Living in an Age of Decadence?

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Mo
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Re: Living in an Age of Decadence?

Post by Mo »

I mean the whole “water cooler talk” from back in the day is just fucking off in a different way. Hell, people used to drink at lunch.
his voice is so soothing, but why do conspiracy nuts always sound like Batman and Robin solving one of Riddler's puzzles out loud? - fod

no one ever yells worldstar when a pet gets fucked up - dhex

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dead_elvis
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Re: Living in an Age of Decadence?

Post by dead_elvis »

Eric the .5b wrote:
10 Feb 2020, 06:49
I'm as glad as anyone else that things aren't late-60s bad, but that doesn't mean they're good, or that they aren't worse than just a few years ago.
I got a stern rebuke from my wife when I was trying to help her mood because she was depressed and anxious from too much facebook. Gave her the "the republic has seen worse and survived" spiel, the litany of destabilizing and frightening things happening in the late 60s and 70s, and we all lived through it and she shot back "well *I* didn't live through it". Touché, I think there's some wisdom in that. Historical perspective does has its limitations. The past being a foreign country and all that (and she gets an extra layer since she grew up in literally another country).
"Never forget: a war on undocumented immigrants by necessity is a war on all of our freedoms of association and movement."

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thoreau
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Re: Living in an Age of Decadence?

Post by thoreau »

A long time ago my stepdad showed me some fax machine memes. I will have to ask him to dig them up, if they're still in some scrapbook somewhere.
"They were basically like D&D min maxers, but instead of pissing off their DM, they destroyed the global economy. Also, instead of their DM making a level 7 paladin fight a beholder as punishment, he got a +3 sword of turning."
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Jennifer
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Re: Living in an Age of Decadence?

Post by Jennifer »

There was a meme on Facebook some time ago, poking fun at the "Millennials these days" thing -- a modern photo of people on what looks like the New York subway system, nobody talking to their seatmate, everyone staring at their phone. A quote about how people were better and more sociable in the good old days. And a black and white photo of said good old days: "Mad Men" commuters riding the train, and they were definitely better dressed than the people in the modern photo ... but they weren't talking to their seatmates, either. They were all reading a newspaper or magazine.
"Myself, despite what they say about libertarians, I think we're actually allowed to pursue options beyond futility or sucking the dicks of the powerful." -- Eric the .5b

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dead_elvis
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Re: Living in an Age of Decadence?

Post by dead_elvis »

Aresen wrote:
08 Feb 2020, 22:52
The Decadence Of Our Time has been a thing since Oog complained to Ugh about those new-fangled atlatls.
Speaking of which
“I’ve seen so many young people tantalized by this official fantasy of, you gotta move to one of the five or six big American cities and live a life of autonomy and personal creation and all the doors will be open to you, and if you don’t, you will be insignificant and interchangeable and obscure. And so people move there! And they blow their 20s and 30s ‘navigating’ that environment, and what does that entail? Living in a luxury microapartment and drinking the same $20 Negronis that everyone else is drinking and grinding through the same three or four dating apps gradually getting psychosexually compromised in the way that everyone else does. And it takes away the very autonomy that was the one big selling point. And my concern is that people in those generations that have been affected that way are not as attuned to the excellence of human vitality in the way they need to be to look at all these bots and say, yeah well, it’s still amazing to be human.”
He's trying *really* hard to not hear that phone ringing, it's the industrial revolution calling and they want their anxiety back.
"Never forget: a war on undocumented immigrants by necessity is a war on all of our freedoms of association and movement."

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D.A. Ridgely
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Re: Living in an Age of Decadence?

Post by D.A. Ridgely »

My experience mostly was that I was given a certain load of work to complete, that it didn't take nearly 40 hours a week to complete it and that I therefore should have been allowed to go home. Since I wasn't permitted to just leave, I certainly felt entitled to spend the rest of those hours as I pleased. Most offices, like most public schools, are still hopelessly trapped by factory floor thinking and the Protestant work ethic.

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Painboy
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Re: Living in an Age of Decadence?

