Author Topic: bedtime story  (Read 10513 times)

Brad

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Re: bedtime story
« Reply #15 on: July 24, 2014, 11:37:29 AM »
There is work and there is hard labor.  In historical times, physical labor was hard, there were no machines, and just keeping house was hard work.  If you were rich enough you might have servants do the hard work for you.  Farm labor, without electricity and machines was back breaking and not all that rewarding.  During the industrial revolution, people flocked to the cities and factory jobs which seemed easier than farming.

Today we work, but few people do the kind of hard labor that was done 100, 150, 200 years ago.  Today we move columns of numbers around electronic spreadsheets, or move paper from our inbox to our outbox, its work but not hard physical labor.

Rupert

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Re: bedtime story
« Reply #16 on: July 24, 2014, 11:49:03 AM »
Good distinction that Brad.

i do think it would be a nice job though in the one man factory.  I like dogs.  It would be company
... Make sure you live before you die.

ergophobe

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Re: bedtime story
« Reply #17 on: July 24, 2014, 02:49:52 PM »
All points well taken, most of which I agree with.

There are two separate issues - the assertions about the past and the assertions about the future.

To say "people work more today than ever" is testable. We have data and that assertion is not supported. Nor is the assertion that we have less leisure than ever. But neither would the assertion that people in industrial economies today work less than ever, which is also testable and false. As for the seasons of agriculture, that depends on the time and place. As the home wool industry spread and inflation set in during the sixteenth century in particular, peasants many places found themselves compelled to weave in the down times to make ends meet, as just one example. The book whose title I can't remember was written partly to dispell the notion of the easy winter of the 18th-century peasant.

In terms of counting childcare and so forth, it's common to do so because if you don't you distort the entire household work picture dramatically once you include women in your calculations.

Then there are the assertions about the future, which are not testable and seem mostly far-fetched in this article. In the 1930s John Maynard Keynes posited that the grandchildren of his generation (so roughly speaking, us or for some of you, your parents) would have a work week of only a few hours and mostly live a life of leisure.

So respected economists and thinkers have been making the same prediction as the article author since at least 1930 and yet last I checked nobody considers a 10-hour work week to be "full time." So basically I think the article is likely to be BS from start to finish.

That said, I can't help but think we'd be better off with fewer iPhones and fewer work hours, but historically we've chosen to reduce work slightly and increase material conditions dramatically. It is possible that we will reach a point where we decide we don't need to increase our material wealth and we just want to reduce the amount of work, but there will always be people who will want to work 80 hours a week for as much as they can get and most people will probably always want to allocate a substantial portion of their day to having a handful of luxuries. Pretty much as Rupert said.

rcjordan

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Re: bedtime story
« Reply #18 on: July 24, 2014, 04:35:12 PM »
> isnt it a case of where and when you compare it from

I feel like this is a 1st-world perspective ...sort of like a gated community saying "We don't have much crime in our town."

Ergo's references don't match up  (sorta) with my readings on the changes in work & home life brought on by the development of good artificial light sources.  I'd think that running his pacific rim sweatshops 24/7 would have been very difficult for NFFC just a few generations ago.

Brad

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Re: bedtime story
« Reply #19 on: July 24, 2014, 05:17:02 PM »
I once read about how the US Depression Era, Rural Electrification Program changed farming and rural living.  Until farms got electricity most work was a sunup to sundown activity because of the need to see.  Electric lights changed that, but it went beyond lights.

Suddenly you could pump water on demand with electric motors, electric tools made repairs faster, fans could be set up to move air through animal buildings and reduce deaths from heat, in the home vacuum cleaners worked, electric hot water heaters and more.

But it effected more than just work. Electricity paved the way for radio which made the world a little smaller, light - good strong light to read and learn by, safety because electric lights are far safer than lighting with glorified Molotov cocktails which is what oil lamps were.

Electricity liberated rural America from a nintenth century existence.

My point is we often take for granted how much one technological improvement can mean.


&



>1st world

Sad to say but life is cheap outside of the First World.

rcjordan

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Re: bedtime story
« Reply #20 on: July 24, 2014, 09:05:14 PM »
First of all, I should say that Ergo is still winning this debate because he's providing sources while I'm just blowing smoke out my a##.

>effected more than just work

Search on circadian rhythm and second sleep. It's amazing just how much lighting has changed our lives.

ergophobe

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Re: bedtime story
« Reply #21 on: July 24, 2014, 10:25:21 PM »
>>Ergo is still winning this debate

Bah! Don't care about winning per se. My nickname should be your first clue that it's a topic near and dear to my heart, but I'm not invested in it one way or the other. I'm curious about the topic and if you have good sources that contradict mine, I would be genuinely curious. I don't care if what I said above "wins" or not, just presenting the info I have at hand. 

There is a very prevalent idea oft repeated in the media that people work more today than ever and I have never found good support for it and from what I've read the time diary studies are the best and they often belie other claims. Electric lighting has dramatically changed our circadian rhythms and people most definitely sleep less. We may even has less "unprogrammed" time, but much of our unprogrammed time is not "work" per se.

