To me, David Livingston sounds like a
Left Wing Trump …
… because his essay is an incoherent pistachio of lies, partial truths and dog whistles. Lets look at some of the key points he makes – the three bold, large sized, and coloured declarations which obviously mean a lot to him.
1 – What would you do if you didn’t have to work to receive an income?
Lets think. Who’s going to cook the meals? shovel the snow? and decide what to do if all our fellow aristocrats in China decide to visit Puerto Vallarta next January? This statement is a rhetorical flourish, not a possible future?
2 – I know that building my character through work is stupid because crime pays. I might as well become a gangster.
Lets think. The society where everyone was a gangster was Mad Max and the Road Runner. I never thought work was a way of building character, but that it was the ticket to bread, the taxes which paid for community goods I needed, and a pension. Most gangsters don’t get a pension.
3 – How would human nature change as the aristocratic privilege of leisure becomes the birthright of all?
Lets think. This actually happens. One of the Trump brothers had an inheritance, and did’t want to work with his psychotic brothers. Lots of rich inheritors enjoy a life of true leisure, (or not occasionally). Most royalty live a comfortable life as spares. All this is comfortable to them because most of the rest of us work for a while.
And then, after pages of rant, he concludes;
We won’t have any answers until we acknowledge that work now means everything to us – and that hereafter it can’t.
Now I never thought that work was everything, even in the United States, but I do agree it must have a diminished role in a more viable future.
But this is hardly a topic that can be handled without serious, boring, discussion. Discussion that could not really be based on David Livingston’s piece.
Therefore, I would like to recommend another topic.
Daniel Kahneman won the 2002 Noble Prize in economics for work on the psychology of how market participants make up their minds. In 2011 he wrote an (academic) best seller on his work called “Thinking Fast and Slow”. This is available in the library when I return it after Christmas, but anyone with a free Kindle reader can get it here. Better, because of the questions asked at the end, he gave a presentation to a Google psychology research group a year or two later, where he not only ably explains his book, but the comments/questions from the attending Googles highlight the book’s importance economics, politics and marketing.
After DG lets take a few minutes to discuss what we will talk about in the 10:30 Philosophy Group starting December 14.