Climate hopeful, theatre sad; is the metaverse a thing?
Help Elon Musk decide to sell Tesla. Feeling sad on theatre, but hopeful on climate. I spoke to Imperical College students. Have you a Will? Podcast on disablility.
This week, I am feeling more despondent on theatre, but hopeful on climate.
I asked my LI network how many of them made a will. Out of the 156 who took the pool, only about half had.
Hmmmm. While unsurprising, that’s not a great number and “death admin” (I’m thinking of calling if deathmin but no one seems to call it that) is a section of my show that will be both funny and practical. Do come - I am half sold out for in person - but there is also livestream (7pm, 26 November.)
In this post by Adam Lenson, he makes the arguments for livestream (through a musical theatre lens but widely applicable) that I agree with, including on accessibility and creativity and new forms. On why I am feeling a little despondent. I have a tiny story about the Bunker Theatre...
On making a will, only 53%?
Feeling theatre sad
The metaverse - is it really a thing?
Speaking to climate and finance students and COP
The Great Quitting thoughts
Chat with the head of sustainability, AstraZeneca
Help Elon Musk decide if he should sell Tesla stock?
Links: Hot streaks in creativity, Raj on positive maverick thinking, truck drivers on the great quitting, essays mills and more.
...I have a tiny story about the Bunker Theatre. Family circumstances means I don’t go to the theatre very much any more. (It’s a childcare challenge.) Several years ago, my offices were located close to London Bridge. I took a walk to visit the Bunker Theatre on a lunch break. I poked my head in. Chris Sonnex (who I don’t know, but was AD) was chatting with (I think) David Ralf but was happy to let me nose around. It was an open welcome to poke about. It’s a piece of almost nothing story but I felt - I could maybe put on a piece of work here if circumstances allowed. I could observe from TheatreTwit that many had found a home for themselves in what the Bunker was doing. Fast forward a few years and Chris was told the space was going to be redeveloped. The Bunker closed. Just recently, it was announced that the Menier theatre was taking over the space.
Theatre is much more than a space. It’s the people. It’s the work. But some times theatre is a home and theatre can need a home.
(As an aside, David Ralf is now at Theatre Deli, and I think is maybe going to be the person livestreaming my scratch show).
I continue to think that theatre punches above its weight in culture and social relevance. But I’m unsure that as an industry in the UK, it’s not slowly consigning itself to oblivion. That’s part unfair. For example, the Kings Head is a recent counter to this trend. Improbable’s search for a home seems to be filled with positive vibes. For many years I chaired Talawa and then Coney. But still, I’m having a theatre despondent moment. A counter-counter, this mistake by the Royal Court.
Adam Lenson @AdamLensonSo Al Smith @royalcourt has taken a character clearly based on Elon Musk and when fictionalising him has given him an obviously Jewish name. Casually making a silicon valley billionaire Jewish perpetuates antisemitic stereotypes and will cause ideological harm. https://t.co/dcl618jPzY
...I don’t think theatre will get to oblivion because it’s too large a part of human culture. But I can see the pandemic has hurt theatre and I don’t see the recovery going that well. Compare this to other industries grappling with remote, hybrid and livestream.
Poetry is more positively insidious. As an industry it might look tiny. But poems infuse our whole lives and all our major events from births, deaths, weddings and love messages. Same with music. And maybe even dance. Theatre is more peculiar than those forms. I see theatre making here in the UK struggling. This is obviously part of a larger, deeper discussion on the future prospects of the theatre ecosystem. I’m happy to discuss it more beyond this newsletter, if you’d like to reply but it encompasses inequality, accessibilty, work, remote, climate…
Why I am feeling more hopeful on climate. Noting this is somewhat like a pendulum…. While critics rightly observe the “Blah blah blah…” and note the gap between “saying” and “doing”, I now feel you need to acknowledge that at the least the “saying” pledges are now indicating we are heading to a 1.8c or 1.9c world. This is sub 2c world which even 5 years ago was not the pledged policy scenario. Two sets of snap analytics show that (IEA below est. 1.8c world):
The Climate Resource analysis suggesting 1.9c
China and India and the majority of world emissions are now on board the journey. The India pledge is new.
The India pledge is significant and 2070 is in line with the trajectory we need and its own current development and lower historic emissions. It might be a bigger deal than you think.
We still have a huge innovation gap and a funding gap. But that is closing, this week fossil fuel free steel was handed round COP26.
