robertogreco + scarcity   53

William Gibson on Watches | WatchPaper
“William Gibson is famously credited with predicting the internet. Early works like Neuromancer, Count Zero, and Mona Lisa Overdrive established him as a major voice in science fiction and the worlds he created still serve as a template for how popular culture views the future. If you’ve seen The Matrix or read any cyberpunk, you’ve seen William Gibson’s influence at work. Equally important, but perhaps less famous are his essays, collected recently in Distrust That Particular Flavour. Highly perceptive and suggestive, they span a range of topics from Singapore’s totalitarianism and Tokyo’s futurism, to the Web and technology’s effect on us all. The volume also contains his glosses on those essays, which were written over a span of 30 years. Brief afterwords, they are his reflections on the content, and on the person who wrote that content at a point and time, and what’s happened since. In his 1997 essay, “My Obsession”, William Gibson chronicled his interest in watches for Wired magazine. [See “My Obsession” https://www.wired.com/1999/01/ebay/ ] The essay is as much about the advent of the internet and sites like eBay as it is about watches, and his afterword to the essay reflects:
People who’ve read this piece often assume that I subsequently became a collector of watches. I didn’t, at least not in my own view. Collections of things, and their collectors, have generally tended to give me the willies. I sometimes, usually only temporarily, accumulate things in some one category, but the real pursuit is in the learning curve. The dive into esoterica. The quest for expertise. This one lasted, in its purest form, for five or six years. None of the eBay purchases documented [in the essay] proved to be “keepers.” Not even close.

Undaunted by his placing this interest squarely in the past, something he got over, I wanted to find out what had survived, physically or intellectually, of his obsession. It turns out, quite a lot. We corresponded via email and William Gibson shared his thoughts on collecting, how he got started, what “keepers” remain in his collection and why. We also talked about the Apple watch and what it means for traditional horology.”

...

"If “old” people, as you mentioned in our recent discussion, are concerned that what they’ve collected will be unwanted, how is that anxiety being manifested? Some watch brands like Patek Philippe use durability, inheritance and legacy as their explicit identity.

I was thinking of someone with dozens of rare military watches. Even if they have children, will the children want their watches? It could be difficult finding the right museum to donate them to, in order to keep the collection intact. I think Patek’s appeal to inheritance and legacy still has some basis, though the wristwatch itself has become a piece of archaic (though still functional) jewelry. You don’t absolutely need one. You do, probably, absolutely need your smartphone, and it also tells the time. Eventually, I assume, virtually everything will also tell the time.

Is there something authentic in collecting we as humans are striving for? What does the impulse represent for you?

I actively enjoy having fewer, preferably better things. So I never deliberately accumulated watches, except as the temporary by-product of a learning curve, as I searched for my own understanding of watches, and for the ones I’d turn out to particularly like. I wanted an education, rather than a collection. But there’s always a residuum: the keepers. (And editing is as satisfying as acquiring, for me.)

Do you think there’s anything intrinsic to watches (their aesthetics, engineering etc.) that make them especially susceptible to our interest?

Mechanical timekeeping devices were among our first complex machines, and became our first ubiquitous complex machines, and the first to be miniaturized. Mechanical wristwatches were utterly commonplace for less than a century. Today, there’s no specific need for a mechanical watch, unless you’re worried about timekeeping in the wake of an Electromagnetic Pulse attack. So we have heritage devices, increasingly archaic in the singularity of their function, their lack of connectivity. But it was exactly that lack that once made them heroic: they kept telling accurate time, regardless of what was going on around them. They were accurate because they were unconnected, unitary.

How do you think the notion of collecting has changed since your preoccupation with watches played itself out? Scarcity (but not true rarity) barely exists any more.

The Internet makes it increasingly easy to assemble a big pile of any category of objects, but has also rationalized the market in every sort of rarity. There’s more stuff, and fewer random treasures. When I discovered military watches, I could see that that was already happening to them, but that there was still a window for informed acquisition. That’s mostly closed now. The world’s attic is now that much more thoroughly sorted and priced!"
watches  williamgibson  ebay  horology  fashion  collecting  collections  learning  howwelearn  2015  esoterica  research  researching  deepdives  expertise  obsessions  cv  immersion  posterity  legacy  analog  mechanical  durability  longevity  inheritance  jewelery  smartphones  understanding  education  self-directed  self-directedlearning  timekeeping  connectivity  scarcity  objects  possessions  ownership  quality  internet  web  online  wristwatches  things  applewatch  pebble  pebblewatch  smartwatches 
12 days ago by robertogreco
Why the World’s Best Mathematicians Are Hoarding Chalk - YouTube
"Once upon a time, not long ago, the math world fell in love ... with a chalk. But not just any chalk! This was Hagoromo: a Japanese brand so smooth, so perfect that some wondered if it was made from the tears of angels. Pencils down, please, as we tell the tale of a writing implement so irreplaceable, professors stockpiled it."
tools  chalk  mathematics  math  2019  japan  hagoromo  craft  craftsmanship  hoarding  scarcity 
may 2019 by robertogreco
Opinion | The Rich Kid Revolutionaries - The New York Times
"Rather than repeat family myths about the individual effort and smarts of their forebears, those from wealthy backgrounds tell “money stories” that highlight the more complicated origins of their families’ assets. If their fortunes came from the direct dispossession of indigenous peoples, enslavement of African-Americans, production of fossil fuels or obvious exploitation of workers, they often express especially acute guilt. As a woman in her early 20s told me of the wealth generated by her family’s global business: “It’s not just that I get money without working. It’s that other people work to make me money and don’t get nearly as much themselves. I find it to be morally repugnant.”

Even those I have talked with whose family wealth was accumulated through less transparently exploitative means, such as tech or finance, or who have high-paying jobs themselves, question what they really deserve. They see that their access to such jobs, through elite schools and social networks, comes from their class (and usually race) advantages.

They also know that many others work just as hard but reap fewer rewards. One 27-year-old white woman, who stands to inherit several million dollars, told me: “My dad has always been a C.E.O., and it was clear to me that he spent a lot of time at work, but it has never been clear to me that he worked a lot harder than a domestic worker, for example. I will never believe that.” She and others challenge the description of wealth garnered through work as “earned.” In an effort to break the link between money and moral value, they refer to rich people as “high net wealth” rather than “high net worth.”

Immigrants who “make it” are often seen to exemplify the American dream of upward mobility. The children of immigrants I spoke with, though, don’t want their families’ “success stories” to legitimate an unfair system. Andrea Pien, 32, is a Resource Generation member and a daughter of Taiwanese immigrants who accumulated significant wealth in the United States. She spoke of refusing to be “the token that then affirms the capitalist meritocracy myth, the idea that ‘Oh, if Andrea’s family made it, we don’t need affirmative action, or we don’t need reparations.’”

In general, these young people don’t believe they are entitled to so much when others have so little. Many describe feeling guilt or shame about their privilege, which often leads them to hide it. One college student, a woman of color, told me that she worried what other campus activists might think of her. “What a fraud, right?” she said. “To be in those spaces and be acting like these are my struggles, when they’re not.” A white woman who lives on her inheritance of more than $15 million spoke of “deflecting” questions about her occupation, so that others would not know she did not do work for pay.

These progressive children of privilege told me they study the history of racial capitalism in the United States and discuss the ways traditional philanthropy tends to keep powerful people at the top. They also spend a fair amount of time talking about their money. Should they give it all away? Should they get a job, even if they don’t need the income? How much is it ethical to spend on themselves or others? How does money shape friendships and relationships? Resource Generation and its members facilitate these conversations, including one local chapter’s “feelings caucus.”

If you’re thinking, “Cry me a river,” you’re not alone. I have faced skepticism from other sociologists when discussing this research. One colleague asserted that rich young people struggling with their privilege do not have a “legitimate problem.” Others ask: How much do they really give, and what do they really give up? Aren’t these simply self-absorbed millennials taking another opportunity to talk endlessly about themselves?

I understand this view. There is certainly a risk — of which many of them are aware — that all this conversation will just devolve into navel-gazing, an expression of privilege rather than a challenge to it. It is hard for individual action to make a dent in an ironclad social structure. And it is impossible, as they know, to shed the class privilege rooted in education and family socialization, even if they give away every penny.