Post by Painboy »

I think some of you are making my point for me. All those meetings in the 50s and 70s were required because information is hard to coordinate. This is compounded the larger the team of workers. With the tools available today you don't need nearly the number of meetings. You can just make a chat channel and hash it out quickly with the parties immediately involved. When I was working at PopCap I had to coordinate with a bunch of testers oversees. I can confidently say that would have been essentially impossible even 10 years ago because tech at that time would have been too expensive or difficult to use to make that operation efficient.

This frees up a lot of time for people. And with the social changes of the past few decades they aren't using it work themselves to the bone. They're using for none work related stuff. I don't see how the current way they measure productivity can reflect that.

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Mo
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Re: Living in an Age of Decadence?

Post by Mo »

Painboy wrote:
11 Feb 2020, 00:05
I think some of you are making my point for me. All those meetings in the 50s and 70s were required because information is hard to coordinate. This is compounded the larger the team of workers. With the tools available today you don't need nearly the number of meetings. You can just make a chat channel and hash it out quickly with the parties immediately involved. When I was working at PopCap I had to coordinate with a bunch of testers oversees. I can confidently say that would have been essentially impossible even 10 years ago because tech at that time would have been too expensive or difficult to use to make that operation efficient.

This frees up a lot of time for people. And with the social changes of the past few decades they aren't using it work themselves to the bone. They're using for none work related stuff. I don't see how the current way they measure productivity can reflect that.
What? 10 years ago as in 2010? What 2010 were you living in? Skype, Sametime and Lync were widely used as was offshoring and nearshoring centers of excellence. WebEx and GoToMeeting were also very common in 2010 and made the meeting you describe pretty cheap.

Also, it seems like everyone was saying people back in the day fucked around a lot, it just was in a different way.
his voice is so soothing, but why do conspiracy nuts always sound like Batman and Robin solving one of Riddler's puzzles out loud? - fod

no one ever yells worldstar when a pet gets fucked up - dhex

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Kolohe
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Re: Living in an Age of Decadence?

Post by Kolohe »

And it was actually sexual harassment.
when you wake up as the queen of the n=1 kingdom and mount your steed non sequiturius, do you look out upon all you survey and think “damn, it feels good to be a green idea sleeping furiously?" - dhex

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Jennifer
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Re: Living in an Age of Decadence?

Post by Jennifer »

I'm a bit puzzled as to where this "productivity is falling" bit is coming from; the narrative I've been hearing (at least in the specific context "American workers: why they have reasons to complain despite techno-wonders") is that productivity IS rising; it's just that the pay benefits are mostly going to those at the top of the pay scale rather than being distributed throughout. Such as this piece from the Economic Policy Institute in July 2019: "...From 1979 to 2018, net productivity rose 69.6 percent, while the hourly pay of typical workers essentially stagnated—increasing only 11.6 percent over 39 years (after adjusting for inflation). This means that although Americans are working more productively than ever, the fruits of their labors have primarily accrued to those at the top and to corporate profits, especially in recent years."
"Myself, despite what they say about libertarians, I think we're actually allowed to pursue options beyond futility or sucking the dicks of the powerful." -- Eric the .5b

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Mo
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Re: Living in an Age of Decadence?

Post by Mo »

Productivity isn’t falling. Productivity growth is.
his voice is so soothing, but why do conspiracy nuts always sound like Batman and Robin solving one of Riddler's puzzles out loud? - fod

no one ever yells worldstar when a pet gets fucked up - dhex

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Jennifer
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Re: Living in an Age of Decadence?

Post by Jennifer »

Even then, why must that necessarily be a bad thing? Especially when that "growth" is measured from such an already high baseline standard. It reminds me of a particular idiocy attached to "No Child Left Behind" policies during my brief teaching career (no idea if they still apply now): schools were required to show "improvement" year upon year lest they be penalized, and that requirement might be reasonable if you're talking about some abysmal failure of a school as measured by such metrics as "only 30 percent even graduate" or "only 40 percent can master basic literacy and numeracy skills," etc. ... but when you're talking about high-performing schools that already scored in the 99th percentile for such measures, requiring a constant rate of "improvement" will guarantee failure.
"Myself, despite what they say about libertarians, I think we're actually allowed to pursue options beyond futility or sucking the dicks of the powerful." -- Eric the .5b

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Jennifer
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Re: Living in an Age of Decadence?

