05/11/2012

How much is enough?

In his essay ‘Economic possibilities for our grandchildren’, in 1930, the British economist John Maynard Keynes predicted that within a century industrialized societies have progressed so far that its technological advances allow people to live comfortably, with little need for work, and that provide happiness.

W_keynes
A quite enthusiastic Keynes predicted that industrialization would result in human happiness —Photo Unknown Author

Almost a century later and taking that essay as a starting point, Robert Skidelsky, economic historian and biographer reputed creator of Keynesianism, published with his son and philosopher Edward the book ‘How much is enough?’, which reflect on the current economic system and society away from the concept of ‘good life’, something that humans have tried profiling over time, from classical Greece to Christianity or Marxism.

According to the book, strong progress and improvement in living conditions that followed World War II were twisted in the 80’s, when Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher set economic growth as an end in itself and not as a means of achieving the good life of the people. That growth indicator, which does not take into account other citizen concerns such as health, leisure or the environment, had a quick and decisive victory over the other end of the economy due to the dramatic increase in the standard of living of the decades of 60 and 70 and proximity to full employment in Western societies. ‘In these circumstances, the economic thought was free to concentrate on the efficiency of the production efficiency.’

W_dinero
A few thousand US dollars —Photo Unknown Author

The good life, as opposed to happiness —something private and psychological, not always connected to the living conditions—, for Skidelsky is based on a number of basic elements that the state should promote, while it is for citizens to enjoy and develop full: health, security —physical or economic—, respect, personality —freedom to act autonomously—, harmony with nature, friendship —bond with others— and leisure —what is done for its own sake, not out of obligation or an end—.

The authors are optimistic about the future. Faced with the confusion between need and desire that seems to dominate, proposed ethical renewal, more social policies and reducing the pressure to consume or altering advertising freedom to choose. They believe that we are now better prepared than ever for the good life: we are materially better than in the 30s and knowledge is accessible to many more people, two factors that combined with the ethical awakening can make this economic crisis could leave advanced societies in a better starting position than Keynes in 1930.