But like Abigail Disney, these young people are challenging fundamental cultural understandings of who deserves what. And they are breaking the social taboo against talking about money — a taboo that allows radical inequality to fade into the background. This work is critical at a moment when the top 1 percent of families in the United States owns 40 percent of the country’s wealth, and Jeff Bezos takes home more money per minute than the median American worker makes in a year.

As Holly Fetter, a Resource Generation member and Harvard Business School student, told me, “It’s essential that those of us who have access to wealth and want to use it to support progressive social movements speak up, to challenge the narrative that the 1 percent are only interested in accumulation, and invite others to join us.”

Wealthy people are more likely to convince other wealthy people that the system is unfair. And they are the only ones who can describe intimately the ways that wealth may be emotionally corrosive, producing fear, shame and isolation.

Class privilege is like white privilege, in that its beneficiaries receive advantages that are, in fact, unearned. So for them to conclude that their own wealth is undeserved, and therefore immoral, constitutes a powerful critique of the idea of meritocracy.

The fact that the system is immoral, of course, does not make individuals immoral. One person I spoke with, a white 30-year-old who inherited money, said: “It’s not that we’re bad people. It’s just, nobody needs that much money.” But judgments of systems are often taken as judgments of individuals, which leads white people to deny racism and rich people to deny class privilege.

So even the less-public work of talking through emotions, needs and relationships, which can seem self-indulgent, is meaningful. As Ms. Pien put it, “Our feelings are related to the bigger structure.”

One huge cultural support of that structure is secrecy around money, which even rich people don’t talk about.

Wealthy parents fear that if they tell their kids how much they will inherit, the kids won’t develop a strong work ethic. Yahya Alazrak, of Resource Generation, has heard people say, “My dad won’t tell me how much money we have because he’s worried that I’ll become lazy.” One man in his early 30s recounted that his parents had always told him they would pay for his education, but not support him afterward until they revealed that he had a trust worth over $10 million. Parents also have a “scarcity mentality,” Resource Generation members said, which leads them to “hoard” assets to protect against calamity.

Secrecy also often goes hand in hand with limited financial literacy. Women, especially, may not learn about money management growing up, thanks to gendered ideas about financial planning and male control of family assets. Some people I met who will inherit significant amounts of money didn’t know the difference between a stock and a bond.

When wealthy parents do talk about money, they tend to put forth conventional ideas about merit: They or their ancestors worked hard for what they have, scrimped and saved to keep and increase it, and gave some of it away. When their children reject these metrics, parents’ sense of being “good people” is challenged.

When one woman told her immigrant parents she wanted to give their millions away, it was like “a slap in the face” for them, she said, because they felt they had “sacrificed a lot for this money.”

Parents — and the financial professionals who manage family wealth — also tend to follow conventional wisdom about money: Never give away principal. Charitable donations should be offset by tax breaks. And the goal of investing is always to make as much money as possible. As one 33-year-old inheritor said, “No financial adviser ever says, ‘I made less money for the client, but I got them to build affordable housing.’”

Talking about how it feels to be rich can help build affordable housing, though. Once the feeling of being a “bad person” is replaced by “good person in a bad structure,” these young people move into redistributive action. Many talked about asserting control over their money, pursuing socially responsible investments (sometimes for much lower returns) and increasing their own or their families’ giving, especially to social-justice organizations. And eventually — like the people I have quoted by name here — they take a public stand.

Finally, they imagine an alternative future, based on a different idea of what people deserve. Ms. Pien, for example, wants to be “invested in collective good, so we can all have the basics that we need and a little more.” In her vision, this “actually makes everyone more secure and fulfilled and joyful, rather than us hiding behind our mountains of money.”"
abigaildisney  wealth  inequality  activism  legacy  2019  rachelsherman  affluence  security  disney  merit  meritocracy  inheritance  privilege  socialjustice  justice  redistribution  morality  ethics  upwardmobility  immigrants  capitalism  socialism  fulfillment  joy  charity  shame  guilt  charitableindustrialcomplex  philanthropicindustrialcomplex  philanthropy  power  hierarchy  secrecy  hoarding  scarcity  abundance  money  relationships  isolation  class 
may 2019 by robertogreco
Climavore
"CLIMAVORE is a long-term project initiated by Cooking Sections in 2015. It sets out to envision seasons of food production and consumption that react to man-induced climatic events and landscape alterations. Different from the now obsolete Eurocentric cycle of spring, summer, autumn and winter, CLIMAVORE rethinks the construction of space and infrastructure by focusing on how climate alterations offer a new set of clues to adapt our diet to them. Unexpected climatic phenomena, like subsidence, flash floods or drought, may span minutes, days, months, years or centuries. CLIMAVORE is then proposed as a form of devouring following their effects on anthropogenic landscapes. Unlike carnivore, omnivore, locavore, vegetarian or vegan, CLIMAVORE is not only about the origin of ingredients, but also about the agency that those ingredients have in providing spatial and infrastructural responses to man-induced climatic events for a certain period of time. At the core is to embrace a flexible form of eating, shifting for instance to drought resistant crops in a period of water scarcity or filter feeders during times of polluted or acidified waters. Framing our diet within a globally financialised landscape, and challenging large-scale agribusiness groups dictating what is to be produced and consumed, the notion of CLIMAVORE critically questions the geopolitical implications behind the making of climate alterations and the pressures they enforce on humans and nonhumans alike.

season@climavore.org

Collaborators: Jesse Connuck (2015), Tanya Kramer (2017), Harry Keene (2017-2018), Blanca Pujals (2017-2018), Matthew Darmour-Paul (2018)
Graphic Design: An Endless Supply"
climavore  climate  food  cooking  seasons  seasonal  climatechange  local  scarcity  multispecies  morethanhuman 
april 2019 by robertogreco
Luxury Interiors – Popula
"The question of “U.S.C. versus A.S.U.” in this piece was unclear to me; to what extent was Hess underwriting this hierarchy? I wrote to ask her, and she replied that she wished she’d had the space to elaborate in the piece. And for good reason:
I’m from a Sun Devil family. My mom worked at Arizona State… I don’t think any of the jokes about ASU are based on a real understanding of the kind of education you could receive there; it’s based on the number of people who can access that education […]

The same people who surely believe that every child should have access to a college education also make sure to rank some of those educations as enviable and others as embarrassing. The idea of an elite, high-class education must be hoarded by a select few, because if everybody had it, it would lose its value to the elite.

Which just begins to explain why someone like Mossimo Giannulli might want to be able to say, “my daughter is at U.S.C.”

***

When people are willing to drown themselves in debt and even commit literal crimes in order to obtain an elite college education for themselves or their kids, what, really, what exactly, do they they think they are buying?

Or selling. What are people thinking, who are selling an “education” that is actively harming a whole society; that wrecks the fabric of a city, that causes people to lose their grip on their conscience, their sanity; that makes them set so catastrophic an example, somehow both before, and on behalf of, their children. All this makes a mockery of the Enlightenment values—by which I mean the egalitarianism and erudition of Alexander Pope, and not Edmund Burke getting himself in a lather over Marie Antoinette—that a Western education was once imagined to represent.

Reaction to the admissions scandal has so far centered on these rich parents and their unworthy spawn, whose lawyers now prepare to spin a tale of misguided, but forgivable, parental devotion. No less a cultural authority than the playwright David Mamet wrote an “open letter” defending accused admissions cheat Felicity Huffman; according to him, “a parent’s zeal for her children’s future may have overcome her better judgment for a moment.” Except that the “moment” went on for months, according to court filings, and involved Huffman’s paying $15,000 to ensure that her daughter would have twice the time to complete her SAT exam that an ordinary, non-bribery-enabled kid would have. Also to hire a crooked proctor afterwards, who could change some of her daughter’s wrong answers to correct ones.

In any case, Hess is right: You can get an ultrafine education at A.S.U. That place is an R1 university, positively bristling with Nobel laureates and MacArthur fellows. Walter V. Robinson, who led the famous “Spotlight” newsroom at the Boston Globe, teaches there. It’s wild to think anyone would be willing to blow half a million dollars to ensure an admission to U.S.C. over A.S.U.

Anyone who has been to (any) college can tell you that the proportion of enlightenment to hangovers varies greatly from customer to customer. It’s something else altogether that calls for the half-million bucks.

***

Coming from a quite different angle—and on March 27th, the very same day as Hess’s piece—Herb Childress, in the Chronicle of Higher Education, asked: “How did we decide that professors don’t deserve job security or a decent salary?” (“This is How You Kill a Profession.”) Childress is one of tens of thousands of Ph.D.s in the United States who failed to find a place on the tenure track, and who were slowly forced out of a professional academic career as their prospects faded year by year in the academic Hunger Games, as this brutal process is not uncommonly described.

