The Stopwatch of Doom: How the Cult of Productivity Torpedoes Sustainability and Equity (Episode 56 of Crazy Town)

Welcome to the dehumanizing world of scientific management, where business gurus and middle managers view workers as resources, and where a cult-like devotion to productivity has invaded almost all facets of daily life.

How Cleanliness and Efficiency Obscure our Relation to Nature

Instead of retreating into urban eco-sanctuaries and buying industrial fare in hygienic and eco-friendly packaging, people need to grow, tend to animals, muck, dig, cook and bake. Only then can we expect people to become ecologically literate and realise that we are part of nature. 

Inefficient Productivity or Productive Inefficiency?

New research demonstrates – again – how deceptive the concepts of productivity and efficiency are in agriculture. Huge increases in labor productivity and modest increases in land productivity are gained by a massive increase of use of external resources, while natural capital is depleted. Is that efficient?

The flight to the ephemeral

The unavoidable tradeoff between efficiency and resilience can be understood easily enough by considering an ordinary bridge. All bridges these days have vastly more structural strength than they need in order to support their ordinary load of traffic. This is inefficient, to be sure, but it makes the bridges resilient; they can withstand high winds, unusually heavy loads, deferred maintenance, and other challenges without collapsing.

The Joule Standard

We live in a vast mechanized economy, where machines do 90-99% of the mechanical work needed to create and deliver products and services, even food. These machines are paid in energy, and have no notion of human currency. This article explores the idea of metabolic (energy backed) currency, how it might come about, and what we can learn from the technology industry.