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robertogreco : hoarding   7

Why the World’s Best Mathematicians Are Hoarding Chalk - YouTube
"Once upon a time, not long ago, the math world fell in love ... with a chalk. But not just any chalk! This was Hagoromo: a Japanese brand so smooth, so perfect that some wondered if it was made from the tears of angels. Pencils down, please, as we tell the tale of a writing implement so irreplaceable, professors stockpiled it."
tools  chalk  mathematics  math  2019  japan  hagoromo  craft  craftsmanship  hoarding  scarcity 
may 2019 by robertogreco
Opinion | The Rich Kid Revolutionaries - The New York Times
"Rather than repeat family myths about the individual effort and smarts of their forebears, those from wealthy backgrounds tell “money stories” that highlight the more complicated origins of their families’ assets. If their fortunes came from the direct dispossession of indigenous peoples, enslavement of African-Americans, production of fossil fuels or obvious exploitation of workers, they often express especially acute guilt. As a woman in her early 20s told me of the wealth generated by her family’s global business: “It’s not just that I get money without working. It’s that other people work to make me money and don’t get nearly as much themselves. I find it to be morally repugnant.”

Even those I have talked with whose family wealth was accumulated through less transparently exploitative means, such as tech or finance, or who have high-paying jobs themselves, question what they really deserve. They see that their access to such jobs, through elite schools and social networks, comes from their class (and usually race) advantages.

They also know that many others work just as hard but reap fewer rewards. One 27-year-old white woman, who stands to inherit several million dollars, told me: “My dad has always been a C.E.O., and it was clear to me that he spent a lot of time at work, but it has never been clear to me that he worked a lot harder than a domestic worker, for example. I will never believe that.” She and others challenge the description of wealth garnered through work as “earned.” In an effort to break the link between money and moral value, they refer to rich people as “high net wealth” rather than “high net worth.”

Immigrants who “make it” are often seen to exemplify the American dream of upward mobility. The children of immigrants I spoke with, though, don’t want their families’ “success stories” to legitimate an unfair system. Andrea Pien, 32, is a Resource Generation member and a daughter of Taiwanese immigrants who accumulated significant wealth in the United States. She spoke of refusing to be “the token that then affirms the capitalist meritocracy myth, the idea that ‘Oh, if Andrea’s family made it, we don’t need affirmative action, or we don’t need reparations.’”

In general, these young people don’t believe they are entitled to so much when others have so little. Many describe feeling guilt or shame about their privilege, which often leads them to hide it. One college student, a woman of color, told me that she worried what other campus activists might think of her. “What a fraud, right?” she said. “To be in those spaces and be acting like these are my struggles, when they’re not.” A white woman who lives on her inheritance of more than $15 million spoke of “deflecting” questions about her occupation, so that others would not know she did not do work for pay.

These progressive children of privilege told me they study the history of racial capitalism in the United States and discuss the ways traditional philanthropy tends to keep powerful people at the top. They also spend a fair amount of time talking about their money. Should they give it all away? Should they get a job, even if they don’t need the income? How much is it ethical to spend on themselves or others? How does money shape friendships and relationships? Resource Generation and its members facilitate these conversations, including one local chapter’s “feelings caucus.”

If you’re thinking, “Cry me a river,” you’re not alone. I have faced skepticism from other sociologists when discussing this research. One colleague asserted that rich young people struggling with their privilege do not have a “legitimate problem.” Others ask: How much do they really give, and what do they really give up? Aren’t these simply self-absorbed millennials taking another opportunity to talk endlessly about themselves?

I understand this view. There is certainly a risk — of which many of them are aware — that all this conversation will just devolve into navel-gazing, an expression of privilege rather than a challenge to it. It is hard for individual action to make a dent in an ironclad social structure. And it is impossible, as they know, to shed the class privilege rooted in education and family socialization, even if they give away every penny.

