Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Premise: as a rule, people in power wish to remain in power.
Premise: great wealth transfers into great power,
Conclusion: The wealthy acquire power that is used to protect their position.
As Lessig writes:
“Yet, often the biggest danger to free markets comes not from anti-market advocates (the Communist and worse!) as from strong and successful market players eager to protect themselves from the next round of strong and successful market players”.
“…there are only two things we be certain of when talking of free markets: First, that new innovation will challenge old, and second, that old innovation will try to protect itself against the new” (Lessig, 2011).
Lessig, L. (2011). Republic lost: How money corrupts Congress - and a plan to stop it. Twelve, Boston.
Sunday, February 27, 2011
Sunday, February 20, 2011
I was sitting down at the local coffee shop this morning pondering our national budget and its revenue shortfall. I think I know a way to balance the budget: increase revenue and cut spending. If you would like, my 7th graders could do the math for you. You get this black line going up as revenue increases. As one of the leaders of our country, you get to decide the slope of the line. Then you start cutting spending a little each year. That will be a red line with a negative slope. You can make it as steep as you choose. When the two lines cross, the budget will be balanced. My 7th grades can find this point several ways. They also work for granola bars and fruit snacks. If you give us a couple of weeks, they can do this with exponential models as well and these are exponential times. We will leave who to tax and where to cut to the grownups. You remember grownups, don’t you? They are people who have matured past ideological positioning and tender egos. They typically have children and so look to secure an abundant future. They can make the subtle distinction between governance and power. `
I am not expecting a response to this bit of satire but I would love to hear your views on the system itself. Governance seems to have fallen into the dysfunction of ideology. I would love to hear your thoughts on re-booting civil discourse and a collaborative problem solving model of government. Attack ads work. Vilifying the opponent works. Framing the other’s position in the most negative light works. That is an unfortunate attribute of our cognition and its biological baggage. These things also paralyze governance. I would love to hear your views on how to work productively in partnership with the current federal administration to solve problems. I am not interested in hearing the party line. I know it. I cannot avoid knowing it because the strategy is to repeat the same framing again and again in less than three sentences. It tells me how evil the other side it. How do we get past power games to governance? I would love to hear that.
Friday, May 14, 2010
Wigner, E. P. The unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics in the natural sciences, Comm. Pure Appl. Math., 13 (Feb. 1960)
Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, 3rd printing (New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1973) 11.
Monday, March 15, 2010
I was at Starbucks last Saturday and stumbled into a Coffee Party meeting. I asked if I could join in the conversation and that opened an interesting discussion. Now I find the idea of a grassroots movement to recalim civility and effective government compelling. How do you answer someone who asks you why you hate America? Who come up with that one? I could only respond as reasonably as I could, “Probably for the same reasons as you.” That would be the unexpected response. Stating a thing does not make it true. You can say I hate America I can say you hate America. That accomplishes nothing but is the strategy is to create impasse, it is effective. I suspect that I am in a fool’s paradise here. I expect a rational response. A more probable reaction is strident voices would be to become even more strident. I do like the idea of printed messages of civility and invitation to talk. We cannot shout down those who gather to shout us down. Actually, no one has tried to shout me down. I have seen media images of that behavior but I have not yet seen it on the streets of Casper. I hope the Coffee Party movement can focus on civility. It is hard to be mad at someone who is trying to listen to you.
Do we see ourselves as a compassionate people? How do compassionate people act? There is something about the two coat rule in the bible. If you have two coats and your neighbor has none, then give him one of yours. How hard is that? From the Book of Matthew, 3:11 He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise. So, do you have two coats?