Stands For Nuthin’

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.

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People’s Economics, the Fundraiser

If you ask any entrepreneur or innovator what is the most important resource to get a new project off the ground, they’ll probably tell you it’s getting the right people. Making something new and making a good buck off of it requires talent, the skills which pay the bills. Have the right team in place and the money will follow.

This is a big part of what is meant by People’s Economics, or the economy of people. What often limits us in a technology driven world is the techne, the skills necessary to make something happen.

That’s where People’s Economics is today. Help prove the point by donating to a GoFundMe project dedicated to getting the book People’s Economics written by the end of the summer!

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How Economics Fails

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.

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A Time for Tactics

After the inaugural, some 3.7 million people took to the streets to protest the new president, or about 1% of the entire population. A dust-up ensued over how many attended the main event the day before, generally estimated at 0.5 million. Popularity is important in an era of perception, so the arguments over this are not going to stop soon.

More important than perception, however, is the immediacy of tactics. No one marching in protest believed anything is going to change immediately, but that was both the main point and beside the point. The marches are for nothing more than to hold on, to stop change, to paralyze. It’s not actually a strategy but a tactic.

We live in a time where actual strategy does not exist and there are only tactics – the raw emotions and gains of the moment. Nothing is actually going to change until that does.

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Resistance

What will 2017 bring in politics? An easy prediction is that there will be chaos, given the reign of President Trump. This is an easy prediction to make given his constant stream of wild statements on twitter, at rallies, and in the media itself. The potential war with Congress, starting with an investigation into Putin’s role in the last election, is also a given. But there may be even more to it than that.

Can the left form an effective organization to stop anything at all from happening? Is it possible for progressives to effectively block any change at all? The short answer is yes, it’s entirely possible – and a few unnamed former staffers have outlined exactly how to do it. The 23 page document is very much worth reading as something of an updated “Rules for Radicals”, tailored to the situation at hand.

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The Future of Work

It’s generally assumed that the biggest issue this election is job creation. That is interesting given how the economy has already created 14 million jobs in the last six years.  More interestingly, as we’ve pointed out, we’re getting close enough to full employment that it’s hard to imagine where enough workers will come from.

Then again, it isn’t hard to imagine a job shortage. As we also have pointed out, the key issue when it comes to jobs isn’t trade deals or unfair labor practices – it’s automation. Robots build our stuff, computers file our paperwork.

If we want to seriously talk about jobs, the first thing we have to realize is that the short-term is probably covered by the coming worker shortage as Boomers retire. That’s the good news. Over the longer haul, however, automation of various kinds will replace more and more workers. That will take careful attention to what’s going on as well as a completely new definition of “work” to get us through the other side.

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Progress and History

There’s no doubt that the United States is in a period of transition. But from what to what else? Through the last 16 years the economy has been tough on everyone – except the very wealthy. The most recent few years have been a time of terrible social upheaval. Pessimism is understandable.

Yet if we look back through history there is a lot of good reason to believe that everything does move in cycles. Business cycles which seem permanent eventually give way to better opportunity. Social upheaval does usually reach a consensus and progress is made.

Hope comes naturally by taking the Barataria view that cycles are real and that the economy is really nothing more than a social arrangement. Sure, it’s the dismal one with all the numbers and the brutal one that defines rich and poor. But at the heart it is only about turning our personal “values” into a socially convertible “value”. How it changes through generations and lifetimes defines us even as we define what this thing called an “economy” really is.

This essay is a continuation of the previous piece, Spring is Coming! as a cycle on my personal political philosophy and read of history.

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