well

    1. Would conscripted workers produce as strong an economy as those who could act of their own free will?

      A fascinating economic question.

      What happens if we extend from one or two countries against each other to multiple countries? What happens when we expand this to the entire world?

      As Charles Eliot says in the end:

      A precious lesson of the war will be this: Toward every kind of national efficiency discipline is good, and cooperation is good; but for the highest efficiency both should be consented to in liberty.

  6. bafybeiery76ov25qa7hpadaiziuwhebaefhpxzzx6t6rchn7b37krzgroi.ipfs.dweb.link bafybeiery76ov25qa7hpadaiziuwhebaefhpxzzx6t6rchn7b37krzgroi.ipfs.dweb.link
    1. For example, developments in urban infrastructure, everyday routines, and the shifting social sig-nificance of private transport have culminated in the car becoming a dominant mode of mobil-ity (161). Elsewhere, coordinated developments across spheres of production and consumptionhave led to the freezer becoming regarded as a domestic necessity (162), and changing patternsof domestic labor and shifts toward sedentary recreation have contributed to the rise in indoortemperature control (163).

      New stories and narratives, in other world, new social imaginaries of viable low carbon life styles can help bring about a shift. By adopting the viable story, it primes individuals to seek technology elements that are designed to fit that new social imaginary.

      The Swiss 2000 Watt society is an example of such a new social imaginary https://www.2000-watt-society.org/what as is Doughnut Economics https://doughnuteconomics.org/

    1. This article fails to recognize the societal benefits of free education. Since the US is all about the individual, this isn't surprising. However, the facts - as evidenced by countries where education is essentially free - is that it increases the societal level of education, which improves so many things, not the least of which is more informed and rational voting.

    1. Interview with Erik Adigard about our collaboration on the eleprocon epiphany since its inception back in 1979 and thoughts since then. Sitting outside the original Dolphin Farm Studio where genesis ignited.

      Each day, there seem to be so many epiphanies. That shift in awareness feels overwhelming. I’m not sure what to do with these realizations, as the next right thing is often uncertain and ambiguous. Charles Eisenstein is drawing me into an exploration of sacred economics.

    1. On Saturday, October 9, after our World Weavers conversation on the topic Matter is Derivative of Consciousness, I was exploring Value Village, a thrift store in Chilliwack, with my wife, Jayne. I came across a book that fits with the theme for our World Weavers conversation on October 23: Shifting from an attention economy to an intention economy.

      Sacred Economics

      By Charles Eisenstein

      Sacred money, then, will be a medium of giving, a means to imbue the global economy with the spirit of the gift that governed tribal and village cultures, and still does today wherever people do things for each other outside the money economy.

      Sacred Economics describes this future and also maps out a practical way to get there. Long ago I grew tired of reading books that criticized some aspect of our society without offering a positive alternative. Then I grew tired of books that offered a positive alternative that seemed impossible to reach: “We must reduce carbon emissions by 90 percent.” Then I grew tired of books that offered a plausible means of reaching it but did not describe what I personally, could do to create it. Sacred Economics operates on all four levels: it offers a fundamental analysis of what has gone wrong with money; it describes a more beautiful world based on a different kind of money and economy; it explains the collective actions necessary to create that world and the means by which these actions come about; and it explores the personal dimensions of the world-transformation, the change in identity and being that I call “living in the gift.”

      (Page XIX)

    1. Pew Study on the American Dream, social mobility between the lowest levels of American society and the middle class is increasingly difficult, if not impossible.
    1. As Morgan says, masters, “initially at least, perceived slaves in much the sameway they had always perceived servants . . . shiftless, irresponsible, unfaithful,ungrateful, dishonest. . . .”

      Interestingly, this is still all-too-often how business owners, entrepreneurs, and corporations view their own workers.

    1. The real conspiracies are hiding in plain sight.

      The big difference between the paranoiac's conspiracy theories and the real ones is that in the fake ones the conspirators are "in it together" and form a like-minded group. In reality, the billionaires would be very happy to through each other under the bus if they could.

      So it's not so much that there are real conspiracies as there are a known set of methods and tools - known to everyone, everywhere - that allow this gross power imbalance to be created. These methods and tools are known to all but can only be used by the rich because they are themselves very costly.

    1. people normally tend to focus on the unrealistic nature of perfect information and perfect rationality. But the unrealistic assumption that is hidden in the list that strikes me as even more misleading is individual choice: the idea that each agent is separately making their own decisions, no agent has a positive or negative stake in another agent's outcomes, and there are no "side games"; the only thing that sees each agent's decisions is the black box that we call "the mechanism".
    1. Rachel Quednau is the program director for Strong Towns, an urban planning think tank focused on incremental development. She writes that Spirit Halloween's business model is based on utilizing otherwise unusable retail space. "Today's Spirit is pretty much a bottom-feeder business that works only at the expense of other stores," Quednau writes. "If there weren't vacant storefronts, this business wouldn't exist."

      This is awfully inflamatory. Why exactly is this company a bottom-feeder? How does it work at others' expense? It's utilizing an underutilized resource and providing some income to landlords that they otherwise wouldn't have.

      That I can see there's nothing bad or predatory about what they're doing. If they didn't have physical space, they would (and probably are) sell directly online or pay larger rents in other spaces.

      Thousands of pumpkin patches and Christmas tree lots follow the same pattern for ages.

    1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MM5_VlMKG8

      Bitcoin, currencies, and fragility by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

      The most stable currencies are those that are most heavily traded between each other and for actual goods and services.

      Some of Bitcoins' problem may be that it is so narrowly traded that it is far too volatile to encourage others to use it.