Mini-nuclear fusion is a possibility. So it’s <100% chance, but also >0%. Say, 25%? With some super smart people behind it. So call that 25% chance of cheap clean power coming on stream in the 2025 to 2030 timeframe. That’s a *positive* tail risk of a notable solution.
There’s a lot coming out of COP26 but it’s only a small interlude for the doers of this world.
Speaking of doers… I gave a guest lecture at Imperial College Business School to the MSc students in Climate and Finance. It was 10% my Thinking Bigly climate performance and then mostly on extra-financials and investing. I was impressed. Super questions. Thoughtful and engaged. Another reason to be hopeful.
I gave them my secret psychological trick on why to be optimistic and hopeful. They seemed to really like it! Also, for this group and type of people, my top advice would include going into or looking at Green VC (Venture Capital) either as a founder or investor. I was glad to hear that billionaire, (macro-investor) Jeremy Grantham agrees with me. As an aside, Grantham continues to be very bearish on the valuation of almost all common investable assets (with the exception on “value” in emerging markets).
Hannah Ritchie from World In Data also gives thoughts on why we should have hope.
Is the Metaverse going to be a Big Thing? I see arguments for and against. They are worth considering. This interview with Mark Zuckerberg is worth nothing on the For side, as are recent pronouncements from Microsoft.
We spoke about:
…who and how do we decide who gets to be human? I pose what thinking about the rights (or lack of) that Britney Spears has is relevant to disability rights thinking.
Dan’s wide ranging thoughts on what disability and other intersectional studies have suggested to him. These include:
Thinking about “ability” and what the social model of disability suggests. What a critique of idealising able bodies and able minds might mean.
What medicalisation means and how it is different to medicine.
How humans are interdependent and what that suggests about our relationships.
How technology is impacting Dis/abled humanness.
What being a Nottingham Forest Football fan has taught Dan.
… but in essence it’s simply very provoking on how the world is designed and made for an able majority, but that with more careful thought the world could be remade better for everyone and I am more constantly provoked by that idea. More in the podcast /transcipt/video here or below.
Coming up for podcasts: Zeke Hausfather on climate, Fran Sanderson on arts impact. Questions let us know. Dropping soon, Jason Mitchell on poetry and sustainability; and Aella on rationalism and the economics of an escort girl.
…I’m also having thoughts on the great quitting. No one is quite sure what is going on. But I am moved by this idea for US (and EU) workforce that low wage workers now can see how crap their jobs were and the current level of incentives is not enough - way not enough - to induce them back to work. It combines these observations:
Status Quo bias. We get stuck in a rut until we get knocked out of this rut by an outside force.
Workers in crappy jobs did not fully appreciate how crap those jobs were until they stopped doing them.
Harford draws a different conclusion on remote work patterns, I note his observation:
“ A few hours of disruption were enough to make them realise that they had been doing commuting wrong their entire adult lives.”
This is not about “remote” but about these workers now can see how crap their jobs were and the current level of incentives is not enough - way not enough - to induce them back to work. It’s not only pay/incentives now but how they were treated before...
One counter argument is… was it not the furlough money? But, this doesn’t seem to be true:
“...Earlier this year many people insisted that enhanced unemployment benefits were reducing the incentive to accept jobs. But those extra benefits were eliminated in many states as early as June, and nationally in early September; this cutoff doesn’t seem to have had any measurable effect on employment or labor force participation. …”
Possibly you can argue this:
“...Another story, which is harder to refute, says that the extensive aid families received during the pandemic left many with more cash on hand than usual, giving them the financial space to be choosier about their next job…”
If this insight is correct and not fully appreciated then this is the start of a transition in human capital… and suggests the great quitting is not a mere flash.
Elon Musk wants your vote on if to sell Tesla stock.
I am speaking with the head of sustainability at AstraZeneca soon. I am doing the fireside chat through work, so if you have an institutional relationship with me/RBC as well and you want to listen in and ask questions let me know. (1pm UK,Nov 29)
Else, if you have a sustainability related question you’d like to pose. Reply and let me know and I will try and ask it.
Links this week:
Better paid jobs, are also better jobs.
Essay writing mills. (1) Not very good (2) Many in Kenya.
More on great quitting.
More COP analysis:
Land C02 emissions revised down.
More vs Tariq Fancy
More on the great quitting…
Hot streaks are a thing
Raj on thinking for positive mavericks.
And UK COVID trends