Labor Day 2012: The Future Of Work

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Submitted by Charles Hugh Smith from Of Two Minds

Labor Day 2012: The Future of Work

Technology and the Web are destroying far more jobs than they create. We will need to develop a "Third Way" based on community rather than the Market or the State to adapt to this reality.

What better day to ponder the future of work than Labor Day? Long-time correspondent Robert Z. recently shared an essay on just this topic entitled Understanding the 'New' Economy.

The underlying political and financial assumption of the Status Quo is that technology will ultimately create more jobs than it destroys. Bob's insightful essay disputes that assumption:

Over the past 15 years, the global economy has experienced structural changes to a degree not seen in nearly 150 years. Put simply, the Industrial Revolution of the 1800s has given way to a post-industrial economy. In this post-industrial economy, technology has now evolved to the point where it destroys more jobs than it creates.

 

Still, most people are Luddites to some extent. Human nature is to resist dramatic change, either actively or passively, until we have no other choice. If you don’t believe that, just listen to our presidential candidates.

 

Both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama will give us happy talk about maintaining entitlement benefits (e.g., Medicare and Medicaid) that cannot possibly be sustained. They will talk about energy self-sufficiency. They will talk about creating jobs. They will tell us that we can somehow ‘grow’ our way out of our economic distress. But neither candidate will admit that technology now destroys more jobs than it creates, because to do so would be to commit political suicide. The fact is that none of the happy talk will ever come true. Instead, the Federal Government, with the tacit approval of both major political parties, continues to run trillion-dollar-plus deficits year after year in a futile attempt to spend our way out of our economic problems and to sustain an economic model that cannot be sustained.

 

Those who believe that bringing manufacturing back to the US will also bring back jobs are trying to fight a war that has already been fought and lost. Why? The answer is technology. It’s actually a fairly simple process now to bring production of many items back to the US, simply because of automation and robotics. A factory filled with robots can operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year, so long as the raw material inputs keep flowing into the factory. Robots don’t take breaks, don’t make mistakes, don’t call in sick, don’t take vacations, don’t require expensive health insurance, and don’t receive paychecks. A fully automated robotic manufacturing facility might require only 100 workers, while a traditional assembly line facility might utilize 3,000 workers. That’s a huge difference in the number of jobs. The simple fact is that most of the lost manufacturing jobs are never coming back.

 

What about all the marketing, administrative, accounting, and IT jobs that we think can’t be outsourced or automated? Well, retail enterprises now tailor any number of special offers directly to individual customers by mining data from reward programs. That doesn’t take an expensive ad budget or a huge marketing department, since it’s all automated. Have you ever noticed that most of the advertising you see while you surf the Web is tailored to things you might be interested in buying? That’s all automated – huge numbers of marketing professionals are just not needed.

 

In the accounting world, ‘lean accounting’ attempts to streamline accounting processes and eliminate accounting inefficiencies. A byproduct of ‘lean accounting’ is often greater use of technology and a significant reduction in the number of accountants and accounting clerks. In the IT (Information Technology) sector, computer algorithms for high-frequency stock trading (HFT) have become so complex that specialized software now writes new HFT programs and algorithms. That reduces job opportunities for programmers. The net result of all these examples is not job creation. It’s job destruction.

 

How about government jobs and government-related jobs? Well, think about the US defense budget. It’s a huge example. We surely do not need as many tanks and fighter jets as we used to, now that we have remote-controlled drones to do many of the jobs required. And with the availability of these drones, we might not need as many aircraft carriers, ships, or military personnel either.

 

What about the Post Office? Do we really need daily mail service in an electronic world?

 

The point is that as we let go of old methodologies, whether in the private sector or in government, huge numbers of jobs simply disappear. As a society, we need to admit that ‘free-market’ capitalism is not going to bring back these lost jobs. Thanks to technology, society is capable of meeting basic human needs (food, clothing, shelter, transportation) with far fewer workers percentage-wise than were needed in the past. But as a society, we also need to admit that socialistic solutions won’t work either, simply because human nature is to take care of ourselves and our families first. Once we have provided for ourselves and our families, very few of us are both willing and able to provide for every stranger that might knock on our door seeking assistance.

