Specialization 17 replies

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The-Bleh-Bleh

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#1 5 years ago

Around 8000 BC every society was hunter-gatherer. In those societies individuals had similar jobs and power. Everything was stable. Then some asshole decided agriculture was a good idea. That seemed to free up a lot of time for people to make robots and explody weapons.

Of course now only 1.6% of people work in agriculture. Jobs across the board are more diverse and specialized. Some guy does quality control for LEDs, another designs CPUs, another builds robots to manufacture a motherboard, another does tech support for the all in one package sold to the customer.

It doesn't seem like the trend toward specialization is going to let up any time soon. So how long until society is made up of plebians controlled by technology barons?

[COLOR=Silver]Hunter-gatherer - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2012/tables/12s0619.pdf Job Polarization in the United States: A Widening Gap and Shrinking Middle - Liberty Street Economics[/COLOR]




Rikupsoni

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#2 5 years ago

How about taking Adam Smith's division of labour into this? You might spend your life picking up berries in a forest, or then people can specialize and actually achieve something. If you consider specialization just to be a capitalist thing, people doing something productive allows them to refer funds to their hobbies and other interests, and afford people in not so productive professions to live their life.

If you want the communist viewpoint, Marx: "In communist society, where nobody has one exclusive sphere of activity but each can become accomplished in any branch he wishes, society regulates the general production and thus makes it possible for me to do one thing today and another tomorrow, to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticise after dinner, just as I have a mind, without ever becoming hunter, fisherman, herdsman or critic."

Which is of course utopian nonsense that would never guarantee any level of welfare, but naturally this wasn't even tried out by any state. With real socialism however you could argue that such synergy of labour cooperation could lead to more results, but without any market mechanisms it's impossible that the ideal balance of the division of labour or maximal effiency could be found.

Smith used the example of a needle pin factory. Either you have one person working a day for 20 pins, or ten people in different processes working a day for 4800 pins. Simple.




Andron Taps Forum Mod

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#3 5 years ago

Somebody's gotta deliver my pizzas =p


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Octovon

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#4 5 years ago

The-Bleh-Bleh;5684553Around 8000 BC every society was hunter-gatherer. In those societies individuals had similar jobs and power. Everything was stable. Then some asshole decided agriculture was a good idea. That seemed to free up a lot of time for people to make robots and explody weapons.[/QUOTE] Smaller, 'simpler' societies required a smaller division of labour, so the majority of the people occupied many of the same jobs, though I wouldn't go so far as to call their situation 'stable' (arguably, it was the opposite of stable). Civilizations grew and technological advancements were made, the material needs of a growing population changed, the division of labour increased with the creation of new jobs that became increasingly specialized.

Also, I don't know if I'd call whoever invented agriculture an 'asshole' because it was a rather important development in human history...

[QUOTE=The-Bleh-Bleh;5684553]It doesn't seem like the trend toward specialization is going to let up any time soon. So how long until society is made up of plebians controlled by technology barons?

It's a trend that's been going on for thousands of years, there's no stopping it, but as for your question, who's to say that isn't already the case? To take a page from the Marxist historiography, human history has always been a struggle between the haves and have-nots, the plebs and patricians, the peasants and the nobility, the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, the 1% and the 99%, they just change titles.




Asheekay

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#5 5 years ago

The-Bleh-BlehEverything was stable. Then some asshole decided agriculture was a good idea.[/QUOTE]

I find this statement quite hateful and insulting, not to mention totally wrong too.

With the list of endangered species growing everyday, do you actually believe the human race could have grown this much with reliance on hunting, fishing and gathering? Just calculate how much game and fish would be required to feed the globe for just one day, and you'd probably start respecting agriculture.

[QUOTE=The-Bleh-Bleh]It doesn't seem like the trend toward specialization is going to let up any time soon. So how long until society is made up of plebians controlled by technology barons?

Specialisation is not only a production-wise good idea as Rikupsoni demonstrated, it is also a successful strategy in other spheres. Nature itself prefers specialisation. Let me elaborate.

As you probably already know, the primary organisms were single-celled. These organisms had to perform all the activities of life. Then at one point in evolution, multiple celled organisms appeareda where every cell did one specific job for the community apart from the obvious respiration. Multiple celled organisms very quickly became dominant over the single celled ones. As you may see today, the earth is ruled by mammals, fishes and reptiles, with insects, arachnids and amphibians at the second level. The single-celled organisms like bacteria, virus and algae do nothing remarkable than making a couple billions ill, out of a population exceeding several hundred billions of multiple-celled ones.

Furthermore, specialisation is practiced by organisms other than humans, too. Look at the ants, bees, wasps and termites. Their proliferation throughout the history of evolution shows that specialisation is an evolution-wise successful idea.

