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Author Topic: MSH Mantles Karl Marx -OR- The Crisis Discussion And Essay Thread  (Read 2884 times)

Glowcat

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Re: MSH Mantles Karl Marx -OR- The Crisis Discussion And Essay Thread
« Reply #30 on: May 17, 2018, 02:57:07 pm »

Theoretically our social structures could start re-orienting our collective functions towards sustainability through radical changes that would limit needless excess, such as capitalistic models of growth and demands such as a daily commute, and focus support for technology development not on "market forces" but rather on impending needs such as finding ways to be more efficient with phosphate (rock) and reduce the need for lingering & destructive imperialist methods by a US/"Western"-centric global hegemony whose only major rival is China...

But good luck with that before the planet-wide societal collapse due to the problems which aren't being dealt with.

Optimistic about the possibilities, pessimistic about the practicalities.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2018, 03:01:17 pm by Glowcat »
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ggamer

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Re: MSH Mantles Karl Marx -OR- The Crisis Discussion And Essay Thread
« Reply #31 on: May 28, 2018, 10:17:10 pm »

I'll try and get some of my thoughts down, then expand on them later if I need to.

Intellectual stagnation: requires complete education reform, on all levels except perhaps higher education (and it's on thin fucking ice). NCLB completely fucking brutalized our nation's education system by shifting focus from teaching students methods to acquire knowledge to teaching them to retain what knowledge is given. It makes them reliant on easy info libraries like wikipedia or twitter, while making them less likely to question information and more likely to insert themselves into echo chambers (this is a long running problem, but it's worse now). GWB fucked our generation and we all knew it, now we're just reaping our due rewards.

Political stagnation: I'm sure most of you veterans around here remember I used to be a diehard conservative, but recent political shifts over the past five years or so have made me sick to fucking death of the republican party (it doesn't help that i'm pretty gay). I've actually started to entertain those conspiracy theories; that 90% of top level politicians are pedophilic hedonists acting as corporate sockpuppets and the rest are scrambling for whatever short term gains they can get.

(As a sidenote: 8 FUCKING YEARS BOYS. You had 8 YEARS of bitching and fucking moaning about every Obama-era policy decision made and you haven't done a single fucking thing! the proposals brought forward for a ACA replacement were so rushed it bordered on the fucking asinine. The sheer amount of stupidity and limp dick-ed bravado it takes to trumpet the return of conservative politics and then bungle a healthcare policy proposal when you had 8 FUCKING YEARS to draft it simply boggles the fucking mind.

AND THEN, you had the sheer utter fucking balls to start clearing house of anybody who saw this shit coming! Replacing competence for blind stupid loyalty and having the absolute fucking audacity to act smug about it! If I have to watch one more fucking stupid "hur dur explosions lets trigger the libs" gop ad for the fucking candidate i've been working for this campaign season i'm going to FUCKING LOSE MY MIND.)

Of course, the democrats are hardly any better, because there absolutely brilliant plan to subsidize the healthcare market is leading to another fucking bubble that's gonna pop and lose all of us a shit zillion dollars. Fantastic.

The cause of this is twofold: draconian laws on the feasability of third parties and aggressive redistricting to favour extremist politics. Dodge a jab to the face to take a bullet to the leg. While in theory i'm sure this was meant to reduce the amount of time spent campaigning to allow for more policy work, in practice it's led to the bloating carcass of a legislative we have right now.

I don't really think i'm qualified to talk about societal ills, beyond the effect our horrid education system has had on them. All I can say is that I don't think you can keep something like this going for so long without the whole shitshow turning into a powder keg.

Ecological collapse? Energy and Resource shortage? There's nothing to say there that hasn't been said. we've seen this coming from miles away and we know exactly what needs to be done to fix it.

Consequences of the great game? Not the Great Game, of course. No, that romanticized period had so much more... style, class, intelligence, competence, dilligence, etc. I'd hardly call the blatant economic imperialism of the PRC, the piss poor attempts at regional policing of the USA, and the, well, just normal imperialism by the RF could be worthy of sharing the name of the capital Great capital Game. It's not a geopolitical battle of wills across multiple continents if one is planning on economically slaving Africa, one is planning on just normally slaving as much as it can, and the last is, just, not really doing much planning at all. It's entirely surface play, because the idiots aren't trying to play each other. There's no game to speak of.

ugh.

