Towards a leisure society

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Jul 8
"Performance bakery" at the home of the cronut (which has a capped daily supply that  routinely runs out before 0900 every day.)

"Performance bakery" at the home of the cronut (which has a capped daily supply that routinely runs out before 0900 every day.)

Jul 8

You'd get more actual work out of Dilbert if he was only in 4 9-hour meetings from hell per week rather than 5. Page's plan is to reduce bullshit, not cut work, shirley. Do you think employees moving to a 4 day week would see their pay rise or fall, as a rule?

Anonymous

I have written about the phenomenon of bullshit work and bureaucracy at length.

Jul 8

Larry Page and Sergey Brin channel Buckminster Fuller

Via Recode, (h/t Climateer):

Page: I totally believe we should be living in a time of abundance, like the Peter Diamandis book. If you really think about the things that you need to make yourself happy: housing, security, opportunity for your kids. I mean, anthropologists have identified these things. It’s not that hard for us to provide those things. The amount of resources we need to do that, the amount of work that actually needs to go into that is pretty small. I’m guessing less than 1 percent at the moment. So the idea that everyone needs to work frantically to meet people’s needs is just not true. I do think there’s a problem that we don’t recognize that. I think there’s also a social problem that a lot of people aren’t happy if they don’t have anything to do. So we need to give people things to do. You need to feel like you’re needed, wanted and have something productive to do. But I think the mix with that and the industries we actually need and so on are — there’s not a good correspondence. That’s why we’re busy destroying the environment and doing other things maybe we don’t need to be doing. So I’m pretty worried until we figure that out, we’re not going to have a good outcome. One thing, I was just talking to Richard Branson about this. They have a huge problem that they don’t have enough jobs in the U.K. So he’s been trying to get people to hire two part-time people instead of one full-time. So at least, the young people can have a half-time job rather than no job. And it’s a slightly greater cost for employers. I was thinking, the extension of that is you have global unemployment or widespread unemployment. You just reduce work time. Everyone I’ve asked — I’ve asked a lot of people about this. Maybe not you guys, but most people, if I ask them, “Would you like an extra week of vacation?” They raise their hands, 100 percent of the people. “Two weeks [of vacation], or a four-day work week?” Everyone will raise their hand. Most people like working, but they’d also like to have more time with their family or to do their own interests. So that would be one way to deal with the problem, is if you had a coordinated way to just reduce the work week. And then, if you had slightly less employment, you can adjust and people will still have jobs.

And even the analyst community is noting the redefinition of labour. All been said on this Tumblr before.

And even the analyst community is noting the redefinition of labour. All been said on this Tumblr before.

People picking up on the leisure crisis (finally)

People picking up on the leisure crisis (finally)

You said in one of your beyond scarcity articles: "debasing or adding debt to the system may only lead to lower living standards for all, rather than elevating all and closing the inequality gap in the process." What do you mean by this?

Anonymous

Well, what i was saying is that a lot of people THINK that the reason we should not take on more debt, is because this will lead to lower living standards, for more debt equals more consumers and more competition over a scarce amount of goods and resources.

This would have been a fair argument for most of history. BUT… my argument is that in times of abundance and output gaps, more debt helps to spread the abundance of goods, rather than have it be concentrated in areas of ridiculous wealth. Debasement or more debt, amount to the same thing. Greater distribution of today’s goods away from concentrated zones.

Now, that sort of policy in times of bare equilibrium or scarcity, was literally the equivalent of confiscating assets from people who had worked harder than most to accumulate them. 

This is the story of communism.

But this is not the case now. Debasement/debt doesn’t diminish relative wealth or access to goods. At worst it limits the generations for which extreme wealth can be passed down over the years. Is it fair that rather than spend on existing goods today, some people are hoarding claims so that they can keep them for grandchildren of grandchildren not even born yet? No, I don’t think so.
Those claims should be circulated today, and thus no longer put off to the future, but brought forward to today.
If not, an excess of goods and  capacity will just go to waste. We have the means to feed and provide for more people than ever before, we are choosing not to because it compromises the value of generational claims. 

In the US we stigmatize non-workers, and select remaining workers for high or low reward. Education is a big part of the selection process. In a leisure society education would be for avocation rather than vocation.

Anonymous

Yes, I think that’s a fair observation.

Have you read Julius Norwich's "Christmas Crackers" series of commonplace books? (I haven't yet been able to find the most recent decadal compilation in the US, but I have the earlier ones.) Just wondering. e.g., (tried to add an Amazon UK link)

Anonymous

No fraid not. 

Hi! You say "The more leisure the more time to educate ourselves (...)" >> Aren't you afraid a big number of people simply lack the social/cultural capital to evolve and find meaning into such an increasingly ambitous&smart-people centered economy ? Do you take seriously the often evocated "lords & servants" outcome ? Thanks ! Keep up the good work

Anonymous

Yes, I agree with you. Curiosity of the world is something that’s impossible to enforce. Hopefully, though, if you stimulate enough minds the right way people will begin to ask the right questions. But there is always going to be a risk where people opt out and choose the banal superficial life. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. In abundance the world becomes meritocratic from an influence point of view, but it doesn’t deprive anyone I don’t think. You can choose to engage or disengage. 
What we don’t want is a Morlock/Eloi situation evolving. 

May 5

If there's increasing abundance and the emergence of a leisure society, I wonder what this means for the current (western) education system that is as intensely and insanely focused on competition as never before. Kids already learn 3 languages in kindergarten these days. Is this a bubble before the collapse? Any thoughts on how education would change/needs to change for a world with increasing abundance?

Anonymous

I think that fits the paradigm very well. The more leisure the more time to educate ourselves, and the more education needed to excel at the remaining jobs which still satisfy a great purpose.