Inequality

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JasonL
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Re: Inequality

Post by JasonL » 14 Aug 2018, 10:24

Security is a product of surplus.

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Ellie
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Re: Inequality

Post by Ellie » 14 Aug 2018, 10:37

I have no data to back it up, nothing but my own fatigue-fueled morning crankiness, but I feel like in modern America if you chose to work 0 hours a week and be homeless you would still have a better life than a 13th century peasant. More comfortable clothing (and probably more changes of it), more nutritious and varied food, access to flush toilets most of the time, literacy, emergency medical care WITH anesthesia, and probably even fewer bugs.

Romanticizing peasant life is bizarre to me. You want to live in a leaky, vermin-infested hovel with no electricity in exchange for only working 180 days per year? It's called a crack house, go fucking find one. I'll be over here worked to death by capitalism but enjoying coffee and injectable insulin on the way to the grave.
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Re: Inequality

Post by Aresen » 14 Aug 2018, 10:44

Jadagul wrote:
14 Aug 2018, 09:22
Aresen wrote:
14 Aug 2018, 09:15
As for the 'short days of hunter gatherers, that does apply to th actual food collection, but they had to move around a lot, with many days spent just going from place to place on foot.

Lifting in temporary shelters wasn't great, either.
This depends on the group and the local conditions. My understanding is that the academic consensus is that the move to agriculture was a step down in comfort and in health for most societies. (It won out because it lead to much higher population _density_, and the society with ten times as many half as healthy people tended to win wars).
This is one of those times I am very leary of the 'scientific consensus' because 'Social Science' types are notoriousfor projecting their prejudices into the data.
Last edited by Aresen on 14 Aug 2018, 11:51, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Inequality

Post by Andrew » 14 Aug 2018, 11:33

Given the rate of women dying in childbirth, I would think most women would be pretty leery of peasant or hunter-gatherer times.
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Re: Inequality

Post by Aresen » 14 Aug 2018, 11:55

Andrew wrote:
14 Aug 2018, 11:33
Given the rate of women dying in childbirth, I would think most women would be pretty leery of peasant or hunter-gatherer times.
Modern medicine is a main reason I prefer even the 'Age of Trump' to just about any time in the past, even so little as a decade ago.
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Re: Inequality

Post by thoreau » 14 Aug 2018, 12:02

Obviously the best society is one where I eat fresh salmon and fresh wild berries by a stream that no other tribe challenges ownership of, work commensurate hours, and enjoy the services of healthcare providers who work capitalist hours for socialist pay.
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Re: Inequality

Post by Ellie » 14 Aug 2018, 12:09

Andrew wrote:
14 Aug 2018, 11:33
Given the rate of women dying in childbirth, I would think most women would be pretty leery of peasant or hunter-gatherer times.
Peasant-commenter's wife is an herbalist and a doula, so I could see him being like, "No, natural childbirth is awesome!" even though I don't know then what the excuse is for the high mortality rate back then. Probably capitalism's fault somehow
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Re: Inequality

Post by Mo » 14 Aug 2018, 12:48

Aresen wrote:
13 Aug 2018, 21:26
Eric the .5b wrote:
13 Aug 2018, 20:45
Weird, I thought the saintly socialist union agitators of the early twentieth century were responsible for the forty-hour work week. Doesn't that prove it's good?
This. You have to wonder what history the guy read to come to the conclusion that a work-week of 40 hours/week was 'unnatural'. For most of history, the peasants (i.e. 99% of humanity for most of history) worked sunrise to sunset most days of the year.
They didn't work midday because it was too fucking hot or there's nothing to do. Hence things like siesta in warm climates or naps in Norwegian farms.
JasonL wrote:
14 Aug 2018, 08:43
The salaried are expected to be flexible to meet demand, but in all of the client relationships I’ve worked with over the years there have only been 1-2 with max work hours obsessions all year. Like Goldman is famously shitty this way. Law is like that. Tech is definitely not. My two very large energy relationships weren’t. The big telcos vary, but really the sort of vibe you are describing is closest to Asian life = work vibes. Toyota and Samsung for sure. The latter is a high pay 70 hours expected vibe.
While not 70 hour expectation, I feel in office ~50 hours (8:30-5:30) is table stakes in most places, then layer on respond to email expectation and 40 is a bargain.
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Re: Inequality

Post by Warren » 14 Aug 2018, 13:14

Mo wrote:
14 Aug 2018, 12:48
While not 70 hour expectation, I feel in office ~50 hours (8:30-5:30) is table stakes in most places, then layer on respond to email expectation and 40 is a bargain.
Check. ~50 week in week out to keep your job. 60+ if you want to climb the ladder.
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Re: Inequality

