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Author Topic: Occupying Wallstreet  (Read 124788 times)

ChairmanPoo

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Re: Occupying Wallstreet
« Reply #15 on: September 24, 2011, 06:00:25 am »

It's not simple at all. And tbh you use many mighty sounding words, but fail to address Aquizzar's objections. Or, for that matter, say very much at all (right, so, as the means of production improve, the goods get cheaper. That is pretty self evident, and doesnt make it any easier to erradicate money by royal decree. For that matter, it doesn't make jobs redundant either: it requires a lot of work and resourceso improve those means of production in the first place
« Last Edit: September 24, 2011, 06:02:20 am by ChairmanPoo »
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LordBucket

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Re: Occupying Wallstreet
« Reply #16 on: September 24, 2011, 07:11:45 am »

That's just the way things are.

Apply this way of thinking to any topic of your choosing. Would it be condusive to positive change? You asked me in a previous post "what I would propose" and I explained that a change of perception is key. I'll stand by that. So long as people believe "that's just the way things are" well, that's how things will be.

Let's look at an example of how this way of thinking affects a situation: let's say that an auto factory employs 100 asseembly line workers. These workers don't work the assembly line because they enjoy it. They work the assembly line in order to survive. One day, management decides to install robots capable of building cars, then lays off 80 workers they no longer need.

What happens?

Those 80 workers are unhappy. They fear for their survival. Perhaps they stage a protest or organize a strike with all 100 workers. They don't really "want" their jobs in the sense of "wanting" to spend 8 hours doing boring repetetive tasks, but they nevertheless fight to get them back. And let's say they succeed. Management still needs the remaining 20, and without them they can't build cars. So they scrap the plan, hire back all the workers, and everyone's happy, right?

Do you see what's happened here? The work those 80 people were doing was no longer necessary. But because of a perception that work is desireable, action was taken to give people work.

Now let's consider another scenario. One in which work is also not required, but is more socially accepted. A husband and wife. The husband works, the wife does not.  It's not necessary for the wife to work, so she doesn't. There's no fear or anger. She's not organizing strikes or demanding work from anyone. There's no need for her to work, she doesn't, end of story. There's no benefit to creating a job for her to do. Creating jobs for the sake of creating jobs is not a desireable goal. You see that in the case of the husband and wife. Why do you not see it in the case of the factory workers?

Magnify this perception over the whole of society. How many people work 8 hours a day in an office to do 4 hours worth of paperwork? How many city planners carefully design cities to provide an abundance of work relative to population? How many products are designed with planned obsolescence to require consumers to continually purchase replacements, therefore requiring people to work to build those products and work for money to buy them? How much political and economic policy is acted upon specifically for the purpose of creating jobs? Do your own google searches to answer that last one.

When our mindset is one of "creating jobs" because we think that having jobs is good, it should come as no surprise if we succeed in creating lots of jobs.

What if our mindset were instead one of seeking to eliminate as many jobs as possible while still maintaining a pleasing society? Do you think we might have some measure of success?

Why is that not our goal?

Fenrir

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Re: Occupying Wallstreet
« Reply #17 on: September 24, 2011, 07:33:15 am »

Simple question, LordBucket — you confess that people take jobs to survive, so what would you have unemployed people do?
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Errol

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Re: Occupying Wallstreet
« Reply #18 on: September 24, 2011, 07:46:43 am »

Assuming a society based on eliminating as many jobs as it can, less and less workers actually work, which leads to less and less tax income which needs to be spent on more and more unemployed people. The state's wealth and capacity to do stuff goes down while the corporation's wealth rises. Elimination of jobs due to advances in automatization is how captialism works, and this mainly hits people with little education. This is the crucial thing.
The more educated the people are, the more likely they are to actually find a job. Increased education investments will actually pay off for the state as payments for unemployed people will be reduced and more income tax will be paid. The problem is that it takes a long time to pay off, and you will probably not get re-elected if you spend less on tax cuts and other short-term stuff and more on long-time investments like education. That's the fault of the system, you are always eyeing the popularity polls.
Also consider the point that some people actually like to work, have fun on their job, because they do what they want to do. Work is also fulfilling, not just modern slavery.
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sluissa

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Re: Occupying Wallstreet
« Reply #19 on: September 24, 2011, 07:47:59 am »

@LordBucket

I want to agree with some of your points, but you're coming off as very extremist and really, when you say things like "do you own google searches to answer that" you come off as a lazy demagogue who doesn't do research before spouting off ideas.

