Archive for economics

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

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SCOD Economic Theory Series

Posted in Arts (Design & Performance), Economics, Multimedia Communication, Organic Development, Philosophy, Politics, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 3, 2017 by Drogo

Essays on Educational, Employment, and Systemic Economic Problems and Solutions

by Drogo Empedocles; May 2017

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.

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SCOD Economic Permaculture & Futurist Interviews:

Tom the Data Scientist, Libertarian

Cheri M. the Permaculturalist

Beamer the Scientist, Liberal

Aeyla the Care Giver, Independent

Scorpion the Homeless, Independent

Drogo the Architect, Green

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SCOD Economic Commentaries:

My Favorite Job Was Teaching

How Crony-Capitalism Affects Education

Homeless Ways of Life

Public Art and Street Teaching

Alternative Economic Education

Graduate School Politics in Colleges & University

Permaculture in Economics, Business, & Politics

Quest For Consciousness

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References:

Economics Professor Mark Blyth

Economics Professor Wolff

MIT Professor Noam Chomsky

(Page Under Construction – links and more will be added soon)

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.

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American Dream Fallout

Posted in Critical Commentary of Civilization, Economics, POB Audio, Politics, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 11, 2016 by Drogo

In the Wake of the Great Recession the American Dream Dies

“The American Dream is a crucial thread in this country’s tapestry, woven through politics, music and culture. Though the phrase has different meanings to different people, it suggests an underlying belief that hard work pays off and that the next generation will have a better life than the previous generation. But three years after the worst recession in almost a century, the American Dream now feels in jeopardy to many…” “Economic statistics validate those feelings. According to the Census Bureau, an average man working full time made 10 percent less money last year than he did a decade ago.” [Read full story at NPR – American Dream Faces Harsh New Reality]

“New economic research shows Americans are no longer as likely to make more than their parents did at the same age…The American dream is harder to attain than it used to be. People may have felt that for a long time. Now there’s a body of research to back that up. One definition of the American dream is that your children will make more money than you did. Now economists have charted the percentage of people who make more than their parents did at the same age, and the picture is striking…” (adjusted for inflation) If you were born in 1940, you had a 92% chance that you would make more money than your parents did, because of national economic growth. For those born in 1980 it has fallen to 50%. Besides changes in educational and industrial labor, the main economic reason most people are not out-earning their parents is that corporate productivity gains go disproportionately to the few people at the top. Income inequality between the poor and the rich is the main problem. [Read full story at NPR – Economists Chart ‘Index Of The American Dream‘]

“Income Inequality Impairs The American Dream of Upward Mobility.” [Read and Listen to the full story at NPR – Debate: Does Income Inequality Impair The American Dream?]

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Like a phoenix we can rise from the ashes and co-create a new American Dream!

 

95 Million Americans Not Employed

Posted in jobs, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 10, 2016 by Drogo

95,055,000 Americans have no employer-job income in 2016!

For some reason, the public media ‘Unemployment Reports’ from the US Department of Labor are not listing the largest and most important number. According to their own data charts (which do not copy well as a direct link for specific info, perhaps on purpose) the Bureau of Labor Statistics ‘Household Data’ Table A-1; in November 2016 there were over 95 Million Americans ‘not employed’ total. To clarify, over 95,000,000 adults have no ‘outside-the-family-home’ income (using the ‘not in the labor force’ chart). Many adult workers have no formal income in America. Over 38 million men and almost 57 million women, of those jobless are adults over the age of 16 (using the seasonally adjusted charts).

Here is an article link that explains the ‘Real Unemployment Rate‘.

The total population of the USA is 324,954,000. The US civilian population of adult citizens between the ages of 15-65 is apx. 206,189,000 (male + female) [Wikipedia]; of those 152 million are ’employed’ (includes over 7 million unemployed), and 95 million are not included. About 152 million employees are having to support 95 million other adults of all ages AND all the 62 million children. Although we have men and women working formal or informal paying or volunteer jobs, the ratio of income is perhaps about the same as before Equal Rights (152/157). Worse yet the economy shows no signs of improving, and based on the facts appears to be getting worse every year (accounting for inflation ratios).

There is a pattern trend in relation to the number of years (from 1975-2016) and the unemployed numbers (58 million to 95 million). In 1975 the total ‘jobless population’ was 58,627,000 (over 16 years of age). So since 1975 the ratio of population to non-employed has at least doubled. Our total population has grown in that time (1975-2016) only a little over 100 million more; therefore the disproportionate numbers means that although the total population only grew by 1/3, the jobless population grew by 1/2. ‘Fact-checkers’ claim numbers not included (people in school or elderly over 65) reduce 95 million to 20 million, but I am not convinced and have not yet verified their numbers [Politifact]. I believe counting students over 16 as potential PAID labor force is fair (as they should not be slaves), so if we subtract 40 million elders (population over 65 not verified) that still leaves 55 million adults with no official income that should be getting a living wage if we believe that people have a right to life.

This data makes a parabola chart showing perpetual rapid job loss by the millions within decades. In one generation the masses could all be slaves to corporate plutocracy, with no ability to vote on anything except American Idol, will own less and less property, and will become more impoverished with each generation. One conclusion could be that we are indeed long overdue for major reform, we have been misled by our leaders, and real revolution is needed. The Green Party, SCOD, and others are by necessity already exploring alternative grass-roots economies. We should also break up the Federal government into smaller sections of states (by time-zones), each with democratic directly elected presidential councils. The system trend resembles a Plutocracy that keeps the masses enslaved only to benefit the wealthy elites.

jobless-chart-copy

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

Bullshit Jobs

Posted in Book Reports, Critical Commentary of Civilization, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 29, 2016 by Drogo

Summary of an Article on Bullshit Jobs

There is another scholar doing research on a question I have been asking for years.

Why after thousands of years of civilization, with all our modern technology and complex sociology and even despite higher educations, do most of us have less ‘free time’ than ever before? It does seem as though we are slaves to the ‘machine’ of the systems of society.

“Rather than allowing a massive reduction of working hours to free the world’s population to pursue their own projects, pleasures, visions, and ideas, we have seen the ballooning not even so much of the ‘service’ sector as of the administrative sector, up to and including the creation of whole new industries like financial services or telemarketing, or the unprecedented expansion of sectors like corporate law, academic and health administration, human resources, and public relations. And these numbers do not even reflect on all those people whose job is to provide administrative, technical, or security support for these industries, or for that matter the whole host of ancillary industries (dog-washers, all-night pizza deliverymen) that only exist because everyone else is spending so much of their time working in all the other ones. These are what I propose to call ‘bullshit jobs.’ what does it say about our society that it seems to generate an extremely limited demand for talented poet-musicians, but an apparently infinite demand for specialists in corporate law? (Answer: if 1% of the population controls most of the disposable wealth, what we call “the market” reflects what they think is useful or important, not anybody else.) in our society, there seems a general rule that, the more obviously one’s work benefits other people, the less one is likely to be paid for it. Clearly, the system was never consciously designed”; but the way things are does serve the 1%, and a simmering resentment is fostered against anyone whose work has clear and undeniable social value or appeal. “It emerged from almost a century of trial and error. But it is the only explanation for why, despite our technological capacities, we are not all working 3-4 hour days.”

– David Graeber is a Professor of Anthropology at the London School of Economics. His most recent book is, ‘The Democracy Project: A History, a Crisis, a Movement’.