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Music is a sunset industry
Old 19th January 2011 | Show parent
  #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso ➡️
Yeah, quite incredible post one asks to be taken seriously, then lists 8 factors damaging music and doesn't mention piracy once.
Denial.... or what?
Hmm, I would think piracy is the symptom, not the underlying cause. Piracy, either on large scale illegal CD printing scale, or in the form of informal mixtapes or taping off radio, has always existed.

The underlying cause of piracy is the human motivation to share content, and internet becoming ubiquitous and enabling the sharing to spin out of control.

If this is to be put as Point #9, then it should be phrased as "a demand for instant and unlimited access that is left unaddressed leading to consumers turning to sharing". Imagine in an ideally implemented cloud music service, where everyone can find and access any piece of music anywhere in the world regardless of rights issues, would anyone still search for torrents to download? Yes we will continue to share as music consumers, but I would probably just need to send a link to my friend and he will be able to check out the song in full. But in this scenario it is done within the abovesaid service's ecosystem, it is controlled sharing, and therefore can and will be monetized.
Old 19th January 2011 | Show parent
  #32
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🎧 10 years
One of the things people seem to fail to mention surfing around these parts like I do every so often is... (and feel free to correct me if I'm wrong)

It's not just *music* that is suffering. It is any form of media. It doesn't even have to be pirated. People would rather read the news from the AP on Google than open up a newspaper or watch it on tv complete with partisan politic debate about it. Piracy is a concern and it's illegal, but it isn't the end all to be all.

Like someone above said, it's a scarcity issue. As time goes on things are going to become less and less valuable. We're barely 20 years into the internet and the personal computer has only been here for roughly ten years shy of a half of a century. We're only just starting to realize what we can really do with science and tech and every single device created on the market is designed from the start to replace jobs or cut money spent so businesses will buy them and they can make their cash too while the worker is told: "Sorry man, but we just don't need you here anymore we have a machine that does this now."

Super simple things like proper dinner ware and utensils used to be near luxury items and were very expensive a couple hundred years ago because everything was made by hand then. Same goes for anything you bought. That stuff is like music now. A dime a dozen, bought for 99 cents, and comes from a machine.

The good thing is the benefits that come from having better technology and more knowledge outweigh not having it. The sad thing is they're really after it all this time and the luddites were about a hundred years too early.

Who wants to live in the 1800s though? Even the 60s? I know I don't. We live in the most interesting time in human history ever.
Old 19th January 2011 | Show parent
  #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Czybulski ➡️
Let's compare it to sports: Millions of people go out and do sports every day, just because it feels good. Only a hand full of athletes are paid for this.

The moment musicians forget about the money, they can start to let out what they really carry inside. The music scene can get even more colorful like this, since they are not restricted by markets any more. Due to the media overkill, it is on the one hand very hard to find listeners for your band, and on the other hand just as hard to find good music that you like. But it still happens and it still feels good, no matter on which side you are....
doesn't it?
Yes, no one can deny it MAY get more colourful. My point is the side effect of that is no one will do music professionally again (because it can't sustain them financially), meaning without a day-job. When this happens, the standard of music created will keep falling, because the truth is skills like performing, songwriting, engineering, producing needs time and hard work to develop. It is not something one can do half as well with a day-job.
Old 19th January 2011
  #34
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Music is a sunset industry

Quote:
Originally Posted by Saudade
My point is the side effect of that is no one will do music professionally again (because it can't sustain them financially), meaning without a day-job. When this happens, the standard of music created will keep falling, because the truth is skills like performing, songwriting, engineering, producing needs time and hard work to develop. It is not something one can do half as well with a day-job.
Well, that's a very good point and insightful. It's also because of piracy removing the revenue.
Old 19th January 2011 | Show parent
  #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saudade ➡️
If this is to be put as Point #9, then it should be phrased as "a demand for instant and unlimited access that is left unaddressed leading to consumers turning to sharing".
Yeah, the huge elephant in the room is they are unwilling to pay for it (unless forced to).
Old 19th January 2011 | Show parent
  #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by systematika ➡️
It's not just *music* that is suffering. It is any form of media. It doesn't even have to be pirated. People would rather read the news from the AP on Google than open up a newspaper or watch it on tv complete with partisan politic debate about it. Piracy is a concern and it's illegal, but it isn't the end all to be all.

