Saturday, January 31, 2015

No Sh_t Dick Tracy

If there were any doubt remaining about our ability to properly prioritize what's really important, any more than to be able to apply value with at least some semblance of connection to the human condition, this article (linked below) from the MIT Technology review should dispel it.

I know, there is at least some element of being unfair here, but I have become more than a little jaded concerning the mind set of the purveyors of capital and commodity. I guess I should be thankful that, even if the question is as obvious as our role in making the planet unlivable, at least someone is asking it.

If only more of the overall creative potential in the rest of the American economy would ask more such obvious questions. And more to the point, wouldn't it be something if what was considered as "Thinking Big" could jump outside of any form of product, as well as its marketing, or consumption?

We have lost our way precisely because we do not pursue frontier any more as a general public goal. And by frontier I mean it in terms expressed both symbolically and literally.

Frontier is something that was both an essential life risk, as well as boundaries pushed in every aspect of what we strove to be curious about, and better understand. It was an ideal that expressed both the need for personal liberty and cooperation as neither the group, or the individual would survive otherwise. It was taking chances that very few take these days; recognizing that living just to be "safe" was not living at all.

This is not to say that previous expressions of how frontier was pursued were without mistakes, and grievous ones at that. We didn't understand the interconnected nature of things, any more than we appreciated how far too easy it is to dehumanize those who are different. The thing is, however, that, in my opinion, those mistakes were not a fundamental aspect of going after frontier, but simply our own ignorance, willful and otherwise.

We can pursue frontier as a part of national identity, we just have to be careful of how we go about it. This is why, as we gain new abilities, and knowledge, we must always ask questions of how best to proceed. Questions that must necessarily go to fundamental assumptions of how we work together to make both our personal, as well as collective, dreams as mutually cooperative as give and take, and compromise will allow.

As will come as no surprise here, from my perspective our current operating model is almost perfection in its currently evolved ability to thwart any desire to aspire in these directions. It is, in fact, pretty much diametrically opposed to such desires.

Frontier beckons at our doorstep now not only because the stars call out to us, but also because tyranny and injustice has taken on so many new guises. We are crowded by fences of the mind, of nations, and of ideologies, as well as outright space to flex every aspect of our nature. If we don't recognize that soon, and further recognize the changes we need to make to take back the quest of frontier, we will not survive as a species. It is that simple.


The Purpose Of Silicon Valley

Friday, January 30, 2015

The European Union as Just One More Canary Dying in the Dark Mine of Human Cooperation

This comment was prompted by the Salon article linked below.

For my part he biggest take away here is the further demonstration of what "Supply Side" economics, and markets let loose of all responsibility, have become: Namely a sure fire formula for disaster (as is evidenced by the author's reference to the EU following the Reagan and Thatcher TINA stupidity.

The sad part here, however, is that even if "Demand Side" economics were pursued, the underlying system of employment linked, hyper consumption, would still not be sustainable. The planet won't allow it, and our ever diminishing sanity inside the American inspired "Dream Machine" of hyper marketing, won't allow it either.

The main problem here is that hardly anybody has yet fully comprehended that the alternative Thatcher mistakenly proposed didn't exist, actually does; the problem is that it has to be formed from a complete rethink of our relationship to production and consumption. A rethink that has been required the moment electrified experience retrieval made a mockery of the idea of human skill as commodity. As well as to say how the free flow of information cannot abide the fact that Capitalism turns information into counters of translative power that must be accumulated and used entirely for self interested gain.

The simple fact of the matter is, as I have been saying repeatedly, that social organization in the model of the factory cannot allow for the development of generally capable individuals to work truly integrated solutions to vastly complex, interrelated problems; the kind of problems that multidimensional, complex systems engender. Any more than such segmented groups of interest would allow such individuals to apply such answers even if they had the ability to find them. 

The fact that Europe is at risk of falling back to a semblance of old nationalistic forms of singular self interest only serves to put an exclamation point on power being seen only in terms of the ability to compete in the production/consumption game. And the fact that the Chinese model has been gaining favor, where they demand that only the other guys's markets be completely open, is not only not sustainable for reasons already mentioned, but because it will inevitably lead to war. It cannot be otherwise because it is not only your ability to sell where you want to, but your ability to continually find new feed stock sources to keep the impossible maw of production going, that allows you to survive in the game.

