The beach.

Net Non-Zero

If, according to Keynes, we should be only working 15 hour weeks by now, then it would appear a shift in the meaning of a “working shift” is necessary — aligning ideas we can move or change by literally shifting the preconception of “work”.

For example, there is “hard work”, “won’t work”, “easy work”, and now “proof of work”: where humanity exists in such large numbers, there is a compulsion to carry out any kind of work, just so it can justify its existence in any form, no matter how arbitrary or whether (the work) is satisfying a common good (a tragedy of the commons).

And as unruly infant children can be controlled by instructing them to carry out futile and unproductive tasks — just so the adult who issues the instruction can catch some respite — the infant children then grow into a world of “work” which may seem equally futile and ultimately alienating, where the adult — by now exhausted — feels the need to ask the infant/adult to continue the futile and unproductive procedure, only because it can then be accounted for.

There is a canon of literature and thinking around this emanating from Nietzsche, Derrida, the situationists et al, also quantified to a more precise degree in the field of game theory as to how a tragedy of the commons can be avoided. It is believed the beach is beneath the street, no matter the standing point.

The idea the environment can be “neutral” in a state of “net zero” would appear possible, but let us consider universal welfare removed from the game summing to zero — wouldn’t it be better for it to sum to “net non-zero” instead?

So long as the symmetry is satisfied by removing the requirement for first person identity (removing idle hands from their names), and then indexing this in the “work contract”, it may be that the situation already has the answer — it’s just that we’re expressing the problem in the same language causal to the problem.

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Stories and ideas for the Rustbelt mind

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Jon Gulson

Jon Gulson

Ideas in games, language, and trust.

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