Archive for wealth

Snobs Cry “Don’t Punish Success”

Posted in Commercial Corporations, Critical Commentary of Civilization, Ethics & Morals, Matras Quotes Tips, Music Reviews, news, Politics, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 29, 2019 by Drogo

I have heard the cries of the successfully wealthy and powerful, “Do not punish success.”; from the brilliant actor that satirizes Trump (Alec Baldwin), to the angry metal band that cut off their long hair in the name of maturity (Metallica). As a fan of both Baldwin and Metallica, I appreciate their artistic mastery of craft, and believe that if any one earned the right to be rich by working hard I am sure that they did; however to not understand that the very art that they did was often anti-authoritarian is mystifying to me. Perhaps fame blinds many to hypocrisy, as their same angry fighting spirit that got them there, wants to cling on to “what is rightfully, not wrongfully, theirs”? 

 

When I listen to Metallica’s music, and then i hear them speak about how they do not understand ‘this new desire to rebel against authority’, i wonder how out of touch they have to be to not have learned more wisdom from their own lyrics…. “Master of Puppets is pulling your strings”. To be fair to Metallica, I first heard the cries for mercy from the lead singer of Kiss in his auto-biography; as though it were so much easier to become rich back then, and luck has nothing to do with opportunities or hard work. Talent speaks for itself, and being successful at your craft means being able to sustain yourself enough to do it. Any wealth, power, and fame that comes with successful talent is just layers of responsibility that they can accept, but must let go of eventually, even if it has to be pried from their cold skeleton hands in the grave by robbers. If an archeologist preserves their remains clinging to their assets, ok fine.

 

Money and popularity makes people into gods, so if their worshipers are jealous there is really not much law abiding citizens can do. The gods can proclaim that jealousy should be punished, but not greed; and have their will carried out in the halls of justice, in favor of divine corporations over individuals. ‘Might is right, and weakness is wrong’; did this problem of human existence eat away at Nietzsche’s mind as his body gave way to illness? Ethics may be for the weak, but Jesus did promise that the meek shall inherit the earth. Promises, promises. I see no evidence that the rich are being punished more than average people. In reality evil seems to win by brutalizing those who cannot control them, even while their corruption pollutes the planet.

 

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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 capitalist 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 they will not be able to do the job, not even be hired, or simply be fired.

 

HEALTH –  includes Environmental Health and therefore Ecology. Health Care services require income. 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).

 

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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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.

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Analysis of Apostles of Success

Posted in Book Reports, Critical Commentary of Civilization, Economics, History with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 15, 2013 by Drogo

Apostles of the Self-Made Man: Changing Concepts of Success in America

1965 book by John G. Cawelti – University of Chicago Phoenix Press – 280 pages

 Success

SUMMARY

This is a book about the popular culture of success in America. It discusses natural qualities of character, education, values, and needs of individuals and society. It is a decent American history of changing concepts of success; with a focus on three main sources: historic individuals, fictional figures, and manual guides. It uses literature as a source to reference social history.

In spite of their persistent devotion to the idea of success, Americans have differed greatly in the way they defined it. That is the subject of this book. – p.3

Though the self-made man wasn’t an American invention, Americans have cherished the notion of someone rising out of poverty and, through hard work and dedication, achieving at least a moderate amount of wealth and respect. Purely American icons such as Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson each wrote about the opportunity for anyone in a fluid American class system to grow through their own power towards a particular position in society. Yet, much like Abraham Lincoln in the tumultuous ante-bellum period and the Gilded Age’s robber barons, the self-made man appeared most notably in times of rapid change and transition . – C.1

Three Strands of American Success

  1. Religious – Protestant Work Ethic and pious morality

  2. Economic – wealth = success

  3. Complex Individual and Social Ethics and Dreams, often combining the first 2 stands

American society saw three main versions of the self-made man emerge in epitomizing the ideal of success. The first focused on a Protestant notion of “piety, frugality, and diligence” in fulfilling the duties of one’s occupation. This version suggested that a static, stable social order existed in which success was the attainment of respectability in this world and led to the assurance of salvation in the world to come. As strict Protestantism gave way to other, secular notions of success, this ideal began to fade away.

The second tradition placed a premium on a more economic emphasis of success. While the first focused on religious notions of grace and propriety, the second enlisted the purely lay qualities of aggressiveness, competitiveness, and forcefulness. As industrialization swept over the United States in the Gilded Age and beyond, people prescribed to this ideal of success beyond the scope of religion. The hierarchical structure of many new corporations demanded such qualities from their employees if they hoped to “climb the ladder of success.” The third type of success, was a combination of the former two; taking ethics and humility from religious loyalty, in an existential industrial work environment.

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For more of the report, click on the link here for SCOD Gallery Report with Chapter Links!

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A Suggestion for Anyone Famous or Rich

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 9, 2012 by Drogo

Take the Success Pledge !

 

If I am very famous, popular, or rich I promise to make a public declaration. I will publicly announce that such extreme fame, popularity, or wealth is very undemocratic, and in contradiction with civil notions of equal rights, and it is also against certain ethical and wise teachings like that of Jesus and Buddha. I will say “In the modern age, such medieval trappings are an offense to enlightened thinking. Therefore by the power invested in me, I will use most of my newly found resources to improve humanity, to protect and preserve local environment and history, and I will begin introducing to the masses, other artists and authors formerly unknown; and insisting if you like me or my works, then you should also give them a chance for success.” This is an official record, and I will be honor bound to execute this will, should I ever have such insane luck.

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