Archive for the Sustainability Category

AA Economics – SCOD Transition Systems

Posted in Economics, Philosophy, Psychology, Spiritual, Sustainability, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on June 2, 2017 by Drogo

Religious vs. Business

Christian, AA, Buddhist vs Capitalist Business

Economics is a belief based philosophy that we can use psychology (behavioral) and accounting (math) to facilitate successful transactions of commerce. Some people want rational and peaceful economic systems in harmony with nature, and others want predatory ‘winner takes all’ systems as over-bearing master abusers. Before Marx wrote about communism and socialism, Christianity was founded on communal living and social services (similar to tribal Pagans). Christian social services are based on the concept that ‘giving is its own reward’ because God loves them, wants them to give without material or monetary benefit, and will reward them in the after-life for their sacrifice. AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) uses a Christian prohibitionist type of addiction therapy, run on member based donations and volunteer work. Buddhism has a similar charity concept that encourages vows of poverty and sacrifice.

Rather than predatory State Capitalism, or dogmatic Church Monarchy, we could change towards more moral humane systems. We can reward ‘givers’ more than ‘takers’. We need to be aware of the poor who give it all away, and the rich that take more than their fair share; because the system currently works in reverse. So we can develop a middle-ground between the two extremes of Religion and Business ideology. Communism clearly has the modesty of religious morality, and Socialism has the best aspects of trade & barter ethics. Clearly the best type of Capitalism (if it is to survive) will embrace egalitarianism for the majority of the population, that makes more property public and rewards those that give to others the most.

Predatory Capitalism is like an addiction, it is very hard to break a harmful habit if we feel we cannot stop ourselves from doing, even when it hurts ourselves and others more than it benefits them. Therefore perhaps a SCOD system of economic transition can be similar to AA, where we can admit we have a problem, and that by helping others we are solving the problem. Then we can begin apologizing to all those we could have given more to, when we only practiced Capitalism.

* This essay is an addition to the book:

SCOD Economics: Alternative Economic Theories

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Why Would an Artist Architect write a book on Economics & Politics??

Posted in Alternative Architecture, Economics, Environmentalism, Organic Development, Philosophy, Politics, Sustainability, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on May 15, 2017 by Drogo

Wealth inequality is on the rise.

What does that mean for regular people?

Rising wealth inequality nationally means the rich are getting richer, more drastically than before; and the poor are getting poorer, which means they will soon have the rights of displaced Native Americans from 100 years ago. Imagine how that might affect minorities like many blacks and natives who already have the poverty of third-world countries, but are required to pay the fees of first-world plutocrats and corporate cronies?

Most of us are still feeling the Great Recession in our daily lives. The national economic ‘growth’ data that popular economists use, shows that after the corporate bail-outs sectors of our economy grew. Can you guess what percentage of the population benefited from that growth? About 1%.

Many of us middle-class people are losing our wealth when we try to sell our homes because of banker-real-estate fraud on the buyer’s behalf, devaluing old homes in areas of slow growth and using tax money to build new developments which makes a few rich while we get poorer without as many jobs, because money has been drained from the middle to go to the top.

I remember when I first noticed corporate take-over locally in the 1990’s when Walmarts began ‘out-competing’ all the mom-and-pop small family owned stores, and almost monopolized the market even for large franchise chains. Cable-companies made fortunes stringing wires around the country, into rural areas, competing with ‘WV state-flowers’ and antenna TV. Larger companies replaced smaller ones, every-where.

It is time to change the system, but it is not all or nothing. There are elements of alternative systems every-where in history, and around us in America today. If we do not have a right to live, our leaders do not have a right to rule, because they enforce the laws that make us unable to provide for ourselves, laws which we need to take responsibility to change.

Power for the people, and by the people is a constant struggle. ‘Power to the people’! We have to take the power back, from the plutocrats. Economics and politics are combined in America as a corrupt form of crony ‘State Capitalism’. No conspiracy or theory is needed to explain the reality of how corporations function, it is notoriously blatant and commonly accepted as ‘just the way things are’; so without defining every popular economic term that Madoff and Greenspan advocated, I will try to high-light the problems that affect most of us and propose solutions.

