1531. In Singapore, a conference and a workshop.

Serious people, tendency to hold on to the physics and computational end. today will be frst day. lets see.

Reception last night was real conversations. Especially with  David Christian, writes about big history, and Tor Norrestanders.

The first starts with the big bang and I don’t know if we get to the big whimper. The second on human capacities for compassion, as a writer rather than academic, broad ranging and avoids pitfalls of narrowness. I will read his two books.

Some taks with younger researchers, all intent on automating real world jobs, like medical technician, vegetable harvesting.. Concern for lost jobs? Not really. Have one.

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1529. Can we face contradictions or do we need illusions

1529. Can we face contradictions, or do we need illusions?

I am very much in doubt as to the answer. I tend to believe that good diagnosis helps good interventions. Here is a story posted on Project Synicate.

The Rise of the Frugal Economy Bold to point out the parts of the contradiction

PALO ALTO — In a famous 1937 essay, the economist Ronald Coase argued that the reason Western economies are organized like a pyramid, with a few large producers at the top and millions of passive consumers below, is the existence of transaction costs — the intangible costs associated with search, bargaining, decision-making, and enforcement. But with the Internet, mobile technologies, and social media all but eliminating such costs in many sectors, this economic structure is bound to change.
Indeed, in the United States and across Europe, vertically integrated value chains controlled by large companies are already being challenged by new consumer-orchestrated value ecosystems, which allow consumers to design, build, market, distribute, and trade goods and services among themselves, eliminating the need for intermediaries. This bottom-up approach to value creation is enabled by the horizontal (or peer-to-peer) networks and do-it-yourself (DIY) platforms that form the foundation of the “frugal” economy.
Two key factors are fueling the frugal economy’s growth: a protracted financial crisis, which has weakened the purchasing power of middle-class consumers in the West, and these consumers’ increasing sense of environmental responsibility. Eager to save money and minimize their ecological impact, Western consumers are increasingly eschewing individual ownership in favor of shared access to products and services.
As it stands, nearly 50% of Europeans believe that, within a decade, cars will be consumed as a “shared” good, instead of privately owned, and 73% predict the rapid growth of car-sharing services. BlaBlaCar, Europe’s leading car-sharing service, now transports more passengers monthly than Eurostar, the high-speed rail service connecting London with Paris and Brussels. And the better-known service Uber is causing panic among taxi companies worldwide. Despite recent controversy, the company, founded in 2009, is valued at more than $40 billion.
This shift in consumer attitudes extends far beyond transport. The peer-to-peer home-sharing service Airbnb now rents more room-nights annually than the entire Hilton hotel chain. And the peer-to-peer lending market, which bypasses banks and their hefty hidden fees, surpassed the $1 billion mark in early 2012.
The global market for shared products and services is expected to grow dramatically, from $15 billion today to $335 billion by 2025, without requiring any major investment. The European Commission predicts that peer-to-peer sharing, now an income booster in a stagnant labor market, will evolve into a disruptive economic force.
The nature of horizontal networks supports this prediction. Such networks begin working long before they reduce transaction costs. By enabling ordinary people to do at home what, a decade ago, only scientists in large labs could do, the Internet economy is lowering the costs of research and development, design, and production of new goods and services in many sectors.
Thanks to low-cost DIY hardware kits like the $25 Arduino or the $35 Raspberry Pi, people are increasingly building their own consumer devices. Moreover, customers can now design and manufacture industrial-caliber products by using shared high-tech workshops — so-called “fab labs” — equipped with CNC routers, laser cutters, and 3D printers.
Such changes are propelling the so-called “maker movement”: a legion of tinkerers who collectively can create products faster, better, and more cheaply than big companies can. Together, the maker movement and peer-to-peer sharing platforms are empowering once-passive customers to become active “prosumers,” thereby spawning a frugal economy that can create value in a more efficient, cost-effective, socially inclusive, and environmentally sustainable way.
Recognizing these benefits, some communities are actively supporting the maker movement and accelerating the development of frugal economies. For example, mayors of major cities — including New York, Tokyo, Rome, Santiago, and Oslo — are seeking to host Maker Faires, where ordinary citizens showcase their ingenuity and engage with other makers.
Last June, US President Barack Obama hosted the first White House Maker Faire — declaring that “Today’s DIY is tomorrow’s ‘Made in America’” — and appointed a senior adviser to determine how to turn the maker movement into an engine of US economic growth. And New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who proclaimed September 15–21, 2014, “Maker Week,” and Barcelona Mayor Xavier Trias, who wants to build a “Fab City,” are trying to put their cities at the forefront of the global maker movement.
Meanwhile, in Vauban — a neighborhood in the German city of Freiburg — 65% of electricity is produced by solar panels and a co-generation plant established and operated by local citizens. And Helsinki is building a “mobility on demand” system that seamlessly combines multiple shared- and public-transport services in a single payment network, with the goal of eliminating private car ownership by 2025.
A self-organizing frugal economy could generate billions of dollars in value and create millions of jobs in the medium term. But, of course, there will be losers: the large Western companies whose “more for more” business models, backed by huge R&D budgets and closed organizational structures, are not designed to serve the needs of cost-conscious and eco-aware consumers seeking more — and better — for less. In order to survive, these established companies will need to reinvent themselves as frugal enterprises that integrate digitally empowered “prosumers” into their value chains and strive to address market needs in a more eco-efficient and cost-effective way.
The transition to a frugal economy is happening. Traditional companies must get on board — or risk becoming obsolete.
Read more at http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/peer-to-peer-economy-by-navi-radjou-1-and-jaideep-prabhu-2015-02#bVIIdla3sLXRBQYc.99

To me our inability to get eyond wish fulfillment is holding back serious problem solving because serious will require real cutbacks and proportionally less growth.

