Friday, August 28, 2015

A short comment on Linds Redding's parting essay

Before dying, Linds Redding wrote a now-viral blog post, A short lesson in perspective,’ which makes a whole lot of sense, apart from the macro implications he touches on. It seems people could not help but demonize industrialization.

What I have witnessed happening in the last twenty years is the aesthetic equivalent of the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century. The wholesale industrialization and mechanistation of the creative process. Our ad agencies, design groups, film and music studios have gone from being cottage industries and guilds of craftsmen and women, essentially unchanged from the middle-ages, to dark sattanic mills of mass production. Ideas themselves have become just another disposable commodity to be supplied to order by the lowest bidder. As soon as they figure out a way of outsourcing thinking to China they won’t think twice. Believe me.

The industrial revolution in itself did not result in workers’ alienation or dehumanization. That would be like saying that an economy that is capable of feeding and sustaining more people (indicating that resources are traded with the dreaded “lowest bidder”), is in itself bad for the people. 

Actually, alienation, stress, and dehumanization are part of an adjustment process as human networks expand from the more familiar to the more abstract, an uncertain process that is exacerbated by policies that most have yet to recognize the flaws of, e.g. minimum wage legislation, which results in overwork, and, ironically, less jobs.

This may seem besides the point the dying Redding wanted to make, but I would like it said anyway. 

Friday, August 21, 2015

Save the eagles; Privatize land

A bird, whose species nears extinction, is killed, and netizens are out for blood against ‘profiteering’ hunters. Because to most, the only way a species can be nurtured is to house it in no-hunt  ‘sanctuaries,’  and to eliminate ‘profit,’ as though such a thing was possible and as though profit didn’t manifest in all of human action.

‘Pamana’ was released ‘into the wild,’ which really means state-controlled land. Profiting through state resources means poor responsiveness to consumers, who in this case, want eagles to flourish, but whose wills are ignored by the monopoly situation where hunters can take advantage of the relative scarcity of a good, e.g. eagles, by disregard for property.

How long before people see that there’s money to be made in harvesting eagles in private lands? It would help for people to question their hostile attitude to profit as a means of sustainable environmentalism.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Gay marriage: Why should you care?

Gay marriage: It’s not about liking it.  It’s not even about morality. It’s about realizing it’s none of your business.

If two people want to associate in a certain way, and define this association in a certain way, how is this anybody else’s problem?

The state divides a people by requiring all residents of a certain geographic location to submit to its definitions, among the least important of which is ‘marriage.’ This is monopoly, as opposed to people freely associating with churches or other organizations that officiate and sanction what to each of them constitutes marriage. Such freedom is what makes society dynamic, and keeps it responsive to real threats to the social fabric, e.g. violence, and all institutions that rely on it to retain their monopoly.

As it is, the rationale of marriage, that is, ensuring economic assistance to child-bearing and unemployable women, is just about obsolete in this day when a working mother is no longer a big deal.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Is being a ‘bandwagon fan’ so bad?

As opposed to what, the ‘true’ or ‘loyal’ fan? Is there any real conflict in the enjoyment each type of fan derives from their object of adoration/appreciation?

Part of the fun of sports is the arbitrariness of allegiances. It’s not about good versus bad. It’s not about vying for political advantage, at least not directly. It’s really just about an entity besting another at some skill that would otherwise have little if any application in everyday life.

In some ways, being fickle and nonchalant in one’s support of teams is preferable to a hardcore fan’s blindness to what is merely their bias.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Only 30% of people (well, maybe less) will agree with you

I learned from James Altucher in ‘Choose yourself’ that assuming a ‘law’ of only 30% of people liking you is a great comfort. 

I think it would also help to assume that only 30% of people will agree with me on specific issues, or will get the points I make. This way, I can let go of many an imagined debate.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Legislation against food wastage, step by step

On state regulation of food wastage:
- Retailers of food only ‘waste’ such food because it is the cheapest option available.
- To require additional storage or effectively impose a minimum on consumption is to add to costs, thus lowering demand from producers.
- The lower demand is a signal to produce less.
- Supply thus decreases, even as demand, and prices remain high.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Is the 'masa' vote a problem?

