"all things in existence are physiologically connected"

Archive for Value

MLK Day: Why The #Occupy Movement Has No Chance, Yet

I’ve spent some time thinking about what the #Occupy movement is really representing. I’ve tried to attend the camps as I’ve traveled and interview the people in the camps; as well as, their formidable opponents in the ownership positions of the respective societies that Occupiers exist.

I think that I’m comfortable echoing the analysis in that Occupiers have done a good initial job in comparison to similar movements around the world and in the United States in particular. They’ve caught the attention of the masses, in that everyone knows what #Occupy means. Of course the problems of any fledgling movement are that its priorities aren’t hashed (#) out. While everyone knows what #Occupy is; no one has any idea of what it wants, or rather, needs.

Every movement-struggle-jihad, has is a battle of philosophy on how a society should exist versus how it does. Based on the consistent and more frequent collapse in the economic system, it is evident that we are due for some structural change in the modern world. When I listen to the rhetoric of this movement and the defense of its identified opponents, I think the following apply. There is a clash of ideals on whose altruism is not only virtuous but most beneficial. On the one hand we have that of the individuals, formally represented by the #Occupiers. On the other we have that of the institutions, formally represented by their owners/stakeholders. While individuals (humans in this case) can allocate a moral regard to their fellow man/woman based on their acknowledgment of his/her intrinsic or extrinsic value, institutions do not. Yet some individuals can advocate the virtues of an institution because for their holding that the institution’s incentives to take action better the society as a whole.

Institutions were created by individuals to protect the discovery, development, and deployment of technologies (methodologies, hardware, & software) that help individuals control what would otherwise be a chaotic environment. Who wants to live in 3000 B.C.E.? I’d doubt any of us could enjoy limiting our communication to a distances less than 20 feet. While institutions have served individuals well over the millennia their control mechanisms have the potential to run-a-muck. Their primary control mechanisms are related to their extrinsic value, or ability to generate revenues above the costs to exists. Controls validate the existence of each institution (for-profit & not-for-profit alike), but individuals don’t regard themselves as having extrinsic value alone (at least not all of them), per this on-going survey that I’ve been taking with some backlash about the use of language on “value“. Problem comes into play when those who are still benefiting from the existing operations of institutions clashes with those who are no longer benefiting. As institutions trying to sustain existence, they actually have incentives to suppress markets to indemnify stakeholders, per their understanding of who is most valuable.

Regarding the Occupy movement and its potential participants, the progress will occur when and if the most radical of the bunch agree that the contrast of values between individuals and institutions is infringing on their civil or even human rights and is in fact stifling their ability to live productive lives. Regardless of how they derive their understanding of the modern economic situation, they’ll have to hold it as dear and urgent as their more radical predecessors of the last past successful liberal movements. I’m not referring to MLK’s boycotts or the freedom riders, or the Jewish resistance in Europe, or the Mandela‘s political activism. I’m referring to the immediate threat that militant groups like the Black Panthers, or the onslaught of the Allied Forces, or the provocative military growth of Umkhonto we Sizwe and the many like groups respectively per each struggle. The laws of arbitrage are clear and animalistic. Incumbent leadership, ideals, and conservatism can only respect some formidable opposition.

The incumbent power in 1950’s United States and 1980’s South Africa only yielded because they perceived an inevitable destructive threat; any rhetoric that suggests otherwise is misleading. It would take years to list all the martyrs from every movement who gave their lives to inspire the few, and were willing to take other’s lives for their cause. The pathology of pacifism is a failed effort when it does not inspire an aggressive colleague. Occupiers are going to have to figure out what in the world they can do to change the way institutions and individuals agree on human value. Although they were arguing slightly different causes, the incumbent powers decided to oblige Lyndon B Johnson immortalizing Martin Luther King in order to nullify the slogan “black power” and its author Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael). It seems as though it takes a guilty old man faced with the passions of an aggressive young man, to make any incremental change.

The Dumbest Idea In The World?

