- "The idea that a Palestinian state should be established within … Israel has reached a dead end -..."
- "The ‘skills gap’ is mostly a corporate fiction, based in part on self-interest and a..."
- "The argument that this sweeping search must be kept secret from the terrorists is laughable...."
- Water War Between Egypt And Ethiopia?
- "Can innovation and progress really hurt large numbers of workers, maybe even workers in general? I..."
- laughingsquid: Beautiful Time-Lapse of a Supercell Storm in...
- "A present overwhelmed by the not-always-intended effects of the technological world we’d created."
- analyticisms: Great mobile penetration numbers from...
- "Was agnostic about Snowden but some of the Op-Ed columns attacking him are so terrible I’m now..."
- Iain Banks died over the weekend, only a few months after...
- "Facebook is the living dead: the most popular, least relevant social network where teenagers and..."
- "Perhaps more significantly, places of employment and spaces of work would seem to be supremely..."
- My 6,000th Post
- "Man has lost the ability to foresee and forestall. He will end by destroying the earth."
- "Late modernity is a period of social change prompted by the need to cope with the risks generated by..."
- "Already claims are to be heard that future studies are merely an instrument whereby powerful groups,..."
- "Far from imagining a universe of alternatives, futurism in general – and forecasting in particular –..."
- Curation in the Enterprise: Imagining Increased Social Scale
- "In its “just-do-it” advertising campaign, Nike presumably used the phrase to mean something like,..."
- A Turning Point For Europe?
The idea that a Palestinian state should be established within … Israel has reached a dead end - Naftali Bennett http://t.co/eyRABOrZ1K— Stowe Boyd (@stoweboyd) June 19, 2013” - Kerry’s pogostick diplomacy is not working, and we are apparently past a point of no return in Israel.
Jodi Roderen, Trying to Revive Mideast Peace Talks, Kerry Finds a Conflicted Israel The current tempest began when Danny Danon, a hawkish member of Mr. Netanyahu’s Likud Party and deputy defense minister, told the Web site The Times of Israel that “there is no majority for a two-state solution” within Likud or Israel’s governing coalition. Later, in a television interview, he said that the majority of the Israeli public “has given up the idea of land for peace”; that Israel should declare sovereignty over the Jewish settlements and empty areas of the West Bank; and that the fate of Palestinian “blocks” should be “determined in an agreement with Jordan.” Opposition leaders called for Mr. Danon’s ouster. Palestinian leaders condemned his remarks as racist but said they revealed the “true face” of Israel. “Danon is an honest man who discloses the Israeli real policies and plans,” Ahmad Tibi, an Arab-Israeli member of Parliament, was quoted as saying in gulfnews.com, the online version of a newspaper based in the United Arab Emirates. On Monday, Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, issued a statement saying that “Israel has officially declared the death of the two-state solution,” and “is determined to make Kerry efforts fail,” citing policies Mr. Netanyahu “is pushing on the ground.”So, when there are no credible initiatives by the Israelis to reach a two state solution, and the increasingly obvious efforts to populate the West Bank by the Israeli government proceed (and thereby thwart any Palestinian state), what’s next? There are apparently no possible Palestine that satisfies both Israelis and Palestinians, and so now what? Wait another decade? In the meantime, it’s not a standoff, it’s an occupation. But if the US and other actors come to see it in the terms of the quotation above — that there is no ‘room’ for a Palestine ‘within the land of Israel’ — then the idea of an occupied Palestine is put to one side, and the Palestinians are relegated to the status of American ‘Indians’, consigned to live on ‘reservations’ in perpetuity.
The ‘skills gap’ is mostly a corporate fiction, based in part on self-interest and a misreading of government data http://t.co/8EqHg05M0k— Stowe Boyd (@stoweboyd) June 16, 2013” - The NY Times Editorial Board This is a recap of Peter Capelli’s research debunking the skills gap, where companies plead ‘skills gap’ but in fact are unwilling to raise pay high enough to fill so-called ‘unfilled jobs’. It’s a Potemkin village argument.
“The argument that this sweeping search must be kept secret from the terrorists is laughable. Terrorists already assume this sort of thing is being done. Only law-abiding American citizens were blissfully ignorant of what their government was doing.” - Richard Clark, Why you should worry about the NSA Clark tears apart the tissue of lies about NSA domestic spying.
