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A perspective I've espoused, which is a heavy root cause of the Africa disaster is that medical technology was brought there. Infant mortality (for example) declined and more children made it through to adulthood (breeding age) as they survived childhood diseases.
Unfortunately, they didn't bring the education (or perhaps weren't allowed by church influence) that having a lot of children is a bad idea. It deprives the whole family. Half of them don't die out so have half as many.
Result? Population increases at an unsustainable rate. Droughts, for example, have come and gone, yet the people survived. That was because the population fit the environment.
The "brains in the West" aren't able to think beyond zeroth and occasionally first order effects of what they do.
So now we're in a dilemma. Food, for example: give food to stop the starvation and yet, at the same time, make it more and more likely the starvation will persist because there's more food then their environment can sustain . . . guaranteeing another famine (recursion).
Yet - that logic means standing by and watching suffering that you could easily stop.
Of course war is a bigger cause of starvation that drought if you look at the details behind the headlines, not that the aid agencies (who are big business, with careers depending on success) will tell us that.
This tie in between 'disaster (supposed) + complicit media + misrepresentation by global agencies for gain (aid agencies, UN, etc)' is a nasty combination that does very little (or is even negative in effect according to the writer I quoted).
I know you disagree with me but fit Global Warming into that formula. 'disaster + complicit media + careers made'. It is the same scam for as far as I am concerned, the difference being the 'disaster' is global.
War is a bigger cause of starvation than drought.
Or - drought is the cause of the war.
These feed on one another (unfortunate pun). Ultimately, all wars are over power - which translates to resources. Resources, of course, give you a greater chance of winning wars.
But I totally agree on a subset of humanitarian causes really being in place only to keep those who administer them well paid (aside from embezzling their share). Not all. The UN is possibly the worst organization on earth to allow to oversee any sort of aid.
There are charitable organizations that do much good. Shrine Hospitals. Salvation Army. Nechama. We really can and should look after one another. We're a communal species.
We're also a greedy species. When it comes to true ethical solutions, saints are far outnumbered by sinners. So - we will keep wallowing in our own figurative waste: it's what we are
That Live Aid concert back in the 80s (90s?) run by Bob Geldof was for a famine caused by war for example.
W∴ Balboos wrote:
We're also a greedy species
Funny, I see man as actually a generous person, when he has enough to satisfy himself. Once fear is removed, man can, and does, behave in a compassionate way. Fear makes man into a vicious killer.
I remember the immense donation made by the people of the UK to the 2004 Tsunami in asia some years back. That it occurred on Boxing Day (day after Christmas in the UK) was a big factor in the £392 million raised. People were sitting there well fed, in the comfort of their homes, on a quasi religious day, and the response was extraordinary.
The Live Aid concert is not a proof of cause/effect. Do you think they'd put on an music fest to raise money for RPG's ? Yes - it was for famine relief, but what else could it be for. Always for symptoms, rarely for prevention.
As for greedy species? The new US Tax code is a classic example. More money for those who have the most. Take it to a further extreme: Enron. People who make more money in a year then almost everyone on earth could make in a lifetime, yet still they wanted more. And the peons who worked for the company? They lost everything. The entire S&L fiasco. Repeated with the mortgage fiasco (and the root cause, local mortgage brokers convincing people to borrow more than they can afford - never paid back their commission. It was Main St, more than Wall St, that caused the mess) Greed is rewarded.
For that matter, when the North Easter US was shattered by Sandy, the southern states held up the government aid. They, themselves, have received it time-and-again, but when it came to someone else getting help . . . suddenly they had problems with it. And they do it to please their constituency: because to them, charity-begins-at-home is very literal . . . and ends there, too.
The Live Aid concert is not a proof of cause/effect
The media didn't report the war as the cause of the famine by the way, but anyway, any one money raising event cant prove anything, the proof has to come from the people on the ground. Actually read a very interesting book about the aid industry, and how useless-dangerous-evil it can be (UN save the children workers using child prostitutes for example).
If you judge people by their politicians, well, you are bound to come up with a skewed image.
You look at a festering wound, and ignore the source of the wound ?
In Africa, as in India, and China, extant civilizations were destroyed systematically by western powers. [^]
Nehru once said: "India is a rich land of poor people;" a major historical source of the poverty was the systematic looting of the country by western colonial powers.
Of course, these statements are reductionist generalities; the realities involve "guns, germs, and steel" [^] as well as indigenous greed and predatory power structures.
But, there's nothing abstract, or general, in 1 million Bengali weavers having their thumbs cut off by the East India company, in 40 million Indians dying of a deliberately created famine resulting from rice stocks manipulation, in Queen Victoria enjoying the spoils of the loot of a China destroyed by mass opium addiction, and naming the captured Shih-Tzu of the deposed dowager Empress "looty."
«Where is the Life we have lost in living? Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?» T. S. Elliot
I think I might be on for a third one [that's when the hard tech stuff begins]. But they told me they are talking to several candidates so it might be a while before I hear anything.
This seems to be a new trend here. To do the soft cultural stuff first, to see if there is a cultural fit. Very much unlike Joel Spolsky's phone screen approach... The Phone Screen – Joel on Software[^]
"If we don't change direction, we'll end up where we're going"
I guess that's manageable for you then, but surely they are limiting the pool of possible candidates with such a system. Particular if people are looking to relocate and don't live locally, needing to sit 3 different interviews might put people off from applying in such a case.
Personally I would be a bit concerned that they don't know what they are doing if they need to interview so many times, it doesn't seem very efficient. However, I don't know what job you are going for so it could be completely justified to need to be so thorough.
In a big city the pool of candidates is big enuff. And I do appreciate the thoroughness. The cultural fit is important. Not only for the employer. It is a good thing for the applicant too, to know what he/she is getting in to.
"If we don't change direction, we'll end up where we're going"
Looking at a few other recent posts it got me thinking about qualifications, degrees and such-like things.
Many decades ago I got a PhD in Computer Science and, at the time, I thought it was a good thing.
Now, when I look back at how useful it was to learn all that I realise that nearly everything I learned is obsolete and about as useful as knowing how a carburettor works in these days of fuel-injected engines.
A large part of it was learning the history of computing, Charles Babbage and his Difference Engine, Blaise Pascal and Herman Hollerith with punched cards, punched tape and other punchy things. I even learned about Jacquard looms for early machine automation. Compare and contrast tape drives (high capacity serial data access) and disc drives (lower capacity but random access) - notice the spelling of "disc drive". COBOL, FORTRAN, Pascal and other modern computer languages.
All good stuff at the time but completely irrelevant these days.
Back in 1977, my thesis (I can't even remember the title) was based on distributed computing with small home computers or remote terminals at least, all connected together via a universal network where one could write documents, do reports on things using a database or data files, send messages to other computer users, order on-line, even play games alone or with other networked players. I even wrote some games (in assembler and FORTRAN) to demonstrate how this could work.
Hah! Like any of that would really happen!
For a few years I was a professor, teaching all this stuff to poor souls who though it was all new and exciting... then I got a proper job and the rest is history. You'll have to wait for my autobiography to hear about jet fighters , MI5 , chasing bandits in the mountains behind Hong Kong , and other boring, non-computer related stuff. Oh, the tales I could tell, once the Official Secrets Act period has expired!
My son will shortly complete his second Masters degree and all he does is complain about how much money he owes on his student loan.
Anyway, finally to the question... Do you think getting a degree these days is worth the time, effort and money or should we consider going back to the tried and trusted apprentice system (basically interns starting with minimal but focused, initial education)?
- I would love to change the world, but they won’t give me the source code.
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