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Wheels within wheels.
(12-15-2018, 08:30 PM)Eric the Green Wrote: That's all good, and a high PSI in the 1850s, 1930s and 2010s is spot on with S&H theory and the Uranus cycle too. And if the crisis breaks in the 2020s, it will still be in accord with the S&H cycle very strongly. Political polarization has been unprecedented in the 2010s, if you go by how the parties are polarized in congress rather than just the fact that some makeshift compromises were arrived at. Charts of political opinions which I'm sure we all have seen also show the high polarization of our time.

In the 1850s the intensifying inequality of economic results created a climate in which the Civil War could become such a ferocious carnage. When things are extremely bad, even war can seem like a glorious enterprise for a soldier. Want to live a miserable life working a tiny plot of land, or do you want to take the wonderful opportunity of a quick and decisive war after which all problems will be solved?

War may solve those problems, but it also kills huge numbers of its participants, especially it is run with the assumption that troops are expendable. But that was warfare a century (and WWI ended a little more than a century ago. Subsequent war now kills masses of people in cities, and war plants that employ thousands of workers are obvious targets of air strikes.

Sometimes someone like Mr. Xenakis who says unsettling things is terribly, if repulsively, right.

The peaks of inequality seem to coincide with weak leadership that accedes consistently to the whims of economic elites whose sole idea of goodness is that those elites get whatever they want. (I am not sure that I have it right, but I thought that the peak of economic stress was in the 1920s and not in the 1930s. The Depression solved the problem of inequality by destroying the abstract stores of wealth, a/k/a paper profits). In the 2010s America rescued the financial system earlier than in the analogue of the sequelae of the 1929 Crash, but without solving the problem of inequality.  It's the frog-and-scorpion story or the snake-and-little-girl story all over. Now we find that economic inequality is so severe that the fundamentals of middle-class life such as casual dining and the traditional shopping mall are under stress.

Quote:Do I think the crisis is right on schedule starting with the severe financial crisis of 2008, which almost sent our economy into a full-scale depression, and is set to climax in the 2020s just as the 4T did in the 1940s and 1860s before. This time it will stretch to the end of the decade, and that would be right on schedule and is what is predicted by Howe. A 1T is scheduled to begin in the 2030s, so if a crisis climax is put off until that decade, only then will the Strauss and Howe theory be disproven, along with the Uranus cycle that corresponds with it. Even so, my prediction is that the 2030s 1T will be akin to that of the 1870s, in that a calm consensus like that of the 1950s will be less calm, some basic divisions will still obtain, and some continued activism will happen.

It probably will. Voting patters this time may show a rejection of the Devil-take-the-hindmost ideology that overtook America beginning in the 1980s (start of the 3T), intensified into two corrupt booms that could only implode, and after the Right got complete dominion in American political life outside of some state and municipal governments, what may be the most pathological leadership that America has ever had.

Quote:Perhaps the peer review and further developments to the Strauss and Howe theory don't happen because it was not an academically-respected theory, and Turchin's and others were. But Generations was based on a lot of scholarship and research. Their term "Millennials" became part of our language, and their predictions (such as they were) have been proven correct. Perhaps if it is noticed how correct their predictions are, it will gain more peer review by researchers. But absent that, here on these forums their theory has received a lot of valuable extensions, such as cusps, the double rhythm, micro-turnings, revisions to their anomaly, etc. These may also become part of the theory as it develops by more researchers in the future.

I can understand why this theory fails to get academic respect. Most historians and social thinkers have ideological blinders or the blinders of specialization. A Marxist theoretician might hold that capitalism is undergoing its final crisis on the way to 'socialism' and 'communism' when we simply face another boom-and-bust cycle. Historical specialists have their blinders of history based on their specialties (like war and biographies of the most important people) and distrust general theories that encompass mass culture.

The biological cycle which corresponds to one cycle of Uranus (84 years, which may be mere coincidence) has history repeating, more or less, what happened as the people around at the time who remember much the same political, cultural, and economic climate, disappear from death and debility. Political choices are often more irrational than we might want to believe. My rationality and learning caused me to recognize Donald Trump as the worst thing possible in American politics short of someone using a swastika, a burning cross, or a hammer-and-sickle device as a symbol of his beliefs. Millions of others were excited!
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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(12-15-2018, 07:32 AM)David Horn Wrote: This is real meat!  I agree on the time frame and focus, yet again, on finance.  The question lingering in the background: is this the first death knell of capitalism?  Is THAT model still viable?  Will AI finally eliminate the need for labor (it's already on the downward spiral), and trigger a real response?  I can't see a purely capitalistic response that doesn't make inequality much worse, and the opposing forces are about as organized as a kindergarten picnic.  
Well last cycle we dealt with similar problems while keeping capitalism intact. Capitalism doe snot *have* to generate high inequality. From 1946 to 1978 inequality fell dramatically, yet our economy was still capitalist throughout that period. You lived through most of it.


Considering how much WORK still needs to be done, I don't see why an SC capitalism won't find lots of things for workers to do.