    1. The big difference between the political right, centre ground and left in economic terms comes down to how they think markets work. They are either true believers, naive optimists or non-believers. That’s all you really need to remember.
  7. Sep 2021
    1. Frank Wilhot's: "Conservatism consists of exactly one proposition, to wit: There must be in-groups whom the law protects but does not bind, alongside out-groups whom the law binds but does not protect." https://crookedtimber.org/2018/03/21/liberals-against-progressives/
    2. Steven Brust's (quoted in my novel Walkaway): "Ask what's more important, human rights or property rights. If they say 'property rights ARE human rights' they're on the right." https://craphound.com/category/walkaway/
    3. We don't need the threat of repo men to keep you paying your car note – miss a Tesla payment and your car will phone home and lock its doors. When the tow arrives, it will flash its lights, honk its horn and back out of its parking space for repossession.

      The technology in advanced cars like the Tesla can be used for repossessing them. Is this an intended or unintended consequence?

    4. Technology changes the nature of both of these collapses. Take guard labor: mass surveillance and technological controls make it cheaper than at any time in history to isolate and neutralize political threats to elite rule. How much cheaper? Well, in 1989, the Stasi employed one in sixty East Germans to spy on the whole nation. Today, the NSA spies on the whole world, at a spy:subject ratio that's more like 1:10,000 – two orders of magnitude more efficient than the spies of a generation ago. That's a huge productivity gain, and it's all thanks to digital technology.

      Cory Doctorow estimates that mass surveillance technology has enabled an efficiency of two orders of magnitude between the East German Stasi (1:60) and the American NSA (1:10,000) which provides a huge productivity gain for guard labor to enable massive wealth inequality.

    5. He reminds us that the original meaning of "free market" was "a market free from rents," where unproductive creditors were not allowed to lay a private tax on productive manufacturers. https://locusmag.com/2021/03/cory-doctorow-free-markets/

      The original meaning of free market was a "market free from rents," in which unproductive credtors are not allowed to place a private tax on productive manufacturers. (ie, it's harder to be a leech on the productive sector.)

    6. Impose sufficient austerity and brutality on a society and the cost of defending it exceeds the wealth its productive sector manages to produce, and boom – French Revolution, the World Wars, etc.

      Must the cost of defense exceed the productive sector or simply come near enough it by a percentage?

    7. He reiterates his thesis that inequality self-corrects, thanks to the instability it engenders. Left on their own, market economies collapse, torn apart by the bill for guards to defend lenders' fortunes, the bill for interest payments that enrich lenders.

      Thomas Piketty indicates that inequality self-corrects when market economies collapse, an inevitable function of the inability to guard against lenders' fortunes when the inequality becomes too great.

    8. This fundamental truth (expressed in economic notation as r > g, or "return on capital is greater than economic growth") means that "meritocracy" is a lie: the richest people in a market economy aren't the people who do the best work, it's the people who started off rich.

      Thomas Piketty's r > g shows that meritocracy is a lie in that the richest people aren't the ones that do the best or most productive work, but simply those who start of rich.

    9. Piketty concludes that no matter how fast an economy is growing – no matter how productive its makers are – that wealth grows faster, making the takers who financed growth even richer than the people whose work is propelling the economy.
    10. Without some way to escape debt's gravity, all productive labor becomes oriented toward debt-service, and the economy grinds to a halt.

      Michael Hudson's thesis, apparently with nods to Babylonian history of the jubilee, is that without a way to escape the burden of debt, all productive labor becomes captured by servicing debt and causes economies to grind to a halt.

    11. Hudson, meanwhile, is the debt-historian and economist whose haunting phrase "Debts that can't be paid, won't be paid," is a perfect and irrefutable summation of the inevitable downfall of any system that relies on household debt to drive consumption.

      With this description, I want to read Michael Hudson's work.

    12. Piketty, of course, is the bestselling French economist whose 2013 Capital in the 21st Century was an unlikely, 700+ page viral hit, describing with rare lucidity the macroeconomics that drive capitalism towards cruel and destabilizing inequality https://memex.craphound.com/2014/06/24/thomas-pikettys-capital-in-the-21st-century/

      Great summary of Piketty's book.

    1. Is the fact that these exist a function of how quiet and unknown these can be within a small subset of select society? Because the're not more common or commonly known, the average person isn't aware (not helped by the complexity of the details) on a daily basis and thus they can continue on helped by politicians in power who can be lobbied (or otherwise captured).

    2. <small><cite class='h-cite via'> <span class='p-author h-card'>Cory Doctorow</span> in Pluralistic: 29 Sep 2021 – Pluralistic: Daily links from Cory Doctorow (<time class='dt-published'>09/30/2021 09:17:09</time>)</cite></small>

      The latest installment of Propublica's essential IRS Papers reporting shows how the richest Americans abuse a bizarre loophole to avoid ANY tax on indescribably vast estates:

      https://www.propublica.org/article/more-than-half-of-americas-100-richest-people-exploit-special-trusts-to-avoid-estate-taxes

    1. Africanslavery lacked two elements that made American slavery the most cruel formof slavery in history: the frenzy for limitless profit that comes from capitalisticagriculture; the reduction of the slave to less than human status by the use ofracial hatred, with that relentless clarity based on color, where white wasmaster, black was slave.

      While we've generally moved beyond chattel slavery, I'm struck by the phrase frenzy for limitless profit that comes from capitalistic agriculture. Though we don't have slavery, is American culture all-too captured by the idea of frenzied capitalism to the tune that the average American (the 99%) is a serf in their own country? Are we still blinded by our need for (over-)consumption?

      Are we recommitting the sins of the past perhaps in milder forms because of a blindness to an earlier original sin of capitalism?

      Do we need to better vitiate against raw capitalism with more regulation to provide a healthier mixed economy?

    1. mill dam, attending a Baptist association and a public hanging.56 This general irregularity must be placed within the irregular cycle of the working week (and indeed of the working year) which provoked so much lament from moralists and mercantilists in the seventeenth and eighteenth centu

      The irregularity of the work day of the common people in the 17th and 18th centuries ran counter to the desires of both moralists and mercantilists.

