Archive for jobs

Profess What You Do

Posted in Cooperative collaboration, Critical Commentary of Civilization, Ethics & Morals, jobs, Psychology, relationships, Services, Sales or Trade, Society Clubs or Social Groups, Sustainability, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 11, 2020 by Drogo

Be professional by being you. 

Professional expectations are over-rated.

A case for ‘Professions’ to mean simply professing what we practice –

 

Volume of work can dictate labels, regardless of haters. Reputation as ‘good or bad’ can be more nebulous as tastes vary widely, compared to the proof of the pudding as being a produced edible product which is at least quite adequate compared to what most people could make. 

 

“He made thousands of shoes, so he was undeniably a shoemaker.” 

“Perhaps but he died penniless, so he was a failed shoemaker.” 

“But he was successful at making shoes, selling them is another matter.”

 

No matter how bad we are at things, certainly many worse things were sold by others of lesser quality, so price cannot be the gauge of a life. Quality does not determine profession if it is what we are professed to do, nor should it if we are allowed a niche market within our means. Professional qualities matter, no doubt, but luck plays a much bigger role than we think, in whether our talents are practiced or realized. Being ‘well-rounded’ does not mean always excelling at everything, it can and should more often mean being well adjusted on average, as in mathematics an ‘average’ is a reasonable means between to unreasonable extremes. 

 

Professional qualities when they exist are not over-rated, but our acceptance of needing to use that term only for good qualities which may be superficial is at least questionable. Professional qualities can mask unethical long term qualities, such as when rich company owners make all the profits while workers are forced on unemployment or worse. Be all you can be, be professional because it is what you do, as well as how you do it. If people do not like you because you were not your best, or not good enough according to them; it is not always the product, it is often the market. Markets are not gods. Customers are not always correct, often they are jerks because people are fickle and change their minds. Trades are about relations, and when they are good exchanges are about equality.

I am not a writer or artist for competition of label, i express myself because i cannot bear being away from imagination for too long. Competition of label is what it is, superficial. Labels are titles we apply to surfaces, for the purposes of artificial classification. ‘Identification’ itself runs much deeper than surface symbols.

 

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My Career in Art & Writing

Posted in Alternative Architecture, Creativity / Imagination, Critical Commentary of Civilization, Illustration, Interviews, jobs, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 5, 2020 by Drogo

Memoir on My Career 2020, By Drogo Empedocles

 

I am defined socially by my supporters, more than if i were isolated and alone (obviously). Thank you for your support of my life’s work! Is my art and writing my career? I suppose it is, but not if careers must be defined purely by financial profit.

It is strange because my favorite parts of my education did not translate into making money in regular jobs, but i was not as prepared for regular jobs because of my own interests, which meant i cant really blame my art school because i didnt want the regular jobs it turns out. some of us need to spend fortunes to find that out, but trying to make the fortune back by working at regular jobs was the only real way to know whether or not there is a place there for me in conventional business. I like writing and art because I dont need a boss to do them. i still try to make money by selling my work to clients and pleasing patrons; but there is a big difference doing what i love my own way, and people supporting me as a friend, for favors that friends do. I always felt like having a boss meant i was doing work that i needed someone else to tell me how to do, so it was not really a job i would want, unless i was able to be the boss soon or the boss was my best friend. Only when my boss was friendly was a regular job even tolerable for me. Many people feel like they do not have a choice, and for many who just want to do what they are told for a paycheck or who need to provide for dependents maybe that is true; but i feel that if we want to be free, nothing can stop us from eventually quitting jobs that do not fit.

I have heard that being an adult means getting a regular job, to pay regular bills. In fact i always thought that would just happen naturally as an adult, that all my hard work in school would just translate to having the long lost career of my father’s generation. I have also heard that those pensions and life-long salaries are gone (although i still apply to the few that exist), and I know that technology has changed how work gets done, from even the ways I was taught with pencil and paper. I think this Covid Crisis is forcing society to change even more, towards the European socialist model, where a responsible civilization has a government that is by and for the people, and does not just use citizens to extract public resources for the rich. I mean, corporations still will do that, but adults will have a right to life, even if they are not enough of a competitive servant and smart enough to want to take more money from others than they need, simply because they ‘worked hard’ doing what someone else thought they should do. 

