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america wasn't always like this

Randall Twede
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 21, 2000
Posts: 4339
    
    2

i got in a conversation with someone on the bus yesterday. she wanted to know why there are so many homeless people here. she said she was from africa and they don't have homeless people where she came from. rather than give a 1 or 2 hour lecture on corporate greed, illegal dumping, and outsourcing, i just told her it wasn't always that way here. i should have asked her what country she was from since i am getting tired after 4 years of living in a tent. she asked why i don't have a job. i said hey, i am 58 no one wants to hire me when they can hire a 20 year old. she said she has a son or nephew or something who just got out of high school and he cant get a job.


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Greg Charles
Sheriff

Joined: Oct 01, 2001
Posts: 2771
    
  10

I have to believe it won't always be this way now. My grandparents suffered through the Great Depression, when things were much worse. I really believe we reached the brink of a second one at the end of 2008. That's why when people moan about TARP and stimulus money, I don't get as worked up about it as they do. Things aren't nearly as bad as it looked like they were going to be. However, we are now stuck in an extended period of high unemployment, slow growth, and large deficits. It's not exactly a party.

I don't totally believe there's no homelessness in Africa, but another factor is Americans tend to be individualists. Other cultures emphasize community and wouldn't let a family member live on the streets. There's also a certain amount of stubborn individualism on the part of the homeless here (as far as I can tell). I think many of them wouldn't accept family help even if it were offered. That said, homelessness did increase dramatically in the 1980s when we shifted our priorities from social programs to tax cuts and military.
Mike Okri
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Joined: Jun 22, 2011
Posts: 83
That’s right. Individualism tends to prevail in rich countries like America.

Apart a brief recession here and there, America enjoyed a long period of economic growth and when you experience a long period of growth, it’s easy to think that it’s going to last forever, however, no economy is immune from recession.

Lately, America has been prone to economic bubbles and this has got to end. We had the internet bubble in the late 90s and the real estate bubble in the late 2000s. I shudder to think of the consequences of another economic bubble in the future.
Pat Farrell
Rancher

Joined: Aug 11, 2007
Posts: 4639
    
    5

We have homeless because we closed the mental hospitals and kicked the patients out into the street. We have homeless because, as others have said, we don't live in extended families, so when you lose your home, you can't move into your brother's basement. We have homeless because we have high unemployment. We have homeless because we favor single family homes in the suburbs over apartments in the city -- when you lose your home, you've also lost your car, and now you can't get to the few jobs that exist.
Frank Silbermann
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 06, 2002
Posts: 1379
Pat Farrell wrote:We have homeless because we closed the mental hospitals and kicked the patients out into the street. We have homeless because, as others have said, we don't live in extended families, so when you lose your home, you can't move into your brother's basement. We have homeless because we have high unemployment. We have homeless because we favor single family homes in the suburbs over apartments in the city -- when you lose your home, you've also lost your car, and now you can't get to the few jobs that exist.
Also, if you live in a tent, by African standards you're not homeless...
Ogeh Ikem
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 13, 2002
Posts: 180
Frank Silbermann wrote:Also, if you live in a tent, by African standards you're not homeless...

That's a pretty ignorant statement. How much do you know about African Standards?
Frank Silbermann
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 06, 2002
Posts: 1379
Ogeh Ikem wrote:
Frank Silbermann wrote:Also, if you live in a tent, by African standards you're not homeless...

That's a pretty ignorant statement. How much do you know about African Standards?
Are Africans who live traditional (i.e. pre-colonial) lifestyles (e.g. cattle herders) considered homeless, then?
Ogeh Ikem
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 13, 2002
Posts: 180
Living in tents is not the African Standard. Living a "pre-colonial" lifestyle is not the African Standard.
Jimmy Clark
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 16, 2008
Posts: 2187
It might be beneficial to learn the differences between a "continent" and a "country" and a "city." Africa is composed of over 50 countries each with populations in the millions. The woman on the bus was most likely speaking about the rate of "homelessness" in her city or hometown, not the continent. However, a small twist on an Internet post changes the context to something not logical or even realistic.

