Antisocial or Metasocial?




What do you suppose Renny Gleeson means by the following terms?

The culture of availablilty
The expectation of availability
An obligation to that availability

Becoming Workshop 8: The Wrap-up

WORKSHOP 8: QUESTIONS

What do you take into account in any given economic decision?
Spending pocket money, buying big ticket items, borrowing money, investing money, working for money, getting daily necessities, housing, feeding, clothing, leisure?

What is being ‘a good human being’ in terms of how you handle money? In terms of debt, saving, credit, obligation, transactions all these things.
What is the morally correct way to handle money matters? To give money? To get money? Like, is it moral to earn a salary when you know the boss is taking out loans to keep the company running?

Is it moral to pay your debts? Is it immoral not to pay them?

Are our economic relationships always a cold calculation of ends and means, or are they more than that? In economic relationships do we always only calculate to our own benefit? Are all economic decisions by people part of a rational profit-loss calculation?

In terms of our economy, are people fundamentally in relationship to each other, or fundamentally individuals or free agents?
How would you describe the intersection of individual, social relationships and economic relationships?

討論逐字稿 for Becoming Workshop 7: Money and Morals

This is the transcript and notes to our seventh hands-on philosophy workshop at becoming, "Money and Morals".
The transcript below actually starts at the end of the discussion with the concluding statements, which was where all the participants in the discussion made a statement on something they understood during the class or answering one or some of the questions provided for focus.

After the concluding statements are the notes and transcript from the first part of the class.


Concluding Statements:

Questions to consider:

What is being a good human being in terms of how you handle money?
In terms of debt, saving, credit, obligation, transactions all these things
What is the morally correct way to handle money matters? To give money? To get money?
Like, is it moral to earn a salary when you know the boss is taking out loans to keep the company running?
Is it moral to pay your debts? Is it immoral not to pay them?


-I have an idea about the first question: good human being in handling money. It's a behaviour where you’re managing your money by whatever activity, in a responsible way. Beneficial for you, beneficial for those around you, who you're trading with, and there's no huge loss in any part. In financial terms, in ecological terms, in social terms. It’s kind of utopian, a perfect balance that's not actually possible, but good to keep it in mind.
For the second question. I guess it depends who your boss is taking loans from. If it's a good loan sheep, then no problem. If a loan shark, then it's a problem
-but the loan sharks are all wearing sheep's clothing
-why a shark and not a wolf?
-sharks are seen as emotionless killers

-it's hard for me to answer those questions, because in my world, no matter what kind of way you handle your money it's okay, you can send money, or lend money to others, or borrow money from banks or from your friends, or take your money to do business, whatever you want, but the key point is that you need, no matter what kind of decision you make, you need to show the…results

Money and Relationships Workshop 6: Money and Morals

First, let's define the terms, 'moral' & 'morality'.
What do you understand 'moral' to mean?
What is 'morality'?

Do you believe there is a universal right and wrong? Y N Depends
Do you believe a group has to agree on a standard of right and wrong? Y N Depends
Can we define the difference between moral and ethical?
If something is not moral is it immoral? Which is to say, is there a middle ground? Do you believe morality could be on a continuum or sliding scale? Do you believe it's absolute, black & white?


We talked about transactions a few weeks ago, and touched on profit and advantage, but let's quick define some terms:
What is profit?
What is 'having the advantage'? What is it in terms of a transaction?

What is the morality of profit and advantage in a transaction?
What are the human motivations behind doing a transaction?
Is there a correct or incorrect motivation?

討論逐字稿 for Becoming Workshop 6: Cash or Credit

This is the transcript and notes to our sixth Hands-on Philosophy workshop at Becoming, "Cash or Credit?".
The transcript below actually starts at the end of the discussion with the Concluding Statements, which was where all the participants in the discussion made a statement on something they understood during the class or answering one or some of the questions provided for focus.

After the concluding statements are the notes and transcript from the first part of the class.


Concluding Statements:
I want to say that during the time I grow up, I always take what others say to me, seriously, and people always say, just be yourself, but how can I not take into account about what others think of me. So this is related to eh first question, but still the other, what my friends and parents told me, that you're independent. You don't have to take others opinion into consideration, just be yourself, and do whatever you like to doe. And based on what we were talking about, we still need to cooperate, and adapt to society. And a few months ago, culture to cultural relations adapting can be separated into three part. Adapt, accept, and change
Accept is you know what you’re doing to do, but you wouldn't do it yourself. You acknowledge
Tolerance ?
Not the same!
Tolerance is holding your nose. Acceptance is just being okay with it.
Tolerance is pushing your feelings down for the sake of something.
And sometimes it bursts out
And acceptance is really being okay with it.

