“You rarely find the wealthy, CEOs or celebrities in 1st class anymore; they’ve fled the airlines for private jets & charters. It’s now mostly business travelers & frequent flier upgrade folks. Reduced cash flow forces airlines to chivvy the rest of us for petty fees. The wealthy bypass the cattle car experience of our airports & security checkpoints; otherwise, they’d demand better & we’d all benefit.”—David Brin (via azspot)
Rule 1: Keep them too busy to think. Thinking is dangerous. If people can stop and think about their situation logically, they might realize how crazy things are.
Rule 2: Keep them tired. This is a corollary to keeping them too busy to think. Of course you can’t turn off anyone’s thought processes completely—but you can keep them too tired to do any original thinking. The decision center in the brain tires out just like a muscle, and when it’s exhausted, people start making certain predictable types of logic mistakes. Found a system based on those mistakes, and you’re golden.
Exhaustion is also the perfect defense against any good thinking that might slip through. Fixing the system requires change, and change requires effort, and effort requires energy that just isn’t there. No energy, and your lover’s dangerous epiphany is converted into nothing but a couple of boring fights.
Rule 3: Keep them emotionally involved. Make them love you if you can, or if you’re a company, foster a company culture of extreme loyalty. Otherwise, tie their success to yours, so if you do well, they do well, and if you fail, they fail. If you’re working in an industry where failure isn’t a possibility (the government, utilities), establish a status system where workers do better or worse based on seniority. (This also works in bad relationships if you’re polyamorous.)
Also note that if you set up a system in which personal loyalty and devotion are proof of your lover’s worthiness as a person, you can make people love you. Or at least think they love you. In fact, any combination of intermittent rewards plus too much exhaustion to consider other alternatives will induce people to think they love you, even if they hate you as well.
Rule 4: Reward intermittently. Intermittent gratification is the most addictive kind there is. If you know the lever will always produce a pellet, you’ll push it only as often as you need a pellet. If you know it never produces a pellet, you’ll stop pushing. But if the lever sometimes produces a pellet and sometimes doesn’t, you’ll keep pushing forever, even if you have more than enough pellets (because what if there’s a dry run and you have no pellets at all?). It’s the motivation behind gambling, collectible cards, most video games, the Internet itself, and relationships with crazy people.
So much of America’s economic activity takes place on faraway shores, from call centers in Mumbai to sweatshops in Shanghai. Still, you’d think that making a baby would be one job that’s hard to offshore. But today, for a fee, a woman in another country can serve as a “gestational surrogate,” carrying a fertilized egg to term and then delivering the baby straight to your door, halfway around the world. We’re not used to talking about that kind of labor as an outsourced job. But farmed-out childbirth has become a full-fledged industry in India, turning the rural poor into wombs for hire.
The practice has become increasingly common with new advancements in in-vitro fertilization. The efficiency of the technology raises ethical, legal andcultural questions about the meaning of parentage.
Like Autotune and drone warfare, the transaction might feel disturbingly mechanized: someone, an infertile couple, for example, creates an embryo in a lab, ships it abroad for gestation in a stranger’s body, then takes possession again after birth. But in a consensual financial arrangement, what’s the big deal, really? There’s less (but still some) stigma surrounding child care services, though that also involves contracting out the duties of motherhood.
“Don’t be evil” is a glib corporate tagline for Google but it doesn’t get to the heart of the company’s problem in dealing with its billions of customers. There simply isn’t anyone working at Google who can effectively relate to those customers — to you and me — because we fail to share any common frame of reference, which Google as an organization sees as being beneath it.”—I, Cringely (via azspot)
Mark used his site, TheFacebook.com, to look up members of the site who identified themselves as members of the Crimson. Then he examined a log of failed logins to see if any of the Crimson members had ever entered an incorrect password into TheFacebook.com. If the cases in which they had entered failed logins, Mark tried to use them to access the Crimson members’ Harvard email accounts. He successfully accessed two of them.
In other words, Mark appears to have used private login data from TheFacebook to hack into the separate email accounts of some TheFacebook users.
