Debeberging...

jbone at place.org jbone at place.org
Mon Oct 20 15:42:12 PDT 2003


You know, most of the time I agree w/ most of Beberg's "facts" (and 
almost none of his conclusions ;-) but I couldn't let this one slip 
by...  in his latest bit on India (from the giant-sucking-sound dept.) 
he says:

> The real problem is that humans have no idea how to cope with the fact
> that there are only jobs for about 1B of us of the 6.3B, and that
> number is falling - wasn't it like 2 years ago it was only 6.0B?

I have so many problems with this statement that I don't know where to 
start.  Adam, where do you think jobs come from?  Why do you think they 
are a finite thing?  Do you really think that in all the things left 
for humanity to *possibly* do there's only enough work to occupy 1/6th 
of the planetary population today?

Are there a finite number of jobs today?  Of course.  But there are an 
infinite number of *potential jobs.*  The only thing that keeps 
somebody from working is a lack of willingness to work and / or a lack 
of creativity.  The problem with this damn species isn't that there's 
only enough to do to occupy 1/6th of us, it's that only 1/6th of us 
have the gumption to be anything but a drag.

That's what intelligence *does* Beberg.  It lowers entropy.  It turns 
raw resources into more complex, structured, valuable ones.  Those 
resources don't have to be oil or wood or metal, either:  time and 
effort are available to all at cost, and are easily monetized by anyone 
with *any* degree of ingenuity.  (Hell, even some of the bums in 
America was peoples' car windows.)  There's *plenty* of work for all of 
us to have something to do.  It might not be as glamorous as developing 
software, or working in an Indian call center, or even lugging 
combustible rocks out of the ground.  But *something.*  You don't like 
the jobs available?  Make your own damn job.  Just like the 
window-washing bums.

But most --- assuming Beberg's numbers hold --- instead sit around 
starving waiting for a hand-out --- or waiting for some evil capitalist 
exploiting them for their labor.  Oops, I said the "ex" word:  
exploitation.  God forbid that people should have to trade their time, 
effort, skills, etc. for food, shelter, etc.

Hell, consider prostitution.  If the West could get over its 
quasi-Puritanical meme then there's a job for a large part of the 
otherwise-unskilled --- or even better, the becoming-skilled.  A 
potentially high-paying job, at that.  Bring back indenture, too, while 
we're at it --- but only for adults, consensual indenture.  Combine the 
two ideas:  I can envision a thriving market for indentured college 
coeds as 4-year sexual "companions."  Scholarships for everybody.

And I have this issue w/ folks that think we're headed for some kind of 
leisure class...  or rather, strike that:  we probably *are* headed for 
that, but it's not a desirable state.  Buying into that vision is 
tantamount to a fatalistic acceptance that humanity can never, ever 
achieve its potential.  We're never going to get where we're going if 
1/6th of us are lugging the other 5/6ths along.  But apparently --- if 
you believe Beberg's numbers --- most of us hairless monkeys on this 
planet think that it's better to sit around slurping a 40 on the gov't 
teat --- or ringing our hands and waiting for the next Salvation Army 
truck to roll in with humanitarian relief --- than to turn our time and 
effort into something valuable to somebody else.

But no, we shouldn't argue with the "right" to do nothing --- that runs 
afoul of the lefty belief that all outcomes should be equal.

More like Gamin Bank.  (In theory if not in practice.)

$0.02,

jb



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