Money and Relationships Workshop 5: Cash or Credit?

CASH
How do you feel about cash? What is your personal attitude toward it?
Is it good? Bad? Neutral?
"Dirhams and dinars are not created for any particular purpose; they are useless by themselves; they are just like stones. They are created to circulate from hand to hand, to govern and to facilitate transactions. They are symbols to know the value and grades of goods.
They can be symbols, units of measure, because of this very lack of usefulness, indeed lack of any particular feature other than value."
… the same is the case with money--it has no purpose of its own, but it serves as a medium for the purpose of exchanging goods.
From this it also follows that lending money at interest must be illegitimate, since it means using money as an end in itself. "money is not created to earn money.'' …
Money is thus a unit of measure that provides a means of assessing the value of goods, but also one that operates as such only if it stays in constant motion. --Prophet Ghazali (1058-1101AD) Debt, p. 281

Cold cash was employed largely between strangers, or when paying rents, tithes and taxes to landlords, bailiffs, priests, and other superiors. … coins were most likely to be used both by the sort of people who ran the legal system--the magistrates, constables, and justices of the peace--and by those violent elements of society they saw it as their business to control. Debt, p.329

討論逐字稿 for Becoming Workshop 5: What do we owe our parents?


This is the transcript and notes to our fifth Hands-on Philosphy workshop at Becoming, "What do we owe our parents?".
The transcript below actually starts at the end of the discussion with the Concluding Statements, which was where all the participants in the discussion made a statement on something they understood during the class or answering one or some of the questions provided for focus.
After the concluding statments are the notes and transcript from the first part of the c
lass.

Concluding Statements:
-I kept wondering what should i say after this, because we were discussion and discussing, the conclusion is i said what i wanted during the discussion. Today i heard a lot of stories, it was more interesting than the other ones, because more stories.
I still think i owe my parents something. Especially when i grew up and i realized that it's not easy. When i grow up and go through what they did before i realize it. Knowing it's hard and noticing they went through it although it is hard. But i still don't believe that i owe i don't agree that i owe them what society thinks that i owe them. Sometimes i will complain that they didn't give the things that the others had, but they give the things that others don't have. Not have enough money or go do university in debt, tickets to paraguay, and we were happy, there was no suffering. Later i realize a lot of people have suffering [in their family]. So i think i would find a way to, to not sacrifice, but rethink my ability to pay back to them, to pay back my parents.

-I think, owing is an old chinese concept, and i think i don't like this kind of, i don't like this idea, it's negative, it's passive, it doesn't create good relationships because if you think you owe someone, you need to pay it back in the future, which creates pressure between you and them, and this pressure will turn into a tension between you and your parents. Um, i want to, i think it's better for us to treat this kind of relationship as a learning process. You know, parents need children needs to learn how to be a better person by raising kids.
-that's what you were saying earlier
-yes
-and children and kids can watch their parents, how they do their best to raise kids, they learn from their parents. So we are all learning it’s not that we are in mutual debt. I want to turn this kind of relationship to a positive relationship, not a negative one.
-you're reframing our today's discussion framework, you're saying it shouldn’t be about debt or not debt, it should be a bout mutual learning.
-because we have this kind of idea all in our lives, and it doesn't give any good to us
-it doesn't help us!
-right, so we have to change our concept.

-That's a good segue way, changing the framework. I see if it's a debt, or an obligation, owing is part of debt, it's not voluntary, it's a social bond that can't be quantified. I think that we do have our duties obligations to each other, we can obviously pay back, not pay back our debt, but try to fulfil our obligations to all the people that raised us, influenced us, our bodies, minds, spirits, we came from somewhere, we were inspired by people, we can't think we have to match that exactly, but the past can be, not paid back, but we can fulfil this obligation with the people who will come after, whether it's trying to raise our children well, or maximise their chances of being okay, not going into parenting lightly, and acknowledging the sacrifices our parents made, but also doing what we can to improve the quality of the world. But i think parents owe their children, it's a lesser time frame, but from 0 to 18 or 20, they owe them so much to keep them safe, and put them into a good enough environment to be at least okay. Success means being able to reach self-sufficiency? There has to be more than that. Children should acknowledge what the parents did for them. That they can look after them in their old and frail age, not equivalent at all, but they can show themselves in what they do in their life.