      What might this tension tell us about both power structures both then and today?

      While specialization since that time has increased the value of goods we produce, does it help in the value of our lives and happiness?

    2. e task. Attention to time in labour depends in large degree upon the need for the synchronization of labour. But in so far as manufacturing industry remained c

      We attend to time in large measure as a need to be able to synchronize our work.

    3. the timepiece was the poor man's bank, an investment of savings: it could, in bad times, be sold or put in hock.51 "This 'ere ticker", said one Cockney compositor in the I820S, "cost me but a five-pun note ven I bort it fust, and I've popped it more than twenty times, and had more than forty poun' on it altogether. It's a garjian haingel to a fellar, is a good votch, ven you're hard up".52 Whenever any group of workers passed into a phase of improving liv

      Early example of a watching being a store of value and credit.

    4. ry. The debate provoked by the attempt to impose a tax on all clocks and watches in 1797-8 offers a little evidence. It was perhaps the most unpopular and it was certainly the most unsuccessful of all of Pitt's assessed taxes: I

      William Pitt (the younger) assessed a tax on clocks and watches from July 1797 to March 1798 and it didn't go well. One would suspect it was the case that those who purchased them were the richer upper-classes (as argued above in the piece) who had the power and wealth to vitiate against such taxation.

      Presumably if the masses were the target, the tax may have stayed.

      This sort of power seems to ensconce racist policies.

    5. paid urban artisan. Recorded time (one suspects) belonged in the mid-century still to the gentry, the masters, the farmers and the tradesmen; and perhaps the intricacy of design, and the preference for precious metal, were in deliberate accentuation of their symbolism of status

      Recall that we measure what we find important. This fashion of timekeeping was a tool for wielding power over others to acquire wealth.

    6. y. Already, in 1796, the trade was complaining at the competition of French and Swiss watches; the complaints continue to grow in the early years of the nineteenth century. The Clockmakers' Company alleged in 1813 that the smuggling of cheap gold watches has assumed major proportions, and that these were sold by jewellers, haberdashers, milliners, dressmakers, French toy-shops, perfumers, etc., "almost entirely for the use of the upper classes of society".

      I wonder at the history of counterfeit goods. At what point in a market does it typically begin to happen? Is there some level of profit margin which kicks in due to lack of competition? What are the effects of brand within the space of fashion?

    7. Why look ye, Rogues! D'ye think that this will do ? Your Neighbours thresh as much again as you

      Eternal struggle of competition here. The workers (and the poet) admonish that one compares themselves against their neighbors (competitors) than simply themselves.

      The fix for this is for the leadership/bosses to participate themselves to see if the yield isn't as good as it might otherwise be. So much could be fixed if the "boss" is involved in the actual work or physically on site at least some of the time to experience what is going on. Participation counts.

    8. nt. Time is now currency: it is not passed but spe

      Time is now currency: it is not passed but spent.

      Some of this essay shows the change in conceptualization of time and its use. Identifying it as currency certainly happened over time.

      What else might we equate with time besides money? Happiness instead? Measure it in leisure instead of solely by capitalism?

    9. e Nandi an

      Among the Nandi an occupational definition of time evolved covering not only each hour but half hours of the day.

      This reminds me of hearing attorneys journaling their day down to 7 1/2 minute increments for billing their clients.

      But based on science and with computers, we're now able to discriminate things down to the time it takes atoms to vibrate and we can date and timestamp things in our worklives to the nth degree. Even this post will have a timestamp on it down to the thousandth of a second.

    1. Those who are attuned to such cues can use them to make more-informed decisions. A study led by a team of economists and neuroscientists in Britain, for instance, reported that financial traders who were better at detecting their heartbeats — a standard test of what is known as interoception, or the ability to perceive internal signals — made more profitable investments and lasted longer in that notoriously volatile profession.

      Improved interoception may be a usefu skill for functioning in the world.

      How might one improve this ability? Can it be trained?

    1. But despite this understanding, and the gains made more generally in promoting workplace diversity, prejudices keep the employment prospects for neurodiverse individuals shockingly low. The cost is personal — denying individuals the chance to do meaningful work — as well as social, sending individuals to the dole queue. It also means workplaces are failing to benefit from highly valuable employees, and missing the opportunity to become better organisations in the process.

      I posted this article in the class Slack for a couple of reasons. First, this particular argument reminds me of Benjamin, which we're currently reading, and how she shows that the problem of underexposure wasn't taken seriously until it interfered with capital. But, second, I also used it to point out that despite that, it's important to remember that we sometimes have to make arguments for specific audiences--i.e., that it isn't necessarily that Daley only cares about workplace productivity, or even that she prioritizes it, but that she's writing for an audience that does prioritize workplace productivity over basic humanity. So, the rhetorical situation may call for making such an argument rather than appealing to humanity, morality, or equity.

    1. What happens to this graph when we overlay pure capitalism instead of a mixed economy? What if this spectrum was put on a different axis altogether? What does the current climate of the United states look like when graphed out on it. Which parts have diminished over the past 50 years with the decrease in regulation?

      four quadrant diagram of market goods, club goods, common goods, and public goods graphed along the axes of excludability and rivalry

      Some of these areas benefit heavily by government intervention and regulation.

      We need the ability to better protect both common and public goods.

      definitions:

      • rivalry: does use by one person physically preclude use by others?
      • excludability: do laws prohibit access to these goods?
  8. Aug 2021
    1. Externally, control of POLIS will enable the gaming community to influence decision making of the Star Atlas development team. This will follow a period of centralization of decision making, likely 2-3 years of game development and balance. At the conclusion of the centralized period, holders will be able to influence game economics (i.e. inflation rates), asset release schedules, game direction, and will otherwise provide some degree of ownership in development decision making.

