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  1. #31
    Striving for balance Little Linguist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peguy View Post
    LOL!!!!!!! British humor!!! ftw

  2. #32
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bamboo View Post
    People who are unemployed and untrained are more likely to feel like they can't cope with daily life. Of course that makes sense.

    But I don't think you should be vengeful toward people who say "they can't cope."
    I think it depends on the root causes. Is it a true rise in people unable to cope? Sometimes we see things that aren't there... crime rates are lower now, but people are more concerned. Why? It could be any number of reasons, but I think of rate of change (technology/jobs), security (jobs/family/community) or prospects (declining QOL/etc) as the major factors. There are lots of other possibilities!

    It can also be group-think, in which case tolerance is not the best solution. Sometimes it really is a matter of "doing something" rather than "nothing"; rather like how depression feeds itself and non-clinical depression is best solved by very simple actions/lifestyle changes.

    It says something if there are a large number of people are out there unable to cope with their daily lives. I wouldn't describe "getting angry" at your situation as a very good coping mechanism, though it's outwardly directed nature may improve the possibility that you'll find opportunity and engage rather than disengage from a situation.

    I believe that confidence comes from having a sense that you are capable, not that having confidence will make you capable. When people feel like they can't cope, the problem isn't confidence, it's about skills.

    The first step is engagement, whether you feel like you are capable or not.
    I agree with you. I believe the three causes I listed above are the primary (and interactive) causes; most of what we observe and talk about come from them and are secondary.

    The largest one is that the rate of change over the last few decades is beyond our ability to handle. Generation gap here isn't just social. My parents can barely cook in a modern home, or operate things I take for granted (VCR jokes here... VCRs?!) and even though I'm a tech person, I can't keep up with the next generation. The generation gap is only a few years now - a few years between tablets/smart phones and flip phones, for instance. This gives us no real anchor. As you say, not capable, not confident... scared.

    Stability is definitely declining. Family units and community aren't the same, which decreases our support network dramatically. We tend to feel alone. Jobs, which previously could bring meaning, are unstable and often unsettling. It's also very competitive because of the rate of change. Even states are unable to do it "securely", and they are probably the best bet these days (corporate pensions, for instance... not so great).

    Lastly, the current generation is one of the few that has not seen a significant improvement in accessibility of QOL. It's not that things have gotten worse, it's that they themselves are at the tale end of a labour glut.

    ---

    My opinion is that we are entering a new era of hyper-abundance, to the point where we really don't need a lot of the population to work to maintain or improve our standard of living. The issue with how things are set up right now is that if you don't produce, you can't consume - it has a direct linear correlation. However, we are reaching the point where the value of free time exceeds the value of work, and producers are constrained by marginal utility - better to have 1 40h person than 10 4h people in all cases. It's almost worth it for me to work 1yr on, 1yr off now; but that 1 yr off makes you virtually unemployable. It's a transition stage, IMO. The real impact that this has won't be there till the majority of the population reaches into the current high for GDP/Capita... meaning, Asia needs to reach that point. It'd be physically impossible to house the items we produce ATM if everyone was able to afford like western civilization does right now.

    The problem is that we assume that consumption is what drives us/makes us happy, when it is largely purpose, meaning and social connections. We would likely be extremely happy if we could pull back our hours and have the infrastructure/density to make the other things that matter available.

    It's not a new concept. City planning and other such things are taking note. Major cities are densifying, hours are being reduced, livable cities are a major factor... you see the impact in (Northern) Europe and some other places. It's a social change, though, and hard to understand if you live in a more driven culture (like NA, or western Europe).

  3. #33
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptgatsby View Post
    I think it depends on the root causes. Is it a true rise in people unable to cope? Sometimes we see things that aren't there... crime rates are lower now, but people are more concerned. Why? It could be any number of reasons, but I think of rate of change (technology/jobs), security (jobs/family/community) or prospects (declining QOL/etc) as the major factors. There are lots of other possibilities!

