Squeezed?

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IlliniDave
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Re: Squeezed?

Post by IlliniDave » Fri Aug 10, 2018 9:24 am

I only highlighted the "blue collar" aspect because it is something I've thought about for many decades as a function of where I grew up. I'm sure it can be extended. You are correct that computers have become nearly ubiquitous, but if we decline to jettison all the opportunities where a computer is one of the tools in a pursuit that an individual might aspire too, we might find ourselves with a more productive overall society than if we try to herd all the glitter-and-glue or grease-under-the-fingernails leaning people into call centers to field customer complaints about their $200/mo cable TV service, or typing data into spreadsheets.

I don't think I can comment regarding your objection to Peterson and Weinstein because I don't know if I'm familiar with the conversation you are talking about, or even which Weinstein. But knowing those two (three) I'd suspect maybe you are extracting absolutes from within the context of a nuanced discussion and suggesting they were originally stated universally and axiomatically, which perhaps they weren't?

You close with the type of statement I alluded when I mentioned the stigma our culture likes to attach to degree-not-requited pursuits. Though it is not restricted to elites, quite a few of us (I include myself here) are not innovators by temperament or ability. Someone must fill in behind the innovators and actually turn the ideas into something tangible. Both/and is often better than either/or.

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7Wannabe5
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Re: Squeezed?

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Fri Aug 10, 2018 10:18 am

IlliniDave wrote:You close with the type of statement I alluded when I mentioned the stigma our culture likes to attach to degree-not-requited pursuits. Though it is not restricted to elites, quite a few of us (I include myself here) are not innovators by temperament or ability. Someone must fill in behind the innovators and actually turn the ideas into something tangible. Both/and is often better than either/or.
Oh, I agree. I meant "do both" or more like "do all 3" since the "boss man" is also a needed component. I think the e-myth used entrepreneur, technician, and manager to describe the three basic roles needed for innovation to occur. These could all exist within one individual or self-aware partnership could produce the same results. However, I am suggesting that a flatter hierarchy might better serve. I would further note that there also social stigmas attached to entrepreneurial-type, such as "kooky" or "impulsive."
IlliniDave wrote:I don't think I can comment regarding your objection to Peterson and Weinstein because I don't know if I'm familiar with the conversation you are talking about, or even which Weinstein. But knowing those two (three) I'd suspect maybe you are extracting absolutes from within the context of a nuanced discussion and suggesting they were originally stated universally and axiomatically, which perhaps they weren't?
I am too lazy to search through the transcript, but at some point in the discussion with Eric Weinstein, Peterson says something about innovation occurring at the outer reaches of the curve of human competence, seemingly in support of "natural" , as opposed to overly regulated, formation of hierarchy. I did not get the impression that he was claiming to make an original point. More like he was tossing it out as a give, perhaps based on prior knowledge (and assumption that Weinstein shared this knowledge) of conclusion of paper by Jonathan Huebner linked above. IOW, Peterson was assuming a MORE elitist perspective than I am suggesting.
In conclusion, the evidence presented indicates that the rate of innovation reached a peak over a
hundred years ago and is now in decline. This decline is most likely due to an economic limit of
technology or a limit of the human brain that we are approaching. We are now approximately 85% of the
way to this limit, and the pace of technological development will diminish with each passing year. These
conclusions are controversial, but there are profound implications if they are true, and the following
questions are included for the interested reader to ponder:
! What are the implications for the economy, government and society of declining rates of innovation?
! What standard of living corresponds to the economic limit of technology?
! Will the level of technology reach a maximum and then decline as in the Dark Ages?
! Did the failure of ancient people to invent the printing press cause the Dark Ages?
! Are there any key inventions that could reverse the current decline in the rate of innovation?
! Are improvements in the flow and processing of information the primary sources for increases in the
rate of innovation?
! Are there any other reasons for the decline in the rate of innovation during the 20th century besides
the approach of an economic limit of technology or a limit of the human brain?