      Real world role of POLIS

    2. Holders of POLIS will be in a unique position of jurisdictional ownership over entire regions, regardless of who owns title (NFT) to the land and equipment rights. These players will be able to restrict some of the activity that can occur while under their oversight, impose taxes on other players, charge tolls, and otherwise create a separate set of laws with which other players must observe. However, POLIS represents voting rights, not dictatorial ownership. In this regard, it will likely require multiple players to collaborate on these rules, fines, fees, tolls, etc., lest they be superseded by a more powerful group of players. Decentralized Autonomous Corporations would do well to take advantage of this tool.

      In-game role of POLIS

    3. POLIS is a multifunctional governance token, with applications both in-game and in directing real world economic policy.

      POLIS - the governance token

    4. ATLAS will serve as the native in-game currency within Star Atlas. It is the lubricant of the metaverse. Players will initially leverage ATLAS to acquire digital assets such as ships, crew, components, land, and equipment. However, as in any real economy, a financial system is necessary to facilitate commerce. Whether it be through NPC merchants, or direct peer-to-peer transactions, ATLAS is the unit of account to execute operational requirements. Operating a business is challenging. Managing resources will require critical strategic decision making. Players seeking the monetary rewards available in-game will need to carefully balance their operating expenses against income derived. Operating expenses, such as personnel for mining equipment, fuel for ships, and repairs for damages will all need to be paid in ATLAS. It will also serve as the predominant currency within the NFT marketplace.

      ATLAS - the in-game currency

    5. Unlike most games in existence today, Star Atlas provides a unique opportunity for players to extract in-game virtual earnings into real-world income. Where many game developers opt to monopolize asset ownership and distribution through restrictions on reselling, Star Atlas fully embraces the potential of decentralized self-sovereign ownership of assets permitted through the implementation of blockchain into asset ownership and NFT marketplaces. The ethos of the Star Atlas development team is to encourage the monetization of time spent in this virtual world, and emphasize the ability for this monetization to transcend the metaverse to the real world. Digital assets owned always belong to the holder, and crypto assets earned can be converted into fiat currencies friction-free. We believe this is the model for the future of gaming.

      Star Atlas' Economics.

    1. Often wars are caused by one country's wish to take control of another country's wealth. Whatever the other reasons for a war may be, there is almost always an economic motive underlying most conflicts, even if the stated aim of the war is presented to the public as something more noble.

      Economic gain is the ever present underlying motive for wars.

    1. The classical meaning of this word was strongly linked to economic contexts. It was often used to denote ‘that whichis weighed together, kept together, saved’. C.T. Lewis and C. Short, A Latin Dictionary(Oxford: Oxford University Press,1999). For Enlightenment English speakers, the Oxford English Dictionary’s (OED’s) 2a definition for compendium,which takes its early modern usage in neo-Latinate culture into account, is: ‘An abridgement or condensation of a largerwork or treatise, giving the sense and substance, within smaller compass.’

      Notice the tying in of things kept together in an economic context. How does this relate to the commonplacing of ideas (or even the gathering of flowers with florilegia)?

    1. I like the differentiation that Jared has made here on his homepage with categories for "fast" and "slow".

      It's reminiscent of the system 1 (fast) and system2 (slow) ideas behind Kahneman and Tversky's work in behavioral economics. (See Thinking, Fast and Slow)

      It's also interesting in light of this tweet which came up recently:

      I very much miss the back and forth with blog posts responding to blog posts, a slow moving argument where we had time to think.

      — Rachel Andrew (@rachelandrew) August 22, 2017
      <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

      Because the Tweet was shared out of context several years later, someone (accidentally?) replied to it as if it were contemporaneous. When called out for not watching the date of the post, their reply was "you do slow web your way…" #

      This gets one thinking. Perhaps it would help more people's contextual thinking if more sites specifically labeled their posts as fast and slow (or gave a 1-10 rating?). Sometimes the length of a response is an indicator of the thought put into it, thought not always as there's also the oft-quoted aphorism: "If I Had More Time, I Would Have Written a Shorter Letter".

      The ease of use of the UI on Twitter seems to broadly make it a platform for "fast" posting which can often cause ruffled feathers, sour feelings, anger, and poor communication.

      What if there were posting UIs (or micropub clients) that would hold onto your responses for a few hours, days, or even a week and then remind you about them after that time had past to see if they were still worth posting? This is a feature based on Abraham Lincoln's idea of a "hot letter" or angry letter, which he advised people to write often, but never send.

      Where is the social media service for hot posts that save all your vituperation, but don't show them to anyone? Or which maybe posts them anonymously?

      The opposite of some of this are the partially baked or even fully thought out posts that one hears about anecdotally, but which the authors say they felt weren't finish and thus didn't publish them. Wouldn't it be better to hit publish on these than those nasty quick replies? How can we create UI for this?

      I saw a sitcom a few years ago where a girl admonished her friend (an oblivious boy) for liking really old Instagram posts of a girl he was interested in. She said that deep-liking old photos was an obvious and overt sign of flirting.

      If this is the case then there's obviously a social standard of sorts for this, so why not hold your tongue in the meanwhile, and come up with something more thought out to send your digital love to someone instead of providing a (knee-)jerk reaction?

      Of course now I can't help but think of the annotations I've been making in my copy of Lucretius' On the Nature of Things. Do you suppose that Lucretius knows I'm in love?

    1. Second, how is everyone going to get paid? Without a profit motive for middleware providers, the magic will not happen, or it will not happen at large enough scale. Something about business models—or, at a minimum, the distribution of ads and ad revenue—will have to change. That leaves the two thorny issues I do know a fair amount about: curation costs and user privacy.
    2. Fukuyama's work, which draws on both competition analysis and an assessment of threats to democracy, joins a growing body of proposals that also includes Mike Masnick's "protocols not platforms," Cory Doctorow's "adversarial interoperability," my own "Magic APIs," and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey's "algorithmic choice."

