Stumblings & mumblings on turning linear systems into circular ones.
Machine Labor Day - Scott Santens
What I wouldn’t give to be able to share ideas with the command and clarity that Tim possesses. This is a great read which gets at the heart of my frequent calls for full luddism, which of course is not asking us to go and smash all the machines, but to instead take a step back and consider whether their creation and use is wise from a broad-based perspective. Just because we can do something doesn’t mean that it should be done. And with the accelerating capabilities of tech, I think we ought to be spending a lot more time considering the should, but it seems that if anything we’re spending less time on this. Instead we assume the Invisible Hand will guide us in ever more productive directions. Even if this were true (and I find this idea dubious), the hand cannot be considered to be anything better than amoral. If an innovation creates a new path to perform a service that obsolesces thousands of jobs, the innovator and the market are not held responsible for those externalities. Instead the innovator is celebrated and the market is expected to eventually pick up the slack in a manner akin to the Underpants Gnomes business plan.
Fortunately, there’s another route. If the machines are going to take more jobs than the Invisible Hand can provide, there are options to ameliorate this issue. One such option (which I see as the best route), is a Basic Income Guarantee. Scott Santens is far more knowledgeable on this topic than I am, so I’ll point you in the direction of his latest post for a bit more to chew on.
I hope Labor Day is affording you a bit of rest, as well an opportunity to ponder the state of labor, and what it might be in the future.
Please do read both Scott and Tim’s posts. They’re well worth the time.
Yes, we “live in a world of risk and randomness that we don’t control. It is because of this that we should take extreme care in making choices which broaden and enhance those risks. Failing to consider them is a kind of willful ignorance which at best could be considered a moral failing, at worst a form of wanton malice.
I’m not advocating that we wall ourselves off in cocoons. Everything is a risk in life. Getting out of bed. Running to the grocery store. Crossing a busy street on foot or on a bike. Every situation and every circumstance can, at the margins, lead to disaster. This is part and parcel of the human experience. To live is to be at risk. To dare greatly is typically something that’s to be admired, but should it be when the daring is done for naught? When we consider placing ourselves, and more importantly our children, in harm’s way via any new endeavor, we have a responsibility to consider why we’re doing it, what we might gain, and what we’re putting at risk. A child that’s placed into a soccer league might suffer a freak injury which could lead to lasting complications. One that plays football might suffer concussions which could lead to Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (a degenerative brain disease typically caused by repetitive concussions).
American’s perspectives tend to diverge on most topics, but certain unifying factors seem to grab hold of large numbers of us. BBQ, professional sports, freedom, and guns are all things which, when indifference or disdain are shown, can earn one the evil eye. Who gives a damn? I’d rather deal with an eternity of scorn for not fitting in, than spend a moment suffering the unimaginable pain of losing a loved one, over the desire to fit in.
It’s easy to get swept up in a movement which purports to be a good and just cause. As parents, we must remain vigilant. We need to be wary of circumstances which could lead us to make decisions which would otherwise not. I beseech you to frequently take a step back and examine the choices you make for your family.
We warn our children against playing with fire, yet many of us encourage their handling of firearms. Why then should we be surprised if they get burned?