You might assume that people like Childress just “didn’t make it” through some fault of their own, but you’d be wrong. Over the last fifty years academic work has come to look more and more like indentured servitude: Grad students and postdocs are a species of flexible workers in a gig economy, toiling in low-paying jobs waiting for their once-a-year chance to play the tenure track lottery.

Please note that these are the very people who work in the “good schools,” who are compelled to “teach,” for insanely low pay—like, a few thousand dollars per class—people like Mossimo Giannulli’s daughter Olivia Jade, a famous YouTube “Influencer.” This lady’s dad paid hundreds of thousands to put her in the orbit of hugely educated, committed, job-insecure people like Childress. She, meanwhile, impishly bragged to her legion of YouTube followers that she doesn’t really “care about school.”

And yet scholars like Childress can’t let go of their romantic notions of the academy, and their sense of vocation, which can easily be exploited; unfortunately they’ll agree to live the dream even at cut rates, as Childress himself openly admitted in the Chron.
The grief of not finding a home in higher ed—of having done everything as well as I was capable of doing, and having it not pan out; of being told over and over how well I was doing and how much my contributions mattered, even as the prize was withheld—consumed more than a decade. It affected my physical health. It affected my mental health. It ended my first marriage. […]

Like any addict, I have to be vigilant whenever higher ed calls again. I know what it means to be a member of that cult, to believe in the face of all evidence, to persevere, to serve. I know what it means to take a 50-percent pay cut and move across the country to be allowed back inside the academy as a postdoc after six years in the secular professions. To be grateful to give up a career, to give up economic comfort, in order to once again be a member.

Consider the benefits-free, pension-free pittance paid to the vast majority of people providing the elite education, who never saw a dime of all those millions in bribes, and a more complicated and larger picture than we’ve yet seen emerges."



"I wasn’t nearly as much of a paragon, but as a brown-trash “gifted” kid who came up poor and went to fancy schools I can easily understand how listening to this brilliant lecturer dazzled my friend, and changed the course of his life. This feeling comes to students anywhere, everywhere, in every school with a good teacher with time and attention to give us. There was and still is something vital, something good and real, to want out of an “education,” something quite beyond the ken of the kind of people who would pay an SAT proctor to cheat.

Then there’s this other angle. I first went off to college already inured to the idea that I was involved in an economy; that we were trading. Everything had been made easier for the rich kids, of course, and it wasn’t their fault, all had been bought and paid for by their parents and grandparents, but also—a crucial thing—they had also lacked our luck; they lacked certain desirable qualities, qualities as randomly distributed as wealth, things with which some of us had won a different lottery, had skipped grades with and been celebrated for: the sort of “intelligence” that made school easy. There seemed to be a natural symbiosis in this structure, crazy and shameful as the whole business of “meritocracy” appears to me now.

But also like all college kids we mainly didn’t give a fuck about any of that and just got to be friends for true reasons, just loved one another. The rich kids happened to be able to teach the poor ones what fork to use and how to ski, and the poor and/or brown kids of halfway reasonable intelligence gave them books, new kinds of food and family, music and art, a view of the other side of the tracks, new ways to have fun. We poor ones brought, say, a taste for Lester Bangs, arroz con pollo, Brian Eno and Virginia Woolf; they treated us to foie gras and Tahoe and big old California cabs on our 18th birthday. Gross, right? Really gross. But the (grotesquely mistaken) idea was that we were bringing each other into a better world, a different world, and a little at a time the true, good world would finally come.

This may sound a bit tinfoil but now I suspect that the problem may have been, all along, that all the college kids started to realize together (as I think they are still) that there was something sick at the roots of this tree of knowledge as it was then constituted. Strangely, dangerously healing, egalitarian ideas began to take hold; demographics changed, and the country began to move to the left. The 90s was the era of the tenured radical on campus, and the culture wars grew white-hot. Al Gore was elected president, and was prevented by the merest whisker from taking office. Even a barely left of center President Gore would have made things a little too parlous for the powers that be, who are on the same side as the Giannullis of the world.

Hess told me that some people think there’s one kind of education within the purview of everyone willing to work to get it, the “embarrassing” kind, and then there’s another kind that is luxury goods, strictly for “elites” from “elite” institutions—however corrupt the latter may be—served tableside by an underpaid servant class.

But the egalitarian view of education and the luxury view are mutually exclusive. Pulling up the drawbridge around your ivory tower only cuts it off from the global commons, which alone can provide the intellectual atmosphere in which a free society, and its academy, can breathe and thrive. Power wants its “meritocracy”: thus the eternal cake-having rhetoric around higher education, the queasy mingling of “exclusivity” and “diversity.”

Note too that the ruling class protects its interests as starkly on the fake left of the centrist Democrats as it does on the right, where the Koch brothers have long bought professors like they were so many cups of coffee. In Jacobin, Liza Featherstone’s … [more]
education  elitism  highered  highereducation  2019  mariabustillos  culture  society  smartness  petebuttigieg  operationvaristyblues  meritocracy  us  capitalism  competition  scarcity  lizafeatherstone  donaldtrump  centrism  herbchildress  academia  colleges  universities  rankings  admissions 
april 2019 by robertogreco
Impakt Festival 2017 - Performance: ANAB JAIN. HQ - YouTube
[Embedded here: http://impakt.nl/festival/reports/impakt-festival-2017/impakt-festival-2017-anab-jain/ ]

"'Everything is Beautiful and Nothing Hurts': @anab_jain's expansive keynote @impaktfestival weaves threads through death, transcience, uncertainty, growthism, technological determinism, precarity, imagination and truths. Thanks to @jonardern for masterful advise on 'modelling reality', and @tobias_revell and @ndkane for the invitation."
https://www.instagram.com/p/BbctTcRFlFI/ ]
anabjain  2017  superflux  death  aging  transience  time  temporary  abundance  scarcity  future  futurism  prototyping  speculativedesign  predictions  life  living  uncertainty  film  filmmaking  design  speculativefiction  experimentation  counternarratives  designfiction  futuremaking  climatechange  food  homegrowing  smarthomes  iot  internetofthings  capitalism  hope  futures  hopefulness  data  dataviz  datavisualization  visualization  williamplayfair  society  economics  wonder  williamstanleyjevons  explanation  statistics  wiiliambernstein  prosperity  growth  latecapitalism  propertyrights  jamescscott  objectivity  technocrats  democracy  probability  scale  measurement  observation  policy  ai  artificialintelligence  deeplearning  algorithms  technology  control  agency  bias  biases  neoliberalism  communism  present  past  worldview  change  ideas  reality  lucagatti  alextaylor  unknown  possibility  stability  annalowenhaupttsing  imagination  ursulaleguin  truth  storytelling  paradigmshifts  optimism  annegalloway  miyamotomusashi  annatsing 
november 2017 by robertogreco
Can economies thrive without growth? de RSA Radio
"When economies stop growing they go into crisis, but it seems impossible for them to grow forever without causing ecological catastrophe. Matthew Taylor talks to Tim Jackson about the big dilemma in sustainability and the updated and expanded second edition of ‘Prosperity without Growth’ (2017). Can we safely stabilize the size of the economy? What’s behind our insatiable demand for new things? What revolutions are required in the nature of enterprise, policy and values to create prosperity without growth? And have they gotten any closer in the years since the books first publication in 2009?"
economics  growth  policy  prosperity  2017  matthewtaylor  timjackson  capitalism  environment  emissions  globalwarming  climatechange  sustainability  happiness  wellbeing  scarcity  resources  technology  technosolutionism  efficiency  consumerism  consumption  fashion  socialgood  privatization  money  politics  service  monetarypolicy  government  governance  society  ethics  values  technocracy 
july 2017 by robertogreco
POLITICAL THEORY - Karl Marx - YouTube
"Karl Marx remains deeply important today not as the man who told us what to replace capitalism with, but as someone who brilliantly pointed out certain of its problems. The School of Life, a pro-Capitalist institution, takes a look.



