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PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2017 7:11 pm    Post subject: Globalisation. Reply with quote

Could it be that globalisation, far from being the demonic force of the 'Occupy' movements envisioning, might actually turn out to be the saviour of the world? We all know the old 'Macdonalds' thing in which it is said that no two countries where the famed golden arches are found will ever go to war, but more seriously with the world actually showing signs of becoming more politically fragmented, might it actually be that commerce will replace political diplomacy as the glue which holds this fragile balancing act of a world together?
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2017 10:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's happening. No one can stop it. Of course it will bring the world together. We're a global civilization now.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2017 4:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know if "saviour" is the right word, but certainly it's inevitable.

It has its advantages and disadvantages, but I suppose we might as well come to terms with it. I often suspect that something like Gibson's corporate states will eventually be reality.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2017 7:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

From my link/quote in the anti-American values thread:

Robert Wright, in NONZERO wrote:
Globalization, it seems to me, has been in the cards not just since the invention of the telegraph or the steamship, or even the written word or the wheel, but since the invention of life. All along, the relentless logic of non-zero-sumness has been pointing toward this age in which relations among nations are growing more non-zero-sum year by year.


"Non-zero-sum" is another way of saying mutually beneficial relationships. And these relationships are not accidentally beneficial, but necessarily so, in such a way that we have even become dependent upon each other. Our dependency isn't negative, but dependent in a way that strengthens everyone involved. It's not only good, but inevitable. There is a natural logic to the world that pushes us in this direction. As long as we don't blow ourselves up, there is only one direction we can go.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2017 7:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One of those situations where I agree with Z, at least in the broad strokes.
It's gonna happen...the only choices are in how we set it up: centralized and hierarchical or diverse and heterarchical.

If you look at it closely, peter, even the current flux of fragmentation has two characteristics: It's driven mostly by the fear experience of old people and tyrannical/traditional ideologues AND it is global itself.
The main threat/difficulty with ISIS [and the extreme rightist movements] is precisely that they're like Walmart. Outsourced, multinational, connected, aided by billionaires and corrupt financials. [[[OK, Z, might not agree with all that last Smile ... it's probably a BIT much---but only a bit, and fundamentally true.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2017 2:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting balance between the resigned and the positive in those posts ...... but [not to be too pedantic Wink] would it be true to say that without the overarching power [not to big a word here I think] of economic ties and forces exerting their mediating influence, we'd actually be entering a pretty scary stage now? Globalisation is not merely advantageous - it's absolutely essential!
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2017 8:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

+JMJ+

I'd say that the forced-choice between Globalism and Localism seems to be a function of badly-posed problems.

Rather, I would say that the living, organic "solution" (a solution which, being living, admits of no perfectly stable equilibrium) is a tension betwixt Universality and Subsidiarity.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2017 11:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Globalism will only be effective when there is a one world government.
Not before. When you take away the power from a local entity or state then
you have issues.
Look at Brexit, US elections and the problem arising in the EU.
and as it stands baring a super world shaking event. (ie like a pandemic that kills 90% of the world pop.) it isn't going to happen for thousands of years.
(again I'm using the EU as an example as oppose to the US. The US are 50 countries under a single controlling system. They started with 13 and as each state was admitted they agreed to the controlling economic body. it is a micro
global example.)
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2017 2:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think this is actually a much more complex question than it seems at first. You cannot simply project current trends into the future because we stand on the precipice of an entirely new epoch of technological advancement that will make the rapid societal changes of post-industrialisation seem in comparison like the droning centuries of slow development that preceded it.

It has already begun with the fruits of machine learning enabling the automisation of complex tasks. This field is exploding already and if we can achieve a human level artificial general intelligence then it will go truly supernova. This is happening in conjunction with advancements in synergetic technologies such as robotics and 3D printing.

I don't see how you can have a meaningful discussion about how globalisation may proceed without considering the implications of a radical restructuring of the mechanics of our society due to current technological trends and the tendency towards exponential acceleration of these advancements.

What role will multinational corporations play in a society where human workers are obsolete? What role does the state play, for that matter? This is no longer a question to be reserved for the speculations of science fiction, but rather a very real one that we should be prepared to answer within our own lifetimes.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2017 7:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now that is coming close to the nub of things; that both globalisation and politics are globalising and politicking to a world that is on the cusp of a surge of compressed change the like of which it has never seen before - and are in the main facing backwards in their activities rather than confronting the realities of the world they will in short order find themselves functioning in. The hurdle we face is nothing less than performing a complete re-evaluation of our role in the world and a redefinition of what constitutes a life well lived.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2017 7:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Globalization will be most effective without a single, global government. Peter is on the right track, it is our economic ties that bind us together into a somewhat stable equilibrium of competing forces. Capitalism, free markets, division of labor, supply/demand, these are bottom-up structures of organization that are infinitely more efficient, adaptable, and fair than any top-down structure could ever achieve.