Morsi has such problems confronting him in Egypt that he is sabre-rattling, fulminating about going to war with Ethiopia as that upstream country is proceeding with plans to build a hydroelectric dam on the Blue Nile. In principle, damming the river for hydro-power shouldn't lead to long-term diversion of water, but the energy-starved Ethiopia might start to divert water to local uses -- like cash crop food production -- which could impact Egypt (and Sudan, by the way), 85% of whose water comes from the Blue Nile.
Thomas Friedman, Egypt’s Perilous Drift The headline news in Cairo last week was Ethiopia’s construction of the biggest hydroelectric dam in Africa, on the Blue Nile. As the reservoir behind the dam is filled up, the water supply to Egypt is likely to be reduced, and since Egypt’s 85 million people get 97 percent of their fresh water from the Nile, this has become a huge issue. Some senior Egyptian officials speak of possible military action to prevent the dam from being completed. President Mohamed Morsi, of the Muslim Brotherhood, on Monday declared publicly of Ethiopia: “We are not calling for war, but we will never permit our water security … to be threatened.” Egypt, he said, will keep “all options open.” Ethiopia has responded with defiance, with its prime minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, saying “nothing and no one” would stop construction.The horrible lesson of the past is that countries with dwindling resources, economic challenges, and lots of unemployed young men and teenagers often turn to war as an outlet for powers greater than their political leaders to control. It becomes a 'riding the tiger' problem, where dismounting means the end of the regime. Morsi is treading the verge of this field, the field of nationalist war. And Ethiopia is not the only nearby source of water. Don't forget the huge reservoir in Libya, the Nubian Sandstone Aquifer, which has five times the water of the Great Lakes. (Yes, five times). Egypt has a population of over 80 million, more that 15 times Libya's 6.5 million, and the two countries fought an inconclusive war in 1977.
“ Can innovation and progress really hurt large numbers of workers, maybe even workers in general? I often encounter assertions that this can’t happen. But the truth is that it can, and serious economists have been aware of this possibility for almost two centuries. The early-19th-century economist David Ricardo is best known for the theory of comparative advantage, which makes the case for free trade; but the same 1817 book in which he presented that theory also included a chapter on how the new, capital-intensive technologies of the Industrial Revolution could actually make workers worse off, at least for a while — which modern scholarship suggests may indeed have happened for several decades. What about robber barons? We don’t talk much about monopoly power these days; antitrust enforcement largely collapsed during the Reagan years and has never really recovered. Yet Barry Lynn and Phillip Longman of the New America Foundation argue, persuasively in my view, that increasing business concentration could be an important factor in stagnating demand for labor, as corporations use their growing monopoly power to raise prices without passing the gains on to their employees. I don’t know how much of the devaluation of labor either technology or monopoly explains, in part because there has been so little discussion of what’s going on. I think it’s fair to say that the shift of income from labor to capital has not yet made it into our national discourse. Yet that shift is happening — and it has major implications. For example, there is a big, lavishly financed push to reduce corporate tax rates; is this really what we want to be doing at a time when profits are surging at workers’ expense? Or what about the push to reduce or eliminate inheritance taxes; if we’re moving back to a world in which financial capital, not skill or education, determines income, do we really want to make it even easier to inherit wealth?” - Pauk Krugman, Robots and Robber Barons Krugman is making the economic argument for society demanding more from the corporations on behalf of people. He refers back to this post in his piece today, Sympathy for the Luddites, in which he takes this several steps farther, arguing that more education may not be the answer for the work force being pushed from highly skilled jobs.