      Nice overview of work in the space for fixing monopoly in social media space the at the moment. I hadn't heard about Fukuyama or Daphne Keller's versions before.

      I'm not sure I think Dorsey's is actually a thing. I suspect it is actually vaporware from the word go.

      IndieWeb has been working slowly at the problem as well.

  9. Jul 2021
    1. Law, medicine, academia, media—the most desirable professions—have all contracted. The result is a large population of overeducated, underemployed young people living in metropolitan areas.

      This is definitely a problem and a bigger one since the 2008 recession.

    2. The conclusion was obvious: The system was rigged for insiders. The economic recovery took years; the recovery of trust never came.

      Economic recovery for the masses took ages while the economic recovery for the wealthier was nearly instantanous.

      What is the relationship to the recession with the rise of the Tea Party?

      Will the pandemic recession do better since there seems to be more focus on the lower classes than the upper? The upper classes (and certainly the billionaires) apparently did incredibly well.

    3. As an Army officer in Iraq wrote in 2007, “A private who loses a rifle suffers far greater consequences than a general who loses a war.”

      This seems a solid microcosm of the idea of of privatizing profits and socializing the losses.

      It also fits at the corporate level where a CEO who makes a horrible decision can wreck a company, but the low level blue collar worker or even low level white collar worker who steals hand tools or office supplies faces much larger consequences.

      It's much harder to and more complicated to hold power to account, but we're obviously failing miserably at it in American society. How might we incrementally improve this situation. We desperately need it.

    4. Finally, Real America has a strong nationalist character. Its attitude toward the rest of the world is isolationist, hostile to humanitarianism and international engagement, but ready to respond aggressively to any incursion against national interests.

      Humanitarianism and international engagement are definitely important, but their value is often made invisible to "Real America" or "middle America".

      How can this value be made more apparent? How could we account for it to make it easier to see?

      The issue is compounded when large corporations receive massive bailouts as it's an additional cost weighing down the system. Would humanitarianism and international engagement be easier to uphold if we left off corporate costs? Do most of the value of humanitarianism and international engagement redound to corporations as an additional value primarily to them rather than everyday people? Is their perceived problem that they're another method of privatizing profits to major corporations and elites and socializing the losses to the average person?

    5. If your goal is to slow climate change, or reverse inequality, or stop racism, or rebuild democracy, you will need the national solidarity that comes from patriotism.

      This is a strong statement.

      Are there other levers? What might they be?

      If it is the only lever, has the split in America made things too difficult to allow patriotism to come back? Especially in a more global marketplace where countries now are more inter-reliant?

    6. But Smart Americans are uneasy with patriotism. It’s an unpleasant relic of a more primitive time, like cigarette smoke or dog racing. It stirs emotions that can have ugly consequences. The winners in Smart America—connected by airplane, internet, and investments to the rest of the globe—have lost the capacity and the need for a national identity, which is why they can’t grasp its importance for others. Their passionate loyalty, the one that gives them a particular identity, goes to their family. The rest is diversity and efficiency, heirloom tomatoes and self-driving cars. They don’t see the point of patriotism.

      These ideas of patriotism apply generally to me. Perhaps some of it is the result of extreme nationalism at the end of the 1800s which broadly caused the two World Wars of the 1900s.The new rise of populism also doesn't make nationalism a valuable thing.

      Also tied into this change is the rise of globalism and the global marketplace which devalued some of the "made in America" sort of nationalism of the 1970s and 1980s.

      How much of my thesis about the massive shifts of consumption and production related to globalism fits into this sort of nationalism? When might the playing field equilibrate? Equilibration is going to rely on not having a World War III which may only serve to break things further apart?

      Similar to Abraham Lincoln forcing America to stick together to make it what it was, what will future leaders have to do/sacrifice to hold the world together until the economics of the first, second, and third worlds equilibrate?

    7. So these two classes, rising professionals and sinking workers, which a couple of generations ago were close in income and not so far apart in mores, no longer believe they belong to the same country. But they can’t escape each other, and their coexistence breeds condescension, resentment, and shame.

      This rings true to me. How can we reverse this tide?

    8. What professionals actually do to earn the large incomes that pay for their nice things is a mystery. All those hours spent sitting at a computer screen—do they contribute something to society, to the family of an electrician or a home health aide (whose contributions are obvious)?

      A solid question.

      Perhaps less mysterious when gauged against the extreme financialization of our economy since the 1970's.

      Are these people primarily propping up our classist structures to the lack of all else?

      What could be done to re-regulate things back into some semblance of balance?

      How much of the financialization is strip mining the lower classes or even middle classes of their earnings and retirements in progressively more vicious economic downturns that get bailed out by the populace?

      Would allowing companies that are "too large to fail" help right the system and push more wealth back down to the lower classes?

    9. In our case, a system intended to expand equality has become an enforcer of inequality. Americans are now meritocrats by birth. We know this, but because it violates our fundamental beliefs, we go to a lot of trouble not to know it.

      Class stratification helps to create not only racist policies but policies that enforce the economic stratification and prevent upward (or downward) mobility.

      I believe downward mobility is much simpler for Black Americans (find reference to OTM podcast about Obama to back this up).

      How can we create social valves (similar to those in the circulatory system of our legs) that help to push people up and maintain them at certain levels without disadvantaging those who are still at the bottom and who may neither want to move up nor have the ability?

    10. The winners in Smart America have withdrawn from national life. They spend inordinate amounts of time working (even in bed), researching their children’s schools and planning their activities, shopping for the right kind of food, learning to make sushi or play the mandolin, staying in shape, and following the news. None of this brings them in contact with fellow citizens outside their way of life. School, once the most universal and influential of our democratic institutions, now walls them off. The working class is terra incognita.

      This statement generally rings true to me. The collapse of cultural and local institutions (Lions Club, Elks Club, etc.) hasn't helped to bring different classes together.

      Some of this has been fueled by social media as well.

