Hi. I am Anatoli from Belarus. Automation Engineer. My job is to fire people.
As you can see, we, as Automation Engineers, did everything perfect on our side to free people from the most forms of tedious labour in factories. And now with more AI/ML processing coming up people can be also be free from mundane office hours. However, what we were not aware of while doing our thing, and discovered to our dismay, is that another team who called themselves “economists” totally SNAFUed the system they were supposed to perfect. I mean it is a complex system to balance, but at least somebody could send a signal to us earlier. It all goes up silly to the point that people have to beg for these mundane and useless jobs just to keep themselves alive. I am all in favour of crafting things with my bare hands and being compensated for that, but more and more people willing to do any kind of job for any little money without any saving plans make our job as Automation Engineers less valuable as well and we lose our grounds too.
Here I am. Jobless, looking for a way to fix the problem. My journey so far - industrial hardware automation, software automation, software development automation (devops), open source sustainability (learned about Gratipocalypse and FinCEN mafia), invisible infrastructure which is out of market gameplay, calculating TCLO (total cost of life ownership) as a basic building block for building capacity, year in the core of blockchain technology where no progress could be made without non-liquid tokens (resources that are not convertible into each other like in computer games). Travelled a bit to see the problem of ocean pollution with my own eyes, faced with political technology ruining technical meetup community and erased words “freedom” and “politics” from my dictionary. Now I wannabe a technical problem solver practising the art of “non-traditional ways to solve non-trivial problems” (aka “hacking”) of getting back the fun into the gameplay that non-gamers call Economics.
I stumbled upon Guardian article about Doughtnut Economics a year ago. It could slip past my focus if I was not already obsessed with the problems I saw around in my own activities and in my friends, and an easy answer that economics is the cause of all problems was bouncing from my tongue, but as a technical person I need details. I even went as far as go to our local Economics University to the anniversary Academic conference to enquire knowledgeable people about what is going on with that crisis only to face people discussing how their teacher salaries have dropped because of that in different regions. The only person who could answer my question was a minister of Economics who could not attend because of the urgent CIS meeting about the crisis. Of course, I couldn’t dare to bother the minister. The questions got unanswered for many years until I saw this provoking title.
At first I didn’t get the Doughnut picture, but ideas about dumb endless growth and imperfection of silly GDP metric for our weak human minds that can not comprehend true complexity resonated to me so vividly that I bought the book. Mind you that I am not the person who buys paper books online, and not the person who has the time to read them, but I felt the urge to pass the knowledge and the paper book was the best example to show people something they can remember in a world of thousands tabs.
I couldn’t finish the book, because every new page sparked so many ideas in my head that I had to progress slowly and find more time to feel less stressful that I can not sleep and dream on about how it can be used for the good. One thing that struck me the most was System Dynamics diagram - the thing that I tried to use to understand the financial crisis on my own after I failed to find an Economist who could explain it to me. I found a simulator for Hyman Minsky theory that used that approach and because the capital of my country is Minsk, that could keep my attention for some period. I must say that I’ve crossed out Economics from the list of accurate disciplines in my university and completed that module in advance without any significant effort after understanding the nature of dire approximations that Economists use. Can’t say that I didn’t enjoy that, but that was not serious at all. Having this label for Economics and getting back to the book written by a non-technical person I did not really expect that someone without a background differential equations and feedback loops that constitute the meat and bones of Automation Theory is using Sustem Dynamic - the state of the art human knowledge for dealing with complexity for me at this time bought me in completely. I must admit that I need a refresher of state of the art for the last decade, but so far I haven’t seen anything better than iterative simulation for those things. GameDev scene has a lot and a lot of fabulous technology that helps with computation and making people hooked, but as I was not there, I could not monitor all these things closely. Complexity is the problem and the best games are solving it in very elegant ways, because they just wouldn’t survive otherwise. And there is a lot more common in games with and economic equations with lot of changing variables and the necessity of calculating the next step before it is being made. While I am sure that in 10 years somebody will get Nobel prize for describing all these processes I’ve got a feeling that we don’t have that time and need to experiment and practice with alternative gameplay right away.
Being pressed on time and money after Bitcoin crisis this year I found a shelter in remote Buddhist monastery to stop my race a bit and see how the things work outside of my internet cell and learn more about mindfulness to deal with my middle age crisis. 2000 years ago one person said that people need only 4 basic things - food, clothers, shelter and medicine - and everything else comes from their minds that they can not control. Monks are showing people the pleasure of simple life, by example, to teach them how to stop suffering. This is what I came there for. In exchange for the wisdom that gave me some tools to go on, I gifted the book to a Thailand monk who was a professor of Economics, because what they do by educating people about themselves is so much about the inside part of the Doughnut that I felt that it should find its place on the shelves of their library to be noticed by someone who will finally find a way to evolve and pass the knowledge to the new generation of people.
After six months in Asia I need to rewire my brain back to technical DevOps routines to get food, clothes and shelter (medicine is out of reach for my case), slowly replacing those new concepts and ideas in my head with code pieces. Instead of dedicating this time for experimenting with different gameplay for the future. I can feel sad about it, but I’d like to be practical - there is no way I can change my focus alone and be compensated for something I have no idea or proven skills. Felling kind of burying myself alive in this away, because most of the job proposals for me is just repeating the same things over and over for the next “startup unicorn”. Repetitive and to some degree useless job to do, because there is no time to automate it, but competitive economics keeps pushing people to waste time to repeat the same thing over and over. Good experience for newcomers. However, I am here for a different reason, and I want to change my focus. I want to help with Doughnut Economics, but not just to spread the word or increase awareness. As I said the word “politics” is not among my beliefs, but something that is called protopia is - something that is
positive and achievable scenario of the future with only way to get there is to practice it. How about we start today? Here I am waiting for you to build up the capacity to get me on board.