Again, it is the logic of nonzero-sum relationships that define how we interact, not bureaucracies. Game theory, not laws and regulations. It is inescapable, like natural selection. It happens whether we know it or not, whether we resist it or not. The world is being organized into a global civilization without us even trying. There is no need for a one-world government to do it for us. In fact, that would just slow it down and make it unfair, taking crony capitalism to a whole new level.

Hierachy, I think the fears of automation are greatly exaggerated, and the ingenuity of humans to develop new kinds of jobs greatly underestimated. Taking humans out of the mechanized workforce--i.e. the kinds of jobs that can be automated--only frees us to do more human, less dehumanizing work. Automation has been happening for decades with virtually zero impact on employment rates. Humans just end up doing more, and our productivity keeps going up. The recent rise in people leaving the workforce has more to do with government intervention the market (e.g. extending unemployment benefits, entitlement programs, etc) rather than people losing work because a machine took their job.

Much as people naively expected computers and the Internet to give us a "paperless office," we are similarly naive to believe that AI and robots will give us a "workerless workplace."
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Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do–back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2017 2:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zarathustra wrote:


Hierachy, I think the fears of automation are greatly exaggerated, and the ingenuity of humans to develop new kinds of jobs greatly underestimated. Taking humans out of the mechanized workforce--i.e. the kinds of jobs that can be automated--only frees us to do more human, less dehumanizing work. Automation has been happening for decades with virtually zero impact on employment rates. Humans just end up doing more, and our productivity keeps going up. The recent rise in people leaving the workforce has more to do with government intervention the market (e.g. extending unemployment benefits, entitlement programs, etc) rather than people losing work because a machine took their job.

Much as people naively expected computers and the Internet to give us a "paperless office," we are similarly naive to believe that AI and robots will give us a "workerless workplace."


Maybe, then again when was the last time you saw a horse drawn cart, or a work horse in general for that matter? I agree that if we can automate the more menial or dehumanising work then that'd shift the focus of human work into other areas. However there are a couple of things to consider here:

1. What it means to be a productive member of society or to be "successful" in a world where the maintenance of our basic survival needs can be automated. How will this impact on our culture and our psychology?

2. If we achieve a human level + artificial general intelligence, then this would lead to a higher order of "automation" (not even sure this would be the correct word at that point), and humans really will be as obsolete as the working horse.

I think there is a fairly obvious trend of exponential acceleration of advancements in human society, and with the kind of technologies on the horizon I feel it would be a good bet that the trend will continue. We live in an age where our grandparents lived in a very different world than we do. That was never the case before industrialisation. In the face of this, I can't help but think that it would be naive to expect "business as usual".
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2017 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hierachy, I don't deny that we're in for some profound changes. I agree that our basic needs will drop to negligible costs. But this won't eliminate producers and consumers. It will simply shift our consumption from necessities to luxuries. It will be like the luxury packages on cars that eventually make their way into base models (e.g. AC, power windows, air bags).

I've mentioned this before ... we'll simply accelerate the current trend of moving from a manufacturing economy to a service economy. More people will provide services to the masses that are currently considered luxury services. People will be employed in all sorts of crazy, creative, personalized, specialized tasks that will never be taken over by robots.

What are some of these jobs that robots will never replace? Well, for instance customer service. There are many highly intelligent humans that suck at customer service. It doesn't matter how intelligent we make a machine, it will never be able to replace the face-to-face interaction with an empathetic, sentient human who is good at schmoozing. Sales are another. No machine is going to talk you into something. You have no problem telling a machine no. A persuasive human, on the other hand, will always sell rings around an algorithm. One reason is that we care what other humans think of us; there is a psychological dance going on with salesman and customer. We don't care what an algorithm thinks, because it doesn't literally think.

Other types of jobs will be creative, specialized tasks, like a personal chef. Machines will one day be able to mix ingredients to a recipe, but that's not the same as a human cooking a meal just for you. Go to a good sushi restaurant and sit at the bar where they make the food right in front of you, offering you samples and suggesting specials. It's a delightful experience that machine will ever duplicate. You feel pampered and special. You taste things that the chef makes up on the spot. There is spontaneity and creativity, human interaction that will never be replaced.

I highly recommend Michio Kaku's book PHYSICS OF THE FUTURE, in which this theoretical physicist talks about these very issues. He mentions the "caveman principle," the idea that we're always going to be creatures of our evolution, regardless of our technological advances. As such, we'll always value things that our ancestors valued--like human contact, face-to-face interactions where we can read the body language of those with whom we're dealing. It is the caveman principle, he argues, that prevented computers from giving us a paperless office, because humans will always need something in their hand, something real, more than just a digital facsimile. And it is this principle that will limit any future technology, molding it to basic human needs. We'll instinctively reject anything that takes us too far from our roots, even as it carries us to the stars.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2017 8:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zarathustra wrote:
Globalization will be most effective without a single, global government.