Now lets come to the human society. There would be no concept of "jobs" if there was no specialisation. With no jobs there would obviously be no salaries or currency system either. The society would still be at the hunter-gatherer level.

Specialisation facilitates the evolution and growth of the society. With people working all life in one field, we get quicker improvement in all fields. It also creates unbreakable bonds of inter-dependence which serve to seal the path of social evolution and prohibit the societies from returning to pre-specialisation ages.

The commodity-production success of specialisation has already been shown by Rikupsoni.

Are we not already controlled by technological barons? Look at the level of your dependence on: cellphones computers cars fast food clothing sanitary equipment ... ... ... and you will find out that the society is already controlled by technological barons. Don't we already take all the rise in prices of all commodities silently?




Nemmerle Forum Mod

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#6 5 years ago
The-Bleh-Bleh;5684553 It doesn't seem like the trend toward specialization is going to let up any time soon. So how long until society is made up of plebians controlled by technology barons?

Tech barons won't need any plebeians once they've got the robot problem sorted out. And really I think it's less controlled by tech and more controlled by people with a stranglehold on patents and investment capital - quite a hostile world for entrepreneurial enterprises we live in.

Sure though - if we didn't have agriculture and advanced machine tools and so on we'd all be equal. But we'd all be equally in the shit too. The world was not dreadfully nice when we were hunter gatherers. Think I'd rather be in the average today than in the average then.




The-Bleh-Bleh

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#7 5 years ago

Concerning survival

AsheekaySpecialization facilitates the evolution and growth of the society[/quote] Right in both cases the simple entities (cells or people) arrange into a more complex structure that is bigger. That said I disagree that a complex structure is inherently better.

First consider that the following is incorrect.

Asheekay The single-celled organisms like bacteria, virus and algae do nothing remarkable than making a couple billions ill, out of a population exceeding several hundred billions of multiple-celled ones.

You assume that multicellular organisms are dominant but that's not true by any meaningful metric. The most complex organisms are big and visible so we think they're dominant. But there are few of them. I'm sure you've heard that ants outweigh humans. Well bacteria outweighs all plants and animals combined. So if anything we should consider the simpler organisms most successful.

That's not to say highly complex organisms are useless. But such structures are fragile. They can suddenly go extinct form the slightest glitch in the system. A disease can destroy an entire species. Or their environment can change 2 degrees and everything fails. Or a meteorite hits the earth and wipes out all the dinosaurs. It happens.

But let me get back on track. The comparison was from cellular structure to social structure. I think I've sufficiently demonstrated that complex cellular structure is not inherently better. That suggests complex social structure is not inherently better either.

This is in agreement with how the most simple social structure existed for 190,000 years, and more complex social structures have existed only 10,000 years with signs of volatility. Just as with multicellular organisms there are glitches that can break the whole thing. Natural disaster or disease disabling one part of the system (food production) can have a catastrophic effect on the rest. Another possibility is failure from nuclear war. Even then humans might not be driven extinct- but the impact would still be crippling.

Bacteria History of the world - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Concerning which is more desirable [quote=Nemmerle] Sure though - if we didn't have agriculture and advanced machine tools and so on we'd all be equal. But we'd all be equally in the shit too. The world was not dreadfully nice when we were hunter gatherers. Think I'd rather be in the average today than in the average then.

I think I would rather be living in today too. Which is a little funny. Because if what I wrote above is true, then my preference is completely out of line with survival as a species.




Emperor Benedictine

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#8 5 years ago

At least we can console ourselves that we'll probably drive more species to extinction than any bacteria could.




Nemmerle Forum Mod

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#9 5 years ago

The-Bleh-Bleh;5684644Concerning which is more desirable

I think I would rather be living in today too. Which is a little funny. Because if what I wrote above is true, then my preference is completely out of line with survival as a species.

I don't see why you'd imagine that your preferences are compatible with survival as a species. The odds of our want lining up with our long term survival given our rapidly changing environment must be astronomically slim. Very small target to hit - even with natural selection slanting the odds away from pure random chance.

Even on a personal level we've often got a preference for eating things that are bad for us over things that are good for us. And society's vastly more complex than any diet choice.

Mind you I think it'd take a fairly catastrophic event to kill us all. Even genocidal tech-barons would probably still be alive after they'd gassed the rest of us - and thus the species would survive even if most of us were buggered.




Rikupsoni

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#10 5 years ago
Emperor Benedictine;5684657At least we can console ourselves that we'll probably drive more species to extinction than any bacteria could.

I have to quote my favourite ecological thinker, a fellow Finn, Pentti Linkola. Shoot yourself in the head. It's the most ecological and progressive thing you can do. He says he lets himself live only so that he can educate others.

Then again, I'm not green.




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