Economics is part of culture. When you have very high taxes, it does not make sense of pay executive huge compensation, so they don't. But if your compensation is limited by externally opposed taxes rather than the financial return you provide shareholders why would you continue to bust your ass maximizing financial return for shareholders? You won't. Rather you would aim to achieve greatness in the eyes of your peers by building the great business empire. In a work in which the stock market is not central, you cannot use your high-priced stock to BUY growth created by others, rather your will have to conquer new markets by hiring the sales force and the development and production people needed to succeed. So your bring bodies on board and keep some slack during downtimes so when opportunities arise you can jump on them right away instead of wasting time staffing up.

Folks who do this are exponents of "stakeholder capitalism" (SC) those who focus on financial return for shareholders are holders of "shareholder primacy" (SP) culture. These concepts date from a debate in 1931-32.  SC was more common in the pre-1980 world. SP has been dominant over the past 2-3 decades. I wrote a paper in which I model the trends in inequality over 1913-2017 using a cultural evolution model using these two kinds of capitalism. I found that the key parameters that correlated with these trends was labor activity (measure by strike frequency) and top tax rate  with r-squared = 0.84.

So a good approach would be to raise taxes to the roof and bias federal government policy towards labor. However this only works if you can hang on to power. SO first you need the economy to collapse after a financial crisis, so you can come in with a massive stimulus to get people working (this will give you short-term support). This should raise real fear on the Right of inflation, which you address with the high taxes. You also have to neutralize the Fed, to prevent them from fighting inflation (Presidential jawboning in the face of crisis should work)


David Horn: For argument's sake, let's agree that the terminal transition phase is still a long way off.  The history of elites shows no reason to suspect that they will relinquish their favored position willingly, so this next crisis will only indicate the path that will be followed later.  

Um, Republicans were heavily defeated in 2008 and the depression was averted.  Why not let the American people feel the full effects of Republican policy without any Democratic intervention to soften the blow?
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(12-17-2018, 03:09 PM)Mikebert Wrote: Well last cycle we dealt with similar problems while keeping capitalism intact. Capitalism doe snot *have* to generate high inequality. From 1946 to 1978 inequality fell dramatically, yet our economy was still capitalist throughout that period. You lived through most of it.

Considering how much WORK still needs to be done, I don't see why an SC capitalism won't find lots of things for workers to do.

Economics is part of culture. When you have very high taxes, it does not make sense of pay executive huge compensation, so they don't. But if your compensation is limited by externally opposed taxes rather than the financial return you provide shareholders why would you continue to bust your ass maximizing financial return for shareholders? You won't. Rather you would aim to achieve greatness in the eyes of your peers by building the great business empire. In a work in which the stock market is not central, you cannot use your high-priced stock to BUY growth created by others, rather your will have to conquer new markets by hiring the sales force and the development and production people needed to succeed. So your bring bodies on board and keep some slack during downtimes so when opportunities arise you can jump on them right away instead of wasting time staffing up.

Folks who do this are exponents of "stakeholder capitalism" (SC) those who focus on financial return for shareholders are holders of "shareholder primacy" (SP) culture. These concepts date from a debate in 1931-32.  SC was more common in the pre-1980 world. SP has been dominant over the past 2-3 decades. I wrote a paper in which I model the trends in inequality over 1913-2017 using a cultural evolution model using these two kinds of capitalism. I found that the key parameters that correlated with these trends was labor activity (measure by strike frequency) and top tax rate  with r-squared = 0.84.

So a good approach would be to raise taxes to the roof and bias federal government policy towards labor. However this only works if you can hang on to power. SO first you need the economy to collapse after a financial crisis, so you can come in with a massive stimulus to get people working (this will give you short-term support). This should raise real fear on the Right of inflation, which you address with the high taxes. You also have to neutralize the Fed, to prevent them from fighting inflation (Presidential jawboning in the face of crisis should work)

David Horn Wrote:For argument's sake, let's agree that the terminal transition phase is still a long way off.  The history of elites shows no reason to suspect that they will relinquish their favored position willingly, so this next crisis will only indicate the path that will be followed later.

Um, Republicans were heavily defeated in 2008 and the depression was averted.  Why not let the American people feel the full effects of Republican policy without any Democratic intervention to soften the blow?

I agree that a total collapse would be the best possible motivation for real change, but think about the cost?  We need a return to a non-elite focus, but I'm not sure we can afford that path, even with much higher taxes.  In any case, I doubt that business will refocus on hiring human beings in large numbers, and even less certain the business community will feel the need to pay higher wages.  Automaton is just too enticing.  The 1930's solution may be out of reach this time.

Something that may very well be within reach is a sovereign wealth fund (SWF), funded by high corporate taxes and high taxes on top marginal wealth (using the 1930-50's  approach).  It will take a while for the fund to be meaningful, but having a commanding share of corporate shares controlled by some quasi-government entity might have a better shot at fixing what's broken inside the private sector than any direct action, and it could provide a steady stream of dividends to fund social programs.  Eventually, the taxes could be lowered, but the SWF would still exist to guarantee social funding.