FURTHER READING

“Most people agree that we need to improve our economic system somehow. It threatens our planet through excessive consumption, distracts us with irrelevant advertising, leaves people hungry and without healthcare, and fuels unnecessary wars. Yet we’re also often keen to dismiss the ideas of its most famous and ambitious critic, Karl Marx. This isn’t very surprising. In practice, his political and economic ideas have been used to design disastrously planned economies and nasty dictatorships. Frankly, the remedies Marx proposed for the ills of the world now sound a bit demented. He thought we should abolish private property. People should not be allowed to own things. At certain moments one can sympathise. But it’s like wanting to ban gossip or forbid watching television. It’s going to war with human behaviour. And Marx believed the world would be put to rights by a dictatorship of the proletariat; which does not mean anything much today. Openly Marxist parties received a total of only 1,685 votes in the 2010 UK general election, out of the nearly 40 million ballots cast…”"
karlmarx  marxism  capitalism  2014  work  labor  specialization  purpose  alienation  disconnection  hierarchy  efficiency  communism  belonging  insecurity  economics  primitiveaccumulation  accumulation  profit  theft  exploitation  instability  precarity  crises  abundance  scarcity  shortage  productivity  leisure  unemployment  freedom  employment  inequality  wealth  wealthdistribution  marriage  relationships  commodityfetishism  feminism  oppression  ideology  values  valuejudgements  worth  consumerism  materialism  anxiety  competition  complacency  conformity  communistmanifesto  inheritance  privateproperty  banking  communication  transportation  eduction  publiceducation  frederickengels  generalists  specialists  daskapital 
january 2017 by robertogreco
Why Affluent Parents Put So Much Pressure on Their Kids - The Atlantic
"With financial success ought to come some measure of relief—a chance to take in a deep breath, exhale, and survey the world from the top.

But, as Hanna Rosin’s recent Atlantic cover story on the high rate of suicide among high-school students in Palo Alto, California, captures, that’s not how things work. To the contrary, kids living in one of the wealthiest zip codes in the country are stressed and miserable. As Rosin writes:
On the surface, the rich kids seem to be thriving. They have cars, nice clothes, good grades, easy access to health care, and, on paper, excellent prospects. But many of them are not navigating adolescence successfully.

The rich middle- and high-school kids [Arizona State professor Suniya] Luthar and her collaborators have studied show higher rates of alcohol and drug abuse on average than poor kids, and much higher rates than the national norm.* They report clinically significant depression or anxiety or delinquent behaviors at a rate two to three times the national average. Starting in seventh grade, the rich cohort includes just as many kids who display troubling levels of delinquency as the poor cohort, although the rule-breaking takes different forms. The poor kids, for example, fight and carry weapons more frequently, which Luthar explains as possibly self-protective. The rich kids, meanwhile, report higher levels of lying, cheating, and theft.

Why is this? As Rosin reports, a major factor is “pressure”—from parents, teachers, themselves, whoever—to excel not just in school but in a host of other activities as well. All of that pressure and the resulting hyper-activity seem to leave kids feeling very tired, very inadequate, and very alone. No wonder they are miserable.

But that does little to answer the question of why there is so much pressure in the first place. It turns out that there is a pretty straightforward—and ultimately very troubling—answer: It’s because the competition for a place among the country’s well-off is so vicious. To secure one of those spots, kids must gain admission to a relatively small number of elite colleges and universities, which “essentially did not grow but rather became increasingly selective” since the 1970s. (By contrast, in Canada, where higher education “lacks a steep prestige hierarchy,” the admissions competition is less dire.)

In part, this is because of what sort of people make up America's elite today: not the owners of family businesses but professionals with impressive educations. Family businesses are heritable; education, by contrast, is not. No matter how successful parents are, their kids have to earn their own way in (albeit, of course, with the incredible advantages that come from having highly educated, well-off parents). As sociologist Hilary Levey Friedman put it in an interview with Jessica Grose at Slate, “If you’re a doctor, lawyer, or MBA—you can’t pass those on to your kids.”

All of this results in what the economists Garey and Valerie Ramey of the University of California, San Diego, brilliantly termed “the rug rat race.” As they wrote in a 2010 paper, “The increased scarcity of college slots appears to have heightened rivalry among parents, which takes the form of more hours spent on college preparatory activities.” In their findings, the rug rat race takes place primarily among the most educated parents, because there simply aren’t enough spots at elite schools for less-educated parents to even really have a shot, especially as the competition accelerates. It’s for this reason that the most educated parents spend the most hours parenting, even though they are giving up the most in wages by doing so.

This intense competition does more than serve as a giant sieve for college admissions; it is also a intensive training process for the actual skills that it takes to succeed at the upper echelons of the American economy. As one soccer parent told Friedman during her research on parenting in such a competitive culture, “I think it’s important for [my son] to understand that [being competitive] is not going to just apply here, it’s going to apply for the rest of his life. It’s going to apply when he keeps growing up and he’s playing sports, when he’s competing for school admissions, for a job, for the next whatever.” Friedman concludes, “Such an attitude prepares children for winner-take-all settings like the school system and lucrative labor markets.”

This leaves affluent parents with little choice. Even for those who fear the consequences of the pressure on their kids, they may figure it’s worth getting through a few tough years for a lifetime of economic security. One thing that bolsters this rationale: the steep dropoff in incomes and wealth from the very, very rich to America’s struggling middle class. There is a lot to be gained by being among the very elite. If that's something you have a reasonable shot at, there’s a good argument for taking it.

The conversation about the intense pressure on kids is normally focused on parenting culture, on what parents are doing wrong. But this all needs to be considered in the broader context of the American economy. The pressure on kids may come from parents, but it’s the result of systemic forces so much bigger and so much more powerful than anything any household has control over.

In a sense, what wealthy parents are doing is working. There is very little social mobility in America, up or down, and most of those born into the richest and best-educated households will someday run their own high-earning, highly educated households.

Then again, it’s not working at all. There is very little social mobility in America, up or down, and most of those born into the poorest and least-educated households will someday run their own low-earning, poorly educated households. How is it that a country so prosperous shines its munificence on so few? And, for those who do find success, why does getting there leave them feeling so hopeless?"
education  affluence  precarity  economics  inequality  society  socialmobility  us  incomeinequality  fear  parenting  schools  learning  competition  fragility  hannahrosin  pressure  anxiety  stress  selectivity  colleges  universities  rebeccarosen  gareyramey  valerieramey  admissions  scarcity  jessicagross  suniyaluthar  paloalto  siliconvalley 
november 2015 by robertogreco
Jennifer Armbrust | Proposals for the Feminine Economy | CreativeMornings/PDX
"“The experimental feminine is all that is not business as usual and vice versa.” — Joan Retallack

What does it look like to embody feminine principles in business? In art? Why does it matter—what’s at stake? What does gender have to do with business? What does business have to do with art? What does capitalism have to do with nature? And what is an economy, anyhow? Can a business be feminist? Why would it want to? Where is money in all of this? Armbrust’s Creative Mornings talk posits a protocol for prototyping an experimental/feminine business."

[Direct link to video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i7kI7Bsa56g ]
jennarmbrust  via:nicolefenton  2015  capitalism  feminism  masculinity  consciouscapitalism  power  egalitarianism  growth  art  design  criticaltheory  entrepreneurship  business  economics  competition  inequality  ownership  consumerism  consumption  labor  work  efficiency  speed  meritocracy  profit  individualism  scarcity  abundance  poverty  materialism  care  caring  interdependence  vulnerability  embodiment  ease  generosity  collaboration  sustainability  resourcefulness  mindfulness  self-care  gratitude  integrity  honesty  nature  joanretallack  well-being 
july 2015 by robertogreco
Poverty is a tax on cognition - Boing Boing
[video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6_scuce5TA ]

"In an outstanding lecture at the London School of Economics, Macarthur "genius award" recipient Sendhil Mullainathan explains his research on the psychology of scarcity, a subject that he's also written an excellent book about.

Mullainathan begins by establishing the idea that your cognition is limited -- you can only think about a limited number of things at one time, and when the number of things you have to pay attention to goes beyond a certain threshold, you start making errors. Then he explains how poor people have a lot more things they have to pay attention to. In the UK, we make fun of politicians for being so out of touch that they don't know the price of a pint of milk -- but poor people have to keep track of the price of everything they require. There's no room for error. Spend too much on the milk and you can't afford the bread.

That's just one of the many taxes on the cognitive load of poor people. David Graeber's Utopia of Rules details another: figuring out what rich people are thinking. Poor people who piss off rich people face reprisals far beyond those that rich people can expect from each other or from poor people.

