The idea that the poor should have leisure has always been shocking to the rich. In England, in the early nineteenth century, fifteen hours was the ordinary day's work for a man; children sometimes did as much, and very commonly did twelve hours a day. When meddlesome busybodies suggested that perhaps these hours were rather long, they were told that work kept adults from drink and children from mischief. When I was a child, shortly after urban workingmen had acquired the vote, certain public holidays were established by law, to the great indignation of the upper classes. I remember hearing an old Duchess say: "What do the poor want with holidays? They ought to work." People nowadays are less frank, but the sentiment persists, and is the source of much of our economic confusion.
- Bertrand Russell, In praise of idleness (1932)
1. a machine works twenty-four hours a day, not eight -- thereby tripling output immediately
2. machines do not take sick leave
3. machines are never late for work
4. machines do not form unions and constantly ask for higher wages and more fringe benefits
5. machines do not take vacations
6. machines do not harbor grudges and foul up production in sneaky, undetectable ways
7. cybernation was advancing every decade, anyway, despite the opposition of unions, government, and these alpha males; it was better to have huge populations celebrating the reward of $30,000 to $50,000 per year for group cleverness than huge populations suffering the humility of welfare
8. with production rising due to both cybernation and the space-cities, consumers were needed and a society on welfare was a society of very meagre consumers.
- Robert Anton Wilson, Schrödinger's Cat
"More space, more time, and more intelligence to enjoy space and time."
- Timothy Leary
The usual example given to illustrate an Outside Context Problem was imagining you were a tribe on a largish, fertile island; you'd tamed the land, invented the wheel or writing or whatever, the neighbours were cooperative or enslaved but at any rate peaceful and you were busy raising temples to yourself with all the excess productive capacity you had, you were in a position of near-absolute power and control which your hallowed ancestors could hardly have dreamed of and the whole situation was just running along nicely like a canoe on wet grass... when suddenly this bristling lump of iron appears sailless and trailing steam in the bay and these guys carrying long funny-looking sticks come ashore and announce you've just been discovered, you're all subjects of the Emperor now, he's keen on presents called tax and these bright-eyed holy men would like a word with your priests.
- Iain M. Banks, Excession
Figuring out what Alice wants, part II
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