Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Fast Food, Capitalism, and Illegal Immigration: The Dots That Connect Them.
It is said that "and army runs on its stomach". This is true of slaves as well. Feed somebody and they will be indebted to you. You have covered one of their basic needs and with the time they don't spend pursuing food, you can guilt them into doing labor for or at least supporting you. (This happens in a microcosm at work.)
So much labor is involved in growing, harvesting, cooking, and bringing food to a table, that it is a core sources of systemic functionality (The reason people work so well together.) that defines a reason humans made it to the top of the chain. What many people who both profess the wonders of global capitalism and then complain about the influx of illegal immigrants into this country don't seem to grasp is the connection between the two in Central and South America. As the US has dumped cheap food on these communities in those areas, a few thing happened. First, the food is high caloric food that expands the physical and psychological "need" for more and more. As the documentary "Food Wars" put it, We are predisposed for gorging ourselves with calories when they are available in preparation for "the winter" but we live in a world where "winter never comes". That feeling is never turned off. However, when once a village or even a family needed a large percentage of their population dedicated to just doing one of the tasks associated with feeding, now a small crew can feed thousands (or billion and billions served) of people. Add to that a reality that the food comes from far far away where much of it is not done by the community, and you have essentially eliminated the functional need for more than 3/4ths the community/ family/ country. (This is the passive aggressive nature of capitalism.)
So what do you do when so many people no longer have lost their function their historic role in society? Send them to work in your dangerous factories for low wages. Break up their families by making it so both mother and father have to work to make ends meet. A place where the kids will not see their parents hard work and only see the meager fruits of their labor. Expose them to the dangers of the influence of the violent drug cartels. Drive the very value of the producers down and then call them lazy, worthless, and beggars when they can not establish a respectful living and lifestyle.
A long time ago, when I had more "conservative" leanings, thinking it to be funny, I used to say, "if you want to take over a country, don't send troops, send McDonald's and Walmarts. In no time they will depend on your hand to feed them." I still "say" it, I just don't think it is funny anymore.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Why College Cost So Much And Tuition Risen So Fast And We Still Pay

There has been lots of talk about the cost of education and how to pay for it these days. Obama has made it part of routine talking points.  It is sure to come up in the election campaigns.  However, nobody is talking about what caused exaggerated tuition increases in the first place.  With my love of the use of analogy to lead the reader to reason, here are two scenarios (one building upon the other) that explain, crudely, what happened.  ( hint, in all the stories in that Bible book, only one type of person made that Jesus character angry enough to take to mild violence.)   Read, enjoy, comment..

The first scenario starts with a "producer" who produces this product called "education". His target market it a group called "the people". Because market "value" is set by the equilibrium point  derived from the price "The People" are willing AND able to pay for the "education", the price is set at $5000 per education. (using numbers only as example.) The truth is that The People would be willing to pay more because they believe education has special powers to grant financial stability. But because of income levels and costs of living among The People they are not ABLE to pay more, the Producer can only sell education at 5K. So the question is "Where is the power to value 'education' under this scenario?" A secondary question would be "How much does it cost?" The answer, to me, is clearly in the hands of "The People" and tied rationally to their actual income.

In the second scenario, a "money changer" with extra capital to invest, sees the situation above and devices this plan. He recognizes that people are "willing" to pay more, and with time he can squeeze that extra out of them.  He approaches the "Producer" of the "education" and says, "how would you like to double the amount you can get for each of your educations? The only caveat is that while there are currently 100 "The People" consuming your Education per cycle, next cycle you will only be able to serve 90. But you were getting $50,000 per cycle, you will now get $90,000 per cycle. You will be able to lay off staff and a few other fixed costs with the reduced overhead. Of course the Producer wants to boost his income. But he explains "$5000 is market value, I can not get anymore. I have tried to raise my prices in the past and people did not buy." The money changer says, "leave that to me. Just raise your rates to double." The money change then approaches The People a few days later, who have been informed of the increase in price of Education. He, passing himself off as a "good guy" says, "I have good news. I will pay for 90 of you the $10,000 to purchase Education. In return I only ask that you pay me back $15,000 over then next 10 yrs and not until after you get out of school." Now The People are in competition with each other for a product that may or may not have the value they believe it to. They, caught in this competitive market ignore the many things that could happen. They could fail, they could die, they could become disabled, and other life events, and still owe the money changer. The question is the same, "Where is the power in this new scenario?" The Producer COULD choose not to raise his rates and make more money. But in a capitalist market, that is unlikely and if he did, somebody else will take advantage of them.  The People, believing they need Education for themselves, their kids, and all they love for safety and stability feel trapped. They, wanting to maximize potential for their and their children's future, feel inclined to buy this education at any cost.

  The message of this experiment is that the control over the economy was taken from "The People". It was taken from them by the deliberate method of the "money changers".  While the reality is that many bankers and "investors" are not so deliberate in their intent, the result is still the same.  Good intention have paved the way to places best left untraveled before.  Anyway you care to view it, the real power is with the Money changer. AND THAT is the problem with many economic issues in this country. The people with the money, in a very passive way, hold growing control over those who do not.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Here are the LAP New Year “Revolutions”

  Being this a advocacy for political change blog, It is only fitting that I set some points for change that I would like to see us work towards in the coming years.