 

As a nation, we must at some point address any number of major economic issues, including the massive overhang of debt (public and private) that cannot possibly be repaid and demands for future entitlement payments that cannot possibly be met. As a society, we ought to admit that we cannot borrow our way to prosperity. Unless interest rates are zero forever and creditors are willing to forego scheduled repayments forever, borrowing our way to prosperity is a mathematical impossibility.

 

One point is certain. Even if we find the political will to deal with the mathematics of our economic problems, we will never find long-term solutions to our economic issues until we recognize the profound economic changes wrought by technological advances. This is especially true with respect to our traditional view of a job and a paycheck. While it is true that new opportunities will always exist, these opportunities may not be as plentiful as the jobs of the past once were. And these opportunities will generally require more advanced skills than many of the jobs of the past. Technology has fundamentally changed the nature of paying work, and it is also one of the major economic issues of our time.

 

About the author:

Bob Z., of Vancouver, Washington, is a Corporate Finance executive who retired in 2007 from an upper management position with a Fortune 500 corporation.

Thank you, Bob, for your forthright appraisal of technology and jobs. The decline in labor's share of the GDP (gross domestic product) is sobering:

Here are some other points to consider:

1. The build-out of a new technology creates a large but temporary number of jobs. This has been the case for some time: the construction of the railroads created a jobs boom that soon disappeared in a financial bust as rail was over-built and profits were non-existent for many of the extraneous or duplicate lines.

Telephony and telecom followed similar arcs, and did the build-out of the Internet infrastructure.

2. Technology maturation leads to diminishing return on labor as incremental advances in productivity are capital-intensive. Semiconductor manufacturing is a good example; fabrication facilities (fabs) cost upwards of $2 billion each even as the number of workers need to operate the fab declines. Profit margins on many high-technology products are razor-thin, flat-screen displays being a prime example, and diminishing margins further pressure labor costs.

3. Software is leading the next-generation industrial revolution, automating many tasks that were considered "safe" from automation. As Bob pointed out, this includes securities trading and accounting. (I would add tax preparation for the majority of tax situations.) Can the law, academia and government remain immune? Unlikely.

4. Although few dare contemplate this, the low-hanging fruit of technology may have already been plucked. Take healthcare as an example: antibiotics and vaccines virtually eliminated many diseases at a very low cost per dose (though some diseases are coming back due to unvaccinated host populations and bacterial adaptation).

Antibiotics are "one size fits all" technologies: they act basically the same on every target bacteria and in every host. Compare that universality to the spectrum of individual responses to cancer treatments and other medications: one size does not fit all, and many of the most profitable drugs of the past few decades treated symptoms, not the underlying illness.

It is increasingly clear that there is no "magic pill" that kills all cancers, or even specific cancers in all patients. Lifestyle diseases such as diabetes appear impervious to "magic bullet" cures, as the causal factors of the disease are complex. The same can be said of diseases of aging and environmental factors.

In other words, the notion that tens of billions of dollars in high-tech research will yield "one size fits all" low-cost treatments of complex diseases has been shown to be problematic, and very possibly a fantasy.

5. The Internet is destroying vast income streams that once supported tens of thousands of jobs in industries from finance to music. Craigslist has gutted the once-immense income stream from newspapers, and web-based marketing has shredded print-media advert page counts. Global competition and pressure to maintain profits and margins relentlessly drive enterprises to slash payrolls.

6. As I have discussed here many times over the years, the rising costs of taxes, benefits and regulations have squeezed small businesses. In response, many small companies rely on automation and software to perform tasks that until recently required a human worker.

Those small businesses that cannot prosper via technology are going under, and the risks posed by ever-higher costs have raised entry barriers to starting a small business. These trends are visible in this chart:

The array of web-based tools available to entrepreneurs now is astonishing. Why take on the risks of hiring people when you can do the work yourself with low-cost web tools and software? For many small enterprises, that is the only way to survive.

