Administrative note on baldurbjarnason.com and feeds

This just a short note to say that I’m planning on doing most of my blogging here at Studio Tendra. I will be pointing the RSS feed at www.baldurbjarnason.com at the one on this blog from now on so some of you might get double entries if you are subscribed to both.

I’ll put a similar note up on www.baldurbjarnason.com whenever I get around to it🙂

Oh, and I wrote a blog post over on futurebook.net on Amazon-y stuff and nonsense.

6 thoughts on “Administrative note on baldurbjarnason.com and feeds

  1. Because you’ve either disabled comments on your last post, or I simply can’t respond for some reason, so I’ll do it here.

    – I live in the U.S. and I’m well aware of the long work weeks Americans have in comparison to the rest of “the West.” I’m not sure why you’re pointing this out. Is this supposed to prove that “This is what modernity and industrialism have brought us: more work and less free time”? Yet you yourself seem to deny this by bringing up how the Nordic countries have achieved more leisure time through productivity gains (the result of modernity and industrialism. Honestly I can’t think of more modern technological societies than the Nordics, besides maybe Japan), and point out the contrast between the US in the late 60s and now, which proves my point being that productivity gains through industrialism and technology were more broadly shared, at least among white people. Notice how people worked less in the 50s and 60s than before, and only work more now because wealth and productivity have been concentrated and labor rights eroded.

    – Clearly you were depicting at least a somewhat “dark green” primitivist fantasy where people trade in low infant mortality rates and possibly high life expectancy for a “leisurely” life where half of it is fishing (why people would choose to die sooner to fish all day is beyond me). All I was pointing out was “modernity and industrialism” are necessary for any realistic notion of a low work week and high free time and any attempts to lower work weeks further (esp. your four hour fantasy). And given some of your previous posts, I don’t think my original point on deep green fantasies apparent in your post are far off.

    Unless you can show that Americans and Europeans and everyone else had more fulfilling leisure time and less work before “modernity and industrialism”, I’m not buying the premise.

    – As for your “1%” claim…um, duh? I alluded to this very same point in my first response, and people have been saying this for over 150 years, and increasingly mainstream voices have due to advances in automation and computers, etc.

    Thanks for replying.

    • Comments automatically close after 7 days to keep spam levels manageable.

    • Clearly you were depicting at least a somewhat “dark green” primitivist fantasy where people trade in low infant mortality rates and possibly high life expectancy for a “leisurely” life where half of it is fishing (why people would choose to die sooner to fish all day is beyond me). All I was pointing out was “modernity and industrialism” are necessary for any realistic notion of a low work week and high free time and any attempts to lower work weeks further (esp. your four hour fantasy).

      No. Do not put me in a box and neatly file me away. Read the post and take the argument at face value instead of inferring intellectual allegiances on my part. My point was on value judgement. If that wasn’t clear in the post I clarified it in my first reply (it’s the first paragraph, since you seem to have missed it). Tainter clearly painted the societies in his examples as ‘less than’ because they underproduced while most people would at the very least understand the priorities of those societies or even find them enviable.

      Like I said in my reply (which you seem to have ignored):

      First off: the main point of the post is to point out how separated the value system of intellectuals and academics is from the rest of us. Most people wouldn’t call leisure time in observed societies ‘underproduction’ but that’s exactly what economists and academics do.

      The point is about value systems. Not about dark green primitivist fantasies or a return to nature.

      Would a dark green primitivist have said the following in the post:

      Of course technology and science has brought us a lot of joy, but the end goal should be to create a society where nobody has to work more than four hours a day and can spend most of their time at leisure, where being more productive means having more time for fun.

      The end goal of technology and science. I’m talking about the point and purpose of technology not about abandoning it or going back to nature (an idea I find ludicrous). Currently the end goal of technology seems to be increased inequality, as in the focus on startups, venture capital, hedge funds (which are one of the biggest employers of engineers today), etc. I disagree with that end goal, not with technology itself. We can’t survive without technology anymore, not without massive and bloody population loss.

      You also keep missing the fact that Tainter was quoting actual research of actual surviving agrarian societies which all had in common a shorter workday than what anybody is used to in the west. Why would he make up these things only to argue against them as inefficient and underproductive? (Not that I’d like to go to those places, personally. I like working a lot. I just realise most sensible people disagree with me on that.)

      Like I said, industrialisation and modernity go hand in hand with very specific economics. They are not technological advancements but a specific application of technology. You can lament the economic effects of western industrialisation without being against technology.

