Sunday, August 10, 2014

"New" value in our modern world (with excerpt from BusinessInsider)

Photo © Peter S Jalkotzy
"With analysts estimating up to $200 million in annual revenue from the game, Kardashian is likely making more from her app than she made from all of her other projects last year. Forbes claims she made $28 million last year, and a report from TMZ says Kardashian receives 45 percent of the game's net profits, which would mean about $85 million so far." (Source - BI - 2014)
This text reflects a certain 'value' that is becoming increasingly apparent and maybe even important in modern society. It used to be that we had to spend our time acquiring food, and building shelter, and ensuring security to our family. I understand this is very elemental. It is intended to be. And I believe this 'productivity' component of our modern world has shifted/is continuing to shift.

In my view, productivity is in activities related to materials, construction, and operation, provision of food, shelter, and energy. I think these are the traditional sectors of agriculture, natural resources, and energy, and all the inter-related activities. Activities such as those related to entertainment, enjoyment, socialization and the interaction of life are increasingly a greater proportion of everyone's daily lives and more so, their expectations.

We have made life so simple in terms of the 'necessities' of life (i.e., food, shelter, security) that disposable time (along the same lines of disposable income) is plentiful and freely available. So we need to entertain ourselves - we like being engaged in our lives - if not for work, then play. And we're not just talking the Wild Joker of the King's Court. We're talking Red Bull Extreme sports. And of course, the Kardashians. But we are also talking all the music, movie, and theatre business. General travel. Adventure travel. Ecotourism. Professional volunteerism. Etc. Etc. Etc.

It goes far beyond that as well. With the world awash in cash from a global 'push the accelerator to the floor' policy, the world of art and celebrity have been vaulted to new heights. Specialty car auctions have continued to see incredible growth in 'value'. And you need someone to manage all your money for you - so the 'financial industry' has also seen massive growth in the last several decades. And with the rise of electronic trading, and ubiquitous access to markets, the trading of money for more money has also been elevated to new heights.

The argument that I have listened to is that this is not 'productive'. I agree - it is not productive in the old sense of the word. But what IF it is productive in the new modern society we are growing? Increasingly, I have friends and colleagues that do not have to 'work' in the old traditional manner, and spent a vast majority of their time in leisure, or self directed activities with or without limited connection to a traditional 'job'. While I am happy for them and their opportunities, I similarly, love the engagement and sense of accomplishment that I derive from my 'work', including my online activities.

The excerpt in the introduction is yet another example of what the world is expressing as 'value' - $85MM so far this year for an app game. And what about the $4MM/yr that the fellow from Europe makes for posting his commentary on games that he plays. The guy that makes $30k/month by publishing e-books on everything and anything. Speculative stock plays or an artificially intelligent algorithm that scalps price action in the Forex market. A big payout from somewhere or another. The days of the traditional career appear to be changing. Or at a minimum, the choices available are expanding rather dramatically.

And why is this? Why is it possible for someone to engage in some seemingly 'unproductive' activity, and make a life? I feel it is because we have distilled what 'life' means to simple monetary values. I believe the social, spiritual, psychological, physical, and mental values are mostly suppressed or marginalized. And I also believe that some of the world's most serious ills are a direct expression of that circumstance. The 'value' of these other aspects of living play a more important part of individual happiness and contentment that has been thought.

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