“People Power!!!” – AMM (Appalachian Mountain Militia)

I do not expect people to take my word as total truth. I want average people to get interested in how our system works, by helping them to feel that they can make a difference simply by beginning to question the establishment in intelligent ways. I am not a professional economist, I am studying finance as a hobby. For this book I am able to put forth theories by other economists, scientists, and philosophers; by rewording or quoting them. There are millions of people that disagree with my opinions, and I will not include all the information that a basic or advanced economic book would; but I will do my best to interpret and phrase jargon with references as best I can.

I designed and published SCOD Thesis in 1999 to address alternative ways to live. I was mocked by some students and professors for wanting to build a ‘commune’. It was considered absurd to be interested in village design that was not able to be financed by rich clients or the government, for ‘profit’.

I accepted the responsibility that I was a radical rebel, and system out-cast in college when I began to learn more about adult subjects, and got a clearer impression how the business world worked. My experience as a college graduate trying to ‘earn a living’ by selling myself to anyone willing to pay me, was even more discouraging and depressing.

As a drafting assistant, design partner, professor of architecture, and architectural adviser I was so in debt that any money I made had to go directly to pay debt bills, and did not allow me to save for the basics of middle-class property and personal benefit expectations that were promised to come to everyone that played by the rules of the system (higher education = more income). I found those platitudes to be hollow, even for many like me who wanted to find a life-long career within ‘good’ firms. Well it was clear the world for practicing architects was changing from what it had been. I did work with my father for years, and as partners we completed many designs and built many projects; however we made very little profit.

My father and I were successful designers, but that success did not transfer financially. Part of the reason capitalism did not work for us, was that many clients were poor, and even the rich wanted to save money. My father out of the kindness of his heart and joy to serve others, and enthusiasm for his craft, would charge fees that may have gone further during the 1970s. Combine low pay with the rise in cost of living, inflation, and this is why my mother had to support our family by working commercial retail at Walmart and teaching at schools; both jobs luckily she enjoyed as best she could. I worked many other jobs besides architecture, sometimes 5 jobs a month, and always actively found back-up jobs and projects that kept me busy. Despite only having one family car and very few luxuries for middle-class, we saw our wealth diminish no matter how hard we worked, and no matter how many clients we had.

I lived within my means, on the budget of a lower-class individual, while striving to serve the public as a middle-class citizen educated by ‘higher institutions of education’. I did not ‘drop-out’ of the system, the system was not interested in using me for the purpose that my education, psychology, and skill-set allowed. I still continue to live in this way, which I feel is the best I can do with what I have available to me.

I do not say these things to complain that my family suffered more than lower-class people, or disabled people (who can easily be disenfranchised by society and the system). I am not comparing how we lived to how other classes live, the point of being honest about my middle-class family experience is to show why I believe that alternative economic systems are important. I have always been interested in the definition of economics, and silly questions like “why do we say ‘trade & barter’ if those terms are synonyms?”. My favorite question as a child was “what makes a unit of something worth anything?”; or more humorously “can we just start using bottle caps or shells as money?”. I still think those types of questions are good.

Professionals whose public speeches, books, and conversations I have studied include Dr. Dean Baker, Prof. Noam Chomsky, Prof. Mark Blyth, Prof. Michael Hudson, politicians Bernie Sanders, Jill Stein, Jeremy Corbyn, and many others.

Regardless I think it is always good to hear that other people suffer from a type of economic exchange we could call the ‘oops I should have asked for more” syndrome. So I will try to include a few of those stories too for you. Enjoy the most boring theories you never thought might affect you, and keep on keepin’ on.

If I understand some economists correctly, they are saying we are living in a period like the 1920s when all growth was in the stock market; it was considered ‘capital gain’ but was really ‘striping assets’; which resulted in the Stock Market Crash and Great Depression. No pressure people.

Jeremy Corbyn in the Labor (Labour) Party in England, makes Bernie Sanders look like a centrist about public policies.

“For the many, not the few.” – Corbyn Labour party platform

“Our challenge to a rigged system, is bound to meet hostility. Change always involves taking on vested interests. The stakes are very high.” – Jeremy Corbyn, British Labour Party 2017

Great experimentation with individual and social action must take place now! I have been writing and publishing essays on Teaching, Colleges, Jobs, and systemic economic problems and solutions. In 2017 I am producing a series of recordings and essays on ‘SCOD Economics’. This Economic series includes interviews and biographies across disciplines, and intends to address both present injustices and futurist hopes.