! What is the relationship between innovation and democracy?
! Does democracy depend upon innovation?
IOW, I am hopefully answering "Yes!" to Huebner's question I put in bold.
IlliniDave wrote:I only highlighted the "blue collar" aspect because it is something I've thought about for many decades as a function of where I grew up. I'm sure it can be extended. You are correct that computers have become nearly ubiquitous, but if we decline to jettison all the opportunities where a computer is one of the tools in a pursuit that an individual might aspire too, we might find ourselves with a more productive overall society than if we try to herd all the glitter-and-glue or grease-under-the-fingernails leaning people into call centers to field customer complaints about their $200/mo cable TV service, or typing data into spreadsheets.
I don't disagree, and I think Wendell Berry offered some good suggestions towards this in his essays on regional subsistence. However, I think somebody will have to take on the risk of directly investing in such enterprise, rather than simply investing in building walls to impede competition from elsewhere. IOW, keep it simple solution is to start a local business and hire some workers. First step to starting a business is coming up with an idea AKA innovation. Otherwise, you are just engaged in wishful thinking that "they" will do it for you.

Campitor
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Re: Squeezed?

Post by Campitor » Fri Aug 10, 2018 10:32 am

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Fri Aug 10, 2018 7:51 am
One thing I really didn't like or agree with in the very long IDW discussion between Peterson and Weinstein posted elsewhere, was the statement that only the extreme outliers on the curve are capable of innovation.
In their defense, I don't think they were talking about innovations that are certainly within the grasp of most people. I believe the innovation they were talking about were in regards to discoveries that are produced by outliers on the IQ scale, i.e, Sir Isaac Newton or Gottfried Leibniz developing calculus.

IlliniDave
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Re: Squeezed?

Post by IlliniDave » Fri Aug 10, 2018 11:48 am

7Wb5, you are correct that someone must invest to get the ball rolling typically, which in turn typically requires external capital, which in turn requires some sort of assurances that if the endeavor won't be outright protected, it will at least occur on a reasonably level playing field. We've too often said stuff like "Meh, the government-subsidized, solar panels from China built using dangerous, highly-polluting processes, are cheaper than what the original innovators can make here. So we'll just buy the cheap imports and increase our local environmental and safety regulations along with minimum wages to feel better about ourselves" (throwing up more hurdles for the next local innovator). It's not entirely different from what jacob was saying about voting elsewhere. We don't want to pay for our own values and use cheap imports to circumvent the cost of them, then to the segment of the population disproportionately affected by that we say, "If you're not competitive against the world with your hands tied and wearing a blindfold, well, tough luck."

I cherry-picked the example obviously, and I've been as guilty as anyone relentlessly pursuing the cheapest options. But I question whether that aligns with my personal ethics as they evolve, or if that is the healthiest thing for my community. There is immensely more that I do not know than the little I know, so exactly how to navigate the situation easily escapes me. I don't think trade wars are the answer, but I don't think making the US a white-collar only neighborhood of the world is a good solution either.

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7Wannabe5
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Re: Squeezed?

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Fri Aug 10, 2018 12:00 pm

Campitor wrote:In their defense, I don't think they were talking about innovations that are certainly within the grasp of most people. I believe the innovation they were talking about were in regards to discoveries that are produced by outliers on the IQ scale, i.e, Sir Isaac Newton or Gottfried Leibniz developing calculus.
Agreed.

I am big on the theory that language is embodied. Look at the title of this thread. Feel it in your physiology. You are squeezed. You have no room to move. What is the opposite feeling? Maybe freedom or expansiveness? There are all these other people around you. How do you get yourself some space without taking away some of their space? Maybe you head to the boundary, the place where chaos is maximized, where the jungle grows thick or the wind is bitter and the wolves howl hungry, and you cut fresh path. The computer, the programmed loom, the simple loom, 5 fingers held stiff and separate. Sometimes it seems like it is just happening in some abstraction of your mind, but it always starts with your body.

So, are we really all dependent on high IQ innovators at the margin, or are we all capable of doing something new with our bodies?

Campitor
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Re: Squeezed?

