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Econ for Everyone!

To keep it 100, economics is boring. But it’s also a study of the way those with money spend it, accumulate it, and keep it. It’s all about how we keep on keepin’ on as well as how some of us gain incredible power.

In the intro to his book “Rules for Radicals”, Saul Alinsky state that where Machiavelli’s “The Prince” was a book on how the powerful can gain more and keep it, his book is for those without power to obtain it. The bottom line is that without understanding the mechanisms of power you have no chance of doing more than throwing a wrench into the works and hoping it hits a weak point.

Barataria is focusing itself on the same principle applied to the mother’s milk of power, economics. The premise is that economics should never be just for those who want to preserve the establishment but for those who want to take it on. And rather than simply write a book we’ll start with a party.

Hello! Can't wait to see you in real life!

Hello! Can’t wait to see you in real life!

Many people have asked me over the years to lead some kind of discussion group on economic issues and what is going on in this rapidly changing world. I’ve been slow to do it for many reasons, chief among them the simple admission that there is a ton that I cannot even pretend to understand – especially in the areas of high finance. Years of study in the area have convinced me that I know even less than I thought, probably less every day, but it’s also brought a revelation:

Hardly anyone really knows what’s going on.

That’s where you come in. We’ve had some great discussion here in the comments section of these posts – often better than my original piece, I have to admit. We all know a lot more together than any one person knows on their own. I can set the frame and start the discussion but from there it should go someplace interesting.

The basic idea is serious fun.

The basic idea is serious fun.

The plan, so far, is this:

  • Time: Thursday nights, say 8-10. Roughly monthly, at least at first.
  • Location: A place that serves beer and food in St Paul.
  • Admission: Free, but you’ll have to endure puns about admitting you know me.
  • Video: The entire event will be filmed so you have to be sign a release.

This takes us to the second problem I have with events like this. I hate presentations. It’s not a fear of doing them, per se, but a hatred of the formality. I have to come up with a setting that allows projecting a lot of charts & graphs, with some intro on my part, but the rest will be up to you.

The topics are still being worked up, but the principle is simple: what every person who wants to be a part of creating a new world needs to know. Here are the first three ideas:

    1.  The Managed Depression of 2000-2017 (or so):
      • What a depression is and why it’s important,
      • Why an adequate diagnosis of our situation is critical to improving it,
      • Who in power has understood this to be the case, and
      • What it means for those in power and those in pain.
    2. Jobs in the New Economy:
      • Why there is a new economy replacing the old on,
      • What we can surmise it will look like,
      • Who will be in a position to benefit from new opportunities, and
      • How the nature of work is changing.
    3. High Finance:
      • Who benefits and makes the rules today,
      • How we can get a handle on the risk being shared socially,
      • What is essential to understand, and
      • How we can make a world that benefits everyone.
"Mind if we watch what you're doing and take notes?"

“Mind if we watch what you’re doing and take notes?”

Before I start working on the details of this small series, I’d like your input. I’m primarily interested in the format – how can we bust through the formality of a typical presentation. What you’d like to see for topics would be great, too.

For those of you not blessed enough to live in St Paul you’ll have to wait until the video version comes out, but I hope everyone here in Minnesota can come. When the details are put together I’ll announce when and where we’ll get started.

I can’t wait to meet you all! But tell me what you’d like to see first and we’ll make this the most fun anyone can possibly have talking about economics. No, really, it’ll be a hoot!

Please tell me what you would like to see, both format and in content, in the comments or write to me as erikhare@gmail.com if you’d rather do it in private.  Thank you!

11 thoughts on “Econ for Everyone!

  1. I can’t wait to see what you come up with. We’ve been getting this in dribs and drabs for years it’s about time to see it in one presentation.

  2. Eric,

    Can’t make it to St. Paul, but I’ll be quite interested in the video. You made a quite salient point, that was almost a “throwaway” in your post, but something that I think is quite telling. I think no one has a truly comprehensive understanding of the forces that behind our financial system, including the major players. Sometimes the systems of humans become far too complex and this is coupled with the need of those with power to appear to be in control. I think there is less conspiracy afoot than is imagined, even if some behind the scenes believe they are conspiring. I’ve often said with true feeling, that I began to see I was becoming wise, when I realized how little I really knew. I suspect that some of the “wise men” of our economic system have yet to have had this revelation.

    • No one really knows what is going on anymore, that is clear to me. I intend to say that with a great deal of style. 🙂
      Making arrangements with the viddy pros right now. 🙂

  3. Pingback: People’s Economics | Barataria - The work of Erik Hare

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