 

When someone says “if adults can’t make enough money as an artist, they should get a real job.” I imagine cutting their head off, and sending it to our magical boss; you know the one who would want an employee like me. I would get a gold star and a raise for sure.

Trumpian Economic Report 2020

Posted in Book Reports, Cartoon Comics, Commercial Corporations, Cooperative collaboration, Crafts, Critical Commentary of Civilization, jobs, Legal / Laws, Multimedia Communication, news, Organic Development, portraits, relationships, Services, Sales or Trade, Society Clubs or Social Groups, Sustainability, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 31, 2019 by Drogo

Artisan Vs. Commercial Market Selling

By Drogo Empedocles – January 2020

In a Trumpian economy most of us are forced to be beggars even when we offer work in return for money, due to an excess of labor not needed or desired by the rich. Trickle-down Reaganomics has failed us, and is still being pushed on us by Trump and all corporate politicians who sold out. We must resist falling to the attacks causing the destruction of our lives and plan to not just survive but rebuild a better world for our children.

Trump’s tax plan benefits the rich, and diminishes the middle class. The estate tax is gone now so that rich children can inherit all their parent’s wealth freely without earning it, while poor children suffer without deserving it. Personal exemptions have been removed. You can still itemize donations, but the standard deduction bar was raised with an overall .5% tax rate reduction. Those basic changes might negligibly benefit lower incomes, but average to upper middle class households are losing thousands on whole due to other changes in the tax plan.

I lost some financial support despite my working through the holidays on several projects. I won’t be able to do as much free or low-budget work with others, until i can secure more income to cover my own expenses at least. my income is only $700 a year recently, so i feel like i get by with quite a little actually. I only currently use one sound program most weeks, and focus on word (writing) programs, which have glitches between formats, but i am able to publish that way. So for over a year i have only been using two editing programs.

Most people should know that any work has a price; and so my work is for sale, as with any artist; we need means to live so we try to sell prints and originals if we can. If people do not know how to want to share money with others, i am not sure how i can help them except to remind them by bringing it up sometimes. I focus on my work more than sales, because i do it for the work not the sales. If i am asked to be more of a sales person i would not do it. i dont know if stating that i will keep doing my own work the way i want no matter what will reduce interest in investing in me or increase it long term; but i really do not see many options to sustain my career legacy. I may get some temporary side jobs like working for Census, but even if i got a huge increase in income what matters to me is what is created with what i have ultimately.

SCOD social capital has increased overall i believe, which is hard to define since it is not income based. I am close to founding a tristate network for hosting art, music, and writing events; but the design is mostly socially dependent, using properties in WV, MD, and VA. The financial components like ticket sales and payments are totally based on how many people i can get to coordinate together. we currently have several proposals still being formed, for multimedia broadcasting and sharing local events, i can pursue these negotiations without financial losses. ive felt on the verge of something big over the years, but i never know when the tipping point will come because … and this is the hard part to talk about, the complex dynamics of partnerships.

I am proud to ‘beg’ with something of quality to offer in return. When you buy my work, you support many other people; because I collaborate with and buy from other artists and friends. To anyone that thinks I am begging by being honest that I do not earn much, I argue that bragging about how good your work is and saying you have been ‘financially successful’ by taking more than you need is worse than begging because to me that could be considered just as unworthy of support. Getting money from other people is not proof of deserving money, it is simply how people pay their bills. Also I am not just begging because I offer plenty of services and products in various fields. I am simply saying why I could use more income, as opposed to those who do not need more for basic living. I have many jobs, and i do them. I tend to give things away for free and make reasonable deals to work with lower income people.  I apply to better paying jobs, but I do not get them, and when i have had them before i cannot keep them for psychological reasons, one being i cannot stand authoritarian control because i desire to fight back against bosses the same as I would with any willful cruel or ignorant jackass; but when we trade self-respect for money we suppress our resentment which can fester and build to a break-down or illness.

I will not spend time defending myself by arguing against assholes, they are not worth my time. I am too expensive for them because they cannot pay me enough to work for them, and it is easy enough to block them and delete their petty comments. Their attempts to troll me are pathetic when i can shut them down easily. It is amazing that people will ‘friend’ me only to wait for chances to attack, without ever once being kind.  These are the type of people that would tell homeless street musicians to “get a job” too.