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array(2) { [0]=> int(899) [1]=> int(25) }
array(4) { [0]=> object(WP_Post)#1670 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(5166) ["post_author"]=> string(4) "2049" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2013-08-19 00:01:28" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2013-08-18 22:01:28" ["post_content"]=> string(7376) "El triángulo de la violencia, definido por el sociólogo noruego Johan Galtung, identifica tres tipos de violencia y sostiene que el fenómeno tiene una estructura similar a la de un iceberg, ya que tras su parte visible siempre existe una mucho mayor que permanece oculta. La violencia directa correspondería a la punta del iceberg y tiene como principal característica el hecho de que la mayoría de sus efectos son visibles, principalmente los materiales, aunque no todos: el odio generado, los traumas psicológicos creados o la aparición de conceptos como el de 'enemigo' son efectos igual de graves que no suelen ser considerados como tales. Al ser el tipo de violencia más conocida y evidente, es común pensar que es la peor de todas las violencias, lo cual no es cierto precisamente por esa visibilidad, que la hace más fácil de identificar y por tanto de combatir. Es importante señalar que este tipo de violencia es la manifestación de algo, no su origen, y es en los orígenes donde deben buscarse las causas y puede actuarse con mayor eficacia. La violencia directa no afecta a tantas personas como las otras dos, cultural y estructural, que formarían la parte oculta del iceberg. La violencia cultural es una violencia simbólica, que se expresa en infinidad de medios —religión, ideología, lenguaje, arte, ciencia, medios de comunicación, educación, etc—y cumple la función de legitimar la violencia directa y estructural, así como de inhibir o reprimir la respuesta de quienes la sufren. Ofrece incluso justificaciones para que los seres humanos, a diferencia del resto de especies, se destruyan mutuamente y hasta sean recompensados por hacerlo: no es extraño aceptar la violencia en nombre de la patria o de la religión. Existe una cultura de la violencia en la que las escuelas y demás medios de transmisión y reproducción de cultura muestran la historia como una sucesión de guerras; la costumbre es que los conflictos se repriman por la incuestionable autoridad paterna, o por la autoridad del macho sobre la hembra; los medios de comunicación de masas venden el uso de ejércitos como la vía principal de solución de los conflictos internacionales, etc. De modo que la vida transcurre en un ambiente de violencia constante, que se manifiesta a diario en todos los ámbitos y a todos los niveles. La violencia estructural aparece cuando, como resultado de procesos de estratificación social, se produce un perjuicio en la satisfacción de las necesidades humanas básicas: supervivencia, bienestar, identidad, libertad, etc. Está originada por todo un conjunto de estructuras, tanto físicas como organizativas, que no permiten la satisfacción de esas necesidades y es la peor de las tres violencias porque es el origen de todas, la que más mata y a más personas afecta. Es también un tipo de violencia indirecta y en ocasiones incluso no intencionada: las acciones que provocan el hambre en el mundo, por ejemplo, no están diseñadas y realizadas directamente con ese fin, sino que derivan de la política económica capitalista y el injusto reparto de la riqueza. Esto provoca que, al contrario de lo que ocurre con la violencia directa, en ocasiones las causas que producen la violencia estructural no sean visibles con claridad y sea más complicado enfrentarse a ella. Siempre según Galtung, a menudo las causas de la violencia directa están relacionadas con situaciones de violencia estructural y justificadas por la violencia cultural: muchas situaciones son consecuencia de un abuso de poder que recae sobre un grupo oprimido, o de una situación de injusticia social —reparto de recursos insuficiente, gran desigualdad en la renta de las personas, dificultad de acceso a los servicios sociales— y reciben el espaldarazo de discursos que las justifican.The triangle of violence, defined by the Norwegian sociologist Johan Galtung, identifies three types of violence and argues that the phenomenon has a similar structure to that of an iceberg, in which there is always a small visible part and a huge hidden part. Direct violence is the tip of the iceberg and has as its main characteristic the fact that most of its effects are visible, mainly the materials, but not all of them: hate, psychological trauma or the emergence of concepts such as 'enemy' are equally serious effects, but they are often not seen as such. Being the most popular and obvious, it is commonly thought that direct is the worst kind of violence, which is not true for precisely this visibility, which makes it easier to identify and therefore to combat. It is important to note that this type of violence is the manifestation of something, not its origin, and is in the beginning where it should be sought causes and act more effectively. Direct violence does not affect many people as cultural and structural violence, which are the hidden part of the iceberg. Cultural violence is a symbolic violence that is expressed in countless media —religion, ideology, language, art, science, media, education, etc— and serves to legitimize direct and structural violence and to inhibit or suppress the response of the victims. It even offers justifications for humans, unlike other species, to destroy each other and to be rewarded for doing so: it is not strange to accept violence in the name of country or religion. There is a culture of violence in which schools and other instruments of transmission and reproduction of culture show History as a succession of wars; it is usual to suppress conflicts by unquestioned parental authority, or authority of the male over the female; mass media sell armies use as the main way of solving international conflicts, etc. So life goes on in an atmosphere of constant violence, manifested daily in all areas and at all levels. Structural violence is displayed when, as a result of social stratification processes, there is a damage in the satisfaction of basic human needs: survival, welfare, identity, freedom, etc. It is caused by a set of structures, both physical and organizational, which do not allow the satisfaction of those needs and is the worst of the three violence because it is the origin of all and kills and affects more people. It is also a form of indirect violence and sometimes even unintentional: the actions that cause hunger, for example, are not designed and made ​​directly for that purpose, but they are result from capitalist economic policy and the unfair distribution of wealth. This sometimes causes that the reasons of structural violence are not clearly visible