This isn't unique to cash-poverty. Mullainathan asks his audience to recall what life is like when they're "time poor" -- on a deadline or otherwise overburdened. This scarcity can focus your attention, yes: we've all had miraculous work-sprints to meet a deadline. But it does so at the expense of thoughtful attention to longer-term (but equally important) priorities: that's why we stress-eat, skip the gym when our workload is spiking, and miss our kids' sports' games when the pressure is on at work.

The experimental literature shows startling parallels between the two conditions: time scarcity and cash scarcity. This leads to a series of policy proscriptions that are brilliant (for example, when we create means-tested benefits that require poor people to go through difficult bureaucratic processes, we're taxing their scarcest and most precious resource). He also recounts how this parallel is useful in creating an empathic link between rich and powerful people like hedge fund managers and the poorest people alive.

Why does poverty persist? Why do successful people get things done at the last minute? A single psychology--the psychology of scarcity--connects these seemingly unconnected questions. The research in our book shows how scarcity creates its own mindset. Understanding this mindset sheds light on our personal problems as well as the broader social problem of poverty and what we can do about it."
corydoctorow  equality  poverty  sendhilmullainathan  cognition  attention  davidgraeber  economics  decisionmaking  time  money  debttraps  scarcity  allnighters  timescarcity  moneyscarcity  tunneling 
june 2015 by robertogreco
danah boyd | apophenia » What is Fairness?
"Increasingly, tech folks are participating in the instantiation of fairness in our society. Not only do they produce the algorithms that score people and unevenly distribute scarce resources, but the fetishization of “personalization” and the increasingly common practice of “curation” are, in effect, arbiters of fairness.

The most important thing that we all need to recognize is that how fairness is instantiated significantly affects the very architecture of our society. I regularly come back to a quote by Alistair Croll:
Our social safety net is woven on uncertainty. We have welfare, insurance, and other institutions precisely because we can’t tell what’s going to happen — so we amortize that risk across shared resources. The better we are at predicting the future, the less we’ll be willing to share our fates with others. And the more those predictions look like facts, the more justice looks like thoughtcrime.

The market-driven logic of fairness is fundamentally about individuals at the expense of the social fabric. Not surprisingly, the tech industry — very neoliberal in cultural ideology — embraces market-driven fairness as the most desirable form of fairness because it is the model that is most about individual empowerment. But, of course, this form of empowerment is at the expense of others. And, significantly, at the expense of those who have been historically marginalized and ostracized.

We are collectively architecting the technological infrastructure of this world. Are we OK with what we’re doing and how it will affect the society around us?"
algorithms  culture  economics  us  finance  police  policing  lawenforcement  technology  equality  equity  2014  danahboyd  alistaircroll  justice  socialjustice  crime  civilrights  socialsafetynet  welfare  markets  banks  banking  capitalism  socialism  communism  scarcity  abundance  uncertainty  risk  predictions  profiling  race  business  redlining  privilege 
november 2014 by robertogreco
You Need to Hear This Extremely Rare Recording  — The Message — Medium
"A story for the millennials in the room: Once upon a time, owning a rare media object was sorta cool. But some people used these objects to project their cultural superiority, which was pretty lame."



"The economics of popularity can be gamed, but scarcity is a devil’s trade."



"From snobby obscurist to pretentious scold, from rarity to reaction. As Comic Book Guy shows, you no longer have to be “in the know.” You just have to know what to say."
rexsorgatz  2014  aesthetics  culture  commonplace  abundance  scarcity  rarity  rare  digital  reproduction  copies  popularity  obscurity  internet  web  comicbookguy  thesimpsons  music  media  caseykasem  negativeland 
june 2014 by robertogreco
Learning From Legos - NYTimes.com
"WHEN I was a boy, my father, an architect, attempted a no-toy policy, with the significant exception that he’d buy my brother and me almost anything — any birthday, holiday or restless rainy Saturday — as long as it was Lego.

And so, if I needed a gun, I made it with Legos. The same with a walkie-talkie. And a lie detector. And all the life-size artifacts — let’s face it, mostly weapons — that were then my heart’s desire. Plus every scale-model spaceship, supertruck, planetary fortress, recombinant Tyrannosaurus and transforming robot.

These days Lego — with its namesake movie’s opening weekend box office of $69 million, and with global sales revenue tripling, recession-proof, between 2007 and 2012 — appears to be something more than just a Danish construction toy based on snap-together plastic bricks. Some of the film’s success comes from the charm of its intrepid construction worker hero and goth-ninja heroine, both remarkably expressive despite the limitations of Lego figurines’ cylindrical heads and hands.

But the film’s celebration of adaptive improvisation and spontaneous mythmaking also resonates deeply with our current moment of so-called maker culture. Thanks to new rapid-prototyping technologies like computer numerical control milling and 3-D printing, we’ve seen a convergence between hacker and hipster, between high-tech coding and the low-tech artisanal craft behind everything from Etsy to Burning Man.

Whether it’s Google’s first server rack having been made of Lego-like bricks (pragmatically cheap, heat-resistant and reconfigurable) at Stanford in 1996, or the programmable Lego bricks developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Architecture Machine Group (later the Media Lab where, no coincidence, my father worked), Lego is literally built into the computational and architectural history of maker culture.

And it is, in a special way, an architectural history. “A small interior world of color and form now came within grasp of small fingers,” wrote Frank Lloyd Wright about his 9-year-old self in a 1943 autobiographical sketch. “These ‘Gifts’ came into the gray house” and “made something live here.” These were the famous Froebel Blocks, educational wooden building blocks in systematic shapes and sizes developed in the 1840s by Friedrich Froebel, the inventor of kindergarten.

“The smooth shapely maple blocks with which to build, the sense of which never afterward leaves the fingers; so form became feeling. These primary forms were the secret of all effects,” Wright recalled, “which were ever got into the architecture of the world.” Wright’s son John would complete the circle, inventing in 1916 the construction toy that came to be known as Lincoln Logs.

Architectural historians have sought origins for Wright’s innovative organic architecture — his long horizontals and pinwheel plans — in the geometries of his toys, even reconstructing his early house designs using the Froebel Blocks themselves.

I suspect that the connection isn’t that literal. But it is certainly primal, and visceral, to do with the idea of making and unmaking, and the complex relationships of parts to wholes, and brokenness to wholeness.

Once, detouring through a parking-lot flea market, I stumbled across some Froebel Blocks from Wright’s era, stacked as tightly and delicately as the dovetail joints of their original wooden box. Froebel Blocks are collectible antiques, but these were flea-market finds and not auctioneers’ goods because they had been methodically defaced by years of scribbled arabesques in Magic Marker, in a child’s hand.

I discovered that these lines traveled continuously from block to block, and that by carefully aligning the distinctly colored arcs and loops of the markings, I could reconstruct all the arrangements into which the blocks had been built — those magic marks the inadvertent blueprints for a forgotten memory palace.

I remember the fugue of that reconstruction, low on the ground below a flea market table. I remember the astonishing intimacy of visiting a stranger’s childhood, and how that intimacy somehow caused me to delay actually buying this treasure. I circled the flea market, and returned to find it gone.

Maker culture, like Lego, is about loss. All building-block toys are about appearance and disappearance, demolition and reconstruction. Maker culture, for all its love of stuff, is similarly a culture of resourcefulness in an era of economic scarcity: relentless in its iterative prototyping, its radically adaptive reuse of ready-made objects, its tendency to unmake one thing to make another — all in a new ecology of economy.

When my brother and I wanted a new toy, we cannibalized whatever we’d made before, which had been made of all the things we’d ever made before that. So of all those years of guns and starships, I have only that Wrightian feeling for form in the fingertips — and the sound, somewhere between rustling and clinking, of a thousand plastic pieces tumbling from an overturned bucket into a disorderly pile, rippling away from a seeking hand.

I remember the last thing I ever made of Lego, far later into adolescence than I should admit. It was a robot that, thanks to double-jointed hinges, could continually reconfigure itself without being disassembled. And in this sense it was anti-Lego, capable of being remade without being unmade. I knew that it was the most I could ever do in the medium, and the end of an era. It drifted back into that bucket.