But like Abigail Disney, these young people are challenging fundamental cultural understandings of who deserves what. And they are breaking the social taboo against talking about money — a taboo that allows radical inequality to fade into the background. This work is critical at a moment when the top 1 percent of families in the United States owns 40 percent of the country’s wealth, and Jeff Bezos takes home more money per minute than the median American worker makes in a year.

As Holly Fetter, a Resource Generation member and Harvard Business School student, told me, “It’s essential that those of us who have access to wealth and want to use it to support progressive social movements speak up, to challenge the narrative that the 1 percent are only interested in accumulation, and invite others to join us.”

Wealthy people are more likely to convince other wealthy people that the system is unfair. And they are the only ones who can describe intimately the ways that wealth may be emotionally corrosive, producing fear, shame and isolation.

Class privilege is like white privilege, in that its beneficiaries receive advantages that are, in fact, unearned. So for them to conclude that their own wealth is undeserved, and therefore immoral, constitutes a powerful critique of the idea of meritocracy.

The fact that the system is immoral, of course, does not make individuals immoral. One person I spoke with, a white 30-year-old who inherited money, said: “It’s not that we’re bad people. It’s just, nobody needs that much money.” But judgments of systems are often taken as judgments of individuals, which leads white people to deny racism and rich people to deny class privilege.

So even the less-public work of talking through emotions, needs and relationships, which can seem self-indulgent, is meaningful. As Ms. Pien put it, “Our feelings are related to the bigger structure.”

One huge cultural support of that structure is secrecy around money, which even rich people don’t talk about.

Wealthy parents fear that if they tell their kids how much they will inherit, the kids won’t develop a strong work ethic. Yahya Alazrak, of Resource Generation, has heard people say, “My dad won’t tell me how much money we have because he’s worried that I’ll become lazy.” One man in his early 30s recounted that his parents had always told him they would pay for his education, but not support him afterward until they revealed that he had a trust worth over $10 million. Parents also have a “scarcity mentality,” Resource Generation members said, which leads them to “hoard” assets to protect against calamity.

Secrecy also often goes hand in hand with limited financial literacy. Women, especially, may not learn about money management growing up, thanks to gendered ideas about financial planning and male control of family assets. Some people I met who will inherit significant amounts of money didn’t know the difference between a stock and a bond.

When wealthy parents do talk about money, they tend to put forth conventional ideas about merit: They or their ancestors worked hard for what they have, scrimped and saved to keep and increase it, and gave some of it away. When their children reject these metrics, parents’ sense of being “good people” is challenged.

When one woman told her immigrant parents she wanted to give their millions away, it was like “a slap in the face” for them, she said, because they felt they had “sacrificed a lot for this money.”

Parents — and the financial professionals who manage family wealth — also tend to follow conventional wisdom about money: Never give away principal. Charitable donations should be offset by tax breaks. And the goal of investing is always to make as much money as possible. As one 33-year-old inheritor said, “No financial adviser ever says, ‘I made less money for the client, but I got them to build affordable housing.’”

Talking about how it feels to be rich can help build affordable housing, though. Once the feeling of being a “bad person” is replaced by “good person in a bad structure,” these young people move into redistributive action. Many talked about asserting control over their money, pursuing socially responsible investments (sometimes for much lower returns) and increasing their own or their families’ giving, especially to social-justice organizations. And eventually — like the people I have quoted by name here — they take a public stand.