If fees are low enough with time i can advertise more without major losses on more websites; in hopes to get at least a few sales. Social reception is usually less than enthusiastic on a whole from audiences on platforms. Amazon is the best example ive had because ive been using it for years, i struggle to get a few sales a year even when i post the links and talk about them etc. I know it is not because my books are not as good as ‘Diary of a Whimpy Kid’ or ‘Captain Underpants’ which are best sellers, it has to do with commercial control of the market at the high levels. I mean sure we could argue whose art or story sucks more, but with enough exposure anti-authoritarian subversive books like ours do well with children and ne’er-do-wellz, which are a large portion of the population.

Ironically most of the people who buy my books are part of the vanishing middle class; not the lowest or the highest earning. There are more lower middle class people so they do buy more books, compared to the few upper middle class people who are interested in my books. I have had people with large incomes talk with me for hours, and i gave them books and they still did not buy any, so spending money has more to do with personalities than wealth; which is why those with less wealth will spend more if they have an income, which creates financial flow and opportunities in an economy.

All of these opinions of observations are reasons why many of us are not satisfied with status-quo commercial politics. We want more leaders like Bernie Sanders and progressives on the right or left who can be held to account by their voters who are also the majority of their campaign financing. We cannot afford allowing corporate sell-outsto further rig our own economy, environment, and country against us.

[ see also Lucas Chancel, World Inequality Lab ]

 

GREEN NEW DEAL – Our Revolution 2019

Posted in Climate Change, Cooperatives / Communities / Networks / Travels, Economics, Environmentalism, Ethics & Morals, Legal / Laws, news, Organic Development, Politics, Sustainability, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 30, 2019 by Drogo

SCOD Transcript from the Sanders for President 2020 Website

The Green New Deal (GND) concept is public domain and so there are various versions (AOC, Sanders, SCOD) as thesis theories that propose comprehensive plans. This SCOD version is published as part of the Sanders’ ‘Our Revolution’ (evolved from Occupy) movement. Shout out to Standing Rock! [Listen to the Audio Recording of the GND read by Drogo Empedocles]

 

Statement Introduction and Assumptions:

The climate crisis is the single greatest challenge facing our country, The United States of America (USA); and also our single greatest opportunity to build a more sustainable egalitarian future in America, but we must act immediately. Climate change is a global emergency. The Amazon rainforest is burning, and Greenland’s ice shelf is melting. People across the world are already experiencing the deadly consequences of climate change; as extreme weather events like heat waves, wildfires, droughts, floods, and hurricanes have disturbed or destroyed millions of lives in communities, ecosystems, and economies. Poor lower working class and homeless people have borne this burden; many of them were formerly members of the devastated middle class who lost their jobs, families, homes, and property during the Great Recession. The scientific community tells us we have about a decade to transform our energy system away from fossil fuels, towards greater energy efficiency and sustainable renewable energy. We are going to make this planet great again, and healthy and habitable for us, our children, grandchildren, and future generations. Rising temperatures and extreme weather compounded by unrestrained crony corporate political power at the highest levels in government have created health and financial emergencies, causing many Americans to be disabled or commit suicide (see military statistics for soldier suicides and lethal drug epidemics). We must guarantee health care, housing, and a good-paying job to every American, especially to those who have been historically excluded from economic security (aka the basics of modern survival).

The scope of the challenge ahead shares similarities with the crisis faced by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) in the 1940s. FDR’s ‘New Deal’ was successful at creating a larger middle class by improving the livelihoods of lower class workers. Battling World War 2 on two fronts, from East to West, the United States came together within 3 years and restructured the entire economy in order to win the war and defeat fascism (corporate government). As president, Bernie Sanders will boldly direct our nationalist patriotic power to embrace the moral imperative of addressing environmental terrorism threats. Environmental threats affect us more than other forms of terrorism due to corporations that create climate change pollution, poison natural resources, and weaponize racism (Coal Mine Wars). Over-population combined with reduction of resources and wealth for the majority of the population has led to support for hateful mass murder (public shootings). Our environment is not just natural, but also social, cultural, economic, and political (artificial). Those artificial aspects of our environment are dependent on people, so we must mobilize millions of people across the country in support of the Green New Deal (The GND depends on us). From the Oval Office to the streets, Bernie will help generate cooperative ‘Our Revolution’ spirit for changing our system (We The People). We can gather sustainable will power together for energy and transportation technology, and economic progress. Bernie Sanders has the courage, the vision, and the record to face down the greed of fossil fuel executives, and the millionaire and billionaire upper classes who have sabotaged environmental action. While being a millionaire now, President Bernie will accept his share of national responsibility (wealth taxes), and welcome the hatred of those among his upper class who refuse to sacrifice to solve crises they helped create. Bernie will lead our country in this Green New Deal movement, and bring the world together to defeat the existing threats of climate change and corporate control. Please join the GND movement with us!