I just got off on this as a sideline from the original article projecting tiny amounts of work in the future, which has been predicted over and over again, like many of his predictions. Just like people have predicted impending disaster over and over again.

Personally, I'm betting on a very difficult period of serious dislocation over the next couple of hundred years followed by a new takeoff that nevertheless falls short of the Polyanna ideas in the article.


>>"we often take for granted how much one technological improvement can mean"

Matches. Dramatically changed the lives of women in rural society, mostly for the worse.

>>second sleep
It was actually fairly common for people who could afford candles and who weren't clergy to get up and work for a couple hours between first and second sleep in the winter (in summer Matins would ring near dawn and be followed straight on by Lauds, but in winter Matins would ring around midnight and people might stay awake for a couple of hours).

rcjordan

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Re: bedtime story
« Reply #22 on: July 24, 2014, 10:49:12 PM »
>candles

And, for those who couldn't afford them; sex.  The average folk were sleeping in family-style bedding areas.

>tiny amounts of work

Oh, I agree that the average person is going to work far less. The difference between the polyanna views and mine is that I don't think they're going to get PAiD for the time off.


ergophobe

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Re: bedtime story
« Reply #23 on: August 03, 2014, 08:08:22 PM »
the difference between the polyanna views and mine is that I don't think they're going to get PAiD for the time off.

Didn't you get the memo? In the future everything will be free ;-)

rcjordan

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Re: bedtime story
« Reply #24 on: August 03, 2014, 09:27:09 PM »
>In the future everything will be free

Hhh, and how do we meld that concept with an increasingly capitalist world?

>don't think they're going to get PAiD for the time off.

Really, there's the crux of it.

ergophobe

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Re: bedtime story
« Reply #25 on: August 04, 2014, 12:44:22 AM »
>In the future everything will be free

Hhh, and how do we meld that concept with an increasingly capitalist world?

Don't ask me. I don't believe it for a second... I'm just poking fun at certain polyannish pundits. I'd say in this regard I'm in your camp.

rcjordan

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Re: bedtime story
« Reply #26 on: August 07, 2014, 03:34:44 PM »
Articles on this general subject are starting to pop up a lot in my reading sources.  The Great Recession and the on-going jobless recovery (mostly the jobless recovery combined with a period of extraordinary & relatively inexpensive tech advances) are going to make this a hot subject for a good while.  My own -biased- view is that the pollyannas are losing their optimism which did have supporting data from the past centuries of the Electro-Mechanical Industrial Revolution.

“Automation is Voldemort: the terrifying force nobody is willing to name,” declared one respondent quoted in the Pew report. “Good-paying jobs will be increasingly scarce,” said another, NASA program manager Mark Nall. “I’m not sure that jobs will disappear altogether,” allowed Justin Reich of Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, “but the jobs that are left will be lower paying and less secure than those that exist now.”


http://www.pewinternet.org/2014/08/06/future-of-jobs/
Expert opinion survey in which the researchers asked 1,900 economists, management scientists, industry analysts, and policy thinkers one big question: “Will networked, automated, artificial intelligence applications and robotic devices have displaced more jobs than they have created by 2025?”48 percent  predicted that intelligent software will disrupt more jobs than it can replace.

Gleaned from Slate article
http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2014/08/the_new_luddites_what_if_automation_is_a_job_killer_after_all.html


nffc

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Re: bedtime story
« Reply #27 on: August 07, 2014, 04:16:28 PM »
>displaced more jobs than they have created by 2025

I think the chances of that are very slim, in the west at least. Too many huge companies/govt staffed by people with a common interest in maintaining the status quo.

I think we are fine for about 20 years. Then we wake up and it's much too late, Asia is already 15 years ahead and uncatchable, only play left is a damn good war like the old days.

littleman

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Re: bedtime story
« Reply #28 on: August 07, 2014, 06:55:22 PM »
Yet another article on the topic:
http://motherboard.vice.com/read/if-schools-dont-change-robots-will-bring-on-a-permanent-underclass-report

>Asia

You guys remember Foxconn announcing that it would replace one million jobs with one million robots?  I think its going to get bad all over and the heavy dependence on manufacturing and huge population may make it harder in Asia than in the West. 

I keep picturing a future where the new-poor of the world go back to subsistence farming.  If it gets that bad living in a place with low population density will be an advantage.  An odd thought, but maybe the people who will be best off will be in rural South America.

littleman

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Re: bedtime story
« Reply #29 on: August 08, 2014, 09:18:50 PM »
I feel I need to explain my perspective a little.  I honestly think that most of the experts are underestimating the effects of automation and I don't think any place on earth and any skill level is going to be immune to the change.  Probably some countries will try to go down a humane path and provide a living base wage like we talked about, but most won't.  So, there is going to be a huge divide between the wealthy who could afford the technology and the poor who can't.  The vast majority of the poor will have no place in a world where the rich have advanced machines doing all the labor.  Even the jobs for skilled labor will be limited.  This is why I see the future-poor having to become self-reliant, feeding and protecting themselves -- basically 21 century homesteaders.

I know it is a particularly dark vision of the future, and I hope I'm wrong.