Maximizing Production and Consumption

Discussion in 'Human Science' started by coberst, Aug 4, 2008.

  1. coberst Registered Senior Member

    Maximizing Production and Consumption

    To study a domain of knowledge one can take several ‘points of view’. One can concentrate on the narrow perspectives or one can take on the ‘standpoint of the whole’. Every citizen of every society has a point of view about almost everything. Opinions are quickly stated on most anything that is within the domain of discussion of a society at a specific time.

    Society is less a collection of individuals and more a system of points of view. A society is a matrix of positions. To be a member of society is to be part of a pre-structured social space. An individual has multiple roles; within each role is an established point of view. On occasion this is a considered point of view; more often than not it is an unconscious legacy of past experience.

    Each of us harbors a hierarchy of views and I think that in every society there is a dominant position or point of view or ideology. The American dominant ideology is structured about the dominant value system, which is to maximize production and consumption.

    The dominant ideology, like all ideologies or points of view, is narrow and dominated by the self interest of the commanding group who establish the view and maintain its superior position within the society. Being a partial point of view the dominant ideology is biased, distorted and unaware of its own assumptions. The partial point of view often claims universality and absolute validity. In some cases the claims are based on ignorance and in many cases it is based on self-interest.

    Who controls the dominant ideology in your nation? I am convinced that in the USA the corporate and institutional management control the dominant ideology.
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  3. Eidolan Registered Senior Member

    That is very interesting. It does sound right. Is there anywhere where I can read more on this?

    If I wasn't lied to, the #1 college major in the United States is business with about 25% of the college population attaining one. I just checked, and business majors are the most popular. This fact would support the claim that the dominant ideology is that of the entrepreneur. In the 60s, business was the 3rd most popular, so that means that this view has been growing for the past several decades.
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  5. kmguru Staff Member

    It is controlled by the media...who say they do not....otherwise they would be reporting that our present economic condition is lack of jobs...lots of it. And they are controlled by the educational institutions.

    No think-tank or business college has ever said that...they blame the victims which media reports.....and consumers suck it up....
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  7. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Okay, but people who say that as a criticism are ignoring the Paradigm Shift. In the Industrial Era and in all previous eras, production and consumption were material-intensive. Increasing production and consumption put a strain on resources.

    In the Post-Industrial Era, production and consumption are increasingly information-intensive. Information is not a finite resource, and reproducing and delivering information utilizes a negligible amount of energy and other finite resources. You younger people will live to see an era in which production and consumption can increase without limit because they do not strain resources.
    Again, a statistic that is presented without examining other variables.

    In the 1960s a tiny fraction of the population went to college. If you meet a hundred Americans my age, only a few of them have college degrees. Today it seems like about 20% of the population is going.

    People haven't gotten any smarter; the average IQ is still only 100. All those extra millions of kids who are being accepted into American universities are not smart enough to study physics, anthropology or history. Hell, an astounding number of them have to take remedial English just to be able to understand their courses. Among those who graduate, most read at what in my generation was called the 6th-grade level.

    These are not kids who should be in college in the first place. The only major they can choose is business because it's not scholarship and they're not scholars.
  8. Eidolan Registered Senior Member

    But doesn't the fact that more people are willing to go to college to get business degrees show an attitude shift?

    I thought the average IQ was 95. How is that determined anyway?

    Do you have anything to support that a large portion of or the majority of business majors are... not smart?
  9. Schizo Schizophrenasaurus Registered Senior Member

    What you are saying is that society follows dominant ideals.

    Kind of like jumping off a bridge.
  10. coberst Registered Senior Member

    CA (Corporate America) has developed a well-honed expertise in motivating the population to behave in a desired manner. Citizens as consumers are ample manifestation of that expertise. CA has accomplished this ability by careful study and implementation of the knowledge of the ways of human behavior. I suspect this same structure applies to most Western democracies.

    A democratic form of government is one wherein the citizens have some voice in some policy decisions. The greater the voice of the citizens the better the democracy.