Finally, they imagine an alternative future, based on a different idea of what people deserve. Ms. Pien, for example, wants to be “invested in collective good, so we can all have the basics that we need and a little more.” In her vision, this “actually makes everyone more secure and fulfilled and joyful, rather than us hiding behind our mountains of money.”"
abigaildisney  wealth  inequality  activism  legacy  2019  rachelsherman  affluence  security  disney  merit  meritocracy  inheritance  privilege  socialjustice  justice  redistribution  morality  ethics  upwardmobility  immigrants  capitalism  socialism  fulfillment  joy  charity  shame  guilt  charitableindustrialcomplex  philanthropicindustrialcomplex  philanthropy  power  hierarchy  secrecy  hoarding  scarcity  abundance  money  relationships  isolation  class 
may 2019 by robertogreco
How Harvard and Other Colleges Manage Their Endowments - YouTube
"College is expensive, but there is one place in higher education where there's no shortage of money – endowments. There's more than $616 billion worth of endowments assets in the U.S. Lawmakers are starting to questions why tuition is still rising if some schools have billions of dollars."
colleges  universities  ivyleague  endowments  2019  money  charitableindustrialcomplex  philanthropicindustrialcomplex  philanthropy  inequality  finance  highereducation  highered  power  wealth  universityoftexas  hedgefunds  yale  charity  hoarding  taxes  investment  stanford  divestment  economics  policy  politics  princeton 
april 2019 by robertogreco
A Cluttered Life: Middle-Class Abundance - YouTube
"(Visit: http://www.uctv.tv) Follow a team of UCLA anthropologists as they venture into the stuffed-to-capacity homes of dual income, middle-class American families in order to truly understand the food, toys, and clutter that fill them. Series: "A Cluttered Life: Middle-Class Abundance" [11/2013] [Humanities] [Show ID: 25712]"

[via: https://twitter.com/xraytext/status/999109157612646406 ]

[See also: Life at Home in the Twenty-First Century: 32 Families Open Their Doors
http://www.ioa.ucla.edu/press/life-at-home

and "Americans can spend a majority of their time in a few spaces in their home and still want large homes"
https://legallysociable.com/2018/06/03/americans-can-spend-a-majority-of-their-time-in-a-few-spaces-in-their-home-and-still-want-large-homes/

via: https://twitter.com/amandakhurley/status/1003283050782810113 ]
us  consumerism  consumption  hoarding  possessions  excess  2013  children  toys  accumulation  shopping  families  homes  housing  abundance  ethnography 
june 2018 by robertogreco
I Live in a Digital Dumpster Fire | Motherboard
"Right now, I can't see what tabs I have open, because I have too many open. I have 167,998 unread Gmail messages. I am writing this, right now, on a TextEdit file called Untitled 199, and I have exactly 32 instances of the program open. My dock is a disaster, and, very recently, my desktop had thousands of files on it. Oddly enough, my trash bin is empty.

I exist, digitally, in the equivalent of a dumpster fire. I wouldn't have it any other way. Or rather, I don't think I can exist any other way. I thought I was alone. I am not.

It turns out there are plenty of digital hoarders out there, and maybe we don't give a shit about virtual cleanliness because it doesn't really matter anymore.

"I don't particularly think digital clutter is a bad thing. It's just a consequence of how people use computers, asynchronously," ​Matthew Hughes, a British tech journalist who lives much like me, told me. "We don't use computers in a systematic, one-task-at-a-time kind of way, do we? We're always doing multiple things at once, and digital clutter is just a consequence of that."

[embedded tweet with image: "this is my desktop"]

I've tweeted photos of my desktop before, and had a mix of reactions. Most people are horrified. Some people want me to throw my computer in the trash—nothing will save it now, it's ruined forever, they say. I get it. But when I went looking for people like me, I didn't have much trouble finding them.

​Adrian Sanabria, a security researcher, told me that he opens tabs until his computer crashes. While he doesn't think that digital clutter and tab overload is totally harmless ("I've come the realization that I have anxiety over losing something interesting that I want to read," he said), fast internet connections, Google images, and search apps are making it very easy to throw shit wherever we want without adversely affecting our lives.

[image: Matthew Hughes's desktop]

We're creating massive, disgusting haystacks of files, but finding the needle we want is effortless, so who cares?

"I use FoundApp, and it is FANTASTIC for finding things. It works like Mac OS X’s Finder, but you can have it log into Google Drive, Dropbox, Evernote—all your cloud stuff, and it will index and search those locations along with your local hard drive," Sanabria told me. "I have no idea what folder my files are in, and I don’t care."

Sanabria has also done away with his folder of memes and gifs that he used to have at the ready to deploy on Twitter at a moment's notice. Now, he finds them on Google much faster.