Advanced societies face a dilemma that cannot be solved by more debt or more technology: how to distribute not just the output of the economy, but the work and responsibility so that everyone has an opportunity to contribute and earn their keep.

Those who have plowed through my books know that I see community as the only viable way forward. Many aspects of human life cannot be turned into a "market opportunity," nor can they be taken over by the insolvent central-planning Central State. Paying people to stay home and rot is not a solution, but neither is paying people more than they produce in competitive markets. There is a "Third Way," but we've lost the skills and infrastructure required. Of the three elements of civil society, the Market and the State have crowded out Community. We either re-discover the labor-value of community or we devolve further into a potentially "death spiral" social and financial instability.

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Mon, 09/03/2012 - 13:18 | 2757970 Ahmeexnal
Ahmeexnal's picture

France celebrates labor day with economic implosion.

http://www.thelocal.fr/page/view/french-unemployment-hits-three-million-...

Asked on Radio J about the number of job seekers hitting 2.99 million in July, Sapin said there was no doubt the number had risen beyond that.

"What will next year's unemployment rate be? Nobody knows. We have already hit three million. The numbers you are talking about, which are the numbers for July, are already outdated," Sapin said.

French riots in 3...2...

Mon, 09/03/2012 - 13:18 | 2757978 taniquetil
taniquetil's picture

The only way to fix this is to tax the rich at 95%. How else can we be sure that they pay their fair share?

Mon, 09/03/2012 - 13:29 | 2757988 Ahmeexnal
Ahmeexnal's picture

German economy in freefall:

http://www.thelocal.de/national/20120903-44745.html

The German export industry - one of the main pillars of the country's economy - dropped to its lowest point since 2009 in August, sparking fears that the euro crisis is finally catching up with one of Europe's stronger nations.

German sheeple to be fleeced of yet another trillion euros to bail out the hidden PIIG:

http://www.thelocal.de/money/20120903-44733.html

Eastern Germany needs €1,000 billion in investment to bring it in line with the economic power of the west by 2030, the Thuringia state economy minister said on Monday.

Germany comes out of the closet and expresses full blown support for Ogolfer:

http://www.thelocal.de/politics/20120903-44743.html

A former German foreign minister has voiced concern for German-American relations in the approach to the US presidential election. Re-electing President Barack Obama would be the “better option” for Europe, he said in an interview.

Is the german Gestapo training the TSA?

 

The world is soon approaching it's Sobibor moment, is that why the power elite are in panic mode?

Mon, 09/03/2012 - 13:38 | 2758025 MillionDollarBonus_
MillionDollarBonus_'s picture

Reading this article made me very, very angry. Let me tell you Randian meanies something ... I’ve done my own research, and I can tell you that the “free market” does nothing for the poor whatsoever. You morons really think the solution is even fewer regulations on big corporations? Are you saying corporations should pay less tax to the government and have fewer regulations??? You libertarians are so pathetic. Awww boo hoo, what about the poor “job creators” ... whaaa whaaa. You have to be kidding me.

Unlike sycophantic libertarians, I truly care about the poor, and I know after years of pain staking research I’ve come to the conclusion that discrediting free market myths and anti-government slander is the most productive use of my time. I’m serious about solving the problem of poverty, and I know the only way to do it is by

  1. Increasing the minimum wage
  2. Increasing taxes
  3. Giving more legislative privileges to unions
  4. Increasing the number of regulations on businesses

The progressive revolution isn’t just a movement, it’s a way of life. I encourage all ZHers join me in my quest for a better future, and to be a force for good in the world, not evil.

Mon, 09/03/2012 - 13:38 | 2758043 Likstane
Likstane's picture

Stale....let it go...

Mon, 09/03/2012 - 13:57 | 2758085 Ahmeexnal
Ahmeexnal's picture

Bruce Willis suddenly finds out that he doesn't own his purchased music and launches legal action against hedgefund hotel AAPL.

