An important holiday is coming up, worthy of celebration throughout North America. It’s a good day for fireworks, cold Molson, and generally sucking up to the youngest large nation of this continent if only because we we might need to flee that way soon.
July 1st is Canada Day, the celebration of Canadian independence on July 1st, 1867. More or less, that is, because Canada became a nation slowly over the next 150 years. It was a peaceful and orderly transition that fit with a people that are generally … peaceful and orderly. We should celebrate by all rising for their national song:
Dum da-Dum da-Dum!
Dum da-Dum da-Dum!
Dum da-Dum da-Dum!
Dum da-Dum da-Dum! …
Whoops! That’s their second national song. But they get tired of people from the USofA singing “O Canada”, and only that part of the lyrics, as just about the only thing from this great nation. It’s time we give them their due as a people that are more than just the very nice people who live next door. No, once they lace on their skates and pick up their sticks, they aren’t very nice at all.
This post from 2015 addresses just how far away from decency we have strayed by considering money, not people, as the core of the economy.
What is money? Your answer may depend a lot on how much of it you have. Ultimately, the main purpose of money is convenience. A system of barter works pretty well when two people have things each other need – someone with chickens meets up with someone else who recently slaughtered their pig and both have bacon and eggs. But if you can also exchange those eggs for money you can save it up to buy something different or bigger.
As we’ve concluded before, Adam Smith was right – money is a matter of belief. Whether it’s gold, Euros, or Canadian Tire Money it’s worth whatever you believe it is worth. Our own US Dollar is backed by the “Full faith and credit of the US Government”, which is scary if you think about it.
But money is more than convenience and faith – it’s what it takes to make things happen. And that’s worth thinking about some more.
Economics is nothing more nor less than the study of the primary way in which people connect with society and get on with their lives.
In everyday life, you may interact with a few people – family, colleagues, and friends. But through the process of eating and paying the mortgage you interact, at some distance, with hundreds more. Because this interaction is entirely through something called “money,” a way of keeping score, it’s very tempting to look at it entirely through numbers. The dizzying details of tens of millions of exchanges every day makes a top-view in bulk the most desired method of analyzing how things are going.
Yet this process has proven wrong over and over again. The failure of economics, particularly macro-economics, is the primary reason why the only true study of an economy has to be a People’s Economics.
Summer re-run season has me terribly bizzy. This is a repeat from eight years ago which informs the basis of People’s Economics.
The art and skill needed to put knowledge to practical use is more than just what technology is really about – it’s generally seen an increasing share of our economy. The term “Knowledge Economy” comes from Peter Drucker in his 1966 book, “The Age of Discontinuity”. It includes this:
“In a knowledge economy where skill is based on knowledge, and where technology and economy are likely to change fast . . . the only meaningful job security is the capacity to learn fast.”
True enough, since a lot of knowledge applied as an art went to revolutionizing economics itself since that time. But as many of us have learned, the ability to think fast means nothing without the right connections.
Everyone with some sense of drive has a story from when they were young and stupid and believed they could do anything – and by so, doing, did.
For me, this was the restoration of the 1860 Spencer House at 47 Irvine Park, undertaken with my then wife Deb Fitzpatrick. After having lived half of my life in this sprawling pioneer era home it’s time to sell it and move on for a number of reasons. Modesty has always prohibited me from saying too much about this portion of my life’s work, but this is a time to reflect. And make a buck off of it.
The hardest thing to change is often perspective. To see the world from a different angle requires either movement to a new position or an out-of-body experience.
Given how frozen our identities have become in political tribes, it is almost certainly easier to pull someone’s consciousness out their daily routine than to call them over to a new position. Where new perspective is essential to understand radical change in this world, the first step has to be a separation from conventional language and thought. Everything has to be unlearned.
So it is with People’s Economics. Longtime readers will be familiar with the concept that has been developed in real time here on this blog. Now that the camp has been set up in the middle of the dark woods, it’s time to light a fire. People’s Economics is now the Camp/Fire for Barataria, aside from period asides which will in other ways help the promote the general concept of developing new perspective.
It’s an old cliché. “Missing the forest for the trees” has little meaning by itself, but calls up a deeper cultural conversation. This kind of “conventional wisdom” is worth exploring in a world full of a lot of detail but little useful, objective truth.