Bertrand Russell, In Praise of Idleness and Other Essays

I like the simplicity of this argument.  It’s meant as a refutation of capitalism but there’s a logical short-cut here.

“Suppose that, at a given moment, a certain number of people are engaged in the manufacture of pins. They make as many pins as the world needs, working (say) eight hours a day. Someone makes an invention by which the same number of men can make twice as many pins: pins are already so cheap that hardly any more will be bought at a lower price. In a sensible world, everybody concerned in the manufacturing of pins would take to working four hours instead of eight, and everything else would go on as before. But in the actual world this would be thought demoralizing. The men still work eight hours, there are too many pins, some employers go bankrupt, and half the men previously concerned in making pins are thrown out of work. There is, in the end, just as much leisure as on the other plan, but half the men are totally idle while half are still overworked. In this way, it is insured that the unavoidable leisure shall cause misery all round instead of being a universal source of happiness. Can anything more insane be imagined?” ― Bertrand Russell, In Praise of Idleness and Other Essays

It’s important not to overlook that “invention”.  It’s not the invention itself that makes the workers more productive.  It’s the embodiment of the invention in the pin-making machinery that generates the productivity.  Somebody has to pay for those more expensive machines.

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When the left turns on its own

This is nuts. The liberals or progressives among us used to defend one’s right to express an opinion, however unpopular.  Not so much now.  

“Shutting down conservatives has become de rigueur. But now anti-free-speech activists are increasingly turning their ire on free-thinking progressives. Liberals shouldn’t cede the responsibility to defend free speech on college campuses to conservatives. After all, without free speech, what’s liberalism about?”

http://www.seattletimes.com/opinion/when-the-left-turns-on-its-own/