I'm not saying your ideas are all entirely bad. I do think our system is flawed. But work is not inherently bad.
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ChairmanPoo

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Re: Occupying Wallstreet
« Reply #20 on: September 24, 2011, 07:59:20 am »

The thing about this degrowth movement is that by dismantling the economy we'd have to sacrifice a lot of things which are, in my opinion, necessary to have a relatively pleasant society in the first place. At the same time, I find the idea bizarre even at a personal level: even if this was done without (somehow) hurting fundamental sectors, it's still basically a call for... what? Live off welfare en masse? Also, Fenrir raises a good point, chances are that people would end up mounting business in their newly created "spare time", as human beings are driven to produce by default.


We had Serge Latouche (one of the chief ideologues of degrowth) give a conference at our university some months ago. I was not persuaded
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LordBucket

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Re: Occupying Wallstreet
« Reply #21 on: September 24, 2011, 08:03:21 am »

Quote
Simple question, LordBucket — you confess that people take
jobs to survive, so what would you have unemployed people do?

I would have them attempt to be aware of and understand the system. That's the first step. For many people it's not practical to dream of utopia, quit their job and expect everything to magically be ok. I acknowledge that. But where we are now is the result of hundreds of years spent building a society to function this way. It could have been otherwise, and it still can.

“Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them."


So now that I've answered your question, I ask you to answer mine from the post before yours:

"What if our mindset were instead one of seeking to eliminate as many jobs as possible while
still maintaining a pleasing society? Do you think we might have some measure of success?

Why is that not our goal?
"

ChairmanPoo

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Re: Occupying Wallstreet
« Reply #22 on: September 24, 2011, 08:04:59 am »

That's not an answer to his question. That's an artful dodge
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Fenrir

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Re: Occupying Wallstreet
« Reply #23 on: September 24, 2011, 08:09:43 am »

Quote
Simple question, LordBucket — you confess that people take
jobs to survive, so what would you have unemployed people do?

I would have them attempt to be aware of and understand the system.

Not an answer. “Survive” is the key part of the question. A lack of a job means a lack of money, and a lack of money means a lack of food, so, unless your plan involves the starvation of millions while everyone is “degrowthing”, I am asking you just what unemployed people are supposed to do.

I want this critical point answered, so I shall refrain from answering your question until after you answer mine.
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LordBucket

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Re: Occupying Wallstreet
« Reply #24 on: September 24, 2011, 08:17:10 am »

I shall refrain from answering your question until after you answer mine.

I asked a question at 05:11:45 am

It was ignored, and responded to with a question directed to me at 05:33:15 am.

I responded at 06:03:21 am, and pointed out that still nobody had answered my question.

At 06:04:59 ChairmanPoo still does not answer the question I asked 5:33, and again at 6:03...and yet accuses me of dodging.

At 06:09:43 am Fenrir insists that I answer his question first, despite me having been the first to ask a question and the only one to attempt to answer a question given.


ChairmanPoo

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Re: Occupying Wallstreet
« Reply #25 on: September 24, 2011, 08:29:01 am »

You keep dodging questions and then trying to shift the burden onto us. I don't know if you're doing this delliberatedly or are unaware. But it's not helping your case.
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Fenrir

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Re: Occupying Wallstreet
« Reply #26 on: September 24, 2011, 08:30:15 am »

Fine.

What if our mindset were instead one of seeking to eliminate as many jobs as possible while still maintaining a pleasing society?

We would be eliminating the source of subsistence for millions of people. That does not sound particularly pleasing.

Do you think we might have some measure of success?

I would not know.

Why is that not our goal?

I would surmise that people like jobs.
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LordBucket

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Re: Occupying Wallstreet
« Reply #27 on: September 24, 2011, 09:32:57 am »

I would surmise that people like jobs.

If that were true, that would validate much that goes on. If people genuinely want to work, genuinely want to occupy their time making money for other people, genuinely want to do things like sort mail and operate cash registers and wait tables...if people genuinely want these things for themselves, I have no problem with that. I might not understand it, but others have asked me why I've spent hundreds of hours programming open source materials and other things I've done. So, to each as they choose.

But I'm skeptical that all of these people doing these things they're being paid for would choose to continue doing them if they weren't getting paid and didn't need the money.

Quote
I want this critical point answered

You're focusing on the trees, ignoring the forest. At no point in this thread have I advised people to quit their jobs and forage for food in the woods. At no point have I suggested that people without food or money should scream principals and demand that others feed them.

I entered this thread by discussing the nature of money and pointing out class differences in how work is perceived. I responded to Aqizzar further developing those same ideas. And my post before you asked me your question  was focused mostly on perception.

