Productivity and/as profit – factors in and costs of externalised energy expenditure

November 26, 2017

The debate on productivity and profit could benefit from application of first and second laws of thermodynamics to recognition of metabolic, muscular and mental energy expended in labour and effecting entropies, of efficiency of means and modes of production, and of attempted externalisation of various terms and costs relating to metabolic, muscular and mental maintenance of labour modes and nodes, ie workers.  Wikipedia’s entry notes that both first and second laws indicate that perpetual motion is impossible and so are perpetual machines of the first kind (that produce work without energy input) and of the second kind (that spontaneously convert thermal energy into mechanical work) are impossible.

This morning’s BBC R4 Broadcasting House ‘slow radio’ sound was cider fermenting, bubble by intemittent bubble… bubble… bubble… Then it ran an item on increasing productivity by speeding production (through reducing distraction by ‘social media’).  How ironic – slow radio on unspeeded and potentially unspeedable production, with apples and yeasts as the unspeedable time-unsqueezable middle, then fast radio on speeding production, with labour as the assertedly squeezable so speedable middle.

The example work discussed was roofing, which it turns out apparently can’t be rushed.

The header hopefully indicates an invalid inference about energy creation rather than transformation in the idea that increasing productivity by increasing surplus production over production costs equals profit, with productivity increase through production-cost-cutting in production means and mode.

If energy can’t be created, then the only scope for increasing productivity is not workers working longer harder, given fixed metabolic, muscular and mental costs, but increasing efficiency, as effective application of energy as effort, in means and mode of production equipment (techniques and technologies) and improving ecologies and environments to increase energetic (metabolic, muscular and mental) worker support.

In other words, to calculate real costs, follow energy flows entailed in workers working, including energy calibrated as required for self-maintenance, and include those costs in calculating fixed variable costs of production, capable of transformation into production, but not able to be created or destroyed (fi by incentives or threats).

The asserted problem is seen as ‘relative productivity reflects time on/time out during production, thus increasing productivity entails increasing time on during production’.   The asserted solution seems to be ‘externalising energy/effort labour maintenance costs equals/should equal/is equivalent to increasing production equals increased profit’.

Out of sight = out of mind.  As are worker measures of metabolic, muscular and mental strength, health and fitness, illness, stress, and and.

‘Low’ productivity’s asserted impact on production thus on profit represents the sum of recognised intrinsic and unrecognised externalised production costs from inherent productivity costs.  How?  If energy cannot be created or destroyed, only transformed, then unrecognised externalised labour energy costs of metabolic, muscular and mental energy-as-effort expended in the (culturally current) means of production transform local mode of production costs of inefficient equipment and consequent effortful but ineffective labour, plus fixed and variable energy/effort costs into productivity costs, which inevitably impact profit simply because they actually are actual production costs.

Fixed costs of labour, in metabolism, musculature, and mind, are usually externalised so often invisible.  Not so with cider fermenting – it’s a recognised and indeed celebrated fixed cost of labour from apples and yeasts.  Speeded-up cider = different product.

Explanation below in case of interest.

Production is transformative conversion of raw materials (aka energy in various forms) into added-value forms.

Productivity is calculation of rates of conversion and identification of redundancies.

Energy itself can’t be created or destroyed, only transformed, as for raw materials> product and in labour/work >productivity.

Labour or work involves energy (basic metabolism [metabolic efficiency, etc]) plus effort [environmental temperature, physical efficiency of means and modes of applied energy/effort, etc) over time [muscle/metabolic/mental requirements, etc]).

Increasing productivity entails increasing effectiveness and efficiency in applying energy as physical effort.

Means and external modes of production belong to employers. Employers calculate terms and costs.

Increasing efficiency entails factoring in fixed term times and costs (fi time for paint-drying, concrete setting, computer lag, kettle-boiling) and calculating capital costs of increasing equipment efficient (ie quicker computers and kettles, quickcrete and paint-dryers) against time-cost-saving.

Bodies belong to bodies. Bodies calibrate available energy against immediate imperative effort.

As Marxist theory has long noted, the servicing of bodies (and the minds and other environmentals and ecologicals that go with them) is an externalised aka invisible so uncounted cost in capitalism.

Increasing body (metabolic, muscle, mental) efforts entails meeting additional but externalised costs.

Increasing body effort potential entails increasing body effort capacity (metabolism, musculature, mind).

People accessing social media during work hours are attempting to increase mental effort capacity – or at least may seem to themselves to be attempting this, in stimulating desired and/or subduing undesired mental activity.

That is, they are attempting to increase productivity efficiency, by short-term diversion of effort into increasing potential for medium and long-term effort.

Increasing productivity entails recognition and resolution of a balance among known fixed and/or fixed-term productivity> energy/effort/efficiency costs, fi equipment efficiency, and unknown because externalised mutable costs of bodies engaged in calibrating available metabolic, muscular and mental energy and expenditures (also externalised so invisible).