Roger Martin thinks the culprit behind the sorry state of American capitalism: our deep and abiding commitment to the idea that the purpose of the firm is to maximize shareholder value.

Is there any way to disincentivize profit seeking run-a-muck? These are the questions that this book doesn’t answer, it merely sheds light on the problem. But the sport analogies were nice :-). The definition of “value” also varies depending on the stakeholder and their time/cost (risk) threshold.

In the next Integrationalism book I’ll elaborate on remedies to curb the potential for rational-self-interest and collusion to run-a-muck. These remedies will be centered around better distribution of ownership over assets of sorts.

The 99% are not just Hippies!

The people occupying wall street and other streets in the United States are not just a group of feed up hippies. They are the people who work just beside us, who have worked just beside us, who wont work beside us again.

I’d just like to know how should they be valued? About 4 weeks ago, before the occupy wall street movement started, I asked the people I knew a few questions about humans and their value, without any narrative to change their understanding of the rigid terms I used. The survey just reached 900 responses from some of the people I knew.

When I asked if humans had intrinsic value, the 900 responded:

When I asked if it was possible for people’s value to be avoided or uncompensated, the 900 responded:

When I asked if people should be compensated for their intrinsic value, the 900 responded:

Perhaps human value is extrinsic, or specific to its surroundings….

3 Question: Human Value Survey

In chatting with people online about the enduring Jobs crisis in the USA and distribution of wealth (value), I regularly received responses that people (Americans in this case) care less about others who have (per the responders) intrinsic value. And so, I’m compelled to ask the question: If some, thing, has an intrinsic value, how can it’s care be avoided or go uncompensated? Please take a quick moment to give me your thoughts on THIS SURVEY

Foxconn to replace part of workforce with 1 million robots

FOXCONN the Taiwanese company that so many in its media coverage from the West identify as a Chinese entity, announced that it has plans to replace 1,000,000 of its existing workers with robots in the coming 72 month (3 years). Now, as I understand it, per the products that they create (iPad, iPhone, various LCD screens, circuit boards, and more ), these robots will looks and act like most of that which we have seen in the manufacturing facilities of the West.

While the headlines look extraordinary, and identical to the title of this post, they actual technology is not. Having stated this, it is not in any way an attempt to downplay the severity of replacing some of the most low paid workers in some of the most populous regions of the planet.

As written in my last article for the World Future Society we are approaching a breaking point with product/wealth creation and human employment. The wide spread civil unrest in the western world, most recently in the UK, France, Greece, and the economic unrest in the US, is a result of a paradigm shift in how we as highly qualitative beings will distribute “fair value” to other beings of the same species in the future. This is (in my opinion) the most important issue of our time, because the ethical regard that we establish for one-another will dictate the potential that we will have to craft AI as well as preserve the majority (+50%) of the human resources on the planet today.

Our old model was to distribute the owned wealth of the world for an honest days work, regardless how ambiguous the word honest is, we transferred value through jobs, in 2011 it is apparent that we’ve exhausted our ability to do that. The difficult philosophical question that spawn so many others, is: Do we have the ability to use another qualitative methodology to distribute similar value?


Are Animal Rights synonymous with Human Rights Arguments?

Photo by: Chris Bewick

Lately I’ve been taking a lot of lectures and podcasts on animal rights. For anyone “in the know” regarding our latest technological developments with synthetic DNA and cells coupled with out attempts to merge those with technologies seemingly more distant than from being what we know as human (homo sapien sapien), the regulatory and philosophical issues surrounding animal rights are urgent.

Consider how humans today are enthusiastic about enhancements of sorts to their physical and virtual being. Implants, prosthesis, medicines, computing powers, travel, ….our agility and fountain of youth…

Consider a near future where run-of-the-mill humans are simply inferior to those of us who decide (and can afford to) upgrade. Now consider how legal structure that’ll need to be built to manage the human species….ensuring that they don’t run-a-muck by over populating, over violating, overly interfering, and over representing themselves as valuable. Or will humans be valuable, and if so, in what capacity?