Reelya

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Re: MSH Mantles Karl Marx -OR- The Crisis Discussion And Essay Thread
« Reply #32 on: May 28, 2018, 10:50:58 pm »

Quote
Intellectual stagnation: requires complete education reform, on all levels except perhaps higher education (and it's on thin fucking ice). NCLB completely fucking brutalized our nation's education system by shifting focus from teaching students methods to acquire knowledge to teaching them to retain what knowledge is given.

I'd say that's a rosy picture of how things actually worked before NCLB. I'm not sure such an educational utopia ever really existed. Sure, it's not wrong that NCLB is a horrid piece of crap but that's a bit too sweeping of a statement all the same.

Though, I'll making my own sweeping statement, the two big problems with NLCB though are the whole thing - the metric is broken and the feedback is broken. e.g. not all metrics and not all feedback are bad, and there's going to be a scale of best-to-worst in terms of the things you could put in there.

NCLB's core metric is "% of students, who score above 50%". Let me explain how this choice of metric (like any choice of metric) can create perverse and distorted incentives. What if you have a student who routinely scores 60% or greater? How much of your resources should you allocated to them? The answer is "0% of resources". You want to spend your resources on kids getting 40% - 60% only, to make sure they hit or exceed 50%. So all of both encouragement and punishment is aimed at those kids, since that's where the reward is. As long as there's a kid in the 40%-60% percentile they get all your resources, because the < 40% kids are too costly to worry about, and so are the 60%+ kids. Therefore NCLB really ensures that the mediocre 20% of kids in the middle get almost 100% of the teacher's attention, with both smart and stupid kids brushed aside so as to not waste time.

The feedback is also broken, e.g. giving less money to schools that have more low-scoring students, who tend to be from poor backgrounds and have worse nutrition. So you cut their school funding, yay. which is really dumb, because schools with more poor students have their funding cut, and that incentivizes parents to move their better-fed smarter kids to schools with the higher remaining funding, which leads to stratification between schools based on wealth.

e.g. the metric is broken because it doesn't reward overall better teaching methods which raise the entire class average. So that's partly why you're seeing short-sighted teaching methods. It's only those 40-50% scoring kids that they need to "push" over the line here, so they're using the minimal method necessary to do that - rote learning. Those kids who are targeted aren't actually talented enough that they're going to ace the test based on improving their abstract reasoning skills. And the feedback is broken, because the thing they're rewarding them form isn't a good measure of "teacher ability", it's a much better measure of the poverty of the child's background.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2018, 11:00:34 pm by Reelya »
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ggamer

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Re: MSH Mantles Karl Marx -OR- The Crisis Discussion And Essay Thread
« Reply #33 on: May 28, 2018, 10:57:11 pm »


you're right, of course. I meant more to say that's how it should be, rather than how it operated before NCLB

Trekkin

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Re: MSH Mantles Karl Marx -OR- The Crisis Discussion And Essay Thread
« Reply #34 on: May 28, 2018, 11:46:15 pm »

Regarding education, I have to wonder how much people have examined the assumption that the way to make it work better is to have it teach more students more things, or more relevant things, when the kids don't care about them and wouldn't be any more useful to anyone for knowing them. We don't get more biologists by teaching all the kids about cellular biology; instead, we get vapid snark about the mitochondrion being the powerhouse of the cell. Those who do not know their history, but are merely taught it, are doomed to find historical justification for doing anything they like and probably more likely overall to repeat it. Even assuming arguendo that we need more STEM graduates (and we do not, except to drive down salaries), no education system can teach the enthusiasm necessary to produce scientists rather than smartasses, and we will always have more than enough of those.

Children aren't stupid, however convincingly they may pretend to be; they know compulsory education is daycare with more tests and most of them won't ever need anything they're learning because most jobs are make-work intended to put a human face on an effectively robotic operation. That's only going to become more universally true as time goes on. There always have been and always will be a tiny minority of people with the particular sort of mania required to acquire an actually useful education; everyone else will always regard their education and that of their progeny as a waste of time, and I say we take them at their word. If nothing else, it will make the prospect of being educated more appealing by virtue of having to be deliberately sought.

