Sonia Sodha used to advise Ed Miliband. Presumably the Ed-Stone was her idea. Thus, to the extent that Ed was ever going to run the country Ms. Sodha was close to doing so herself. Which worries.Because I’d rather like those who even might – let alone those who do – run the country to be a little better informed and a little better at basic logic than this. I even think it would be an idea that those who write the newspaper leaders – as Ms. Sodha does – do better than this but when Mr. Kamm is also so employed I realise that’s a forlorn hope.
We’ve got to start thinking beyond our own lifespans if we’re going to avoid extinction
Bit of an odd thing for the left to be claiming given they’ve just spent a century trashing religion – you know, those thoughts of the life everlasting. But snark aside there are two major problems here:
There is a lot that could account for this flatlining. It was once assumed that increased productivity, driven by technological progress, would result in us having more leisure time: see John Maynard Keynes’s prediction in the 1930s that we’d be working just 15 hours a week by now. But instead, luxury beat leisure and an explosion in consumerism has driven us towards ever more consumption.
Total cod-gonads. Keynes talked more of capital accumulation than technological advance. But the real mistake is to miss that the reduction in working hours did happen. It now takes some 15 hours a week to run a household instead of the 60 in his day. It’s exactly that which produced the economic liberty of women such as Ms. Sodha enjoys today. The weekly hours of leisure have soared since then too. As anyone with even an ounce of historical knowledge would know – those leisure industries hardly existed back then and as we now know from the lockdown they’re a considerable portion of the modern economy.
Then there’s this which is enraging:
So we need to think far more about the mechanisms and institutions that could get us on to a different path. The Long Time Project is exploring how humans could shift their time horizons so, simply put, we feel more emotionally connected to our future descendants. It points to the fact that we tend to view our future selves, let alone future generations, as strangers. We need to rewire the way we think about the future, and our own ageing and deaths; the projects’ founders believe that art and culture can play an important role. And we could learn from those times in history when humans have proved their ability to think beyond their own lifespan: “cathedral thinking” is based on those architects who planned spectacular buildings that would never be finished in their own lifetimes.
Humans do think beyond their own lifetime. People struggle to educate their children – even to the point of paying for it twice to escape the state version of it – because they know that that is the extension of their own lives beyond their end. They even like to leave money to their children as inheritances, again an extension of this life beyond its final curtain. Yet it is exactly people like Ms. Sodha who insist that people should not be allowed to do these things. Because to do so is to perpetuate this life beyond its end.
That people do think beyond this mortal vale is exactly the thing the modern left complains about.
Look, that people this ill informed, this incapable of observation, write the newspapers is one thing. But the thought that someone like this came close to running the country is appalling. Surely we can do better than this?