Post by Campitor » Fri Aug 10, 2018 12:57 pm

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Fri Aug 10, 2018 12:00 pm
So, are we really all dependent on high IQ innovators at the margin, or are we all capable of doing something new with our bodies?
I honestly believe the majority people have the intelligence to do new things with their minds and/or bodies. Maybe not on the scale of inventing calculus but certainly within a scope that significantly improves life for themselves and their community. The major impediment to this humbler but attainable innovating genius is the lack of mental effort. People are lazy to think. They expend mental energy on things which are neutral in innovation or actually regressive to creativity and advancement. :cry:

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7Wannabe5
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Re: Squeezed?

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Fri Aug 10, 2018 12:59 pm

IlliniDave wrote:I cherry-picked the example obviously, and I've been as guilty as anyone relentlessly pursuing the cheapest options. But I question whether that aligns with my personal ethics as they evolve, or if that is the healthiest thing for my community. There is immensely more that I do not know than the little I know, so exactly how to navigate the situation easily escapes me. I don't think trade wars are the answer, but I don't think making the US a white-collar only neighborhood of the world is a good solution either.
The wealthy can afford a more extensive sanitation code than the poor. Known thing. So, one of the most-straight forward ways of signaling affluence is with cleanliness. However, it is also the case that a lack of decent sanitation will hasten your death. I don't think you really want blue collar workers within your zip code dumping rat poison right into the river in order to compete with the Chinese, right? What percent of the general population would you estimate knows where a substance goes when it is flushed down the toilet or dropped in a Hefty bag? That said, I can think of many, many situations in which simple common sense, good manners, and a minimum of scientific knowledge could serve as well, or better, than a likely to be outdated regulation. For instance, when somebody wishes to live in a camper in the city on the site of her perma-culture project.

Anyways, the simplest business I can think of that might afford something resembling living wage for manual laborer would be renovation of decrepit properties in inner city. Second possibility would be somebody to do the heavy lifting for urban market garden business. I did hire my own son to haul around banker boxes full of rare books for me, but I did not pay him very well. I suppose if I expanded the model into a larger scale/scope upcycle junk yard, I might be able to pay 2 people to ride around in a truck with me and take things apart or put them back together?

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7Wannabe5
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Re: Squeezed?

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Fri Aug 10, 2018 1:03 pm

Campitor wrote: People are lazy to think
I don't think that's true, because I am quick to think, but lazy to do and/or especially to keep doing. It has something to do with individual biochemistry, where you get off on the curve. It's like saying somebody is lazy to ejaculate.

Campitor
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Re: Squeezed?

Post by Campitor » Fri Aug 10, 2018 1:33 pm

@7wb5

The lack of action isn't physical laziness but mental. The mind controls the body in this regard. I'm always amazed by what people can do when they are motivated. This man has no arms and no legs but goes swimming: https://youtu.be/Yam5_PcJ3ic.

I always ask people to give themselves the "gun to the head" test. If a gun to your head can convince you to give something a legitimate attempt, why can't you just do it? It's all mental. A gun to the head isn't causing any immediate pain - it's only the mental perception of pain and death that propels action. I know it's an extreme example but desperate or motivated people do amazing things all the time. They aren't special - just motivated.

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daylen
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Re: Squeezed?

Post by daylen » Fri Aug 10, 2018 1:35 pm

@Campitor and 7w5

It really depends on what you mean by thinking, and I think the dichotomy between convergent and divergent thinking comes into play here. Very few people think divergently because it is so energy intensive in the short term (this is essentially why only 1% of the population are innovators).

I do not really like the idea of laziness, since it basically comes down to lack of incentive which is more quantifiable.

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Re: Squeezed?

Post by Campitor » Fri Aug 10, 2018 1:40 pm

yes - divergent thinking is energy intensive which is why few people engage in it but if they had a gun to their head.....

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daylen
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Re: Squeezed?

Post by daylen » Fri Aug 10, 2018 1:49 pm

...then this situation is highly stressful, and they will resort to the limbic system.

Campitor
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Re: Squeezed?

Post by Campitor » Fri Aug 10, 2018 1:57 pm

...initially but not necessarily.

IlliniDave
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Re: Squeezed?

