Archive for the ‘economics’ Category

Freedom of Movement of Peoples (open borders)

February 23, 2007

Anybody remember trade tariffs? No, me neither. They were designed to keep the bad things out. Us versus Them.

Anybody remember passports and immigration rules? No, me neither. They were designed to keep undesirable people out. Us versus Them.

This way of thinking is grossly flawed. There are no countries, no individual states. They are convenient administation blocs for politics.

There are only people living in different places. Human beings, ordinary people, mothers, fathers, children, labourers. Just human beings trying to get by.

Let’s face it, 95% of us could not be bothered moving. Why would we? We’ve got our jobs, our friends, our comfort zone where we are. The people who want to move are the ones who need it most.

So what are you really afraid of? Poor people taking your welfare? Sponging on your taxes? Muslims? Diseased people?

Countries are entirely artificial.

Only human beings in different places.

The 4 Day Work Week

January 12, 2007

Just recently I’ve dropped down to working 4 days. I’m fortunate enough to be still working Monday to Friday, but having the Wednesdays off. This means only two consecutive days at any one time. I have to say, the positive effects in terms of mind and well-being have been quite drastic. And all this from dropping one day!

It got me to thinking about the 8 hour workday, and the 40 hour week. These milestones were won against tremendous odds, and we have all been the beneficiaries. It has allowed the ordinary person time for their hobbies, time to know their partners and children, time to relax, time to be human beings. It has been one of the greatest of social advances.

But short of France pushing for the 35 hour workweek, is this where we stop? The productivity gains (more and more output per person) have been accumulating for half a century now, surely there will be no material loss if full time work became only 4 days.

10 000 Sheep … at last count

December 27, 2006

Amazon’s Mechanical Turk service has taken slave labour to a new level. Mundane, repetitive, demeaning tasks can all be set up for willing web users wanting to earn less than a dollar an hour.

One experiment conducted earlier in the year, and one possibly done to highlight the absurdity of this service, was the 10 000 Left Facing Sheep Task. Users were paid 2 cents to draw … a sheep facing to the left. The results were collected, and the final montage with instant zoom can be seen here. It’s actually quite amusing.

Yet, I still feel a sense of people being exploited and degraded, even if it is by choice. No different from people cleaning up after you in the shopping mall?

originally via info aesthetics from way back.