Numbers get boring fast, but people usually don’t. Everyone has a perspective on the world, a way of looking at things earned through their experience swimming through this world which seems to get more in-your-face and crazy every day.
That’s why it’s time to take this show away from the ‘net, a medium that favors numbers and charts, and into a world full of people sharing their experiences freestyle. That’s what People’s Economics is about. The show is set – December 2, 9, and 16 at the Sidhe Brewing Company on St Paul’s up and coming Eastside.
Ready for this? I am! Your chair is still available and the weather looks like it’ll be clear!
I’m calling this effort “People’s Economics” because people are what seem to be missing from economics – and politics. We act on our instincts to find joy and follow our passions in life but things often stand in our way. The basic assumption of most economics is that we are coldly “rational”, always choosing to maximize our return on a buck or on our time.
Anyone paying attention knows that is simply not the case. There’s a flaw at the core.
Where things get really weird are when people come into the picture not as individuals but as aggregate groups. We can poll and research the multitudes after we’ve divided them up any way we want but the result is often less than inspiring. The cold numbers often feel vaguely insulting, a picture of “you people” that removes the individuality that genuinely drives America today.
Longtime Barataria readers must know that I love the numbers – the figures, the charts, the details that paint a picture something like Seurat pointillism. If you get too close it’s a big blur, a mess. Stand back and the picture unfolds in front of you. The effect is amazing – but absolutely essential in a world hellbent on managing the chaos that unfolds as we move closer together all the time.
So let’s talk people. Let’s talk about our desire to not maximize our economic output and spend a day relaxing in the park. Let’s see the world from a different perspective – a strong half-step back from the mix, close enough to keep our hands dirty but back just far enough to see the whole picture.
As wonderful as the internet is we can’t possibly claim that it’s the best medium to get things together. The glow of the screen sending you this li’l missive is nowhere near as warm as a person sitting next to you and talking. And there is nothing like a few beers to get people to relax and step outside of themselves for a moment and stand in a place they’ve never stood before just to see the view.
It’s always about people. There is no distinction between personal“values” and economic “value” in the end.
It’s a bit of a slog for Wednesday nights in December, but it became obvious that People’s Economics had to start off with three separate events. They are:
Dec 2: The Long View – Why we are living through an economic situation that can best be called a “Depression”, something I have taken to calling “The Managed Depression”, and why that is important. We’re at a point in history that is not unique but it is very unusual, this being roughly the fifth Depression in US history. But at the end of this economic Winter there is a Spring – when all the work comes. More importantly, what we plant is what we harvest.
Dec 9: Work in the Next Economy – The nature of work is changing, without a doubt. Jobs are outsourced to contractors working on a temp basis or even far away across the ocean. Machines are replacing people in many places no one ever thought they would. And through it all we still have people – getting by and doing what they can – but being paid less all the time. How will that end? What can we do about it?
Dec 16: High Finance – We live in a world where there is a lot more money to be made pushing around other people’s money than there is actually working for a living. There are many reasons for that change, but most importantly there is a perception that old fashioned “investment” is dead – that money no longer comes from creating a business which hires people and makes something useful. The ever-present financial world determines so much, but to what end? How does it actually work?
Join us – the fun starts at 7PM at Sidhe Brewing Company, 652 Jenks Ave, St Paul, MN, 55130. I’ll talk for about 20 minutes and then we’ll have a general discussion – while enjoying some of the best beer there is!