How long will it take him to find out he doesn't own his aquired land.....and his birthright given freedom???

http://www.macrumors.com/2012/09/03/bruce-willis-considering-lawsuit-aga...

Several reports over the weekend, including from The Sun and the Daily Mail, are claiming that actor Bruce Willis is considering taking legal action against Apple to address the issue of transferability of iTunes Store music purchases. According to the reports, Willis wants his daughters to be able to inherit his iTunes music upon his death, but Apple's terms prohibit any transfer of ownership.

The Hollywood action hero is said to be considering legal action against technology giant Apple over his desire to leave his digital music collection to his daughters.

If he succeeds, he could benefit not just himself and his family but the millions who have purchased songs from Apple’s iTunes Store.

Willis has discovered that, like anyone who has bought music online, he does not actually own the tracks but is instead ‘borrowing’ them under a licence.

As an alternative to legal action against Apple, Willis is also said to be considering setting up a family trust to own his iTunes music.

YIPPIE-KI-YAY MOTHERF*CKERS!

Mon, 09/03/2012 - 14:05 | 2758114 centerline
centerline's picture

The real funny thing is how Apple traps people into maintaining Apple products because of this sort of licensing action.

Don't people ask questions first?  Holy shit.  Dumb motherfuckers so enamored by the latest i-centrifugal bubble puppy thing to keep up with the Joneses that they wind up cornered.  Monkey trap.  Lolololol.

Mon, 09/03/2012 - 15:02 | 2758274 Temporalist
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But the reason I like my iPhone is because I can use it with just one hand since my other hand is stuck in this hole that has some juicy morsels inside - if I could only get them out to see what they were...

Mon, 09/03/2012 - 15:30 | 2758335 Dr Benway
Dr Benway's picture

The author doesn't clearly explain exactly why we shouldn't just pay people "to rot at home" as he puts it, if it can be afforded.

 

I know some people see work as some sort of value in itself, and that's fine for them. Others, like me, regard work as a means to an end, a way to fund my free time.

 

So the author just assumes everyone has his Protestant work ethic and could not stand being without work in an automated society.

 

However, the problem won't be lack of work, it will be lack of money. We could pay everyone enough to live, but that's not enough because people always want more. So the author is wrong, it will never be about distribution of work, it will always be about the distribution of output.

Mon, 09/03/2012 - 16:46 | 2758596 markmotive
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As America declines into oblivion...

Happy labor day. Smoke 'em if you got 'em.

http://www.planbeconomics.com/2012/08/27/investing-during-the-great-american-decline/

Tue, 09/04/2012 - 02:12 | 2759459 merizobeach
merizobeach's picture

markmotive, I have to ask: why did you choose as your avatar the flag of the, in my opinion, second most evil government in the world?

Mon, 09/03/2012 - 18:02 | 2758776 Anusocracy
Anusocracy's picture

The author misses the obvious conclusion that market competition, unhindered by government, would drive costs of manufacturing, and consequently costs of products, to an absolute minimum. People will live at little expense if government essentially disappears.

Arthur C. Clarke made a comment that said something like one era's technology is another era's magic.

So I'll offer two questions:

Why doesn't a tree grow up into a three-bedroom house or a conch into a sailboat?

And how much would they cost if that could happen?

 

 

 

Mon, 09/03/2012 - 20:41 | 2759083 FrankDrakman
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Clarke's quotation was:

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

Mon, 09/03/2012 - 22:00 | 2759223 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

Look up the Artist:  Jacek Yerka

Wed, 09/05/2012 - 23:31 | 2766916 Anusocracy
Anusocracy's picture

Thanks.

Mon, 09/03/2012 - 21:29 | 2759157 brettd
brettd's picture

It seems the whole conversation is about what the worker makes.

Not the value the worker brings to the task. 

It's gotta be a two way street, friends.

Mon, 09/03/2012 - 22:09 | 2759233 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

[quote]Walmart:

Cool people (and many of my friends, cool and otherwise) hate Wal-Mart and sneer at those who shop there.  It is one thing to choose not to shop there.  But to view as evil, an enterprise that has figured out a way to do something more cheaply than its competitors and pass on the savings to consumers, is a sign that something is deeply wrong with the way we explain to our children and students what capitalism is about and why it's a good thing.