Post by Highway » 14 Aug 2018, 13:25

It's hard for me to generalize in my field, because my company has been "40 is fine but a few more isn't usually a problem." There have been times where they say no OT, because of project budget. Our company doesn't make many employees strict salary tho. I get paid straight time OT, although I am considered "salary". Only management at my company is exempt from OT pay.
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Re: Inequality

Post by JasonL » 14 Aug 2018, 14:23

It is true that one more tier and I’d be expected to pull more hours. The thing here is 40 hours managed tightly for hourly, then salaried with 40 but considerable flexibility for whole lot of roles, then above that lots more. VP tier is the danger zone - and also where comp structures really shift.

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Re: Inequality

Post by Mo » 14 Aug 2018, 17:53

Maybe my view is colored by being in the ladder climbing group and largely on teams with other high achievers.
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Re: Inequality

Post by Warren » 14 Aug 2018, 17:57

Highway wrote:
14 Aug 2018, 13:25
It's hard for me to generalize in my field, because my company has been "40 is fine but a few more isn't usually a problem." There have been times where they say no OT, because of project budget. Our company doesn't make many employees strict salary tho. I get paid straight time OT, although I am considered "salary". Only management at my company is exempt from OT pay.
Do you do work for the government? That makes a big difference. Lots more red tape before money changes hands and "no OT" is very much a thing.
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Re: Inequality

Post by Ellie » 14 Aug 2018, 18:12

Mo wrote:
14 Aug 2018, 17:53
Maybe my view is colored by being in the ladder climbing group and largely on teams with other high achievers.
Heh, my view is from churches where the pay is shit and there's nowhere to climb. We had a guy who was paid for 30 hours a week and was maybe in the office for 10 and still only got let go over an unrelated issue (and given six months to find a new job in the meantime). If you work overtime or come in extra, you'll get a talking to about burnout and possibly even get shit from your co-workers over making them look bad in comparison.
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Re: Inequality

Post by Eric the .5b » 14 Aug 2018, 20:54

Jadagul wrote:
14 Aug 2018, 07:18
Aresen wrote:
13 Aug 2018, 21:26
Eric the .5b wrote:
13 Aug 2018, 20:45
Weird, I thought the saintly socialist union agitators of the early twentieth century were responsible for the forty-hour work week. Doesn't that prove it's good?
This. You have to wonder what history the guy read to come to the conclusion that a work-week of 40 hours/week was 'unnatural'. For most of history, the peasants (i.e. 99% of humanity for most of history) worked sunrise to sunset most days of the year.
Well, a lot of hunter-gatherer societies actually work much less than that. There's a pretty good argument that the move to agriculture involved a serious drop in living standards---agriculture dramatically boosts population density, but doesn't improve individual living standards.
Ala Ellie, "Why don't you go kill off 95%+ of the Earth's population so you can be hunter-gatherers, then?"

I hate my job, sometimes, but I prefer it to getting chased by big cats.
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Re: Inequality

Post by Jadagul » 14 Aug 2018, 21:01

Eric the .5b wrote:
14 Aug 2018, 20:54
Jadagul wrote:
14 Aug 2018, 07:18
Aresen wrote:
13 Aug 2018, 21:26
Eric the .5b wrote:
13 Aug 2018, 20:45
Weird, I thought the saintly socialist union agitators of the early twentieth century were responsible for the forty-hour work week. Doesn't that prove it's good?
This. You have to wonder what history the guy read to come to the conclusion that a work-week of 40 hours/week was 'unnatural'. For most of history, the peasants (i.e. 99% of humanity for most of history) worked sunrise to sunset most days of the year.
Well, a lot of hunter-gatherer societies actually work much less than that. There's a pretty good argument that the move to agriculture involved a serious drop in living standards---agriculture dramatically boosts population density, but doesn't improve individual living standards.
Ala Ellie, "Why don't you go kill off 95%+ of the Earth's population so you can be hunter-gatherers, then?"

I hate my job, sometimes, but I prefer it to getting chased by big cats.
Well, yes. I'm not advocating a return to nature. That would put me outside.

And it's not that we have lower living standards now. But early farming sucked, probably a lot more than contemporaneous hunter-gathering. You can see a hit in all sorts of health measures when people agriculturized. But we've more than made up for it by now.