    In America we have policy makers, decision makers, and citizens. The decision makers are our elected representatives and are, thus, under some control by the voting citizen. The policy makers are the leaders of CA; less than ten thousand individuals, according to those who study such matters. Policy makers exercise significant control of decision makers by controlling the financing of elections.

    Policy makers customize and maintain the dominant ideology in order to control the political behavior of the citizens. This dominant ideology exercises the political control of the citizens in the same fashion as the consuming citizen is controlled by the same dominant ideology.

    An enlightened citizen is the only means to gain more voice in more policy decisions. An enlightened citizen is much more than an informed citizen. Critical thinking is the only practical means to develop a more enlightened citizen. If, however, we wait until our CT trained grade-schoolers become adults I suspect all will be lost. This is why I think a massive effort must be made to convince today’s adults that they must train themselves in CT.

    “Thomas R. Dye, Professor of Political Science at Florida State University, has published a series of books examining who and what institutions actually control and run America. to understand who is making the decisions that affect our lives, we also have to understand how societies structure themselves in general. Why the few always tend to share more power than the many and what this means in terms of both a society's evolution and our daily lives. they examined the other 11 institutions that exert just as powerful a shaping influence, although somewhat more subtle: The Industrial, Corporations, Utilities and Communications, Banking, Insurance Investment, Mass Media, Law, Education Foundation, Civic and Cultural Organizations, Government, and the Military.”
  11. coberst Registered Senior Member

    Media is one of CA.
  12. Simon Anders Valued Senior Member

    Perhaps. but right now the information age is based on computers, cellphones, etc. All needing a variety of metals, some rather rare, all of which contributing to the pollution of the planet.

    I presume that these chemicals are, at the very least, being used in the transition period between these paradigms. Further I cannot see how construction - as one area pressed forward regardless of paradigm - is going to soon not be dependent on real physical resources. Likewise food, with all its attendant pesticides and herbicides and land use. GM foods, which are part of the information revolution, are often made to be MORE tolerant to pesticides so that more can be sprayed on them. Chemicals, which come out of the earth, do not seem to be on the decline yet.

    Somehow in your post I get a whiff of that old sci-fi (and Abrahamic) dream of the bodiless future - what is *Christian heaven but a form of information upload.

    I am not sure these fantasies are helping us or relevent - at least any time soon.
  13. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    They don't go because they're "willing." They go because it's expected of them so they expect it of themselves. They've been prepped for the SAT since they were eight, they've been taking AP classes, two sports and two musical instruments all through high school. All their friends are going. Every kind of pressure including peer pressure pushes them toward college, even though there's always a shortage of good plumbers and good plumbers make a bloody fortune.

    BTW, my figure was inaccurate. One-fourth of the U.S. population over age 25 have university degrees.
    "Bell curve" is an entrenched slang term for a normal distribution. The distribution of IQs is close enough to a normal curve to apply standard statistical methods. 100 is at the midpoint by definition, which means that half the population has IQ higher than 100 and half lower. To be precise, 100 is not the mean IQ, which is what we usually mean by "average" in colloquial speech. It is the median IQ, which is a different kind of statistical average. But the difference between the mean and median IQs is so small as to be insignificant. Even at the extremes you get the balance of a normal curve: one out of every thousand people has IQ > 145, and another one out of those thousand has IQ < 55.

    That's a sobering thought. I'm sure the average IQ on SciForums is 120 or more. That means there's an equivalent-size group whose IQs are less than 80, and who can't even use a computer. At least not one of these infernal user-hostile Windows machines.

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    Average varies from country to country so some populations will have an average > 100 and others < 100, but the world average is supposed to stay at 100. If it starts drifting they should adjust the scale. The Wechsler Scale, which is in common use, is in fact adjusted periodically. If the human race on the average actually becomes smarter or stupider over the centuries you and I would probably want to know that, but lots of forces such as the government and the churches would probably not want it to get out.
    Well sure, the distribution curve itself. Only 16% of human beings have IQ > 115, which is someone you would call "fairly bright," but hardly a scholar. Only 2% have IQ > 130, which is the MENSA cutoff. If 25% of American children are being shoved through universities, we're taking lots of kids with IQs below 110. Of course IQ is not the only measure of "smartness" and some people just have a lot of determination and good study habits and manage to beat the odds. Nonetheless most people with an IQ of 109 don't have the cognitive skills necessary to master physics or chemistry or computer programmoing. Some of them are brilliant musicians, artists, dancers, etc., but the rest have no choice but to major in something like business or political "science."