      Smart America can also afford more expensive tickets, so even mixing classes at baseball games is less frequent on an economic scale as well.

    11. In April 2000, Clinton hosted a celebration called the White House Conference on the New Economy. Earnest purpose mingled with self-congratulation; virtue and success high-fived—the distinctive atmosphere of Smart America. At one point Clinton informed the participants that Congress was about to pass a bill to establish permanent trade relations with China, which would make both countries more prosperous and China more free. “I believe the computer and the internet give us a chance to move more people out of poverty more quickly than at any time in all of human history,” he exulted.

      This is a solid example of the sort of rose colored glasses too many had for technology in the early 2000s.

      Was this instance just before the tech bubble collapsed too?

      What was the state of surveillance capitalism at this point?

    12. The narrative of Free America shaped the parameters of acceptable thinking for Smart America. Free trade, deregulation, economic concentration, and balanced budgets became the policy of the Democratic Party.

      The deregulation part has hurt us immensely. Cross reference this with the thesis found in American Amnesia by Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson.

      Which parts of the Democratic party went along with this? Evidence? More of the deregulation parts seemed to be identified with the Republican party.

    1. For much of Americanhistory, people were educated in a wide range of (often highlyeccentric) settings. !is was generally perceived as a problem, andefforts at standardization kicked in, reaching their peak in the1960s. Since then we have seen increasing fragmentation, withordinary public schools, charter schools, magnet schools, variouskinds of private schools, homeschooling, unschooling—but all ofthese work on the same platforms;

      Interesting to note the time period of this peak, which broadly coincides with Brown vs. Board of Education and desegregation in the 1970s. Did the fluorescence of these others begin as a means of better segregating students either racially or economically?

    1. For consumers seeking the best price per ounce, the most value is normally in our larger boxes of cereal," says Kelsey Roemhildt, a General Mills spokesperson. "This change also allows more efficient truck loading leading to fewer trucks on the road and fewer gallons of fuel used, which is important in both reducing global emissions as well as offsetting increased costs associated with inflation." General Mills' reframing of its shrinkflation seems to be pretty typical of Corporate America. Companies often sell downsizing as a way to help the environment, offer consumers more choice, or improve the quality of their products. When a spokesperson for Charmin, for example, was confronted by reporters at WBUR about shrinking the size of their toilet sheet squares, she suggested it was the result of "innovations" that allow consumers to, basically, wipe their butts more efficiently.

      So in addition to sketchy economic and psy-ops practices, they're also engaging in greenwashing as well.

    2. Downsizing and shrinkflation mean the same thing Dworsky is a former Massachusetts assistant attorney general and longtime consumer advocate. He has spent decades tracking instances of companies shrinking products on his website Mouseprint. He refers to it by its original name, downsizing, but economist Pippa Malmgren rechristened it "shrinkflation" about a decade ago, and the term stuck. Downsizing and shrinkflation both refer to the same thing: companies reducing the size or quantity of their products while charging the same price or even more.

      The idea of shrinkflation and the fact that it works indicates that the majority of consumers are not rational actors that classical economics would indicate or they would be much more aware of these changes in pricing.

      Another example of this sort are the domed bottoms of jars/bottles which remove product while keeping the same packaging, which further hides the bait-and-switch operation.

    1. The 2016 presidential race had signaled as much. Donald Trump carried 2,584 counties across the country, but calculations by scholars at the Brookings Institution showed that the 472 counties Hillary Clinton carried accounted for nearly two-thirds of U.S. economic output.

      Hillary Clinton: 472 counties = 64% US GDP

      Donald Trump: 2584 counties = 36% US GDP

      Source

    2. districts won by Democrats account for 61 percent of America's gross domestic product, districts won by Republicans 38 percent.
    3. Residents of districts won by Democrats generate 22% more output per worker, and have a 15% higher median household income.
    4. In Democratic districts, 35 percent of residents have college degrees, compared to 28 percent in Republican districts.
    5. Employees are less likely to work in manufacturing (7.2 percent in blue districts, 11 percent in red districts) and more likely to work in digital services (2.5 percent compared to 1.1 percent).
    6. Blue districts have attracted the expanding segments of the U.S. population and workforce; half their residents are non-white. Red districts are 27 percent non-white.
    1. ‘Don’t get fooled by those mangled teeth she sports on camera!’ says the ABC News host introducing the woman who plays Pennsatucky. ‘Taryn Manning is one beautiful and talented actress.’ This suggestion that bad teeth and talent, in particular, are mutually exclusive betrays our broad, unexamined bigotry toward those long known, tellingly, as ‘white trash.’ It’s become less acceptable in recent decades to make racist or sexist statements, but blatant classism generally goes unchecked. See the hugely successful blog People of Walmart that, through submitted photographs, viciously ridicules people who look like contemporary US poverty: the elastic waistbands and jutting stomachs of diabetic obesity, the wheelchairs and oxygen tanks of gout and emphysema. Upper-class supremacy is nothing new. A hundred years ago, the US Eugenics Records Office not only targeted racial minorities but ‘sought to demonstrate scientifically that large numbers of rural poor whites were genetic defectives,’ as the sociologist Matt Wray explains in his book Not Quite White: White Trash and the Boundaries of Whiteness (2006). The historian and civil rights activist W E B du Bois, an African American, wrote in his autobiography Dusk of Dawn (1940) that, growing up in Massachusetts in the 1870s, ‘the racial angle was more clearly defined against the Irish than against me. It was a matter of income and ancestry more than colour.’ Martin Luther King, Jr made similar observations and was organising a poor-people’s march on Washington at the time of his murder in 1968.

      examples of upper-class supremacy

      This seems an interesting sociological issue. What is the root cause? Is it the economic sense of "keeping up with the Jonses"? Is it a zero-sum game? really?

    1. Libraries in these scenarios are no longer custodians for the ages of anything, whether tangible or intangible, but rather poolers of funding to pay for fleeting access to knowledge elsewhere.