  2. Ah okay, well, my bad then😛 I’m just used to bloggers annoyingly closing comments after they get a response as to prevent any further responses. Sorry about that. Anyway…

    “No. Do not put me in a box and neatly file me away. Read the post and take the argument at face value instead of inferring intellectual allegiances on my part. My point was on value judgement. If that wasn’t clear in the post I clarified it in my first reply (it’s the first paragraph, since you seem to have missed it). Tainter clearly painted the societies in his examples as ‘less than’ because they underproduced while most people would at the very least understand the priorities of those societies or even find them enviable.”

    “Read the post and take the argument at face value instead of inferring intellectual allegiances” Okay, I did. You said, ““This is what modernity and industrialism have brought us: more work and less free time” and I simply responded to that, sorry if it wasn’t clear. It doesn’t seem you actually have any disagreements with my point there, as the very examples you used to back up your claims in fact support what I said, and you didn’t even respond to what I’ve said on them.

    I say you seem like a “luddite” or “primitivist” (for lack of better terms) because the few post I glanced on this site seem to hint at that (for example the very post before this one), including the one we’re talking about. If I’m totally wrong and off-base, do correct me, but when you say things like ““This is what modernity and industrialism have brought us: more work and less free time” it’s not hard to come to my conclusion. You have post talking of fantasy books destroying the “myth of progress” and talking favorably of people like the “Archudruid John Micheal Greer” (a fruitcake who believes in magical beings and says industrial society is going to collapse any day now) all the while chastising other groups fantastical beliefs on the future. The dark green fatalistic fantasies of industrial society coming down crashing any day now, peak oil, population die-off scenarios, etc, are just opposite sides of the same coin, of which you appear to at least somewhat subscribe to.

    “The point is about value systems. Not about dark green primitivist fantasies or a return to nature.”

    I wasn’t arguing about any values whatsoever. I only said you need technology and productivity to have a “leisurely society”, and that less industrial and modern infrastructure means more work, which should be obvious, because when you have less conveniences, you need to work to survive more. If this wasn’t the case, the Amish would be living in a work free paradise.

    I in fact said I think such a society is impossible, that labor saving technologies in general will probably only go so far (but then again, I could be totally wrong, who knows what advances will happen in the future). I’m not making a value judgement there.

    “Would a dark green primitivist have said the following in the post: ”

    Well, yeah, because you go on in your response to me to say agrarian societies had more leisure time and less work and go on to talk about the “end goal” of technology.

    “The end goal of technology and science” ” Currently the end goal of technology seems to be increased inequality, as in the focus on startups, venture capital, hedge funds (which are one of the biggest employers of engineers today), etc. I disagree with that end goal, not with technology itself.”

    There is no grand ultimate end goal of technology, anymore than there is one for hammers or screwdrivers or any other tool. Of course the people who wield the tool have goals, but the tool itself has no goal. You essentially admit to this in your own response.

    Again, this is kind of silly for you to say as you extol the Nordic welfare systems of Scandinavia as examples of how to move forward which are reliant on technology and modernity and industrial society.

    “You also keep missing the fact that Tainter was quoting actual research of actual surviving agrarian societies

    You gave two brief quotes from one book which make quick glimmers of other peoples observations, this doesn’t prove anything. A quick glibber about Papua New Guinean tribes (which do not live in an agrarian existence) which date back to the 1960s and “Russian peasants” (from when? And where in Russia? etc.). If you can reproduce recent studies that compare and contrast life and survival, how much one must do to survive, “work hours” etc, between the tribes of Papua New Guinea and modern day society (perhaps the Nordics and the Dutch would fit as good contrasts?), I’ll certainly read them. Until then, I’m highly skeptical of your source. In reality, tribal life in Papua New Guinea is a hard life of violence and brutality and working long hours just to get enough to eat, all what you’d expect from a hunter-gatherer society.

    As for Russian peasants, do I really have to bring up the Serfs, etc?

    “Not that I’d like to go to those places, personally. I like working a lot. I just realise most sensible people disagree with me on that”

    Or catch a disease and die because of lack of treatment, or malnourishment, or be murdered by rival tribes (tribal warfare is frequent in Papua New Guinea), etc, etc. I think “most sensible people” would avoid such places for those reasons, but that’s just me.

    “Like I said, industrialisation and modernity go hand in hand with very specific economics. They are not technological advancements but a specific application of technology. You can lament the economic effects of western industrialisation without being against technology.”

    Of course you can’t extol the very virtues of industrialization and modernity while railing against them, or suggest a goal that could only be achieved with them, as you even admit, more or less.

    As for railing against “western industrialization” and not technology, I’m not sure how we’d have a technological infrastructure that would have produced the very computer you’re using or enable the very welfare systems you extol without industrialization, but that’s just me.

    There really needs to be an experiment where people spend time in a city like Helsinki in a month and then try to live on their own in the wilderness in similar conditions these “primitive” societies are in, and see how much they enjoy it, how much leisure time they have, etc. Almost every time someone tries to go primitive and rural here in the States, they regret it.

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