I have no idea who Charles Platt is.  I'm sure he has biases.  But his story (HT: Blackadder, in a comment on this Blogging Heads episode) of his experience should be read and re-read.  Haters of Wal-Mart have trouble explaining why hundreds of people apply for jobs at Wal-Mart whenever there is an opening or continue to want to work for them when they move, as Platt describes when he goes to his training session:

A week later, I found myself in an elite group of 10 successful applicants convening for two (paid) days of training in the same claustrophobic, windowless room.  As we introduced ourselves, I discovered that more than half had already worked at other Wal-Marts.  Having relocated to this area, they were eager for more of the same.

Why?  Gradually the answer became clear.  Imagine that you are young and relatively unskilled, lacking academic qualifications.  Which would you prefer:  standing behind the register at a local gas station, or doing the same thing in the most aggressively successful retailer in the world, where ruthless expansion is a way of life, creating a constant demand for people to fill low-level managerial positions?  A future at Wal-Mart may sound a less-than-stellar prospect, but it's a whole lot better than no future at all.

In addition, despite its huge size, the corporation turned out to have an eerie resemblance to a Silicon Valley startup.  There was the same gung-ho spirit, same lack of dogma, same lax dress code, same informality – and same interest in owning a piece of the company.  All of my coworkers accepted the offer to buy Wal-Mart stock by setting aside $2 of every paycheck.

Platt's account of what he experienced is entertaining
and informative. His economics is good too:

My starting wage was so low (around $7 per hour), a modest increment still didn't leave me with enough to live on comfortably, but when I looked at the alternatives, many of them were worse.  Coworkers assured me that the nearest Target paid its hourly full-timers less than Wal-Mart, while fast-food franchises were at the bottom of everyone's list.

I found myself reaching an inescapable conclusion. Low wages are not a Wal-Mart problem.  They are an industry-wide problem, afflicting all unskilled entry-level jobs, and the reason should be obvious.

In our free-enterprise system, employees are valued largely in terms of what they can do.  This is why teenagers fresh out of high school often go to vocational training institutes to become auto mechanics or electricians.  They understand a basic principle that seems to elude social commentators, politicians and union organizers.  If you want better pay, you need to learn skills that are in demand.[/quote]

[quote]To my mind, the real scandal is not that a large corporation doesn't pay people more.  The scandal is that so many people have so little economic value. Despite (or because of) a free public school
system, millions of teenagers enter the work force without marketable skills.  So why would anyone expect them to be well paid?[/quote]

Emphasis added by moi.

Mon, 09/03/2012 - 23:39 | 2759340 MeBizarro
MeBizarro's picture

There are so many reasons to hate Wal-Mart and not shop there:

- Decimitates small businesses in towns they move into

- Still offers lower payer and poorer benefits than even other retail competitors

- Vicious anti-union behavior with a long history and checkered history of constant labor violations including mandatory overtime, not paying overtime, break violations, wrongful terminations, gender discrimination, etc.  

- Extorts and is very aggressive at getting local tax breaks and all kinds of development perks

- Promotes a culture where we most things as cheap but of mixed-quality and durability

- Profound effect on producers who sell to them as they constantly have to producer cheaper items

- A business that has a very mixed record of supporting the community they reside in

 

Mon, 09/03/2012 - 23:53 | 2759359 FreedomGuy
FreedomGuy's picture

Good article Stycho. I once argued for a Walmart distribution center in a smallish town paper against the usual opposition. Let me add one more positive thing that is true about Walmart and similar stores. There is this new somewhat elitist preference for small mom and pop stores and often they are the only ones allowed in downtown trendy or revitalized areas. Walmarts, if allowed at all are forced to the peripheral areas. Let's say you are this same relatively unskilled fresh out of high school person looking at your options. Perhaps there are lots of well loved mom and pop small businesses in your town. What are the odds that mom and pop who are certainly more humane than the invisible corporate vultures of Walmart pay any better than Walmart? What are the odds the pay is the same or worse? Now, let's say you decide to work at the mom and pop shop because it's cool and they are in fact nice people. What are your promotion prospects? Little to none as mom and pop are going to run the place till they die and then that spoiled moron, Jr. who is studying underwater basket weaving at local U. will take over...and he doesn't like you already.