Or, put another way: we already do not, and arguably cannot fairly, require that the students put in more than a token show of effort, let alone get anything out of their education. Why force them to waste their time sitting at a desk texting each other when they could be doing something equally unproductive but far less expensive?
« Last Edit: May 28, 2018, 11:52:28 pm by Trekkin »
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Reelya

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Re: MSH Mantles Karl Marx -OR- The Crisis Discussion And Essay Thread
« Reply #35 on: May 29, 2018, 12:10:50 am »

The forced-learning thing is a current issue in Australia. e.g. it's optional to choose Maths in your two senior highschool years here, and at the end of those two years we have our equivalent of the SATS, which are used for university placement. The current version is called ATAR which is used by most states (it's new because we don't yet have a fully national system: each of the 6 states had their own). The point is, you're graded as a percentile ranking in whichever subjects you choose, so people tend to choose subjects where they have relative advantage. This is actually a pretty good system. If less people do English, then it will be easier to get a high score in English, so more people will be attracted to English, thus the standards required to do well in the English component will rise. e.g. it ensures that people are spread out in the different fields rather than clustering too much, but it also ensures that people play to their strengths, too.

Note, many more girls than boys drop math in their senior years, so some now want to force everyone to do math and the rationale (or "justification" I suspect) is "more women in STEM". And this of course is being pushed by companies who want more graduates, cheaper labor as you said. However, this has serious ideological implication and unforseen consequences.

e.g. consider that the girls who didn't take math are almost certainly the worst girls at math, and that they're choosing other subjects that they are better at. By making the "everyone must do math" rule, it's impinging on the freedom of mostly girls to choose subjects strategically to play to their own strengths. And recently, they've made a big deal that girls are out-performing boys on the ATAR in general, thus they make up greater than 50% of college admissions. e.g. if girls are doing better than boys overall, and they're also the ones most likely to be dropping math, then perhaps forcing girls to use up one of their subject slots on math is only go to impeded girl's overall scores on the ATAR. e.g. that > 50% advantage girls have for college admissions is likely to actually be eroded by the change. Of course, you can't really bring this stuff up, logical as it is because someone who wants the change will loudly say "what? are you saying girls can't do math". nope, i'm saying that girls who dropped math are almost certainly worse at math than girls who didn't drop math, so forcing them to take math will drag girl's ATAR scores down, both individually and as a group.

e.g. it's sort of weird: "girls can totally do math. Well force all girls to do math, then you'll see" seems like it's throwing actual girls and what they want under the bus to prove a point.

https://theconversation.com/study-finds-more-girls-opting-out-of-maths-and-science-12221
Quote
Dr Wilson said education choice was a major contributor to the decline in maths and science participation, with 13.5% of girls choosing to study family and community studies in 2011, a subject that was not on offer in 2001.

“Something’s gone wrong there that you have nearly as much educational value put on community and family studies as you do on maths.”

"... educational choice and quite possibly having too much of it.”

... Holy shit man, "something's gone wrong" in your head when you're valuing everyone doing shittily at maths rather than valuing community and family. Maybe "community and family studies" is relevant to what those girls plan to do with their lives? Being bottom of the class in algebra obviously wasn't doing it for those girls, despite how warm and fuzzy that would make academics feel because of the "participation" numbers.

