Is the nation on the wrong track or the right track? Do you think that the political parties stand for something more than opposition to each other?
If you answered these questions with the most negative possible answer, you’re far from alone. Rasmussen has been polling the right/wrong track question for many years, and it’s headed back to the low 20% “right track”, net about -40, that it was at a year ago. The brief bump from Trump has worn off.
Even worse, a Washington Post / ABC poll shows that about 2/3 Americans think that the two major parties don’t actually stand for anything other than opposition to each other.
This is the reason why People’s Economics is necessary. It’s time to reboot everything – not just the people, but the fight that drives them.
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.
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.
Ask any non-American for one word to describe us. You’ll get a lot of different answers, for sure, but there is one that stands out for me. I’ve asked this of a lot of people from many different nations and there is one word which came up more often than most.
Americans, as a people, have few limits. We honestly believe that if you put your mind to it you can achieve anything at all. More importantly, we don’t have any problems talking about those dreams – or many other details about our lives. This doesn’t happen in a lot of other cultures, and it is one of our greatest strengths.
Like all great strengths, as we play to it very hard it can also become a terrible weakness.
“My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over. Our Constitution works; our great Republic is a government of laws and not of men. … Let us restore the golden rule to our political process, and let brotherly love purge our hearts of suspicion and of hate.”
– Gerald R. Ford, “Remarks Upon Taking the Oath of Office as President”
Something happened to our nation in 1974. It was more than Watergate and the disgrace of President Nixon. Years later, Jimmy Carter famously called it “malaise” – a feeling of unease that is hard to pin down. As we discussed in People’s Economics it shows up as a turning point in the economy, too.
Primarily it’s been a crisis of spirit and identity. Who are we? What are we doing?
The natural end to this crisis may be at hand. Like an addict on a 43 year bender, rock bottom might come from the Watergate script pitched as a pointless remake. At first I wanted to call it Nixon on steroids, but this is Nixon on meth. How bad can it get?