    I'm embarrassed to admit that with my 140 IQ I have a degree in business (specifically accounting), a program I transferred into because I was a lazy S.O.B. who didn't want to do the math and science homework at Caltech. It was absurdly easy, absolutely intuitive. I could do the homework and pass the tests without paying attention. Fortunately the profession of computer programmer opened up just as I was graduating, and programming was damn hard back in the days of 3rd-generation languages.

    America has always been a representative democracy, by definiiton. We don't participate directly in the decision-making process, we just vote for people to do it. These days we vote with our money for corporations, in addition to voting at the ballot box for congressmen. Two not-terribly different types of bureaucrats.
    But hardly on a scale with the traditional pollution of combustion products, chemical runoff, and plain old trash, especially plastic trash.
    Housing construction does not do as much damage to the biosphere as power generation, especially vehicular power. I challenge your implicit assertion that the incidental chemical runoff of manufacturing is significant enough that converting our power plants and vehicles to short-term (100-200 years) nuclear-electric and long-term orbital solar-electric energy would not reduce our footprint to one that the biosphere could endure.
    I think you can blame your CA bogeyman for that. My intution insists that the relatively sparsely populated Western Hemisphere with its vast arable land can feed the entire planet two or three times over using sustainable and more-or-less earth-friendly processes. It's the next-quarter's-balance-sheet focus of CA that motivates them to maximize their short-term profit by using unsustainable, earth-hostile processes.
    Don't most of those chemicals rely heavily on petroleum? I would expect the chemical industry to have to do a reality check when crude oil hits $1000 a barrel.
    I suppose the Information Revolution has been held partially to blame for obesity, hypertension and all those ailments that our pesky physical bodies fall prey to when we spend too much time sitting and clicking keys. But every Paradigm Shift has had a dreadful down-side in its early stages before humanity truly adapts to it.

    Some of those down-sides endured literally for millennia. Take the Agricultural Revolution. At the Mesolithic Neolithic cusp, when our ancestors were living active nomadic lives, eating meat and berries and not too much of either, life expectancy of a person who survived childhood was in the 50s. (At which point, it's sobering to note, the leading cause of death was murder by a competitor for scarce resources.) By the time of the Roman Empire, when the majority of people were eating a grain-intensive diet deficient in the vitamins and minerals they didn't even know about, life expectancy had dropped into the 20s.
  14. Simon Anders Valued Senior Member

    Have we seen reductions in these things during these early stages in the information age? Plastic trash - how does this decrease in the information age?

    I do not have the knowledge to judge. I would wonder about the pollution involved in setting up and maintaining these things, that, further are not directly connected to the information age. They seem extensions of the manufacturing age. This last point does not prove they will not work in the way you suggest, but it seems a whole other line of reasoning about 'the future' rather than the 'information age'.

    As far as nuclear, I do not think we are competent enough to handle the waste products created by this source. Either in terms of the environment or in terms of security in relation to terrorists. I see little will on the side of industry to do anything by weaken legislation and oversight covering their measures in those areas.

    I also see consumers who want their toys. Real physical toys. Certainly some will go off and live hollow virtual reality lives, but there will remain many people who will want their physical toys and amenities and these toys and amenities are not getting clearner.

    Which is another issue. Us adapting to the paradigm rather than adapting our paradigms to us. We are being seen more and more as flawed, by defintion, as is nature. We are essentially disposible prototypes. The disposal will take place gradually, in many cases, over generations. But I see no reason to celebrate a solution that sees me as a problem to be genetically modified.