“The paradox embedded in our future is that the fastest way to slow our population growth is to reduce poverty, yet the fastest way to run out of resources is to increase wealth. The trial ahead is to strike the delicate compromise: between fewer people, and more people with fewer needs, in a new economy geared towards sustainability. The easy part is birth control. The hard part, as Paul and Anne Ehrlich write, is that we still don’t have condoms to prevent overconsumption, or morning-after pills to reverse unwanted buying-sprees. Perhaps we need delegations of kindly people from the developing world to come to our shores and remind us how to live simply again.”—Is Population a Problem? (via azspot)
“In the latest round of empty fist waving by Obama and apologetic posturing by BP, the President raised the issue that while BP has spent a few tens of millions on the cleanup effort and damages so far, the company’s annual dividend to shareholders is about $10.5 billion. The company is acting as if all its resources are being diverted to address this spill, when – financially anyway – this is clearly not the case. So as a way of changing the widespread perception that it is underspending on the crisis, BP suggested it might “suspend” – meaning pay later, not never – its quarterly dividend. A gesture of goodwill. What a brilliant move. By suggesting they might suspend their dividend, BP initiated widespread panic about what would happen if that dividend were compromised in any real way. All of a sudden, business newspapers and cable channels begin calculating just what this means for shareholders – those people and institutions who park their money in an oil company and expect returns. How many pension funds have invested in BP? And how many retirees in England have made the oil a company a central part of their retirement portfolios, and are depending on these dividends to maintain their quality of life? So now, instead of an transnational oil company against the American gulf fishermen, beach workers, and ocean itself, it’s the interests of presumably innocent British pensioners against American workers. We’re supposed to limit BP’s liability for wrecking our lives and our planet, because of the impact that appropriate penalties will have on those collecting dividends off the oil company’s crimes against us. This means bailing out the company by using government funds to pay for its spill.”—Douglas Rushkoff (via azspot)
“Phoenix is America’s least educated, least literate major metro area. Arizona is a case study for What’s the Matter With Kansas? author Thomas Frank. Low information voters caught up in an economy that has been withering for decades, stuck in low-wage jobs, seeing their future become more bleak need someone to blame. Because of the effectiveness of the “conservative” machine, they never vote against the right-wing, corporate oligarchy policies that cause their plight. They don’t go after the Anglo elite that has created Arizona’s basket-case economy. They seem incapable of connecting the state’s problems to the “conservatives” that have been in power for decades. Instead, they blame “liberals,” the other, and in Arizona, “the Mexicans.” It’s pointless to attempt to engage them in the complexities of the immigration issue. What part of illegal don’t you understand?? Additionally, Arizona seems to be more and more a case of the Big Sort, with like-minded (white) people gathering there, especially retirees, while progressives are ever more marginalized. In recent years, the Arizona Republican Party has been purged of its historic soul, as has happened to the GOP around the country; the tea party is merely the latest incarnation of this ever-more-nihilistic ideological (and theocratic) trend. Barry Goldwater’s party has lost all its virtues, while its vices have been taken to steroidal extremes.”—Rogue Columnist (via azspot)
“What Adam Smith pointed out more than two hundred years ago is equally true today – our society, fed by the media, worships wealth at the expense of other values that are far more important to a cohesive and healthy society. The entire mission of The Wealth of Nations was to try to recognize man for what he is – a social animal who is reliant on the good opinions of his neighbors – and to develop the optimal economic system to harness that human essence for the good of all mankind. Smith believed that system was a free market, and history has by and large proven him correct. But the United States has strayed from a free market model to a system that privatizes gains and socializes losses.”—Michael Lewitt (via azspot)
“Why then, are most libertarians instead the most intransigent and obnoxious of fuming dogmatists, contemptuous of practicality or compromise, endlessly reciting nonsensical pseudo-religious catechisms from a dunce-prophetess and railing at the stupidity of their fellow citizens for having committed the unforgivable original sin known as Franklin Delano Roosevelt? Cajoled by paid shills from the Cato, Heritage and American Enterprise “institutes,” most libertarians and libertarian minded conservatives have been duped into calling government an inherently satanic foe of Manichean dimensions. Indeed, they see civil servants as the only force out there that’s inimical to liberty, something that Adam Smith (mindful of 4,000 years of history) would have found laughable. While worshipping at an altar of private property (coaxed coincidentally by propaganda paid for by billionaires), libertarians thus turn their gaze away from the two desiderata that ought to be the movement’s core focus. Freedom and fair competition.”—David Brin (via azspot)
Wages are rising and the supply of surplus labor in China is vanishing.On these points, just about everyone agrees — although the lightning speed at which it is happening is a source of surprise. But why it is happening is a topic for great debate. In the case of Foxconn, China’s largest employer, a cluster of suicides sparked a media frenzy and international embarrassment. In the case of Honda, good old-fashioned labor organization — strikes! — resulted in a wage increase. Plain old inflation, understated in government statistics, may be contributing. And then there are the sociological explanations: The intersection of China’s astonishing economic growth with a new generation of one-child-per-family young people who have never experienced the privations of their parents has created a class of workers with higher aspirations than can be satisfied on the assembly-line floor. Those coddled “little emperors” will not be exploited like their forebears. We are watching a revolution of rising expectations in which both strikes and suicides symbolize the same thing: dissatisfaction with the status quo.