To be honest, it's hard to know how a society that has little need for labor will operate, but there's decades to work through that.  AGW is a lot more urgent.  So is our crumbling infrastructure, which may be paired with the AGW response.  For instance, we're not getting high speed rail any time soon, but electric airplanes are only a decade away.
Intelligence is not knowledge and knowledge is not wisdom, but they all play well together.
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(12-18-2018, 03:25 PM)David Horn Wrote: I agree that a total collapse would be the best possible motivation for real change, but think about the cost?  We need a return to a non-elite focus, but I'm not sure we can afford that path, even with much higher taxes.  In any case, I doubt that business will refocus on hiring human beings in large numbers, and even less certain the business community will feel the need to pay higher wages.  Automaton is just too enticing.  The 1930's solution may be out of reach this time.

Something that may very well be within reach is a sovereign wealth fund (SWF), funded by high corporate taxes and high taxes on top marginal wealth (using the 1930-50's  approach).  It will take a while for the fund to be meaningful, but having a commanding share of corporate shares controlled by some quasi-government entity might have a better shot at fixing what's broken inside the private sector than any direct action, and it could provide a steady stream of dividends to fund social programs.  Eventually, the taxes could be lowered, but the SWF would still exist to guarantee social funding.

To be honest, it's hard to know how a society that has little need for labor will operate, but there's decades to work through that.  AGW is a lot more urgent.  So is our crumbling infrastructure, which may be paired with the AGW response.  For instance, we're not getting high speed rail any time soon, but electric airplanes are only a decade away.
I am not sure I buy the idea that automation will eliminate the need for humans to work.  Take health care, elder care and child care. Are people going to want to be handled by a machine, or will they want a human touch? We talk about the "rising price of health care" like its some sort of crisis. Once upon a time 90% of us were farmers. Suppose the future will bring a time when 90% of us take care of other people. Why can't that work?

It might if we see "the economy" as an aspect of our culture (and hence a thing made by US) and not as an externality (something imposed on us by Nature)

What we need is an economy with a persistent labor shortage. This can be done using something like the program I outlined, AND creating a leading sector out of health care. (I wrote about this is my 2004 political cycles book). The way you do this is to create a two-tier health care market. A national health care administration would provide insurance that covers *standard* healthcare at affordable prices. The national system would cover everyone, but not everything. Only drugs in the National Formulary would be covered. Only procedures in National List would be covered. Initially, drugs and procedures considered as gold standard would be included as well as less expensive alternatives. New drugs and treats would be added to the covered lists after documented evidence of cost-effectiveness was produced.

Outside of the public system there would be a private, market-based health care system that offered treatments not covered by the public system. Experimental therapies would be available here first. Such treatments would be very expensive, and so only accessible by the very rich. Since the very rich are a small group and those that have a particular ailment would be a tiny group. Despite the huge profit margin treating this tiny group would provide, its small size would mean a small amount of total profit. Thus, providers would work to find cost savings so they can charge less and get more customers. The example of this today is cosmetic surgery.  It is much cheaper than insurance-covered procedures when you consider the total cost (what the insurance company pays plus what you pay).

So costs of new treatments would come down and the number who can afford treatment would rise. At some point enough data will be gather to make an appeal to add it to the list of covered treatments. When this happens the profit margin would contract again. but the increase volume would make it work while.

The idea here is to make health car work like a normal leading sector like cars. As the number of cars rise, households paid more and more for personal transportation, an item that used to be free (i.e. walking to work). However the growth in the number of cars, and service garages, and auto insurance, and auto finance, etc. creates huge numbers of new jobs and the income that paid for the higher transportation costs. Overall, despite spending huge sums on transportation that we did not pay in 1900, we were better off. And the same could happen with health care. 

What people do not see is *how* the economy grows.  Consider lawyers. They are no more productive that they were in John Adam's day. Yet they make way more in real dollars today than John ever did. Why? The reason is the people who create the material necessities of life are WAY MORE productive than they used to be. For example, farmers today are like 80 times more productive than they were in John's day. As they became more productive fewer farmers were needed, so their incomes did not rise with their productivity. Rather, many who used to farm became manufacturers or went into human service jobs like John had, but in fields like teaching. The rise of public education at the grade school level, and then the high school level and then college all expanded the numbers involved in instruction over the latter 19th and early 20th centuries. Like John, none of these service-providers have become more productive, yet their real wages rose over time anyway.

By the 1930's the balance had shifted from most workers having productive jobs like farming or manufacturing, to service jobs like John: teachers, managers, hair stylists, artists, and, especially, health care workers.  Rising wages come from the increased productivity of material-producing elements. These could become entirely machines and it can continue to produce rising wages in service-providers like John, even as 99% percent of us become service providers like John.  It's just a function of culture.
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(12-18-2018, 03:25 PM)David Horn Wrote: I agree that a total collapse would be the best possible motivation for real change, but think about the cost?  We need a return to a non-elite focus, but I'm not sure we can afford that path, even with much higher taxes.  In any case, I doubt that business will refocus on hiring human beings in large numbers, and even less certain the business community will feel the need to pay higher wages.  Automaton is just too enticing.  The 1930's solution may be out of reach this time.

