Boundless Reads #58 — Five #goodreads to Start Your Week
What started as a Facebook group in 2014 and evolved to Media Feast and then to The Sunday Five is now #BoundlessReads in line with the broader project I am working on in 2018. I am still planning on keeping this separate from my other newsletter and have no plans to make it anything other than me sharing good things I read during the week for free.
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#1 Naked?: Technology spending surpassed spending on clothes in 2010 as clothing spending has continued to fall as a percent of consumer expenditures for forty years. The article explores many ways to explain this, but I imagine one factor is that the iPhone X rather than designers apparel is the new status signal.
The article also offers an unintentionally sad chart with the title: “Companies that allow casual dress every day.” Luckily it is increasing but I do hope for a future when we look at the notion that organizations give us permission do anything as quite absurd.
#2 Modernity: A #longread (36 minutes) on the battle against truth from the post-modern left and the pre-modern right. The thing I most enjoyed from this article was the use of codswallop and poppycock in the same sentence:
“These moral luminaries demand we face a ludicrous choice between odious poppycock and loathsome codswallop: only by perfect radical left-thinking can the true Modern Utopia be achieved, and only by perfect radical right-thinking can we hope to regain Modernity’s lost Golden Era.
A shorter and more accessible version of from Andrew Sullivan. He attacks current leftist ideology and just when you think he is done, goes after the right and their lack of actual conservatism.
Sidebar/Thoughts: You may have noticed I have posted a lot of articles identifying the bad ideas in both sides of the political debate. I am incredibly passionate about learning, exploring new ideas and constantly evolving my current thinking. I always try to start with the assumption that I am likely wrong about major ideas, but I won’t know which ones for a long time.
In a time in which many people deride the current state of the media, it also seems like we are in a time of a wide diversity of ideas, viewpoints and perspectives. However, it is harder to find those ideas. We all have gut instincts and emotions for how things should be and given the quality of algorithms and feeds to quickly detect these thoughts, we are pummeled with enormous amounts of information to confirm those instincts.
The problem with this is that we can quickly enter a state of self-righteousness and start to look at the world as right and wrong. The truth is often messy, something we are not comfortable with. For example, there is ample evidence that climate change has had many positive effects on the world. Does this mean we should not do anything about it? No, its just not as clean cut as you want to believe.
Similarly, I have had to abandon some of my beliefs about the progressive movement. While on the surface, I would identify as incredibly progressive (values like equality, fairness & justice) it has become apparent that the 2nd and 3rd order effects of organizing politically around these ideas is counterproductive in that it limits free speech and pursues a “purity” of thought that can never be achieved. Not to mention the fact that is has led to an opposite and equally absurd position on the right. It seems, however, that we are wired to look at everything as an either/or, when in fact things are just…messy.
Do I have a better answer, no? But I am curious to keep learning and evolving my thinking on this. So thanks for joining me on this messy road of learning and making sense of the world.
#3 Pay Gap: An economists dream — pay data from Uber’s gender-blind algorithm still resulted in a 7% pay gap. What led to the pay gap:
Men choosing more lucrative times and locations to drive
A learning gap due to women quitting the platform more quickly than men that compounds factor #1
Men drive faster than women
#4 Life Design…Or Not: The Economist has an article about the trend of increasing craftsmanship (notably missing is any real evidence other than anecdotes) in the economy. This article seems to suggest that we are increasing the number of alternative lifestyles and paths we can carve in the world, but my takeaway seemed to be that this type of work is about status, serving the needs of the well-off professional class and one that will be abandoned as soon as it is not seen as an “elite path”….“Elite pastimes are short-lived, for once they spread to the mainstream, the elite moves on”
#5 RIP Cereal Characters: Chile has attempted to curb obesity by placing taxes on sugary beverages and limits on marketing and advertising. I will say, the new cereal boxes without the characters like Tony the Tiger seem much less appealing. However, I am not sure that people are going to forget how delicious and addictive Cinnamon Toast Crunch is.
“Obesity rates in Chile have yet to fall” — Tony the Tiger 1, Chile 0