Thursday, December 30, 2010

Keeping the spark

Despite the malaise in the financial circulatory system the New York Times has run articles that show a rise in entrepreneurial activity. When you have little to lose betting doesn't seem so bad? Which might be a fine theory if you overlook that when times are better your friends and relatives would be more able to support you should things end up on wrong end of the bell curve. And the "bell" for businesses is pretty flat. But, in this time isn't it nice to dream and work toward control? Plus, it highly depends on what you seek to get out of self-employment. If you expect riches, ease, the support of strangers and friends alike then you may find more incentive to quit. Money is always a fickle thing, nothing is easy about doing some things your own way, and if you are taking a risk many people will look at you like a disease carrier.

I'm making the effort, myself. I'm writing more outside of work. Research for a business with an ecological focus, as well. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The "holiday spirit," gifts, charity. When does it slip away? That is, what is the threshold to maintain this kernel of altruism wrapped in a cushion of greed and insecurity?

We see in places like Cote d'Ivoire and North Korea a gear and desperation leaving the idea of worrying about anyone else a luxury. I would like to know how charity is viewed in Russia, as it doesn't seem a place where such "soft" feelings would be respected. It is important to delineate between soft and practical, as charity can be an indirect benefit over time.

I have seen economic studies which showed no strong correlations between an education beyond the sixth year and GDP growth. However, if reading and logic and deduction enhance abstraction and long-term thinking, then I posit there is a negative correlation between exposure to the humanities and violence rates.

This not to say things like expectations of material and physical needs meeting aren't big factors, too, which I suspect in the above examples.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Looking for Inspiration

I apologize for the long delay in posting, apparently contemplating the correlation between contemporary unemployment rates and the suicide rate is not this writer's motivating exercise.

What we need, as individuals and as a society, is inspiration. Science and engineering are frustrating as we see the ravages on the environment. Social change and growth, even when pioneered by a charismatic leader, is stymied by political squabbles. We are left with distractions, entertainments to distract or feelings of hopelessness. It doesn't surprise that so many intelligent and educated people spend their free time either smoking marijuana or playing computer games.

I have long believed that entrepreneurship is the best path for the free-thinker. My own pursuits in such realms have not been sustained, but are looking like a renewal is burgeoning. Many, many self employed people have said that you should do what you love and let that drive blossom into something marketable. I want my own endeavors to be informed by inspiration, being the change that I wish for humanity.


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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

There is a lack of prospects in the current labor paradigm. There are four times the number of PhD graduates than the openings in universities for them. Law firms are contracting or at least ceased hiring, leaving young attorneys to work data entry.

As I've suggested before, this has to be demoralizing for those even "lower" on the rungs. And for those out of work, desperation must be feeling less so and more like realism.

Now would be a great time for empowered and inspiring leadership. If we could make the overtime threshold twenty hours we could employ almost everyone. Plus, those thinkers and dreamers who didn't make the cut for those positions that would challenge them would have the free time to pursue academic and entrepreneurial endeavors.

Couple this with an income tax refund that would ensure everyone earns the equivalent of twice the poverty rate, and you have the makings of a happy, productive society with a vibrant national economy. Dream with me, please?

Friday, October 29, 2010

To be a pyramid.

Society can appear as a great Ponzi scheme at times. In the days of flat population growth this was still true in the tiers of classes or castes. Today in the unindustrialized nations it is also in age demographics, many more young supporting the dream of their future prosperity in the form of the elderly.

In a society that claims "social mobility," residents must see more desirable positions as attainable, though few may have them, so even fewer may actually make such a shift in their lifetimes. In these conditions we see the motivation for striving for improvement, as there is something to strive for and strive one must against competition.