A quarter-century later I saw the same bucket opened and overturned by a young nephew. And there, like a time traveler, was this same robot. Mostly just its legs, standing Ozymandias-like in a pile of bricks. I reached for it, but not faster than my nephew, who, recognizing an accretion of especially useful pieces, instantly dissolved it with his hands. One of Wright’s secrets of all effects must be this: Because nothing comes from nothing, and nothing goes entirely out of the world, you have to take things apart if you seek to put everything together."
2014  thomsdemonchaux  making  makerculture  resourcefulness  lego  invention  franklloydwright  froebelblocks  froebeltoys  building  construction  unmaking  dissolution  prototyping  adaptivereuse  reuse  scarcity  materials  toys  play  appearance  disappearance  reconstruction  ecology 
march 2014 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: Grit Part 4: Abundance, Authenticity, and the Multi-Year Mentor
"A number of us in the school central office I work in share a common thread from childhood. Whatever the circumstances of our lives, whatever the challenges, we were afforded a key luxury: we had in our lives some adult who stuck with us for more than a single year. We had a multi-year mentor.

Industrial education has many destructive effects, but one rarely focused on is the refusal of our school design to allow adult support to stretch beyond a single school year. We have sixth grade teachers and tenth grade teachers. We have middle schools and high schools. We have programs, and thus teachers, who only work with certain age kids. We sometimes even have separate coaches for different age-defined sports. And this is disastrous. By doing this we create the ultimate scarcity of support."



"For me, it is essential that we first ask questions about our systems, that we first ask what we can do to stop damaging children. If we do not, as I've said in this series before, we create damaged children at a far faster rate than we can possibly help them. Whatever the merits of the interventions Tough's book champions, from poorly prepared principals and questionable chess coaches on one end of the spectrum to deeply caring, deeply involved support on the other, nothing he promotes will halt the damage going on daily. I think we must be better than that.

Focusing instead on those three essentials, abundance, authenticity, and adult long-term human support will change the damage equation. We know that. And since we know that, we need to do it."



"Laura Deisley wrote on Eric Juli's blog that kids, "are coming to us from different and very real contexts and yet equally yearning for relationship and purpose. What your kids learn outside of school, and we are associating with "grit," is driven by both relationships and purpose. It is not their choice, and God knows they should not have to be in that situation. And, you're right we cannot change their immediate condition. However, if we too narrowly define outcomes--academic "success" as you call it--then they aren't going to see a purpose that is worth expending any more effort."

Abundance offers opportunity. Authenticity offers that purpose. Relationship offers that support. And I do not care where we teach, or who we teach, I believe that we can alter our systems to provide more of those three things than we do today. And by doing that we can begin to change the equations which defeat our children."
2014  irasocol  grit  looping  tcsnmy  education  teaching  mentoring  systemsthinking  care  caring  abundance  authenticity  support  lcproject  scarcity  slack  relevance  relationships  trust  purpose  lauradeisley  ericjuli 
february 2014 by robertogreco
Bat, Bean, Beam: Old games
"Amongst the things that I salvaged from the house in which I grew up were four supermarket bags full of Lego. I found the stuff over a number of trips, each time marvelling at how much of it there was. As well as being practically indestructible (the only pieces of ours that ever broke were two of the large thin bases), Lego has fared remarkably well in terms of both its exchange and use value over the last half century. We had all sorts of trouble – and ultimately failed – in finding a good home to a very good library. We literally couldn’t give away the stuff, which was a source of some heartache. But Lego, it might as well be a global currency, or a precious ore. It keeps going up in price. It’s worth shipping around the world. There’s always a use for it, even in small quantities.

The last find involved one of Lego’s early electric engines, which was used to power a train’s locomotor. I vaguely remember playing with this set. Not much you could do with it, as the carriages came pretty much assembled whole. But the rest of those bags contain mostly the standard universal pieces with which I used to build houses and robots and once, I think, a football stadium. It’s a rather sharp lesson in informational entropy now. Four plastic bags’ worth of chaos."



"Totòpoli is a bafflingly elaborate horse-racing board game in two parts. First, the players lease and train the horses, as well as acquire facilities like foraging merchants and veterinary practices. This is not too dissimilar from Monopoly, and results in the accumulation of advantage and disadvantage cards, as well as special cards to forestall certain events, except instead of getting out of jail is preventing your top horse from bursting a blood vessel on the home straight. Then, once the training is completed, the board is flipped over and the race can begin. However even that phase comprises two quite different activities: the taking of bets on the outcome, with what money you have left over from part one, and the race itself. As the rulebook explains:
The winner can either be the one with the most money at the end of the race, or the one with the winning horse. This should be decided at the beginning of the race.


You’d hate to play for three solid hours and be left unsure as to who won.

Totòpoli was a lot of fun. But I rescued form the home some things that I don’t recall playing with, and probably belonged to my sister. A rather exquisite medical set, all in plastic but very detailed and missing remarkably few pieces, given how the small parts in today’s equivalents seem to explode out of the packaging and immediately get lost whenever my children are involved. I wonder if this is a function of the relative scarcity of those years."
games  boardgames  play  giovannitiso  2013  lego  gamedesign  horses  horseracing  childhood  scarcity 
june 2013 by robertogreco
Ten Responses to the Technological Unemployment Problem | THE DECLINE OF SCARCITY
"On the internet and in the media there has been growing discussion of technological unemployment. People are increasingly concerned that automation will displace more and more workers—that in fact there might be no turning back at this point. We may be reaching the end of work as we know it.

What happens if vast numbers of people can no longer make money by selling their labor? How should society respond? What follows is a list of possible responses to technological unemployment. This list may not be complete. If I have missed anything, or misrepresented anyone’s views please say so in the comments below. Also these responses are not meant to be mutually exclusive; many of them can overlap with each other quite nicely."
futurism  politics  economics  snarkmarketseminar  2013  scarcity  abundance  universalbasicincome  technology  unemployment  employement  labor  artleisure  decentralization  capitalism  automation  socialism  incentives  motivation  wealthdistribution  wealth  wealthredistribution  policy  education  innovation  libertarianism  machines  leisurearts  ubi 
june 2013 by robertogreco
Sowing Scarcity – The New Inquiry
"This is late capitalism’s inverted world, where business and government treat nature as infinite but strictly ration culture. Thus does capitalism, billed in every economics textbook as the supreme mechanism for allocating scarce resources, degenerate into a machine that introduces scarcity where it need not exist and blithely squanders the things that are in short supply.

Capitalism is itself a kind of social technology, one capable of organizing and managing a massive and complex division of labor without concentrating power over the system at any one point. But it is a technology that is much better suited to some tasks than others. When maximizing the output of commodities with the least input of human labor is posed as society’s main problem, capitalism’s defenders can point to it as an historically unsurpassed technology for this purpose.

If, however, the main problem is to maintain the ability of the Earth to support an advanced civilization, and to ensure that the bounty of…
ecosocialism  capital  legal  law  patents  intellectualproperty  ip  agriculture  monsanto  production  scarcity  peterfrase  2012  environment  capitalism  latecapitalism 
december 2012 by robertogreco
David Galbraith’s Blog » 5 principles of invisible web design
"1. Design for beneficial feedback loops
Beneficial feedback is the opposite of virality. A virus spreads but is harmful, something which is beneficial spreads precisely because it is valuable. Don’t design things to get more users, design things where the more use the more value and therefore the more users. Focus on the product and the business will come.

2. Design for incremental value
Create something where the more people use it the more value there is for each of them. This creates community.

3. Design for the primary use case.
Do one thing and do it well. There is no scarcity of resources in Internet land so a secondary use case can be a secondary product. The scarcity is attention, design for the principal thing that will engage people.

4. Design the personal.
…Design so that 30,000 people appear like 3.

5. Design recipes not visuals.
Achieve 1-4 with recipes not visual designs. A web design will have a specific flow and ingredients…"
visuals  attention  scarcity  incrementalvalue  value  feedbackloops  webdesign  web  design  2012  davidgalbraith  webdev 
october 2012 by robertogreco
Three More Growth Fallacies « Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy
"1. As natural resources become scarce we can substitute capital for resources and continue to grow. …

2. Space, the high frontier, frees us from the finitude of the earth, and opens unlimited resources for growth. …

3. Without economic growth all progress is at an end. On the contrary, without growth (now actually uneconomic growth if correctly measured), true progress finally will have a chance."

[Again.]

"On the contrary, without growth true progress finally will have a chance."
small  slow  sustainability  resources  economics  scarcity  ecology  environment  2012  hermandaly  fallacies  growth  from delicious
september 2012 by robertogreco
Ruderal Academy | 2012
"…an itinerant school, providing site-specific educational programs on techniques of landscape analysis, interpretation and design. The given landscape serves as both the campus and the primary text.

