Things I read in August.
Jonathan Haidt and Jean M. Twenge in The New York Times writes about the effects of smartphones on teenagers.
In a paper we just published in The Journal of Adolescence, we report that in 36 out of 37 countries, loneliness at school has increased since 2012. We grouped the 37 countries into four geographic and cultural regions, and we found the same pattern in all regions: Teenage loneliness was relatively stable between 2000 and 2012, with fewer than 18 percent reporting high levels of loneliness. But in the six years after 2012, rates increased dramatically. They roughly doubled in Europe, Latin America and the English-speaking countries, and rose by about 50 percent in the East Asian countries.
Likes encourage you to amplify moral outrage:
positive social feedback for outrage expressions increases the likelihood of future outrage expressions, consistent with principles of reinforcement learning. In addition, users conform their outrage expressions to the expressive norms of their social networks, suggesting norm learning also guides online outrage expressions.
James Flynn traces the origins of “Scientific Buddhism” from The Magazine of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Cassady Rosenblum in the New York Times on the ‘Lying Flat’ movemement from China.
“Lying flat is my sophistic movement,” Mr. Luo wrote, tipping his hat to Diogenes the Cynic, a Greek philosopher who is said to have lived inside a barrel to criticize the excesses of Athenian aristocrats. On Chinese social media, Mr. Luo’s manifesto, and his assertion that he has a “right to choose a slow lifestyle” of reading, exercising and doing odd jobs to get by, quickly went viral. Sympathizers shared versions of a belief that is gaining global resonance: Work has become intolerable. Rest is resistance.
Michael Eby in the New Left Review’s Sidecar. Eby calls the agile method in software development (against the more Tayorist Waterfall method) an ‘artistic criqute’ that attacked ‘bureaucratic calcification and hierarchical segmentation, on infantilizing work routines, stern schedules, and a sense of futility under the rubric of Taylorism’ rather than wage increases and job security typical of the demands of the trade union movement which took aim at capitalism.
The artistic critique instituted something of a paradigm shift in managerial literature during the 1990s, as new organizational forms were required to render capitalism seductive once again. The rejection of once-sacrosanct bureaucratic-rational principles of twentieth-century scientific management was so pronounced in this literature that Peter Drucker, prominent management consultant and prognosticator of ‘post-industrial society’, termed it a ‘big bang’. These texts – drafted by business managers, organizational engineers, industrial psychologists and the like – were a laboratory in which a properly twenty-first-century capitalist ethos was concocted: a new ‘spirit’, based on cultures, principles, assumptions, hierarchies and ethics that absorbed the complaints of the artistic critique. What emerged was a novel social arrangement, fashioned especially for skilled workers and the children of middle-class cadres, whose regulative principles were employee autonomy, participatory exchange, temporal flexibility and personal self-development.
Eby goes on to talk about how Agile dissolves many of the visible forms of hierarchical control it only manages to contain them in subtle forms throug which the external disicpline of the Waterfall method is internalised by team members.