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Re: Inequality

Post by Eric the .5b » 14 Aug 2018, 21:10

Jadagul wrote:
14 Aug 2018, 21:01
Eric the .5b wrote:
14 Aug 2018, 20:54
Jadagul wrote:
14 Aug 2018, 07:18
Aresen wrote:
13 Aug 2018, 21:26
Eric the .5b wrote:
13 Aug 2018, 20:45
Weird, I thought the saintly socialist union agitators of the early twentieth century were responsible for the forty-hour work week. Doesn't that prove it's good?
This. You have to wonder what history the guy read to come to the conclusion that a work-week of 40 hours/week was 'unnatural'. For most of history, the peasants (i.e. 99% of humanity for most of history) worked sunrise to sunset most days of the year.
Well, a lot of hunter-gatherer societies actually work much less than that. There's a pretty good argument that the move to agriculture involved a serious drop in living standards---agriculture dramatically boosts population density, but doesn't improve individual living standards.
Ala Ellie, "Why don't you go kill off 95%+ of the Earth's population so you can be hunter-gatherers, then?"

I hate my job, sometimes, but I prefer it to getting chased by big cats.
Well, yes. I'm not advocating a return to nature. That would put me outside.

And it's not that we have lower living standards now. But early farming sucked, probably a lot more than contemporaneous hunter-gathering. You can see a hit in all sorts of health measures when people agriculturized. But we've more than made up for it by now.
I'd counter that hunter-gatherer existence was better when population densities were low and food was plentiful.

When population densities were rising, I bet it really wasn't better for the people who weren't switching fast enough to a primarily agricultural way of life (as many hunter-gatherer societies engaged in low-intensity agriculture). Beyond just being hungry, I bet they sank a lot more time and effort into trying to feed themselves.
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Re: Inequality

Post by Jadagul » 14 Aug 2018, 21:53

Eric the .5b wrote:
14 Aug 2018, 21:10
Jadagul wrote:
14 Aug 2018, 21:01
Eric the .5b wrote:
14 Aug 2018, 20:54
Jadagul wrote:
14 Aug 2018, 07:18
Aresen wrote:
13 Aug 2018, 21:26
Eric the .5b wrote:
13 Aug 2018, 20:45
Weird, I thought the saintly socialist union agitators of the early twentieth century were responsible for the forty-hour work week. Doesn't that prove it's good?
This. You have to wonder what history the guy read to come to the conclusion that a work-week of 40 hours/week was 'unnatural'. For most of history, the peasants (i.e. 99% of humanity for most of history) worked sunrise to sunset most days of the year.
Well, a lot of hunter-gatherer societies actually work much less than that. There's a pretty good argument that the move to agriculture involved a serious drop in living standards---agriculture dramatically boosts population density, but doesn't improve individual living standards.
Ala Ellie, "Why don't you go kill off 95%+ of the Earth's population so you can be hunter-gatherers, then?"

I hate my job, sometimes, but I prefer it to getting chased by big cats.
Well, yes. I'm not advocating a return to nature. That would put me outside.

And it's not that we have lower living standards now. But early farming sucked, probably a lot more than contemporaneous hunter-gathering. You can see a hit in all sorts of health measures when people agriculturized. But we've more than made up for it by now.
I'd counter that hunter-gatherer existence was better when population densities were low and food was plentiful.

When population densities were rising, I bet it really wasn't better for the people who weren't switching fast enough to a primarily agricultural way of life (as many hunter-gatherer societies engaged in low-intensity agriculture). Beyond just being hungry, I bet they sank a lot more time and effort into trying to feed themselves.
My understanding is that you somewhat have the order backwards. People switched to agriculture, and that enabled much higher population densities. (And then the dense societies could screw the individually-healthier but much smaller hunter-gatherer societies).

Hunter-gatherer societies had much worse food security but much better average nutrition---the shift to agriculture reduced the calories/day for most people. It just made them denser and more reliable.

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Re: Inequality

Post by Eric the .5b » 14 Aug 2018, 22:45

Jadagul wrote:
14 Aug 2018, 21:53
Eric the .5b wrote:I'd counter that hunter-gatherer existence was better when population densities were low and food was plentiful.

When population densities were rising, I bet it really wasn't better for the people who weren't switching fast enough to a primarily agricultural way of life (as many hunter-gatherer societies engaged in low-intensity agriculture). Beyond just being hungry, I bet they sank a lot more time and effort into trying to feed themselves.
My understanding is that you somewhat have the order backwards. People switched to agriculture, and that enabled much higher population densities.
Er, no, reread the bolded bit. That's exactly what I said, aside from noting (as is currently understood) that many hunter-gatherer societies frequently engaged in low-maintenance agriculture (plant some stuff, wander back some weeks later, etc.) And while there are a few studies that claim that hunter-gatherer populations were stable, other research suggests they experienced boom-and-bust cycles as their population densities exceeded the local capacity.