President, Bernie Sanders Will Avert Climate Catastrophe and Create 20 Million Jobs

Main Proposal Plan:

As president, Bernie Sanders will launch the decade of the Green New Deal, a ten-year, nationwide mobilization centered around justice and equity during which climate change will be factored into virtually every area of policy, from immigration to trade to foreign policy and beyond. This plan outlines some of the most significant goals we have set and steps we will take during this mobilization, including (SCOD consolidated bullet points):

  1. Create 100% Renewable Energy – by expanding alternative sources for electricity and transportation by no later than 2030 and complete decarbonization by 2050; consistent with the United Nations (UN) Panel on Climate Change goals; by expanding the existing federal Power Marketing Administrations (PMA) to build new solar, wind, water, and geothermal energy infra-structure.
  1. Create 20 million new green jobs needed to solve the climate crisis. These jobs will be good paying, union jobs with strong benefits and safety standards in steel and auto manufacturing, construction, energy efficiency retrofitting, coding and server farms, and renewable power plants. We will also create millions of jobs in sustainable agriculture, engineering, a reimagined and expanded Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC), fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Corps, and preserve our public lands.
  1. Declare National Emergency for Transition – federal spending to be transferred from creating pollution, to ending pollution. Climate Change and the Great Recession are National Emergencies, so we will invest $16.3 trillion for public mobilization of resources to include more minority communities and democracy in the work-place.
  1. Transition workers from fossil fuels to renewable energy. Workers often are neglected by corporations and politicians. We will guarantee five years of a worker’s current salary, housing assistance, job training, health care, pension support, and priority job placement for any displaced worker, as well as early retirement support for those who need it.
  1. Save families money – weatherizing homes, lowering energy bills, building better public transportation, providing grants and trade-in programs for families and small businesses to purchase high-efficiency electric vehicles, and rebuilding our inefficient and crumbling infrastructure, including deploying universal, affordable high-speed internet.
  1. Supporting small family farms – by investing in ecologically regenerative and sustainable agriculture. This plan will transform our agricultural system to fight climate change with agro-ecology, provide perma-culture local foods, and break the corporate stranglehold on farmers and ranchers. [see Revitalizing Rural America plan (RRA)]
  1. Justice for frontline communities – special help for under-resourced groups, communities of color, Native Americans, people with disabilities, children and the elderly through a $40 billion Climate Justice Resiliency Fund (CJRF); providing those border or fence-line communities a just transition including real jobs, resilient infrastructure, economic development.
  1. Reduce global emissions throughout the world – by providing $200 billion to the Green Climate Fund (GCF), rejoining the Paris Agreement, and reasserting US international leadership in the global fight against climate change.
  1. US emission reductions – The United States has for over a century spewed carbon pollution emissions into the atmosphere in order to gain economic standing in the world. Therefore, we have an outsized obligation to help less industrialized nations meet their targets while improving quality of life. We will reduce domestic emissions by at least 71 percent by 2030 and reduce emissions among less industrialized nations by 36 percent by 2030; the total equivalent of reducing our domestic emissions by 161%.
  1. Massive investments in research and development. We will invest in public research to drastically reduce the cost of energy storage, electric vehicles, and make our plastic more sustainable through advanced chemistry. [see free Community College plan]
  1. This GND plan pays for itself over 15 years. – by Making the fossil fuel industry pay for their pollution, through litigation, fees, and taxes, and eliminating federal fossil fuel subsidies; by Generating revenue from the wholesale of energy produced by the regional Power Marketing Authorities. Revenues will be collected from 2023-2035, and after 2035 electricity will be virtually free, aside from operations and maintenance costs.; by Scaling back military spending on maintaining global oil dependence.; by Collecting new income tax revenue from the 20 million new jobs created by the plan.; by Reduced need for federal and state safety net spending due to the creation of millions of good-paying, unionized jobs – Making the wealthy and large corporations pay their fair share. The cost of inaction is unacceptable. Economists estimate that if we do not take action, we will lose $34.5 trillion in economic activity by the end of the century. And the benefits are enormous:  by taking bold and decisive action, we will save $2.9 trillion over 10 years, $21 trillion over 30 years, and $70.4 trillion over 80 years. Also the ecological value of preserving living green resources should be calculated into our current economy.
  1. Environmental Economy vs Corporate Greed – We cannot accomplish any of these goals without taking on the fossil fuel billionaires whose greed lies at the very heart of the climate crisis. These executives have spent hundreds of millions of dollars protecting their profits at the expense of our future, and they will do whatever it takes to squeeze every last penny out of the Earth. Bernie promises to go further than any other presidential candidate in history to end the fossil fuel industry’s greed, including by making the industry pay for its pollution and prosecuting it for the damage it has caused. Most importantly, we must build an unprecedented grassroots movement that is powerful enough to take them on, and win. Young people, advocates, tribes, cities and states all over this country have already begun this important work, and we will continue to follow their lead. Regional Economic Development – Provide targeted regional economic development. Communities especially in need of assistance during our transition to a clean energy economy will be eligible for an additional funding for economic development investments through regional commissions and authorities. Our federal regional commissions make targeted economic development investments in rural America. These commissions have funded projects that enhance workforce competitiveness, build and repair infrastructure, and increase community capacity like broadband projects, clean drinking water, organic farming, and energy efficiency.

