The economy is overrated

Someone once told me they didn’t bring back the cart at the shopping center because it “helps create jobs”. It’s a bit like we have accepted that there needs to be Bullshit Jobs.

A speech I’ve always liked is this one by Robert Kennedy:

It demonstates so well how the GDP and so many other measures of “success” are faulty.

Even the way we measure the economy is all wrong. This NYT article does a very good job of showing why even with a low unemployment rate and a high GDP we have so much inequality and suffering.

It reminds me a bit of vanity metrics (A metric that makes you feel good without telling you anything about your business). We have started to optimize our government policy for those vanity metrics. Instead of going to the root causes of what makes a great society we have metrics that, while initially well intentioned, have distracted us from the real goal.

Leaving behind the old metrics in search of better ones would be a good start. (until we end up corrupting those…)

It’s all just a sinusoidal function

While the most recent time the thought that the world was but a sinusoidal function happened when reading The Online Gig Economy’s ‘Race to the Bottom’ but really it applies to pretty much everything. While that article is about the economics and while I only have enough history knowledge to know about the parallels to the early 1900, I’m sure there are many more throughout history.

At first (around when I was 15) I thought it was actually just a circle. It was quite depressing. Humanity on a grand scale and us as humans just kept playing out our own little circles. Much like in Memento we helped ourselves along the way. Giving ourselves the justifications for our future actions. It was all quite depressing.

A few years later, and perhaps as a defense mechanism, I started seeing things as a sin function. Yes we were in a loop, but it was one that was globally trending upwards.

“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” – A few different folks, usually attributed to Martin Luther King (#)

Is one way I try to see it. While in this case it’s about humanity and helps me “accept” what’s going on in the world. (Just to be clear, I use the Buddhist interpretation of acceptance here, not resignation).

This is another one of those posts that I wish I had an answer. I wish I could close this with a straightforward answer to rally people around. An upbeat message. But I don’t have one. All I have is acceptance of the current reality and the part it plays in the greater picture.

Why blogging is harder than posting links

After writing my last post, I decided to google if others had thought of it before. And voila: A much better article that goes thru what I wanted to much better then I can. ( Seriously, I recommend you read it). And I think that’s partly why it’s hard to blog. I know what I’m writing isn’t the best on the topic. So why not just post a link to what I believe on Facebook?

Maybe because I feel that posting a link is sometimes not as much about trying to tell people something but to tell others who we are, or who want people to think we are. Kinda like wearing certain clothes or doing certain activities. “Oh, Stéphane must be a great Liberal because he posted this article on such and such”. Who hasn’t shared an article they only read the headline of and were like “I agree with this and I want others to know”?

Facebook is becoming similar to our lawn or our bookshelf. We make it in the image we want people to have of us. We keep the lawn well maintained, (or that we don’t care about such superficial things as lawns). That we have Kant on our bookshelf (Or a truly ridiculous amounts of Dave Barry books).

Is blogging more “truth”? Harder to hide behind? Potentially because of it’s public nature (vs the appearance of privacy from Facebook).

Distribution of Media

Some ridiculous percentage of the views I get (all 10-30 a day of them!) come from Facebook or Twitter. They are in a sense the only real method of distribution I have. It’s interesting because while I advocate for most folks to take control over the distribution channel by using email (RSS and most other means are for all intent and purpose irrelevant now) I haven’t done it for myself. I’m not sure if I will spend the time trying to convince people to subscribe.

And if I do, is it just because I like seeing views on the site?
Is that the goal of why I write? To feed my ego when I see 40 views instead of 0?

Maybe that’s it, but I feel like if that was the case I’d polish these pieces out a bit more.

I could for example, with this post, start by explaining how historically the methods of distributions were in a few large media companies (that’s if I start with the last century) and you had to go thru them to get your message out.

Then the Internet was supposed to revolutionize this. Everyone would be on an even playing ground. And for a while things actually were better.
There were many different aggregation sites. Digg, Reddit, Slashdot, Yahoo, AOL, MSN and still other ways to follow sites (RSS, ATOM) and tools to do that (Insert complaint about Google Reader being discontinued here) and then finish with how it’s right back where we started with Google and Facebook controlling most of the traffic.

I guess I don’t see the point in doing that. It’s like most books. It’s a 10 page idea wrapped with 300 pages of explanations, evidences, anecdotes, the same idea repeated in different ways etc. I don’t think I’m going to sway many opinions. You already know if you agree or not or you’ll form an opinion quickly if you don’t well more facts won’t change your mind.

All that to say, would you sign up for an email subscription? What if I make a popup that blocks your screen while reading? Would that be even more enticing?