Paul Krugman A much darker picture of the effects of technology on labor is emerging. In this picture, highly educated workers are as likely as less educated workers to find themselves displaced and devalued, and pushing for more education may create as many problems as it solves. I’ve noted before that the nature of rising inequality in America changed around 2000. Until then, it was all about worker versus worker; the distribution of income between labor and capital — between wages and profits, if you like — had been stable for decades. Since then, however, labor’s share of the pie has fallen sharply. As it turns out, this is not a uniquely American phenomenon. A new report from the International Labor Organization points out that the same thing has been happening in many other countries, which is what you’d expect to see if global technological trends were turning against workers. And some of those turns may well be sudden. The McKinsey Global Institute recently released a report on a dozen major new technologies that it considers likely to be “disruptive,” upsetting existing market and social arrangements. Even a quick scan of the report’s list suggests that some of the victims of disruption will be workers who are currently considered highly skilled, and who invested a lot of time and money in acquiring those skills. For example, the report suggests that we’re going to be seeing a lot of “automation of knowledge work,” with software doing things that used to require college graduates. Advanced robotics could further diminish employment in manufacturing, but it could also replace some medical professionals. So should workers simply be prepared to acquire new skills? The woolworkers of 18th-century Leeds addressed this issue back in 1786: “Who will maintain our families, whilst we undertake the arduous task” of learning a new trade? Also, they asked, what will happen if the new trade, in turn, gets devalued by further technological advance? And the modern counterparts of those woolworkers might well ask further, what will happen to us if, like so many students, we go deep into debt to acquire the skills we’re told we need, only to learn that the economy no longer wants those skills? Education, then, is no longer the answer to rising inequality, if it ever was (which I doubt). So what is the answer? If the picture I’ve drawn is at all right, the only way we could have anything resembling a middle-class society — a society in which ordinary citizens have a reasonable assurance of maintaining a decent life as long as they work hard and play by the rules — would be by having a strong social safety net, one that guarantees not just health care but a minimum income, too. And with an ever-rising share of income going to capital rather than labor, that safety net would have to be paid for to an important extent via taxes on profits and/or investment income. I can already hear conservatives shouting about the evils of “redistribution.” But what, exactly, would they propose instead?They won’t propose something new: they will — through their actions — set the stage for neo-feudalism, in which the dispossessed become the wards of the nation state, and treated like the mentally-ill or refugees. Meanwhile, corporations will seek to become extranational, outside of national obligations to be taxed or otherwise support any non-globalist economic system. And, or course, they will publicly argue that they aren’t actively doing anything to carve the world into corporate spoils, but if they were such as system is inexorable, beneficial, and inescapable. And in private, they will advance social Darwinist arguments that explicitly state that the elite deserve the status they have earned, and that those dispossessed by this transition deserve their fate.
“A present overwhelmed by the not-always-intended effects of the technological world we’d created.” - Andrew Blum, ‘Children of the Drone’ (2013) Very similar to this:
Late modernity is a period of social change prompted by the need to cope with the risks generated by modernity itself. Beck and Beck-Gernsheim, _Individualization_Or in this case, the postnormal is a period of social re-equilibration instigated by the chaotic risks posed by the postmodern. We are catching with postnormal hands what the machinery of control pitched in the postmodern, like drones. When they start flinging postnormal inventions at us — like autonomous battle robots, or semi-intelligent buildings grown from nano slime, or genetically engineered yogurt yeasts that make us more nationalistic — then we will be all the way into the postnormal, and past the fringes where we are today.
Great mobile penetration numbers from Pew. pewinternet:As of May 2013: * 91% of American adults have a cell phone * 56% of American adults have a smartphone * 28% of cell owners own an Android; 25% own an iPhone; 4% own a Blackberry * 34% of American adults own a tablet computer As of January 2013: * 26% of American adults own an e-reader More mobile data: pewrsr.ch/xrBV6U
Was agnostic about Snowden but some of the Op-Ed columns attacking him are so terrible I’m now convinced he must have done something right.” - Nate Silver Must be talking about David Brook’s breathtakingly stupid piece, but Nate can’t dis him explicitly since it’s the NY Times, his employer.— Nate Silver (@fivethirtyeight)
Iain Banks died over the weekend, only a few months after announcing he had terminal cancer. One of the best writers in science fiction: he will be missed. Check out his 11 rules for writing sci fi. Rule #1: There are no good guys.
“Facebook is the living dead: the most popular, least relevant social network where teenagers and adults alike gather out of fear of missing out on things that don’t even make them happy.” - Amanda Hess, Teenagers Hate Facebook, but They’re Not Logging Off Hess cites new Pew Study, Teens, Social Media, and Privacy by Mary Madden, Amanda Lenhart, Sandra Cortesi, Urs Gasser, Maeve Duggan, Aaron Smith. Facebook has become a social obligation, and has been colonized by disapproving, ever vigilant adults.
“Perhaps more significantly, places of employment and spaces of work would seem to be supremely relevant to the bread and butter of political science: as sites of decision making, they are structured by relations of power and authority; as hierarchical organizations, they raise issues of consent and obedience; as spaces of exclusion, they pose question about membership and obligation. Although impersonal forces may compel us into work, once we enter the workplace we inevitably find ourselves enmeshed in the direct and personal relations of ruler and ruled. Indeed the work site is where we often experience the most immediate, unambiguous, and tangible relations of power that most of us will encounter on a daily basis. As a fully political rather than a simple economic phenomena, work would thus seem to be an especially rich object of inquiry.” - _Kathi Weeks - The Problem with Work: Feminism, Marxism, Antiwork Politics, and Postwork Imaginaries_ (via pieto)
I just want to say thank you, to all the folks who have read and commented all these years. As I recently wrote,
Trust your practice.The biggest part of my research practice is conjectural, speculative, and done here. I read, and assimilate. I push ideas out there and people push back. Thanks for being the water that I swim through, the wind at my back, and the ground beneath my feet. I was hoping that I could time this post to be exactly at the point where follower 150,000 signed up, but it may be a day away.