Money and Relationships Workshop 4: What do we owe our parents?

Nature Writer Ernest Thompson Seton had an odd bill presented to him on his twenty-first birthday. It was a record kept by his father of all the expenses connected with young Ernest's childhood and youth, including the fee charged by the doctor for delivering him. Even more oddly, Ernest is said to have paid it. I used to think that Mr. Seton Senior was a jerk, but now I'm wondering. Margaret Atwood, 'Payback'
Most of us wouldn't wonder much. Such behaviour seems monstrous, inhuman. Certainly Seton found it so: he paid the bill, but never spoke to his father again afterward. And in a way, this is precisely why the presentation of such a bill seems so outrageous. Squaring accounts means that the two parties have the ability to walk away from each other. By presenting it, his father suggested he'd just as soon have nothing further to do with him. David Graeber, Debt, p.92

討論逐字稿 for Becoming Workshop 4: Business or Friendship? Part 2

This is the transcript and notes to our fouth Hands-on Philosphy workshop at Becoming, 'Business or Friendship'.
The transcript below actually starts at the end of the discussion with the Concluding Statements, which was where all the participants in the discussion made a statement on something they understood during the class or answering one or some of the questions provided for focus.

After the concluding statments are the notes and transcript from the first part of the class.


Concluding Statements:
-What’s the difference between sharing and trading? Friendship and business? Communal and transactional relationships?
-Could money substitute for communal relations? Does money displace communal relations? Does introducing money end communal relations?

-There's a question lingering for me, there's a value statement
-Like debt is a moral issue?
-I feel like there's an assumption or value judgement, or talk about how you value things, before we can answer this questions. Or maybe they're leading there. But going back to exploring why these universal or general values, how they came to be, or the historical or social roots of these values...In sociology we talk about paradigms, like in terms of abortion? It fundamentally gets down to how you view the world, and what you value. So you can talk about things to no end, but if you don't know your own values, you can't convince other people. So there’s' this fundamental difference going on, that's at the core of this class. It's almost like do you like or dislike money? Is it fundamentally bad? Is it necessary or good? You can also say you're both. It's hard for me to answer these questions in this way.

-If you have a relationship, you don't pay money to get anything, and if you don't have a relationship, you can't pay any amount of money to get it. I think it's important to define these details, to get to what sharing is what trading is.
-I would say, sharing I would put them into the two ends of the line. The more lines there is, then it would create a net. It's important to differentiate these things so you can know what the net is. And everybody has their, on the line, you may be close to another end or, it's like you have a color, but the color has different tones, and you can choose the tone you want and add it to the other colors as you like to create the whole picture. If you don't differentiate, you won't know where this color comes from and know how to make the color you want.

討論逐字稿 for Becoming Workshop 3: Business or Friendship?

This is the transcript and notes to our third Hands-on Philosphy workshop at Becoming, "Business or Friendship?"

Concluding Statements
-The topic today is business and friendship, and we talked about sharing, but I don't think friendship doesn't equal sharing, emotionally or in relationships. Like I can share things, but we're not necessarily friends, I can share a seat on the MRT, but it doesn't mean we have a bond.

-For me I feel what we're talking about today is a bit like a community, like a community is composed of a lot of small communities, and among the small communities, some people share things together, during this sharing process, people might start to have some mutual goal, they create some mutual goal together, therefore they cooperate together to make things better. For example, in a big community, people might start to think what to do to make life better to make a better life, to make a company, or import things to make people living here richer. Sometimes they have a kind of shi ming, mission. They want to make the community have a better life, not just themselves but for the whole people
-A wider self interest.

-One thing that's interesting, we started with sharing, to cooperation, to communalism, these are all things a good teacher would encourage. I didn’t see these things as different or these things are at odds or have different goals or methods. I thought they all went together, but we're talking bout them as three different things, so that's something I want to think about. When I tell you to work in a group, what do you feel like, is it more like a community, or cooperating or sharing or what do you think about that. I hate group work, but I encourage it for my students.

