Wednesday, June 22, 2016

When We Want

Pretty sure that for most people who aren't tenured academics, working "when we want" due to the glories of the technology that makes telecommuting possible means we're essentially on call to respond to emails etc. 16+ hours per day. "When we want" means "all the damn time" not "between my trips to the shooting range."

But we've been hearing this basic story for 25+ years (longer really). Somehow it doesn't ever quite seem to pan out. Reasons why, or good guesses about them, aren't that complicated. Maybe one day we'll be able to operate a fleet of robots from our home office, though we're probably going to have to have a bit better broadband access in most of the podunk places (and non-podunk places) where we're supposed to operate our mobile widget factories. I'm sure comcast will get right on that, just as soon as they get a cut of the widget profits.

It's said that people like me want everyone to live packed like sardines into tiny urban apartments (My house is pretty big. That's not a boast, just always trying to make the point that the density required for urban living doesn't require giant condo towers with tiny apartments). But conservatives regularly make the opposite claim, arguing that people want/should want to live in isolation. Sometimes that means "rural" sometimes that means "small town" and sometimes that means "suburban." I don't really care where you live, I just think some policy choices we've made/keep making are stupid and expensive. It's true that some people do want rural life, and good for them, though I'm not sure what happens to these areas when conservatives get their way and millions of people flock to them. Maybe everybody doesn't like dense cities, but all those people gotta go somewhere. Those somewheres at least need roads, water systems, and oh, hey, superior broadband systems. I'm sure rural areas will all be wired up nicely by the year 2180 or so.