Contrast that with starting as a cashier or stocker at Walmart. There are virtually infinite numbers of midlevel advancement opportunities up to the top itself. Plus, the chain is large and if you want to move to Florida or Peoria there is one there you can transfer to. If you work for an immediate supervisor who is a jerk you can get another department or store. Perhaps you move over to automotive and have more fun or you try something new like operating the fork lift which pays way more. So, you can be elitist and romantic about mom and pop stores and there is nothing inherently wrong with that, but there is far more opportunity at that big box store for someone with a little ambition.

What also seems to correlate is that anti-Walmart types are most often liberals and democrats. The act like Walmart is a bigger oppressor than the leviathan government they favor. Last I checked Walmart did not threaten to raise my taxes, put a red light camera on the corner or force me to get a license, registration, smog certificate and proof of insurance for any of my property. Moronic liberal-statists want more State and less Walmart. When the DMV opens an extra line after I draw number 666 (while seeing 333 on the board) like Walmart would I will consider their arguments.

Tue, 09/04/2012 - 01:46 | 2759446 merizobeach
merizobeach's picture

"there is far more opportunity at that big box store for someone with a little ambition."

So long as they have ONLY "a little ambition".

The prospect of living as a wage serf in such a shitty environment as a Wal-Mart is one of the slowest, most painful suicides I can imagine.

Tue, 09/04/2012 - 02:06 | 2759455 merizobeach
merizobeach's picture

"so many people have so little economic value.... enter the work force without marketable skills."

Yes.  That's a problem; those sheeple are absolutely and terminally useless; they shouldn't have even been born because their parents are exactly the same genetic rejects.  Giving them Wal-Marts to work at might prevent some social unrest, but it does nothing to solve the fundamental problem of idiocracy.  These irresponsible breeders need to be sterilized, if not culled, and the best way to accomplish that is to get them to do it themselves, with relentless ad campaigns encouraging the dignity and nobility euthanasia (read: suicide clinics in every town, everyone welcome, including your stupid, fat, depressed children) and harshly condemning reproduction by those who have bad genes (fat, stupid, ugly, lazy, weak, etc).  It would be a challenging process of social change, but damn, it would be entertaining.

My other point of response is almost a corrolary: a potentially primary reason to hate Wal-Mart is not because of it's business model but, rather, because of abhorrence toward their grotesque customers and brainless-sheeple-serf workers.

Tue, 09/04/2012 - 05:54 | 2759566 Redhotfill
Redhotfill's picture

So you would off the fat weak guy with a 160 IQ?

Tue, 09/04/2012 - 11:32 | 2760493 FreedomGuy
FreedomGuy's picture

So, what do you think of Jews, slavs, the disabled, and the proles? Who should be left in your ideal?

Mon, 09/03/2012 - 15:00 | 2758272 Divine Wind
Divine Wind's picture

 

 

This is how stupid fucking liberals become conservative.

All of a sudden they become the fucked.

What a dolt.

Mon, 09/03/2012 - 15:19 | 2758306 Dr Benway
Dr Benway's picture

LOL because conservatives are on the frontline against the corporate copyright mafia?

 

Just give up on the tired right-left shit. "Conservatives" in the US are not for liberty, they are for drones, war on drugs, censorship, repression, crony-corporate power controlling you, SWAT teams kicking down your door in the middle of the night.

 

Conservatives are more anti-liberty than the liberals even. How the fuck can you not see this?

Mon, 09/03/2012 - 16:20 | 2758521 LMAOLORI
Mon, 09/03/2012 - 15:18 | 2758311 Jim in MN
Jim in MN's picture

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nhPaWIeULKk

One does not simply roll one's window up at Bruce Willis when he's packing.

