Windows 8 isn\’t very good therefore economic growth is over

Sometime, somewhere, someone is going to realise, soon, that there is such a concept as enough. Windows 8 may be indication of that: it is more than enough. It may well be that for many people it is just cumber (the wonderful word now almost entirely lost within encumber) and which means a hindrance, obstruction or burden.

This is when the green vision begins to become real.

And it is when we begin to realise that growth is not a panacea, not least because there is now no technological change anywhere in sight that will replace the growth created by the IT revolution.

The good news is that this will let us do something much more important. It will let us look at what we can do for each other, and not what we can own to differentiate ourselves from pour neighbour. The fact that this will require a Courageous State is just one those changes in mind set required to create a 21st century economy. But we will get there.

And this man claims to have expertise in economics.

The major driver in growth is that two thirds of humanity are moving from 16th century peasant destitution to the 20th century petit bourgeois pleasures of three meals a day. As long as no one fucks that up with a Courageous State we can expect the global economy to expand 8 to 10 times in the 21st century just as it did in the 20th.

We do, after all, have a very large intergovernmental commission looking at these sorts of things for us. The IPCC it\’s called. And such economic growth is actually one of their starting assumptions. No, really. so who are you going to believe? A retired accountant from Wandsworth or the scientific consensus?

37 comments on “Windows 8 isn\’t very good therefore economic growth is over

  1. He truly is the David Icke of economics.
    A trawl through his posts is a magical carpet ride. First he states emphatically that we need people to spend to stimulate growth and get us out of depression, which of course needs the Courageous State and only the Courageous State. Next he states that growth is unnecessary anyway, but of course only the Courageous State could show us this and lead us towards the new world of milk and honey. Wacko.

    P.S. May I formally apologise for calling him dangerous; he is a complete fruitloop, a danger only to himself.

  2. If it had been left to a Courageous State, we would still be using DOS. Isn’t a monochrome, text-only display, and 64k of RAM enough?

  3. “[T]here is now no technological change anywhere in sight that will replace the growth created by the IT revolution.”

    Quantum computing? It could allow the design of biomolecules to do whatever the hell we want. Intel seem to think they’ve cracked it as well.

  4. The fact that this will require a Courageous State is just one those changes in mind set required to create a 21st century economy.

    Well, if your idea of the 21st century state is North Korea, then the Courageous State is an ideal way of getting there.

    Quantum computing? It could allow the design of biomolecules to do whatever the hell we want.

    Wow – could it? Well, possibly, we don’t know yet*. And we’re certainly not provably up to the number of qubits to do anything useful yet, never mind biomolecule design. Nor, of course, are biomolecules capable of doing “whatever the hell we want.

    * We’re fairly sure it will radically change encryption. Because much encryption is based around “things it is hard for linear computers to do”.

  5. >It will let us look at what we can do for each other

    He can already do that for me. My lawn needs mowing.

  6. At what point is technological advance supposed to stop? When is enough for this enlightened individual, the one who

  7. “A retired accountant from Wandsworth or the scientific consensus?” That’s surprisingly difficult to answer – on Global Warmmongering, the purported scientific consensus is a blend of hubris, incompetence and dishonesty, whereas the accountant … oh!

  8. …it has been observed that after many decades of rapid improvement in the steam engine, it appears that the pace of improvement is slowing considerably and one may even suspect that steam powered machinery is approaching a mature state. It is becoming increasingly feared that this will slow the expansion of manufactories and as a consequence it may be that the general improvement in living standards to which we have become accustomed is nearing its end.

  9. ” We re fairly sure it will radically change encryption. Because much encryption is based around things it is hard for linear computers to do”

    And a damned good reason to be pessimistic about the long term viability of Bitcoin. The “proof of work” calculations that validate Bitcoin transactions won’t, as far as I know, survive in a quantum computing environment.

  10. Quantum computing looks rather like the tokamak project; believe it when you see it working. It seems to be one of those things that even if it works may not be half as useful as predicted (see also: hovercraft). Also, if the Copenhagen Interpretation is wrong, which it certainly ought to be, it may never work at all.

  11. “there is now no technological change anywhere in sight that will replace the growth created by the IT revolution”
    As Mr Allan points out, quantum computing. Graphene, anyone? The vast implications of engineering at an atomic or sub-atomic level across a huge number of fields? Robotics? And… I could go on but…
    No change anywhere in sight if you have your eyes tight shut. If not, we can see we are on the edge of the most revolutionary change in history.

  12. “And it is when we begin to realise that growth is not a panacea, not least because there is now no technological change anywhere in sight that will replace the growth created by the IT revolution.”

    What’s particularly ludicrous about that statement is that in fact we haven’t yet seen any significant growth as a result of beginning to adapt to new technology. The costs and benefits of adoption _so far_ have roughly canceled out. What we have done is to begin to get the infrastructure in place, but we’ve barely started to work out what we can do with it to make our lives better.

    I was suggesting just the other day that the economic growth the boomers enjoyed was the end result of all the investment of the previous century in the Industrial Revolution.

  13. snigger ….

    I can see why he irritates sooo much.