It is insanity. All of it. There is no other way to describe the various flavors of Capitalism now. Absolute insanity. And there is a great deal more than the EU at risk here.

The fall of Europe: Why the European Union is teetering on the brink

Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Ghost in the Machine May Well be Marshall McLuhan

This comment was prompted by the linked Salon article below

What I find interesting here is that, on the one hand, the author seems to recognize at least a bit of what McLuhan was talking about in how electrified experience retrieval (as opposed to typography) would change the working dynamics of the environments we now live within. But then, on the other hand, he still demonstrates virtually no clue as to the full extent of what is being demanded of us as regards the organizational model we have; the one still based on typographic thinking.

Context sensitive AI expert systems are now creeping up on the professions, turning them into the same wage slaves as mechanics, machine operators, and other factory workers have already been for quite some time. But the author still thinks that the factory/commercialized delivery of learning, as well as health care, will benefit the masses.

And in all of this the great take away is that the source for Progressives will shift way from where they used to come from.

Where in all of this is the fundamental realization that electrified experience retrieval has changed the entire basis on which Capitalism was founded? 

That, firstly, human skill as commodity is an absurdity. 

Secondly, that information cannot be allowed to remain the commodity it has now become by default. 

And lastly, that the segmented linearity so basic to social organization as a factory cannot work within massively complex, interactive matrices of process flow; especially when so much of it runs at the speed of light. 

In other words, complex systems and holistic thinking demand completely new ways to meet social needs; methods the old task bounded, assembly line, and commodity/consumption model is absolutely ill equipped to respond to. 

The whole notion of Progressive and Conservative is meaningless in that context. When a complete rethink of how to best balance personal liberty with collective needs is required all of the old labels should be thrown out. The questions now should be how do we make the best use of the way information can be applied now? How do we do that so we can not only govern ourselves but share in both the responsibilities and benefits of these new productive methods, as well as the results of that production. 

The sooner we realize this new reality the more we increase our chances of taking the next steps a sentient species ought to take as it leaves behind the economics of scarcity, as well as the primitive tribalism that we've always fallen back on to get us through it.

The left's changing personality: How progressives are changing from professionals to populists

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Metaphor of Sand and the Strictly Bounded Interests of Nations

Change, they say, within any system happens at the boundaries of one to the next. This is given a lovely bit of contrast in the article linked below about what has become of the intricacies of Sand.

Sand, it seems, has become a complexity of itself in the interplay of nations; especially as it concerns states such as Singapore and Malaysia. Counter intuitive though it might seem, you can build upon sand; either as simple fill, grouted, or mixed with concrete. More to the point, however is the fact that one nations sand can become another's expanded borders; literally taking the ground out from under a neighbor and using it to make new ground for yourself.

As the article makes clear, however, in the age of interdependent markets, extra national economic entities, and the fluidity of both information systems, as well as the physical systems we live within, the notion of the nation state as a specifically bounded object is seen for the illusion it has always been.

From my perspective it is but one more example of how problems can no longer be solved in isolation. Integrated solutions cannot be limited by arbitrary boundaries any more than any of they other flows that course through the grand matrix that is human kind on this planet now.

I urge you to read this article. It is quite thought provoking.


Built on Sand: Singapore and the New State of Risk

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Problems we Face are Related. They Cannot be Solved In Isolation.

This post was prompted as a comment to the Daily Beast article linked below

See the Documentary "Dirty Wars"

You have to wonder at the contrast between what people like General Flynn indicates here, and what you learn in the above documentary. In the latter you are exposed to just how open ended, and self perpetuating, Special Operations have become as a part of American Foreign Policy. Questionable drone surveillance, ever expanding lists of individuals linked to other individuals merely by being seen in proximity, if not also in actual conversation. A lot of people are being killed and we have no real idea of whether they deserved it or not, any more than if those that did deserve it have served the purpose their death was supposed to serve. The lists just keep growing.  

