No. 38 – 4th of June, 2023
Change feels slow. Especially where we need it most.
Yet change is happening all the time. It wasn't too long ago, at my first proper job, that I would spend the entirety of my 10 hour shift answering the phone, and reading out the bank account balance on my screen for each customer.
That now seems like a tale suitable for a Dickensian adaptation.
Change requires outsiders. Mavericks. People who do things differently.
Here's to the outliers.
Enjoy! ~ GKT
Ban the veto
In the UK, the number of registered childminders has fallen by 80% since the 1990s. Part of the reason for that is the endless supply of red tape and regulations:
...a childminder today has to register with the Food Standards Agency and keep a legally-required “food diary” recording what food products you have bought, who you bought them from, the quantity and date, and log incidents like having “found a pack of sliced ham out of date in the fridge”.
Sam Bowman explores what causes supply constraints on the “big four” (housing, childcare, transport, and energy), and suggests a solution whereby only small groups of people most directly affected by new developments are the ones who can actually vote on those developments.
Ban the smartphone
I'm not a big fan of moral outrage when it comes to tech. I spent much of my teenage years learning to code, and loved it. However, this was the early days of life online. There was no Instagram, or Snapchat, or TikTok. There was no endless scroll.
Not all screen time is created equal. Four hours of mindless 10 second videos is not comparable to the same time spent discovering how nuclear power is generated.
We also need to think about what tech displaces. I've no doubt that if my foster children didn't have screens, they would spend more time playing. They would be more active. They would spend more time with friends. They would be outside more often.
If it were my choice, I would be with this teacher. Or, I could just move to Ireland.
Ban the cane
I believe we should understand children, not control or punish them. Today, these views are controversial. They go against what society believes. They're not supported by many schools, or social services, or others.
It can definitely feel like swimming against the tide.
It's worth remembering that corporal punishment in British state schools wasn't outlawed until 1987 (and not until 1998 for private schools). And it wasn't an easy battle. Grace Campbell had to take her case all the way to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, and was met with fierce opposition every step of the way.
+ Body transfer illusion (always blows my mind)