-I think there are some things bad in this word I think my culture teach us to do something very good. In our education we're taught to be anything good. But we get into society and we find it doesn't work in that way. We're talking a bout rust cooperation and share, this is the good part. And this discussion, we talk about something that is in detail, and make the definition clear. You have the condition to trust sb else. It doesn’t mean if you don't trust that you're bad, if someone does something betray or hurt, it doesn’t make the ma a bad person. We're a human society, we're not always good. I like today's discussion because this clarified what I think is right. There's bad and good, and there's something that what society really is.

Money and Relationships Workshop 3: Business or Friendship?

What's easier to define, a transaction, or sharing? A business transaction or a friendship? Money-based exchange or communal relations? Which is easier to talk about? Which do we have more precise language for?

What are communal relations? It turns out this is very hard to define actually, so let's talk about trust first:

"In conversation, lies, insults, put-downs and other sorts of verbal aggression are important--but they derive most of their power from the shared assumption that people do not ordinarily act this way: an insult does not sting unless one assumes that others will normally be considerate of one's feelings, and it's impossible to lie to someone who does not assume you would ordinarily tell the truth. When we genuinely wish to break off amicable relations with someone, we stop speaking to them entirely." Debt p.97

討論逐字稿 for Becoming Workshop 2: What makes a relationship work?

This is the transcript and notes to our second Hands-on Philosphy workshop at Becoming, 'What makes relationships work?'

The transcript below starts at the end of the discussion at the Concluding Statements, which was where after a brief pause, all the participants in the discussion made a statement on something they understood during the class, or a statement answering one or some of the questions provided for focus.
After the concluding statments are the notes from the first part of the class.

Concluding statements:
-With the relationship identity thing, for a relationship to work you need the foundation of self on which to stand, you need self reliance, no man is an island. You need to be able to stand alone, you can't be needy, and there has to be, the connections you make, the networks, you have to be on the same page in your outlook of the world, you need to share all kinds of moments entirely, you need to be able to enjoy the silence too, and what makes it work, when every day when you and the other reside grow, and the errors are chances, the mistakes the setbacks are learning opportunities.

-I think for a successful relationship, it's based on you have to know yourself, then you will know your goal, and you can attract someone who has the same goal, and go to the goal together. And the mistake or the error is the opportunity to review your relationship. If you can fix it the relationship will be successful forever, if not the relationship will be broken.
-Be broken forever.....!

Money and Relationships Workshop 2: What makes relationships work?



"The 404 page is that. It's that broken experience on the Web. It's effectively the default page when you ask a website for something and it can't find it. .... It's inherently a feeling of being broken when you go through it. And I just want you to think a little bit about, remember for yourself, it's annoying when you hit this thing. Because it's the feeling of a broken relationship."

討論逐字稿 for Becoming Workshop 1: The Market Society

This is the transcript and notes to our first Hands-on Philosphy workshop at Becoming, 'The Market Society'.

The transcript below actually starts at the end with the Concluding Statements, which was where after a brief pause, all the participants in the discussion made a statement on something they understood during the class, or a statement answering one or some of the questions provided for focus.

After the concluding statments are the notes from the first part of the class and a partial transcript from the second part.


Concluding Statements:
Questions to consider while concluding:
What is money for?
What is community for?
What is community?
What's the difference between professional relationships and friendships?

-I think actually there's no right and wrong for any of this discussion. What I think is mainly….as long as the person is content of what he needs, material or emotionally, money can buy something you want which is an object. And community is something you need emotionally, something that drives these people together. These are the needs of that person, if the person is content, that's what money is for, that's what community is for, it means what it means to that person. As friendship and relationships, if the person needs professional advice, then you go to one person, and if you need friendship or emotional outlets, that's what you get form a friend. It's all what you need at that moment.
-Totally agree. I think it's how we view humans. It's one way, people are a set of needs. Or have a set.

Tea and Bitching

Heeey! I didn't have time to come up with a discussion this week, so I thought we could maybe just share what's uppermost on our minds this week.

Dare to Disagree

In this talk, Margaret Heffernan's basic argument is that conflict is a very good means for creative thinking, because when you set out to respectfully conflict with someone, you can create something that's much stronger and well-functioning. Do you think this is always true? I wonder how this idea would play out in Taiwanese culture. First, let's look at the video:



Language and Relationships



Innuendo is indirect speech, it could also be called veiled speech.

The forms of communication where indirect speech is most often used are:

bribes
requests
seductions
solicitations
threats

Why are these veiled when both parties presumably know exactly what they mean? Because if you don't know what they mean, they don't work.
It turns out it's because we have to convey meaning while also negotiating a relationship type.