    When the Europeans and the East Coast Native American indians met each other they were in complete agreement about 1 thing. The natives were much healthier, stronger, had better teeth and smelled better. They also lived longer. They had more diverse diets and a much more modern child rearing approach, where children were children longer, something which I also consider leading to better adult health.
  15. Eidolan Registered Senior Member

    I was hoping for something better than another conspiracy theory. I have plenty of those. I thought you had found someone who had worked out some kind of slave/master dialectic between the personality types which determined the ideology of society. This subject just became a huge disappointment.
  16. Jetex Jim Registered Member

    My take on this, humans have to be occupied somehow.

    For the vast percentage of human history mankind has been pre-occupied with finding food. Nowadays, less than 10% of the economy is about food production, and only 2 or 3 % of the workforce is occupied in producing food.

    This is a very new phenomena, the various agricultural revolutions have freed more and more of the population from the drudgery of tilling and digging, and humans have filled the hole in the lives with warfare. The first world war came hot on the heals of the widespread use of mechanisation.

    For a while, in the 20th century, essential manufacture kept much of the population occupied. Now Britain, for instance, spends most of its time distributing and retailling goods manufactured in other countries.

    The whole nation no longer has a need to engage in honest toil. One or two percent feed us, a few more supply 'essential' services, the rest should be allowed to play. But this is not permitted, they have to work. And work they do, selling ourselves double glazing, insurance policies, trading imported consumer goods, consuming. Filling in the colours of our paint by number dreams, as Jackson Browne puts it.

    It's a pity, and its very wasteful, but if there's nothing else to do, war fills the gap.
  17. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    I doubt that you ever see net aggregate improvements in the early stages of a Paradigm Shift. By definition humans are fooling around with a brand new technology and we have to spend a long time understanding it.

    Still you have to be careful to group the effects with the right paradigm. Our plastic consumption probably has very little to do with the dawn of the Information Age and everything to do with the twilight of the Industrial Eara. We've got all these bulk processes for extracting petroleum from the ground, pumping it through factories, turning it into plastic, making the plastic into containers, and slapping our consumer goods into the containers. There's an incredible amount of social, economic and technological inertia in those processes, and it's hard to see how the early spread of an internet we all love but barely understand is going to affect that inertia anytime soon. At this point we're all shopping on e-Bay and, buying our products in lots of one, and shipping them in tiny packages in small trucks. That's very wasteful of packaging material, especially when you add in the Styrofoam Fritos that the shippers toss in liberally in order to compensate for the poorly sized boxes and bags that only come in standard measures.

    Some of these Paradigm Shifts back up on each other. We were well into the Industrial Era before we discovered biochemistry and could finally solve the nutritional problems caused by the Agricultural Revolution--which started eleven thousand years and two or three Paradigm Shifts ago!

    We're only human. We have to be patient with ourselves.
    I agree, but it's a matter of choosing the lesser of several evils. Letting humanity lead itself into a nuclear war over its pitiful remaining oil fields will wreak a lot more havoc than using nuclear powerplants as a stopgap until we can build the orbital solar collectors. I think the finite nuclear waste of the two hundred years it will take to built those collectors is something we can manage. Sure there will be a few mistakes, and a few religious retards will get hold of some of it and toss it at us in the name of their Stone Age gods. But it all comes down to risk analysis and management (something Americans are utterly abominable at). Civilization will survive nuclear powerplants if we turn them off in a couple of hundred years and dump the waste on some other hapless planet. It might not survive nulcear war.
    Now you're talking about the death throes of the Industrial Era and this is a phase that civilization will outgrow. The corporation as a controlling artifact will fade away because it doesn't fit the Information Age economy the way it fit the industrial economy with its need for massive concentrations of capital. Just like the aristocracy faded away as democracy replaced feudalism.
    You can't possibly predict what the people of the next era will want. You just can't. So much of our compulsive consumption is a reaction to our cluelessness about what the world will bring and the stress that cluelessness inspires in most people.
    But the paradigms are part of us: they're our own creations. We create these technologies in order to transcend the limitations of nature, both the natural world and our own nature. We build these new levels of civilization precisely because we want to adapt. We're fed up with being nomadic hunter-gatherers, or with being subsistence farmers, or with being serfs, or with being factory workers. So we upgrade to the next level of civilization, which doesn't come with a user guide, and hope that the new life we're adapting to will be more enriching than the old one.

