I don't know what I'd do with an extra $100. Maybe a nice dinner that feels about the same as any other nice dinner I can have whenever I want?
But an extra few hundred thousand, now we're talking. I could buy a home instead of rent and save money in the long run. Or travel for a while. Plenty of things you can do with an extra few hundred thousand.
As it stands today. I have more money than I need for ongoing lifestyle stuff, but not enough for long term improvements. Hence I buy avocado toast instead of a house.
The dichotomy that there are only the ultra wealthy and the almost destitude is false. There's a lot of inbetween.
5 generations or so ago, the plan was something like "have a bunch of children and set them up for success as best you can."
Anyhow, there's a lot of safety factor in terms of optional rent-seeking behavior. Hospital prices and care levels can be dropped from "optimized to loot savings of middle-aged families" to something more in line with the real costs of having X doctors per hundred thousand citizens. We can let the McMansions rot. We can stop squandering our resources on stuff that really doesn't matter.
Pet peeve: Low interest rates somehow hurting the huddled masses. Low interest rates benefit those with loans and hurts those with capital. Poor people are massively more likely to benefit from low interest rates than to be hurt by it.
And credit can still be tight when rates are zero (or negative). Low rates as they stand hurt those that are trying to save.
We're talking about homes here right? Take a look at major cities across the country, poor people aren't buying homes — developers are, and they're renting them to the poor.
The type of interest the poor are paying is on credit cards, cars, and payday loans. The poor often don't even have bank accounts.
There seems to be a correlation between low growth and low interest rates.
It's interesting to speculate that the direction of causation might be low interest rates -> inefficient use of capital -> low growth. In which case low interest rates would hurt everyone.
What is your model?
During the 90s low interest rates were not associated with low growth. Your model doesn't explain that.
You haven't established a causation here at all. How does it work? Why? What? It also completely ignores nominal vs. real interest rates.
Lack of good investment options really has little to do with poverty. Complex causes, complex remedies.
The same goes for interest rates. A cap on interest rates does not make it easier for the poor to buy homes and cars; in paying low interest rates people have to pay for much higher prices for homes.
By giving up control of nominal interest rate, it would return to equilibrium and reduce capital inequality.
I know people paying >50% of their income on an over-inflated mortgage for a starter home.
An increase in the price of rent should lead to an increase in construction, which leads to an increase in real estate value.
The return on investment is there to be made, and the obstacle isn't low interest rates.
And last I checked the average Joe doesn't have enough savings to put into stocks.
This leads to a lot of amusing, sometimes infuriating cultural conflicts. I frequently have this type of conversation with colleagues in my profession, and it's frustrating to see all the technocratic utopianism and narrowly conceived TEDdie-ism that often obtains on the other side.
Lately, I've resorted to making the point about mindfulness and purpose through the compact vehicle of jest, since business interactions seldom organically accommodate discussion of serious ideas and issues. In our hipster age of sham social capital, deniable low-calorie intellectual commitments, and instant disavowal of anything that begets complications down the road, oblique jokes seem to work better than direct critiques.
- Client: "Our server has had five-nines uptime this past year!"
- Me: "But was it running good stuff?"
- Client: "What?"
- Me: "What's better, a highly available server sitting idle or running crap, or a less reliable server running good stuff? Quality over quantity, right?"
- Client: "Uhhh..."
- Me: "Think about it. Is the measure of a server really in how long it's been running? The essence of a server is that it serves, yeah? Availability is a secondary—if important—quality."
- Client: "... okay ...?"
- Me: "So, it's not enough to just be up. The host has to run good stuff. Has the server been running good stuff?"
- Client: "Erm... it runs our middleware? Are you asking if it's good code?"
- Me: "No, I'm asking if it's a good thing to run, although I suppose for a thing to be good to run, it has to be written well enough. Bad code doesn't run well."
- Client: "WTF?"
- Me: "Is your middleware good stuff?"
- Client: "What does that even mean?"
- Me: "Doesn't it bother you that you don't know?"
- Client: "... I guess I never really thought about it like that."
It's what I encourage everyone to do. Bring a little ancient Greece to the cloud data centre.