We will discuss injustice within our educational and political system, that adversely affects people with alternative thoughts or theories that are not accepted by the conventional establishment corporate ideology frame-work that contains and controls most of the World. We are given their propaganda that “we can all have any job we want, so long as we try hard and get good grades”. Our reality based on my experience is more like “most of us can have at least a minimum-wage job with few benefits, for a limited amount of time, without job security, pathetic interest for savings accounts, the job we find may be against our own interests, and those who cannot get good grades or are bad at following orders get nothing and will probably end up in jail or homeless”. Despite these problems which I have personally witnessed and experienced, the final goal of the series is to plan for a better more sustainable tomorrow for future generations; even if the series conclusions are largely ignored within our life-times. Historic record has some worth.

From the book – SCOD Economics: Alternative Economic Theories

Economics affects everyone, even those that do not want to be concerned with money or finances. This book is a summary of alternative economic commentaries that emphasize democratic ethics. The Sustainable Cooperative for Organic Development believes in valuing human lives as responsible environmental stewards for our biosphere called Earth, and seeks ways to allow for biodiversity in civilization as well as the ecosystem. We believe in less monopolies, less corporate crony politics, less corruption in government, and more ways to support various ways of life and provide future generations with the ability to provide for themselves. Please let’s work together to leave something for the children that is worth inheriting.

 – Drogo Empedocles

*

Quest for Consciousness

Posted in Economics, Politics, Science & Math, Spiritual, Sustainability, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 30, 2017 by Drogo

Over the years I have toured many college campuses and made appointments to meet with staff members in their architecture departments. As friendly as some of the professors may have been, they told me candidly there were no job opportunities for me as part of their faculty, and of course none of them were paid to help me, and therefore they did not. I did lecture them on SCOD thesis, and they verified that college politics was not in my favor; despite ‘sustainability’ being a popular theory.

While exploring the Maryland University campus again in 2017 for open-house Maryland Day, among my various conversations, I did have a fortunate discussion with quantum physics graduate students and a business school professor, outside of the Science Department. We were talking about particle-wave theory, the split-test experiment, and the question of what observer consciousness, or whether they turned the lights on or off had to do with it.

I congratulated the business professor for being concerned about whether science could account for consciousness; as we have a cross-disciplinary problem of not being able to quantitatively value life-forms and the Eco-system in direct ways that protect our existence from predatory capitalism. He recognized that this problem did indeed exist, and that he “only went into business to make money”, but he was very concerned about getting the scientific establishment to acknowledge that consciousness exists. I defended the students who had volunteered to answer public questions, by telling the business professor that he was “pushing the limits of their knowledge, because science is about conducting quantitative verifiable experiments; and I wish that spirit had a residue that we could measure, but there does not appear to be much evidence that conscious exists apart from biology.”

Our two quests are linked, because monetary currency is mutually agreed upon around the globe, but life and environmental science are often ignored for profits that do not take their worth into account as variables that have economic value. If consciousness cannot be verified, given quantitative worth, and supported in monetary terms, then how can we ever develop Economic Consciousness for Life-forms? Perhaps we can begin with Bio-diversity preservation theories that do not depend on ‘consciousness’. Climate Science is getting ignored currently also, so perhaps corrupt politics or predatory instincts are to blame. On a positive note, I went to the Art Department and explained this problem during another conversation about the value of art and artist income.

*

Commercial Corporate vs Local Community Income

Posted in Economics, Services, Sales or Trade, Sustainability, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on July 30, 2016 by Drogo

As I network locally, nationally, and globally; I feel a need to talk about jobs and how less and less of us have less and less jobs, and the more education we have, the less ethical jobs are available.

Commercial corporate, industrial factory, or other greed and pollution based jobs that I and most other workers have to pay minimum wage bills are not the answer anymore. Based on the economic market since the Great Recession, there will be less of those unethical jobs. Also more of us are becoming educated about the environment, pollution, history, economics, politics, and civil rights; so less of us will want to have those jobs as we know they will affect us adversely psychologically and combined with over-population will continue to destroy our environment. Scientists seem to be saying that humans have been rapidly destroying entire species of life, but civilized people have taken no substantial actions to stop or undo pollution and killing world-wide or at home; as it would mean going to war with greedy powers.