    The one single adaptation that has been taking place steadily for the past eleven or twelve thousand years, since the dawn of agriculture, has been the transcendence over our pack-social instinct. We've been redefining our "pack" with ever-larger boundaries, learning to live in (minimal) harmony and cooperation among gigantic throngs of strangers, to the point that we've just about converted ourselves artificially into a herd-social species, even though there's a caveman inside every one of us. This adaptation has come at great emotional cost. There's constant backsliding. (Abrahamic religion can be seen as institutionalized resistance to transcendence, permission to see the world in the ancient us-versus-them paradigm and let those inner cavemen fight it out like in the good old days.) In addition to religions we have to experiment with inventions like government, trying to find a way to make the herd-social transition successful and complete.

    But it's a wonderful thing: a world in which we all feel like members of the same community, in which we feel a certain trust and caring for people on the other side of the globe who are nothing but abstractions. It's worth putting up with the growing pains of our species's adolescence to make this happen.
    I think you're just discovering that civilization is an organism itself, that is greater than any of the individual human cells that comprise it.
    Yet the Indians--who were still a Neolithic society--saw civilization and said, "I gotta get me some of that no matter what I have to give up." A simple, carefree Stone Age life with 99.999% of us plowing dirt ain't shit compared to life with electronically reproduced music available 24/7, just to name the one single gift of civilization that I would commit genocide to avoid losing.
    Your history is weak. War as we know it started in the Bronze Age, when the technology of metallurgy made possible what in those days were weapons of mass destruction.

    The Post-Industrial era has seen an astounding decline in war. Only three wars since WWII have caused more than one million deaths. Today so few people are killed by government-sponsored violence (let's call war what it is, folks) that we have the luxury of feeling outrage over the relatively low body counts in Darfur and Iraq.

    And if you want to dig down and find the cause of war, look no further than the observations of Carl Jung: "No wars in history have been as bloody as those among the Christian nations." If you really want a world at peace, start speaking out against religion. (Yes I know Sam is lurking out there ready to pounce in and claim that communism is atheism, but "To each according to his need, from each according to his ability," is a quote from the Book of Acts in the damn Bible and communism is a Christian philosophy.)
    You sound like my grandparents 100 years ago, bemoaning the fact that people were no longer living wholesome, productive lives, spending 112 hours a week toiling in the fields. "Leisure time" is a 20th century concept. You have more of it than people did when I was your age, and I have more of it than my parents did at my age, etc. etc. Somehow we all manage to settle into an equilibrium.

    The root of the problem is that the speed of Paradigm Shifts has accelerated. We don't have as many generations to adapt our lifestyles to our newfound leisure time; it all happens in a single lifetime. I feel like an old fart saying, "When I was your age I had to walk fifteen miles through the snow to buy music on vinyl discs." But it's undeniable that in the 1950s everyone exerted more physical energy to do tasks that are now automated. Everyone had to walk more, expend more labor around the house and on the job. We didn't have electronic toys so we had to run around outside and play physical games. Teenagers didn't have cars so we had to pedal around on our bicycles. I've lived to see that all change in a single lifetime. And people can't adapt that quickly
    I think you're unnecessarily cynical. Notwithstanding Jung's comment, the bloodiest conflict in history was in fact the conquest of Genghis Khan's Mongol hordes, and that happened before the Industrial Revolution, when virtually everyone who was affected was a farmer. It killed off about ten percent of the population of the region that was accessible to the transporation technology of the era. WWII only had a 3% death toll. And the subsequent wars of the Information Age have been paltry by comparison. Except for the civil wars in China, Korea and the Congo, the wars of our era wouldn't qualify as a footnote in the history books of previous centuries.
  18. Simon Anders Valued Senior Member

    I'll work on the rest later, but this point stood out. Our paradigms are the creations of some of us. And those paradigms and technological foci that get taken up and emphasized are done so by a minority.
  19. Jetex Jim Registered Member

    Fraggle Rocker
    You are probably right, but my point is regarding the thread title, not whether or not Genghis Khan has a greater body count than George W. Bush.