Previous sites of investigation include: hypersaline lagoons in the SF Bay, a reservoir breach in the Missouri Ozarks, a channelized industrial river in the Berkshire region of Massachusetts, and the landscape of the US-Mexico border in El Paso and Juarez.

Ruderal is an ecological term that refers to species that are adapted to thrive in conditions of scarcity and disturbance. Ruderal species are often called pioneer species in that they hold territory in advance of more stable species. The ruderal suggests a means of practice that begins with the given. To work from the ground up, to work fast, iteratively and with minimal means.

As such, Ruderal Academy lands in sites of transition and disturbance, places with rich political, historical social, industrial and ecological contexts."
cities  bayarea  border  elpaso  juarez  missouri  ozarks  nomadicschool  scarcity  iterative  via:javierarbona  ruderalacademy  ruderal  space  place  design  sanfrancisco  urbanism  architecture  landscape  juárez  ciudadjuárez  from delicious
august 2012 by robertogreco
Accessibility vs. access: How the rhetoric of “rare” is changing in the age of information abundance » Nieman Journalism Lab
"…digital archivists solve the barrier of accessibility, by making content previously tucked away in analog archives available to the world wide web…

What great curators do is reverse-engineer this dynamic, framing cultural importance first to magnify our motivation to engage with information…shares that manuscript in the context of how it relates to today’s ideals and challenges of publishing, to our shared understanding of creative labor and the changing value systems of authorship, will help integrate this archival item with your existing knowledge and interests, bridging your curiosity with your motivations to truly engage with the content.

Because in a culture where abundance has replaced scarcity as our era’s greatest information problem, without these human sensemakers and curiosity sherpas, even the most abundant and accessible information can remain tragically “rare.”"

[There's more to this. Better to read the entire thing.]
history  photography  information  archives  accessibility  mariapopova  curation  curating  curatorialteaching  curiosity  context  storytelling  relevance  flickrcommons  2011  digitalhumanities  classideas  cv  digitalcurators  infocus  openculture  dancolman  andybaio  metafilter  brainpickings  aaronswartz  filterbubble  elipariser  jamesgleick  abundance  scarcity  obscurity  infooverload  from delicious
august 2011 by robertogreco
Boston Review — David Bollier and Jonathan Rowe: The 'Illth' of Nations
"Current beliefs about economic freedom emerged in West during 17&18th centuries…entrepreneurs were challenging the remnants of feudalism, & private property stood as a symbol of freedom against arrogant royal rule. …yesterday’s answer became today’s problem. Today it is private property, as embodied in corporation, that has become arrogant…solution is not all-encompassing state—authoritarian “we” that has been the reactive refuge of Left. Regulation there must be; but there must also be a different kind of property—common property—that exists alongside the market, providing a buffer against its excesses & producing what the corporate market can’t.

As market culture intrudes ever-deeper into daily life—from public spaces to the inner lives of kids— there is a yearning for space that is beyond the reach of buying & selling. People might not use the word “commons;” but they seek increasingly what it represents—community, freedom, & the integrity of natural & social processes."
economics  anarchism  marxism  via:javierarbona  davidbollier  freedom  jonathanrowe  illth  growth  property  perspective  commons  privateproperty  we  autoritarianism  left  politics  policy  commonproperty  excess  scarcity  abundance  future  wealth  culture  society  progress  community  intefrity  social  distribution  markets  marketfundamentalism  local  gdp  work  prosperity  well-being  affluence  income  incomegap  redistribution  taxes  taxation  wealthdistribution  from delicious
april 2011 by robertogreco
The Technium: The Satisfaction Paradox
"Let's say that after all is said and done, in the history of the world there are 2,000 theatrical movies, 500 documentaries, 200 TV shows, 100,000 songs, and 10,000 books that I would be crazy about. I don't have enough time to absorb them all, even if I were a full time fan. But what if our tools could deliver to me only those items to choose from? How would I -- or you -- choose from those select choices?"
kevinkelly  serendipity  choice  paradox  paradoxofchoice  satisfaction  satisfactionparadox  netflix  amazon  scarcity  abundance  google  spotify  music  film  curation  filters  filtering  discovery  recommendations  psychology  economics  from delicious
april 2011 by robertogreco
The Opposition to DIY Education - By Reihan Salam - The Agenda - National Review Online
"The only way to restore the concept of higher education as a public good is to reinvent it as a truly public good: not subject to antiquated notions of scarcity and hierarchical expertise, but adapted to the current reality of free, open, and immediate sharing of knowledge."
anyakamenetz  highered  highereducation  publicgood  education  policy  economics  hierarchy  sharing  knowledge  expertise  scarcity  reihansalam  from delicious
november 2010 by robertogreco
Does the web make experts dumb? – confused of calcutta
"There’s been a lot of talk about the web and the internet making us dumber.

I think it’s more serious than that. What the web does is reduce the capacity for asymmetry in education. Which in turn undermines the exalted status of the expert.

The web makes experts “dumb”. By reducing the privileged nature of their expertise.

I have three children born since 1986. One has finished her Master’s and is now a teacher. One has just finished his A Levels and is taking a “gap year” before starting university in a year’s time. The third is still in school.

The web has made them smarter. They know things I did not know at their age, and I had privileged upbringing and access. They know things more deeply than I did. Their interest in things analog is unabated, they think of the web as an AND to their analog lives rather than an OR.

Many of you reading this are experts; I myself am considered an expert in some things. And the status bestowed upon us by our expertise is dwindling."