It's more likely that agriculture starts with people going, "Yeah, hunting isn't keeping all of us fed with the size of the tribe, let's spend more time growing more of these plants." than "Well, let's change our lifestyles significantly for the worse so, generations down the road, we can outbreed our neighbors."
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Re: Inequality

Post by Jadagul » 14 Aug 2018, 23:22

Eric the .5b wrote:
14 Aug 2018, 22:45
Jadagul wrote:
14 Aug 2018, 21:53
Eric the .5b wrote:I'd counter that hunter-gatherer existence was better when population densities were low and food was plentiful.

When population densities were rising, I bet it really wasn't better for the people who weren't switching fast enough to a primarily agricultural way of life (as many hunter-gatherer societies engaged in low-intensity agriculture). Beyond just being hungry, I bet they sank a lot more time and effort into trying to feed themselves.
My understanding is that you somewhat have the order backwards. People switched to agriculture, and that enabled much higher population densities.
Er, no, reread the bolded bit. That's exactly what I said, aside from noting (as is currently understood) that many hunter-gatherer societies frequently engaged in low-maintenance agriculture (plant some stuff, wander back some weeks later, etc.) And while there are a few studies that claim that hunter-gatherer populations were stable, other research suggests they experienced boom-and-bust cycles as their population densities exceeded the local capacity.

It's more likely that agriculture starts with people going, "Yeah, hunting isn't keeping all of us fed with the size of the tribe, let's spend more time growing more of these plants." than "Well, let's change our lifestyles significantly for the worse so, generations down the road, we can outbreed our neighbors."
Okay, I misread you, sorry.

I think we're also agreeing on the boom-and-bust cycles. Agricultural societies I think had more food security, although it was lumpier. ("In hunter-gatherer societies, there are no famines. Just people who starve to death"). But on average the hunter-gatherers were healthier and better-fed.

I'm guessing that the people who first started planting stuff might have had even more food---but as the societies expanded to the limit of the people they could support agriculturally, that inverted and everyone was underfed. This might have been what you were saying?

I wonder if, basically, the issue is that since agricultural societies have more stable food supplies, they can redline more, and actually stably sustain a population that was at carrying capacity. Whereas in a hunter-gatherer society, there would be periodic die-offs, and then when conditions improved there was a ton of surplus. In which case the health-and-happiness boost that the hunter-gatherers got would be similar to the rise in living standards that happened after the Black Plague, when there was 2/3 the number of people but the same amount of land.

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Inequality

Post by JasonL » 15 Aug 2018, 10:08

Color me skeptic on broad health happiness claims in hunter gatherer societies. For one I think you have significant survivorship bias if total mortality is higher net of security etc and its weird to be like well those people got more vitamin a so they were healthier.

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Re: Inequality

Post by Jennifer » 15 Aug 2018, 12:10

JasonL wrote:
15 Aug 2018, 10:08
Color me skeptic on broad health happiness claims in hunter gatherer societies.
Studies of skeletal remains seem to confirm it: the earliest farmers were shorter, sicklier and had worse teeth than their hunter-gatherer predecessors.
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Re: Inequality

Post by JasonL » 15 Aug 2018, 12:59

Imagine a case where 75% of hunter gatherers died in childhood while 35% of farmers died in childhood. If you look at adult remains who looks healthier? The fact of survivorship among the hunters indicates a more robust sample.

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Re: Inequality

Post by Jennifer » 15 Aug 2018, 13:26

Early farmers were also more likely to get sick than hunter-gatherers (since living in one area in close proximity to others -- and in close proximity to your own biological wastes plus those of your animals -- is less healthy than the nomadic life). The general consensus is what was mentioned upthread: farming was better for groups than the hunter-gatherer life, but worse for most of the individuals in that group.

https://blogs.harvard.edu/philg/2016/11 ... y-of-food/
....Foragers knew the secrets of nature long before the Agricultural Revolution, since their survival depended on an intimate knowledge of the animals they hunted and the plants they gathered. Rather than heralding a new era of easy living, the Agricultural Revolution left farmers with lives generally more difficult and less satisfying than those of foragers. Hunter-gatherers spent their time in more stimulating and varied ways, and were less in danger of starvation and disease. The Agricultural Revolution certainly enlarged the sum total of food at the disposal of humankind, but the extra food did not translate into a better diet or more leisure. Rather, it translated into population explosions and pampered elites. The average farmer worked harder than the average forager, and got a worse diet in return. The Agricultural Revolution was history’s biggest fraud....