A similar thing could be said regarding the practice of expansionist market economics. More so, as class determinants shift in dynamic societies. If wealth is not the primary factor or tied for first, a class structure may not be a Ponzi scheme at all. The dominant economic scheme is predicated on the fact that the flows of value get mired at the top, forming cow bend lakes. However, if the flow is mired that means the people at the bottom have less to pass back to the top, thus the hunger for new markets. This is what the old colonial system was partially motivated by. The end of it and the bipolar order of the second half of the twentieth century meant the United States was able to experience disproportionate growth, only one other major player was competing for markets. Additionally, the South has been allowed to grow in this "neo-colonialism" and add to the global wealth flow. Now more places have become repositories for wealth and there are more people, such that expectations of material prosperity in the U.S. cannot be maintained.

It is time for us as a society to review or concepts of class and success. How much material comfort do we need to feel fulfilled?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Social Evolution

In the last six centuries we have seen enormous social change; creation of the collection of societies known as the West. For the creation of modernity, spiritual values were usurped by the secular. In fact, "modern" in the historical context refers to the time when the view of the material world, and humanities ability to manipulate it, creates a sense of progress.

To do so required overcoming nothing less than fear of death and an opinion of impracticality regarding abstract thinking. In contemporary years there is another evolution, the pace of which has accelerated. This time, the primal senses of self-worth and identity are being challenged. We've seen this in the debates over the rights of homosexuals, in the running for political office by non-traditional phenotypes, and immigration and migration.

The flow of change in the last two hundred years has been one toward inclusion. The development of national constitutions declaring the rights of all citizens protected from their government. On one hand, these reactionary movements against inclusion appear to be contrary to the constitutional legacy, yet many reactionary policy movements co-opt the unwavering support of these primary sources of both jurisprudence and national identity by the populace.

To move forward, encouraging individual sense of accomplishment will de-emphasise the desperate act to preserve self-value. Using the pride in a government constitution , a group identity can be formed around it which includes the different phenotypes. It will be fascinating to watch unfurl; we live in interesting times.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Game On

Way back in my mis-spent youth, as opposed to my mis-spent adulthood, I found a subculture periodic that inspired me. Unfortunately, I don't recall the name of it, this was in the late '97 to early '98 range when I was spending a lot of time browsing Barnes & Nobles' non-fiction and periodicals. The issue was dedicated to play as a social resource and I was both awed and inspired by the author's bold novelty. As testament to its motivational power, it was how I learned of Burning Man, and my impetus for going to the event later that year.

Recently, there have been many expounding on how fun and play are the basis for the Next Big Thing. I am sure they are right, but I think the frequency is interesting. Examples include the success of World of Warcraft, major companies putting a presence in Second Life, Chinese virtual gold harvesters, Charles Stross' Halting State, Institute for the Futures' simulation series, and the young man whose ideas were award some significant venture capital and the focus of a New York Times article on making a game interface for brand awareness and loyalty.

Play is not merely hip, it is the next Wave, in the strategic forecasting sense. Leisure time is prolific in the Industrialized zones of the world, and being industrialized means having the largest employment sector of an economy be service oriented. What can be more service oriented than entertainment? And when we create entertainment, like this blog entry, we stop being mere spectators and cross the line as collaborators. So, please write a comment and play with me.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Personal Liberation: First Principles

Freedom is what you do after you've been done to, paraphrasing Jean-Paul Sartre. Old JP certainly felt "done to," being a student in Germany, then to have to defend and rebel against invasion and occupation, respectively. After, he didn't call for German punishment. Instead, a talked about the absurdity of the human condition and called for independence, Algerian sovereignty being an example.

It is very easy to become angry or appalled; read the news. If asked why we feel this way we are liable to point to someone else's action, like what was reported by the media. That may very well be what we are reacting to, but that isn't why we are feeling that way. The feelings we have come from within, nothing external is an arbiter, though it maybe influential.

You have freedom after another has acted. Given a choice, I work toward a world of respect and harmony. Don't cede your freedom to another's short-sightedness. Let the basics of psychology and natural law be guide posts and be humble enough to recalibrate.