February 13, 2015

Horse 1840 - Fragments II: Wages, Stories, Chinese Characters, Governor-General, 1 Samuel, McLaren, The Spill, Eurovision, Holden and Schooling

Back in Horse 1770, I published scribblings from my note book which otherwise would have disappeared. Those notebooks have been dispensed with as I have entered the age of tablet computing but in it's place, an abandonarium of sorts has built up. The fragments which once were small and scribbly are now longer and electronicky.

This is either a museum or a bemuseum depending on which way you want to look at it. This post is full of those extra bits, which never made it.

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aa1 - On Wages?

The employer-employee relationship is essentially an uneven one. Like so many circumstances where money is involved, the other "golden rule" applies: "whoever has the gold, makes the rules". This is also true in politics as well; it isn't necessarily by accident that the current Prime Minister and Treasurer both happen to represent two of the richest electorates in the country. Money talks, and loudly; this time it's positively yelling until all other possible voices are drowned out. Alas poor Democracy, I knew him.

The biggest single driver in the cost of wages, or rather the wages that people demand, is people's occupation costs; that is, the humble task of putting a roof over one's head. For people further up the income ladder, this includes the repayment of ever larger mortgages but at the end of the income ladder which is most likely to actually benefit from penalty rates, the best that a lot of people can hope to aspire to is keeping the rent collecters at bay.
In modern Australia where the manufacturing sector has withered on the vine or has been kicked violently to pieces, the occupations where you're most likely to find workers who are currently entitled to penalty rates is in sectors like retail and hospitality. In these sectors, workers are not only under the pump in terms of competing  with each other but also in terms of job security. Someone who is entitled to penalty rates is also more likely to be employed on a part-time or casual basis. The question of if they're likely to be even called in to work tomorrow weighs more heavily on such peoples' minds than if ever does to salaried workers. Such a set of circumstances isn't really all that helpful in keeping the rent collectors from bashing the front door down.
Mr Abbott's example of a restaurant which didn't open on Sunday nights; specifically because of penalty rates, demonstrates that he either doesn't understand about people's situations or more tellingly, doesn't care about the circumstances and conditions which the people who would be affected by the abolition of penalty rates would face.
It seems that he almost expects services to be open even though a market solution has produced a different outcome; I wonder if this shows an underlying sentiment of entitlement at work here. If it isn't convenient for the workers to work on a Sunday night, Mr Abbott is openly telling people that their inconvenience is not valued and is not worth a paying a premium for. I find this all the more galling when you consider that the terms which define his own working conditions are very generous in terms of allowances; and these allowances make a few dollars an hour in penalty rates pale in comparison.

Looking closer at this restaurant (which isn't named and therefore the actual non-existence of which can not be disproven) as Mr Abbott claims can not afford to stay open specifically because of penalty rates, is already demonstrating a market outcome with respect to wages. The profit motive is the usual reason why business does anything and if it doesn't open on a Sunday night then this might show that it isn't willing to raise prices to cover those rates because it knows that its clientele isn't prepared to pay the increased prices. Mr Abbott (like the Government he leads) however, only sees this as a spending and not a revenue issue; where the only allowable solution is to drive down input costs. This is quite apart from the fact that the cooks and waiters who work in the restaurant probably can not afford to eat there as a customer. Such an attitude says that the fruits of labour do not belong to those that labour but those who derive profits from it. The attitude displayed by the statement that "if you don't want to work weekends, don't work weekends" tries to reframe the issue as one of choice, when in actual fact someone who needs the money might have very little choice at all. You might find it very difficult to quit if this particular job happens to fit with your other obligations in life such as family commitments and just quitting or not working might not be such an easy option to someone who lives from pay cheque to pay cheque.

History is littered with examples where if allowed, employers will pay their employees as little as possible; nothing if they can get away with it. Even today, there are organisations holding out the carrot of "experience" whilst offering that "experience" in unpaid internships; so I very much doubt that there is a lower limit to the level of nastiness that people will descend to. The only reason that awards and penalty rates exist and are protected by law is because people had to fight for them (and in some cases lose their lives in that fight). I suspect that the reason why the current push to abolish penalty rates is on, is because employers have sensed that power has again tilted back in their favour. As more people move into either white collar work where they are paid wages and unpaid overtime runs rampant and as the people who would have once worked in factories now find themselves in retail, the ability for unions to achieve anything at all has been diminished. I don't know if we're likely to see a return to the Combinations Act of 1799 which prohibited people's ability to form unions and engage in collective bargaining because I doubt if the need to pass such legislation even exists any more. There is no need to ban workers' rights to join a union in a labour market where no union exists.

