Money is the root of all evil. Sure, we all know this platitude. Why doesn’t it ever sink in? The debasement of language is part of it. What was once an insight is fossilized and words no longer convey meaning. It’s also what happens when a statement is too broad. Its indicators too vague. AContinue reading “It’s a Crime, part I”
Search results for: externalities
An Illusory Economy
We are caught between beliefs that are untenable and hard limits that will not go away. Let’s look at what falls under the name economy. It is a mental construct that has been accepted as the rational way to organize how we interact to meet our physical needs within what is now described as aContinue reading “An Illusory Economy”
Consuming the Internet
We consume the internet. A movable feast. Lights kept on by a belief that someday it will “pay.” Or. that it is just too good an attention trap to let it go. It’s supposed to be easy. It’s supposed to provide visions of “freedom.” Where free means there is no up-front cost to us. SomebodyContinue reading “Consuming the Internet”
Central to the way we function in the world is the idea of cost/benefit. We turn this measure on everything. There was a story my uncle Lionel used to tell. He was a dapper European Bourgeois of the mid-twentieth century. He had all the accoutrements: A position, he was a “Head of Department” in theContinue reading “Cost/Benefit”
Action without Striving
This concept appears to be the most difficult to comprehend. It’s also the one I’ve had the greatest difficulty discussing. We tie our notions of action so tightly to the process of striving. We cannot seem to imagine one without the other. We tend to fall back on rationalizations that to reject striving is toContinue reading “Action without Striving”
Mastery, Not Control
I put this presentation together last April. I’ve been “sitting” on it, waiting to see how it held up before releasing it. Now seems to be the right time. This was originally written out as an essay, but after experimenting with different formats, I think it is best suited to the slide show. I useContinue reading “Mastery, Not Control”
I continue to be mesmerized by the opening credits to Mad Men. Don Draper’s dapper silhouette falling endlessly past a grid of windows on a Haute-Modernist Skyscraper. I’ve written before on how this vertiginous fantasy stands-in for our rootlessness. What’s struck me today is that it might also tell us something interesting about why skyscrapersContinue reading “Tall Towers”
The Confusion of Cost & Value*
Economics is a fiction attempting to turn linear costs into a semblance of a circular system. We’re fed the line that by paying a cost we provide a benefit and, in turn either directly or indirectly, another benefit will come around to us. This is a line, a lie, since economic costs all ultimately settle onto “externalities.” While these are external to the economic fairy tale, they directly impinge on the Earth’s capacities – including all of our human capacities. We all pay costs, most of them hidden – not so successfully any more, just look at the Gulf of Mexico, before the media has messaged us all into believing it’s “normal” to have a dead sea pumping oil out into the Atlantic in a Gulf™ Stream. These costs accrue and compound and eventually come due; but not in the way the economic fairy tale would have it.
Externalities. The term has been hidden within Economics since the beginning of its study of human endeavor and its look for potential ways to measure our activities. It’s been there since the first human error in judgment, the first break with the world of pure instinct, our first attempts to outsmart the balanced books that were our pre-human inheritance. The behavior was there, but until a profession created a meretricious term for it; giving these blunders a safe place to hide on our balance sheets, we were ashamed, or at least embarrassed by these holes in our understanding of how our accounts broke down.
The scar tissue will grow over this most recent intrusion of reality into the delusional system of civilization. Its touts will close over the raw gaps quickly and we’ll all breath a sigh of relief.
Imagine that Power wasn’t a zero-sum game.
This should be easier than it seems, Power isn’t a zero-sum game, not real Power. Let’s set up the parameters of a conceptual equation. Power exists in an unstable relationship with Control and Faith. Those without Faith in anything beyond themselves – actual, not professed Faith – also, unsurprisingly, feel a strong need to maintainContinue reading “Imagine that Power wasn’t a zero-sum game.”