Monday, March 23, 2015

Putnam Trolls The Cathedral Again

Our buddy Robert Putnam is back trolling himself and the Cathedral. If you don't remember the name, Putnam published Bowling Alone. Sailer covered it in Fragmented Future. Putnam was disturbed by his own findings, which show diversity causes a decline in social trust and a breakdown in communities. Putnam summing it up:
In the presence of [ethnic] diversity, we hunker down. We act like turtles. The effect of diversity is worse than had been imagined. And it’s not just that we don’t trust people who are not like us. In diverse communities, we don’t trust people who do look like us.
Now he's back with a less shocking finding, but equally disturbing to the Cathedral.

Rich kids use the Internet to get ahead, and poor kids use it ‘mindlessly’
“It has not leveled the playing field at all in terms of the difference between rich kids and poor kids,” Putnam told MarketWatch. Though it’s not the fault of the technology — or the kids, he adds.

As for technology, most of the kids Putnam profiles in the book had smartphones, but the poorest ones tended to use the devices “in completely different, mindless ways,” he said. “Not that this is their fault.”

“Compared to their poorer counterparts, young people from upper-class backgrounds (and their parents) are more likely to use the Internet for jobs, education, political and social engagement, health and newsgathering, and less for entertainment and recreation,” Putnam writes. “Affluent Americans use the Internet in ways that are mobility-enhancing, whereas poorer, less educated Americans typically use it in ways that are not.”

These are some great quotes, but these two are the best because it's like a connect the dots game with only two dots:
“Just because teens can get access to a technology that can connect them to anyone anywhere does not mean that they have equal access to knowledge and opportunity.”

“At least at this point in its evolution, the Internet seems more likely to widen the opportunity gap than to close it.”
News flash: the Internet is devolving! The Internet is like the library, but with a movie theater, an arcade and hookers. The big shift over the past decade has been online streaming of entertainment and massively multiplayer online games. If anything, the Internet is evolving in a direction that aims for a more complete mindlessness for those who seek it. In the future, people won't do drugs. They'll get high on virtual reality.

Today, technology causes a widening gap between haves and have nots (intelligence, character, discipline, work ethic, etc.). It is a reversal of the trend since the early days of the Industrial Revolution, which mainly created democratic technologies that closed gaps. The ditch digger swapped a shovel for a backhoe, allowing him to do the labor of 20 men at once. Now, the Internet allows the intelligent to create the equivalent of a backhoe for their brain, leveraging their intelligence. At the same time, machines are beginning to replace the bottom rung of intelligent workers. Meanwhile, progressive immigration and social policy is literally the worst of all possible worlds, destroying social capital for the people who need it more than ever.

Well trolled Mr. Putnam, well trolled.

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