ON the second day of Holy Week, just after the triumph of Palm Sunday, we all watched in horror as Notre Dame de Paris burned. The loss has turned out to be almost entirely repairable, but the gut feeling of it will remain. What a terrible loss.
Yet through it, we find our selves facing the greatest and most beatifying aspect of Christianity – sacrifice. Through sacrifice we rise again, the world rises again, and is renewed by the eternal spirit. As surely as Christianity has defined nearly everything we might all “Western Civilization” today, it is worth reflecting on as the week draws to a close.
One of the virtues in People’s Economics, which is still evolving, is “equity.” This is a complicated word that has taken on several meanings, but the most important ones are a sense of fairness and a kind of “ownership” stake.
Talking about this as “social equity,” or a belief that all social and political systems need to be fair and that everyone needs to feel they have a stake in greater social success, is not very controversial. There is some politics which revolves around pure individualism and denies or diminishes any need for social equity, for sure. But this is not what the US or any democratic republic was really founded on. It is a denial of an integrated and cooperative world, and I am simply going to reject it out of hand.
But what does any of this mean in practical terms? A bit of an experiment is starting to take hold that may answer this question.
I often say that having a bad day is a choice. Well, today we’re having rain/sleet/show/dust/thunder and I feel like having a bad day. So please enjoy this piece from 11 years ago, which I was first pondering the nature of “work.”
A century ago, work was hard and physical. People mostly worked in either factories or fields and produced something tangible at the end of the day or season. Work was all about manipulating the real world and making things.
It’s been twelve years. On a miserable April night in 2007, Barataria began.
Like everything, it had a humble beginning. And a rather humble middle. I’m not sure how it will end, but it remains primarily whatever I am thinking about at the moment, the place where I unload my brain to get on with things that actually pay me a living.
Somewhere along the way, it started to feel like I had something. Since you’re reading this far, I hope that means that you agree. So please allow me a somewhat drifting and personal reflection on this anniversary.
The world is divided into two types of people: those who believe, and those who don’t. Or those who accept, and those who don’t. You’re on one side or the other. It doesn’t matter what the issue is, there’s one side with their perspective and then there is that other side. Everything which happens is seen through this lens and stands as proof of the belief.
Except, of course, reality doesn’t work that way.
Most people don’t actually fall into one group or the other, but retain a healthy dose of skepticism on any given topic. You may have a point, but you may not. While any set of true believers is likely to be vocal, given the ability to self-publish text or video or even, God help us all, snarky little memes. So what’s a person to do who doesn’t buy into this nonsense – whatever this nonsense might be?
It’s a technique I call “filing away.”
The politics of this moment have little space for something as esoteric as market forces. In much of the developed world, popular media and politicians alike seem to have run back to the safety of a warmed-over 19th century discussion. Is the way forward based on industrial nationalism or international socialism? The language has been updated, but the basic platforms have not.
It seems particularly strange given that half of our waking hours are at work, and for most people the world of work has nothing to do with either view. It is changing, yes, and may not seem to have a coherent vision of just what is happening in any way that affects politics. That disconnect is certainly the first problem.
But there are lessons to learn from the one force which does indeed shape the world of work and directly affects the daily routine of hundreds of millions of people in the developed world. These are the forces of the global market, and they are not going away.
This is a piece from eight years ago. My li’l Tony is much older, but still very strong for a 16 year old wild animal.
The wake-up call came at 6:30AM, just as light was sneaking into my bedroom. It didn’t come as a glowing ball over the Mississippi valley but as an orange blur on little cat feet.
Galumpgalumpgalumplop! A leap onto my feet and Brrrow! As a small caliber tiger licensed for home use Tony always means what he says, too. It’s Spring. There’s no time to spend lazily in bed. Happy April Fools’ Day!
April means a lot to both people and cats. The weather is turning and it’s time to shake off the glum of a drippy lingering Winter. A few pranks and jokes are just part of the fun – and they’re part of an ancient and natural celebration we can all get into.