Any total collapse will result not by design but by bungling. Maybe we will find ourselves with automation limited to what people cannot do or do not want to do, or can do with only minimal skill. Maybe we revert to a dual economy in which crafters do the precious objects and low-skilled workers make the schlock. If you want to truly enjoy a bowl of soup, then you might have it from a potter who makes works of art -- and you will pay for that bowl for your soup. On the other hand, if you are at the economic low end, you might have your soup out of a mass-produced bowl. Some people will live better than others. The question is whether the dispariy is benign or, on the other side, dangerous and dehumanizing.

I saw a suggestion like this in a science-fiction novel. I forget whether the author was Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, or Robert Heinlein. The end of scarcity has been a prospect of Humanity since at least Marx. People who knew scarcity of basic needs of life as the result of underdeveloped technology by current standards (not enough cars, stoves, refrigerators, and radios) would be delighted.

On the other hand I see real estate costs eating up all of the bo0on from technological improvements since the 1930s because we have competition among the masses for basic needs that monopolistic suppliers of rental housing. A hint: Donald Trump, a thoroughly-awful businessman, was able to get fantastically rich by exploiting nearly-monopolistic supply of housing rentals in a place where people have opportunities unavailable elsewhere in America.


Quote:Something that may very well be within reach is a sovereign wealth fund (SWF), funded by high corporate taxes and high taxes on top marginal wealth (using the 1930-50's  approach).  It will take a while for the fund to be meaningful, but having a commanding share of corporate shares controlled by some quasi-government entity might have a better shot at fixing what's broken inside the private sector than any direct action, and it could provide a steady stream of dividends to fund social programs.  Eventually, the taxes could be lowered, but the SWF would still exist to guarantee social funding.

How does this work? Maybe the government enacts a death tax, and instead of compelling a sale of assets, takes a share of assets that heirs would otherwise get. The rationale is that a privileged class that needs defense of its property deserves to pay for that defense, whether from invasion or a proletarian revolution. To defend against a proletarian revolution, a highly-productive society needs a generous welfare state.  We need to remember that the western democracies largely thwarted what seemed the inevitable tied of Marxism-Leninism by refuting the worst tendencies in capitalism. If a capitalist order can avoid fitting the Marxist stereotype of privileged elites indulging themselves while the masses suffer, then it might be able to offer some alternative to "Workers of the world, unite!"

Quote:To be honest, it's hard to know how a society that has little need for labor will operate, but there's decades to work through that.  AGW is a lot more urgent.  So is our crumbling infrastructure, which may be paired with the AGW response.  For instance, we're not getting high speed rail any time soon, but electric airplanes are only a decade away.

Burning more fossil fuels as Donald Trump calls for is an obvious non-starter. But Trump is one of the most reactionary figures in political life, and reactionaries are the political figures most likely to become obsolete.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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(12-18-2018, 05:58 PM)Mikebert Wrote: I am not sure I buy the idea that automation will eliminate the need for humans to work.  Take health care, elder care and child care. Are people going to want to be handled by a machine, or will they want a human touch? We talk about the "rising price of health care" like its some sort of crisis. Once upon a time 90% of us were farmers. Suppose the future will bring a time when 90% of us take care of other people. Why can't that work?

It might if we see "the economy" as an aspect of our culture (and hence a thing made by US) and not as an externality (something imposed on us by Nature)

You made two points here:
  1. It's almost a given that humans in the future feel differently about intelligent machines than we do today.  A case in point: children raised with machines that interact with them on a quasi-human level think of the machines as people.  There are any number of incidents where children admonish their elders for "being mean to Alexa".  I doubt those people, as adults, will be unwilling to have personal robot assistants.
  2. Your second point may be the more germane: are we willing to refocus on providing for one another as a duty or calling?  That's a cultural shift that might well occur, or not.  For a long time, we had the draft; now we don't.  Either way, there seems to be a solution to maintaining ourselves, but having no mission in life seems to be a hollow existence.  Mutual service may be necessary for simple, basic sanity.  
We ignored the elephant: how do we produce personal income that can be spent in whatever remains of our economy, so I'm hoping that the personal duty/calling meme gets the nod.

Mikebert Wrote:What we need is an economy with a persistent labor shortage. This can be done using something like the program I outlined, AND creating a leading sector out of health care. (I wrote about this is my 2004 political cycles book). The way you do this is to create a two-tier health care market. A national health care administration would provide insurance that covers *standard* healthcare at affordable prices. The national system would cover everyone, but not everything. Only drugs in the National Formulary would be covered. Only procedures in National List would be covered. Initially, drugs and procedures considered as gold standard would be included as well as less expensive alternatives. New drugs and treats would be added to the covered lists after documented evidence of cost-effectiveness was produced.