      A major archiving issue in the digital era is that libraries are no longer the long term storage repositories they have otherwise been for the past two thousand years.

      What effects will this have on the future? Particularly once the financial interests of the owning companies no longer exists?

  10. Jun 2021
    1. We should favor ways of organizing our social and economic life so things that are socially productive are more nearly equally rewarded. And we should pick ways of making things, ways of delivering services, ways of running schooling that don’t skew achievement so far at the very top. … We could organize finance so that the middle of the skill distribution, the old home loan officer, is the dominant worker. We could organize medicine in such a way that the difference between the specialist doctor, the nurse practitioner, and the pharmacist is relatively small and most health care is delivered by people in the middle of the skill distribution. ... The core thing to do is to find policies both in education and the labor market that recompress the distribution of economic roles.

      This sounds like a positive move, but will require a lot of government regulation/oversight.

      Placing caps on runaway capitalism and meritocracy could be required to keep us from killing ourselves.

    2. Markovits wants to move us away from a polarized meritocracy — one characterized by a massive skill-and-reward gap between elite workers and other workers — to a compressed meritocracy defined by broad, shared prosperity between mid-skilled workers.

      Think about this and the ultimate consequences. Polarized verses compressed meritocracy sounds intriguing, but could also be the wrong framing or working at the wrong issue.

    3. You have to be right that the best society is one where people get ahead by being good at things that are worth doing.

      Quote from Daniel Markovitz

      This does raise the point of whether or not some of the things elites are doing is actually good or productive for society. Many are only working at privatizing profits and socializing losses which can be phenomenally caustic to society as well.

    4. Diminishing social mobility excludes the middle class from the hope of achieving the American Dream.

      Do we actually need social mobility?

      Social mobility and the goods it can purchase can be a useful social motivation.

      However, social mobility for the poorest amoungst us would be good, but how much additional marginal good does society derive from continued social mobility of the middle and upper classes continuing to gain wealth and moving up?

      Perhaps there's a myth of social mobility confounding the issue with the myth of meritocracy as well.

      Certainly the idea of raw capitalism without caps is at play as well. Could providing better governmental oversight of this be a helpful factor for society? (At least American society at the moment? As international competition may drive other broader problems vis-a-vis other pieces of global domination...)

    5. Meritocratic inequality works like this: First, elite workers acquire super-skilled jobs, displacing middle-class labor from the center of economic production. Then, those elite workers use their massive incomes to monopolize elite education for their children, ensuring that their offspring are more qualified to dominate high-skilled industries than their middle-class counterparts. The cycle continues, generating what Markovits calls “snowball inequality”: a compounding feedback loop that amplifies economic inequality, dramatically suppresses social mobility, and creates a “time divide” between an elite class whose members work longer and longer (due to a higher demand for their talents) and an increasingly idle middle class (whose work has been made redundant).

      This all seems logical and certainly plays a part, but I still think it's more complicated. This is a feedback "engine" that has been installed since ~1970 and exacerbated by the 1980s.

      There's likely still a leisure class above this compounding the effects.

    6. This leads us to Markovits’s second critique of the aspirational view: The cycle that produces meritocratic inequality severely harms not only the middle class but the very elite who seem to benefit most from it.

      What if we look at meritocracy from a game theoretic viewpoint?

      Certainly there's an issue that there isn't a cap on meritocratic outputs, so if one wants more wealth, then one needs to "simply" work harder. As a result, in a "keeping up with the Jones'" society that (incorrectly) measures happiness in wealth, everyone is driven to work harder and faster for their piece of the pie.

      (How might we create a sort of "set point" to limit the unbounded meritocratic cap? Might this create a happier set point/saddle point on the larger universal graph?)

      This effect in combination with the general drive to have "power over" people instead of "power with", etc. in combination with racist policies can create some really horrific effects.

      What other compounding effects might there be? This is definitely a larger complexity-based issue.

    7. As a result, Markovits calculates that three-quarters of elite income now originates from labor rather than inherited capital.

      Financialization of the economy may indicate that this isn't the case. What labor is really being done? Isn't more of it built on information and information flows?

      These numbers definitely need to be checked.

    8. The rich are also more skilled than ever.

      What level of rich are we talking about with this comparison? The uber-rich or the rich?

      The rich need at least some level of education to prevent themselves from being scammed certainly, but how hard do the uber-wealthy really need to work?

    9. Fifty, 60, 70 years ago, you could tell how poor somebody was by how hard they worked.
    10. A Harvard Business Review survey found that 62 percent of high-earning individuals work over 50 hours a week, more than a third work over 60 hours a week, and one in 10 work over 80 hours a week. According to Markovits, elites today work an average of 12 more hours per week than middle-class workers (the equivalent of 1.5 additional workdays).

      This may be the case for high-earners, but where do these people sit with respect to the higher elite or "leisure class"?

      Are these hard working high-earners a new class of people that has emerged that aren't the previous elite of the mid-1900s?

      What effect does the rise of finacialization (versus manufacturing or service sectors) since the 1970's have on this shift? Did these high-earners arise out of a hole in the market to service the elites on the highest rung up to make their wealth grow faster?

      There seems to be a hole in this argument with respect to the prior quote:

      Fifty, 60, 70 years ago, you could tell how poor somebody was by how hard they worked. Today, that relationship has been completely reversed. Elites work for a living. They work harder than they used to. They work harder in terms of brute hours than the middle class on average, and they get most of their income by working.

    11. Some argue that the American elite is functionally an old-fashioned aristocracy that owes its income to nepotism and opportunism. Others argue that the elite is functionally an oligarchy that owes its rising income to a shift away from labor and toward capital. According to this view, elites don’t even need nepotism — they are using preexisting wealth and inheritance to rebuild an old-fashioned feudal class.

      So much here to unpack...