e.g. girls forced to do math will, as another academic pointed out in the article, just take Basic Maths, aka "maths for dummies" which: doesn't score highly on the ATAR, obviously isn't relevant to what they plan to do, and is of no interest to universities or employers. About 20% of all girls would be forced to take that class, instead of "gone wrong" things like studying to work in childcare or community services.

~~~

e.g. another The Australian (a newspaper, but it's paywalled with no free articles) points out in a headline "Girls outsmart boys in maths and science but are shunning the money spinning subjects" so we should get more girls to do that so that they can outsmart the boys even more, right? Did they ever stop to think that these facts could be related. Maybe the girls who are shunning math and science just happen to be people who are terrible at math and science, thus the remaining girls are above-average, and neither gender is in fact any better? e.g. "Girls outsmart boys in maths and science because so many are shunning the money spinning subjects". Forcing more girls to study that would just erode the apparent advantage while impeding them from doing what they are good at, so it would remove that "girls outsmart boys in maths and science" thing while also eroding the thing where girls outnumber boys in college admissions.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-03-06/girls-opt-out-of-science-and-maths-studies,-report-finds/6286362
Quote
Dr Cathy Foley is the science director of the CSIRO's manufacturing arm and said, while results between boys and girls in maths and science were very similar, young women were opting in greater numbers not to study the subjects. "The report shows that if you look at the testing of girls and boys in maths and science, that there's a small difference, about 3 per cent difference, so let's say they're about equal," she said.

One gender did 3% better than the other on national testing, so lets say they're "about equal"? It's completely obvious that it means boys did 3% better here, because if girls were 3% ahead on anything, that would be a major headline, used as clear evidence that girls are the innately superior gender, not hand-waved away as "about equal". I'm not drawing any conclusions here about who is or is not equal/better/worse, since there are conflicting reports and measures, but the level of blatant confirmation bias on this sort of stuff by the press is staggering.

e.g. from that CSIRO data we can conclude that, overall, boys are doing slightly better than girls on national STEM studies. But it's also clear the girls who drop STEM are the ones who aren't good at it, in comparison to others of their same gender. e.g. "mantadory STEM classes" would mainly act to force girls who are especially shitty at STEM, and don't want to do it, into the STEM classes, which would bring in more low-scoring female students. On a percentile-ranking basis, more low-scoring students would boost everyone else up a notch in the rankings, but overall, male scores would rise the most in relation to the ATAR college admission rankings, since boys are about ~3% ahead in STEM classes already.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2018, 04:22:15 am by Reelya »
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Kagus

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Re: MSH Mantles Karl Marx -OR- The Crisis Discussion And Essay Thread
« Reply #36 on: May 29, 2018, 04:16:12 am »

Even assuming arguendo that we need more STEM graduates (and we do not, except to drive down salaries), no education system can teach the enthusiasm necessary to produce scientists rather than smartasses, and we will always have more than enough of those.
I'd actually kind of disagree. While it certainly won't work on everyone, I do believe that there are systems of education that stimulate and strengthen a child's innate curiosity and desire to learn. Things like the Montessori and Rudolph Steiner schools attempt to do this, with varying results. While each specific program (or interpretation/application of that program) may have their faults, I'm very much of the opinion that early education aimed at developing and expanding a child's capacity for interest is the right course of action.

"Anything is possible, if you put your mind to it", but unless we're lucky on the home front, we're never taught how to put our minds to something. Or even to really want to.

There may not be an exemplary system currently in use that properly teaches enthusiasm (I really wouldn't know), but I do believe it's well within the realm of possibility.

WealthyRadish

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Re: MSH Mantles Karl Marx -OR- The Crisis Discussion And Essay Thread
« Reply #37 on: June 14, 2018, 06:04:29 am »

Lately I've been reading The Fall of the House of Labor, a history of trade unionism and labor conditions in America from 1865 to 1925, and was struck by something relevant to this discussion, particularly regarding modern corporate life.

One of the accounts the author gives in the first pages of the book is of a small union of iron workers during a recession who were holding a meeting to discuss a contract with an iron mill (the minutes taken of the meeting provided the basis for the historian's account). The union had been offered a rate of pay by a mill owner per ton of iron rolled, and the purpose of the meeting was to discuss how this rate of pay per ton would be divided among the workers according to their differing positions. They started by each naming their price, and ultimately some positions were assigned a rate nearly four times what others were to earn, but in the end they worked out their disputes and agreed to accept the contract (and took special care that everybody did agree so that the vote should be unanimous).