To do this people use language at two levels. They use the literal form to signal the safest relationship to the listener while counting on the listener to read between the lines to entertain a proposition that might be incompatible with that relationship

Vulnerability

We actually discussed this one before, in 2011, but I think it is a good follow up to last week's discussion.

One interesting thing about this video is that I've noticed it's consistently in the top ten suggested TED videos on the TED site, for quite a long time now. I think it's struck something in people.




Empathy, Motivation, Dishonesty

So, we're going to try a little experiment.

We're going to look at the premise of 3 separate RSA Animate talks, and spend a little time on each one.
Then, I'm hoping we can reflect on the three concepts together and see what we come up with in our concluding statements. Shall we try?


First up, is a video on empathy.
The Power of Outrospection


How to talk to little girls

First go and read this story about the author's encounter with a little girl.

What came to mind when you read it?
What comes to mind when you read the following quote?

Try this the next time you meet a little girl. She may be surprised and unsure at first, because few ask her about her mind, but be patient and stick with it. Ask her what she’s reading. What does she like and dislike, and why? There are no wrong answers. You’re just generating an intelligent conversation that respects her brain. For older girls, ask her about current events issues: pollution, wars, school budgets slashed. What bothers her out there in the world? How would she fix it if she had a magic wand? You may get some intriguing answers. Tell her about your ideas and accomplishments and your favorite books. Model for her what a thinking woman says and does. Here’s to changing the world, one little girl at a time.

Adult?

I just have two questions for you today:

How do you define somebody as an adult? What constitutes 'being an adult'?

When can you say somebody has become an adult? How old do they have to be?





Teaching people how they should treat you

I found this interesting stub of an idea on Racism 101, and I'd like to discuss it with all of you. They're posting it in the context of dealing with people who are racist towards you.

It's also related to how people deal with conflict. What's your attitude toward conflict? Do you relish it? Do you try to make everyone like you to avoid conflict at all costs?

And it's also related to our attitudes about how we should be connected to people. Like, is all connection good? For example, if you're a freelancer, should every client be held on to just because they're a client? Or in the area of personal frienships, should you stay connected to someone just because you've been friends a long time?


From Racism 101:
“We’re taught to turn the other cheek—that being kind in the face of hostility is the better way to respond to conflict so love can overcome hate. According to psychologist Clifford N. Lazarus, writing for Psychology Today, that sort of reaction just teaches abusive people that their behavior is effective. Here’s why.

It all comes down to something called the “Law of Effect”, which refers to the way people interpret and understand the behavior of others. For example, if someone treats you poorly and you treat them kindly, the effect produced by their bad behavior is your affection. By being nice to mean people, you’re essentially creating a reward system for bad behavior.

This doesn’t mean you should devolve into a complete asshole anytime you encounter one, but it is important to remember that there is such thing as being too nice. When someone does something that bothers you, it’s important to take that immediate opportunity to tell them. Being kind is often just an excuse to avoid necessary conflict. You don’t have to be a jerk, but you do have to confront the situation or risk encouraging the bad behavior you’re seeking to prevent.”

Work, But No Jobs



Here's the text in the poster, with an added note from the blogger I found this through.

How Slavery is Corrosive to All Human Beings

Last week, when talking about privilege and oppression, a question came up:
Why don't slaves 'rise up' and fight to be free?
Thinking it over this week, I began to realize that it's the same as asking, Why do slaves stay slaves? Why do they 'let themselves' be slaves?
Which is a lot like blaming someone for being dead when they are murdered. Or blaming a robbery victim for getting mugged. Or, way more accurately as a metaphor, it's like asking why women are always 'getting themselves raped'.

When you look into it, you find out that slavery as an institution is as old as civilization. Some even argue that civilization is inseparable from slavery, that literally civilization came about because people began enslaving other people. So let's first try to answer the question, "What is slavery?" How do you define slavery?

A good succinct answer:
The permanent, violent and personal domination of natally alienated and generally dishonored persons.
Orlando Patterson, Sociologist
Another way to say this is that a person is removed from the culture, society and land of her or his birth and suffers 'social death'. So you could say slaves are the walking dead. It makes you wonder about the obsession in American culture with zombies, who are literally the walking dead.

