This essay on the “internet middle class” of people who make a modest living through internet activities (writing, performing, selling stuff) stuck me as a bit sad. Yes, supporters from anywhere in the world might find you in random ways, but that process, and the endurance of your (patron-creator) relationship, is fragile and one-dimensional compared to working for local supporters. Eighteen years ago, I described [pdf] how Google (and the internet’s “winner-takes all” dynamic) would undermine creativity by removing the “middle-class” performers and teachers. I think that’s still true, to a degree. I’m personally thinking about (one day) moving from my paid job to an unpaid retirement where I do mostly the same as I do now (save the faculty meetings), as the “work for the internet” option seems to have too many negatives.
Listen: This discussion with a Canadian of the slow supply response from the oil/gas industries surfaced an interesting problem: So many people are refusing to enter this “unethical” industry, and so many people are retiring now (with high share prices that allow them to cash out), that there’s a risk of serious price increases due to unyielding demand. Be careful what you ask for!
Listen to this podcast episode on why a liberal arts training provides useful tools for a happier — and more successful — life.