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1528. Simone Weil, best social thinker

1528. Simone Weil, best social thinker
Been reading her again. I find her the most penetrating thinker about the modern human condition.

She writes that as humans tried to dominate nature rather than be dominated by it, it created, an d creates, structures where some humans dominate others. And that this process is a mixture of the physics of power and the forces released by human connections.

In the process she does a very interesting review of western culture from its roots, up through and including Marx, and the similaries betgween stalin and Hitler  and western capital.

A good book of hers to get started Oppression and Liberty

And a good overview (and a great education) David Mclellan Utopian Pessimist

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1527. Strategic conversations feb 18

1527. Strategic conversations. Feb 18

On tuesday nights I usually lead a seminar in Palo Alto on “Where we are, how we got here, what can happen.”

This Tuesday as usual was unpredictable and interesting.

After talking a lot about innovation, possible paths forward, The problem of the perfect storm we face the conversation turned to “maybe our first priority will be to help those who are hurting.” There was a general agreement that we have gone too far in leaving out paying attention to people in our systems. Interesting how we went so quickly from a discussion of people and jobs and robots to consideration of human suffering. The first discussion was divided between those who thought that new technology creates new jobs (true)and those who are more concerned that while some jobs were created there were not enough for those displaced (true). New jobs but fewer, not enough to match those lost. Why is it so hard to discuss creation and insufficiency at the same time?

The discussion of human suffering lead to those who believe that the secular world can respond to the human needs and those who feel that explorations into what is normally called religion may be necessary. The issue here is how you generate social and cultural meaning. There also seems to be agreement that culture has to be of primary consideration if we are to deal with the future. Education was discussed and found extremely lacking in vision and capacity to deal with the future and with employment.Segmentation dominates the dynamics of new knowledge.

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1526. ritual and skill in human development

1526. Ritual and skill in human development.

Young children have amazing dexterity and a love of accomplishment. Perhaps removing “child labor” has really removed child development from a skills base to the banalities of school. Confucius believed that ritual was necessary to organize human instincts into a community positive. The ritual could be anything with deep roots. Music, eating (shared plates for example), dance, caring for new-borns and the recently dead.

In our consumer world we have removed these.

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1525. from daily life to the abstractions of economics

1525. From daily life to the abstractions of economics.

The ordinary activities of pre bronze age humans, sharing food, sitting around the fire, clearing local land for sleep, the complexity of textile making, are each, with many more, the basis on which abstraction arizes leading to — yep — economics. But economics losens the base and becomes the “property” of elites.

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1524. on belief

1524. Belief feb 16.

I believe that belief will be a major aspect of the rest of this century. Two recent articles show some of the difficulty.

The New Yorker profiles Jony Ive: details post-Jobs Apple, iPhone 6, Apple Watch and more

and

What ISIS Really Wants — The Atlantic

Highly recommend reading these. Compare the realms of belief in each. We moderns are pitting american style western derived consumerism and tech, with an economy that only includes some of us, against medieval cosmology and theocratic absolutism for a society that includes all. If you are 20, scared about the future, even live in a part of the world the rest look down on, which is the attractive vision? Add to that the fact, deep fact, that one is available to you and the other is not.

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1523. Chinese on relationships

1523.Chinese on relationships. feb 9

From Daniel Bell’s China’s New Confuscianism.

In the Western mind, those deprived of the opportunity to choose their political leaders are also disadvantaged. In the Confucian mind, it is not necessarily the case. A more serious harm is being deprived of family members and friends that make up the good life. Hence, when Mencius says the government should give first consideration to “old men without wives, old women without husbands, old people without children, and young children without fathers,” he doesn’t just mean that those people are materially poor. Nor does he mean that they are disadvantaged because they lack democratic rights. For Mencius, they are disadvantaged (partly, if not mainly) because they are deprived of key human relations.
So, on balance politics is less important in china and relationships more or

the other way

In the west politcs(and careers) are more important relationships.

Imagine a social policy that put old without spouse, children without partent, as firstt priorities.

My view is thatGardenWorld has as its main aim being a good place to grow humans.

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1522. Obama interview of Vox

1522 Obama interview on Vox

Obama gave an interview on Vox. This is to the first part, on domestic policy.

The more interesting to me was on foreign policy. The tempered responses, the “realism”, is pretty good as a model of governance. Not as strong as I would like but a good model for thinking about economic changes. What is necessary (climate, population, tech) and what is realistic, how to blend.

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