Like someone above said, it's a scarcity issue. As time goes on things are going to become less and less valuable.
Yeah, but there still is a great scarcity in good journalism and great songwriting. people are hooked on the speed, freedom of access and free of charge. Historically that novelty wears off and they start looking for added value.
News faces competition from free sites and bloggers. Music adds piracy.
Piracy is the factor that adds a dangerous imbalance.
I do believe a yearn for quality will return, but either way, piracy needs to be addressed.
Old 19th January 2011 | Show parent
  #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saudade ➡️
Hmm, I would think piracy is the symptom, not the underlying cause. Piracy, either on large scale illegal CD printing scale, or in the form of informal mixtapes or taping off radio, has always existed.

The underlying cause of piracy is the human motivation to share content, and internet becoming ubiquitous and enabling the sharing to spin out of control.
piracy is the symptom, but personal greed is the disease.
Old 19th January 2011 | Show parent
  #38
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..

Type anything in Youtube and most likely you will hear anything you want.
The playing field has been leveled. For the talented and rich few will become king.
Old 19th January 2011 | Show parent
  #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Muser ➡️
To be Honest, this is why I hate using analogies.
an analogy always (seems) to offer some kind of solution but imo they ever rarely do.
I
You got a point there, indeed..

Quote:
Originally Posted by Saudade ➡️
Yes, no one can deny it MAY get more colourful. My point is the side effect of that is no one will do music professionally again (because it can't sustain them financially), meaning without a day-job. When this happens, the standard of music created will keep falling, because the truth is skills like performing, songwriting, engineering, producing needs time and hard work to develop. It is not something one can do half as well with a day-job.
I totally agree. I also agree on the other comments on my opinion.

On the other hand, I have seen musicians getting just a little bit more popular and all of a sudden they lost all their spirit and creativity. They seemed only to produce for their "success".
Maybe I am not really talking about the industry, but rather about artistic spirit and dedication. So I guess I'm off topic.
Old 19th January 2011 | Show parent
  #40
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Originally Posted by purple vista ➡️
this point has been beating to death and is simple just not true - digital scarcity is only an issue due to digital piracy.

Absolutely not true - they're consuming more music than ever, across more platforms than ever - that consumption unfortunately is just not being paid for...

not really, the profit center for films is home video not box office and home video sales are also plummeting due to piracy.

Only because of Piracy removing the revenue that would be created by the consumption of paid sales.

Your arguments can only be evaluated in an environment without piracy, because in an environment of rampant piracy as the norm there is no way to separate the two.

You can whistle in the dark that there are no monsters here, but the elephant in the room, which you have chose to ignore wholesale is piracy.
I'll take you up on this, because you're right: unless we face reality we can't possibly adapt. Denying the obvious leads nowhere.

To get to it I'll concede most of your points in the original response as relevant and basically correct, wrt the original assertions. The points above frame my response to your challenge.

First I'd take issue with your challenge of scarcity as only relevant wrt piracy. This change affects the largest, fastest-growing segment of our economy, media content and delivery across the board, as you point out, not just music but all information. So the real problem is more fundamental than you suggest: An economy based on scarcity cannot work where software-based products dominate the market. It's axiomatic that companies like Apple, Adobe, and Cisco will face challenges in a global economy based on scarcity and perceived value. There's too much incentive in the status quo to appropriate intellectual property.

At the other end of the spectrum we find companies like Google and Facebook, who derive most of their value through network abundance. This is a new kind of economics, barely explored. To the extent we have looked at it, the emphasis is shifting to sustainability - Twitter remains an unmonetized cipher whose core functions are replicated elsewhere, so it's only value is it's audience, the network of people. Facebook's features have been copied by others, but who cares? Your friends are on facebook, so there you must be. Even MS can't push Bing past Google, so we can forget improvements like Wolfram Alpha or has-beens like Yahoo, that game's over. Again the network is what rules, and in this new economics, ubiquity and abundance beat scarcity.