    Trouble is, as others have said – he has the ear of people who potentially might have access to the levers of power and that they seem happy to parrot the blathering berk’s abject twattery is a cause for considerable concern.

  14. Pingback: Tim Worstall on his bête noire « Samizdata

  15. Idiot. 15 years ago, most business software was desktop or client server with most of the work done on the desktop and a bit done on the server. Nearly all business software development is now web.

    The growth over the past 5 years has been in online services, and as hosting and data transfer get cheaper, this has brought on more and more services that wouldn’t have been possible 15 years ago (like Delia Smith doing programming for her website rather than TV).

    My prediction: a decade from now, IT will have produced more economic growth and more environmental savings than all the “green” spending.

  16. “Steam power may be an indication of that: it is more than enough. It may well be that for many people it is just cumber (the wonderful word now almost entirely lost within encumber) and which means a hindrance, obstruction or burden.”

    Ah. How he must long for the days of horse-drawn carriages.

  17. Quoth the Murph, It will let us look at what we can do for each other.

    I forget which American economist — one of the Cafe Hayekkers, I think — pointed out that in fact the best mechanism we have for working out how we can most valuably serve our neighbours is (say it together now) the free market.

  18. Phillip>

    I’m reminded of how Terry Pratchett describes the political organisation of Ankh Morpork – it’s a one man, one vote system; the Patrician is the man, and he has the vote. Similarly, Ritchie believes you should ask how you can help your fellow man; he’s the man.

  19. Does he seriously believe that the IT industry is about operating system for desk top computers and mobile devices?

    Its all about enabling other businesses to operate more efficiently:supermarkets operating just in time supply chains so that they can maintain full stores without holding large inventories that don’t go out of date; banks being able to credit your account as soon as someone makes a payment; Airbus being able to manage 100s of suppliers and 1000s of components; helping medical researches review data to find new drugs, to name but a few examples. I could go on, but you get the drift.

    One day Governments might even harness its power to make those same efficiency gains.

    As Tim A says, IT will be making everything more efficient for years to come.

    Windows 8 is partly slow on take up because companies are taking longer to refresh their PCs and software and don’t want the hassle fo their staff having to learn new systems (as well as being crap).

    He doesn’t get this yet he puts himself forward as the omniscient one who can manage all our lives – how many time does he have to jump the crocodile before even the BBC and Guardian give up on him?

  20. Let’s look at the Windows series. Windows 3.1 (the first GUI operating system from Microsoft that wasn’t *totally* crap) was launched in 1992. So 21 years later, Microsoft’s approach of incremental improvements to a dubious UI and underlying OS has finally run out of steam. Since 3.1, in the user-targeted OSes we’ve run through 3.11 (networking tweak), 95 (not dreadful), 98 (ugh), ME (OH GOD OH GOD), 2000 (acceptable), XP (pretty solid), Vista (AARGH), Windows 7 (solid) and now Windows 8 (WTF?). In technological terms, this is a *tremendously* long run. Their activity on mobile has been a dead end, with Windows CE dying a death and then Windows mobile coming way, way too late to the mobile device space.
    During this period Apple gave up on their System 8 OS and switched to Unix-based OS X, ran through a number of iterations on the desktop and then branched out to the iPhone, iPad and iPad mini, integrating touch-based disk-free cloud-using devices with tremendous success.
    “there is now no technological change anywhere in sight that will replace the growth created by the IT revolution” – fscking hell, Richard Murphy, you have *no idea* about the IT revolution that is going on right now. We have computers used in the daily lives of 2bn people that *span the bloody planet*.
    Murphy is doing the same thing as looking at the tapering use of vacuum tubes in the 1950s and declaring that the growth of the electronic computer is at an end.

  21. Technology takes on the order of 30 to 40 years to make a real change. Think: Electricity, Railways, Computers, and the Internet.

    That last is, what?, 15 years old? The things I can do today bear no resemblance to what I could do five years ago.

    Think about, for example, “context-sensitive” software such as looking at my phone to find a locally parked rental car. That kind of idea can create a wholly different approach to “ownership” in which I publish my loft space, car (while on holiday), spare room, lawnmower, whatever and the ‘net helps me find someone who will rent it.

    We haven’t even begun to see the change the internet will wreak.

    But it has managed the obvious: exposing RM as a complete cretin for all to see.

  22. I used to think he was dangerous. Then I thought he was nuts. I’m now starting to kind of like him, in a way. He’s just very fucking funny. A work of comic genius. I think one day it will all be revealed as a massive wind up.

  23. Ironman (#1) – And a well merited position in the debate. Absolutely hilarious! However, it is wrong to say that he is merely a fruitloop – he sets the zeitgeist for enough of the Statist Left that his policies, however badly implemented or watered down they might be would be wholly injurious to an economy that is already tottering.

    As the always superb Surreptitious Evil (#4) points out when comparing the Courageous State with North Korea (quite correctly) I’m sure Kim Il Sung would have been considered mad 70 years ago – Look at it now….

  24. SimonF,

    It’s also, to some extent, that companies generally roll out every other version of Windows.