Okay, so let's look at a brief history of slavery, focusing on the Atlantic slave trade of the 19th century:

The Damage of the Damsel in Distress




The damsel in distress is a plot device in which a female character is placed in a perilous situation from which she cannot escape on her own and then must be rescued by a male character, usually providing an incentive or motivation for the protagonist’s quest.


From Damsel In Distress (Part 1):
The damsel in distress is not just a synonym for “weak”, instead it works by ripping away the power from female characters, even helpful or seemingly capable ones. No matter what we are told about their magical abilities, skills or strengths they are still ultimately captured or otherwise incapacitated and then must wait for rescue.

Distilled down to its essence, the plot device works by trading the disempowerment of female characters FOR the empowerment of male characters.

What do tests test for?

What is the point of a test? To show what the tester can do? To create a barrier? To ensure competence in the tested group? In 'Why I Let My Students Cheat On Their Game Theory Exam' the author shows us a novel way to test students and the surprising results.


An entire field of study, Game Theory, is devoted to mathematically describing the games that nature plays. Games can determine why ant colonies do what they do, how viruses evolve to exploit hosts, or how human societies organize and function.

Tests are really just measures of how the Education Game is proceeding. Professors test to measure their success at teaching, and students take tests in order to get a good grade. Might these goals be maximized simultaneously? What if I let the students write their own rules for the test-taking game? Allow them to do everything we would normally call cheating?

Men, the emotional sex

It is just patently absurd to say women are more emotional than men. Men commit 25 times the murders; it’s shocking what the numbers are. And if anyone ever sees a woman with road rage, they should write it up and send it to a medical journal. -Ben A. Barres

Men are too emotional to have a rational argument
What I want to talk about is how emotional outbursts typically more associated with men (shouting, expressing anger openly) are given a pass in public discourse in a way that emotional outbursts typically more associated with women (crying, “getting upset”) are stigmatized.
I wish to dispel the notion that women are “more emotional.” I don’t think we are. I think that the emotions women stereotypically express are what men call “emotions,” and the emotions that men typically express are somehow considered by men to be something else.
This is incorrect. Anger? EMOTION. Hate? EMOTION. Resorting to violence? EMOTIONAL OUTBURST. An irrational need to be correct when all the evidence is against you? Pretty sure that’s an emotion. Resorting to shouting really loudly when you don’t like the other person’s point of view? That’s called “being too emotional to engage in a rational discussion.”
Not only do I think men are at least as emotional as women, I think that these stereotypically male emotions are more damaging to rational dialogue than are stereotypically female emotions. A hurt, crying person can still listen, think, and speak. A shouting, angry person? That person is crapping all over meaningful discourse.

Squaring Accounts with our Parents

Nature Writer Ernest Thompson Seton had an odd bill presented to him on his twenty-first birthday. It was a record kept by his father of all the expenses connected with young Ernest's childhood and youth, including the fee charged by the doctor for delivering him. Even more oddly, Ernest is said to have paid it. I used to think that Mr. Seton Senior was a jerk, but now I'm wondering. Margaret Atwood, 'Payback'
Most of us wouldn't wonder much. Such behaviour seems monstrous, inhuman. Certainly Seton found it so: he paid the bill, but never spoke to his father again afterward. And in a way, this is precisely why the presentation of such a bill seems so outrageous. Squaring accounts means that the two parties have the ability to walk away from each other. By presenting it, his father suggested he'd just as soon have nothing further to do with him. David Graeber, Debt, p.92

討論逐字稿 Do friendship and money mix?

On friday we discussed, "Do Friendship and Money Mix?"

To start off the discussion we used the following situation: A friend drives you to Taoyuan Airport from Taipei. Is it cool or not cool to pay her or him 500NT for helping you out?

Reasons for paying 500 to a friend to take you to the airport:
Because you're not taking the friend for granted (they're not being used by you)
You may not have another chance to repay them. So giving it to them now is a good idea.
Because you've paid the friend, you keep this favor in mind.
Not feel guilty. Because you're causing them trouble to take you there.
Simplest way to pay them back.

Reasons against paying 500 to friend to take you to the airport:
This behavior will debase the friendship because we are good friends, we don't need to talk about money when helping each other.
Your friend will feel embarrassed to take the money because it puts a price on the help they give you.
We often pay money to buy something or some product or services, so it's like like you are superior to your friend, you hire them to do something for you. It creates a power imbalance. Some people will feel angry about that.
The friendship would become an obligation. I could just pay someone, and not care about their feelings, but as your friend, I care about your feelings. So paying you means I stop needing to care about your feelings.

