Thursday, July 24, 2008

Move On

This blog entry is going to start out talking about my education, jobs, then technological change, but the real focus is appropriate social justice agendas versus pathological social justice agendas.

I have a Bachelor of Science from Evergreen State College. While there I attended several great courses, interned as a streaming web server admin, and generally had an enriching experience. Came out smarter than I went in.

Through those years of school up till this year I was programming in a way that got the job done ok enough, and was cutting edge in 1999. I didn't even realize how behind I was because the programming worked perfectly well for purposes at my job and homebrew projects. I decided take several O' Reilly School of Technology certification courses. The first certification, Client-Side Web Programming, I am 75% done with. This is an area I have had proficiency in since the year 2000. I took the course just to learn a few things at the last of its lessons, but it turned out so much has changed across the whole field, and the course taught me how to do the most basic things in a more current powerful style.

Here I am in 2008 paying tuition and spending several hours between 3AM-7AM to redo what already sort of was working for me in a field in which I was noted as an overachiever during courses taken in 2000-2003. I am paying money for education, working several hours a day, to maintain my status in the world.

There was an article published recently observing that web programming technologies are constantly spinning off new entire frameworks that take intense investment of time and focus to learn. The point on this is, my experience of finding an old proficiency obsolete and needing to go back to school in order to be employable is very much the norm.

So far this entry you are reading seems to be about my schooling, programming jobs, or the Internet. But think about a piece of rhetoric at least I see all the time in news or opinion pieces:"these people are so destitute, so without hope, so they turn to drugs and crime. We need to provide more jobs in the area in order to reverse this trend". That rhetoric is usually for a rundown inner city neighborhood or a third world country. For the rest, the rhetoric "People want to work, we need to give them jobs" is usually meant to reference all suburbanites, Reagan Democrats and red state Republicans. Jobs? What an empty reference.

Anything I don't buy at the local grocery store I order through I just bought some Crocs (shoes). The shoes travelled from the manufacturing plant in Mexico, to the company warehouse in Tuscon, and from there it rides in a USPS truck to my door. This Amazon purchase eliminates the need for a local physical store, and all those jobs that would have built and worked inside the store. My spending power eliminates as many unskilled worker jobs as possible. At work we order massive amounts of technology supplies on the same criteria. So do millions of other consumers that use online shopping and choose the cheapest sale of an item they want.

This is the new economy, and it is here to stay.

Just as our political rhetoric throws away the generic citizen into the garbage bin of generic worker, we do they same in claiming default high valuation of life, lifestyles, and cultures. Nothing in the dynamics of reality suggest equality of life, lifestyles, and cultures. They all have varying degrees of success, and the success is very very noteworthy because the diametric opposites are the failures which include slavery, starvation, and death.

To say "look at this, a person/lifestyle/culture, so automatically wonderful" is as ignorant as saying "I have a job now, I can buy everything I need and live happily ever after". Certainly I am not suggesting a hard and fast judgement of these. I am claiming that we've had a hard and fast judgement already for too long, one that is claiming equality. We don't need to swing to other incorrect pole, but need to both recognize the very real and uneven outcomes different people/lifestyles/cultures generate AND recognize the situation is dynamic and relative.

Reality has many rich and wonderful points of reference, but they migrate to new locations constantly. No human or class of humans has a right to these good points, and other humans locked out, perpetually. The good points are open to all, but only those that migrate to the points. Migration implies non-stasis, and implies good things are not everywhere and without access contingencies.

Point is: work for social justice, implore people to migrate to where the good things are, and the migration takes changes in intellect, location, lifestyle, epistemology, or more generally culture. Stasis means a likely eventual defeat.

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