Post by Jennifer »

Another thought -- going back to Highway's comment upthread about how there's likely a finite amount of "attention" or "on-time" a person at work can have -- for certain types of human endeavor, there may well be a built-in productivity limit which we're already at, or close to achieving.

I'll use myself as an example: my entire post-school professional career has been various writing or editing jobs: either producing my own writing, or reading and editing someone else's. And it so happens every professional piece I've ever done was produced on a computer/word processor, rather than a typewriter. So if you compare my productivity rate now versus if I'd done the same work thirty-forty or more years ago, of course I am VASTLY more productive now than my typewriting equivalent could possibly be. Especially where editing/re-writing is concerned: with a word processor, if you want to add one paragraph to the second page of a ten-page document, you simply add the paragraph to the appropriate spot in the file. But in typewriter days, you'd have to re-type the entire second page to add that paragraph -- and chances are you'd have to retype the entire rest of the document as well, because that one extra paragraph threw off ALL the previous page breaks and such.

But, where human-produced writing and editing is concerned, I think we're approaching the limit of how much more productive technology can help me become. If I try to imagine an innovation which would help me "produce writing" at a faster or more productive rate than I currently do, the only thing I can think of is "Vastly improved voice-to-text translation technology: instead of me typing out all the words you're reading here, then re-reading them to look for errors before I hit post, I simply say these words out loud, then re-read the text to fix errors (and, presumably, edit out some "ums" and "ers" and other verbal tics which do not appear in my typing, but might appear in an actual transcript of everything I verbalized in a conversation).

I could be a little more productive in how much writing I produce if I had this voice-to-text technology -- especially with journalism-type writing where right now, the status quo is "I have to listen to a voice recording multiple times, in order to type out a transcript of it," or at least "I have to sit through this whole video rather than read a transcript." But if you assume I had this technology, alongside every other professional writer, copywriter or writing editor out there -- yes, there would be a productivity leap once we all got this neat new tech, but afterwards, I think our productivity levels, as measured by "how much professional-quality writing or editing can you produce in a given amount of time," is going to plateau. Or stagnate in Douthat's terms -- but I'm not convinced that particular form of "stagnation" is necessarily a bad thing.

ETA: Ha! I made a minor edit to correct a wrong word choice: in the second paragraph, I'd originally typed "my entire post-college professional career" rather than "post-school" (to cover my teaching career). In typewriter days, at BEST I could have used Liquid Paper to paint over the word "college," wait for it to dry, then re-typed "school" over that spot -- but there would be an extra space after that word, AND there's a chance that one word might be on a very slightly different plane from the other words on that line. If this were something super-important -- like a job-interview cover letter where I needed to make a super-awesome first impression -- I likely would've had to re-type the whole thing from the beginning. Actually, in typewriter days I'd've written out a first draft by hand, before committing it to a typewriter.
"Myself, despite what they say about libertarians, I think we're actually allowed to pursue options beyond futility or sucking the dicks of the powerful." -- Eric the .5b

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Mo
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Re: Living in an Age of Decadence?

Post by Mo »

Slower productivity growth isn’t bad but it means quality of life will improve more slowly than before. You get jumps in productivity growth in new eras (industrialization, electrification, etc). The most recent burst was the computational driven burst that went from ~1995-2005. The thing is that one was much shorter than the massive burst post mechanization and post electrification.
his voice is so soothing, but why do conspiracy nuts always sound like Batman and Robin solving one of Riddler's puzzles out loud? - fod

no one ever yells worldstar when a pet gets fucked up - dhex

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Jennifer
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Re: Living in an Age of Decadence?

Post by Jennifer »

Mo wrote:
11 Feb 2020, 19:17
Slower productivity growth isn’t bad but it means quality of life will improve more slowly than before.
So long as it's still improving rather than decreasing, that doesn't necessarily have to be a problem. Especially since, this is one of those tricky things where improvements to "quality of life" isn't necessarily identical to increases in "productivity." Or, improvements from technology aren't necessarily the same thing as improvements from economic or productive increases.

