Choose a topic


.. Society
We Live in the Present

...HUM
10 Views of Landscape
Affect and Effect
Culture is Ordinary
Dataism
I pay rent.
Listening to Corn
The Reform vs Revolution Paradox
What is Public Schooling For?

Art
AI and Art
Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction
Is this picture real?
NonFungible Tokens
Public Art
Tearing Down Statues
Weave
What is Art?
Working With Reality

Cognition
Artificial Intelligence and the Collingridge Dilemma.
Bird Brains
Bounded Rationality
Competence Without Comprehension
Consciousness is More Like Fame Than Television
Developmental Processes
Emergence and Cognition
Genius
GIGO
I Lost My Knife
Illusion
Incomplete Information and Stories
Instinct
Is free will an illusion?
Metarepresentations
Natural Law
Necessary Illusions
On Affordances
Pencil and Paper
Post Phenomenology
Reflective Equilibrium
Return of the Law of Forms
Shifting Meanings
Superstition
Taking Things on Faith
The Hard Problem
The I Love You Gesture
The Imagined Order
The Phenomenology of Swim Bladders.
Thinking about medical procedures
Thinking About Risk
Underdetermination and Redundancy
What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
What Does Google Know?

Economics
A Country Is Not Like A Company
Alternate ideas lying around waiting for disaster
Blood and Money
Can Capitalism Survive?
Do Our Minds Own Our Bodies?
Everyday Communism
Invisible Hand
Job Creators
Job Destroyers
Markets
Money and Value
Money is Different
National Accounts
Necessary Production
Paper Wealth
Post Capitalist Society
Profit Motive Fails
Rentier Capitalism
Social Wealth vs Surplus Value
Spending Money Into Existence
The Metaphysics of Money
The Ontology of Debt
Thinking about Money
Wealth is What Money Buys

Environmentalism
Blowing Up Pipelines

Epistemology
Absolute Knowledge
Equivalence
Exists
I do not know everything
Rethinking Knowledge
Rethinking Knowledge
The Curious Ineffectiveness of Facts
The Past and the Future.
Uncertainty and Unpredictability
Unpredictability
Verificationism

Evolution
Competition and Cooperation
Dr Malthus would be pleased
Error Correction
Evolution Defended
Evolution is not Religion
Evolution of Cars
Forces of Nature
Is Natural Selection Obsolete?
Networks
Omicron
Politics and Evolution
Roles
The Evolution of Purpose.
The Problem with Natural Selection.
The Source of Bad Behavior
Thinking about Tails
Why Does a Leopard Have Spots?

Freedom
Free Speech in the age of Twitter
Freedom and Badness
Freedom and Morality
Freedom From and Freedom To
Freedom in the Age of Convoys
Laws
Libertarian Coercion

Levels of Abstraction
Levels of Abstraction and Minds
What is a newspaper?

Mathematics
As Much As Possible
Zipfs Law

Memetics
Emotional Plague
Memes: Imitated Behavior.
The Problem with Memes
What is a replicator?

Morality
Beyond Rules Based Morality
Freedom and Morality
Moral Realism.
What do we owe animals?

pending
Police

Philosophy
Agency
Being
Maps and Territories
Metaphysics Without Absolutes
Philosophy Buds
Ratchets
Sincerely Held Beliefs
Sorites Paradox
Stereoscopic Vision and The Hard Problem
The Gorilla in the Room of Science
The Purpose of Science
What is Going On?

Politics
If It Walks Like a Duck
Right Wing Freedom
The Sovereign Citizen
Tyranny of the Majority

Programming
Loopsidaisy

Science
Constructed Life
Correlation Wins
Fields
Neurophilosophy
Quack Doctors
The Great Shattering
The Material Space
Thinking about Interconnection
Time
Too Small to See
UFOs
Watching Pigeons
Weirdness in Physics

Society
A society needs a government.
Belly of the Beast
Civilization
Corruption
Cultural Appropriation
Family Values
Governance
Griefers and Misinformation and Disinformation
Magic
Open Society and Falsification
Privacy
Rules in a Knife Fight?
Sex and Gender
Society and The State
Spheres of Influence
The Care and Feeding of Free Speech
The Collingridge Dilemma
The Dual Meaning of Power
The Homeless
The Problem with Hedonism
To the Moon
Totalitarianism
Work - Productive, Useful, Worthless, and Bad.