An effectively integrated model of reality (NB not to reality itself, only to a consistent and comprehensive joined-up working model of human perceptions and conceptions  [‘join the dots’]) is to calculate all engaged-entailed energy elements, including inherent-imperative expenditure calibrations in bodies (metabolisms, musculatures, minds).

Posted without pretensions that this is anything other than a snapshot of first thoughts.


After a good while…

January 24, 2014

Haven’t looked to see how long it is since my last post.  Stopped to recover from inflamed wrist tendons and other joints.  Managing this difficulty by diet and attitude changes – almost no grains or other carbs, less sugar and fructose from all sources, more nuts, plenty more dark green leafy veg, mostly raw (bringing their own issues of iodine and other mineral binding).

Time to start blogging again. Thanks for effective inspiration to Matt at

It is time to start seriously writing my book.  Every morning I think, there are things that need to be said, that could effectively prevent people from hurting each other, by addressing and alleviating their own hurt.  In this context many writers share similar insights and outlooks, often alongside religions especially of inward heart-hearth – outward heal(th) orientation.

Inner Bonding explains much emotional pain.  Of especial benefit to me are Grace Bell at and Byron Katie’s The Work  All these are modern versions of ancient insights into the nature of reality – basically, reality is what is, or at least what appears to us to be (cf earlier posts on the necessary often omitted first part of the is/ought dilemma, that appears to be/is dilemma [this would make it a sort of trilemma, cf

Enough for now.

In response to mixed-up monsters

March 10, 2011

In response to Tim Morton’s post on chimerical monsters, some thoughts. 

One way to rework ecologists and others at ‘evolutionary purpose speak’ when they come out with some version of ‘x is to/for a’, is to change the ‘to/for’ into ‘that’, and the infinitive to third person present. So ‘one way to rework’ becomes ‘one way that reworks’.  The focus is then on one aspect of what x seems to us to do relative to a, without presuming any prior purposiveness.

Don’t know whether this can work with Aristotle, but it works with Attenborough at least for domestic consumption. Whatever he comments on does whatever it does that has whatever effects it has without doing it to have those effects. The kids shout ‘not to, that’. 

‘In Our Time’ this morning was a discussion about determinism with some quite eminent philosophers > . The discussion rather skirted quantum entanglement.

One thing not explicitly addressed was the fare/fate of the anthropic principle, strong or weak, in a determinist but not teleological cosmos (actually determinism seems quite compatible with tautology).  The anthropic principle, weak or strong, acknowledged or not, seems to me to underlie and underpin all classical/conventional ecological and philosophical observation, so normalising anthropocentrism.  Anthropocentrism is inevitable, but it need neither be privileged as a perspectiveless perspective, nor disparaged as a species-culture-specific prejudice.  Instead we need a theory and model of experience and empathy in terms of quantum entanglement.

Strawson came really quite close to something somewhat similar to OOO (as did his father), in recognising the idea of free will as an entity of experience. Some development of this (like OOO) may potentially resolve the teleology of the strong version, in a sort of tautology that may enable quantum entanglement to mediate Munchausen’s trilemma.

NB Monster derives from monstrum portent or monster, from monere to warn.  Apparently it isn’t related to monstrance, from monstrare to show. 

Trying speech recognition

March 1, 2011

Now am using voice recognition to dictate my post. This is frustrating.  Not using headphones so picks up every sound and tries to make it into a word-very sweet, very obliging, not very effective.  It’s hard to know what to do.  It saves my wrists and fingers, but it’s so hard to use it.  There must be a solution.  I’m having to correct constantly, using my hands to cancel its responses to commands I didn’t make. I despair. 

experimenting with ergonomics

March 1, 2011

As any readers will know, my blog posts have been severely constrained and curtailed by exacerbation of chronic RSI, that started shortly after I started my first blog, into acute, after a couple of weeks of three blogs (and even though was writing less in posts in total, I think).

Himself has bought a comfort keyboard for himself, and I’m having a little try with it to see if it would help me at all. 

So how does this comfort keyboard work for me? well, better, a bit, I think, maybe, perhaps: actually, dunno yet, will have to do a good bit more typing to find out for sure what is the case.  Holding my hands downward while having my fingers dangle depends on my wrists being high enough that dangling fingers don’t seem likely to accidentally type, preventing which likelihood being the reason for raising my ring and little fingers.  But there’s a sort of diminishing returns here; the position that guarantees no accidental typing also prevents actual typing.  Ho hum.

The Bucky-Gandhi Design Institution › The Goat Rodeo Complex/Difficult situation scale

February 25, 2011

The Bucky-Gandhi Design Institution › The Goat Rodeo Complex/Difficult situation scale.   Hmmm…can see several useful and some seemingly useless bits here (the latter in the phrase ‘totally misaligned fundamental evolutionary cognitive biases’ – no such thing, only prior epistemic commitments).