Funding will be distributed Regionally as follows:

  • $2.53 billion for the Appalachian Regional Commission
  • $506.4 million for the Delta Regional Authority
  • $304 million for the Denali Commission
  • $405 million for the Northern Border Regional Commission
  • $94 million for the Southeast Crescent Regional Commission 
  • $2.02 billion for Economic Development Assistance Programs
  • Infrastructure investments for impacted communities. We will provide $130 billion for counties impacted by climate change with funding for water, broadband, and electric grid infrastructure investments.
  • Connect consumers with local farms and healthy foods. Establish a victory lawns and gardens initiative through a $36 billion investment to help urban, rural, and suburban Americans transform their lawns into food-producing or reforested spaces that sequester carbon and save water. Lawns account for 40 million acres in America, and we spend tens of billions of dollars each year taking care of them each year. Let’s reinvest that money in climate smart practices that encourage everyone to be a part of the solution.
  • Invest $14.7 billion in cooperatively owned grocery stores. Local groceries and co-ops are more likely to buy local products, which will help grow markets for farmers to sell their goods. We will also use these funds to bring grocery stores to food deserts ensuring all people have access to healthy, local food. 
  • Incentivize schools to procure locally produced foods. Institutional purchasing can be a huge boost to local producers and build local farm economies. We will give a meal incentive for schools that acquire at least 30 percent of their food from local sources. Invest $31 billion in local food processing, including slaughter and dairy processing. Rampant consolidation in processing has led to a lack of facilities for small-scale, local producers. Investing in local facilities will help smaller producers to compete with the Tyson Foods of the world. Allow meat slaughtered at state inspected facilities to be sold across state lines, to compete with imported meat.

 

* END SCOD Summary of the GND *

Income, Health, Peace

Posted in Ethics & Morals, jobs, Medical, Politics, Sustainability, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 24, 2019 by Drogo

SCOD Political Points – Income, Health, and Peace

These 3 political topics are connected.

INCOME – is the way in Capitalism that most people in the world sustain payment of bills for the basics of life (food, water, shelter), whether by employed work (jobs), market earnings, sales price pay, or grants for being who you are and a living human. Inadequate income leads to zero savings, debt, and homelessness; unless another economic sub-system solves that problem of modern life. Jobs require good health, otherwise people will not be able to do the job well, so they will not even be hired, or eventually be fired. Social Security is worth expanding into Universal Basic Income (UBI).

