Monday, November 29, 2010
It certainly points to the power of marketing. Perhaps the marketeers could make me the new sex symbol. Yeah, right!
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Throughout the world economic forecasters and politicians are anticipating and jaw-boning a return to "business as usual." THERE WILL BE NO RETURN TO THE ECONOMIC NORMALITY OF THE PAST! NEVER! There will intead be the development of a rather radically different new normality, with reduced growth rates, no real estate boom and significant shifting of economic power. John Maynard Keynes is long since dead, god rest his soul. The growth-at-any-cost policies engendered by his theories have brought us to where we are today. The ride up was good for quite a few, but the law of economic gravity...
What goes up can (and probably will) come down."
has come into effect. I commented in 2000 that we would have a major economic crash before George W. Bush left office. I described the US economy as a bit like the coyote in the Roadrunner cartoons. In an attempt to catch the roadrunner, coyote runs out off a cliff. He keeps going until he looks down and then.... Yep, you got it. In 2007 someone looked down and we haven't seen the bottom yet.
Almost 50 years ago I tried to introduce the concept of two kinds of wealth - real wealth and paper or fiat wealth. Real wealth is where the activity adds real value to the economy - mining, manufacturing, and agriculture. Fiat wealth is derived from services like accounting and legal as well as the speculative profits of money marketeers. The entire financial system has become a gigantic slot machine with a major exception - the biggest players can alter the odds, just like at the horse races with, however, the opposite effect - they can alter them in their favour. In the long run fiat wealth can only exist on top of a foundation of real wealth. In the last 50 years the USA and western Europe have allowed their real wealth to atrophy and decline so that fiat wealth is all that remains. The result of that has been observed over the past 3 years. Amazing how fast fiat wealth disappears. The ongoing effects are yet to be seen and it won't be pretty!
Friday, October 8, 2010
Thursday, September 16, 2010
TOO MANY GLOBAL WARMERS!
and nothing, absolutely nothing, that is done will make even the slightest dent without a significant reduction in both world population AND the amount of consumption per capita. All the machininations and hoop-jumping currently in process or being proposed have NO possibility of being effective in the face of an absolute tsunami of growing world consumption.
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Monday, June 7, 2010
There is no such thing as multi-tasking, but rather rapid, sequential, partial single tasking. The attempt to multi-task results in attention first here then there then elsewhere and back to here, etc. While attention is elsewhere habit can function effectively in the interim provided the habit is strong enough. When the habit is not firmly established for the situation there is always the possibility of a lapse. In that lapse is where "accidents" happen - in the thoughtless void provided by lack of attention.
This is particularly true because the typical human tendency is to act before thinking based on habit and reaction. And if the habit is underdeveloped, the reaction will be at best ineffective, at worst dangerous. As children we were taught to STOP - LOOK - LISTEN before crossing the street. It seems that this is a habit that would be valuable to develop in every action - to live deliberately and thoughtfully as opposed to reactively and habitually.
Mind training, not drugs, is the only solution to ADD.
Thursday, June 3, 2010
Before you jump to conclusions, I am NOT an atheist. I don't believe in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy and I don't believe in the same God they don't believe in, but there is a major difference: the true atheist is certain there is no God. I am not so sure and I do not know how they arrive at such certainty. Voltaire once said, "If God created us in his own image, we have more than reciprocated." Rousseau also is quoted as saying, “God created man in his own image. And man, being a gentleman, returned the favor.” It is this man-created, geopolitical god that is the troublesome one. As far back as written history goes, and likely before, the ancients believed in a god that would give them an advantage over their enemies and look after their crops. Each city-state of the ancient Middle East had its own god and the most powerful city-state must then have the most powerful god. When the ancient Israelites brought the concept of one god, the people from Egypt in trying to envisage and conceptualize this god, only had the image of Pharaoh to go by. Therefore the Judeo-Christian concept of God is Pharaoh elevated to a cloud. This is the god worshipped by the vast majority of so-called Christians today. The deeply ingrained habit of thinking of God as someone to slay one's enemies and protect one's crops continues to this day.