The point is far more likely to be lost if I simply straight-up tell them the perceived problem in an "unpretentious" way. A lot of startup bros work quite simply; they may call you a pretentious prick, but they're more likely to respond to challenge to their egos by way of riddle—even if delivered in the dumpster fire form, i.e. a joke that their FOMO makes them anxious about not being in on—than sincere entreatments to ponder the uselessness of another multiplatform ad analytics play. I've given up on the latter.
You can be the smartest person in the room, and if you're as smart as you think you are, everyone else in the room will love you for it. Acting like you're sure you're the smartest person in the room is a great way to make everyone else in the room hate you. Which do you think you're doing, when you act like you laid out above?
What I do know is that wisecracks seem to have more provocative potency in our day than commonsensical, plainspoken talk. The latter is easily deflected by hipster shields, as described more fully here:
TL;DR avoiding committal engagement with serious ideas and issues is pretty much table stakes among the Millennial version of MBA frat boys. That's not how you get to them.
I've talked more than one of them out of stupid business plans by making fun of them. That's closer to their language. It sometimes works.
The prerequisite for the point being lost or you jumping straight to the point is you having a point in the first place and that doesn't seem to be the case from the comments you have posted so far.
I also find it amusing you seem to have disdain and a feeling of superiority to startup bros and their emojis yet from a cursory glance, it doesn't look like you are doing anything out of ordinary or have achieved anything worthwhile yourself.
There are people who find "the alchemist" deep and life changing and there are people who find it trite and useless. You seem to be the first kind and I am latter. Nothing could come out of this conversation for you or me, so I will sign off now.
That is certainly true.
But the article offers a good exposition of what happens when you have a world with too little philosophy. And that's the relatively harmless side of it. Everyone from Kafka to Hannah Arendt to Erich Fromm has sketched out the malignant side of capitalist education -- a society of people with skills but no Knowledge, a globe of narrow technical specialists with, to borrow a favoured turn of phrase from Dmitry Orlov, "nary a forehead in the crowd disfigured by a sentient impulse".
This is a great article. I nominate it for article of the year.
(I like a lot of HN articles, but the average Sam Kriss article is a lot better. Like I'm a dog drooling over my kibble... and then one day I get a sniff of my master's well-cooked person-food.)
 Badoom tss.
Seriously? Our infrastructure is crumbling, billions of people still don't have enough food or clean water. Diseases, even curable ones, are killing people every day and you have to ask "To Do What?"??
Give me a break. Stop gazing at your navel for 10 seconds and go out and interact with the world. I guarantee you'll find a problem that needs fixing.
Of course, most people learning how to code will not tackle these problems in the first place. The incentives are such that it's more rational to create yet another zero-sum ad-based social-app-for-dogs project. Even the smartest programmers of our generation are probably working on some way to strengthen target advertisements or some other "late-stage capitalism" product that is not useful in the bigger picture, or even constitutes a downright drain on resources. But who can blame them? Without money you are treated like a subhuman creature, with enough of it you are almost a God.
And what % of tech startups are tackling these problems?
1. I drive a lot less, because I can run errands online rather than having to go somewhere, like depositing a check. I do nearly all shopping online now.
2. The navigator apps eliminate the map-in-my-lap, and I've found more efficient routes to drive places than I used to.
3. I no longer have to give out detailed directions to get to my residence.
4. I don't go to the movie theater anymore.
Trusted points and regulation/taxes doesn't remove the benefits (distributed nature, smart contracts, and visibility) of a cryptocurrency like Ethereum. They are going to grow based on big corporate support and adoption. In fact, it's already happening: http://www.cnbc.com/2017/05/23/bigger-than-bitcoin-enterpris...
How do people do it (buying BTC, or ETH)?
I think most people only need to read and write. Many skip writing. In many intellectual circles it is even regarded as slightly charming to be innumerate. These are people who take pride in their knowledge. How can math and coding be applied to a retail job? A shift worker at Zara isn't going to be allowed to integrate their code with the Inditex backend.
Now, does that make the essay sillier or does it make it scarier?