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Five Years On

Today is the Fifth Anniversary of Barataria. This humble blog was started on a drippy April day before most people were aware of economic troubles echoing through the halls of power. It’s a good excuse for a party, which is to say a little bit of self-indulgence and reflection. Join in the fun and let us all know what you think!

Statue of Sancho Panza in Madrid

Barataria has been written 3X per week, MWF, without a single miss these five years. There are now 832 posts and 7,350 comments from the community that generates over 50k pageviews per month from 27k unique visits. It is a labor of love that has come to define me, for better or worse, to the greater community of people on the ‘net that includes 4,700 in my twitter feed.

Anniversaries have usually been a time when I feel compelled to answer, “What is this blog about?” I hope most of you understand by now that Barataria is mainly whatever I am thinking about at the time, an opportunity to clear my head of things that have been rattling around so that I can free up space in my mind for things that I can make a living off of.

This community has grown in the last year, and many of you have come to rely on these musings as part of your own daily routine. I can’t thank you enough for that, and I hope that I’ve responded to you well. Your contributions have helped me keep going!

The focus of Barataria has sharpened over the last year, with much more economics and how it relates to direct or implied political action and affiliation. I have asked you through polls to help refine these offerings, and the results were interesting between the dark times last August and the considerably brighter results last week. Thank you to the 161 who responded to this poll.

First of all, 55% of you say you are Liberal or Progressive. I expect that, since this is how I identify. But 23% of you say you are Conservative and 21% Moderate, a mix that is probably not duplicated in any other personal opinion blog. I can’t thank you enough for this great honor. These results were very similar in August, when a 57/21/16 mix was found.

What has changed is that when asked about your own future, 63% say you’ll get by, 23% are scared and 13% think things are looking good. That was 37/56/5 previously, meaning that most of you are much more optimistic. I am very happy that things have improved that much!

Who do you blame for the economic situation? The top answer today is Everyone, at 36%. 27% of you think we’re in a long-term decline, 18% blame big companies or Wall Street, 11% business cycles (my answer, BTW) and 9% politicians. Previously the main target was Wall Street, which 48% of you blamed, followed by Everyone at 28% (the prospect of a long-term decline was asked in a different question, but 30% of you thought it was a description of our current situation). The change away from blaming Wall Street seems significant.

Additional questions show that you support some of the new ventures I’m working on, mainly the creation of a YouTube channel. These first efforts did not turn out well, but between my kids and I we’re still learning how to make a good video. All comments, tips, and general support are very much appreciated! But the goal is to reach an even wider audience.

This last year there has been a real hunger for popular economics growing here and across the world. The “Occupy” movements show that there is a general feeling that things have to change but little commitment to any kind of plan. Nothing can possibly come of this until a consensus is developed as to where we have to go. This is a democratic republic, after all, and a good part of our destiny comes from common action.

The most popular pieces in Barataria, in this list, show that you believe this as well. Whenever possible I have offered not just my own perspective, but some tools to understand “experts” who lapse into jargon and shorthand when they have their turn under brighter lights in popular media. I’ve offered my potential solutions where I can and asked for yours. I’ve also written a few poems and tried to have a little fun where I can along the way.

This and any other blog is part of an internet world that connects people and ideas like never before. Much of my living this last year has come from consulting businesses and nonprofits on how they can maximize their own connections and be empowered by them. If the great hopes for this medium are going to be realized that’s what we all have to do.

I can’t thank you all enough for your readership and contributions to the effort – as comments, recommendations, and the donations that I receive. I still do not have a full-time job, so the latter is very important to me.  Annual contributions of $15, or ten cents per post, is what I ask from those of you kind enough to contribute.  My dream job is to write on these topics for regular pay, but alas this has eluded me.

But I’ll stay at it here in the meantime.  Thank you again for making Barataria part of your life!

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18 thoughts on “Five Years On

  1. It’s far from a “humble blog”, it’s an impressive achievement. If I could hire you I would, I’m sorry to hear you haven’t had more success. I learn more here than anything I see on TV.
    I do have to ask about the Sancho Panza ref. I still don’t understand that.

