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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

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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)

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

Self-Employed

Posted in Economics, jobs, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on August 26, 2016 by Drogo

Some of us do NOT fit into regular jobs, and it is the job of large companies not to be fair, or even to pick the best quality, but in fact their job is to reject most people according to their opinions; so we need people like you to help share our arts with others, as part of an organic market system.

Being self-employed it is much harder to handle difficult clients that are unappreciative and do not want to pay; regardless of whether they could or could not do a better job if they did it themselves. Some let you waste hours of time, before they say they will do it themselves or hire someone else. Often because they refuse to talk on the phone about negotiating problems, because they do not have the patience to compromise their willful egos, or they just dont care. Some people do not know what they want, but when you show them, they know they dont want what you made. Control freak clients are not always right, they are to be avoided unless they pay upfront.

If you are confident that you know your limits, insist on taking the time to explain everything to clients up front. Some will lie and say they understand, when they really do not; but you will find out later. As soon as it becomes clear time-after-time, or from a major power-play that things could end up in law-suits in the court-room with lawyers and judges, it is time to end work as fairly as possible.

So please sympathize with those of us that need to maintain our own limits, and cannot abide the authority of others, unless pay is substantial. Share our work with others, as it is the only way to by-pass the cut-throat system. Otherwise, we fall through the cracks of civilization.

 As some authors of ethical business suggest, when a potential client turns us down, imagine that they have just paid 20 bucks and warned us not to work with them. In this way, we can thank them for saving us gas money and stress in the future. It is often best to “Wish them well” (Rush), and “Carry on” (Kansas).

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’.

Vow of Happiness

Posted in Cooperatives / Communities / Networks / Travels, Critical Commentary of Civilization, Economics, Education / Schools, Psychology, Sustainability with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 13, 2013 by Drogo

For some, an alternative way of life is better than a conventional way of slavery. Different ways of life fit different needs and circumstances. Often ‘regular’ jobs do not cut it for imaginative free-thinking free-spirits. Sure some people are lazy, and do not want to do anything, not even for themselves. However there are many people that do plenty of work for free, or very little pay; but they are happier than working at something they do not like, or for someone they do not like. The most expensive college is not the answer, nor is the highest paying job; since colleges get you in massive debt most of the time, and you could spend your whole life trying to hunt down the ‘highest paying miracle job’, and never be happy with what you have.

Therefore I welcome others to try to not bully other people ‘to try and get a better job’, ‘go back to school to get a better job’, or not even acknowledge that people have jobs at all; when in fact they often do have jobs. Jobs and careers are not always conventional, and some of us want human rights like a living wage for being who we are warts and all. If you can pay your bills, or have them covered by a benefactor, and you are not hurting anyone, and you are best fitted for doing work that does not pay very much; that is ok. In fact it might even be good, and life fulfilling. If people get high paying jobs, good for them; but if they do not want to do so for various reasons, perhaps they should not; and I say stop pressuring them, and check your own stress.

When looking for happiness, find satisfaction with your achievements; your highest status is your most humble. Zen will reduce complexity to a oneness with singular and collective identity. As the Dalai Lama says in ‘Looking for Happiness’, “I am a simple Buddhist monk; no more, no less”. While he may be exaggerating the simplicity of his ‘being’ in reality, his rationality often focuses on reducing the stress and burden of riches and power, by realizing that most people are happier with less; which tends to lead to advice for giving up responsibility which distracts from spiritual service. Buddhism often encourages us to ‘let go’ of burdens we carry, when they are too heavy.

Dean Hsu-Jen Huang at SCAD told me the tale of the monk and his apprentice who helped a woman across a river. The apprentice felt his master held the woman inappropriately. In response the older wiser monk said “I left the woman at the river. Why do you still carry her?” In other words, “I put my mental baggage down a while ago; why do you still cling to that problem?”

Take a vow of happiness; no matter poverty or wealth.

3times_buddhas