Perhaps most atheists are not truly atheists at all but anti-religionists. This I could share. Karl Marx observed that "religion is the opiate of the masses." Religion offers a mythical certainty in a life filled with uncertainty...BUT is it real? Or is it merely a mind-numbing analgesic for the pain and uncertainty of this life?
Monday, April 26, 2010
The entire concept of democracy grew from a relatively educated and urban culture which had outgrown the complex form of tribalism called monarchy. Monarchy is the first step beyond the attempt to organize a geographically contiguous society in order to extend the rule of the "chief" over several closely located villages/tribes. Ultimately monarchy grew even further in terms of geographical rule and that extension led ultimately to its undoing as a viable form of government. Monarchy requires a certain social cohesion and shared values absent when extended beyond a local sphere. When that geographic and social cohesion is present monarchy is a very acceptable form of government. Take Bhutan for example. Although now a constitutional monarchy, the people prefer the king to elected officials and really don't want or care much about democracy.
Democracy, externally imposed on this type of society, is doomed to failure and will only result in the chief finding a way (corrupt or not) to be elected and to continue his reign. The entire concept of democracy is foreign to these people. Their culture will need a very long time to evolve to a point where real democracy is meaningful. At that point it will be born from within not without. Just as communism was a total failure in backward agrarian societies, so is so-called democracy.
It is the nastiest of arrogance for Westerners to think that they have any right or calling to impose Western values and institutions on these people. Or that they can make acceptable imitations of white Westerners from people so recently removed (often abruptly and violently) from Stone Age culture.
Sunday, April 25, 2010
As it currently stands there is no solution for this problem of growth versus sustainability. Sooner or later we must see that they are diametrically opposed goals. One denies the other. Only one is possible. Somehow we must break the seeming cast iron bond between GDP and quality of life. Haven't we learned that these two are nowhere near correlated? Perhaps we need to adopt the Bhutanese standard of Gross National Happiness, which requires little of Twenty First Century madness.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Both of these seeming opposites nevertheless fail to answer the most basic of eternal human questions - "Who am I?" and "What am I doing here?" or even more basic "Why?"
While science seems to adequately explain and even predict some of the details of mundane phenomena, it begins to collapse at the fundamental questions. For example, the Big Bang THEORY, wherein science can tell us what happened just a micro instant after the theoretical Big Bang, cannot with certainty say what happened EXACTLY at the moment or before it or what caused it. And, within the believers in the Religion of Science, there have been those who have discovered all sorts of unexplained phenomena which do not fit commonly accepted scientific principles. One of these which is quite stunning to me is the question of whether light is a particle or a wave. The double slit experiment has demonstrated that light appears as either a particle or a wave depending on how the experiment is set up. In fact most of quantum physics challenges the "certainties" to which the believers in Science so strongly cling.
And we all know that, for most of human history, scientists asserted that the earth was flat. Has 21st century science suddenly arrived at the final, ultimate truth when all those that went before are now discredited? Is it not possible that we have merely come to a more plausible explanation with a greater degree of justification? But who is to say that there is nothing more to learn?
During my lifetime so-called science has changed its assertion on the age of the earth from a few million to several billion years. Science it seems is ever changing. So, how can we ever be sure that we have found the Truth?
Medical "science" provides the strongest example of historical self-contradiction. Blood sucking leeches were once thought to be a medical cure. How can we be sure that the currently fashionable "cure" is any more effective? And how does science explain the placebo effect which occurs in most drug trials? Most of modern scientific research is aimed at finding viable commercial products and services. There is precious little research for the sake of knowledge alone.
Science addresses the HOW, but does not address the WHY. Who is going to answer the WHY?So, what is the necessity to believe in any of these religions, plausible or not? Is it not our unwillingness to admit that we DO NOT KNOW, that we live in an ocean of cosmic uncertainty? Do we not prefer a false certainty to actual uncertainty?