In an age of potential abundance and institutional scarcity (the current age) we are faced with the dilemma, to or not to identify less cognitively astute species as having rights. From a legal and point and attorney would tell you that rights are a privilege of a participating entity in a community, organization, nation/state of sort. It has been that way for centuries now, and is difficult to amend.

It’s always been necessary in (the attempt at) civil society to allocate rights to entities regardless of their societal status in order to avoid the (what some would call, natural) animal-istic virtue of respect. Anyone ever watched the animal channel where the Alpha in a pack or outside of a pack takes what it wants? Its due to a lack of formidable opposition by the others. The laws of society and cultural norms are not representative of the laws of the courts.

Humans are in the process of building species that will be more than capable of dominating in the aforementioned way. Defining rights and protecting them under laws is what keeps us from taking the Amish people’s land and doing what we please. We’ll require something similar for the bohemian naturalists of us out there, that no matter how sexy a trip to venus could be, they’ll never allow themselves the hedonistic good of downloading themselves into a body that travels at unthinkable speeds and distances, to see the rings.

So what do we do? Start protecting house pets and our food alike with the rights that we will soon have to allocate to our neighbors, or write them all off as less-than-valuable for a scientific study.

Most of the questions asked here are relevant in the topical debates on rights and animals today, but I’m of the group (if there exists such a group) that thinks, these questions aren’t addressing the root cause of this important issue affecting your parents and children. The argument that needs to be had is one of, how we value human abilities and what type of support (resources) we want to allocate to that potential. Its a conversation for elites and egalitarians, liberals and conservatives alike. And we’ve yet to address it will in civil society…lol @ civil,

Richard R. J Eskow discusses the problem of More Profits vs. Fewer Jobs

One of my fellow contributors to the Institute of Ethics and Emerging Technologies site has brought up some ethical issues that we as a society of intellectuals have failed to address well: Distribution of Value. I write about this in my essay technologies will collapse capitalism as we know it. Having been an error-proof engineer in both product and service industries, I’ve seen jobs leave as a direct result of us getting better and documenting, benchmarking, and deploying design. The exponential growth of our technological resources is trending our human resources to zero, per our existing socio-economic/political paradigm.

While I agree that the difference between executive pay and jobs distribution in the West is daunting (regardless of the foreign jobs growth), I can’t ignore the efforts of “error-proofers” and their technological impact on the corporate world. We simply don’t need people to perform the tasks that they once did…And I’m not referring to the obsolete “blue collar” labor of the 20th century, but more specifically the “white collar” labor of the last 10 years. In a world of methodological and technological efficiency (quantitative) and effectiveness (qualitative), I think that we need to spend more time exploring what “Value” is for the individual. Clearly John Paulson is not worth 1 Billion USDollars per year, and Joe the Plumber isn’t worth only 20 Thousand

To my point, human kind (and its pending synthetically intelligent counterparts) require a philosophical and ethical paradigm that establishes what (if any) the individual’s intrinsic value is….and stop asking for jobs that don’t exist.

Problem: The executive community (and the non-executives) subscribes to a variety of socio-economic/political philosophies that all stem from mercantilism. Some may be more liberal or conservative than others, but the derived general ideal is that people can be validated as valuable by the wage that they command. Of course this understanding has all types of ill social and political implications.

Future Forward: If human kind is going to manage it’s way through an age of formidable human-created intelligence it will need to establish its values in order to preserve its potential. Potential meaning (as I always eventually revert back to…lol) the ability to self-actualize and create on behalf of the collective society/group/species.

We are well on our way to building the infrastructure to discover, develop, and distribute every engaged being through information technology and networking of various other technologies, but our rhetoric needs to be clear now, we do not want jobs that don’t exist for people who have been rendered obsolete by the error-proof experts of corporate world. We want the potential to self actualize and grow in this dynamic world/galaxy/universe/multiverse…–>

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