Post by IlliniDave » Fri Aug 10, 2018 3:32 pm

7Wb5, you missed the point I was driving at. Yes, the nonsense solution is to conduct our businesses the way businesses in China, et. al., do. Or we can just use our dollars to approve of what they are doing by sending them there while being grateful we're not the ones breathing and drinking the byproduct.

Thinking closer to home, we are asking a subset of our domestic businesses, and their workers, to compete against overseas businesses/workers (which is fair IMO, even given a good deal of the disparity in regulatory climate), but we also expect them to compete against governments, sometimes downright hostile governments.

That's where I hit, "Okay, so now what." Since that is the end of the line for my weary brain at this point, and since the whole line of thought is apparently objectionable, and since another conversation is springing up under the topic, I'll return to my usual MO and navel gaze while I ponder solutions to the difficulties I perceive. Introversion does have it's perks :)

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daylen
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Re: Squeezed?

Post by daylen » Fri Aug 10, 2018 3:49 pm

I will elaborate a bit.

Let convergent thinking be associated with the mental process of developing a strategy based on a static framework of rules and objectives; let divergent thinking be the process of determining new rules or objectives given old rules and new data.

People mostly think convergently; they obey rules. When a person is stressed they know why, so the objectives are usually straight forward (e.g. get out of the situation where someone is pointing a gun at you). They are starting with a well-defined rule-set and objective, therefore they are using convergent thought to arrive at an action plan for navigating to that objective. Divergent thought happens when we get bored of the existing rule set or objectives, and is usually motivated by a positive incentive as opposed to a negative incentive.

So, basically I am saying that both of you are right from my perspective.

unconscious processing > mimicking > strategizing > constructing new rules or objectives

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Re: Squeezed?

Post by Campitor » Sat Aug 11, 2018 5:47 pm

The gun to the head is obviously a metaphor. It's a mental exercise to determine if the obstacle to action is psychological, which it is frequently unless their are overriding constraints.

If a real life Jules and Vincent suddenly appeared in your kitchen and threatened to "bust a cap" in you, Pulp Fiction style, if you don't write a sonnet, I'm pretty sure you'll start writing a sonnet. The sonnet may suck. The sonnet may make your eyes bleed and your ears explode. The sonnet written will probably not meet the conditions of being a sonnet, but an attempt at a sonnet will be made.

And I understand what stress does to creativity. But there are instances when people under stress do amazing things; it depends on your frame of mind. The NASA engineers had a proverbial gun to the head when the Apollo 13 mission experienced a major engineering malfunction; they were able to develop a solution under duress. And the astronauts were able to implement the solution under even greater mental and physical duress. This is what I meant by "initially but not necessarily". I know this is a cherry picked example but it's one of many available.

And this dovetails into why people get squeezed. What actions are they not initiating because they are failing to frame their problems with the appropriate level of importance?

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7Wannabe5
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Re: Squeezed?

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Sun Aug 12, 2018 2:37 pm

@Campitor:

If innovation is backwards defined, in alignment with paper I linked, as "that which extends the S curve of productivity over given resource base", I would suggest that the innovation in the example you offered would be your suggestion of "maybe holding gun to head will improve production", not the sonnet itself. IOW, the new tool could be something like Total Bad Azz Life Coach Concept (patent pending), and whether or not it would prove to be a "true" innovation would depend on whether the cost of production/application of the tool subtracted from the Value of Increased Production was positive and also superior to other tools available.

For instance, in order to complete my first course in R Programming, I had to bribe myself with at least 20 expensive coffee drinks, so if I could have accomplished the same goal/time by hiring you to threaten/promise to come break my legs if I didn't offer proof of course completion by goal date for less than $80, then your service would meet the definition of successful innovation.

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Re: Squeezed?

Post by jacob » Mon Aug 27, 2018 9:56 am

I finally got a hold of the book and in reading the first two chapters, I got triggered so much that my brain almost exploded :shock: :x So far the book is talking about an entirely different kind of squeeze. Best illustrated with a comment in the book to the effect of "the hyper-educated working poor---those making $36,000 a year, with kids, and just getting by, only a few false moves away from the poverty line" along with a litany of examples of false moves---that are not described as false moves but rather as perfectly normal/inconsequential.