“Peak oil doesn’t mean “we’re about to run out of oil.” Even defining it as “demand outstripping supply” is incomplete. Peak oil means the world has reached a point where half of the planet’s oil has been burned up (see, “climate change”). The remainder will be increasingly hard to reach and more expensive to refine. America hit its national peak in the early 1970s. The North Sea has passed peak. Several of the world’s giant “elephant fields” are near or past peak. This is a simple fact of geology about which there’s no disagreement among most experts (the outlier: the oft-quoted and highly-paid-by-industry Daniel Yergin). Peak oil was being used in ads by major oil companies and speeches by their CEOs in the mid-2000s. As with climate change, the debate is over details; in this case, when will peak hit and what will be its effects?”—Rogue Columnist (via azspot)
“Perhaps if readers were more confident that the majority of the money went to the author, people would feel more guilty about depriving the author of payment. I think most of the filesharing community feels that the record industry is a vestigal organ that will slowly fall off and die – I don’t know to what extent that feeling would extend to publishing houses since they are to some extent a different animal. In the end, I think that regular people will never feel very guilty “stealing” from a faceless corporation, or to a lesser extent, a multi-millionaire like King.”—Confessions of a Book Pirate
Tall Poppy Syndrome (TPS) is a pejorative term used in the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and Canada to describe a social phenomenon in which people of genuine merit are resented, attacked, cut down, or criticized because their talents or achievements elevate them above or distinguish them from their peers.
“You owe the companies nothing. You especially don’t owe them any courtesy. They have re-arranged the world to put themselves in front of you. They never asked for your permission, don’t even start asking for theirs.”—ascribed to Banksy
“The reality is that every society makes choices about their health system and the inevitable compromises that must be made. Relying solely on market principles to make choices about a system so inherently bound up in issues of ethics and human rights simply makes no sense—unless, perhaps, you are a shareholder in a for-profit health insurance corporation. Economically rational solutions, such as a single-payer health plan, have been systematically thwarted in the U.S.—and this betrays the extent to which the decision-making and implementation processes have been hijacked by a self-interested elite.”—Health Care Economics 101 (via azspot)
“But most of America appears to have deeply internalized the belief that labor lacks, and perhaps more important, ought not to have any bargaining power. This is a wonderful state of affairs for the managerial elite and investors. Having labor share in productivity gains was no impediment to growth; indeed, the record from the end of World War II through the mid-1970s versus the last two decades would suggest the reverse.”—Why is Washington Dithering with Unemployment High?
“It would be a brave author that told the good citizens of this world that they could no longer use such (labour saving) devices, when clearly they have saved enormous amounts of drudgery in recent times. Or have they? Have we not just transferred the cost of these appliances to some other wage earning drudgery? Why is it any more noble to sit at a desk pushing papers than to rinse nappies by hand?”—"The Permaculture Way” by Graham Bell
I asked the troop leader afterward for an explanation of this terrible word. Anarchists, he said, were wicked individuals who went about trying to remove from their land, kind, decent people like the Laird. They did not believe he should keep his own property even though his ancestors had fought for it.
Anarchists were considered much worse than Catholics as they did not believe in the law at all. Catholics only wanted to worship God in their own way, but anarchists were against God, government and good manners.
…Later that night some of my friends joked that we should become anarchists and fight him (the Laird) for it (the land). But apparently only ancestors were allowed to do things like that. The thought crossed my mind that the land might be mine as much as the Laird’s - my ancestors from Glen Christie further up the Dee Valley had most likely fought his ancestors’ battles for him.