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robertogreco : winnertakeall   4

Few quick thoughts on Brexit — Medium
"Brexit is pushback against huge social and economic changes that have devalued a great many people.

They are changes that have demanded many people give up long standing notions of who they are, what is their place in the world, and questioned how they find meaning.

That same anger, and the reasons for it, is here in the US also.

I work with addicts these days and have spent the last five years driving all across the country, spending weeks/months/years in places many live in, but few visit. Places filled with poverty and addiction.

What I learned is that addiction is on the same spectrum as suicide. It is a slower form, but comes from the same place.

It led me to one of the first books to study suicide, by Émile Durkheim who wanted to understand why people would kill themselves.

He suggests people needed a sense of integration and regulation, to feel part of something that worked. They needed strong bonds to larger society. Without that, they often took their own life. He called that sense of isolation or disruption, Anomie.

I see Anomie wherever I go. The things that used to give people meaning: Their work, their union, their family, their church, their bridge club, their elks club, whatever, have been eroded. And often mocked.

We over the last 50 years have replaced that, and now demand that people be valued by their intellect, and their wealth. We have further diminished whole groups of people by increasing the amount we reward the new and few “winners.”

To make things even worse, we often outright mock anyone who can’t keep up, or doesn’t fit in with the new order. We call them dumb. Idiots. Religious freaks. Rednecks. Thugs. Hoodlums. Ghetto trash. White trash.

The language we use to talk about those who have been left behind is rife with nasty attempts to turn them into lesser humans. We use the tactics of racist, and apply it to economic losers.

And often they respond by joining racist groups. Or latching onto racist policies and agendas.

Which makes it easier to demean them, because racism is bad. Bad. Bad. Bad. And as a kid of a German Jew who barely made it out of Nazi Germany, as a kid who grew up in a small southern town. As a kid who had our car windows shot out (while his dad was in it!) because my dad was a “Nigger loving Jew”. Yes racism is awful. Bad. Disgusting. Nasty.

But racism, and fascism, are very successful scams that sell to the desperate. Fascism understands that people want to feel valued and integral part of something larger. Racism is, sadly, the easiest and cheapest way to do that.

So, yes push back against the racism. Loudly.

But offer something else, a way for others to feel included. Provide a process, other than getting an education in an elite school, that gives people meaning, solidarity, and value.

Simply saying they are not valid, or lesser, or they are stupid. Or they are idiots. That is racism’s ugly cousin elitism, so don’t turn it into a fight of the ugly. You think that is going to help people feel included?

If you hate racism, then you really really really should hate any economic and social system that creates and rewards massive inequality. Because when you get that. You get racism.

And that is the system we have built and now have. That is the system that most everyone screaming about the dumb racists is part of, usually supports, and wins from."
elitism  racism  politics  us  uk  brexit  chrisarnade  2016  anger  inequality  understanding  winners  losers  winnertakeall  economics  society  integration  regulation  community  belonging  addiction  suicide  émiledurkheim  isolation  disruption  anomie  work  rednecks  religion  ostracization  fascism  desperation  rejection  inclusion  inclusivity  socialinequality  economicinequality  incomeinequality  classism 
june 2016 by robertogreco
Of Bears, Bats, and Bees: Making Sense of the Internet of Things | Blog | design mind
"Bears are the old guard of computation but are assimilating much of the communication attributes of IoT. Bats are an entirely new category of devices, starting off as solo beasts but slowly, haltingly, turning into an interoperable swarm. Bees on the other hand, are a fascinating flip on the entire problem, virtualizing even the computation within each device. What is clear from this exploration is that the old school capitalism of monopoly economics is not going to see us through. If every company wants to act like a bear, they win in the short run, but we all lose in the long run. We need to remember that the web is not the internet. The web tends to think in terms of winner take all systems like Facebook. The internet, on the other hand, was a fairly humble and simple means of discovery and access: the plumbing of the digital world that allowed the web, and eventually Facebook, to be built. We have to start thinking in layers. It’s perfectly fine if the very top layers are proprietary, that is not the problem. It’s when companies try to own every layer that things go wrong. We have to break up the concept of the internet of things from a proprietary play into a shared play: one where everyone can enter the playground. If we don’t get our head around this, we’ll be spending the next decade spinning from one tiny playground to the next."
internetofthings  internet  2012  capitalism  web  computing  computers  computation  winnertakeall  distributed  hived  swarms  via:Preoccupations  iot 
august 2012 by robertogreco
Income Inequality and the 'Superstar Effect' - NYTimes.com
"CAPITALISM relies on inequality…pay disparities steer resources [people] to where they would be most productively employed.

In poor economies, fast economic growth increases inequality…Inequality spurs economic growth by providing incentives …pulls best & brightest into most lucrative lines of work, where most profitable companies hire…

Yet increasingly outsize rewards accruing to nation’s elite…threaten to gum up incentive mechanism. If only a very lucky few can aspire to a big reward, most workers are likely to conclude it's not worth effort to try…odds aren’t on their side.

Inequality has been found to turn people off…measurably less satisfied w/ jobs…more likely to look for another…winner-take-all games tend to elicit much less player effort & more cheating…

…How much inequality is necessary?…economy grew even faster 1951-80, when inequality declined…

US is rich country w/ most skewed income distribution…Americans are less economically mobile…"
economics  disparity  wages  labor  growth  us  capitalism  incentives  motivation  wealth  elite  elitism  winnertakeall  work  inequality  mobility  finance  sports  wealthdistribution 
december 2010 by robertogreco

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