We had the same kind of vehement outcry of supposed weakness to adherents to Communist ideology from the late fifties to the mid eighties, and whether you believe it alone brought down the Soviet Union or not, it certainly caused us a great deal of counter productive outcomes. So much so that you have to wonder how much more trouble we would be in today if we had simply worked around Communist governments as opposed to overt programs of subversion. After all, couldn't a major part of the "destabilization as a way of life" in Central America, Africa, Southeast Asia, as well significant parts of Eastern Europe, been avoided otherwise? Or, at the very least, our being seen as so culpable for so much of it?

I don't doubt that there is a real possibility that extreme religious groups could pose a serious threat to world peace. How we go about addressing that threat, however, needs to be seen as the very complex question it is. Just as poverty, in conjunction with corruption and the absolutely immoral distribution of resources, led may groups in a desperate search for alternative forms of social organization, so too do the bunching up of belief systems in close proximity, both physically and perceptually, cause people to react to various degrees of opposing horror; each seeing in the other blasphemy or cruel barbarity. Made all the worse because each, in its own self righteous outrage, stoops to the kinds of violence they seek to stop.

Humanity has been here before and the only thing I can see that it resolved is that there is no lasting resolution. There is only the competition to see who can out butcher the other for whatever temporary respite might be gained before the next go around. And we have certainly been quite clever in that competition. Anyone still sane can only be made ill in contemplating where we might yet go with it.

If that weren't bad enough, there is added complexity in the fact that the West, and in particular, The United States, is weighted down with a social operating system that makes being able to even prioritize problems a nightmare, much less being able to address them properly. It is a system where information is a commodity and, as such, is horded. And when it is distributed one cannot be in any way sure of what was intended in allowing its release. 

Then you add the horrible consequences of what being a part of a hyper consumptive, more people requiring more consumption for more jobs, kind of economy means. The dream machine environment to induce consumption in the first place, combined with the array of so many working at so much purpose in direct opposition to the needs, or purpose of not only their neighbors, but of the very complex physical systems we all live in. 

Is there any wonder at all why so many social systems are either grid locked, inconsequential, or out right destructive, now?

All of this is to say that all of our problems are interlinked and interdependent. The days when we could solve one or another independently are long over. If we don't start talking honestly about all of them, and how they interrelate, we will solve none of them satisfactorily; however much we might wish otherwise. 

The sooner we all realize this the better off we will all be.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Distributed Autonomous Corporations (DACS)

The problem with the Aeon article linked below is that this software approach to add a layer of more egalitarian abstraction to currency creation, as well as translation, does nothing to address the more fundamental problems that Capitalism faces in the age of electrified information networks. It does this because the mind set behind it still seeks to preserve the essence of what Capitalism is: A product of late sixteenth, and early seventeenth, century typographic thinking.

This is the kind of thinking that turned feudal Europe, where formerly oral agrarians, spread out across productive land, produced everything they needed themselves, into centralized aggregates of specialized production; basically how social organization became chained not only to the factory, but the abstraction of currency in the first place. It certainly produced substantial material gain, as well as an explosion in the ability to gain further productive knowledge, but make no mistake, we had to pay dearly for it.

For all that the Libertarians complain about too much government, would it have evolved to nearly such extremes if private interest, and the ability to accumulate through net gain, hadn't also gone too far? And now that information and money are the same thing because of electrified information systems, Democracy itself becomes impossible; precisely because you can't ensure for a truly informed electorate when nobody gives anything away any more unless they expect a great deal more in return.

I understand that these visionaries are trying to ameliorate at least a part of the problem of the centralization of power, but they miss out completely on the more essential aspects of what makes a social organization viable in the first place. The age old questions of not only who makes important productive decisions, but on how we distribute both the gains accrued, as well as the responsibilities required to keep it going.

Poverty forced collectivism at the point of gun certainly didn't work. Not only because of how repressive such systems had to be, but also because they too couldn't see past using a specialized, commercial form of production. These were centrally planned, factory economies, but they still ran on specialized labor, and a currency to translate one skill into another. The fact that they also lacked, for the most part, sufficiently advanced industry and technical capability, only made the situation much worse.