Outlook for U.S.A. is very bleak .... as education levels, knowledge, skills and abilities slowly decline as a result of " t . e . c . h . n . o . l . g . i. e . a . d . v . a . n . c . e . m . e . n . t . s "
Joanne Neal
Rancher

Joined: Aug 05, 2005
Posts: 3169
    
  10
Jimmy Clark wrote:Outlook for U.S.A. is very bleak .... as education levels, knowledge, skills and abilities slowly decline as a result of " t . e . c . h . n . o . l . g . i. e . a . d . v . a . n . c . e . m . e . n . t . s "

Was the irony intended ?


Joanne
Jimmy Clark
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 16, 2008
Posts: 2187
Joanne, do you see any irony in my statement? Please share.
fred rosenberger
lowercase baba
Bartender

Joined: Oct 02, 2003
Posts: 10925
    
  12

technologie vs. technology, methinks.


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Joanne Neal
Rancher

Joined: Aug 05, 2005
Posts: 3169
    
  10
fred rosenberger wrote:technologie vs. technology, methinks.


Exactly. In a statement referring to a decline in education levels. In a technology forum.
Jimmy Clark
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 16, 2008
Posts: 2187
You guys are smartz

The human ability to deeply concentrate, patience, discipline, verbally communicate, harvest knowledge, retain information, maintain attention, develop intellectually are all in danger. A growing dependency on "social media technology" will be a toxic and dangerous condition. While the gadgets and "cool" abilities, e.g. "I can share a photo of my breakfast on the Web", seem harmless, there are serious ramifications and consequences involving a vast array of human abilities and conditions. This most likely will become more apparent in the next few decades.

We are already feeling the harmful effects of a "connected world" in our financial systems via complex relationships between large global organizations and governments. Yes, there are benefits. I feel the dangers are much greater however.

As a society, have we really replaced printed Encyclopedias with Google search results? Or, closed our bookstores and replaced them with Halloween Costume shops? If the electricity should ever go, the dark ghoulish side of man will certainly come out.
Paul Clapham
Bartender

Joined: Oct 14, 2005
Posts: 18154
    
    8

Everything these days is driven by "economic growth". No matter where it leads or what its actual effects are, you aren't allowed to question it. Being against economic growth is like being against cute fluffy kittens or something like that.

And yes, over the last 100 years we have mostly had economic growth. And when I say "we" I'm talking about what Randall was talking about, America and Europe and their shared economy. But we've been cheating in several ways. First, we've been cheating by increasing our population. That makes it look like we have growth, just because 20 people produce twice as much economy as 10 people do. And second, we've been cheating by increasing the complexity of our economy. 50 years ago a teacher would just teach their students out of some textbook. Now they have a long list of goals they have to achieve, they have students with disabilities who were shut out of schools 50 years ago. And take police officers -- their paperwork load is more than double what it was 50 years ago, for much the same reasons. So you have people performing activities which seem laudable but when you add them all together, it's just paper-pushing. But it still counts as economic activity.

And complexity isn't just making our public servants into paper-producing machines. It's starting to get out of control. Enron was the first instance of out-of-control complexity; their modus operandi was to buy companies and chop them into pieces in such a way that nobody could ever figure out what was worth something and what was worthless because there was just too much accounting BS to plough through. And then we had the sub-prime mortgages which were more or less the same thing. Governments reacted by -- guess what -- making people do more paperwork so that wouldn't happen again. It's going to happen again.

The other issue is that on the whole, we have had economic growth which puts more wealth into the economy. Problem is, for the last 20 or 30 years that wealth has been going primarily to the people who have money and not to the people who provide labour. Which pushes people out of the bottom of that group and into tents, where they can't even provide labour any more.