A Different Type Of Marriage Authorized 
1) It is time to marry the ideas on the "Declaration of Independence" and the "Constitution".   It is time to acknowledge that the document that men looked at and agreed it was worth risking their lives for, the ones the soldiers of the revolution signed upon committing service, is just as valid and important as the ones politicians in a time of slavery, sexism, racism, and treating natives like animals crafted in a political environment with not much different than exist today and with less than half of the voices we consider to be valid today. What that means is the laws of nature (for which we have discovered much about since 1776) and “God” (for which we have found a lot of flaws in the idea since 1776) should be reassessed and added to the constitution.   The line “Life, Liberty, and Happiness” should be seen as more than just ideas, but considered the “mission statement”/ the “product” for which our legislators are to be guided by.  The statement “that all men are created equal” doesn't mean that they remain that way.  That this is an acknowledgement that we are born “blank slates” and that the things both public and private influence the behaviors of “men” between that birth and their death.  By mentioning this in this context, it means that the community/ government/ policy makers have an obligation to be vigilant of those things that influence the people they become, to make sure they are equally enlightened and therefore free.  The point, in plain English, too many US citizens are born into the inequality associated with poverty and other social ills. Place of birth, method of education, and family environment are all means of creating inequality. An obvious understanding that Paris Hilton has a far great chance at success than a kid born to a crack addicted mother in the projects.  These inequalities make it harder to attain “life, Liberty, and happiness” for all.  

Guns, Slaves, and Paranoia
2) It is time to throw out the 2nd amendment for the barbaric, archaic and destructive piece of …… legislation that it is. As pointed out above, we are only granted rights given by either nature or god that make us equal.  Since none of us are born with guns, it is safe to assume neither nature nor god intended us to have them.  They gave us a voice, so it seems freedom of speech makes sense to some extent.  Guns, do not. There is nothing “god given” about a gun. The reason for the 2nd amendment was to that militias could chase slaves down and being them back to slavery.  We ended slavery because it was ludicrous, might as well end the “enforcement” policy that enabled it.  The Buddhist have a philosophy that states basically that “if your mission is one of war, then bring tools of war and close your mind to enemy assault. If your mission is one of peace, then bring tools of peace and open your mind to compromise.” Since we have adopted the mission statement of “domestic tranquility” it means that weapons and paranoia are wrong and even adversarial tools for the goal. Time to start working them out of our society. Deaths, rapes, robbery, intimidation, suicide, and assaults are all negative results of our access to guns. The fact that we, not living in 1776, where a drive across a state line took days and had a risk of life and limb, anymore and the ability to get guns into a "gun free zone" is simpler than an Asian Carp getting into the Great Lakes. Time to wage war on war. 

Lawyers Validating Lawyers Is Like Liars Validating Liars
3) It is time to disband the Supreme Court. The idea of lawyers reviewing the decision of other lawyers seems to be counterproductive. They are going to come up with the most lawyerly decisions.  Which, most of us understand means the highest paid and most self-serving decision.  While separation of church and state is a good idea, and necessary for common good, the combination of science and state is in the best interest of public and future well-being.  In its place, we should establish a board of science and philosophy.  One that addresses policy issues based not on the outdated documents of centuries ago, but of one that considers the most up to date understanding of what brings peace, life, health, and prosperity to the community as a whole.   Using the latest understanding of biology, sociology, psychology, economics, ecology, diplomacy, and physics they access the logic and reasoning behind the intent of each policy.  Individual rights are theirs and theirs alone so long as those rights remain inside the house of the individual and those they are responsible for or answerable to.  When those behaviors spill outside those walls, they must be considered for the full impact that they example plays upon the community as a whole.  If a policy is deemed to be supportive of behavior that inhibits life, liberty, or happiness will gain no public endorsement.  In many cases, that doesn't mean punishment or repercussions for it, just no endorsement.  We understand that screaming “fire” in a crowded theater takes away from liberty and happiness, so should other public proclamations that are not scientifically sound.  Enabling or encouraging individuals to continue bad behaviors, is not in the best interest of the community, certainly not openly. The staple of determining what is dysfunctional or bad behavior should be that if you wouldn't condone your teenager to do it in front of you, then it is something that you know internally that it is wrong.  That sense of "right and wrong" is naturally instilled in most of us by nature or god.  The science and philosophy board is to apply the science to the mission statement on all policies challenged. Lower courts are determined legality of issues.

   I would say that these are big enough for one year.  We will see how much headway we make on them by next New Year.   The core of these “revolutions” are that we acknowledge that it is no longer 1776 any longer.  That we no longer live on self-sustaining family farms and/ or small communities.  We no longer live mostly silent, individual lives, where we were all stay at home parents, passing our philosophy on next generation free from media, school, and ever changing peer groups.  That the effects uncovered by Zimbardo in the “Stanford Prison Experiment” about “group think” has a much more powerful role and influence than it did back then.  The things we say and do in public have a direct effect upon the children of other hard working parents.  When we come to terms with the fact that we now live in a global commune, we can start working to repair the damage denying that reality has caused.

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