I've pretty consistently been promoting a change of worldview rather than a particular course of action as some magic elixir to fix everything tomorrow by sundown. Many of the things I'm suggesting might not be practical as society is right now any more than the idea of traveling from LA to New York in a few hours was practical before airplanes were invented. But to suggest that what I propose is not possible is just as silly as suggesting that flight is impossible. You probably don't go instantly from having no planes to suddenly having 200 foot long passenger jets, but if you refuse to even consider the possibility of flight, you're unlikely to get them at all.

The first step is to mentally conceive the desired goal.

Quote
what would you have unemployed people do?

I'd have them do whatever they feel they need to do given their particular circumstances. If that means getting a job to survive, so be it. But for both the employed who don't want to be and unemployed who want to be, I'd heartily encourage both to mentally conceive the sort of life, lifestyle and society they'd like to have.

Imagine...just humor me...a fantastic scenario where, let's say star trek style matter replicators were invented tomorrow, and somebody uploads plans to the internet. A couple dozen hobbyists download the plans, build the machines, and then use them to replicate more replicators and start passing them out to neighbors. In months our entire economy would be irrelevant. Anyone could, at the push of a button, make anything they wanted. The only things of value would be things like ideas, art, replicator "recipes" and electricity to power the things. The sum total of "work" required to maintain a functioning society would be however much work was required to generate power, maintain roads and keep the internet working. That's pretty much it. There would be plenty of hobbyists interested in keeping the internet running, just for fun. And it would be reasonable to suggest that a few thousand volunteers at a time could be rotated out to maintain power and roads. Maybe you'd see posts on craigslist looking for people to spend a wednesday night replicating road repairs, followed by pizza and beer.

In this scenario, the amount of work being done is drastically reduced. Taxes, banks, money, cashiers, accountants, salesmen...so many things would be irrelevant. But this would come with no significant loss of quality of life. Probably there'd be a massive improvement to it. Looking at this extreme a scenario it's very easy to see how work could be massively reduced with no loss of quality of life.

Looking at a less ambitious scenario, think about when dishwashers were invented. The amount of time spent washing dishes decreased. And presumably the amount of time and energy spent working to make enough money to buy a dishwasher was also less than the amount of time and effort spent washing dishes. There was an overall reduction of workload without loss of quality of life.

I propose that this very same concept could be applied...more.

But we, as a whole society, just aren't thinking that way. When labor saving possibilities manifest, too many people people perceive them as bad because they eliminate the workload. We perceive "work" as a good thing. I propose that it is not.

Yes, I acknowledge that there is potential for awkwardness during transition. When robots replace factory workers, suddenly those factory workers don't have money to buy food. That's a problem. But keeping people working jobs that are technologically irrelevant is not a good solution.

This is why rather than suggesting a singular course of action, throughout this thread I've been promoting a change of worldview. Because once we as a society realize how much we do is unnecessary, it will make each step of the transition that much easier.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2011, 09:49:06 am by LordBucket »
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alway

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Re: Occupying Wallstreet
« Reply #28 on: September 24, 2011, 09:50:32 am »

As far as the claims of 'media aren't covering it,' those are false. I've seen stories about it on msnbc and cnn's websites, at one point it even made it to one of the top headlines of the msnbc web page. Sure, it isn't getting round the clock coverage or anything, but it's something like 200 (with the peak at only a couple thousand) people or less last I checked; it isn't exactly some big event at this point. Quite honestly, the event was an abject failure; if anything, it's been given more media coverage than the numbers deserved.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44615732
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RedKing

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Re: Occupying Wallstreet
« Reply #29 on: September 24, 2011, 10:03:37 am »

As far as the claims of 'media aren't covering it,' those are false. I've seen stories about it on msnbc and cnn's websites, at one point it even made it to one of the top headlines of the msnbc web page. Sure, it isn't getting round the clock coverage or anything, but it's something like 200 (with the peak at only a couple thousand) people or less last I checked; it isn't exactly some big event at this point. Quite honestly, the event was an abject failure; if anything, it's been given more media coverage than the numbers deserved.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44615732
Agreed. And from what I've seen of the self-publicity...I'm underwhelmed.
'Police brutality' = "Hey, the cops shoved us when we wouldn't get off the sidewalk after they said we couldn't block the sidewalk!"

One could almost hear the anarcho-sychronous communist from Holy Grail shouting, "Help! Help! I'm being repressed!"  ::)

I'm sure some will take issue with my dismissal of this, but when you see Syrians who are going out every week and protesting knowing full well that some of them are going to be machine-gunned to death....being shoved by a cop just kinda loses its impact. These aren't the protests of the 60's, they're not even the Battle of Seattle.
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