 

HEALTH –  includes Environmental Health and therefore Ecology. Health Care services require income, even if the money is to pay taxes which go to a public system. Maintaining a person’s healthy body depends on how dangerous their environment is, and how much stress they have (both of those factors are peace related). Prevention and early treatment can reduce health problems and bills. However if people live long enough, they will eventually have health problems which can be eased by medicines and doctors and nurses.

 

PEACE – means peace of mind and physical non-violence in larger proportion to war or disturbance, for more happiness and love. Peace of mind or psychological health depends on enough income to feel that responsibilities can be met, and physical health (of course). Many of us feel that although death may bring ultimate peace, some aspects of life can too when we reduce fighting and promote more tranquility.

 

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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 could also break up the Federal government into smaller sections of states (by time-zones), each with democratic directly elected presidential councils; but most agree we should make more democratic changes however we can. The current corporate system trend resembles a Plutocracy that keeps the masses enslaved only to benefit the wealthy elites. If we all will it to change, we can democratize corporations from within by controlling them as the ‘body mass’.

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

Oil Company cuts jobs at Solarex, BP “Big Plans” for the Future!

Posted in Sustainability with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 29, 2010 by Drogo

Oil Company cuts only Solar Panel manufacturing plant it has on the East Coast by 2/3 in 2010

Blame it on poor economic bubbles created by giants of industry and banking.

Blame it on anything you want, but the facts are sad regarding our plans to improve ourselves in the 21st Century. Besides all the economic and political problems we have been facing in housing, banking, health care, insurance, and jobs; forget about issues of War in the Middle East, Education and Terrorism; one industrial plant stood alone on the entire East Coast of the United States of America. That was BP Solar. It had been restructured and growing in the past decade. Now that hope is diminished by more than 2 thirds.

SCOD was proudly given a tour through the plant years ago, with some hope for the future of alternative energy and good American jobs. Now we are being thrown back to the Reagan years, where it was popular to make fun of Jimmy Carter’s environmental energy policies and tax cuts for solar panels. Who needs alternatives when America is addicted to Oil and stubbornly proud of it?

BP Solarex justifies cutting 320 workers because labor is cheaper in India and China. About 110 workers will remain as sales distribution and engineering staff. Maryland State Government had already dedicated over ten million in stimulus credits last year, but BP said it was not enough based on current market problems. They have already shut down plants in Australia and Spain.

This reinforces my opinion that alternative energy plants need to be run by more public utility companies, and not fossil fuel companies. Rules should be put in place to enforce companies to fire CEO’s and managers when “unforeseen economic problems” arise and cannot be handled, rather than lay-off workers.

Is there no rehab for Oil Addiction? Step One is admitting we have a problem. What is Step Two?

Other Solar Panel Links:

SCOD Tour of BP Solarex (2003 notes)

SCOD Tour of BP Solarex (video slideshow with narration)

Frederick News Post Article

BP Solar Website

A Blind Hammer Destroys What It Cannot See

Posted in Film Reviews, Military, Sustainability with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 30, 2010 by eposognatus

This week President Obama announced a proposal for a three-year spending freeze on all domestic programmes, with the sole exception of defense spending. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) precisely echoes my feelings on this, saying “Defense represents a significant part of our discretionary spending in this country. The defense establishment needs to be under fiscal discipline, as do all of our agencies… I don’t think defense should be exempt. If there are extraordinary things that occur that require us to respond for national security, we always will be prepared to do that. But to exempt the normal military spending just because it’s military, to me, is wrong.”

The idea that the military and actions conducted by it or in the name of defense should take ultimate precedent over all others is both pervasive and baffling. Senator Cardin was being modest when he said that defense accounts for a “significant” part of discretionary spending, as it is in fact a majority. According to the Office of Management and Budget, military spending comes to about $657 B for 2009, as compared to $584 B on all other non-defense discretionary spending. For perspective, $45.4 B went to the Department of Education, the DOE got $25 B, NASA received $17.2 B and the National Science Foundation… $6.9 B. We can perhaps agree that yes, the military is an expensive machine, and that these costs do not pay solely for guns and bombs, but the livelihoods and careers of thousands of men and women. There is also arguable benefit in national defense, peacekeeping, disaster relief, and other causes…

However, can these pursuits not be met through other, non-military means? I think the answer is a simple and emphatic “yes.” Yet there seems to be a long-standing and strongly socially enforced attitude that the military in some way is privileged to remain faultless and unanswerable even when its function is questionable or ineffective. It is perfectly accepted to put a sticker on one’s car stating that a son or daughter is in military service, but to proclaim “My son is a scientist,” invites confusion if not ridicule.