[image (animated GIF): "My desktop, pre-purge"]

There's the stereotype of the journalist, the professor, the academic, who has papers cluttered all over their office. I once walked past Bob Woodward's desk at the Washington Post, and he had mountains upon mountains of … stuff, everywhere. With a computer, you can be like that without showing other people.

One thing that surprised me about the people I talked to is they haven't always been like this (I have). Sanabria used to have inbox zero. So did Brian Fung, a great tech policy reporter with the Washington Post. And then, Twitter happened.

"I used to be an inbox zero kind of guy—leave no message unread, no RSS item unchecked, etc. But then with Twitter, I got used to just jumping into the feed for short stints. And then one day I woke up and realized, 'You know what? It's okay if you don't get through it all," he told me. "Since then, I've started treating my RSS feed like a slower version of Twitter. I ignore irrelevant emails. They pile up. It's fine. The desktop is much more manageable if you don't, you know, actually use the desktop."

[image "My dock"]

Fung "organizes" his desktop in reverse chronological order, and I do too. He says it turns the desktop into something like email—the most recent downloaded files show up at the top of any folder you're using to upload files with, and then it's easy.

We're not slobs, we're not overwhelmed, I don't even really think of myself as a hoarder. I eventually trash everything and forget about it. The thing that modern operating systems and modern search tools have done is make a whole host of systems viable. They work.

[image (animated GIF): "An inefficient way of deleting files"]

That said, I was wondering what life might be like if I cleaned up my act a bit. I purged my desktop. I set up a new folder for screenshots, which I used constantly, and I made my computer save them there automatically. I try to close my tabs when I can't see the icons anymore. I used a program called Sublime Text to write.

It's not for me. It's more effort than it's worth. Bury me with all my files; I'll know where to find them."
hoarding  digitalhoarding  search  os  technology  organization  digital  desktops  culture  spotlight  jasonkoebler  matthewhughes  adriansanabria  foundapp  clutter  finder  2015 
april 2015 by robertogreco
"Do Not Covet Your Ideas"
"DO NOT COVET YOUR IDEAS.<br />
<br />
Give away everything you know, and more will come back to you.<br />
<br />
You will remember from school other students preventing you from seeing their answers by placing their arms around their exercise book or exam paper.<br />
<br />
It is the same at work, people are secretive with ideas. 'Don't tell them that, they'll take credit for it.'<br />
<br />
The problems with hoarding is you end up living off your reserves. Eventually you'll become stale.<br />
<br />
If you give away everything you have, you are let with nothing. This forces you to look, to be aware, to replenish.<br />
<br />
Somehow the more you give away the more comes back to you.<br />
<br />
Ideas are open knowledge. Don't claim ownership.<br />
<br />
"They're not your ideas anyway, they're someone else's. They are out there floating by on the ether.<br />
<br />
You just have to put yourself in a frame of mind to pick them up."
paularden  ideas  sharing  schoolteachesyouthewrongthing  schooliness  cheating  hoarding  momentum  wisdom  creativity  getwhatyougive 
april 2011 by robertogreco
Collyer brothers - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"Homer Lusk Collyer (November 6, 1881 – March 21, 1947) and Langley Collyer (October 3, 1885 – March 1947) were two American brothers who became famous because of their snobbish nature, filth in their homes, and compulsive hoarding.

The brothers are often cited as an example of compulsive hoarding associated with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), as well as disposophobia or 'Collyer brothers syndrome', a fear of throwing anything away. For decades, neighborhood rumors swirled around the rarely-seen, unemployed men and their home at 2078 Fifth Avenue (at the corner of 128th Street), in Manhattan, where they obsessively collected newspapers, books, furniture, musical instruments, and many other items, with booby-traps set up in corridors and doorways to protect against intruders.

Both were eventually found dead in the Harlem brownstone where they had lived as hermits, surrounded by over 100 tons of rubbish that they had amassed over several decades."
hoarding  collyerborthers  psychology  ocd  disposophobia  clutter  nyc  history  health 
october 2008 by robertogreco

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