    • Thank you very much! I’ll continue to get by and maybe I’ll make it to “The Bigs” someday.
      Sancho Panza is my hero. As Freidrich Neitzsche said, there are two types of people in this world – Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. When people see the Picasso pic they assume that I’m the mad Don himself, tilting at windmills. On the contrary, I see our world as full of Don Quixotes – people that have been driven mad by all the BS (including their own). I am a dutiful Sancho Panza, riding in humble service and doing my best to make sure that the rest of the world doesn’t get into too much trouble until that wonderful day when the madness ends. In the end, Sancho was rewarded for his trouble with his own kingdom – Barataria, the “cheap lands”, better known as a swamp. Barataria is all I ever ask for. 🙂

      • That is funny, what a great story. I knew there was something behind it.

  2. Congratulations! You do deserve more success. Not many people can explain things like you do. Here’s to many more years and the job you deserve as a bright light turning around the ‘lamestream media’!

    • Thank you, Anna – I especially appreciate all you’ve done to help me. Someday things will turn around, but for now I have to stay at it and do what I can. But all of this would not happen without people like you supporting me and slapping me down when I say something stupid. It’s all better because of this community and I know that. Thank you again!

  3. What they said and more! You have a unique outlook on the world and it does take some getting used to. I could see how the 1% would never want to give you a microphone for one thing. What you say makes sense and it does empower but it takes time to understand. This is a great blog and thank you for taking so much time to write it.

    • I hate to be the one to suggest a sellout but that might have to happen if you are going to get a job doing this. This seems so uncontroversial and mainstream but anyone reading would know it is not. Mainstream has more controversy like Rush or Bill Maher (spelling?) to get more attention so you are more subversive in the end. Pretty clever but it may not get you a job.
      What would you like to write for? Any thoughts about TV or radio?

  4. I have been posting some highlights (ie, posts I like) from the last year on twitter. Here are the choices for the first 6 months:

    Labor creates all wealth https://erikhare.wordpress.com/2011/09/02/labor-creates-all-weath/

    Just try something – the liquidity trap https://erikhare.wordpress.com/2011/09/26/just-try-something/

    Fear the Dragon? China fears us, too https://erikhare.wordpress.com/2011/08/15/fear-the-dragon/

    Ben Bernanke – an interesting guy https://erikhare.wordpress.com/2011/08/29/ben-bernanke/

    Founding Fathers – their most important lesson was cooperation https://erikhare.wordpress.com/2011/07/04/founding-fathers/

    Restructuring the Economy https://erikhare.wordpress.com/2011/06/22/restructuring-our-economy-a-plan/

    The Managed Depression https://erikhare.wordpress.com/2011/05/09/the-managed-depression/

    Containerized Cargo may have changed the world as much as the internet https://erikhare.wordpress.com/2011/05/25/in-the-box/

    Suburbanization of Poverty – https://erikhare.wordpress.com/2011/04/13/suburbanization-of-poverty/ Barataria’s year in review

  5. congrats – this blog is way more subversive than it looks – you have a lot to say to bring truth to power & people should read it more

    • Thank you! That means a lot to me. Truth to Power is what I think the whole game is right now, and with the ‘net we have the tools to do it like never before. It’s all about doing it right, IMHO.

  6. An impressive achievement is right. You may not always be right but you say things that no one else seems to have the guts or the brains to say. Being polite and humble makes it all the better. This is a must read blog and I definitely have you bookmarked.

    • Thank you! I especially appreciate people who don’t agree with everything I say because I think that at the very least we can talk about important things where we need to understand each other. I hope to, if nothing else, lead by example.

    • Thank you! I hope someone reading this is in a position to offer me something. I should add that I’m relatively cheap. 🙂
      But if you look at the pieces I selected, many of them are fairly well written on my part – largely because they are subjects I think about often, so there was plenty of time to digest the ideas. Yet what really stands out is the depth and quality of the discussion that engaged a decent number of people. This is not something that happens on most other blogs and it is what I am most proud of.
      In short, it’s not really about me – it’s about a community of people working to understand the world around us. Knowledge is power, and I feel that Barataria is achieving something great – empowerment. Thank you all for making this happen!

    • Well, it’s gone up a bit since you posted, but yes. 🙂 I wasn’t kidding about the pageviews. A lot of them are coming in from google thanks to so me SEO experiments that have worked out well – suffice it to say that most of what people talk about as SEO is outdated or just plain wrong. But there are a lot of people who read Barataria, and many of them come in on bookmarks. This audience is older and more international than most blogs, with about half the visitor being from outside the US – top nations are UK, Canada, Brazil, and Germany.

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