Who was responsible? Neither kings, nor priests, nor merchants. The culprits were a handful of plant species, including wheat, rice and potatoes. These plants domesticated Homo sapiens, rather than vice versa. Think for a moment about the Agricultural Revolution from the viewpoint of wheat. Ten thousand years ago wheat was just a wild grass, one of many, confined to a small range in the Middle East. Suddenly, within just a few short millennia, it was growing all over the world. According to the basic evolutionary criteria of survival and reproduction, wheat has become one of the most successful plants in the history of the earth. In areas such as the Great Plains of North America, where not a single wheat stalk grew 10,000 years ago, you can today walk for hundreds upon hundreds of miles without encountering any other plant. Worldwide, wheat covers about 870,000 square miles of the globe’s surface, almost ten times the size of Britain. How did this grass turn from insignificant to ubiquitous? Wheat did it by manipulating Homo sapiens to its advantage. This ape had been living a fairly comfortable life hunting and gathering until about 10,000 years ago, but then began to invest more and more effort in cultivating wheat. Within a couple of millennia, humans in many parts of the world were doing little from dawn to dusk other than taking care of wheat plants. It wasn’t easy. Wheat demanded a lot of them. Wheat didn’t like rocks and pebbles, so Sapiens broke their backs clearing fields. Wheat didn’t like sharing its space, water and nutrients with other plants, so men and women laboured long days weeding under the scorching sun. Wheat got sick, so Sapiens had to keep a watch out for worms and blight. Wheat was attacked by rabbits and locust swarms, so the farmers built fences and stood guard over the fields. Wheat was thirsty, so humans dug irrigation canals or lugged heavy buckets from the well to water it. Sapiens even collected animal faeces to nourish the ground in which wheat grew.

Wheat did not give people economic security. The life of a peasant is less secure than that of a hunter-gatherer. Foragers relied on dozens of species to survive, and could therefore weather difficult years even without stocks of preserved food. If the availability of one species was reduced, they could gather and hunt more of other species. Farming societies have, until very recently, relied for the great bulk of their calorie intake on a small variety of domesticated plants. In many areas, they relied on just a single staple, such as wheat, potatoes or rice. If the rains failed or clouds of locusts arrived or if a fungus infected that staple species, peasants died by the thousands and millions.

What then did wheat offer agriculturists, including that malnourished Chinese girl? It offered nothing for people as individuals. Yet it did bestow something on Homo sapiens as a species. Cultivating wheat provided much more food per unit of territory, and thereby enabled Homo sapiens to multiply exponentially. Around 13,000 BC, when people fed themselves by gathering wild plants and hunting wild animals, the area around the oasis of Jericho, in Palestine, could support at most one roaming band of about a hundred relatively healthy and well-nourished people. Around 8500 BC, when wild plants gave way to wheat fields, the oasis supported a large but cramped village of 1,000 people, who suffered far more from disease and malnourishment.

This is the essence of the Agricultural Revolution: the ability to keep more people alive under worse conditions.

… the diligent peasants almost never achieved the future economic security they so craved through their hard work in the present. Everywhere, rulers and elites sprang up, living off the peasants’ surplus food and leaving them with only a bare subsistence. These forfeited food surpluses fuelled politics, wars, art and philosophy. They built palaces, forts, monuments and temples. Until the late modern era, more than 90 per cent of humans were peasants who rose each morning to till the land by the sweat of their brows. The extra they produced fed the tiny minority of elites – kings, government officials, soldiers, priests, artists and thinkers – who fill the history books. History is something that very few people have been doing while everyone else was ploughing fields and carrying water buckets.
If I had to choose between a modern lifestyle -- even a modern shitty-job kinda-poor lifestyle, or a modern farm life -- versus hunter-gatherer life, modern life wins hands-down. But if I had to choose between hunter-gatherer life, or being among the earliest generations of farmers, I'd definitely go with hunting and gathering.
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Re: Inequality

Post by thoreau » 15 Aug 2018, 13:35

If early farmers had it worse than hunter-gatherers then why did they choose to farm? Were they already in large enough groups that a chieftain could force it upon them? Or was it possible that there were real downsides but even bigger upsides?
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