I'm speculating here but it could be that the awarding of Prince Phillip with a knighthood (which I'm largely ambivalent to) was designed to create so much of a media storm as to draw attention away from the fact that decisions and negotiations are being made to erode workers' rights and rates of pay. It's easy to fleece someone whilst you're pulling the wool over their eyes. Why not draw attention to a clumsy action if it makes people forget about the callous one about to be perpetrated against them?

(Abandoned at 1047 words. This was too ranty and the world moved on too quickly)

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aa2 - Telling Stories?

From time to time I am asked by people to write a diatribe on some subject and to this day I'm still amused at just how many people want to read these pieces.
I think that it was really strange to be asked to write this piece on what I think the future for comedy looks like considering that:
1. I am not a comedian.
2. I almost never see live stand-up.
4. I tend not to put things in the right order.
G. I get easily distracted.
4. I tend to repeat things.
4. I tend to repeat things.
3. I don't find the things that most people find funny, amusing at all.

That last bullet point is quite salient. "Watch this TV show -  you'll find it funny",  they say. Well I'll watch one episode and then in most cases I'll find it as dull as data entry. "Two Broke Girls", "Modern Family",  "New Girl" and  "The Big Bang Theory" have been the latest series in this list of shows which people have told me that I might find funny; only to be disappointed so profusely that I've gotten up and walked away. None of them have ever made it beyond the ten minute mark, in their attempt to make me watch them.
So as eminently unqualified as I am to write anything about comedy, why am I even attempting to do so; considering that I know next to nothing of what others find funny? Because although I might not know find the same things funny that other people find funny, the overall question of "What now for comedy?" has almost nothing to do with the material of the subject.

Comedy like every single genre of writing, is about the telling of stories. If they're crime fiction, an action movie, serious journalism, financial reporting, opinion pieces, drama series and yes, even comedy shows and live stand-up, they all rely upon the central tenant of telling the arc of some story. All stories have at their core, the complication and resolution of some particular conflict. Pick any subject you like and every story  you've ever seen and you'll invariably find this to be true.

Comedy is the telling of these stories for amusement and often in a humorous way. Comedy also is one of the few arenas where the crossing of taboos is seen as semi-allowable. Whether it be through the vehicle of filthy jokes, racism, or even very venturing into the land of the macabre, society seems to have less of a problem with comedy being used as the vehicle for the journey into this territory (of course your mileage may vary depending on where that journey may go and you are perfectly free to not go on that voyage).
These two ideas of comedy as the telling of stories and as the vehicle to cross taboos, defines the form of a whole host of material but even then, those conflicts and taboos can also be defined in ludicrously simple terms.

All stories worth telling are basically the conflict between an individual or a group, against another individual, group, system or concept. Comedy sets up the conflict by trying to get us to side to identify with the first entity, defines the other entity and specifically delineates their 'otherness' and then tells the story of the complication and resolution (or failure to do so) of that complication.
It does so though, with a different palette to journalism or drama. The colours which comedy paints with are many and varied but they really come down to just four:
1. Sarcasm.
2. Stupidity.
3. Surprise.
4. Vanity.

(607 words before I abandoned this. I failed to see where this was going.)

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tz31 - The End Of Chinese Characters?

I'm going to make a prediction which is so outlandish as to sound like a joke but just sufficiently far enough in the future that it can not be disproven. It is this:

Within 200 years, most Chinese characters will disappear entirely from use and be replaced with Latin characters.

Writing systems originally developed by people who were using then on parchment and paper of various kinds. Apart from cuneiform which was mainly written into clay tablets, all of the current character sets in current use went through that phase of putting ink to paper.
The curious thing is that with the invention and spread of the printing press, in most language and character sets, once they had been captured and standardised, printers sought to rationalise and reduce the number of characters needed for printing. Granted that English gained the letters 'j' and 'u' but it also lost the letter 'thorn'. Both Chinese and Japanese went through a simplification phase and most European languages which use Cyrillic or Greek character sets have also gone through similar sorts of processes.
Turkish is most curious of all in that has already gone through a switch to a Latin character set and now that seems perfectly normal.

So why do I think that Chinese is going to go through a similar sort of revolution over the next 200 years? The reason for that is tablet computing.