Those who characterize our era as "the information age" are only half right, btw. This is a networked data age. The key is the network, at least as important as the data (piracy is a network problem, not a format or content challenge).

Fundamental economics are changing for a reason that's easy to understand: The most valuable aspects of our economy are no longer a zero sum game, leveraging scarcity for income. The richest guy in the US, Warren Buffet, deals in ideas and paper wealth, not gold. Bill Gates made his fortune through abundance and ubiquity, though his license model was very conventional and now fading. The most valuable new companies are Google, Facebook, and Apple, mostly on the strength of networks and innovation, ideas. Apple's the largest music retailer in the world because it can sell with less friction, not because it's cheaper, or offers better quality, or selling any exclusivity.

This is a tectonic shift in the human condition, not a minor disruption. Until we work out the math for network economics, we're in for a bumpy ride. We've not yet addressed the underlying causes of 9/11 (oil dependence, not religion) in a coherent or rational way, so this larger problem is going to take some time. Think about it: we could have chosen to close the office parks and cubicles, and let people work from home, via tax incentives for telecommuting. This simple change shifts away from hourly wages to a pay-for-outcomes/piecework model, cuts energy costs dramatically across the entire economy, and builds more flexible, sustainable businesses. It cuts demand for road-building, and encourages broadband penetration nationwide. It lowers business costs for infrastructure, health care and insurance (less commute=lower rates), while improving home access for entire families. Win-win. Problem is your baby boomer boss doesn't believe you'll do work without his able whip-cracking. Never mind that things worked great without layers of middle management for most of human history. Those are jobs, and your boss isn't going to right-size himself. So we all suffer, to put off the pain of the well-heeled.

The economic leg-work is being taken on by guys like Umair Haque, at Harvard Business Review. Capitalism is being reimagined from the ground up.

The functional aspects of the shift are well explored by Deloitte's Center for The Edge, by John Hagel et al. Their book "The Power of Pull" is an uncomfortable, but worthwhile read. I don't agree with their conclusions necessarily, but their tactics and perspective are pretty accurate.

The bottom line is you're right: Traditional capitalism and zero-sum economics are savaged by piracy, and industries that cling to scarcity-driven models for revenue will be predictably up ended as their products are digitized. There is no escape from this trap, within conventional capitalism. The barn door cannot and will not ever be closed again, get used to it.

But people still need to eat, and new abundance-based models are already appearing, some quite conventional (like iTunes Music Store, which beats Amazon's better pricing selling basic convenience). Adding value to music products is easier with digital products - anything codeable can be delivered. Likewise, music is great at adding value to other things in highly targeted ways (McD's gives away songs in Happy Meals).

Currently "ad models" are all the rage, but that's just because it's familiar. New, different revenue models will emerge once we get our minds around the new normal: Scarcity is obsolete, and not returning. Faux scarcity (ala locked files, keyed software, etc) is a stop-gap at best, useful for managing the transition. The only short cut at this point is to get on the road, and get on with change. Hand-wringing to bring back the bad old days of scarcity is a waste of time and energy, already costing us a decade of progress.

-d-

Last edited by Dave Davis; 19th January 2011 at 03:50 PM.. Reason: it's wednesday
Old 19th January 2011 | Show parent
  #41
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see below
Old 19th January 2011 | Show parent
  #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Davis ➡️
But people still need to eat, and new abundance-based models are already appearing, some quite conventional (like iTunes Music Store, which beats Amazon's better pricing selling basic convenience). Adding value to music products is easier with digital products - anything codeable can be delivered. Likewise, music is great at adding value to other things in highly targeted ways (McD's gives away songs in Happy Meals).