Mon, 09/03/2012 - 15:30 | 2758340 My Days Are Get...
My Days Are Getting Fewer's picture

Good for Bruce to go after Apple.

 

But, what contemporary music has any reedeming value.  In 10 years, 95% of Bruce's collection will never be listened to.

Mon, 09/03/2012 - 18:28 | 2758824 Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture

Mr. Willis is a doofus if he thinks he "owns" anyone's music - publishing rights are a struggle between the artist & the publishing / recording companies, to see who gets the biggest piece of the royalties pie.

back in the vinyl days, you could "loan" your music to a friend. . . then came cassette mix tapes combining faves to share. . . oh noes!  "home taping is killing music !!" (read: profits). . . next CDs pumped up the (biz) volume, but then folks got hold of the technology to burn 'n' share.

"music" companies will always complain of loss of monies when people share music - but to believe that anyone "owns" another's music, particularly downloads from a virtual "store" is nonsense - you've paid for the right to repeated listening, and not a "collection" that can be passed to anyone, a "virtual" music collection is just that, it doesn't exist as matter.

even for narcissists like Willis.

Mon, 09/03/2012 - 18:38 | 2758830 Diogenes
Diogenes's picture

If he really thinks of  his music collection as a legacy for his children he's pathetic. What makes him think they want it? Wonder if he still treasures, and listens to, his mother's old Partridge Family albums and his dad's Tijuana Brass collection?

Mon, 09/03/2012 - 19:28 | 2758934 billsykes
billsykes's picture

I employ the rule of 3, if I buy something digital I DRM it first, keep 1 copy for myself and share the file 2x. Not always but when I can.

my beef is w. ebooks, I cannot sell them, I have to buy them at a higher cost new physical books in most cases, if X (amazon, b&n, etc) decides to pull my purchase, they can with no notice and I cannot share them with anyone. 

My response, fuck you greedy bastards, be fair set a realistic price for the product and I will buy. 

It's not that I cannot afford a $15 book its that a used physical one is $2 or a new hardcover one $9- its the essence of it. 

(no, if you don't like it then buy the physical quips, we are smarter than that here)

Mon, 09/03/2012 - 21:29 | 2759159 Bobbyrib
Bobbyrib's picture

I don't like the ideas of e-books either. With a physical copy of a book, I can keep it indefinitely as long as I have the space and it isn't somehow destroyed. If I have an e-book, I would have to lend them my over-priced garbage e-book reader so that they can read it and the information (the book) could be made inaccessible at any time.

Tue, 09/04/2012 - 05:14 | 2759542 StandardDeviant
StandardDeviant's picture

Exactly.  Richard Stallman wrote a cautionary tale back in 1997 about this sort of thing, called "The Right to Read".  It's short; well worth a look.

You're not entirely stuck, though.  Removing DRM from e-books is not that difficult; a quick Google search will do the trick.  Wired, for example, posted this how-to guide for Kindle a while ago.  Calibre is your friend.

(But local laws may not be, depending on which country you live in.  "Lend" at your own risk.)

Tue, 09/04/2012 - 20:27 | 2762717 billsykes
billsykes's picture

Its about portability and the content, and that I am aware that my ego may want to buy books that look impressive on the shelf. Ever move 20 boxes of books? I have, once. never again. I love the look of a shelf of books, with a railed ladder- even better. 

Most stuff I read now is business stuff, not applicable in 10yrs, art or fiction is really a fraction of what I read anymore.  Its also about search-ability. like a pdf search as opposed to which book is it in, and then where in the book is it.

 

Mon, 09/03/2012 - 13:48 | 2758054 Oh regional Indian
Oh regional Indian's picture

Some  /religio/communist scum beer-o-crat/scribe came up with this gag-making piece of programming:

 

"Work is Worship"

 

The rest is history. Or rather, from there on, rest was history.

ori

 

Mon, 09/03/2012 - 13:50 | 2758081 Gully Foyle
Gully Foyle's picture

Oh regional Indian

"Work is Worship"

Not too far off. I've read about Zen monks who say no work no food.