But if the internet has taught us anything, with all of the "do it yourself" help sites, as well as the democratization of manufacture itself via 3D printing, it ought to be a visceral understanding that we don't need the extreme emphasis of specialization now, any more than we need abstract counters to force others to do things we find distasteful. 

The fact is, there is a way we could organize into semi-autonomous city states; self governed units where we share the load of what has to be done to support it. Entities that orient production towards making the basics of most of the things we need or desire in life, and from which each individual, using his or her equity share of same, builds what required end use items themselves.

It is, in other words, time to completely rethink how we go about the social coordination of what is produced, and how that production is consumed. Attacking one part of the problem, even with very clever software, just isn't going to cut it.


Distributed Autonomous Corporations (DACS) will see cloud robots manage supply chains free from direct human supervision. Photo by Gallery Stock

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Marshall McLuhan was a Progressive Whether He Knew it or not

The Daily Beast article linked below is a good review of what has been a very slow realization of how perception, cognition, and the major means by which we move and store experience, work form sentience.

The one sad part from my perspective is how this growing new realization has excluded the negative consequences of continuing with a social operating system based on the typographic mindset that followed the development of repeatable type. An operating system whose very organization epitomizes the linear abstraction, and disconnected objectivism that lies at the heart of factory thinking.

The fact of the matter is that we live in an completely new, electrified information environment. One that is quite different than the one that spawned Capitalism. The problem now, though, is that electrification has made for a mutated version of both the old factory system, as well as the idea of complex information matrices. Thus creating the worst of both environments in which we now evolve mentally and socially in. A better formula for insanity I doubt anyone could come up with.

Just another reason why I have been pretty much a broken record on the notion that Capitalism is Obsolete.

Who Created the Spark that Made a Monster out of Competition?

From the moment individuals began the effort to transmute lead into gold, and other individuals, who were desperate to accumulate not only it, but the various forms of sharp and pointy things, in combination with skilled wielders of same, to hold accumulated power, there has been the relationship of supreme leaders supporting inquiring minds. It would take a while to call it Science, of course, as the intricacies of empiricism, as well as the discipline inherent therein, took time to workout, but all the same, Science and its patrons in power have been an important aspect of history.

Fortunately, enlightenment rubbed off at least to a certain extent to the concepts of how power should be better distributed, and so science was able to get the vox populi as a whole employed as a further patron. That this was also required as a practical matter should not be ignored either. Recruiting the numbers of minds necessitated by the explosion of scientific disciplines went a long way towards convincing whatever was the power system dejour that universal education was an essential.

I mention this now because it reflects on an important aspect of why we have the current huge disconnect between science and a large segment of our population; a disconnect that is now expressed in grid locked government, and self destructive social behavior. And this is so in no small part because we have not only significant groups of the merely ignorant, but also those who are willfully ignorant.

I certainly consider myself in the first group; even though I make at least some effort to ameliorate the situation, I remain not fully cognizant of very important concepts and processes. Others, whether out of ordinary cussedness, cultural inertia, theological intransigence, or various combinations of all of these, now apply themselves with determined effort to push back against what our empiricists have concluded via objective testing and observation. The question then becomes: What is to be done?

The problem as I see it is that science has allowed itself to become too disconnected from not only the ordinary working people who keep the country going, but also from the practicalities of how power ought to be distributed. And it is, in my opinion, mostly to do with the fact that science has once again gotten too wound up with the patrons of power. Unfortunately, in this case, it isn't simply the individuals of power any more that they are so tied to, but to the power of information itself; especially as information and money now are the same thing.

That last distinction is important because it serves to underlay why so many in science hardly ever stop to ask the question: “Just because we can do a thing, and even allowing that it might return a great deal more in what we can do next, is it really such a good idea?” Where “good idea” in this context speaks to the collateral damage that is either quite apparent, or totally unexpected. A situation where you hear one luminary or another saying things like “it's inevitable that this will be used.”

What happens here, whether they are aware of it or not, is that all of this “able to do more in what we do next” feeds into the monster that has become of commercial competition. One might even imagine the electrode laden laboratory, arc flashes everywhere, earth rumbling hums of power coils surging and receding, and some insanely animated individual crying out “It's alive... It's alive...”