and therefore it is more difficult to deal with it. According to Galtung, often causes of direct violence are related to structural violence and justified by cultural violence: many situations are the result of an abuse of power which concerns an oppressed group, or a social injustice —insufficient resources sharing, great inequality in personal income, limited access to social services— and receive the backing of speeches justifying them." ["post_title"]=> string(117) "Violencia directa, cultural y estructuralDirect, cultural and structural violence" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(39) "direct-cultural-and-structural-violence" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2021-06-07 12:57:44" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2021-06-07 10:57:44" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(29) "http://whatonline.org/?p=5166" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [1]=> object(WP_Post)#1665 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(7018) ["post_author"]=> string(4) "2049" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2014-08-25 00:01:48" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2014-08-24 22:01:48" ["post_content"]=> string(1919) "El acceso a la mayoría de las páginas web es gratuito. El servicio que ofrecen no se paga con dinero, pero muchas de las compañías que las desarrollan obtienen algo muy valioso para posibles intereses comerciales: desde nuestros datos personales hasta nuestros gustos, pensamientos y deseos. La revolución virtual es una serie de televisión británica, producida por la BBC y la Universidad Abierta del Reino Unido y presentada por la doctora en psicología social Aleks Krotoski, que analiza los profundos cambios producidos en la sociedad durante las dos décadas que han transcurrido desde la aparición de la world wide web. La serie consta de cuatro capítulos que analizan otros tantos aspectos: Libertad en la red trata sobre la información, Enemigo del Estado acerca de la política y el control social, El precio de lo gratuito se ocupa del comercio y la privacidad, y por último Homo interneticus analiza cómo las redes sociales han modificado la manera de relacionarnos.Access to most web pages is free. The service they offer is not paid with money, but many companies obtain something very valuable to commercial interests: from our personal data to our thoughts and desires. The virtual revolution is a British television series produced by the BBC and The Open University and presented by PhD in social psychology Aleks Krotoski, which examines the profound changes in society during the two decades that have elapsed since the emergence of the world wide web. The series consists of four chapters analyzing four aspects: The great revelling deals with the information, Enemy of the State with politics and social control, The cost of free with trade and privacy, and finally Homo interneticus analyzes how social networks have changed the way we relate." ["post_title"]=> string(118) "El precio de lo gratuito: comercio y privacidadThe cost of free: trade and privacy" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(16) "the-cost-of-free" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2021-06-13 14:07:25" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2021-06-13 12:07:25" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(29) "http://whatonline.org/?p=7018" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [2]=> object(WP_Post)#1671 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(5611) ["post_author"]=> string(3) "131" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2014-02-17 00:01:47" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2014-02-16 23:01:47" ["post_content"]=> string(7267) "La industria que más ha evolucionado, la única que realmente ha evolucionado, es la industria de la comunicación; dispositivos móviles, redes sociales, internet, broadband. La comunicación ha permitido un mundo súper conectado acelerando cambios económicos y sociales con una rapidez hasta hace poco inimaginable. La era que vivimos es la del acceso universal, formamos parte de una consciencia global donde la información es inmediata sin barreras tecnológicas o geográficas. Philip K Dick, Asimov  o Stanislav Lem no pudieron imaginar un mundo donde el saber de mil Alejandrías estuviera almacenado en un espacio etéreo llamado nube y accesible a golpe de click, donde quieras, cuando quieras, lo que quieras. Julio Verne no pudo imaginar comunidades formadas por millones de individuos, siglos de cultura en la palma de la mano, toda la historia en gran cinemascope a través de unas simples gafas, un mundo donde autor y espectador se funden, se confunden, se intercambian hasta formar una sola entidad. Y en este mundo en plena transformación, que gira más rápido y gira diferente, el repartidor de periódicos continúa pedaleando colina abajo y sin frenos, directo hacia ese abismo donde las cosas ya no tienen razón de ser. Los principales diarios españoles han pasado de tener de media 200 mil lectores que pagaban euro y medio cada día, a seis millones que no pagan un céntimo. Han pasado de 200 mil lectores y una estructura de dos mil empleados, a seis millones de lectores y la mitad de la plantilla, de facturar 500 millones anuales a luchar por alcanzar los 300 millones. De marcar al político el camino a pedirle ayuda para subsistir. Y el repartidor se precipita colina abajo, cada vez más rápido. W_thepaperboy2
Repartidores de periódicos a principios del siglo XX —Imagen Unknown Author
Los principales grupos periodísticos diseñaron un lucrativo modelo de negocio basado en tres fuentes de ingreso: la venta de contenidos, la publicidad y las promociones. Pero, aunque eran los contenidos el reclamo de las otras dos, fue ésta la partida que sacaron de la cuenta de resultados, reduciendo el precio, menguando el valor. Cuando el negocio promocional se agotó y la crisis hundió la inversión publicitaria a la mitad, los contenidos no valían nada, aspecto bastante paradójico, pues son consumidos por millones de internautas y cuestan mucho de elaborar. Hace rato que el precipicio es visible para el repartidor de periódicos, hace tiempo que sabe que tiene que virar hacia nuevos horizontes, con modelos de negocio más sostenibles. Pero hace tiempo que el repartidor cambió la bicicleta por un camión de 16 ruedas y 20 toneladas. Y maniobrar ese trasto no es nada sencillo. La industria que más ha evolucionado, la única que ha evolucionado, es la industria de la comunicación, pero esa evolución conlleva cambios dramáticos en el modelo de negocio de los agentes que participan, en su estructura y en la forma en que se relacionan con su audiencia. Se levantarán murallas de pago, y caerán castillos, se unirán familias y se fusionarán imperios. Se derramará sangre, ya hay mucha sangre en el campo de batalla, demasiada, pero