Currently "ad models" are all the rage, but that's just because it's familiar. New, different revenue models will emerge once we get our minds around the new normal: Scarcity is obsolete, and not returning. Faux scarcity (ala locked files, keyed software, etc) is a stop-gap at best, useful for managing the transition. The only short cut at this point is to get on the road, and get on with change. Hand-wringing to bring back the bad old days of scarcity is a waste of time and energy, already costing us a decade of progress.
-d-
Great post, you might want to read "You Are Not a Gadget" by Jaron Lanier for additional thoughts on the subject as well as some proposed solutions.

and there's this...
Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act
Old 19th January 2011 | Show parent
  #43
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Your premise is flawed from the opening line. The music business may be a sunset industry. Its up for debate. Music however has never been anything but a creative endeavor. I didn't get into to make money. I never intended it to be a profession. I still make music and sometimes pretty good music. I don't see a sunset on that happening anytime soon and there are a lot of us out there. As long as that's the case music will be just fine. Whether or not the ability for someone to make a buck off me continues to exist is of no matter.
Old 19th January 2011 | Show parent
  #44
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by purple vista ➡️
see below
Seen and follow both. Rather than deliver a detailed critique, I'll simply say "duh!" I don't dispute the scale of the challenge (enormous) and odds of most existing models to meeting it (slim).

Likewise, I'm not cheerfully suggesting we replace hard sales with ad revenues – that's a non-starter in the age of TiVo and always-on capture devices. The conventional ad model only works for Google and Facebook by virtue of the uniformly high quality of leads they generate. Basically anyone searching on a term, or tagged-up on FB is well characterized and primed for their offerings. Bland TV and radio ads can't approach that sort of benefit. Pandora and Spotify are only marginally better.

What I'm saying is far more radical. Capitalism itself is in need of a makeover. Adam Smith will be as useful in conceiving Capitalism 2.0 as he was for 1.0, but business leaders must let go of the notion that oligarchic industrialism is the epitomy of Western civilization. We need to stop rooting for old-school ******s like Donald Trump and start pulling for the Warren Buffetts and Sergei Brins, even when they say things we don't want to hear (like: it's time to raise taxes, and the rich don't pay enough).

This radical makeover needn't throw out the babies with the bathwater. We can retain corporate organizations, and most conventional business tools. Health care reform was a necessary pre-requisite to any reformation, but they made some wrong turns. For instance, health insurance should be LESS connected to your job, and MORE connected to a national, mandated risk pool of individuals, to make your job more stable and compensation more fair for all. The venerable balance sheet needs some new lines, to track both brand and IP value and equity dynamically. Organizations need to be able to see invisible costs and benefits arising from these new streams. We've made it too easy to hide from reality; oil companies don't have to account for the enormous cost of military intervention and security required for their work, it's just dumped on tax payers as a cost of maintaining our way of life. If we metered those costs, and passed them along to energy companies, there would be more motivation to find alternatives.

Those are a easy examples... in our industry we must be open to mandated payments via ISPs, but not lose sight of the insufficiency and inherent unfairness of all such schemes. In short, those ideas are worth talking about as part of a solution, but lets not pretend we can make up for our losses solely through volume. We should recognize the WalMart effect: By demanding ever-lower costs from suppliers year-over-year for decades now, WalMart's forced manufacturers to cut deep into the bone of products. Insufficient packaging, slightly smaller quantities, inferior parts and left-out functionality are becoming hallmarks of Walmart-versions of consumer products. Sure it's cheaper than Sears, but it's also lesser quality and/or quantity. Are we collectively willing to accept similarly mandated annual paycuts? If not, we need to rethink the whole proposition. Which brings me back to where I started. It's time to develop the economics of abundance, and cut the cord on economies of scarcity.
Old 19th January 2011 | Show parent
  #45
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Capitalism may well need a makeover, but your premise misses one huge thing.
Artistic creation is not a mass market production. Great writing skills (journalism, books, songs) and musicianship are always a scarce item.
People actually DO value that scarcity.
You can't compare it to tech services, products or software.
If people take the artistic product without paying, the artists stop or slow creation and/or find a different business model.
The Tech sector realise the creative scarcity factor, they're just holding on for as long as they can, making as much money as they can until the present free-for-all is shut down by a finger in the dyke.
Old 19th January 2011 | Show parent
  #46
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🎧 10 years
Au contraire... people appreciate, no, REQUIRE! elegance in programming. In audio this is frequently what draws us to a particular daw, plug or instrument.