Perhaps these kind of complaints are too familiar/close to me. I have in mind people who like to cry poverty while at the same time shopping for almond milk at Trader Joe's (that's literally an example in the book). They say can't afford health insurance, but they somehow can afford to keep 2 horses and several dogs and other critters in rotation. They've defaulted on their student loans but they shop groceries at Kroger from the center aisles buying things on a whim according to whatever strikes their fancy. They can't afford new tires but they can afford to get pregnant.

One example in the book mentions the cheapest homes in Lock Town, PA being $2000, so I typed it into craigslist. Apparently I was not the first to get that idea because google autocompleted it for me: https://williamsport.craigslist.org/sea ... ck%20haven ... there you go, apartments starting at $400 and entire houses starting around $750.

This kind of squeeze happens when people live above their means because they have some idea about how they should be able to live given their aspirations, dreams, and education/class ... perhaps a McMansion on the right side of the tracks... but the paycheck doesn't cover it.

It's very hard for me to construct a theory of mind and be able to relate to what's going on but here goes: Some humans simply do not think about personal finance and money AT ALL. I mean, most people don't obsess about it like we do here, but at least they do think about it a little. However, some just don't think about it at all until their credit card gets rejected or they get a friendly letter from the bank.

I think their idea is that they have this and that job and then some expectations about the "lifestyle" that should go along with it. In practice they just buy things accordingly w/o budgeting. They think they should have a child. So they have a child regardless of whether the money is there. They think because they have a child they should have a 4bd/2a house, so they rent that regardless of whether the cashflow is there. They'll sign the kid up for riding lessons before opening a 529 plan. Then two years later, their car breaks down because they've postponed maintenance. They go and try to buy a new one but their credit is rejected because they defaulted on their student loans; and then they are genuinely surprised because they thought they could just pay them off whenever they felt like it. They DO.NOT.THINK.AT.ALL about money related matters.

And of course, since money determines practically everything in terms of what you can and cannot do in a market based economy, they feel the squeeze whenever such false moves lead to careening into a financial barrier.

I know people like this who earn median salaries or better and feel like they're struggling.

I also know people like this who earn much more (300-500k) but at that level, it's enough to make one false move after another and still float to the top.

I've described this elsewhere as skill of living. viewtopic.php?p=99322#p99322 ... At least in these cases, the squeeze comes from having a skill of living that is substantially under 1. If it's 0.3, say, then earning $20000/year puts you straight in the hurt locker with a standard of living at $6000/year which is harsh. The same person earning $150,000/yr (in NYC, there's actually an example in a book with someone still thinking they're struggling at that level) would put you at $45,000 so now you finally feel middle class. And of course at $500k, those 0.3 would put you at $150k so you can feel rich even if you habitually make false moves.

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7Wannabe5
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Re: Squeezed?

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Mon Aug 27, 2018 10:48 am

@jacob:

I might suggest that this behavior could be seen as less irrational, if you consider the overall economic picture. Many people fear loss of social capital more than they desire acquisition of financial capital. They are not complaining about being squeezed into paying high interest rates on consumer credit cards. They are complaining about being squeezed out of neighborhoods they associate with their social class. This is why your Craigslist search does not reveal their truth of "nothing for less than $2000."

As you yourself have noted elsewhere, there is more social variation across any given metropolitan-out-to-rural area, than is to be found simply by hopping from one like neighborhood to another across the globe. When somebody says "There is nothing to rent for less than $2000.", that is no different than one of our forum friends indicating that there is "Nobody to date." in current realm of residence. It would be just as useless for me to type zipcode into dating site and generate long list of obviously available.

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Re: Squeezed?

Post by Smashter » Mon Aug 27, 2018 11:46 am

When DW asked her future co-workers in Chicago for apartment suggestions, one of them sent her listings for one bedrooms that were $4,000+

That person knows how much DW will be making, so they know she can technically afford it, but it still surprised me that this coworker thought it would be perfectly normal to spend that much.

People at DW's level make good money, but not nearly enough to justify that kind of rent. I think it speaks to Jacob's point about how some people put almost no thought into savings. And I thought I was moving to the more sensible Midwest!

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