Immediately on reading this, I was practically dumbstruck by the contrast between this way of doing things compared to employment today. This specific sort of arrangement wasn't particularly common, and the book goes on to detail the many different arrangements that existed across industries for the employment of skilled labor, but the idea of having a working life of this character in which issues were worked out among your co-workers (held together by common interest and solidarity) seems like a romantic fantasy compared to how all aspects of work today are just imposed by the employer.

Later in the book the author begins to discuss the development of a current among industrialists called "scientific management", which I think offers the clearest break between the first phase of industrial capitalism and the modern working conditions we labor under in modern corporate capitalism. Skilled workers of the type described above would usually work with sometimes great autonomy in a group, performing a variety of tasks and coordinating together to produce a commodity through the use of the owner's capital. The "skill" was not only experience and physical competence, but also knowledge of the production process and the ability to effectively exercise their own judgement independently of oversight. This skill and group coordination remained indispensable to many production processes through the early industrial revolution (even as labor-reducing machines had displaced the traditional mode of production by independent craftsmen) and with it came a greater ability for those workers to bargain for wages and the conditions of their employment. "Scientific management" was developed as a way of essentially appropriating that knowledge and experience of the workers, through the introduction of a new division of labor and organization that broke previously skilled complex tasks with overlapping participants into much simpler repetitive tasks that were directed instead by a management themselves familiar with the process (this sometimes required the creation of new machines, but oftentimes not).

While more skilled and autonomously coordinated groups of workers were more likely to successfully resist attempts by employers to cut pay or impose harsher working conditions (whether they belonged to a union or not), replacing them with unskilled labor that could not only be paid less but could be controlled by a management class aligned with the owners offered obvious potential benefits in cutting costs and worker assertiveness (tendency to strike and demand better working conditions). However, one of the new costs (or rather an existing cost that was exacerbated) that emerged as owners reorganized according to this model was that of turnover. Destroying worker autonomy and creating positions where workers perform the same repetitive task hour after hour day after day resulted in a much greater propensity for workers to skip work or quit. In manufacturing this irregularity creating an assortment of costs, not just including the costs of finding and hiring new workers, but also diminished quantity and quality of work that came from continuously replacing and training inexperienced workers and the additional difficulties caused when workers fail to show up and gaps are created in the "line". These costs were not only more frequently incurred per person, they were actually greater per person, as a skilled worker could usually be easily replaced by another skilled worker (as a class their available employment was constantly being whittled down and the traditional barriers to reaching that status eroded).

One of the ways employers who employed "scientific management" had to lower turnover was to offer higher pay and a shorter workday; Ford famously offered "profit sharing" (relevantly only to workers who stayed at least 6 months) and an eight hour work day before it was commonplace. The drivel one can expect to hear when Ford's praises are sung in a typical school classroom is that he did this so that his workers could afford to buy the cars that he was making, or out of some prototypical "enlightened self-interest", but naturally it is never mentioned that he had a 416% turnover rate from October 1912-13 and a chronically high rate of worker truancy. The work was so mind-numbing, soul-crushing, physically fatiguing, and just generally unpleasant not just in famous cases like Ford's factories but in general under this new form of "scientific management" (where a worker may have 4-8 bosses breathing down their neck, have their actions timed and productivity constantly accessed, and be reduced to something called by Henry George as "less than animal") that these wage increases above the going rate and reduction in the workday were one of the only means available of countering the mounting turnover and truancy costs.

So the improvement in the general material condition of the (unskilled) working class that accompanied the transformation into modern corporate capitalism was at least in part due to the inability for employers to entice workers to such a miserable mode of production without greater compensation above subsistence and the old prevailing rates.

This form of management of course went on conquer nearly every industry, and not just those of an explicitly corporate character. In the course of time, employers have gotten better at lowering turnover and mitigating its effects (i.e. through managing "human resources") while expanding the management structure and further compartmentalizing tasks at all levels. Even non-menial tasks still performed by skilled or educated workers (or the lower managers themselves) are by rule today mindless drudgery, and even though few escapes from this system exist a level of turnover is created simply by people seeking a change of scenery from one form of toil to another. Where possible, employers have also gotten better at shifting the costs of turnover, retraining, and unemployment on either the workers or society at large. Consider for example how the troublesome behaviors of a habitually drunken European ex-peasant freshly arrived in America would conflict with the regime of an assembly line, or how useful our school system proves in breaking children of independent tendencies before their future lives of perpetual subordination.