Computers are nothing more that fast processing idiots. Even the smartest of artificial intelligence devices is still incapable of asking the question of 'why?'. 

(Abandoned at 257 words. I needed more information to make this work and then couldn't be bothered.)

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gg3 - The Grand Pooh-Bah of Australia?

The day that Australia becomes a republic (as much as I think that the idea is patently eejitacious) is as inevitable as an oncoming freight train meeting a mango which has been left upon the tracks. I think that the referendum we had in 1999 wasn't a rejection of the idea of a republic but of that particular model. I suspect that had the model proposed been simply to replace the Governor-General with an elected representative and their powers kept as vague and as undefined as they are now, then the 'yes' vote would have waltzed in by a canter after the horse had bolted. I wouldn't be even writing this post because we would have probably officially become a republic on January 1st, 2001.
So if I, the pragmatic monarchist, see this as inevitable and don't want to be the mango, what sort of conditions would I like to see set for the election of our Governor-General?

The referendum on the republic gave me the impression that people would like to vote for the head of state in the same way that they do in the United States (as much as I hate the idea). However, the idea of the Electoral College I think has been proven to be so monumentally stupid that precisely zero countries have copied this system.

Section 128 of the Constitution provides that in order to alter the Constitution, it requires "a majority of the electors" in a "majority of the States". I think that this is an apt and prudent test and should also apply to the head of state.
I'd also suggest that in order to depoliticise the position of the head of state, that all candidates who wish to run, should never have been a member of government at any level including Federal, State and Local levels and they should also not be a member of a political party. If they wish to run for the office of head of state, they ought to resign all memberships to all registered political parties. 

(Abandoned at 340 words. A vote for a spill motion for the Prime Minister's job got in the way.)

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sm1 - Bad Dads?

I am currently reading through the book of 1 Samuel at the moment; it opens with the end of the period of the judges in Israel and the opening of the short period of the United Monarchy of the nation.
The books of Samuel and later the books of Kings and Chronicles go on to repeat the lines that such and such "did evil in the eyes of the LORD" or "did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD" and so it kind of reads a little like Sellar and Yeatman's "1066 And All That" in classifying things as either a good thing or a bad thing.

The opening of 1 Samuel tells in part, the story of the last two judges Eli and Samuel but inadvertently might accidentally have let something past the radar.

Consider Eli's sons:
Eli’s sons were scoundrels; they had no regard for the Lord. Now it was the practice of the priests that, whenever any of the people offered a sacrifice, the priest’s servant would come with a three-pronged fork in his hand while the meat was being boiled and would plunge the fork into the pan or kettle or caldron or pot. Whatever the fork brought up the priest would take for himself. This is how they treated all the Israelites who came to Shiloh.
- 1 Samuel 2:12-14

 Now Eli, who was very old, heard about everything his sons were doing to all Israel and how they slept with the women who served at the entrance to the tent of meeting. So he said to them, “Why do you do such things? I hear from all the people about these wicked deeds of yours. No, my sons; the report I hear spreading among the Lord’s people is not good. If one person sins against another, God may mediate for the offender; but if anyone sins against the Lord, who will intercede for them?” His sons, however, did not listen to their father’s rebuke, for it was the Lord’s will to put them to death.
- 1 Samuel 2:22-25

The man who brought the news replied, “Israel fled before the Philistines, and the army has suffered heavy losses. Also your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead, and the ark of God has been captured.
- 1 Samuel 4:17

Now consider Samuel's two sons Joel and Abijah:
When Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons as Israel’s leaders. The name of his firstborn was Joel and the name of his second was Abijah, and they served at Beersheba. But his sons did not follow his ways. They turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice.
So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not follow your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.
- 1 Samuel 8:1-5

Now I'm not for a second suggesting that people are responsible for their actions of their adult children but if Eli’s sons "were scoundrels" and Samuel's sons "turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice", then what does that say about the sort of discipline that Eli and Samuel gave their children?
I should temper this by saying that I don't have children of my own and that I'm not even remotely qualified to give out any sort of advice but it seems to me that the biggest factor or the biggest connection that Eli and Samuel's sons have, and probably why they turned out to be such horrid people, is the absence of their fathers.
Eli and Samuel were both Hebrew Judges and were sort of de facto leaders of the nation. In carrying out their role as leaders of the nation, how good were they at being dad?
Were Eli and Samuel  really so good at being administrators and good at their job in running the tabernacle that their time was consumed with those things that they were never home?