This, in potential. It plugs directly into what I said/meant with heterarchical and diverse.
BUT---in order for it to work, we have to slay megamergers/multinationals just as effectively [and more] as we do "world gov't."
AI is an essential in how we do it. [[and not necessarily general AI---non-conscious expert systems are just as cheap and effective [or more so, once integrated with us meaties] and less hazardous]].

It's not that I hate the Giant Fuckers. [[though I do, different topic]]---it's because they are anti-survival. They kill innovation, smother creativity, and malappropriate energy. And this is directly due to how we allowed capitalism to grow. It was improperly groomed and weeded. So what we have now is billionaires, finance, essential commodities are integrated...but PEOPLE are separated/isolated, and constrained. We need the inverse. People integrated/connected and essential sectors isolated/separated and constrained.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2017 10:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zar, you seem to have come around a bit on this topic.

"Customer service" will largely become a thing of the past though. With the advent of inexpensive 3D printing and other tech, we're not too far off from "replicators" like Star Trek has. When we can make items for ourselves, where does customer service fit in?

Certain things will always be done by humans (great example with the Sushi restaurant), but that's not going to employ 160,000,000 people (our current workforce). Right now, only 63% of that workforce is working. How's that going to get better when there's more people and fewer jobs?

I don't know what the answer is. We're going to automate away most of our jobs, and nearly all of the low-skill, blue-collar ones. I fear that as this happens, we're going to shift to a much more authoritarian style of government where the smart people who perform the essential tasks become the de facto rulers while the rest of us stare at video screens.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2017 8:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are 'the masses' by their nature, indolent? Given the opportunity - think basic (ie automatic and unworked for) income, free internet, TV etc - would the bulk of us just naturally gravitate into couch potato existence. It's a real possibility: lions in Africa can be fed to a given spot so as to be always on hand when the tourists are brought to see them, and they will only rarely move more than a short distance from that feeding ground. Are we at heart like that - and will the answer to that question be the true deciding factor as to the likely general future for the bulk of people in the face of an ever diminishing need to work?
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2017 10:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

peter wrote:
Are 'the masses' by their nature, indolent? Given the opportunity - think basic (ie automatic and unworked for) income, free internet, TV etc - would the bulk of us just naturally gravitate into couch potato existence. It's a real possibility: lions in Africa can be fed to a given spot so as to be always on hand when the tourists are brought to see them, and they will only rarely move more than a short distance from that feeding ground. Are we at heart like that - and will the answer to that question be the true deciding factor as to the likely general future for the bulk of people in the face of an ever diminishing need to work?
One need only look at the poor sections of our cities. For many, many people, not having to work means not working.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2017 2:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Agreed Cail. History has shown this to be true over and over. Look at the number of people that get locked into a Cycle of welfare addiction, where they dont even try to find a job because the govt dole is too easy. There are some that make it out of those, but many will stay near the 'feeding ground'.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2017 4:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

peter wrote:
Are 'the masses' by their nature, indolent? Given the opportunity - think basic (ie automatic and unworked for) income, free internet, TV etc - would the bulk of us just naturally gravitate into couch potato existence.


Absolutely. One may argue the case that having your basic monthly expenses covered by a government check amounts to economic slavery--you depend on the government for everything and ultimately you will do what they tell you to do because without them you have nothing--but you will never convince people who believe in such a system of that.

There is an op-ed in the New York Times which laments the fact that we are not as mobile as we used to be--at one time people would pack their belongings and move several States away to pursue an opportunity but that the rate at which we do that now is about half what it was in the 1960s. Our younger generation is not very business-minded (entrepreneurship by those under 30 is down 65% from the 1980s), our innovation has dropped (the number of Americans with international patents has dropped 25% since 1990), and even our desire to drive has plummeted (the op-ed cites statistics stating that 69% of 17-year-olds had drivers' licenses in 1983 but only half of 18-year-olds these days hold one). In short, we want to stay at home, connected to a computer or a mobile device, rather than actually doing something with our lives.

The NYT op-ed is based on another article found here titled, "Our Miserable 21st Century". Anecdotally, I have to disagree--except for a couple of bad years about a decade ago (2005, 2006, and 2007 were really bad years for me) the 21st Century has been pretty good to me. You really should read the foundation article, though--it's pretty good.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2017 5:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We're evolutionarily pre-disposed to short-cuts. The less energy we had to expend to meet basic requirements, the better. It's a biological reality.

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