    It can also be group-think, in which case tolerance is not the best solution. Sometimes it really is a matter of "doing something" rather than "nothing"; rather like how depression feeds itself and non-clinical depression is best solved by very simple actions/lifestyle changes.
    The risk with identifying people who are unable to cope is whether or not doing so and then the response will only enable this state, cause it to spread, popularise it rather than contain it and roll it back. A lot of the inability to cope is pathetic, at least in its genesis, it really is what victorians refered to as "perishers" or those that would or deserve to perish. Although what that can become is anything but pathetic, its ugly and scary, the involves not just destitution but destructiveness and not just deprivation but depravity.

    I agree with you points about the changes in the relationship between consumption and production attendent upon super abundance, its largely forgotten but there's one reading of Marx's theorising that the only real change towards socialism or communism or some post-capitalist state will follow a state of superabundance. The idea being that the transition from frustrated consumer to frustrated producer, some sort of work as art and self-actualisation, which Marx felt was the preserve of a few, denied to the many by class struggles, would be open to all at that point.

    The thing about this is that who knows perhaps Marx's version of superabundance would already have been reached you know? He was writting in a dramatically different era and most of this list of demands, a propaganda tool I'm sure, in the communist manifesto have been met by welfare capitalism and liberal democracies.

    The other thing is that being rather than consuming IS in the process of being commercialised and commodified, the so called "experience economy" is part of it. Leisure time is vital to capitalism in a way it never was before.

  4. #34
    Member Folderol's Avatar
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    I think there are simply too many people in the world. There's never going to be enough jobs for everybody, especially as we turn to more automated processes due to technology advancements. Resources all have limits.

    I do really agree with the skill thing though. The cost of education and the unpredicatability of a degree being useful in the end (or not) is a huge factor in confidence, especially my own. Lots of people would like to be serious about work but simply don't have the money to go to school and/or cannot live life on a on a wing and a prayer (paying tons of money for college with no guarantee that it will be nothing more than a waste of time and debt).

  5. #35
    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    What we've done, as a working class family, is assumed that wages will continue to stagnate and drop and that intermittent periods of unemployment will be the norm.

    As such, we've let the house we used to have go back to the bank and have bought a very cheap house outright with our last tax refund (it was an unusually large refund, in part due to crappy stuff happening).

    The cheap house needed wiring and plumbing and we did most of that ourselves. It will need a roof and a heating system in very near future, so the next few tax refunds will go toward those projects. Once those are done, we'll have a house with new wiring, new plumbing, new roof, and new heating system, which, hopefully be cheap to run and totally paid for.

    The house is small by US standards for a family of six, but we are a peaceable bunch, so we're managing. The house is also close to the center of our mid-sized town, about a mile and a half from the nearest grocery store, less than a mile to the public library, twenty minutes from the university campus on foot, and a couple of blocks from the bus route. Not ideal, but not bad for the midwest.

    We plan to avoid consumer, home, and auto debt as much as humanly possible for the rest of our lives. Our vehicles are getting older, but they are paid off. We don't have cable TV, a land line, or texting or data on our cells and I'm looking for cheaper phone options for a family our size. We haven't cut everything or cut as much as we can, but we're cutting the stuff that doesn't matter as much to us so that we can spend on stuff that does matter to us. We pay extra for nice internet, for example.

    We've put as much as we can afford into our medical savings because for the last several years we have had bad insurance or no insurance and we don't know how long this job will last, so we need to get as much stuff taken care of as possible while the good insurance lasts. I've been trying to buy well-made things so that they will not need to be replaced as often. We've built furniture ourselves instead of buying it pre-made like we would have in the past. Other things we are buying second hand. Stuff like that.