Do friendship and money mix?

What's the difference between a friendship, or any human relationship, and an economic relationship? (for the transcript of this discussion, go here.)

In our discussion of Emotional Labor, from February, we talked about the intersection between emotional relationships and economic relationships, and it seemed that everyone drew a line at some point between a friendship and an economic relationship. Different people placed that line in different places, but there was always a line. So today I want to discuss a possible reason for why this line exists. I also wonder if the rationale for the line is the same, even if the conclusions about where exactly to draw it are different.

Let's use an example brought up during the emotional labor discussion. One person said that they wished that they could ask a friend to take them to the airport and just pay them 500NT instead of owing them a favor.

404: Relationship Error



"The 404 page is that. It's that broken experience on the Web. It's effectively the default page when you ask a website for something and it can't find it. .... It's inherently a feeling of being broken when you go through it. And I just want you to think a little bit about, remember for yourself, it's annoying when you hit this thing. Because it's the feeling of a broken relationship."

The Market Society

What role should money and markets play in our society?




What's the difference between having a Market Economy and a Market Society?

Michael Sandel's answer: A Market Economy is 'a valuable and productive tool for organizing productive activity. A Market Society is a ... place where almost everything is up for sale, it's a way of life where market values seep into almost every domain of life.'

What makes somebody an asshole?

What kind of social behaviour do you normally complain about? Drivers? Pedestrians? People in the subway? People in a line, or people in a 7-11 or in a restaurant? Stories?
Think of someone whose behaviour really pissed you off, either in your personal life, or in the news. Stories?
What kind of social behaviour do you find irritating? Stories?

When you encounter behavior that upsets you, or irritates you, do you try to excuse the person? Does your forgiveness or not of the person depend on what kind of person it is?

What makes a person an asshole?
What's your definition of an asshole?

Is being an asshole mutually exclusive to being a good person? Can someone you consider an asshole also be a good person?

What makes something 'socially acceptible'?
What makes something 'standard behaviour'?
What is a 'social norm'?
Is a 'social norm' the same as a 'social good'?

Is College Necessary?

Last week, when discussing Emotional Labor, a question was brought up about choosing someone to do a job, when 'like 5 people have the exact same qualifications'. Because of this, I started thinking about what exactly is a 'qualification'. What standards are applied? Are they really the most useful ones to measure a person's capability? What might be a better way to determine if someone is good for a job?

Also, how do you show people you're capable of a job, before they know who you are, and in spite of biases they may have about you based on what you look like or your reported personal history?

When people seem to have the same qualifications, how do you choose which is the right person? What becomes the determining factor?



Is a college degree the best indicator of someone's ability to perform a job?
If you're an employer, there are lots of signals about a young person's suitability for the job you're offering. If you're looking for someone who can write, do they have a blog, or are they a prolific Wikipedia editor? For programmers, what are their TopCoder or GitHub scores? For salespeople, what have they sold before? If you want general hustle, do they have a track record of entrepreneurship, or at least holding a series of jobs?
You've noticed by now that 'a college degree' is not in this list of signals. That's because I think it's a pretty lousy one, and getting worse all the time. In fact, I think one of the most productive things an employer could do, both for themselves and for society at large, is to stop placing so much emphasis on standard undergraduate and graduate degrees.

Emotional Labor

Last fall we discussed in 'Professional or Human Being?' the ethics of being required to use your emotions and personhood to perform a job. This time through an article talking about various kinds of work involving caring for people, I've found there's a concept called Emotional Labor. I'd like to explore this idea a little bit.


When you perform your job are you actually 'performing' at your job?
To what extent are we performing a role when we go to work? Does it change over time? How much of your 'real' you is put into your work?
In the ideal, how much separation should there be between you and your job. Should your work be a part of you or something separate from you?

Are emotions a part of work? Are they supposed to be?
Are you emotionally invested in your job? Always, or just some parts?
Do emotions detract from doing a job well? When is this true?
Do they enhance the ability to do a job well? When is this true?

Should our emotions be the commodity? Should our emotions be part of the skillset we're offering to a job? Should our emotions be part of the job, be for sale?

The Tide Economy

Let's look at a different kind of alternative economy. There's a lot to talk about: poverty, marketing, branding. Here are the main points of the article. (As always click the heading to go to the actual article, in this case, from New York Magazine.)