Actually the case with Samuel is slightly different. As indicated above "he appointed his sons as Israel’s leaders", which means to say that this isn't just a father-son relationship between Samuel and his sons but also a Employer-Employee relationship. If you were running a commercial entity and there was a case of gross corruption taking place, you'd be well advised to impose disciplinary action but maybe because Joel and Abijah were Samuel's sons, he was lax in administering that action.
I find it interesting that Samuel had done his tutelage under Eli and probably learned how to go about the business of administering the tabernacle very well; yet perhaps the job was so demanding, by accident rather than design, Samuel's children are as ill-disciplined as Eli's were.

(Abandoned at 806 words. This became a sprawling thing.)

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mp4 - The Future's Bright, The Future's Orange?

When the McLaren MP4-30 was finally unveiled, metaphorical gasps could be heard across the automotive world. Those gasps immediately turned to groans and inaudible grumbling as the livery for the all new car, powered by a Honda powerplant for the first time since 1991, was still mainly silver as it had been since 1997.

There were rumours that not even all of McLaren's staff were satisfied, as they'd been hoping for a return to orange, like the days in the 1970s; before Marlboro had put their red and white chevrons on the cars.

Autosport magazine reported that McLaren manager Ron Dennis had fobbed them off saying:
"We have had the same [discussions about livery] inside the team: all of these people were saying, why don't we make it orange - because that was the old colour of McLaren?
Well, I say, 'you just said it - it was the old colour of McLaren. Why the hell do we want to go backwards?
So what do you do? Do you create an aesthetically pleasing design? But for what purpose?
This is the livery of McLaren. It has always been a combination of these colours - and it will only change for commercial reasons."
- Ron Dennis as quoted by Autosport, 1st Feb 2015.

Personally, I think that this is a rather disappointing explanation, as I don't think that McLaren Automotive believes that to be true. Their 12C has a rather delicious shade of burnt orange as a default colour as does their 675LM. Even during the days of West sponsorship when their cars were powered by Mercedes-Benz, their test mules often came out in orange.

So what's going on here? Is Ron Dennis foxing and hoping that a major sponsor will come forth before the  beginning of the season? If not, his statements make less sense than a mongoose wearing a tutu which has been duct taped to the roof of the Melbourne Town Hall.

What is the point of looking back to the past? Why does it make commercial sense to do so? The reasons for both of those questions can be found elsewhere on the grid.

In 1906 the forerunner to the FIA decreed that various nations run various colours to identify their cars; most of these made little sense at the time but in the  years which followed, they became part of the landscape - Italian cars were to be red, French ones blue, green for British, white for German. In the mid 1930s, legend has it that a particular Mercedes in order to just scrape in under the maximum weight allowance, was scrubbed back to bare metal and these cars became the famous Silver Arrows; this can not be verified.
When McLaren and Mercedes entered into a partnership in 1995, Marlboro was still the dominant sponsor of McLaren and so their red and white colour scheme remained but once they'd left the picture, Mercedes' silver became the order of the day.
That's what makes this latest chapter so strange. McLaren and Mercedes have now parted ways (now that Mercedes-Benz has won both the drivers' and constructors' championships on their own) and so there is really no reason why McLaren need to retain the silver colours.

Look further down pit lane and La Scuderia wouldn't be seen in anything less than that scarletti on their stallions; the tifosi would riot in the streets and there'd be a national emergency in Italy. Mercedes-Benz in setting up a new team, looked back and ran silver on their cars. Jaguar F1 was green until team was bought out by Red Bull. Most recently, Team Lotus have looked back to some of their most famous liveries and are sort of paying homage to their once dominant JPS cars; running then in mostly black despite zero involvement from that company.
McLaren probably should look back to the past.

When companies talk about "brand identity" they need to evoke something quickly and immediately; that's even more critical when your mobile billboard whizzes by the crowds at more than 200mph. By tapping into the past, McLaren would be giving root to the future. Heck, they should probably also consider putting a little kiwi on the nose of their cars as well.

The important thing about motor sport (and indeed any sport) is that it is intrinsically pointless. Apart from those directly employed, it doesn't really matter a lot about who wins one week to the next, or what colours are on the sides of the cars. Precisely because it doesn't intrinsically matter, those things matter immensely. Things like colour schemes and numbers and who drives for whom; whom hates whom because of some on track dispute that happened five years ago, all become part of the story of the thing and that's why looking back to the past is so.important. Without the story of the thing, all motor racing is is a bunch of cars going round and round for two hours; once a fortnight. The irony about sport in general is that so much money is poured into an activity which is intrinsically pointless - even the points are ultimately pointless.