Local community economies must become more substantial. Meetings should be held to discuss which technologies are important to us, and which ones are destroying our ability to sustain ourselves. Income based living is a fairly new concept, in the history of human existence on this planet, and we now can clearly see the out-come of Capitalist based economies: Bernie ‘Made-off’, ‘Greedy’ Greenspan, Dan Ryan, and Donald Trump. Artists and humanitarians of all kinds have been made to suffer, and told we are not worth anything and should not be able to pay our bills doing what we love and do well, which is to be alive by the grace of Nature and allowed to express our talents in the service of ourselves and others. Instead we have been told by the dominant system that only corporate or government slave labor is practical service.

I believe we have been born into a corrupt system that is wrong. I have written, and will be writing more articles about these issues. I invite you to contact SCOD (Sustainable Cooperative for Organic Development), and please express yourself and tell the world that you have a right to live, helping the community as best you can where-ever you are located; whether you are the most energetic and able bodied person; or all you are best at is being able to write, draw, or speak. Human rights should begin with allowing life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and to me that means being allowed to live in a home even you cannot earn any money.

The answer as to what kind of economy we need, clearly will be based on what our needs are currently, while planning for the future. Few people think about how things will get worse, and how we can make them better. It begins with finding people locally that you like and have some ability to help you to live better; artists, gardeners, trades-workers, singers, farmers, bakers, or cooks etc… then paying them or trading with them. Next it will take changing our state or national economic system, and making the rich corporate politicians that rape the planet pay for their greedy deeds entirely. Allow the rest of us poor people (that cannot afford our own homes) to live our lives, with an ‘affordable’ living. All people should be given enough to live on by a government, rather than spending the same money on War and Plutocrats. This is sometimes called the ‘basic living wage’ concept; but it goes beyond wages and addresses the ‘right to life’.

More on this later in my books….

  • Drogo

Ending Abuse ASAP

Posted in Psychology, Spiritual, Sustainability, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on July 6, 2016 by Drogo

The Art of Ending War Before It Begins

Law suits and physical fights are reasons why I avoid people that show they want to argue about ‘creative differences’ more than they want to ‘creatively collaborate’. I admit i still like the thrill of battle, but i just know how to win before it begins now. LOL Basically I will always communicate with a partner or client until they start getting nasty (meaning personal insults and not just logic of limits) it took years of practice with clients to understand how to avoid the blame game – and years of realizing it comes down to personality and behavior (psych eval). Offer what you can, and if you or they are not pleased enough over a period of time, realize the cycle of abuse before it goes further, and cut losses. If the fight cannot be avoided, it is preferable to get a seat in the audience. Abuse is the wrong kind of drama for a healthy relationship. Abuse is often determined by one side making demands that the other side views as hurtful or oppressive. However if it will not end, and you have a chance to end it before worse things happen, take it. Often we allow situations to escalate because of kindness, and kindness can get taken advantage of for better or worse.

Cut off all communications with those that are willing to hurt you, and get help to enforce the laws that protect our rights to do so.

The more severe the behaviors (not talking about freedom of speech but actual business or physical moves), the more the need to sever contact ASAP (as soon as possible).

For tips on how to creatively collaborate, rather than quit due to creative differences, read articles on child-like vs child-ish, cooperative creation, and respecting the imagination and limits of others. Make sure that all parties are aware of all the factors and levels of risk before getting too involved, or cutting losses becomes suicide. Within a cooperative you can have committees with leaders, so make sure you understand how project politics work by reading about what has worked in the past. Working partnerships are not less important than friendships, as the level of trust needed often transcends the normal daily challenges of friendship; and because the stakes are greater (even if symbolic of what might happen if there was more at stake), business can often show you who is a loyal friend and wants to support or cooperate with you and how willing they are to do so.