Popular ‘masa’ support for Vice President Jojo Binay is still strong, which is seen by those who think they know better as a reason against giving the poor, the non-taxpayers, the unemployed, etc. the ‘right’ to vote for supposed ‘leaders.’

Most debates never deal with the matter of whether anyone should have such legislative power to its current extent. The problem remains so innocently framed as: “Who should you vote for?” Which unbeknownst to both rich and poor, amounts to, “Who should have such coercive, monopolistic influence on society?” But to be so blunt about it is just too unpalatable, elections-wise.

We know that there ought to be limits to legislative power, but most of us think in terms of Marcos, Hitler, etc., that is, outright dictators. But what about the present recognized limits of legislation?

Is popular support for Binay really the problem? Or is it the system, with its legislative blank check that encourages and rewards the likes of Binay, that we should concern ourselves with?

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

On the cult of Duterte

You can’t instill discipline by fear. You have to distinguish between the two. Threats of force don’t work in raising kids (only in domesticating them; a ‘good boy’ is hardly a good person), and it certainly doesn’t work in maintaining order in society.

Discipline is not arrived at top-down, but by letting people figure things out on their own and facing the consequences of their actions (in regard to this, barriers to trade are also barriers to discipline).

Discipline by fear, e.g. prohibition in the guise of ‘anti-smuggling,’ ‘drug-free youth,’ etc. merely changes the form of a ‘social evil,’ promoting black markets and concentrating power in the hands of the lawless (which includes supposed upholders of the law).

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Why the life sentence of Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht is wrong

Ross Ulbricht didn’t create demand for the prohibited industries that took advantage of Silk Road as an avenue for commerce. What he did though was make these industries a little safer, a little more peaceful, than they otherwise would have been. He saved lives.

Instead of going on default reactive mode talking about the need to go ‘tough on crime,’ which only perpetuates black markets to mob leaders’ delight, more of us should question the nature of prohibition itself, and consider other means of addressing substance abuse. Now that would be a threat to violent criminals who benefit from the status quo of near-zero competition.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Critique of 'On a plate,' and class differences

This caricature will no doubt be regarded as a sound basis of policy. But I hope not.

The question is really not what situation the world is in, but what conditions made it so.

Conventional bias is that the rich ‘capitalists’ want low taxes and less regulation to continue exploiting the poor working class, who thus need the state to wage a battle for them via legislation (on top of already existing ‘pro-poor’ legislation, that is).

In fact, ‘class differences’ are perpetuated by legislation, a good deal involving fee collection for monopolized services (taxes) as well as regulation of such monopolized industries. Both rich and poor seek the state as a solution, whether this is by the ‘capitalists’ control of sectors via barriers to entry, or the ‘proletariat’s’ availing of captured services.

Friday, May 8, 2015

The ultimate fate of racist statements

In more peaceful times to come, the remaining purpose of the concept of race will be for jokes. 

With the lack of anything substantial or relevant to criticize about another person, one resorts to ridicule of surface differences and general features, clearly illustrating the lack of conflict and the good will between the two parties. 

The ‘insulted’ group, unable to identify with such a caricature, and knowing the spirit in which such a jest was made, could only laugh.

This dynamic is, I believe, already present among close friends of differing races.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The right to be stupidly insulting (or insultingly stupid)

Imagine a guy who loves insulting people who believe in a round earth. He calls them ‘pigounds’ or ‘roundearthfuckers’ (My creativity is slowly ebbing in my 30s, pardon me). Any chance he gets, he says things like, “May I have a medical checkup with any doctors who don’t think the world is round?” And all the while, he lives on our round Earth. The nerve!

Do we deport him into space? Send over a mob to ‘defend our kind’?

Or do we allow him his ‘truths,’ and let him face the consequences of his small-mindedness among the people he tries to insult? I say ‘tries to,’ because, you can’t even begin to take him seriously, right?

Ultimately, violence does not equate to accountability, no matter what ‘the law’ says.