(Abandoned at 751 words. McLaren still may yet appear in Melbourne with an orange car. Fingers crossed).

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pm27 - Spill Spill Spill?

With the announcement coming out of the coalition meeting room yesterday that Prime Minister had survived a spill motion, I got the impression that Australia was kind of a little disappointed that it went no further. 'No' got 61 votes to the 'Yes' vote of 39 and there was one informal vote to the yes/no question of whether or not there should even be a spill motion. I'd even heard on the radio, someone's outlandish and highly amusing suggestion that the informal vote was either Tony Abbott writing in Julia Gillard's name or someone continuing the joke of  nominating Taylor Swift - #Tay4PM
The unbeaten streak of Liberal Party Prime Ministers surviving spill motions remains intact except if you decide to include John Gorton who resigned as PM that morning.

The question of the current high turnover rate of Prime Ministers is something of a misdirection. In the period from 1901-1912 we had a lot and from 1938-1941 we also churned through a few. In both of those periods, the change at the helm came about because of different parties struggling for supremacy. In the early period, parties still hadn't properly solidified and in the opening period of the Second World War, the two factions which warred were the United Australia Party's iron chariots and the Country Party's rusted ploughshares.

(abandoned at 220 words. That moment in the political zeitgeist had passed so quickly.)

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eu54 - Eurovision Geography Contest?

Shocked I am. Shocked am I. Am I shocked? I am shocked. I am shocked enough that the grammar of Yoda am I using, hmmm. Why am I shocked? Because the European Broadcasting Union has decreed in its wisdom to allow Australia into the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest. Either this says that the EBU has failed really badly on its geography exam and doesn't realise that Australia isn't even remotely close to Europe, or the EBU has hatched an evil plan (muah ha ha) which is so dastardly that it could have only come from a supranational organisation.

The Eurovision Song Contest which is now into its sixth decade, ceased to be a song contest years ago. Probably not since the days of "Puppet On A String" does anyone really care about the songs which apart from one stellar exception in 1974, have mainly amounted to a great big kitschy pile of bupkis.

The best part about the Eurovision Song Contest isn't the songs but the bit at the end where everyone votes. Usually everyone votes for their neighbours which means that the Scandinavian nations all vote off each other, the nations which used to live behind the Iron Curtain all vote for each other, Cyprus and Turkey or Greece and Turkey either swap douze point of null point depending on what half of the island the Cypriot came from, and everyone hates Great Britain, France and Germany despite them being the only three nations solvent enough to stump up the cash to pay for the shindig. Roughly once every seven years, everyone feels all diddly and Celtic and so Ireland wins.
In return for winning the competition, the winning nation gets to suffer the expense of hosting next years' competition. This is why I think Australia has been invited.

Sure, the EBU  will probably say that Australia and SBS have faithfully supported the Eurovision Song Contest for many years and that's why Australia has been given an entry but what of this is all part of some mass European conspiracy

(Abandoned at 341 words. I lost interest.)

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ve17 - Let's Not Go There?

In a great wave of appeasement, Holden announced that even after they shut down their manufacturing operations in Australia, the nameplate "Commodore" will continue beyond 2017. As I was listening to this on the radio on the morning that they were making the announcement and hearing some vague sweeping statement like "we are as committed to Australia as we always been (despite the obvious fact that they're shutting down the plants and firing people), part of me was thinking "whoop-de-do; let's all go down the Strand; have a banana".
Then I found myself wondering why I even care about Holden in particular. Ford are also ceasing manufacturing in Australia and when it comes to the great auto holy-war divide, I've always sat on the blue side. I even find it disappointing that the car which I currently drive isn't a Henry. Other manufacturers have also been and one but they haven't solicited the same rise out of me. British Motor Corp which sold arguably the greatest single automotive achievement ever with the Mini, Toyota with their reliable and sensible (but bland as dish water) Camry and Corolla, and Mitsubishi which gave us the Sigma and Magna have also all closed the curtains on their Australian show. None of those have made me as cross. Why?
I've never owned a Holden and so it follows that because I've never bought one, I am part of the reason why they're leaving. Does Holden really hold a special place in my heart on that basis?
How did Holden which is just one brand of which once upon a time was the world's biggest company in terms of both market capitalisation and profits, weasel its way into the national psyche? I can only think of two reasons.