The people who provide labour are starting to catch on to this process, though. That's what the Occupy Wall Street movement is about. Only you aren't allowed to speak out against economic growth, which leaves them looking as if they don't have a real message. Which makes people think they're just a bunch of 21st-century hippies or something. It's going to be interesting to see what happens over the next few years.
fred rosenberger
lowercase baba
Bartender

Joined: Oct 02, 2003
Posts: 10925
    
  12

Jimmy Clark wrote:The human ability to deeply concentrate, patience, discipline, verbally communicate, harvest knowledge, retain information, maintain attention, develop intellectually are all in danger. A growing dependency on "social media technology" will be a toxic and dangerous condition.

Didn't they say the exact same thing about television? and rock-and-roll? and swing music? and probably hundreds of other 'new' things?
Mike Okri
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 22, 2011
Posts: 83
I wonder what people will say about the hazards of technological advancements when in 10 years time, we're carrying out full blown conversations with our mobile phones (thanks to Siri).
Jimmy Clark
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 16, 2008
Posts: 2187
Whether it was said or not is not really relevant. It could have been said. Maybe it wasn't. Socializing via electronic technology is not a "new" concept however. Probably been around for at least three decades in different forms. The first Internet connection was crafted in 1969 and a unified World Wide Web was created in the early 90's. Academic scholars and psychologists around the world have been and are currently studying the effects of "social media" as it exists today. They have a ton of material to base their research on, including concrete evidence.

The "economic" drivers for pushing "social media" concepts are extremely powerful. Today, advertising revenues and power transform companies into billion dollar powerhouses. The key driver is "cash" which is hidden under the disguise of "we are making the world a better place, more connected." It seems harmless, but not really.

At a recent political debate, a high-profile politician aggressively stated, "If I am elected, I will immediately eliminate three departments. Education, Energy, and ..." He could not remember the third department. However, it is the aggressive and confident tone of his statement that is most alarming. He demonstrated that he really did not have a clean and clear understanding of what he was saying. He most likely was simply reciting canned and prepared statements that were provided to him. I digress.

Aside, writing text messages on a mobile device while driving a motor vehicle is extremely dangerous. Reading text messages while you are driving a school bus full of children is also very dangerous
Mike Okri
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 22, 2011
Posts: 83
Jimmy Clark wrote:Socializing via electronic technology is not a "new" concept however. Probably been around for at least three decades in different forms.

Is there any social element to using Siri? With Siri, all that's required to carry out a full blown conversation is you, your phone and some servers. There's nobody else involved in the conversation.

Jimmy Clark wrote:At a recent political debate, a high-profile politician aggressively stated, "If I am elected, I will immediately eliminate three departments. Education, Energy, and ..." He could not remember the third department.

I think the third department he couldn't remember was Energy
Sameer Jamal
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 16, 2001
Posts: 1870
Most of the people are blaming technological advancement for the poor condition of the people, however I think technology has nothing to do with it, the problem lies in system or rather interest based economy, where bunch of people sell dreams through mortgages and loans on high interest rates and others get trapped into that.
Randall Twede
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 21, 2000
Posts: 4339
    
    2

i think jimmy has a point, and i agree wholeheartedly with paul when he says:

Paul: The other issue is that on the whole, we have had economic growth which puts more

wealth into the economy. Problem is, for the last 20 or 30 years that wealth has been going

primarily to the people who have money and not to the people who provide labour. Which

pushes people out of the bottom of that group and into tents, where they can't even provide

labour any more.

The people who provide labour are starting to catch on to this process, though. That's what

the Occupy Wall Street movement is about. Only you aren't allowed to speak out against

economic growth, which leaves them looking as if they don't have a real message. Which makes

people think they're just a bunch of 21st-century hippies or something. It's going to be

interesting to see what happens over the next few years.

i could'nt agree more

Jimmy:At a recent political debate, a high-profile politician aggressively stated, "If I am

elected, I will immediately eliminate three departments. Education, Energy, and ..." He

could not remember the third department. However, it is the aggressive and confident tone of

his statement that is most alarming. He demonstrated that he really did not have a clean and

clear understanding of what he was saying. He most likely was simply reciting canned and

prepared statements that were provided to him. I digress.

that must be my esteemed governor Rick Perry. the plastic surgery should tell you where he

is coming from.
 
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