Outside of the public system there would be a private, market-based health care system that offered treatments not covered by the public system. Experimental therapies would be available here first. Such treatments would be very expensive, and so only accessible by the very rich. Since the very rich are a small group and those that have a particular ailment would be a tiny group. Despite the huge profit margin treating this tiny group would provide, its small size would mean a small amount of total profit. Thus, providers would work to find cost savings so they can charge less and get more customers. The example of this today is cosmetic surgery.  It is much cheaper than insurance-covered procedures when you consider the total cost (what the insurance company pays plus what you pay).

So costs of new treatments would come down and the number who can afford treatment would rise. At some point enough data will be gather to make an appeal to add it to the list of covered treatments. When this happens the profit margin would contract again. but the increase volume would make it work while.

The idea here is to make health care work like a normal leading sector like cars. As the number of cars rise, households paid more and more for personal transportation, an item that used to be free (i.e. walking to work). However the growth in the number of cars, and service garages, and auto insurance, and auto finance, etc. creates huge numbers of new jobs and the income that paid for the higher transportation costs. Overall, despite spending huge sums on transportation that we did not pay in 1900, we were better off. And the same could happen with health care. 

That's a good model, and it's not dissimilar to the current Medicare model, with Parts A, B and D covering the basics and Medigap options covering as much or little of what remains as a person is willing to buy.  I'm not sure that medical care will be a big enough industry in the future to do what you indicate it should.  Like every other technology, medical advances are moving at a rapid pace, and CRISPR-CAS9 is opening the door to perpetual good health through gene therapy.  That won't effect us, of course, but it will effect our grandchildren in ways we can scarcely imagine.  So it could be that 2100 rolls around, and our descendants will be asking, what now?

Mikebert Wrote:What people do not see is *how* the economy grows.  Consider lawyers. They are no more productive that they were in John Adam's day. Yet they make way more in real dollars today than John ever did. Why? The reason is the people who create the material necessities of life are WAY MORE productive than they used to be. For example, farmers today are like 80 times more productive than they were in John's day. As they became more productive fewer farmers were needed, so their incomes did not rise with their productivity. Rather, many who used to farm became manufacturers or went into human service jobs like John had, but in fields like teaching. The rise of public education at the grade school level, and then the high school level and then college all expanded the numbers involved in instruction over the latter 19th and early 20th centuries. Like John, none of these service-providers have become more productive, yet their real wages rose over time anyway.

By the 1930's the balance had shifted from most workers having productive jobs like farming or manufacturing, to service jobs like John: teachers, managers, hair stylists, artists, and, especially, health care workers.  Rising wages come from the increased productivity of material-producing elements. These could become entirely machines and it can continue to produce rising wages in service-providers like John, even as 99% percent of us become service providers like John.  It's just a function of culture.

On that we agree.  99% of what succeeds or fails is based on what is culturally viable and what isn't, and cultural continually morphs.  I assume our grandchildren and their grandchildren will wrestle with their challenges and solve them as in ways that make things better for them … or at least, I hope that's the case.  We're not there yet, and we have our own more pressing challenges: crumbling infrastructure, rising inequality and, the elephant, AGW.  It would be nice to solve our problems in ways that are compatible with the known future problems, but humans never think that far ahead.
Intelligence is not knowledge and knowledge is not wisdom, but they all play well together.
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The next saeculum's ideological war could be Transhumanism/Extropianism vs Naturalism.
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(12-22-2018, 09:11 AM)Bill the Piper Wrote: The next saeculum's ideological war could be Transhumanism/Extropianism vs Naturalism.

That could be so, in some sense. I think the next prophets will be naturalists, and I base this partly on the astrological cycles as well as my own ideals. I don't think there will be a violent 4T physical ideological war over this. I think there is a way to accomodate both tech advances and the personal/spiritual advances and ancient philosophy revivals. But in the next 2T, in the late 2040s and 2050s, a revival of a spiritual view of life and of Nature as alive and not mechanical will counteract and moderate the materialist/physicalist views that transhumanists such as yourself have expressed. And this could be a generation gap between millennial civics and alpha-wave prophets. There will be protests against virtual reality, and to that extent an ideological war, just like the generation gap and ideological wars of the late 1960s.

Which one will ultimately become dominant is an open question. Our age of civilization as I see it, based again on some astrological insight into the 500-year civilization cycle and its chart, as well as historical perspective, tends to lean materialist. So it's quite possible that, just as in our 4T today, a lot of the protest and spiritual enlightenment of the 2T in the 2040s and 50s could swing back to the tech-physicalism that civic millennials such as yourself adhere to by the time of the next 4T at the turn of the 22nd century. But I don't see that as resulting in a physical war.
"I close my eyes, and I can see a better day" -- Justin Bieber

Keep the spirit alive;
Eric M
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The prospect of another Awakening gives me something to look forward to in my old age. Smile.
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(12-19-2018, 10:42 AM)David Horn Wrote:
(12-18-2018, 05:58 PM)Mikebert Wrote: I am not sure I buy the idea that automation will eliminate the need for humans to work.  Take health care, elder care and child care. Are people going to want to be handled by a machine, or will they want a human touch? We talk about the "rising price of health care" like its some sort of crisis. Once upon a time 90% of us were farmers. Suppose the future will bring a time when 90% of us take care of other people. Why can't that work?