Firstly, Holden went motor racing. Maybe the adage "race on Sunday; sell on Monday" might be true but motor racing is among other things, the telling of a story. The automotive holy-war in Australia is/was between Holden who have backed a 'factory' team consistently since 1969 and Ford who kept on dropping their favourite sons like a plate of cold sick. Alan Moffat who took Falcons to a 1-2 victory in 1977, would within five years be campaigning Mazda RX-7's; Dick Johnson who had the fastest Sierra in the world did so without any help from Ford; and only just recently, Ford have pulled the plug on the Ford Performance Racing team, leaving Mark Winterbottom what was to be in 2015. Holden though always stuck with it, even during the mad season when Peter Brock had words with the factory and they parted company. Holden returned within the year to set up its own racing team.
Not quite fifty years of competition has placed Holden front and centre in the Automotive story of Australia. This and the question of what weapon they'd take to the mountain have been a deliberate and flagrant effort to embed themselves in the nation's consciousness. To abandon manufacturing here is when it all boils down to it, a perfectly sensible business decision but it is one which cuts deep to the heart of the national psyche. It is as Un-Australian as eagles, baseball, apple pie and Chevrolet.

(Abandoned after 535 words. Ranty. Been said before.)

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kd91 - The Kids Are All Right?

"The right for the masses to be educated is a worthless question. For it is the need for the masses to be educated which is paramount. Their world; their 'kosmos' will metamorphosise beyond all recognition this century and those who labour in the manufactories of this day, will need to transfer their labour to the manufactories of tomorrow; and they will need to know how to do it."
- Edwin Crofter, MP for East Gateshead, 17th Jan 1902

When Edwin Crofter stood on the steps of the Newcastle Town Hall on that arctic day in 1902, how many people understood the implications of what he said? Moreover, how many people ventured out into the cold that day to see the bearded gentleman in the stovepipe hat deliver his speech? Zero. Zero? The reason for this is that I've just made him up. I don't know if there ever even was an MP for East Gateshead.
Why bother telling you a totally fraudulent story? Because this fictional MP has just made two rather interesting points about education; which I will now ramble on about.

What is the point of education anyway? If I asked you what the integral of 3cos x is, or what the valency of oxygen was, or what the difference between the nominative and the genitive cases are, or how an electric motor works, or what the importance of the Rubicon was; if you didn't know, would it even matter? I know the answers to all these questions but does it make even a lick of difference to my life in all honesty? Probably not. As I sit on an electric train, surrounded by plastic fabrications and type this into a tablet computer though, the answers to some of those questions do matter and they matter critically?
If they matter to someone and some of them have implications and real world applications, then it was probably good that someone learned those things. The point of education is wrapped up in there somewhere.

From about the age of 5 or 6, society deems it worthy and efficient to take what are essentially useless humans and put them somewhere for six hours a day. Immediately this does two things. Firstly it frees up the parents of these people (children are sort of people, right?) to go off and provide their labour to the never ending machine of industry. The parents will of course see that as their way to get money to pay for things like housing, food, utilities and what not. Secondly, those six hours a day; every day, teach these little humans not to be animals. Stop biting; stop fighting; be bored. Being bored is an essential skill to learn and cope with because once they leave education, the wheels of industry will impart many many hours of boredom onto them over many many years.

Next, education attempts to provide or impart a toolkit of skills which is necessary to function in society and work those wheels of industry. Humans probably need to know how to read and how to write, for that is a pretty common way that knowledge is imparted by other humans who aren't physically present; and they probably also need to know how to do some arithmetic because that's also kind of important.
Everything else about education is more or less extraneous and kind of rubbish. It is filler. Things like history, chemistry, physics, geography, civics, literature studies and even foreign language studies, do nothing except appear as a footnote on a piece of paper at the end of it all. Educators are for the most part, entertainers of bored humans, who are legally required to be detained for six hours a day for many years.
At the end of their boring entertainment, these humans will leave their education and some of them will never return. They will have received a piece of paper and this then is the next reason why education exists.

Education provides the recipients with pieces of paper which legally certify that these particular humans have passed through the necessary years of chiding and being held in rooms against their will, which signals to potential employers that they are capable of more chiding and being held voluntarily in return for money. 

(Abandoned at 710 words. I don't know how I expected to end this.)

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