This is merely a prelude to a question that I have pondered increasingly of late. That if one browses television programming, there can be found a number of highly dramatic, over-the-top “edutainment” shows devoted to the military, warfare, weapons, and combat. There is of course a “Military History” channel, and popular shows go by names like “Future Weapons” and “Deadliest Warrior,” while in contrast the NASA channel features exciting offerings like “STS-130 Crew News Conference” and “ISS Mission Coverage.” Which titles do you figure will draw the attention of the average viewer at home? I think it’s clear, and it’s also undeniable that we all enjoy a good explosion or demonstration of the destructive capabilities of the human species. It’s fun and somehow liberating to see such carnage, but it is invariably dissociated from the suffering, pain, and death they are designed to inflict.

The decision to create shows on certain topics, what their titles are, and their content are all choices. Almost invariably, these choices are made to generate profit, but I am not convinced that these choices are made to meet a market demand. Rather, I feel that the programming drives a market. The reality TV genre is evidence of this, and so to are many products (when did we last have input on the type of car that should be built by GM?). Governments and corporations alike have at their disposal the best and brightest designers and marketeers, and spend a lot of time and effort making sure we buy what they sell. If the same energies were put towards selling science and exploration, I cannot see why the latest developments in aerospace technology, bio-engineering, or space exploration could not be topics of conversation around the water cooler just as much as “American Idol.”

This may sound hopelessly romantic, naïve… even absurd. However, we are faced with an interesting pop culture phenomenon which shows it is not. James Cameron’s Avatar is now closing in on $2 B in box offices sales worldwide, and an ask around will show you this is not because of the story, or the even the spiffy 3-D effects, but because we have been presented with a coherent, believable new world to explore and discover. A new people, a new language – a new frontier. A frontier reached through technological means (whether through spaceflight as in the film, or through new film-making techniques, as in the theatre), yet presenting a world of natural beauty and celebrating its divinity and defense. For some, the excitement of this new world will not extend beyond their 160 minutes of entertainment, for others, it may be a life-changing phenomenon. Some even experience depression at returning to their “ordinary” existence. This needn’t be so, for the wonders of Pandora are real and all around us, and we still have a chance to explore and preserve them. Avatar and its success shows us that people do yearn for other worlds, and that when presented properly, they will gladly empty their wallets to explore them. Why can we not mimic this enthusiasm for reality, which is not so very different when put into the proper light?

In the 1972 film Silent Running, As in Avatar, the Earth is a blighted, ruined place, and here the last of the planet’s trees have been put aboard spacecraft to preserve them. While back on Earth there is “hardly any more disease, no more poverty, [and] nobody’s out of job.” The main character Lowell is incensed by the lassitude of the rest of the crew, saying, “Well you know what else there’s no more of? There’s no more beauty, and there’s no more imagination, and there are no frontiers left to conquer, and you know why? Only one reason why! One reason why! The same reason you three in this room are giving me today, and that is, nobody cares!

Like Lowell’s shipmates, many of us are content to sit back and watch what TV execs think we want, purchase goods from corporations who think they know what we desire, and eat foods with no other care than that it is cheap and easy. We accept that the government will spend more money on the military than our education, and for the most part, do not even concern ourselves about it. Whether 1972 or 2009, the message is the same – the wealth of our world is all around us, and it is worth fighting for. Where might we be if we were as financially committed to destroying cancer as we are to combating “terrorism”? What if we glorified blasting off into space as much as we did blasting holes in the ground of Iraq and Afghanistan? Or in saving lives instead of destroying them? While money cannot solely provide the answer to these questions, it certainly doesn’t hurt, and taking funding away from already paltry budgets of non-military research and development is inexcusable. It may be difficult to see how any one of us can make a difference, but remember, none of us are as dumb as all of us.


Yes, that Peter Schickele.