It might if we see "the economy" as an aspect of our culture (and hence a thing made by US) and not as an externality (something imposed on us by Nature)

You made two points here:
  1. It's almost a given that humans in the future feel differently about intelligent machines than we do today.  A case in point: children raised with machines that interact with them on a quasi-human level think of the machines as people.  There are any number of incidents where children admonish their elders for "being mean to Alexa".  I doubt those people, as adults, will be unwilling to have personal robot assistants.
  2. Your second point may be the more germane: are we willing to refocus on providing for one another as a duty or calling?  That's a cultural shift that might well occur, or not.  For a long time, we had the draft; now we don't.  Either way, there seems to be a solution to maintaining ourselves, but having no mission in life seems to be a hollow existence.  Mutual service may be necessary for simple, basic sanity.  
We ignored the elephant: how do we produce personal income that can be spent in whatever remains of our economy, so I'm hoping that the personal duty/calling meme gets the nod.

Really-good artificial (or machine) intelligence may be so programmed that it seems human. Thus "Alexa" or "Cortana" can be more human than many people (think also of R2D2 and C3PO as predecessors). Question: who programs the artificial intelligence? We are in deep trouble of someone as vile as Charles Manson does this.

Human goodness matters greatly, and programming a computer to do evil things is as criminal as doing those things oneself. As an example, a hacker who gets stuff from people by depriving them of intangible or virtual property is on the same level as a burglar who breaks into a dwelling and takes the silver or cash.

We must inculcate human goodness if life is to be secure and meaningful. I am convinced that we can do so through a humanistic education.

Quote:
Quote:MikebertWhat we need is an economy with a persistent labor shortage. This can be done using something like the program I outlined, AND creating a leading sector out of health care. (I wrote about this is my 2004 political cycles book). The way you do this is to create a two-tier health care market. A national health care administration would provide insurance that covers *standard* healthcare at affordable prices. The national system would cover everyone, but not everything. Only drugs in the National Formulary would be covered. Only procedures in National List would be covered. Initially, drugs and procedures considered as gold standard would be included as well as less expensive alternatives. New drugs and treats would be added to the covered lists after documented evidence of cost-effectiveness was produced.

Outside of the public system there would be a private, market-based health care system that offered treatments not covered by the public system. Experimental therapies would be available here first. Such treatments would be very expensive, and so only accessible by the very rich. Since the very rich are a small group and those that have a particular ailment would be a tiny group. Despite the huge profit margin treating this tiny group would provide, its small size would mean a small amount of total profit. Thus, providers would work to find cost savings so they can charge less and get more customers. The example of this today is cosmetic surgery.  It is much cheaper than insurance-covered procedures when you consider the total cost (what the insurance company pays plus what you pay).

So costs of new treatments would come down and the number who can afford treatment would rise. At some point enough data will be gather to make an appeal to add it to the list of covered treatments. When this happens the profit margin would contract again. but the increase volume would make it work while.

The idea here is to make health care work like a normal leading sector like cars. As the number of cars rise, households paid more and more for personal transportation, an item that used to be free (i.e. walking to work). However the growth in the number of cars, and service garages, and auto insurance, and auto finance, etc. creates huge numbers of new jobs and the income that paid for the higher transportation costs. Overall, despite spending huge sums on transportation that we did not pay in 1900, we were better off. And the same could happen with health care. 

That's a good model, and it's not dissimilar to the current Medicare model, with Parts A, B and D covering the basics and Medigap options covering as much or little of what remains as a person is willing to buy.  I'm not sure that medical care will be a big enough industry in the future to do what you indicate it should.  Like every other technology, medical advances are moving at a rapid pace, and CRISPR-CAS9 is opening the door to perpetual good health through gene therapy.  That won't effect us, of course, but it will effect our grandchildren in ways we can scarcely imagine.  So it could be that 2100 rolls around, and our descendants will be asking, what now?


There will always be a shortage of genuine service, and genuine service, like truly-precious objects, will create their own market. Schlock, tangible or intangible, will not create its own market. Say's law, that production creates its own demand, implies that what people produce or perform can create its own market. Such does not apply to stuff that nobody really wants. I do not want a spoon that cuts my tongue, and I do not want to listen to someone playing a violin out of tune except as a joke (OK, it was funny when Jack Benny did it after setting us up for it) or if I am a paid teacher of beginning violinists.

 
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Mikebert Wrote:What people do not see is *how* the economy grows.  Consider lawyers. They are no more productive that they were in John Adams' day. Yet they make way more in real dollars today than John ever did. Why? The reason is the people who create the material necessities of life are WAY MORE productive than they used to be. For example, farmers today are like 80 times more productive than they were in John Adams' day. As they became more productive fewer farmers were needed, so their incomes did not rise with their productivity. Rather, many who used to farm became manufacturers or went into human service jobs like John had, but in fields like teaching. The rise of public education at the grade school level, and then the high school level and then college all expanded the numbers involved in instruction over the latter 19th and early 20th centuries. Like John Adams, none of these service-providers have become more productive, yet their real wages rose over time anyway.