Suds for Drugs
The grocery store, located in suburban Bowie, Maryland, had been robbed repeatedly. But in every incident the only products taken were bottles—many, many bottles—of the liquid laundry detergent Tide. “They were losing $10,000 to $15,000 a month, with people just taking it off the shelves,” recalls Sergeant Aubrey Thompson, who heads the team.
What did thieves want with so much laundry soap? To find out, he and his unit pored over security recordings to identify prolific perpetrators, whom officers then tracked down and detained for questioning. “We never promised to go easy on them, but they were willing to talk about it,” Thompson says. “I guess they were bragging.” It turned out the detergent wasn’t ­being used as an ingredient in some new recipe for getting high, but instead to buy drugs themselves. Tide bottles have become ad hoc street currency, with a 150-ounce bottle going for either $5 cash or $10 worth of weed or crack cocaine. On certain corners, the detergent has earned a new nickname: “Liquid gold.” The Tide people would never sanction that tag line, of course. But this unlikely black market would not have formed if they weren’t so good at pushing their product.

Getting Old

First, here are some related facts and statements to start our brains on the topic.

“Later life seems to be a season in search of its purposes. Aging is an art. It’s not a scientific problem to be solved,” Dr. Thomas Cole, 58, told the crowd. “Being old is filled with unexpected possibilities for creativity,”
Esther Liwazer, 72, stood up and said, “Look! This is very important. What he’s saying is that society needs an attitude adjustment.”
Karen Jackson, 58, a dietician from Detroit, called Cole’s message “absolutely remarkable.” She said, “Our society is in the middle of a revolution because of aging and the overarching idea is that we need to be positive about this.”

Three British ideas for caring for elders:
A kind of timebanking scheme. Care4Care invites volunteers to help care for older people. The cost of care consumes many elderly peoples' life savings
For every hour's care they put in, the volunteers build up an hour's worth of care credit that they can keep in a timebank. They can then use it for their own care later in life.
Rent-free living for carers. People who do the caring live rent-free with the elderly person, and perfomr 10 or so hours of service a month for them. Companionship, constant care, mutually beneficial. Definitely a plan that also needs supervision.

Implementing an Interest-free economy: Currency reform

Money, unlike all other goods and services, can be kept without costs. If one person has a bag of apples and another person has the money to buy those apples, the person with the apples is obliged to sell them whithin a relatively short time period to avoid the loss of his assets. Money owners, however, can wait until the price is right for them, their money does not necessarily create 'holding costs'.

If we could create a monetary system which put money on an equal footing with all other goods and services (charging, on averate, a 5% annual maintenance cost, which is exactly what has been paid in the form of interest for money thorught history) then we could have an economy free of the ups and downs of monetary speculation. Money should be made to 'rust', that is, be subjected to a 'use fee'.

Instead of paying interest to those who have more money than they need and in order to keep money IN circulation, people should pay a small fee if they keep the money OUT of circulation.
--Excerpted from Margrit Kennedy, Interest and Inflation Free Money p. 13


Okay, so how should we best go about doing this? Here are some ideas, I want to talk about the feasibility, obstacles, whether or not you think they're a good idea.


Idea 1: Charge people to store their money. (Margrit Kennedy p.27)
For several years in Switzerland, investors ... had to pay interest in order to leave their money in a bank account.

How economic inequality harms societies



There's a lot of information to process in this video, so I'd like to try the 'on-the-spot critical thinking' experiment again. We'll watch the video together, and the minute anyone has a question, a comment or wants to know more, we stop the video and discuss.



And then, if there's time left over, I'd like to get into a quote from the end of an interview TED did with him:

We’re becoming increasingly aware from occasional wealthy people who get in touch with us that even a proportion of the rich feel some sense of disquiet with levels of inequality — and I don’t just mean Warren Buffet. For instance, an ex-banker e-mailed me saying he’d bought a hundred copies of our book for his friends and colleagues. He recently hosted a dinner for us and some of them. He regards it as immoral not to pay tax. We’ve come across a number of business people who feel that way strongly. One of them suggested that there should be a tick box on tax forms, which you tick if you’re willing for the amount of tax you pay to be made public. Some people would be able to take pride that they’ve contributed, say, fifty thousand dollars to the well-being of society. But the implication for those who did not tick it might be that they felt ashamed and had something to hide.