Talent will remain scarce, and that's the basis upon which everyone is paid. In particular, for entertainment time is literally money and attention (time) is quite scarce. So that side of the equation (consumer end) will remain a scarcity market.

It's the delivery side that's changed so radically, and the experiential side is still in flux, heading the same way. We already have 3D printers, replicators are literally around he corner, so even unique configurations of molecules (physical stuff) are going to be less scarce in the future than they are today.

People are paying more for attention than ever, to the extent that even "free" is no longer a cardinal benefit (virtually all of our paid products get more streamed listens than any of the freebies, for example). In the 19th century, companies competed for marketshare, and as long as there was a functioning market, prices found equilibrium at some arbitrary cost+X. In the 21st century, where cost approaches zero, X becomes arguable, with the highest returns generally going to the most popular (e.g. most attention paid).

For music, literature, news, and many visual arts, supply far exceeds human capacity to consume. We passed a tipping point in the 20th century with payola, where we had to pay someone to be heard at all. So we are where we are. The status quo perversely victimizes the winners and losers in differently bad ways.

We've already inverted things. Todd Rundgren's talk is a pretty good summation of the circumstances. Historically music has been a service, not a product, along the lines you describe. For awhile in the 20th C, music was a product, which spawned a new art form (albums and recording). Many, including Rundgren, desire or merely accept that music will inevitably return to being a service-only enterprise. They may be right, but I'd argue that would be a terrible thing, and is no more inevitable than desirable.

Music as a product encompasses things like streams, records in all formats, videos, or any other deliverable sonic widget. To the extent these widgets are valued and even adored, many here can make livings as artists, engineers, producers, djs or whatever. Others can elect not to get paid, and direct streams of attention and/or revenues towards worthy causes, or simply buy more/better gear/toys from the fruits of their labor. Maybe you just make music because you have to, like eating and dumping. All these are good things. All benefit from a fresh start, because scarcity works against you in conventional capitalism.

Popularity is a good thing. Attention is among the most valuable commodities (check Google's share price) out there. Scarcity economics don't rationally apply to music and art. Abundance economics, otoh, can not only define value, but also shape a more equitable, open and lucrative market for us to work in. In these markets (they do exist - Bandcamp, Pandora, PRO's), yes, music can be and very much is a mass market product, in the classic sense.
Old 24th January 2011 | Show parent
  #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Davis ➡️
We already have 3D printers, replicators are literally around he corner, so even unique configurations of molecules (physical stuff) are going to be less scarce in the future than they are today.
Yeah, and if we keep clinging on to conventional forms of capitalism business is going to be in for a rude awakening. However I think this will have a similar effect as when the industrial revolution started with production machines and we threw away our peasantry.

Not the end of the world, and in fact this has made our society and humanity much better and more intelligent. The evolution of thought and ideas can't be stopped, it can only be accepted.
Old 24th January 2011 | Show parent
  #48
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Originally Posted by systematika ➡️
Yeah, and if we keep clinging on to conventional forms of capitalism business is going to be in for a rude awakening.
Like Apple, Google, Facebook?
Can't get more conventional capitalist than them.
Old 24th January 2011 | Show parent
  #49
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Originally Posted by chrisso ➡️
Like Apple, Google, Facebook?
Can't get more conventional capitalist than them.
They have to be. There is now and there is the future. I mean the world might end tomorrow or it won't, and if it doesn't our inevitable future is to conquer the one thing we haven't yet: the overall structure of the universe.

