Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Hipcrime Vocab Year End Recap 2012

Looking back, this was truly a surreal year in so many ways. Some posts seem to have gone sort of viral. When I started writing this, I wasn't sure if anyone would ever read it, so thanks to all the bloggers who have promoted me on their sites and linked to my articles. I would name names, but I'm sure somebody would be missed. Thanks to all the readers, followers and commenters. If I missed replying, I apologize.

Toward the end of this year, it seemed that some of the very first topics covered here and those that have been running themes were suddenly embraced by the mainstream. The displacement of workers by automation and the resulting lack of job growth and concentration of wealth began to be noticed by economists like Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, Gregory Clark, Paul Krugman, Matt Yglesias, Kevin Drum, Mish Shedlock, Barry Ritholz, Tyler Cowen, and many others. That resource limits are going to constrain future growth, including of things like water and arable land, has been noted by Jeremy Grantham, among others. And the idea that the low hanging fruit of innovation has been harvested, and that future innovations will not have the transformative effects they have had in the past was put forward by Robert Gordon, again with major economists and pundits taking it under consideration. When I see posts with titles like "Is Growth Over?" by Paul Krugman in the New York Times and "Why Innovation Won't Save Us" in the Wall Street Journal, I have to wonder if I've gone through the looking glass. This relatively obscure blog has been seriously talking about these topics for the past two years.

Anyway, it was difficult picking out what the most important posts were. Those on collapse seem to have been the most popular, but they are not my favorite to write - too depressing. Personally, I enjoy some of the more offbeat topics. Anyway, without further ado, here is a rundown of some of the major themes of this past year (some links are to outside articles):

Thoughts on Collapse:
Collapse and the Sorites Paradox
What If A Collapse Happened and Nobody Noticed
Collapse Versus Catastrophe
What If The Peak Oil Movement Isn't About Peak Oil At All?
Collapse and Civil Wars
Doom or Denial?
Then and Now

The Die-Off Is Happening Right Now:
The Depopulation Bomb
The Die Off You Don't See
The Depopulation Bomb Goes Off at Home
The Bomb That's Still Ticking

Thoughts on American Society:
Soulless, or Why Americans Love Vampires
How Unemployment Affects Society
In Praise of Discomfort
Independance Day: All Of Our Institutions Have Failed Us
The Spirit Level
The Depths of Depravity
History Repeating
America Is a Violent Country

The Rich Are Different:
Meritocracies Become Oligarchies
The Rich Are Different

Monopoly Capitalism:
Monopoly Capitalism

More Innovation Won't Save Us:
Vertical Farms and Lab Grown Meat: Have We Lost Our Minds?
Technology, Innovation, and the Blowback Principle
Drunk On Gadgets
Diminishing Returns to Technology
Innovation Will Not save Us
Where Innovation Comes From
The Pace of Change
The Perils of Complex Systems

How Do Biology and Genetics Affect Human Society:
Genes, Human Evolution, and the Coming of Civilization
Got Civilization?
Are We Baboons?
Anarchy, Human Nature, and the Future
The Neurochemistry of Americans
Genetics and Culture
Groups, Gossip, Selfishness and Civilization
The Warlord Versus the Bureaucrat

Historical Changes and Similarities:
Reddit and the Middle Ages
Did Horse Domestication Give Rise To Social Inequality?
De Nobis Fabula Narratur
Shamans and Shepherds
The Black Death
Mayans and Rainfall
Money and the Power of Symbols
Carbon Democracy
Robber Barons, Then and Now
The Materialist Version of History
Some Economic History
Sic Transit Gloria Mundi
Getting Medieval
Scenes form the Birth of The Economy
Nation Fail
Collapse is the Norm, Not the Excpetion
The Most Significant Places in History

How similar are the United States and the former Soviet Union?:
The State of the (Soviet) Union
Waiting for Gorbachev
Modern Lysenkoism
Texas Goes Marxist

On jobs and Automation:
Automation and the Future of Globalization
The Unemployment Crisis
Decoupling and the End of Work
Straight Talk About Jobs
Robaclypse Now!
The Hollowing Out
Tom and Mish and Robots
Unemployment Is Right Around The Corner
It's Still  The Machines, Stupid!
What Are People Good For Redux
Post Scarcity?

Thoughts on Architecture:
Trends In Architecture
A Different Sort of Architecture
The Architecture of Doom
Faulty Towers

Longer Hours = Greater Prosperity?:
America's 55-hour work weeks ruin workers' lives and don't produce extra value for employers
They Work Long Hours, but What About Results?
Why Americans should work less – the way Germans do
It's the 21st century – why are we working so much?
Share the Work
The Golden Age - Prospects for a Keynesian Utopia
Labor's Paradise Lost
Judge Posner Wonders How Much Is Enough
Let's Be Less Productive
What Work Is Really For
Working Versus Earning Money

Civilization is bad for our health:
Modernity and Health
Modern Society and Health
Latest Civilizational Blowback

Widespread homelessness and empty cities and suburbs exist side-by-side:
Slumburbia (New York Times)
Decline of Afforbable Housing Has Many Causes (Washington Post)
China's Ghost Towns and Phantom Malls (BBC)
Angola's Chinese-built ghost town (BBC)
In Spain, Publicly Financed Project Founder (New York Times)
More Young Americans Are Homeless (New York Times)
Hunger on the Rise in Spain (New York Times)

China is not the capitalist paradise it's made out to be:
China: A County Where No One Is Secure (Caixin)
XBox Workers Threaten Suicide In China Labor Tiff (Bloomberg)
China: what happened to Mao's revolution? (BBC)
What Keeps the Chinese Up at Night (New York Times)
Viewpoint: fear and loneliness in China (BBC)
When Growth Outpaces Happiness (New York Times)
Signs of Changes Taking Hold in Electronics Factories in China (New York Times)

That should be enough for now. I've been working on a little side piece in several installments that will be a departure from my normal fare. To whet your appetite, it involves Nazis, meteorites, lost cities, Tibetan Lamas, secret societies, Russian mystics, the Holy Grail, espionage, Indiana Jones, and the Vice President of the United States. And yes, it's completely, one hundred percent non-fiction! I'd also like to run some Amazon links to books referred to in the text, so you can get them through here if you'd like to support the site. That way I can make a little revenue and keep this add-free. Maybe enough to buy a beer or two.

Happy new year, and let's hope for a great 2013 wherever you are.


  1. What about your page views, month by month?

    1. I honestly don't look at metrics. It's like reading reviews as an actor.

  2. I've been reading for a while, but this is my first comment. A friend of mine linked to a post at some point, and I just stuck around. I've found that we are of like mind on many subjects, and you put your thoughts in words so well that I share them with friends from time to time. Thank you for your work. :)


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