[Part 2: http://confusedofcalcutta.com/2010/08/23/does-the-web-make-experts-dumb-part-2-whos-the-teacher/ ]
jprangaswami  web  experts  education  unschooling  hierarchy  deschooling  asymmetry  scarcity  expertise  analog  digital  internet  online  from delicious
august 2010 by robertogreco
Going, Going, Gone § SEEDMAGAZINE.COM
"Beyond such mundane geopolitical rivalries, the US has a more profound reason to conserve its helium: Every balloon inevitably deflates. Optimistically assuming that demand for the substance continues to grow only a few percent each year, and that the entirety of the globe’s remaining natural gas reserves will be processed for their helium, the NRC report estimates there will only be enough to last another 40 years. It stands to reason that as supplies diminish, helium will be used more efficiently and investments in recycling technologies will grow. But the fact that the Earth’s four-billion year bounty has been so reduced in scarcely a century suggests that helium is sadly not long for this world."
economics  environment  sustainability  helium  scarcity  materials  nature  physics  geology  geography  resources 
march 2010 by robertogreco
Our Report Card
"We had children & became unschoolers. We teach [them] how to find information. We teach them that info & skills are choices as much as talents. You choose info, you choose tools, & you often choose your skill. Skill generally being a matter of practice. Not completely, but generally.
capitalism  information  learning  unschooling  deschooling  education  homeschool  tcsnmy  mit  informationage  freedom  sharing  scarcity  society  narcissism  sklls  tools  lcproject  parenting  glvo 
february 2010 by robertogreco
Op-Ed Columnist - The Protocol Society - NYTimes.com
"Economic change is fomenting intellectual change. When the economy was about stuff, economics resembled physics. When it’s about ideas, economics comes to resemble psychology."
davidbrooks  economics  psychology  innovation  culture  society  change  gamechanging  scarcity  philosophy  consilience  networks  protocol  physics  ideas 
december 2009 by robertogreco
Alejandro Aravena | ICON MAGAZINE ONLINE
"Elemental, has to be one of the most unusual in the world: equal partnership between an architect, an oil company & a university...a "do tank", but not for a lack of thinking...Its ethos is to implement what it can, whatever the circumstances - & the circumstances of housing the poor in Latin American cities are pretty onerous...In 2003 Aravena was asked to house 100 families in Iquique...w/ just $7,500 per family in government subsidies to buy land & build houses..."Let's do the half that the family would never be able to do on its own." Namely, the structure, roof, kitchen & bathroom...one of a group of architects, including Venezuelan Urban Think Tank & San Diego-based Teddy Cruz, who are the conscience of their profession...Today, Chile is producing the most interesting architects in South America. Yet, without diminishing the formal & material inventiveness of compatriots such as Smiljan Radic & Matthias Klotz, the country has been a different kind of crucible for Aravena."
alejandroaravena  elementalchile  chile  architecture  activism  doing  latinamerica  housing  design  teddycruz  urbanthinktank  smiljanradic  mathiasklotz  scarcity 
november 2009 by robertogreco
Seth's Blog: Education at the crossroads
"School was the big thing for a long time. School is tests and credits and notetaking and meeting standards. Learning, on the other hand, is 'getting it'. It's the conceptual breakthrough that permits the student to understand it then move on to something else. Learning doesn't care about workbooks or long checklists. For a while, smart people thought that school was organized to encourage learning. For a long time, though, people in the know have realized that they are fundamentally different activities. The combinations...Imagine a school that's built around free, abundant learning. And compare it to one that's focused on scarce, expensive schooling. Or dream up your own combination. My recent MBA program, for example, was scarce (only 9 people got to do it) and it was free and focused on learning...If I were going to wager, I'd say that the free, abundant learning combination is the one that's going to change the world."
schooliness  sethgodin  unschooling  deschooling  scarcity  learning  training  politics  free  future  schools  abundance  education  openeducation  highered  change  reform  tcsnmy  lcproject  gamechanging  innovation  internet  online  elearning 
august 2009 by robertogreco
Op-Ed Columnist - A Date With Scarcity - NYTimes.com [via: http://liftlab.com/think/laurent/2008/11/07/politics-is-cool-again/]
"In the next few years, the nation’s wealth will either stagnate or shrink. The fiscal squeeze will grow severe. There will be fiercer struggles over scarce resources, starker divisions along factional lines. The challenge for the next president will be to cushion the pain of the current recession while at the same time trying to build a solid fiscal foundation so the country can thrive at some point in the future. We’re probably entering a period, in other words, in which smart young liberals meet a stone-cold scarcity that they do not seem to recognize or have a plan for. In an age of transition, the children are left to grapple with the burdens of their elders."
babyboomers  boomers  change  generations  excess  scarcity  us  nytimes  society  culture  politics  2008  elections  barackobama  davidbrooks 
november 2008 by robertogreco
Edge: EDGE MASTER CLASS 2008—CLASS 5 - THE IRONY OF POVERTY A Talk By Sendhil Mullainathan
"On the one hand, lack of slack tells us the poor must make higher quality decisions because they don't have slack to help buffer them with things. But even though they have to supply higher quality decisions, they're in a worse position to supply them because they're depleted. That is the ultimate irony of poverty. You're getting cut twice. You are in an environment where the decisions have to be better, but you're in an environment that by the very nature of that makes it harder for you apply better decisions."
poverty  economics  culture  decisionmaking  scarcity  stress  money  psychology  society  class  debt  poor 
november 2008 by robertogreco
Archinect : Features : Archinect Op-Ed: Let's Get Small
"The current scarcities in credit, energy and imagination are, in another sense, opportunities to realign the priorities of the profession: away from object aesthetics and towards system aesthetics. Think Small: small scale objects, expanding incrementally and opportunistically over large scale timeframes. Generate beauty and surplus through adaptation, flexibility, elegance and economy of means."
scarcity  systems  scale  small  architecture  design  aesthetics  2008  crisis  economics 
october 2008 by robertogreco
Seriosity: The Enterprise Solution for Information Overload
"We use psychological and economic principles that drive successful multiplayer online games to improve collaboration, innovation and productivity. We offer consulting services to help enterprises develop a game strategy optimized for their challenges and
games  business  arg  attention  collaboration  learning  management  leadership  mmo  mmog  seriousgames  virtualworlds  janemcgonigal  happiness  education  play  productivity  psychology  mmorpg  workplace  work  gaming  currency  money  economics  metaverse  email  enterprise2.0  complexity  entertainment  scarcity  socialsoftware  infooverload  im  wikis 
june 2008 by robertogreco
Peak Water: Aquifers and Rivers Are Running Dry. How Three Regions Are Coping
"As the era of easy water ends, even the most economically advanced areas face scarcity of freshwater. See how three of these regions are coming to terms with to the peak water problem."
crisis  scarcity  sustainability  technology  water  resources  global  world 
april 2008 by robertogreco
Eating Off the Table :: Inside Higher Ed :: Jobs, News and Views for All of Higher Education
"test last semester showing that on 2 days when trays weren’t offered, food and beverage waste dropped 30-50%...amounts to about 1,000 pounds of solid waste & 112 gallons of liquid waste saved on a weekly basis, according to the college."
colleges  universities  food  waste  education  economics  markets  behavior  society  excess  scarcity  sustainability  green  environment 
january 2008 by robertogreco
New Statesman - Modernity and its discontents. J G Ballard has never staked out a political position. But his fiction foresaw a world in which television images of fame and death were to become all-powerful
"In Ballard's view, societies are composed of fictions, whose lack of substance is brought home in extreme situations. Much of his work concerns solitary, marooned individuals who see society not as a source of support but as an encumbering irrelevance."
jgballard  modernism  sciencefiction  scifi  writing  future  philosophy  politics  economics  society  scarcity  wealth 
january 2008 by robertogreco
Conceptual Trends and Current Topics - Sanctuaries of Disconnection
"Connectivity now so cheap, pervasive, democratic, common...will be small movement among individualists, trend-setters, early adopters to disconnect...renowned personage...rejects cell phones, email, and is available ONLY face to face."
kevinkelly  predictions  future  connectivity  mobile  phones  internet  web  online  wifi  sanctuary  scarcity  disconnection 
january 2008 by robertogreco
i read the space (11 November 2007, Interconnected)
"what I'm advocating is a game-changing, post-revolution environmentalism. Don't waste resources, sure. But if we're spending resources to shift the status quo then I'm behind it. Otherwise we're slowly painting ourselves into a corner."
sustainability  green  environment  environmentalism  mattwebb  scifi  resources  scarcity  gamechanging  future  progress  conservatism  happiness  society  consumerism  consumer  marxism  politics  policy  conservation  globalwarming  advertising  revolution  2007 
november 2007 by robertogreco
ITConversations and SIConversations: Better together « Jon Udell
IT "began life in regime of scarcity...compute cycles, storage, bandwidth...always short supply...focus on doing more w/ less. Until recently, that is. Efficiency still matters, but increasingly there are big payoffs for designs that assume resources are
sustainability  software  energy  construction  transportation  it  administration  future  abundance  scarcity  gamechanging  change 
october 2007 by robertogreco
Meeting Tokens, for creating time scarcity | 43 Folders
"My pal, Mike Monteiro, is making good on his idea to try giving his team Meeting Tokens"
meetings  productivity  scarcity  time  work  administration  management  lifehacks 
october 2007 by robertogreco
Design for the Real World: Human Ecology and Social Change - Google Book Search
"...examines the attempts by designers to combat the tawdry, the unsafe, the frivolous, the useless product, once again providing a blueprint for sensible, responsible design in this world which is deficient in resources and energy."
design  books  sustainability  scarcity  energy  necessity  method  process 
october 2007 by robertogreco
Ross Mayfield's Weblog: Chris Anderson on Abundance in IT
lots here..."Somewhere someone got stuck in a scarcity mindset and now we are creating a productivity drain....Don’t make people jump through....hoops, the cost of experimentation is free...terrifying conclusion: we may have to trust our employees.
gamechanging  change  children  chrisanderson  computers  management  administration  schools  colleges  universities  it  business  technology  leadership  society  scarcity  longtail  software  trends  web2.0  networking  internet  risk  innovation  education  culture  abundance  socialsoftware  security  trust  free 
september 2007 by robertogreco
The Long Tail: Who needs a CIO?
too much to quote; more reasons for schools to stop providing software and web services and let users pick and choose their own from what is (mostly) freely available on the web.."users want a dumb pipe, preferably at gigabit speed"
gamechanging  change  children  chrisanderson  computers  management  administration  schools  colleges  universities  it  business  technology  leadership  society  scarcity  longtail  software  trends  web2.0  networking  internet  risk  innovation  education  culture  abundance  usability  philosophy  politics  users  web 
september 2007 by robertogreco
'Discover Your Inner Economist' by Tyler Cowen-- New York Magazine Book Review
"What is most pleasurable about Marginal Revolution, though, is the heavy dose of cultural opinion and advice dispensed by Cowen. He is a world-class polymath who whips through graphic novels and 816-page bricks like Africa: A Biography of the Continent,
books  economics  culture  travel  time  scarcity  tylercowen  reading  howto  management  control  polymaths 
july 2007 by robertogreco

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