We've pretty much done everything that us as a species can do, besides learn how to manipulate matter, and how our brain really works. It's like the music production industry, no great achievements have been made in that area for a long time mostly because we've already been there and did that. Especially in this modern age, we don't really have a large attention span for re-hashing old ideas and keeping things the same. My great grandmother was afraid to use the telephone when she first got one but now everyone and their cat owns one and they don't even have any wires.
Old 24th January 2011 | Show parent
  #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by systematika ➡️
They have to be. There is now and there is the future.
Get back to us then when the future starts to really happen.
Because it seems the real tech heads are more than ever plundering the depths of the capitalist system.
Facebook are in court fighting over who can share in the financial windfall.
Almost all the tech innovation we've seen has been powered by a strong drive to make more and more money.
Old 24th January 2011 | Show parent
  #51
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Originally Posted by chrisso ➡️
Get back to us then when the future starts to really happen.
Because it seems the real tech heads are more than ever plundering the depths of the capitalist system.
Facebook are in court fighting over who can share in the financial windfall.
Almost all the tech innovation we've seen has been powered by a strong drive to make more and more money.
Actually you're right. This very thing is the start of a long process in which capitalism eats itself by the very thing it lives by. They need that initial funding to build the stuff they want to build and hire the people they want and that's great but they're not fooling anyone. You have to do SOMETHING to play with capitalism, because our world is governed by a system of money. Going out and rallying, waving flags around, listening to punk music, pirating, and raving does absolutely nothing. That's their mistake for thinking that it's going to. Focusing on the sciences and development, even if its for short term profits with long term goals to do good for the world has a much higher chance of succeeding.

The difference between me and you I guess is that I believe that money driving the world with product scarcity is not always going to be that way. Especially not that. The world will die by the next century if we don't do anything about that process now. For most, that means efficiency. Efficiency and the green market is going to be what drives the money market in the next ten years, and that is going to be the catalyst for more efficient but just as powerful devices because we want to have our cake and eat it too.

Nothing wrong with that. However efficiency can also be another benefit of abundance, but abundance can also be the catalyst to become more efficient. This is the case we're seeing with smartphones and the like because they have low power requirements but are faster than desktop machines we had ten years ago squeezed into a footprint the size of a guitar tuner.
Old 25th January 2011 | Show parent
  #52
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Your characterizing me incorrectly.
I already have a small footprint. I'm not a big consumer. I realise the true cost of producing, both in terms of money and impact on the earth.
Governments, let alone the tech industry are doing virtually nothing to lessen the impact on the planet and increase efficiency.
The two big industrial powerhouses of the 21st century, China and India, are consuming minerals like there's no tomorrow. Installing 19th century power generation (coal) and factories (steel).
I'm for greening and efficiency, but not to force creative people to work for nothing while the rest of the planet ploughs on as before - which is effectively what is actually happening, and will not end in the next ten years, perhaps 20-50 years.
Old 25th January 2011 | Show parent
  #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by systematika ➡️

We've pretty much done everything that us as a species can do, besides learn how to manipulate matter, and how our brain really works. .
Crikey - I think there are lot more things left to DO that have been done!! Long way off being bored yet !!
Old 25th January 2011 | Show parent
  #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by systematika ➡️
For most, that means efficiency. Efficiency and the green market is going to be what drives the money market in the next ten years, and that is going to be the catalyst for more efficient but just as powerful devices because we want to have our cake and eat it too.
.
I agree with that. But surely this just becomes capitalism expressing itself in a different form? "Money is only one form of capitalism.... it;s all about having and "not" having.
Old 25th January 2011 | Show parent
  #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by systematika ➡️
We've pretty much done everything that us as a species can do
What? We're still in the cradle! We have minuscule understandings and little experience in the state of being in the universe and beyond...not to mention the zillion zillion zillion other matters we're clueless on.
Old 25th January 2011 | Show parent
  #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso ➡️
Great writing skills (journalism, books, songs) and musicianship are always a scarce item.
they are also a matter of taste .

and the presumption that great creative skill means commercial success is not always the case or vise versa . just because there is no money doesn't mean genius doesn't still happen
Old 25th January 2011 | Show parent
  #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by duvalle ➡️
give me a simple solution and i am happy! heh
wouldn't it be great, if it was so easy ...

... but it is that simple, really.

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