There's a debate/discussion we've all had here many times before, on the theme "How can an American/modern first-worlder say their standard of living is worse than in the 1950s through 70s?" I always took the stance "no mystery there -- things are easier in some ways, worse in others. Much easier to afford decent climate-appropriate clothing and useful high-quality home appliances; harder to afford housing, education, society-standard medical care (US complaint only), and so on." Unsurprisingly, IMO, things are easier in ways where technology and the free market have been largely left to their own devices, and harder in ways where government/tax policy have fucked things up (housing/rent, education, medical care).

I used the earlier example of how writing/editing might be pretty near the limit of how much more productive an individual person can be, even with certain technological improvements analogous to "computer vs. typewriter." Of course, this increased productivity certainly has not translated to increased -- or even steady -- wages for those in my field: I am more productive as a writer or editor than my mid-20th-century counterpart doing the same job with a typewriter and paper documents -- and for me personally, producing, editing or polishing any given document on a word processor is vastly easier than producing an identically polished piece in paper and typewriter days.

So this, plus my personal lifestyle, would amaze my typewriter counterpart largely because of some really amazing 21st-century technology in my home -- but my typewriter-days counterpart would be horrified by the relative pay, job security and career prospects of a journalist or similar writing gig in the year 2020, compared to someone with such a career in her day. (And, while she'd be envious of some of the really cool shit inside my apartment, the apartment itself plus the immediate surrounding neighborhood is a big step down from the nice (though small) house where she and her "midcentury husband with inflation-adjusted salary equal to Jeff's" live. That aspect of my current housing would horrify her: THIS is the best you can do, even with your kickass microwave and flat TV and all those movies and shows in your personal collection? And though my actual "job" of "produce or edit X number of pieces in a given amount of time" is far easier on my computer than on her typewriter and paper, my overall "career" prospects (not just me personally, but "writers for readers" in general) are far worse. So what does "typewriter Jennifer" think about "computer Jennifer's" overall quality of life? In technological terms, and also certain material terms like "How many different clothes can I afford" or "what's the cost, quality and quantity of the food I have," she thinks I have it much better than her.

But in other matters -- the socio part of socioeconomic -- she likely feels sorry for me and my colleagues doing her job, for all the ways we do find it easier to be more productive than she could dream of being.
"Myself, despite what they say about libertarians, I think we're actually allowed to pursue options beyond futility or sucking the dicks of the powerful." -- Eric the .5b

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Painboy
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Re: Living in an Age of Decadence?

Post by Painboy »

Mo wrote:
11 Feb 2020, 05:53
Painboy wrote:
11 Feb 2020, 00:05
I think some of you are making my point for me. All those meetings in the 50s and 70s were required because information is hard to coordinate. This is compounded the larger the team of workers. With the tools available today you don't need nearly the number of meetings. You can just make a chat channel and hash it out quickly with the parties immediately involved. When I was working at PopCap I had to coordinate with a bunch of testers oversees. I can confidently say that would have been essentially impossible even 10 years ago because tech at that time would have been too expensive or difficult to use to make that operation efficient.

This frees up a lot of time for people. And with the social changes of the past few decades they aren't using it work themselves to the bone. They're using for none work related stuff. I don't see how the current way they measure productivity can reflect that.
What? 10 years ago as in 2010? What 2010 were you living in? Skype, Sametime and Lync were widely used as was offshoring and nearshoring centers of excellence. WebEx and GoToMeeting were also very common in 2010 and made the meeting you describe pretty cheap.

Also, it seems like everyone was saying people back in the day fucked around a lot, it just was in a different way.
Skype was garbage and can't do a tenth of what Slack and Teams can do. What I was talking about they tried it with Skype and some other program and it was a mess. When Slack came out and they switched to it the task suddenly became manageable.

I know stuff like that seems like small potatoes but over whole industries that's serious productivity gain. In my example the gains in productivity were eaten up some because it mostly just allowed people not to work 10 hour days anymore because that's what they cared about.

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