    Anyway, we aren't killing ourselves, but we are expecting and preparing for a rough road ahead and, to some degree, we are dropping out of the consumer thing. We aren't the only ones and it if it is not already doing so, it will impact demand, which will in turn cost more jobs. But anyway, overall, we've had it pretty good so far. My husband's skills are in a crappy-to-work-in industry, but it is in high demand, in part because it's difficult to outsource and minorities tend to not like doing it. His place of employment is only loosely tied to where he lives, so he earns blue state wages and we have a red state cost of living. It could be a lot worse and it is a lot worse for a lot of people. I worry what things will be like for my kids.
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
    ~ John Rogers

  6. #36
    Senior Member wildcat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by whatever View Post
    I generally find surviving and succeeding out of spite to be a good enough motivation... obviously kids these days aren't nearly full enough of piss and vinegar

    on another note (and this applies to certain people I know in real life as well)... sometimes you've got to swallow your pride and work a job that you always thought that you'd never have to work in order to get somewhere... work is work, dream job or not... and you'd be surprised how much better you feel being productive and making some money
    Exactly. It is only the pride of the mothers, anyway. Let them swallow their pride. The daughters should confront their mothers and tell them: I am a working girl. I make my own money.

  7. #37
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    The risk with identifying people who are unable to cope is whether or not doing so and then the response will only enable this state, cause it to spread, popularise it rather than contain it and roll it back.
    There is an important note. You get it a lot of it from republicans (in the US; you also get versions of it in Asia and Europe) in the wrong form. The causes for it are complex and deep, typically, and often structural. It's not a simple problem. However, despite that, the solution is not really sympathy. Too often you get the dichtomy on theses social issues and the actual solutions get overlooked.

    The thing about this is that who knows perhaps Marx's version of superabundance would already have been reached you know?
    I think it has. I mean, a significant amount of the population rents space so that they can store stuff they don't even use. That concept is astounding when you step back to it. However, it's actually the digital era that has moved us to super and hyper abundance. You can take almost any commodity that use to take labour and have it return astronomical value. Anything we write can be distributed to billions of people. A hundred hours of labour into a fanfic can return hundreds of millions of entertainment value. I'm not talking cost, but consumption value.

    That's the end game, in my opinion. At the same time, the value of my "100 hours" is virtually nothing. Probably less than a dollar. That's because everyone else values it so little, because everyone can produce it.

    Contextually, if everyone on the planet wrote for one day and distributed it to everyone else, and each person provided only 1% efficiency, we'd have 857 lifetimes, each, of "entertainment", for every person on the planet. 24/7 consumption. Same goes for music, for instance, and progressively other media.

    Quote Originally Posted by Folderol View Post
    I think there are simply too many people in the world. There's never going to be enough jobs for everybody, especially as we turn to more automated processes due to technology advancements. Resources all have limits.
    Strictly speaking, more people is better because it creates more demand, which creates more jobs. And with more people, more niches and assuming we densify instead of sprawl, better urban centers. The too many people is largely a myth - we could probably support ten times what we have now, possibly a great deal more. It'd change resource allocation though, for sure, but resources aren't actually limit-bound. It's just more efficient to thrown things in a pile rather than recycle... so far.

  8. #38
    Member Folderol's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptgatsby View Post
    Strictly speaking, more people is better because it creates more demand, which creates more jobs.
    The resource I meant was the amount of jobs available. So much easier to NOT have sheer volumes to worry about. Yeah, it would create more demand, but a perfect world IMO would have more diversity in jobs for citizens than huge chunks of the population working at recycling centers.

    Quote Originally Posted by ptgatsby View Post
    The too many people is largely a myth - we could probably support ten times what we have now, possibly a great deal more. It'd change resource allocation though, for sure, but resources aren't actually limit-bound. It's just more efficient to thrown things in a pile rather than recycle... so far.
    Do you have any sources to back that up? I would like to see the specifics if you have them. And when I said that statement, I was assuming our current course, without the mass recycling. I do know about the law of conservation of mass.

