What TV?

Who here does not have a TV (hand raised)? I don't and I don't miss it at all. I have become a child of the internet. I get my news from blogs and websites, which I find have a far deeper level of discourse, but you have to avoid going around in circles and not getting a balanced view (not that TV is any better, just easier). I watch sports streamed over crappy-but-steadily improving pirate streams. I haven't bought a CD or DVD for over a year, and I even started reading ebooks recently. Believe it or not, I even get my porn online! I would say I send an average of 2 letters a year, tops. My mom just friended me on Facebook. I write a blog. Two years ago I watched a Tufts ultimate game live on my phone while waiting for sushi at PF Chang's. I have never and will never subscribe to a newspaper. I listen to Youtube or TED Talks while I work, and I would not be able to function in my job or at school without Wikipedia, Excel, and Google. I speak daily to my girlfriend who lives 9 time zones and 10,000 miles away, for free, and with streaming video. The only reason I even own a cell phone is for travelling and talking to old people, and I can live without even that. I never once turned in an assignment by email at undergrad; now I can't imagine the wastefulness and inconvenience of handing in a hard copy of my homework or even my thesis (when I finally get around to writing it...) 

If you had told me this 10 years ago, I would think you were crazy.  But sure enough, newspapers are failing all around us, and news on TV seems to be relegated to niche cable channels, or else some remedial and deteriorating facade for special interests that can never hope to stand up to the depth and fearlessness of the blogosphere.  A
recent article compares the current Web 2.0 revolution, or whatever you want to call it, to the printing press.  It's hard to argue that we are living in a revolution on that scale.  (That is pretty cool.) 

My father, who is one of the few company lifers I know, is currently and seeming perpetually on the edge of layoffs.  He has worked hard for the same multinational (of course, it has changed hands repeatedly, but what doesn't) for over 25 years.  He was telling me that NAFTA is to blame for his job being on the brink time and again.  Sorry dad, but I have to disagree.  First of all, it's a pretty amazing thing to have the same job for 25 years.  That alone points to a special company.  Second, there are a very few governments that can even hope to control the flow of money and jobs in and out of their country.  I'd put North Korea, maybe Zimbabwe, in some sense Iran and Cuba, on that list.  The only way to do it is to become so authoritarian, or destroy your country's rule of law and economy so badly, that you effectively imprison the population.  Otherwise, jobs are moving where they can get the best rates going.

And while I love what we have in America, I can't really say it is as it should be.  If you really do think that God creates people equal, and ignoring transaction costs, then you have to agree that it is only right for a laborer in one place who is willing ot make a part for $1 an hour to get to make that part over someone who demands $50 an hour.  If you want to stay on top, in the words of Pink Floyd, "You've got to be crazy/You gotta have a real need/You've got to sleep on your toes when you're on the street." and "You've got to keep one eye looking over your shoulder/You know it's gonna get harder, harder, and harder, as you get older."  That speaks to the America in the age of the internet and globalization.  We're a self-made rich woman being bled dry in one sense, but we're also the Bentley wife whining about how dreary the view is from the Malibu heights when the fog rolls in.  The implication - you don't have a right to this job any more than some anonymous Bangladeshi.  Your job and your company probably won't even be around much longer, but if you can handle that you might find a better job a month later in your hometown, or the next state, or Bangalore.  If you can't handle it, you're probably destined for the welfare rolls of people who the times have passed by.  For what it's worth, I think most of us are more than capable, and in the long run we might just be happy doing it.

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