討論會行事曆

June 2018
【6/1 (五) 8pm Adam Smith in Africa?
【6/8 (五) 8pm Two Talks About Trust
【6/22 (五) 8pm Politics: The Management of Mistrust?
【6/29 (五) 8pm 思‧英語討論會】

July 2018

【7/6 (五) 8pm 思‧英語討論會】
【7/20 (五) 8pm 思‧英語討論會】
【7/27 (五) 8pm 思‧英語討論會】

August 2018

【8/3 (五) 8pm 思‧英語討論會】
【8/10 (五) 8pm 思‧英語討論會】
【8/24 (五) 8pm 思‧英語討論會】
【8/31 (五) 8pm 思‧英語討論會】

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What do you want to talk about at the RO Studio?

Enter your ideas for new discussions at the RO Studio.

Go to see the results, vote on which articles you are interested in discussing in the future, or add to other peoples' ideas on the response spreadsheet.

I will check this regularly and put the ideas as new discussions here on the blog!

Politics: The Management of Mistrust?


This unconventional TED speaker brings up some very interesting questions about how democracy functions in our current times. Below are excerpts of the transcript of this talk, I want to talk about these points he's brought up.

Transparency and openness?
One of the things that I want to question is this very popular hope these days that transparency and openness can restore the trust in democratic institutions.

Democracy is the only game in town.
On one level nobody's questioning that democracy is the best form of government. Democracy is the only game in town. The problem is that many people start to believe that it is not a game worth playing.

Basically people start to understand that they can change governments, but they cannot change policies.

Two Talks About Trust


The first video is called What We Don’t Understand About Trust.


She says there are three clichés of our society:
A claim: there has been a great decline in trust, very widely believed.
An aim: we should have more trust.
A task: we should rebuild trust.

Are these statements true?

Adam Smith in Africa?


The age-old sharing economies of Africa — and why we should scale them

So this guy has some ideas about how businesses should operate. Let's look at his suggestions and see if these are good ideas.

Sustainable Economy: Can we change how we do business?

Sustainable Economy Discussion links: Part 0, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Continuing our discussion of the Sustainable Economy, last time we talked about the position of workers. Today we’re going to focus on the business side of things. How business practice is structured in such a way that it’s very difficult to be sustainable, and how it might be structured to make it easier run our economy in a way that doesn't kill us all.

3 Steps to a Sustainable Economy?
In our new book, Enough Is Enough: Building a Sustainable Economy in a World of Finite Resources, we argue that … we can build an economy that meets people's needs without undermining the life-support systems of the planet. Big changes are needed to achieve such an economy. Some are fairly obvious, like limits on resource use and waste emissions to ensure environmental sustainability. Others are less apparent (but equally important), such as limits on income inequality to improve societal health. There is a growing consensus that these changes are needed, but less consensus about how business would function in an economy where the goal is enough, not more.

The shift to an economy of enough requires business to change in three critical ways:

The Wisdom or Madness of Crowds

Nicki Case made another social game. Let's play the game together and see what we learn!

http://ncase.me/crowds/

The Sustainable Economy: What is Owed a Worker?

Sustainable Economy Discussion links: Part 0, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Since we’re talking about the economy here at the RO Studio, we probably need to talk about the ways in which each of us derives value from the economy. In short, we are paid, what does that mean for how we live in this economy?
The list of issues below is probably not complete, what other issues are a part of the labor every person contributes to society?


Job = Social Status?
Our jobs are our income, our income is a measure of our worth. The kind of job we do is also a measure of our worth in the eyes of society. Our income and job type seem to be the main measures of our status as an individual. The only other indicator that seems nearly as important is whether or not you are married.
What are indicators of status in society?
How much does your job or income factor into this status?

Fair value for labor
What is fair value for labor? How does this get calculated? Not all labor is the same, either.
Our society makes a distinction between blue-collar and white collar labor, but what actually are the kinds of labor we find in society? Are they worth the same?
Should some people’s labor be valued differently? How should that value be calculated?

For example, which job is more important to a hospital, the cleaners, the nurses or the doctors? Which, if they went on strike, would affect the hospital most? Most quickly? Most in the long term?

What would a sustainable economy look like?

What would a sustainable economy look like?
Part 0, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

There’s more to economic exchange than a pure exchange of value. In fact, the more I think about what an economy is, the more I realise that nearly every aspect of our lives is mediated through capitalism.

I want to take a few steps back and consider what are the elements of an economic system. Today's excerpts are for getting the conversation started, but to be honest I'm not very satisfied with the analysis presented by these authors. As always, the links to the original articles are in the section headers.

But anyways, let’s start with asking, what exactly does ‘Sustainable’ mean?


The 'wrong' definition of sustainablility
The world's nations presently define their top economic goal in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This is the total amount of production produced within a nation, usually within one year. In 2010 GDP varied from $16 trillion for the European Union, $15 trillion for the US, and $6 trillion for China to $16 billion for Afghanistan, $7 billion for Haiti, and $105 million for the Falkland Islands.
The top economic goal of most nations is a constant, never ending rise in total GDP of several percent per year. It's their economic growth target. Nothing is more important except for war. If a country's GDP goes flat, that's stagnation. If it falls for more than two quarters is a row that's a recession. Both are to be avoided at all costs.
The official GDP growth targets for several countries are: (Data sources vary per nation)

Sustainability is what people want to happen indefinitely. No country has a GDP growth target less than about 2%, except when recovering from a recession. Thus the defacto definition of economic sustainability is steady growth in total national GDP of a minimum of about 2% per year.
But this is the wrong definition. Total national GDP doesn't tell you how much the average person's income is. Nor does it tell how many people are at the low end of the distribution of income and are thus starving. Nor is steady growth even possible forever. Steadily growing total GDP is thus a flawed goal that can lead a country, and the world, terribly astray.

討論逐字稿: How Neoliberalism Threatens Democracy

FYI: This transcript has been reconstructed from notes on paper, so it’s more ‘interpretive’ of what was discussed than a direct record. It's from the discussion about How Neoliberalism Threatens Democracy.

Notes on the video:
Should experts run things?
Is democracy how we should run things?
What are we as a people?
How do we govern properly?
Reason and democratic organization?
Invisible hand of the market?
Can markets determine our future well?
Can markets govern us?
—Markets need/create inequality
Markets generate capital accumulation NOT growth
Markets generate stagnant economy/oligarchic class/renters
Law gets organized around oligarchy
—no equality of opportunity
—no social mobility
—can’t develop ourselves to become what we want