    To return to the topic, mechanised agriculture has (effectivly) freed the humanity from drudgery and toil. By making this observation, I don't condem it, and in all honesty I'd prefer even to be selling double glazzing than to participate in non-mechanised agriculture. However, as an exercise in comprehensivly missing the point, your post is peerless.

    Regardless, mankind must fill the time thus released. It does this through commerce; because collectivly it isn't smart enough to come up with anything else.
  20. dixonmassey Valued Senior Member

    Do you seriously believe in the above "post industrial" nonsense? You don't eat information, you don't wear information, you don't live in information, you don't drive information. Sure, information can improve outputs of those things but it can't substitute either. There are thermodynamic limits on the output no information supply can overcome. Information can be outright useless or misleading too. Roughtly 10% of electricity produced in USA is used to power internet, that's not "negligible" at all.

    Besides, there is catch 22 increase in production efficiencies (supposedly due to information impact) leads to lower prices which lead to increase in per capita consumption which lead to INCREASE in the total resource consumption. Think "paperless" computer epoch

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    Post industrialism is just another word for exploitation of the endless supply of Asian and Latin American Labor so North Americans could engage in information intense trades like pet shit scooping, burger making, table waiting, truck driving, etc..
  21. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Au contraire. Our paradigms are the creations of all of us and are taken up by the majority. Otherwise they wouldn't be paradigms.

    When the first tribe in a region invented agriculture, the other tribes in the region copied the technology. They wanted the same food surplus that for the first time in earth's history gave a species the freedom to endure a lean year. They wanted the same permanent settlements that allowed them to pick a place they liked and stay there. They wanted the same peace between tribes that no longer had to fight over hunting and gathering territories.

    When the first cities were built, members of the nearby Neolithic tribes voted with their feet and asked to be allowed to immigrate. People begged, borrowed and stole bronze--and in the next Paradigm Shift steel--tools, weapons and other artifacts from the city folk who had the secret of metallurgy, and in fact once they'd seen it done, some Neolithic peoples managed to develop a mining, smelting and smithing industry before they built cities. And of course during the Industrial Revolution people flocked to the industrial cities from all over, in (the often vain) hope they'd find a richer existence than farming provided.
    So which point did I miss? Your reasoning appears to lead to the conclusion that the unprecedented increase in leisure time that the Industrial Revolution brought resulted in mankind filling that leisure with war. My point is that, on the contrary, mankind has been warring with uninterrupted zeal since we invented the technologies that make war possible. And in fact, with the Industrial Age/Information Era cusp usually being defined as the 1950s, with TV being the gateway technology and computers following swiftly, I pointed out that there has been a precipitous decline in warfare in the opening decades of the new Paradigm, despite its promise of even greater leisure time. Or idleness, as I suppose you call it even though you seem to be filling yours as productively as the rest of us.
    I repeat, you're judging humanity just when it's on the cusp of a new Paradigm and hasn't figured out how to deal with it, and I don't think that's fair. Besides, a lot of us fill that leisure time with art and culture. I have time to play in a band and some of my bandmates over the years had the time and energy to write original music. The best needlepoint embroidery I've ever seen was done by a man who was able to retire young enough to make use of the time. There's an explosion in non-professional sports. I hear tell that people even spend time on the internet discussing science, history and economics.

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    I don't eat, wear, live in or drive industry either. But the Industrial Revolution was real enough. And in fact its first-order effect on our species was minor: as recently as a hundred years ago, 95% of the population were still farmers. But the second-order effects were transformative. The technology for converting chemical energy to kinetic energy (i.e., fast, high-volume, engine-powered transportation) alone gave people a new sense of freedom.

    And your casual acceptance of driving as a necessity indicates that you still haven't grasped the transformative power of the Information Revolution. We don't need to drive so much any more! Starting a century ago when the first electronic information technology was already appearing, the telephone gave us the ability to talk in real time without having to waste the time and energy to walk or drive to each other's houses, and music reproduction brought professional-quality entertainment into our homes, without having to settle for the barroom pianist on Saturday night or the minstrel show passing through town every few weeks.