Electric Human Wheel

Posted in inventions, Sustainability, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 4, 2016 by Drogo

Electric Generating Stationary Bikes (Human Hamster-Wheels)

Very interesting. This truly piques the engineer in me’s interest.. I’m with the idea 100% of the flywheel approach and it running around $100.. the kicker would be the battery bank and the inverter..
You could get some cost savings using an old bike as a donor for parts, and the larger the flywheel the better off you could be. (once it gets going momentum would help you continue the spin) Throw a decent transmission (from donor bike) in there and you can keep the speed controlled and wouldn’t need a voltage regulator.
Now tied to an existing offgrid setup.. like a Tesla Battery (Powerwall i believe they are calling it?) with a good diode.. That could be a great boon!
I am somewhat dubious of the “1 hour” thing as that’s extremely variable depending on usage of power and condition of battery; that’s more of a ‘sales’ point but the concept itself is sound as well as proven in other applications (the manual treadmills in gyms in the 90’s powering attached TVs come to mind)

That all said; there is another side to it that I would be remiss in not bringing up.. Unless you have a REALLY well made system you will lose energy to the inefficiency inherent in converting mechanical energy to electrical energy.. (not to mention the chemical energy (calories) required to produce the mechanical energy to convert to electrical energy.. so for like an off grid setup this would be great, but something where you’re trying to shave cost off of your utility bill the savings VS upfront cost would be somewhat hard to justify unless energy costs SUPER skyrocket or you are super efficient with your use of energy in the first place. Good source on that:
http://michaelbluejay.com/electricity/bicyclepower.html

Bottom line? Do-able and valid, REALLY cool too! but unless you’re super efficient with your use of energy, have batteries and an invertor on hand or for cheap… not necessarily cost effective VS grid.

Generating electricity with a bicycle

 

  • Tom Overby, Inventor (from a comment on a FB SCOD Group Post)

Lessons of the Great Depression

Posted in Economics, Sustainability, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 8, 2016 by Drogo

Causes, Effects, and Importance of the Great Depression 1929-39

The common assumption is that the greatest economic depression in modern history was triggered by the stock market crash of 1929, which caused panic sell-off. However there are other theories which are more fact-based and categorically explain the order of events during that period of time. The Great Depression is vital to remember, for all citizens regardless of economic involvement, because it shows that markets can take a 10 year down turn, and rebound overall; yet many people may lose everything in the process.

Keynesian institutional theory focuses on ‘spending demand’ as the key economic factor. Spending demand is related to consumer confidence. Monetarists believe that the Federal Reserve Bank should print more money, and allow the largest companies to profit MORE during a recession, in hopes that they will hire more I suppose; which is stupid because history shows that they keep profits and reduce work force during a ‘down turn’. Banks and companies tend to ‘hunker down’ during economic down-turn, so propping them up is NOT a solution to democratic economic health of citizens who may starve to death while companies replace their jobs with the cheapest solutions. Central bankers and Corporate CEOs are the new royalty in an oligarchy given power by commercial capitalist greed.

The effects are important to note – DO NOT put all your money into stocks, and then pull them out when their value is low, because people have lost all their savings that way!!! Those that do well, use bonds and diversify assets (cds, mutual funds, safe stocks). If they cash out their investments, they do so only when the amount they remove is MORE than what they put in. If someone invests with a company that goes bankrupt and stocks never go back up, that is a permanent loss.

The importance of the Great Depression is that memory of it shows that government economies may seem to fail over a period of 10 years, but after the 10 years, it can inflate back up at the SAME prices as before the deflation period. This may be due to exponential growth of population, greed of the oligarchy, and general stability of civilization. For civilization to fail significantly enough to cause a greater depression, a global catastrophic event would have to happen, the likes of which would have to at least be closer to the fall of the Roman Empire, if not greater. Debts become greater during monetary deflation. There can be no doubt that any greed driven system like Capitalism will be volatile and hostile to all classes confined within it. The failings of democracy within tyrannical Capitalism, shows that Capitalism has failed us only slightly less, but increasingly more, than the despotic models that crushed the inherent popular good will of Marxism before it (see USSR) even began. However if you can play the system with enough money, invest in environmental companies, because some companies are better for life on the planet than others. There are corporate investment companies waiting to take your order!

Sadly war and borrowing got us out of the Depression. Why can’t peace and saving get us out of the Recession?