The upshot of competition becoming a monster is that not only does the speed with with new things become known increase, scaring the normally peaceful villagers, living below the wild goings on atop the mountain; there is also the more than troubling aspect of who is responsible for educating more than simply more replacements for the “It's alive” guy and his minions, who you know are going to be eaten, or burned out, or whatever, by the monster they have created. Competition after all, and the need to acquire ever greater amounts of net gain, are why Big Money doesn't want to have to pay for anything more than the bare minimum to keep whatever translative node they have going operative.

Perhaps if the villagers had been a good deal more informed in the first place, not to mention being in a position to tell that guy and his minions to go take a hike before they even got started on making the big coils and power switches, there might be the opportunity to engage in a more reasonable discussion on what facts are in the first place, as well as what their larger implications might be in various usage scenarios.

From this, then, it should be reasonable to conclude that science in general has not only an obligation, but a very real requirement for its own preservation, to be heavily involved in progressive political change. And even more to the point, that they should also be on the forefront of recognizing that Capitalism is indeed quite obsolete.

This is also, in fact, another example of one specialized skill/task group getting too separated from that which sustains it. Those who work to advance knowledge must be a great deal more integrated into not only what keeps the community that supports them going, but also in how what is already known is passed along to successive generations. Just as ordinary working parents should be more integrated with that same process.

The bottom line here is as Marshall McLuhan said several decades ago. That education cannot hope to continue effectively if it remains just one more assembly line factory, isolated away from the rest of daily life, along with all of the other aspects of what keeps us all going. Such isolation is diametrically opposed to what is needed when information is moved and translated with the speed of light within a complex matrix of processing nodes. Holistic thinking and integration are the only things that are going to allow us to survive, and if we don't recognize that we will all become monsters of one sort or another.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Never Ending Litany of the Mayhem of Money

I'm using this post as a means to link to two important articles this morning. The first concerns another environmental report about what greed, as well as war, is doing to 7 very prominent natural wonders of the world.

The second refers to a mini documentary that delves just a bit into the the coal ash spill that occurred on the Dan river in North Carolina on Feb. 2, 2014. In this case not only has Big Coal lobbying prevented the EPA from finalizing coal ash as a hazardous waste product, the campaign financing laws in North Carolina, which prohibited big money donations in judicial elections, were overturned in 2013. Now Big Coal can influence the selection of those who would rule over state law suits brought by those affected by this unbelievable pollution. Salt on the wound of the EPA being stymied as the state courts were left as the only recourse to seek remedy for those who don't have the power that vast accumulations of information allow.

As I have stated before, the beat down goes on. Money and greed render their own special kind of violence to the natural world, our lives, our spirit, and all of the things we ought to be aspiring to. We can make it stop but only if we recognize the fundamental truth that the current operating system is the primary impediment to change. It is what makes the money game possible in the first place, and only by demanding an alternative will we ever put an end, once and for all, to the violence of that game.

I urge you to give this serious thought. To think about what you can do to help spread this understanding, and promote the demand for change. We have to get the idea out and about, with people talking about it across a wide spectrum. Then we can start figuring out how we go about implementing that change.

7 natural wonders that humans could destroy within a generation

Powerful video paints picture of life in a coal ash town with undrinkable tap water

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Channeling of Choice Mistakes

The main takeaway here ought to be focused on what this means for influence in general when we work within an operating system where the 1% will own more than the rest of us combined next year.

Anyone having vastly greater accumulations of information (of which, of course, money is just one form of) than you do is in a position to not only control how the choices are created in the first place, but to also seed a particular choice situation with fraudulent selections. Whether by actual purchases, or by clever variations of "Click Fraud" hardly matters. The result will ultimately be the same.

That this is power of unprecedented proportions ought to be obvious, but then we have a system that allows so few to create so many channels of diversion; each possessed of the best multimedia messaging engineering money can buy. What ought to be obvious becomes another choice situation fraught with the potential for mistakes. 