People focus on the end result instead of the work at hand, the destination instead of the trip.

Jim Morrison said that orgasm was the death of sex.

And everyone knows idle hands do the devils work.

Maybe work isn't worship so much as meditation.

Mon, 09/03/2012 - 14:01 | 2758101 Oh regional Indian
Oh regional Indian's picture

One of the best, most intense experiences of my life was watching a zen monk slice 30 stalks of celery.

That was not work. It was pure worship.

ori

Mon, 09/03/2012 - 14:06 | 2758118 Gully Foyle
Gully Foyle's picture

Oh regional Indian

No. it was being there.

No worship involved just doing with a focused mind.

Your day should be spent doing the mundane with focus, being there.

People just don't get that.

Then again it is a whole different way of being, not thinking as many confuse the two.

Mon, 09/03/2012 - 15:37 | 2758374 Acet
Acet's picture

Yes - this is very insightful.

The human brain is capable of some wonderful things without the need of pseudo-religious or chemical crutches.

That said, if it makes it easier some to use the worship mumbo-jumbo as crutch to achieve focus and getting the mind purelly on the present, they might as well use it. Just beware that if you avoid the crutch and find in yourself the way to trigger that state at will, it will be far easier to use it whenever and wherever you need it.

 

Mon, 09/03/2012 - 14:10 | 2758127 centerline
centerline's picture

And appreciation.  So much lost today.  I admit it takes serious effort every day in this world to just maintain a particular altitude, let alone achieve escape velocity.

Mon, 09/03/2012 - 17:50 | 2758757 ArmchairRevolut...
ArmchairRevolutionary's picture

Did you happen to be tripping on acid at the time?

Mon, 09/03/2012 - 19:12 | 2758908 post turtle saver
post turtle saver's picture

"keine Arbeit, kein Essen"

Zen Monks, Nazi prison camp guards... same result.

Mon, 09/03/2012 - 15:45 | 2758414 DosZap
DosZap's picture

and this is the damnation of the times of the gentiles....it is a barbaric civilization adamant on conquest, control, and exploitation....

I call BS, especially from America's record of giving........................to ALL.

To our detriment in almost every case.

I cannot name one country we colonized,or seized total control over after destroying in war.Just the opposite, we rebuilt the same shit better out of taxpayers pockets,and the majority turned on us after the fact.

America has always been demonized for our role,NAME one country who has given more as a people or country to the poor(and the not so poor).

Check the charitable giving records of us compared to any other nation............to everyone,some who did not even need it.

 

Mon, 09/03/2012 - 17:54 | 2758765 ArmchairRevolut...
ArmchairRevolutionary's picture

I think that is quite incorrect. We have a pretty strong record of toppling governments and placing favorable dictators in power for the purpose of extracting wealth.

Mon, 09/03/2012 - 21:43 | 2759195 brettd
brettd's picture

So the Arabs just shipped us the oil for free?

 

Tue, 09/04/2012 - 02:17 | 2759460 merizobeach
merizobeach's picture

Thirty-year UST, almost the same.

Mon, 09/03/2012 - 23:44 | 2759347 MeBizarro
MeBizarro's picture

You assume that all other countries remotely want the 'American' lifestyle and gov't or ridiculously assume that we haven't and don't continue to committ our share of atrocities while there.  There are many too many Americans though who share this deluded, warped, and moral revisionist history of American abroad the last century or so.

Mon, 09/03/2012 - 13:41 | 2758056 ChickenTikka
ChickenTikka's picture

Was this a joke? You're on the wrong forum dude.

Mon, 09/03/2012 - 14:47 | 2758232 AurorusBorealus
AurorusBorealus's picture

He always does this... people took him seriously for a long time... now everyone finally is starting to realize that he is /sarc.

Mon, 09/03/2012 - 13:42 | 2758057 ChickenTikka
ChickenTikka's picture

Was this a joke? You're on the wrong forum dude.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!