“Man has lost the ability to foresee and forestall. He will end by destroying the earth.” - Rachel Carson
“Late modernity is a period of social change prompted by the need to cope with the risks generated by modernity itself.” - Beck and Beck-Gernsheim, _Individualization_
“Already claims are to be heard that future studies are merely an instrument whereby powerful groups, states or nations seek to impose their own image of the future, to create self fulfilling predictions in their own interests, and to undermine the hopes and confidence of those attracted to different visions of what the world might be.” - John Goldthorpe,_ Theories of Industrial Society: Reflection on the Recrudescence of Historicism and the Future of Futurology_
“Far from imagining a universe of alternatives, futurism in general – and forecasting in particular – has in the past appeared to play a significant part in the support of the status quo.” - Richard Slaughter
Curation in the Enterprise: Imagining Increased Social Scale:
Curation in the Enterprise: Imagining Increased Social Scale By Stowe Boyd (@stoweboyd) Jun 10, 2013 The current social business architecture — a social collaboration layer sitting “on top” of non-social functional enterprise applications, like CRM, HR, ERP, a social frosting on a non-social cake — is not going to meet the needs of 21st century business.Go read it, if you’d like.
“In its “just-do-it” advertising campaign, Nike presumably used the phrase to mean something like, “stop procrastinating, get off your posterior and get the job done.” Interpreted as such, I’m in favor of “just-do-it.” However, when interpreted as “experts perform best when not thinking about what they are doing,” the idea of just-do-it is a myth.” - Barbara Gail Montero, The Myth of ‘Just Do It’
Brendan Simms, a hostorian from Cambriadge University, argues that Europe needs to learn the lessons of the Holy Roman Empire -- which was none of those, but rather a secular confederation of German states -- and come together in an American style federation of fall apart, like the empire did:
Brendan Simms, The Ghosts of Europe Past The euro zone faces the same choice as the Holy Roman Empire and American patriots of old: how to overcome discredited forms of confederation. Rather than digging themselves into a deeper recession and democratic deficit through austerity measures, the states in the common currency need to form a full and mighty union on Anglo-American lines. They must create a strong executive presidency elected by popular vote across the euro zone, a truly empowered house of citizens elected according to population and a senate representing the regions. The existing sovereign debts should be federalized through a “Union Bond,” with a strict subsequent debt ceiling for the member state governments. There will have to be a single European military and one language of government and politics: English. This is the only framework that will endow the euro zone with the democratic legitimacy to reassure the bond markets, underpin the implementation of good financial governance across the entire union and defend its interests and values on the world stage. More than 200 years ago, the choice was between the Holy Roman Empire and Britain. The Americans opted wisely and prospered; the Germans continued to muddle through only to see their empire extinguished. History thus holds out both a great opportunity and a terrible warning for the euro zoners.I totally disagree. My bet is that Europe would be better off with a weakening of the EU. Dropping the shared currency, and moving back from federation to a looser confederacy. Why? We are moving toward a time of regional, not national or continental identity. Regions, like Hong Kong/Shenzeng, Catalonia, Scotland, the Bay Area, greater New York, and Tokyo are competing with each other and other regions. The power of national governments is falling as factionalism and the intractable dilemmas of the postnormal leads to policy impasses. I foresee a world of regional innovation and a shift toward localized sustainability. Sustainable economics has to be based on localism, and the primacy of those living and working in a region controlling the shared resources there under sustainable principles, and rejecting outside influences that would degrade or harmfully exploit resources, like water, forest, earth, and air. Nations and empires have show a detachment from local concerns, and as such their legitimacy is suspect. With regard to Europe, the best recent turning point is the peaceful separation of the Czech Republic and Slovakia, and the violent separation of Bosnia and Kosovo from Serbia, not the ratification of the European Union. The EU was an attempt to scale a collection of countries into a counter to the USSR, US, and China. But the USSR has fallen, and the tide of history is turning to the city as the natural unit of sustainable competitiveness, not the boundaries left behind from ancient wars, and the treaties between dead royalty.