If you value both thinking for yourself, as well as an environment of actual informed consent, than you might want to consider the advisability of continuing with an operating system where everything is a commodity, and every source of information merely a well disguised sales pitch. And you'd better start thinking fast because, what with the direction the planet is going in, your ass is most definitely on the line.


You don't like what you think you like: Bad taste, manipulated choices and the new science of decision-making

Monday, January 19, 2015

The Internet of Things as Metaphor for All of the Things not connected (see link below) had another interesting report on the challenges faced by industry leaders if they are ever to create a truly integrated system of smart devices, whether in the home, or in the larger world of industry.

The problem, of course, is the need to come together and agree on a standard interlink protocol. Not such an easy thing when the majority of industry titans start from the standpoint where what each of them are already doing is the best for everybody else. As the piece points out, it took them 15 years to standardized the use of RFID chips.

What interests me here, however, is not the problem itself, or it's supposed benefits, but what is unintentionally implied in contrast.

The first part of this is found in the quote from Jeremy Rifkin, described as a " and expert in what's been called the emerging smart ecosystem...:" 
"If you want a system to work, it has to be completely distributed — open, transparent, so that anyone can have access..."
And the piece ended the quote by further stating: 
"...But he warned that, despite joining industry-wide groups and coalitions, companies aren't always happy with this idea: "Frankly, every company wants to create a standard and be on the top of codes and regulations..." "

You need only think of Capitalism as an economic operating system to see the unintended irony of Mr. Rifkin's quote here.
A completely distributed--open, and transparent system so that anyone can have access indeed. What a pipe dream for an operating system that, by the inherent constrictions of information control (to maintain not only net gain, but competitive advantage), will never be completely distributed, or open.

Even more telling for me, however, is the emphasis here on the need for things to be connected, as opposed to the vox populi being truly connected. And by connected here I mean to the degree that we might be fully informed, and able to speak for ourselves. Gaining a voice that actually matters in what is decided on what our creative efforts should be tasked to, and how we go about those tasks.

I know, we already have the people internet, and a good deal of connection can happen there but, as the whole "Net Neutrality" issue illustrates, it really isn't our network at all. Any more than the information that flows through it is allowed to be what we need to be informed.

The bottom line here is that you risk going to jail if you put information out that you don't own, not to mention losing the link to be connected in the first place. That network connects only to the degree that the providers who paid for it gain more than they give out. And therein lies the rub of a rock and a hard place for those who would hope that their vote might count.


Image: Smart refrigerator

Internet of Things Needs Industry Cooperation to Make It Big

Sunday, January 18, 2015

What Drivel

I guess the main take away here is: What else would you expect from a former member of Clinton's administration.

We need a revolution alright. A revolution in new thinking about how to do social organization in the age of applied information.

What we absolutely do not need is another set of clowns to act their part in the circus we currently call government.

As I have stated many times before, Capitalism is obsolete precisely becomes of applied information. Human skill as commodity in this context is an absurdity. And now that electric information systems have made money and information the same thing, Democracy has been made just as absurd, as information cannot move freely at all any more under the constraints of "net gain."

There is a way to set things up so that we not only govern ourselves, we take full responsibility for the how and what underlying the production of material needs. To start talking about that possibility we first need to accept the obvious. The current operating model doesn't work anymore; just as the original Windows operating system wouldn't work with today's networks and processors. 

It's time to start over and design something new. Something a good deal more beneficial to both the individual, and society as a whole.


It's time for a revolution: Bankrupt policies, historic losses call for new generation of leaders

Climate Change, Extinctions Signal Earth in Danger Zone: Study

In case you haven't been paying attention the link below is provided as a needed slap in the face.

Not only must we recognize that we have to be in "Crises Triage Mode" now, we must also recognize that Capitalism is not, in virtually any way you might want to consider, up to the task of both accepting this reality, or properly prioritizing to begin the needed steps to address it.