también habrá riqueza, porque hablamos de un mercado de 7000 millones de consumidores, y el premio será para aquellos que mejor sepan gestionar  la incertidumbre y monetizar sus contenidos. Sacar partido de un bien tan preciado como es la información.The industry that has evolved the most and the only one that has really evolved is the communication industry; mobile devices, social media, internet and broadband. Communication has allowed a super connected world, accelerating social and economic changes with a speed unimaginable until recently. We are living the age of universal access. We are part of a global consciousness where information is immediate without technological or geographical barriers. Philip K Dick, Asimov or Stanislav Lem could not have expected a world where thousands of books were stored in an ethereal space called the cloud and accessible with a simple click where you want, when you want, what you want. Jules Verne did not imagined about communities formed by million people, centuries of culture in the palm of your hand, the whole story in great cinemascope through some simple glasses, a world where author and spectator merge, become confused and they are exchanged until it forms a single entity. And in this transformational world, which rotates faster and spins differently, the paperboy continues pedaling downhill without brakes, straight into the abysm where things have no longer reason to be. The main Spanish newspapers have gone from an average of 200 thousand readers who paid one euro and a half each day to six million who do not pay a penny. It has gone from two hundred thousand readers and two thousand employees structure to six million readers and half of the workforce, from billing 500 million annually to strive to meet the 300 million. From leading politician’s paths to ask them help to survive. And the paperboy is precipitated downhill, faster and faster. W_thepaperboy2
Paperboys in the early XXth Century —Image Unknown Author
The main newspapers groups designed a lucrative business model based on three sources of income; content sale, advertising and promotions. But, even if the contents were the claim of the other two, this was the heading removed from the income statement, reducing the price and diminishing the value. When the promotional business was sold out and the crisis sank advertising investment to half, the contents were worthless. This is somewhat paradoxical as contents are consumed by millions of internet users and cost a lot to develop. This cliff has been visible to the paperboy since long, and he was warned to have to turn to new horizons with more sustainable business models. The paperboy changed the bicycle for a 16 wheel truck and 20 tons long time ago. But the problem is maneuvering that thing is not an easy task. The industry that has evolved the most and the only one that has really evolved is the communication industry, but evolution involves dramatic changes in the business model of the agents participating, in its structure and in the way they relate to their audience. Pay walls will rise and castles will fall, families will join and empires will merge. Blood will spill, there is already a lot of blood in the battlefield, too much, but there will be wealth because we talk about a market of 7000 million consumers, and the prize will be for those who are best able to manage uncertainty and monetize their content. Take advantage of something as precious as information." ["post_title"]=> string(106) "El repartidor de periódicos está en peligroThe paperboy is in danger" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(25) "the-paperboy-is-in-danger" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2020-03-09 15:50:17" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2020-03-09 14:50:17" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(29) "http://whatonline.org/?p=5611" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [3]=> object(WP_Post)#1809 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(4932) ["post_author"]=> string(4) "2049" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2013-06-24 00:01:29" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2013-06-23 22:01:29" ["post_content"]=> string(3378) "En 2011 el realizador Adam Curtis creó para la BBC una serie documental de tres capítulos que sostiene que las computadoras no sólo no han conseguido el viejo sueño de mejorar la Humanidad, sino que han 'distorsionado y simplificado nuestra visión sobre el mundo que nos rodea'. El sugerente título de la serie está tomado del poema homónimo escrito en 1967 por Richard Brautigan: 'All watched over by machines of loving grace' —Todo vigilado por máquinas de gracia divina—. Este primer episodio, 'El amor y el poder', analiza los efectos de las ideas de la escritora y filósofa Ayn Rand en los mercados financieros estadounidenses, especialmente a través de la influencia de Alan Greenspan, presidente de la Reserva Federal de Estados Unidos de 1987 a 2006. 'El uso y abuso de los conceptos de vegetación' investiga cómo se aplicaron ideas surgidas del trabajo con máquinas —como la cibernética o la teoría de sistemas— a ecosistemas naturales, para tratar de construir sociedades sin un control central, redes autoorganizadas compuestas por personas, y cómo eso está relacionado con la falsa idea de que existe un equilibrio en la Naturaleza. 'El mono en la máquina y la máquina en el mono' se centra en la teoría del gen egoísta, creada por William D. Hamilton, que sostiene que los seres humanos somos máquinas controladas por nuestros genes.In 2011 the filmmaker Adam Curtis created for the BBC a documentary series of three chapters which holds that computers not only have failed in getting the old dream of improving Mankind, but have 'distorted and simplified our view of the world around us'. The suggestive title of the series is taken from the homonymous poem written in 1967 by Richard Brautigan: 'All watched over by machines of loving grace'. In this first episode, 'Love and power', Curtis tracks the effects of writer and philosopher Ayn Rand's ideas on American financial markets, particularly via the influence on Alan Greenspan, chairman of the US Federal Reserve from 1987 to 2006. 'The use and abuse of vegetational concepts' investigates how machine ideas such as cybernetics and systems theory were applied to natural ecosystems, and how this relates to the false idea that there is a balance of nature. Cybernetics has been applied to human beings to attempt to build societies without central control, self organising networks built of people, based on a fantasy view of nature. 'The monkey in the machine and the machine in the monkey' looked into The Selfish Gene Theory, which was conceived by William D. Hamilton and holds that we humans are machines controlled by our own genes. 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