    The internet has taken this farther. Our ability to socialize without driving to each other's houses is obvious, especially since the members of SciForums don't even live within railroad distance of each other. But more importantly, we can now work without having to drive to work.

    Certainly most of us have managers of my generation who unfortunately haven't died or retired yet, who insist that we have to "go to work" to get the job done. They can't imagine managing people they can't see. But that's just because they don't really know how to manage, and they rate their employees on how many hours they spend in their offices instead of on what they accomplish. When the new generation that was raised with cell phones, chat rooms and MMORPGs (I never see that abbreviated the same way twice) takes over, they will think it's somewhere between quaint and idiotic that anyone ever believed two people have to be in the same physical space in order to work together.

    You may not drive information, but you will be able to stop driving 15,000 miles a year because of the Information Revolution, and that's even better.

    Ten percent of our electricity may power the internet (and that may not grow quickly as each generation of technology requires less power), but 25% of our petroleum is wasted on commuting! Most of us spend our whole day doing things we can do on the computers and telephones we have at home.
    Information technology is not so much improving production efficiency (although computerized automation technology has done just that), but improving the efficiency of the rest of the market processes. I get products that are closer to exactly what I want on and e-Bay, and I get them when I want them instead of wondering whether they've even been invented yet.

    Craftswomen in Uruguay used to have to make up a batch of dresses, hats, baskets, whatever, that they thought someone would want to buy, sell them at a pittance to a local buyer who would sell them to a shipper and eventually, after four layers of middleMEN took their share of the profit, they'd end up on the shelves in a store. And they'd sit there until someone happened by who kind of liked it, or else they'd get marked down to clear the shelves.

    Now a lady who is getting married in four weeks e-mails a boutique in Manhattan with her idea of a one-of-a-kind wedding dress. The owner e-mails a craftswoman in Uruguay over the village computer. She makes the dress to order, boxes it and hands it to a FedEx driver, who sends it to Manhattan where the lady picks it up with two weeks to spare. Everybody is happier, the transaction has proceeded more efficiently, and the Third World is being made more prosperous by the Information Revolution. The only people who lose are the middlemen, who are dinosaurs from the Bronze Age and the Silk Road anyway.

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    As I noted in my deliberately selected (and straight out of the newspaper) example, post-industrialism is in fact doing wonders for the Third World. They're able to leapfrog into the modern economy without covering their landscape with factories and telephone poles.

    As for the menial-looking jobs we hire Third World refugees to do, it looks a lot different to their families at home who receive those dollar-denominated money orders.

    The single greatest factor in determining whether a person will be poor is the country he lives in. If the information economy allows us the luxury of importing more people to scoop our pet shit and flip our burgers, we are reducing global poverty. There's hardly anything we could do that would be more noble. Except reducing war, and so far the Information Revolution shows a suspicious correlation with that too.

    (It's commonly acknowledged that color TV with live broadcasts of the Vietnam War at dinnertime is responsible for Americans' loss of enthusiasm for the war.)
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2008
  22. Jetex Jim Registered Member

    That they do, and its often as an unauthorised diversion during working hours. Small wonder most buisinesses are reluctant to allow more 'home/tele working' when they know how much goofing off goes on in the workplace.

    The point is, this no new paradigm. Since mankind gave up on hunter gathering the need for daily continuous toil long since ceased. And yet mankind shows few signs of permitting itself to investigate art, education and other harmless diversions, except has hobbies.

    Now even education has to pay its way, thanks to free market fundementalists like Thatcher and the Bush dynasty.

    The new paradigm, that we deserve, will be when we realise that we are all particpating in a zero sum game called commerce. We could take it in turns, like national service, to do whatever essential drudgery is left, and leave the buying and selling to Monopoly game fans.
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2008
  23. Simon Anders Valued Senior Member

    Well, if we are talking about majorities then the majority is still religious. Further I doubt very much the majority is in the information age or will THINK in those terms, even when the paradigm is fully in place, if it will be. What technology is focused on and chosen are the choices of the few.

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