Not only is it burdened with the "costs versus profits" mentality, it is also way too weighted in favor of the individual entity, whether that be in the corporate sense of citizen, or the more traditional sense. That, and the ability of such singular points of interest to collect vast accumulations of translation counters, gives them an inordinate amount of potential system wide affect. The ability to initiate the mass movement of people and material to tasks of their choosing, however counter productive to other priorities that movement might be. And even if the majority seeks to curb this behavior, their accumulations, as well as the leverage on livelihoods this translative power insures, can thwart the will of the majority in so many ways; where bending the truth, and/or, indirect economic blackmail, are only a few.

If we were in charge of governing ourselves, as well as responsible for the production of material needs, we could forge a sense of priorities based a great deal more on the will of the majority. It wouldn't be easy to say the least, and it would certainly be argumentative; coming to terms with being directly involved with cooperating with each other, as well as groups of other City States. But the real opportunity would be there to do so a great deal more than it is now.

I urge you to think seriously about this. Whether you are a business person, worker, academic, or part of existing government. Given the direction of how things are going now, do you really believe this system is capable of handling all of the difficulties that are coming? Capable of forging a viable shared vision of what is important in the first place, let alone how to achieve it?

There's a lot riding on this. Doing nothing is just not an option.
2014 Breaks Record for Warmest Year, NOAA and NASA Experts Say

Climate Change, Extinctions Signal Earth in Danger Zone: Study

Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Desirability of Controlling Markets

Contrast is always a good way to gain perspective on a given issue. Take price controls for an example. Proponents of free markets are always quick on the draw to shoot down such ideas when the Government considers weighing in to keep inflation in check.

The situation is quite different, however, when Big Money decides, on its own, in various private meetings, to control the price of your skill as a commodity. And certainly they have more than one tool to accomplished this.

The traditional method of destroying unions so that a skill set can't bargain with the leverage of collective strength is but one. Another is to simply work with other skill consumers to forge agreements to not poach talent from each other; even though you may well be desperate for it. That companies do this despite it's being illegal isn't surprising. That they get caught occasionally certainly is. Which brings me to the report from linked below.

What is also interesting, when you step back and look at the bigger picture, is how the demands for more B1 visas correlates with the general disinterest Big Money has to help support education in the very states they play the "lowest taxing environment" game with. Why pay taxes to create workers who will demand significantly more for the utilization of their skill than those from some third world country? And let's not even begin to talk about the benefits savings that B1 workers can made to endure.

The sad part here is that folks might think that the fine these companies may end up having to pay (big as it may seem to us) for the wage collusion charge is going to stop any further efforts to accomplish more of the same. You might as well be wishing for the ability to poop lumps of gold, in comfortable sizes, as well as on a regular basis.

The other consideration that ought to concern us is the fact that, at some point, even very high end IT development work will be abstracted to various kinds of context intelligent processing systems. Humans then will not be valued for a skill well done, but simply for the cost benefit ratio within the simplest of service tasks. The trick then, of course, will be to see if they can keep these servicers working hard enough to continue supporting a consumptive economy. Who knows, maybe they'll come up with a way to have robots take over that part as well.

Apple, Google, Intel, Adobe Reach New Deal in Employee Poaching Suit

Friday, January 16, 2015

The Real Folly here is Not Seeing the Bigger Picture

 People who have large accumulations of whatever counter you wish to speak of are always going to have a paranoid fixation on the relative value of those counters. The very fact of the size of their steaming piles makes even tiny decreases worth significant sums of perceived wealth. And of course, raising interest rates gives them an automatic pay raise. 

This ought not to be all that surprising. What is surprising, at least to me, is the lack of appreciation of just how much this paranoid fixation becomes a structural aspect of modern economies the more we allow such extreme accumulations in the first place. They are, after all, power accumulations as well and, as such, distort a lot more than just markets.

The real problem here is that the money game has never been very good at balancing the incentive that net gain creates with the bigger picture of what a network of input/output translation nodes require to keep things flowing, as well as growing, without distortions on either the input or output side of each node. And then you add the unbelievable extra complication of electrifying the flow of the primary aspect of input and output, which is, of course, information itself. With that does the balancing act become, for all intents and purposes, impossible.

One can only hope that the so called "serious elites" that Mr. Krugman speaks of here will come to see and accept this fact.


"Utter folly": Paul Krugman warns that Very Serious elites threaten economic recovery