By the 1930's the balance had shifted from most workers having productive jobs like farming or manufacturing, to service jobs like John Adams had: teachers, managers, hair stylists, artists, and, especially, health care workers.  Rising wages come from the increased productivity of material-producing elements. These could become entirely machines and it can continue to produce rising wages in service-providers like John, even as 99% percent of us become service providers like John Adams.  It's just a function of culture.

On that we agree.  99% of what succeeds or fails is based on what is culturally viable and what isn't, and cultural continually morphs.  I assume our grandchildren and their grandchildren will wrestle with their challenges and solve them as in ways that make things better for them … or at least, I hope that's the case.  We're not there yet, and we have our own more pressing challenges: crumbling infrastructure, rising inequality and, the elephant, AGW.  It would be nice to solve our problems in ways that are compatible with the known future problems, but humans never think that far ahead.

What happened with food -- that it was dear enough at one time that practically everyone had to do farm work (and it is truly amazing that someone got the chance to be a Voltaire or J S Bach) -- happened also with such basic manufactures as plain pottery or fabric, in turn with objects a little more sophisticated at different stages until through some technological miracles we have cell-phones that are effectively computers capable of far exceeding the capacities of larger and bulkier objects that themselves far outperform the mainframe computers that could not even do word processing.

We still need vehicles, but the making of more of them will not make us more prosperous. The automobile market is mostly a replacement market with population growth as the sole growth market for cars in the US. Likewise refrigerators, stoves, pots and pans, and raw fabric. Infrastructure? Much of the infrastructure spending is on replacement and repair. Pavement under heavy continuous use has a limited lifespan -- about forty years under ideal circumstances. Population growth can lead to upgrades of infrastructure (more transmission wires, more lanes of traffic in a place like Houston -- but not in a place in decline like Flint.

The intensification of economic inequality reflects the power of economic elites over the rest of us, especially the ability of those elites to compel people to bid up necessities (like real estate) and pay more for less. Most people accept the profit motive if it does them unqualified good (innovation and availability). Profit can also arise from the control of access when competition disappears.

Greater efficiency in the performance of services rarely happens. Few people pretend that a barber today is more efficient than a barber of 50 years ago, just as you notice with an attorney. (OK, attorneys may have computerized databases in which an attorney needs only look for a few key words and get the needed data, which is more efficient than checking the indexes of twenty different books of law. I question that we will ever trust a computer to do law -- or wield a straight razor. A service such as barbering must get enough remuneration to attract suitable people to do it -- as with the practice of law. Few people have the ability to practice law adequately, but barbers can be trained quickly. The pay difference between John Adams and a not-so-well paid barber in Boston is similarly stark as it is now.

But this is economics. If one doesn't want to pay the rents that people pay in New York City or Silicon Valley, then there are such alternatives as Hartford and Fresno. Such is market power that owners use whenever they get their chance. Landlords used to find the Detroit market highly lucrative. They don't now. Maybe in fifty years, when high technology is not associated so heavily with San Jose and people do not expend as big a share of their income upon it, San Jose will be like Detroit -- a hollowed out shell of a city where rents are cheap and opportunities are few. Such is the fate of places. it may be hard to believe that a good auto assembly-line worker was privileged enough to own a cottage in northern Michigan where he could go boating and fishing; a new worker in an auto plant makes less in real terms than the assembly-line worker that Ford attracted with the outstanding offer of $5 a day more than a century. Such may be how people see the decline of the software engineer around 2080 or 2100.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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(12-22-2018, 12:39 PM)Eric the Green Wrote: That could be so, in some sense. I think the next prophets will be naturalists, and I base this partly on the astrological cycles as well as my own ideals. I don't think there will be a violent 4T physical ideological war over this. I think there is a way to accomodate both tech advances and the personal/spiritual advances and ancient philosophy revivals. But in the next 2T, in the late 2040s and 2050s, a revival of a spiritual view of life and of Nature as alive and not mechanical will counteract and moderate the materialist/physicalist views that transhumanists such as yourself have expressed. And this could be a generation gap between millennial civics and alpha-wave prophets. There will be protests against virtual reality, and to that extent an ideological war, just like the generation gap and ideological wars of the late 1960s.

Which one will ultimately become dominant is an open question. Our age of civilization as I see it, based again on some astrological insight into the 500-year civilization cycle and its chart, as well as historical perspective, tends to lean materialist. So it's quite possible that, just as in our 4T today, a lot of the protest and spiritual enlightenment of the 2T in the 2040s and 50s could swing back to the tech-physicalism that civic millennials such as yourself adhere to by the time of the next 4T at the turn of the 22nd century. But I don't see that as resulting in a physical war.

