The goal of the Linux-Society (LS, dating back to the mid-90s as a professional club and tech-mentoring group) has been a purely-democratic Information Society; many of the articles are sociological in nature. The LS was merged with Perl/Unix of NY to form multi-layered group that included advocacy, project-oriented learning by talented high school students: textbook constructivism. Linux has severe limitations such that it is useless for any computer that will, say, print or scan. It is primarily used for webservers and embedded devices such as the Android. (Google is high-invested in it).

Technology is problematic. During the heyday of technology (1990s), it seemed it had the democratic direction Lewis Mumford said it should have in his seminal
Technics and Civilization.

Today, we are effectively stuck with Windows as Linux is poor on the desktop and has cultured a maladaptive following. Apple is prohibitive, and all other operating systems lack drivers, including Google's Android, an offshoot of linux.

In the late 90s there was hope for new kernels such as LibOS and ExoOS that would bare their hardware to programs, some of which would be virtual machines such as Java uses. Another important player was the L4 system that is a minor relation to the code underlying the Apple's systems. It was highly scientific but fell into the wrong hangs, apparently, and has suffered from having no progress on the desktop. There is a version, "SE" that is apparently running in many cell phones as specialized telecom chips, but is proprietary. SE's closed nature was only recently revealed, which is important because it is apparently built from publicly-owned code as it is not a "clean room" design it may violate public domain protections, and most certainly violates the widely-accepted social contract.

Recent attempts to enjoin into L4 development as an advocate for "the people" have been as frustrating (and demeaning) as previous attempts with the usual attacks to self-esteem by maladaptive "hacks" being reinforced by "leadership" (now mostly university professors).

In short, this leaves us with Windows, which is quite a reversal if you have read earlier posts here. But, upon Windows, we have free and open software development systems in the forms of GTK+ (the windows usually used on Linux) and the Minimal GNU Windows (MinGW and MSYS) systems. It is very likely this direction that development should go (that is, on Windows) such that s/w can then be ported to a currently-valid microkernel system that includes a driver system that can be adapted by hardware developers to reuse of their windows and apple drivers.

From a brief survey of L4, it appears that the last clean copy was the DROPS system of the early 2010s, was a German effort that used the Unix-like "OS kit" from an American University.

If we are going to be stuck on Windows, then it seems that a high level approach to free and open systems integration, such as creating fully transparent mouse communication between apps so that they can seamlessly work together as a single desktop (rather than deliberately conflicting). This would be very helpful for GIMP and Inkscape, both leading graphics programs that are strong in the special ways, but suffer from an inability to easily interrelate.

Another important issue is the nature, if you can call it that, of the "geek" or "hack." Technology is formed democratically but "harvested" authoritarian-ly --if I can coin a term that Mumford might use. Authority is plutarchy: a combination of aristocracy and oligarchy that is kept alive after all these millennia by using, or maligning, the information society as a part of the civilizing (or law-giving) process that embraces the dialectic as its method. Democratic restoration, that is to put humanity back on an evolutionary (and not de-evolutionary) track, I think, will require the exclusion of the "geek" from decision-making. As is, the free/open s/w culture attempts to give leadership to those who write the most lines of code --irrespective of their comprehension of the real world or relationship with normal users. We need normal people to somehow organize around common sense (rather than oligarchic rationalism) to bring to life useful and cohesive software and communications systems.

Interestingly, the most popular page on this site is about Carl Rogers' humanistic psychology, and has nothing to do with technology.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Why Obama-nomics will ultimately fail most Americans

We are so deep in sh*t nothing will work! (in simple graphs)

The data below comes from
Michael Hodges, http://mwhodges.home.att.net/

Our economy has not:
  • provided for long periods of rapidly rising real median family incomes, especially for one wage-earner families.
  • provided for steadily rising rates of savings for families. Savings are less than ever.
  • provided for rising living standards with less debt. Household debt ratios explode higher than ever before, much faster than national income.
  • made it easier for families to make a choice for one spouse to stay at home. Families several decades ago which could be well supported with one wage-earner, and very few of today's families realize such.

From Michael Hodges' graphs, the assumption to make about American decline is simple -- a complete reliance on other countries for manufacturing, and more recently services. But saying that "we want others to do stuff for us" perhaps because we are lazy is false; everyone wants to work, and the communities that made the stuff we use have been hurt beyond comprehension by the export of their manufacturing abilities. All factories are efficient; the idea that a community's manufacturing contribution to the nation, or any other contribution responsibilities should be taken away and given to others for any reason is simple cruelty.