    1. This animated film is a collaboration between economist Kate Raworth, puppet designer Emma Powell and song writer Simon Panrucker.

    1. <small><cite class='h-cite via'> <span class='p-author h-card'>juanjosefernandez</span> in 📚-reading (<time class='dt-published'>06/04/2021 16:32:12</time>)</cite></small>

  11. May 2021
    1. I worked on a recent project to sketch out for a centre-right German think-tank how a European data commons might work. I tried to steer it away from property rights and towards what you’d get if you started with the commons and then worked back to what data could be harnessed, and to which collective purposes. This is eminently do-able, and pushes you towards two distinct areas; groups of people who are served poorly or not at all by current data regimes, and existing cooperatives, unions and mutual societies who could collect and process their members’ data to improve collective bargaining, or licence access to it to generate revenue and boost affiliate membership. Viewing personal data as a collective asset points towards all sorts of currently under-provided public goods (I briefly describe several, on p. 74 here – yes, oddly enough, this stuff got shoved into an annex).

      Apparently lots of reading to catch up on here.

      I definitely like the idea of starting with the commons and working backwards, not only with respect to data, but with respect to most natural resources. This should be the primary goal of governments and the goal should be to prevent private individuals and corporations from privatizing profits and socializing the losses.

      Think of an individual organism in analogy to a country or even personkind. What do we call a group of cells that grows without check and consumes all the resources? (A cancer). The organism needs each cell and group of cells to work together for the common good. We can't have a group of cis-gender white men aggregating all the power and resources for themselves at the cost of the rest otherwise they're just a cancer on humanity.

    2. I particularly enjoyed the California water commons, with its quiet nod to Elinor Ostrom’s original post-graduate research on emergent cooperation between county water-boards.

      A quiet nod here in it's own right. Now I want to dig into Elinor Ostrom's research and work.

    3. Right now, fewer than half a dozen tech firms concentrate huge resources on a small number of global post-graduate AI programmes around the world. They directly and indirectly influence the training and content of those programmes, especially through access to data-sets. Compliance of senior academics is easy to gain, however they individually rationalise it.

      The dominant culture being in a position of power and wealth makes it far easier to direct the future to ensure that the dominate culture stays in power and wealth.

      How does one "break this wheel" of power?

    4. I’ve also written about China’s no less corrosive version of the Internet and how it’s marketed to developing and middle income countries as “Autocracy-as-a-Service”.

      Autocracy-as-a-Service---it's so sad that this apt phrase exists and worse that it has such a benign feeling to it.

      https://onezero.medium.com/now-any-government-can-buy-chinas-tools-for-censoring-the-internet-18ed862b9138

    5. Right now, most of the blockchain mining in the world happens in China, where provinces with the cheapest energy set up mining operations to do the ‘proof of work’ calculations that the dominant paradigm of blockchain requires. Factories that ostensibly make other things now acquire significant computing hardware and dedicate energy in order to, essentially, print money that’s then stored offshore. A recent study shows that 40% of China’s mostly bitcoin mining is powered by coal-burning. We also already know that non-blockchain server farms in cheap energy countries consume so much energy they distort national grids, and throw off huge amounts of heat that then need cooling for the servers to operate, creating a vicious cycle of energy consumption
    1. This is another great example of companies attempting to privatize profits and socialize the losses, or in this case pass along the losses and lost productivity to their employees (or as described here their independent contractors).

      Why can't they do some of the hard "technology" work and solve the problem of helping their workers become dramatically more productive?

    1. Even with data that’s less fraught than our genome, our decisions about what we expose to the world have externalities for the people around us.

      We need to think more about the externalities of our data decisions.

    1. Yet apart from a few megastar “influencers”, most creators receive no reward beyond the thrill of notching up “likes”.

      But what are these people really making? Besides one or two of the highest paid, what is a fair-to-middling influencer really making?

    1. Lichtenberg, on the other hand, used the term "aphorism" in his notes, but never referred to it in his own writing. [7] The name Sudelbuch goes back to him, as his brother Ludwig Christian Lichtenberg noted in the "preliminary report" for the first edition of a selection of Lichtenberg's notes the year after his death . [8] And there was already reference to Lichtenberg's own explanation of the use of the term: [9] “The merchants have their waste book (Sudelbuch, Klitterbuch, I believe in German), in which they enter everything they sell and buy from day to day, everything in a mess, from this it is carried into the journal, where everything is more systematically stands, and finally it comes to the Leidger at double entrance according to the Italian way of bookkeeping. In this, each man is accounted for separately, first as a debtor and then as a creditor. This deserves to be imitated by scholars. First a book in which I write everything, as I see it or as my thoughts give me, then this can be carried back into another, where the matter is more separated and ordered, - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg : Sudelbuch E, entry 46 [10]

      Here's translated quote from the 1700's in which Georg Christoph Lichtenberg directly links the idea of double-entry bookkeeping to the idea of a commonplace book (or waste book or in his tongue Sudelbücher).

      Not to dissimilar to my recent observation:

      Backlinks in digital gardens, commonplace books, or wikis are just an abstract extension of the accounting concept of double-entry bookkeeping.

    1. Standard economic theory uses mathematics as its main means of understanding, and this brings clarity of reasoning and logical power. But there is a drawback: algebraic mathematics restricts economic modeling to what can be expressed only in quantitative nouns, and this forces theory to leave out matters to do with process, formation, adjustment, creation and nonequilibrium. For these we need a different means of understanding, one that allows verbs as well as nouns. Algorithmic expression is such a means. It allows verbs (processes) as well as nouns (objects and quantities). It allows fuller description in economics, and can include heterogeneity of agents, actions as well as objects, and realistic models of behavior in ill-defined situations. The world that algorithms reveal is action-based as well as object-based, organic, possibly ever-changing, and not fully knowable. But it is strangely and wonderfully alive.

      Read abstract.

      The analogy of adding a "verb" to mathematics is intriguing here.