UBI
Implications of Very Productive Technology
Modest Proposal
Problems with Universal Basic Income
Tormenting Unlucky People
Why there are oligarchs







Implications of Very Productive Technology

Could be paradise

There is a 600 lb gorilla in the room when people talk about economic issues, a gorilla that nobody seems to see, but that influences our society very much.
That is the hugely productive technology upon which we depend. People completely ignore how that technology has transformed our economic lives.

I've experienced that transformation in one industry the printing industry.
I first encountered the printing industry in the 1960's because my Mom worked as a typesetter in a letterpress shop. She ran a huge machine with a 8 keyboards that punched a paper tape. That tape went to another machine that cast the type. That type went to a crew of specialists that locked it up in chases that went to the press to be printed.

The shop she worked in employed 25 or 30 highly skilled tradesmen who all made good livings from the work. There were 5 or 6 in the typesetting room alone. By the time I entered the industry 15 years later I worked as a typesetter running a dedicated computer. I did all the typesetting for a smaller company that produced a lot more printing at lower cost.

By 2000 I could do the typesetting for books in my studio and print it myself on a laser printer.

Almost all other industries went through similar transformations. When diesel engines were introduced into railways in the 1950s one man could run the whole train himself. The only way that the unions would let diesels come in was to stipulate that nobody would lose their job and for quite a long time railways had to pay good wages to people who did no work at all. That was unstable of course and eventually the unions had to cave and a lot of jobs were lost to the economy.

But the writing was on the wall that increasingly productive technology does more while providing fewer jobs. For a while people thought that this was great that it would lead to a leisure society where very little time at a job would earn a good living. And at that time a good living meant that a single person's work could support a house and a car and a family and even a summer cottage. That leisure society didn't come about.

And with the non-appearance of the leisure economy we also got the appearance of that gorilla that we don't see. That gorilla is (to be clear) that a highly productive economy has to do a lot more while providing fewer jobs.

One reason we lost sight of the gorilla was devices like planned obsolescence. Rather than produce what we need to live and reducing the hours each of us need to work, our economy became very wasteful. We started producing things that quickly fell apart and had to be replaced. This kept the factories humming for a while.

But slowly the relative value of wages compared to the cost of stuff eroded to the point where it took two people working to support a family household. And it happened so slowly that nobody really noticed. Another change was that productive work, in the sense of producing the things we need to live has almost disappeared from our economy, especially when the manufacturing sector has been moved to low wage regions.

Now, most people earn their livings, if they can get jobs at all, from secondary non-productive jobs. Like being advertising consultants, or bankers, or burger flippers.

My point here is that our economy already supports a huge number of people whose work is in no way productive. Advertising consultants, or bankers, or burger flippers do not produce the food or raw material that we need to live. So what has happened is that rather than evolve into a leisure society our economy has evolved into a more and more complex structure that soaks up our energy.

The point I am trying to establish here is that the productive capacity of our society already, in the present, would let us support a very large number of people who aren't productive of the things we need to live. Do we really need ad executives, and bankers, and burger flippers?

And if we don't need them, why not just give them a livelihood with without making them work? Think about it. One of the things that our productive capacities enable is that people can live without everyone being productive.

Personally I think that most people, if they didn't have to be wage slaves, would be very productive.
They would sing and dance, make art, invent new things, grow gardens, and do the myriad of things that people now do as hobbies.

What do you think?

Star I present regular philosophy discussions in a virtual reality called Second Life. I set a topic and people come as avatars and sit around a virtual table to discuss it. Each week I write a short essay to set the topic. I show a selection of them here.

I've been thinking and reading about philosophy for a long time but I'm mostly self taught. That is I've had the good fortune to read what interests me rather than follow a course of study. That has it's limits of course but advantages. It doesn't cost as much and is fun too.

My interests are things like evolution and cognition and social issues and economics and science in general.