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Search tags: seeing-other-people
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text 2018-08-09 20:05
Reading progress update: I've read 38 out of 335 pages.
Smiley's People - John le Carré

 

So I took an early lunch, because three of the stooges from my coffee time debacle had chosen to have a long, loud training session at the work station just behind mine.  And what happens?  Madame Speech Impediment shows up and sits close to me.  She is then joined by Ms. Slyly Malicious and Miss Self-Righteous Gossipy-Pants.  And they proceed to have a loud conversation.  Never-ending.

 

I cannot get out of here fast enough!  2.5 hours until I can escape.  I usually don't take an afternoon coffee break, but you can bet I will today and I'm going to go out & sit in my car.

 

Signed, Ms. Cranky-Pants.

 

 

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text 2018-08-09 18:11
Reading progress update: I've read 22 out of 335 pages.
Smiley's People - John le Carré

 

Trying to get started on this spy novel over my coffee break this morning.  Unfortunately, in our new building the coffee room doubles as a meeting room.  So, I'm at one end, attempting to read.  At the other end is a meeting of four people--two of them speak English as a second language, one has a speech impediment, and the fourth is (let me be blunt) dumb as a sack of hammers.  They are discussing a rather complex fix that needs to be done in our new computer system and trying to make themselves understood to each other.

 

I cut coffee short and I am so glad that I'm going to start vacation at 3:30 pm this afternoon!  I apparently really need the break.  I'm cranky.

 

 

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review 2018-08-09 11:56
Give People Money
Give People Money: How a Universal Basic Income Would End Poverty, Revolutionize Work, and Remake the World - Annie Lowrey

[I received a copy of this book through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.]

This is more an introduction to the topic, I think, than a fully-developed treaty on how exactly a UBI (Universal Basic Income), but it remains an interesting book no matter what. While heavily focused on the USA, it also considers other countries, so it’s definitely not just US-centric with no mentioning the rest of the world (examples from Finland and India, for instance, are included).

The idea itself (giving a basic sum of money to everyone, every month, so that their basic needs are ensured) is not new. Lots of people will tell you “money can’t buy happiness”, but let’s be honest: when you don’t have to worry about when (when, not if) power will go out in your home because you can’t pay your electricity bills, when you know you can give your children the food they need, it makes life better all around—and also allows you to focus on finding a job and other needs, or simply help you not getting sick all the time, or any other issues one faces that lack of money can cause.

Of course, it clearly opens the way to many disagreements, including fear that “if people have money, they’ll become lazy and complacent”. Which is, 1) I guess, very specific to “work hard, thrift societies”, 2) not necessarily true, 3) why should the “American way” (that false assumption that if you only work hard, you will be successful no matter what) be the only valid one? Most people want a job, especially since our world in general values a human life according to whether it’s “productive” or not—another issue we’ll need to address sooner than later, since automation and incoming AI are very likely to make us redundant when it comes to jobs, and we’ll need to rethink ourselves in other terms.

Is it doable? Possibly, I think… provided governments think about it the right way, and provided people don’t consider it in terms of “something that should only go to a certain class of people”, or “welfare queens will abuse it”, or “those people will only buy drugs with it”, or “it’s good if it’s for us, but we don’t want immigrants to have it” (apparently, the more diverse a society, the more this question reveals rampant racism: “we want it for US, not for THE OTHER”—and sadly, I wouldn’t even be surprised if that was a wide-spread opinion).

The book considers these questions, as well as others and what they really entail, such as giving supplies, clothes etc. to people rather than money: it’s all well and all, but we don’t think about all it implies. One of the examples involves giving shoes to people in a poor village, with two unwelcome effects: what they need is not necessarily shoes, but, for instance, clean water; and doing this also deprives the local shoe-making economy of customers. If those people were given money instead, they could help that economy (by buying shoes, by buying a cow and starting their own farm/business...) AND get the water they need, too. To me, it makes sense.

On the other hand, the way the book is currently laid out doesn’t show references well enough. And while the ideas developed here are definitely food for thought, I believe they stand better as an introduction, as stepping stones for more in-depth research and reading, rather than as sturdy research. I wouldn’t call that an issue, because it does pave the way to opening up to the idea of a UBI, and to really thinking about it, about what’s trickling down from it and how current demographics may influence it (in a good or a bad way). I simply wouldn’t take the book as THE work of reference about it.

Conclusion: 3.5 stars. Clearly a good starting point if you’re getting interested about this subject, and aren’t sure how to approach it.

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text 2018-08-05 18:29
Reading progress update: I've read 30%.
The Good People - Hannah Kent

The pacing of this is all off. I think I'm going to have to DNF. Pity as it had potential.

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text 2018-08-04 10:47
Reading progress update: I've read 20%.
The Good People - Hannah Kent

It's taken me a while to get into, but now I'm quite intrigued. Kent has a lovely style.

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