The amazing all-pervasive perspectival parallax of anthropic perception and conception

February 23, 2011

There is no perspectiveless perspective.  Everything we sense reflects and represents and is reflected and represented in our species and culture specific sensing apparatuses and artefacts with their specific scopes and scales of reference. 

Take complexity, for example.  Apparent complexity, actual or abstract, is a function of scope > scape + scale > spect: perception and conception, reconciling experience past and present.  A mountain in itself, as a percept and concept, doesn’t seem particularly complex to perceive and conceive.  However, in its place within a range of mountains formed at a particular moment in time as a result of tectonic movement, as a site of past, present or potential volcanic activity , in its persona as a climbable peak as a set of faces and faults and flaws and ascent approaches, in its geoclimatic role as the boundary of a watershed, it acquires complexity as a content of complicated contextual conditions and constraints. 

Complexity as character emerges fractally in examination of experience across scopes and scales of scapes and spects.  All that complexity means is myriad multiply materially ‘meaningful’ materials mutually metabolically implicated, that may require to be disentangled so that their mutual material ‘meaningfulnesses’ might be discovered and displayed.  Complexity alludes to the complicated compressed compacted intricacies of apparent or assumed abstract and actual material implications of interactions to be disentangled, and is a function of large-scope spects of small-scale scapes.

Our apparatuses and artefacts enable us to see relatively large or small areas in relatively fine detail – relatively large or small compared to ourselves in our usual sensory lives – and we make sense of what we see by applying categories and classifications that are themselves entirely/merely aspects of the action of reconciling earlier experience with and of existing meanings to experienced emerging and potentially (re)merging meanings under examination.  This examination and attempted reconciliation of experiences is meaning-making and/as meaningfulness-making. 

On sensing sense

February 23, 2011

‘We see things, not as they are, but as we are’: a phrase credited to Anais Nin, and to Judaism.  How is it that we are? – That is, ‘as we are’ means what, in regard to ‘seeing things’?  We are sensing, seeking, making, sense-seeking-making mammalian multicellular metabolisms in membranes  with memories, with ‘sensing’ becoming ‘sense’ by iteration as material molecular metabolic meaning-fullness.  We make meaning, we mean.  Meaning-fulness is inherited-inherent so intendent in human beings, in human-being, in being human.  Humans see themselves as intelligent.  ‘Intelligence’ means simply ‘reading into’ and ‘choosing among’.  What is being read into and chosen among by humans is meaning and meanings and meaningfulness.  Minds are meaning-making means, media, modes, of the brains bodies bring forth.

Brains are presumably an excess of various environmental materials > metabolites that get deposited/reposited at the edge of our bodies.  This is the case with all structural aspects of bodies, if we look tautologically not teleologically.  So brains can be seen as accumulative fatty deposits at one end of our central spindle, that like fat deposits over the rest of our body turn out to continue live/life and contribute in various ways to our ongoing metabolism.   All aspects of our bodies can be considered from this happenstance position and perspective:  bones, skin, nerves, lungs, circulations (NB calling circulations systems may seem to perpetrate and perpetuate a teleological account into a tautological, unless a careful clear distinction of systemic from systematic is made).  All characteristic mammalian multicellular features can be seen as iterative depositions of metabolic by-products at the edges of cells/membranes, registering and replicating axis polymorphies of cellular metabolism including membrane-and/as memory-making in environmental conditions under metabolic constraints at mega-multicellular scales and scopes.

In this view DNA also can be seen as expressing a material memory of metabolic meaningfulness made by metabolising in species-specific patterns of cellular metabolic processing in particular material environments.  Genes become tautological/ly emergent by-products of metabolism, rather than as currently seen, an essential/ly teleological morphic blueprint to be realised in metabolism, as in the central modern dogma, genes copy only one way.  Instead, the entire material-molecular metabolic-morphic meaning-making membrane-memory medium-mode could be seen as fractal iterations with fracted itinerations of a central tendency or propensity to sense sense in experienced iterations.  The issue then is one of making the sense we sense consistent across senses, on the grounds that that is not only likely to be how it is, but actually how it is, that is, it is experienced iterations and the experience of iterations that we experience in fracted degrees of similarity and familiarity despite variability as sensed sense, our intendent ‘essence’ and the essence of all the entities that emerge to our experience from our environment of as yet unattended-to sensed sense.

Of course, this account is me/my making meaning out of metabolising existing meanings, metabolising my current meaning environment, sensing and attending to emerging aspects of all the meanings in my experience, seeking a view, a position – procept, prospective, proscape, prospect – through and by which to reconcile and resolve parallaxes.

(Next: How meaning-making works might be something like this…)

Trigger finger – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

February 22, 2011

Trigger finger – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  Among symptoms of acute RSI that are making it difficult and painful to post at present.

February 15, 2011