  9. #39
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Folderol View Post
    The resource I meant was the amount of jobs available. So much easier to NOT have sheer volumes to worry about. Yeah, it would create more demand, but a perfect world IMO would have more diversity in jobs for citizens than huge chunks of the population working at recycling centers.
    The issue is that jobs are not "resources", and not used up. Consumption and Production are two sides of a coin. Jobs would tier out about the same, although there would be even more specific (diverse?) niche jobs that are possible with more people.

    (Of course, I'm saying that in a thread where I talk about hyper-abundance, which breaks that model, heh).

    Do you have any sources to back that up? I would like to see the specifics if you have them. And when I said that statement, I was assuming our current course, without the mass recycling. I do know about the law of conservation of mass.
    Source wars on this would go badly. Here's a good summary of various claims . The answer is "we don't know", and "it depends". The fundamental assumption is on consumption of resources. What is certain is that we can't consume the way Western culture does indefinitely. There is a good argument for a sub-20 billion cap based on available energy (solar and wind).All of the conclusions are fundamentally based on technology and consumption models, both of which are subjective. You can get artificially low numbers (using pre-industrial/no fossil/no energy production) to ridiculously high (total conversion with only energy consumption). A good example of this is water - it's viewed as a limited resource, but it's not really. You just have a demanding cost curve (going into desalination, etc.) Energy is the same, as is food. Food is one of those things that gets a lot of attention, but vertical farming in cities combined with a closed resource loop for fertilizer is feasible, it's just expensive.

    In any case, I'm not really sure I can support a specific high number; I disagree with almost all of the research in this area, high and low. I guess what I'd actually be arguing is that we know the "sustainability" number; we really have no idea, and it's a moving target.

  10. #40
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptgatsby View Post
    There is an important note. You get it a lot of it from republicans (in the US; you also get versions of it in Asia and Europe) in the wrong form. The causes for it are complex and deep, typically, and often structural. It's not a simple problem. However, despite that, the solution is not really sympathy. Too often you get the dichtomy on theses social issues and the actual solutions get overlooked.
    I hate the way this is handled as a partisan issue, I'm a socialist and even favour some of the aspects of the welfare state but I dont support a lot of the benefits system as it is now because the reciprocal aspects of the "gift relationships" involved in it has disappeared, I knew that the first time I heard people talking about going to get their "pay" or getting "paid" when they were talking about unemployment benefits.



    I think it has. I mean, a significant amount of the population rents space so that they can store stuff they don't even use. That concept is astounding when you step back to it. However, it's actually the digital era that has moved us to super and hyper abundance. You can take almost any commodity that use to take labour and have it return astronomical value. Anything we write can be distributed to billions of people. A hundred hours of labour into a fanfic can return hundreds of millions of entertainment value. I'm not talking cost, but consumption value.

    That's the end game, in my opinion. At the same time, the value of my "100 hours" is virtually nothing. Probably less than a dollar. That's because everyone else values it so little, because everyone can produce it.
    I agree with you that there's much more productive potential and consumer opportunity but I do think there's problems, I think you're indicating them too, in that the exchange relationships have changed, people want to consume "for free" but dont always produce "for free" or at no expense, even on websites which are free of charge its usually your information which is for sale, there's some way that traditional exchange exists uncredited and most of the free exchange which the digital age permits is just waiting for its chance to morph into something more traditional. Fan Fict turning into fifty shades of grey is one example.

    Strictly speaking, more people is better because it creates more demand, which creates more jobs. And with more people, more niches and assuming we densify instead of sprawl, better urban centers. The too many people is largely a myth - we could probably support ten times what we have now, possibly a great deal more. It'd change resource allocation though, for sure, but resources aren't actually limit-bound. It's just more efficient to thrown things in a pile rather than recycle... so far.
    I agree with that the malthusian thinking of too many people is culturally specific, the sort of dense population and confined by contented dwelling which exists in Japan or Asia can be contrasted with the angry defence of space in the western world, the terror of the slums and shanty town sprawl which feeds that sort of thinking is a form of class struggle too.

    A lot of people miss the idea that while people may not be needed as producers they will be needed as consumers.

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