But what I think is particularly relevant today, what I think helps partially explain that convergence of factors that is keeping wages low and misery high in our modern apogee of corporate capitalism, is that our "advancement" into a service economy has reduced the effect turnover has on our prevailing industries and the prevailing wage rate. Generally in a service gig, someone failing to show up (or the perpetual staff shortages most shops operate under) doesn't directly impinge profits to such a degree that employers find it necessary to offer higher compensation; the quality of service enjoyed by the customer might suffer to some minor degree, which has some intangible indirect effect on profits, but generally a labor shortage in the workplace is only paid for by inflicting even greater misery on those who remain (and without unions, a worker's misery isn't worth much). Whereas in manufacturing, there are all sorts of immediate complications that make the absence of truant workers or a shortage of labor a serious problem, and so tolerable hours and a decent wage have their own rewards.

It's not a comprehensive explanation of our modern condition and trends, certainly, but it's an interesting angle that I had not considered previously and seems understated (despite how often we hear about high turnover, low wages, and low job satisfaction today).
« Last Edit: June 14, 2018, 06:16:42 am by UrbanGiraffe »
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McTraveller

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Re: MSH Mantles Karl Marx -OR- The Crisis Discussion And Essay Thread
« Reply #38 on: June 14, 2018, 06:45:10 am »

Too many ideas floating around in my head on this one... so just take this post as me sticking my head in the room and making my presence known.
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Reelya

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Re: MSH Mantles Karl Marx -OR- The Crisis Discussion And Essay Thread
« Reply #39 on: June 14, 2018, 06:50:35 am »

Don't automatically assume that the model outlined in that book is dead everywhere, just because it is in the USA: Examples:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enterprise_bargaining_agreement

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collective_agreement

redwallzyl

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Re: MSH Mantles Karl Marx -OR- The Crisis Discussion And Essay Thread
« Reply #40 on: June 14, 2018, 06:46:51 pm »

So does anyone else get really annoyed at past injustices by claiming ends justify the means? Especially when it is assumed by the speaker that said means were the only way to get the ends by ignoring the possibility of any other means? Related because this is often used to justify the exploitation of people by capitalism. I hate that.
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martinuzz

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Re: MSH Mantles Karl Marx -OR- The Crisis Discussion And Essay Thread
« Reply #41 on: June 14, 2018, 11:36:43 pm »

Don't automatically assume that the model outlined in that book is dead everywhere, just because it is in the USA: Examples:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enterprise_bargaining_agreement

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collective_agreement
Indeed. Over here, nearly all job sectors have collective agreements.
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Cthulhu

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Re: MSH Mantles Karl Marx -OR- The Crisis Discussion And Essay Thread
« Reply #43 on: June 15, 2018, 09:28:38 pm »

☑ Drastic checks on the fourth branch of government (Eliminate popular vote for presidents is step one. There's a reason we have the electoral college).  Going by my experience teaching, the need for every person to be an informed civic actor is a big chunk of educational bandwidth.  Which leads to 2.

☑ Descope school.  You spend 30-some hours a week for your entire childhood in Kid Prison and going by remedial course rates in college it was all a big waste of time, not even considering that it makes kids go insane.  School shootings aside, basically everyone I've ever known is hindered in some way in their adult life by issues arising from shit that happened in school.

Not sure about the details, but major reform in the general direction of no compulsory education at all. Which leads to 3.

☑ UBI.  Basically a bribe.  Robot-based UBI is basically robots paying to put their senile parents in a home while they wait for the inheritance.  Which brings us to 4

☑ Human extinction and replacement by synthetic life.  All problems go away.  It doesn't matter if the world is fucked because robots don't need a biosphere.

Smash the system. Yeah, I know, advocating violence and all but... how the fuck else? The ultrarich are just too damn entrenched and play the current sociological system like a damn fiddle to remove otherwise. Of course, preventing whomever topples them from just taking their place is also a rather big issue regardless of how you remove this international elite.

Personally I can't wait to use the ensuing chaos to enrich myself on plunder and murder people I don't like with no repercussions.  It's also got the inherent problem of setting precedents.  If you think the only way to win is the helicopter, guess what's gonna happen to you as soon as somebody else is flying it.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2018, 10:08:28 pm by Cthulhu »
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Re: MSH Mantles Karl Marx -OR- The Crisis Discussion And Essay Thread
« Reply #44 on: June 15, 2018, 10:12:18 pm »

Technically humans don't need a biosphere any more than robots do, given the proper technologies.
Doesn't matter if the atmosphere isn't breathable anymore if you don't have lungs anymore.
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