    Windows 8 is a damn good OS once you get the Start Button back on (using Start8). The idea of unifying desktop and tablet doesn’t work, but I’m running it on 2 machines in Desktop mode and it’s as stable as any other desktop OS out there.

  25. Windows 8 is a damn good OS once you get the Start Button back on (using Start8).

    In other words, it’s a fucking terrible OS out of the box. Stable? OSs have been “stable” for years and any that isn’t is a true disaster. It’s like admiring a car for working at all. And then having to add your own steering wheel, because for some bizarre reason the manufacturers deleted that “feature” and want you to steer it by sitting on the bonnet with a pair of handlebars because bicycles are currently fashionable with latte-sipping wankers.

  26. I just want to note that not only do I not pay Van Patten for his complements, I actually have no idea who he (or she) is.

    Thanks, BTW.

  27. MS have an audacious strategy with W8. They’re trying to bypass IT department commissioning and move to a world of BYOD – Bring your own device. This is actually very sensible and the next step change in information technology for ordinary users. I loathe MS and almost all their works, but just as XMLHttpRequest brought us ajax and modern web apps, so this is a commendable and realistic step forward.

    That’s how far Murphy is out. He reads revolutionary change as stagnation.

  28. I don’t think they have a strategy. I think they’ve made the ghastly mistake of trying to copy Apple.

  29. The thing to remember about MS OS launches is that they are typically trainwrecks. XP was a complete disaster at launch (worst MS launch ever, including Vista and 8). Vista was bad, but MUCH better than XP at launch.

    The nice, reliable and functional XP we all remember is in fact XP SP2 and SP3. SP1 was mostly usable, but still rocky.

    Vista in fact evolved into a very solid OS, Win7 is in reality little more than a big Service Pack for Vista, under the skin it really is Vista unless you are on a low-memory system where it is more of a Vista/XP hybrid (Vista with XP’s memory management algorithms).

    Win8 has its issues, that’s for sure. And it’s been a disaster in terms of sales. As an OS, it’s arguably the best significant update MS has ever launched in terms of actual issues (Win7 wasn’t a major update, 98/Me/XP/Vista all were disasters at launch). MS just needs to ship a service pack that allows us to avoid Metro without dropping the other useful changes (charms, the greatly improved Explorer, the incredible Storage Spaces)

  30. The primary thing MS needs to drop is that slap-headed twat who invented the two worst interfaces in computing history; Metro and the possibly even worse “ribbon”.

    XP with the classic shell; perfect. They should have stuck to the original intention with XP and made it their final desktop OS, just releasing updates to that from there onwards.

    I use Win 7 because i need x64 support, but find nothing they’ve added since XP to be an improvement; the Start Menu is partially crippled, the networking is addled, and I have to run an extra applet (Taskbar Tweaker) just to stop the fucking thumbnails leaping off the taskbar every time my stylus wanders over it. Really, how thick do you have to be to need a picture of a hidden window pop up automatically? Worse, why can’t I turn the damned “feature” off?

    Answer: because MS have got Apple disease, probably via that baldy berk who looks much like the kind who worships at the Apple shrine. And the Apple disease is telling the idiots who buy your overpriced bollocks what they want, whether they like it or not, and that’s not what Microsoft are about.

    The interface. Jesus, the interface. Every task seems so obsessed with “white space”; vast windows with lonely picture isolated in them. If I dare fire up the network without an internet connection, it decides I’m out in public and dumps me on a park bench. I can’t turn this “feature” off either. It’s impossible to be an intranet. Can’t be done. And this is the “ultimate” edition, so christ knows what the basic one is like.

    Seriously, after installing this thing I spent two weeks or so just wandering out the internet asking “how do I do this?” and finding over and over again it was either “edit the registry” or “you can’t do that, user testing told us 51% of people didn’t use that feature so we deleted the fucker, have a nice day”.

    Ranty rant. MS’s OSs are turning to shit. If it wasn’t for Photoshop, I’d be looking at Linux. Wild horses won’t drag me onto that Metro thing.

  31. “…the possibly even worse ribbon.”

    The ribbon is a fine solution to ever more complicated menus and task bars. It allows more space for the individual controls, while being smart enough to shrink them to several smaller sizes as you restrict the size allowed to it.

    “Really, how thick do you have to be to need a picture of a hidden window pop up automatically?”

    Pretty thick, I expect. Or maybe we thickies just have more icons down there than you. When I 30 or 40 different instances of six or seven apps running, I find it very useful for identifying which is which.

  32. Of course the Dunning-Kruger Effect is frequently invoked when Murphy is in town, but it goes a bit beyond that. Never before have I seen anyone whose hubris exceeds his talents by a comparable amount. It’s really quite majestic how he systematically gets the wrong end of the stick on absolutely everything he touches. Mere quotidian fuckwittery would plausibly have him making childish bloopers perhaps 50% of the time and inadvertently getting it right the rest of the time. Not our WGCE. He is heroically stupid – that’s a given – but the infuriating thing about him is his mule-headed inability to see that he might be wide of the mark in even the tiniest particular. God help us if he has anything other than vestigial impact on real policy.

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