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Jobs as Obligation

Posting from Café Clave, a rockin' coffeeshop in West Philadelphia. They have good greek food, reasonable tea, meh hours (closing at 21:00 most days), free intarwebs, and a totally cool study huge room in the back (mostly full of students).

Have been digging through apartments on Craigslist; sent a few mails. I'm in love with the idea of living in a large loft, but most of them offered are oddly only available for 1 month (looking for a 1-3 month place). Slightly better than that is a split level loft (reminds me of my favourite apartment ever), which is second only to the rather unusual home of my dreams (that if I ever live in I'll have to either have it built or converted from a telescope-building).

On the way over here, I was thinking about the square-cube ratio (which a week or so ago I had to explain to someone as to why huge flying birds are impractical) and cooking; if there were (somehow) a giant human (say, 30+ feet tall) and we wanted to make larger-sized foods for them that would retain most of the characteristics of food that's our sized, it'd likely be really challenging because of that same square-cube ratio; heat penetration to inner portions of food would (I think) burn the outer portions before adequately reaching the innards. I suppose we could make a lot of smaller foods, then take their portions and remix them into an artificial larger one in the correct proportions and "anatomy", maybe?

I also think that Flogging Molly songs would be fantastic for Karaoke.

Feelings of profound alienation from humanity; saw a video on YT of a baby elephant sneezing and scaring itself, heard humans laughing, saw the elephant and its mum getting protective as they heard the chittering of apes. Of us. I often need to remind myself that I'm human. Not sure if this is connected to depression.

Recently was thinking about the contrasts between this delightful clip from "Yes Minister" and some of the criticism Newt took over his plans to replace the jobs of janitors with children. Of that criticism, I am thinking narrowly of one line of argument ; that removing fulltime jobs (without reference to skills required for them) is always a bad thing and that we should shape policy to create positions for people (I am not addressing other criticism that seems entirely valid; that janitorial work is neither as safe or as simple as Newt portrays it). This is tough to reconcile; is it suitable/fair/wise to create jobs that are not societally productive just to help the economy? My intuition is no (which is why I find that clip of "Yes Minister" to be pretty awesome; it also was accidentally accurate). I don't think it ever can be sufficient to argue that something creates jobs therefore it should be done; the jobs must at least be justifiable in terms of the public good (this actually goes on the high end too; if there are ways of making profit that don't benefit society, we should close them down or at least tax the hell out of them). That doesn't answer the question of how jobs are structured and whether it's in the public interest to prefer fulltime or part-time/amateur structurings of the same work (provided it is suitable to that). If there were some (likely other) job that could either be done by untrained (or self-trained) amateurs for few benefits or trained low-grade professionals at a higher cost with benefits, would we feel comfortable reserving it for the latter? How much are we aiming for jobs?

A lot of these problems would become less painful if we had a greater commitment to benefits that are independent of jobs (healthcare, transit subsidy, etc) and more public services. If we had a flatter wage curve between owners/managers of businesses and employees, things would likewise be smoother, presumably. Right now there's a strong vested interest in being a $something-professional for life and trying to make sure that position can support a reasonable living. It's presumably bad for labour-fluidity.