I'm just reading Olaf Stapledon's Star Maker. He foresaw what virtual reality can lead to. He imagined this has already happened on other planets:

Programs of most luscious or piquant experiences were broadcast in all countries

It worked not through the sense organs, but direct stimulation of the appropriate brain-centres. The recipient wore a specially constructed skullcap, which transmitted to him from a remote studio the embraces of some delectable and responsive woman

Even the laborer and the factory hand could have the pleasures of a banquet without expense and subsequent repletion, the delights of proficient dancing without the trouble of learning the art, the thrills of motor-racing without danger. In an ice-bound northern home he could bask on tropical beaches.

a man could retire to bed for life and spend all his time receiving radio programs

We see this already happening with masturbating to Internet porn replacing sex, video games replacing physical adventure, social media replacing social life. And I can't imagine the new Awakeners not to rebel against this sort of illusory existence.
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Well we're on the same wavelength there, at least.
"I close my eyes, and I can see a better day" -- Justin Bieber

Keep the spirit alive;
Eric M
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(12-23-2018, 06:01 AM)Bill the Piper Wrote:
(12-22-2018, 12:39 PM)Eric the Green Wrote: That could be so, in some sense. I think the next prophets will be naturalists, and I base this partly on the astrological cycles as well as my own ideals. I don't think there will be a violent 4T physical ideological war over this. I think there is a way to accomodate both tech advances and the personal/spiritual advances and ancient philosophy revivals. But in the next 2T, in the late 2040s and 2050s, a revival of a spiritual view of life and of Nature as alive and not mechanical will counteract and moderate the materialist/physicalist views that transhumanists such as yourself have expressed. And this could be a generation gap between millennial civics and alpha-wave prophets. There will be protests against virtual reality, and to that extent an ideological war, just like the generation gap and ideological wars of the late 1960s.

Which one will ultimately become dominant is an open question. Our age of civilization as I see it, based again on some astrological insight into the 500-year civilization cycle and its chart, as well as historical perspective, tends to lean materialist. So it's quite possible that, just as in our 4T today, a lot of the protest and spiritual enlightenment of the 2T in the 2040s and 50s could swing back to the tech-physicalism that civic millennials such as yourself adhere to by the time of the next 4T at the turn of the 22nd century. But I don't see that as resulting in a physical war.

I'm just reading Olaf Stapledon's Star Maker. He foresaw what virtual reality can lead to. He imagined this has already happened on other planets:

Programs of most luscious or piquant experiences were broadcast in all countries

It worked not through the sense organs, but direct stimulation of the appropriate brain-centres. The recipient wore a specially constructed skullcap, which transmitted to him from a remote studio the embraces of some delectable and responsive woman

Even the laborer and the factory hand could have the pleasures of a banquet without expense and subsequent repletion, the delights of proficient dancing without the trouble of learning the art, the thrills of motor-racing without danger. In an ice-bound northern home he could bask on tropical beaches.

a man could retire to bed for life and spend all his time receiving radio programs

We see this already happening with masturbating to Internet porn replacing sex, video games replacing physical adventure, social media replacing social life. And I can't imagine the new Awakeners not to rebel against this sort of illusory existence.

In a way, listening to recorded music or watching a video is a sort of virtual reality. One can see a concert of the Herbert von Karajan conducting the Vienna Philharmonic in Bruckner's Eighth Symphony -- never mind that Karajan  has been deceased for thirty years. That is crude to the extent that one has no control over camera angles as if one were moving one's eyes about. OK, so if I listen to such music in the dark I get hallucinatory images, if good ones. Safer than LSD, I suppose.

Critics of virtual reality have thought it likely to stupefy those who indulge in it. OK, a virtual road trip can save some fuel or let people see something that no longer exists. But even  worse -- who controls such virtual reality could as easily turn it into a the most effective device of torture -- one that leaves no physical scars but plenty of emotional pain. One could become the sensory victim of an auto-da-fe without literal flames searing one's flesh for being a political  or religious heretic. I can imagine political powers and work bosses using virtual reality to reward someone with the opportunity to experience the Bolshoi Ballet... or the a Stalinist torture chamber. I can just imagine how experiencing a 'bad feelie' could cause one to start thinking that some exploitative, corrupt, and cruel political boss is one's best friend instead of the enemy who deserves overthrow.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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IMO there are two big reasons the current time doesn't feel like a Crisis (or more like a mix of Crisis and Unraveling - more precise, like a Crisis managed with Unraveling methods, so we get the worst of both):

1. Fewer children born - when FDR was elected (for better or for worse), the population pyramid of the US really was a pyramid, not a bell or urn. 80% of the G.I. generation voted for him - imagine if there had been twice the number of youngsters when Obama was elected.
2. People live longer. Theoretically, during the first years of the Crisis (let's say it started in 2008) the last Silents in power should have been ushered out. Like the SCOTUS judges under FDR. But enough powerful Silents are still alive and kicking, and they know the rules of the game better than anyone else, unfortunately. I'm thinking of people like Pelosi, but also of billionaires who still run hedgefunds (Buffett, Soros!) - and lobby behind the scenes!

That's the reason we aren't simplifying the laws and other rules. That's the reason even Trump's government hasn't lead to the deportation of some hundred thousand criminal Mexicans. That's the reason the "experts" responsible for the Financial Crisis weren't punished.
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