Cost of Living Crisis A Productivity Problem?

Prior to working within the HE education sector I had a number of jobs and roles one of which involved working on IT tenders for government departments.

Often these tenders had to be in by the end of play Friday or first thing Monday morning and at the time I was working Monday-Thursday but when needed I came in Friday or Saturday to complete the tender.

At that time the cost of such an unscheduled activity (transport, lunch) could easily be saddled by myself as the employee even when it often resulted in no immediate monetary gain or more often than not no personal momentary gain at all. I think most people do this kind of thing, turn up early to work or work a Saturday so as to develop a project. Being able to do so though was entirely dependent on the immediate availability of money, for my own personal speculative use (speculative as to say no gain may be necessarily derived from its expenditure). The lack of availability of these sort of funds to the individual is a likely first causality of the ongoing cost of living crisis and is exasperated by the associated focus of rising costs on non elective expenditure, housing, transport to work, food and water.

Consequently I wonder if the UK productivity problem, is an extension of the cost living crisis in that it denies the individual the ability to offer personal speculation as a facilitating measure to the economic system.

While travelling yesterday a poster at one of the train stations I was travelling through caught my eye. At the time I was working on a lecture about user interface and am currently very interested in the misinterpretation of instructions.

It's not OK to take a free ride

The intended purpose of the poster is obviously to encourage and remind people to purchase appropriate train tickets. A message which under the current social contract is entirely appropriate. However the choice of illustration strikes me as being poor. Car sharing, car pooling, journey sharing or historically hitch-hiking are surely equally valid forms of transport which also come with cost and environmental advantages to both the individual and society at large.

Now I understand that the intention of the poster is not to deter car sharing approaches but I fear that it also presents a less apparent revenue maximisation message. It is disappointing that they did not feel able to present this as a positive message, one that enables investments and helps to reduce ticket fairs.

Here is the complete video advert as well which for dramatic effects features a driver who apparently does not use his mirrors at all!

Manmade Words Would Never Do

for my God knew that manmade words would never do

Isaac Wimberley

In the UK General election tomorrow I intended to vote Green for two reasons,

  • I don’t believe GDP figures should be the focus of humanities existence
  • Infinite growth, fuelled by pointless jobs, based on the consumption of resources our descendants can not afford for us to use is no basis for policy.

So I have always loved phones and especially smart phones.

Starting with the T-Mobile MDA II, a G1 with cool keyboard but terrible memory problems, an e61 (the greatest phone ever made), an HTC Desire and an Samsung S3. However I find myself at the end of my current phone contract which prompts the what to do next questions.

The recent EE power-bar promotion is clear evidence to my mind that the fundamental battery life issue is as of yet unresolved and in fact is becoming so endemic that it is starting to impact revenue for providers, phones without battery power can’t spend money.

However due to the 24 month contract, almost universal now, that my phone was under I have had to adapt to the reality of a phone that required aggressive battery life conservation. As a consequence it turns out that I can generally cope with limited data connectivity. My iPad mini has taken up the slack using various public wifi networks and I find myself no longer needing the smart phone data capabilities.

There are however a few outstanding issues; two factor for Gmail and Facebook and getting to level 9 on Ingress.