In the small city that I live in, Torrington, Connecticut, there was in recent years a highly successful bearing factory that was among the best in the world. A foreign competitor was allowed to buy the factory simply to shut it down, to eliminate it as a competitor. This maneuver was legal, thanks to Congress, and was not challenged by the town, who told the citizens that they must work harder to compete in the "global market."

With the end of this important factory, along with the demise of many of this small city's other businesses, there has been a rise in desperation and crime as the really good citizens see themselves driven away often to be replaced by criminal populations annexing regions on behalf of big city gangs. With the rise in crime, and a horrendous local murder rate fueled by crack, this small city is now planning to convert this closed bearing factory into a justice center, complete with both courts and prisons.

This plan seems by design; it seems easier to find employment as part of a prison release program that as a normal job seeking citizen. From the historical perspective, this region is transfiguring itself from a healthy rural community with an effective democracy into slave-state based on prisoners. This is all very recent; I can distinctly remember the bearing factory, and the many other factories here in full, and virtually pollution-free, productivity.

In my honest opinion, things have to change. There has to be a criteria for describing and finding people who facilitate this kind of disastrous change, they have to be found, and they have to be prevented from carrying out this kind of activity. The first part, creating a descriptive criteria, seems easy enough, but the second step, acting to save the community, could be impossible. The criteria will no doubt describe the kinds of persons who facilitated Germany's decline into a slave state, and it took World War II to dislodge and imprison those "facilitators."

These charts showing American decline are by Micheal Hodges. They show very easily that American decline has been a long process, and has been so effective as to appear to be planned. His strongest data implies a shift from self-reliance and global leadership, to a nearly complete reliance on other nations, and local, regional, and national collapse.

The rationale behind such destructive leadership can only fall into two categories: treachery and mental illness. Recent research implies that those two things may be the same, and may fall under the psychological description of malignant narcissism. It may take the US military to dislodge this disorder, as it exists in the highest places and resembles the worst humanity has had to present: Hitler, Stalin, Saddam Hussein.

trend income maleDuring the 30 years 1977-2007 inflation-adjusted median income fell steadily for full-time male workers
family savings downward trendThe chart at left shows a 48 year trend of that part of disposable income that has been saved - - called 'personal savings rate'.

Prior to 1970 the rate of personal savings was rising, as were family incomes. Most families then had but one wage earner showing that they lived will well without today's increasing debt ratios (see chart below).
household-ratio.gif (4843 bytes)

This chart shows soaring household debt ratios during the past 2 decades of stagnant inflation-adjusted median family income growth. The chart shows that household debt increased two times faster than general economic growth.

The chart shows that during the 1960s and early 1970s the household debt ratio held fairly steady at about 53% of national income - which means household debt was not growing faster than growth of the total economy. Therefore, during this period of rising inflation-adjusted family incomes households did not increase their debt ratios.

mfg-worker.gif (4051 bytes)This chart shows the trend of the number of manufacturing workers as a percentage of all U.S. employees (non-agriculture) - - from 26% in 1960 to 9% in 2008, a 64% drop in the manufacturing ratio.
total merchandise trade trend

This chart measures the U.S. merchandise (goods, excluding military) trade balance each year since 1959. It shows previously the USA ran a balance of trade, meaning we were able to sell enough goods to other nations to pay for what we purchased from them.

America now runs massive deficits. If a country runs a trade deficit it is borrowing from the rest of the world so that it can spend in excess of its own production. This means the USA is less competitive than before. NOTE: The U.S. is setting record negative trade balances each year.
USA cummulative trade deficitsThis chart shows the USA cumulative merchandise trade deficit - - with all nations since 1985. (cumulative means adding all deficits)

The cumulative merchandise goods trade deficit was $8.2 Trillion during the last 23 years (since 1985). That means each American man, woman and child effectively borrowed $27,152 from producers in other nations, because we Americans consumed more goods from other nations than we produced and sold abroad. As a result, foreigners now own over $8 trillion more in US assets than in 1985.
debt-total-ratio-trend.gif (6227 bytes)The chart at left shows America's total debt (sum of all government debt and all private debt of households, business, and financial sectors) started to grow faster than growth of the economy's national income - - at about the same time (late 1970s to early 1980s) - -
increasing even faster today.
USA cummulative trade deficit with ChinaGraphic reality of China Trade

Related Links:
Rattlesnake Manifesto
Americans kill, so what is the kindest way to kill?
Hyper-DE-flation makes sense
Lies of the Times: Obama needs to fufill his promise
Beginning the American Break-Up: Ending the CIA
Inflation Key to the Recession Cycle
Spiritual Darwinism: Natural and Native Empathy