Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Look Out, Here Comes Philosophy.

                                                           Why Is a Word?

This one is going to be what is called "philosophy." (You should put on a mid-sixties Miles Davis record for this, like "Someday My Prince Will Come." That would be appropriate.)

     Words are the individual building blocks of language, as we know,. Words are one part of it, one part of what makes language meaningful. The other part is grammar. Words can mean different things but what we need to do, to make sense (this means, b.t.w., "make sense to others", I think), is put them into some kind of syntactic or grammatical form like sentences, phrases, or even shouts for [(Help!!!)].
     And, in this book that I use to learn math from - "No Fear Math" - it say, at one point: "division is..." What I am asking here is simply this. What is (or "why is") division if we separate the word from the context. Is there any point in thinking about such a thing? We need to ask, why is that word there, and, what does it mean? Is division, just as a stand-alone word, to be regarded as a word?-----or as a thing? If we look at it as a thing rather than a word, can we isolate "division" a thing and attempt to know the thing itself more deeply? When, where, and how do we tend to just assume that there is some "thing" out there? Where is this thing? Where is the actual "thing" in the sense of a division that is unrelated to language? After all, the basic thing itself is clearly not language. It is math. "Alligator" is also not primarily language. It is a thing we encounter in real life, in a Florida swamp. "Word" is a word about words; so is "verb," or "grammar." Those things may not exist apart from language, but an alligator, or the measles, etc., are are examples of things that certainly do exist, outside of language (as any alligator knows).
     Here's the full sentence form that math text: "division is closely related to multiplication. You can think of division as undoing multiplication." It is "undoing." That is fine, if you want a dynamic link between two words but it doesn't tell about division alone, by itself.  And this is a helpful book. And I am using it, to learn math. And it is a perfectly good sentence, as it is being employed by the excellent young writer who is teaching me. But what are multiplication and division? Surely we can relate division (as a "thing") to multiplication (as a "thing"). But that is still based on a relation of two things. It is not about knowing all we can about one thing.

     Why, I wonder did someone call a word, unconnected to the thing it represents, the "signifier"? Is the "signifier" separate from the "signified," and, if so, in what sense? I looked at this stuff, I think it is called Saussare, or structuralism, and I did not like it. I was intuitively repulsive, actually, but I do remember the words like "sign," "signifier" and so on, and I tend to use that a little bit. So, what is the role or function of the "signifier" (i.e. the word) as a building block of a grammatical and useful sentence? When does a word-thing become a "signifier"? Most of the writing I see around me seems to assume that things exist only in relationship, or in contingency. We seldom get down to what is "material."
     Take a clue from the sentence. The sentence seems to point to processes and the potential for "undoing" those processes. This indicates a focus on how things are done. It asks about processes: how division is done, or conversely undone. The sentence only seeks to understand division as process and the sentence only investigates how words are linked as components of a grammatical sentence. But, what is "division" without the little quotes marks I just used (that basically mean very little) and without any relational or contingent stuff added to it whatsoever? And why doesn't anyone care about that? This is what I do not understand.
     Aside from "doing," and relation, and connecting, is there another, less taken approach? Isn't there a science not of "doing" division but of defining division? That would be one wherein we can see how deep we can go into phenomena related to the word, and only the word, rather than what processes the word involves us in.
     OK, I have to take a break. This is some profound stuff and I need a break now.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Human rights from a marketing perspective (instant style)


Sale: Human rights tees for $9
(Do you see any irony? Check this one out, too.)
So: what I'm getting about this is that Amnesty International, the seller, does not see anything funny about the fact that there could be a "market price" (or any "price") for human rights. They are having a "sale" on a Human rights tee. I don't see why that is not humorous but, to them, there is nothing there that is funny? I think it is an ominous indication. I think it is an indication of what kind of persons they are. I certainly would not want to put my human rights solely in the hands of Amnesty International. It also might be pointed out that one tends to get the impression that this group has the monopoly on fighting for human rights.
     Which does not make any sense. And which is ominous.

Friday, February 24, 2012

What is Something

When we desire to know something or want to know what something is it is possible that, sometimes, we already have the name. Nevertheless we do not completely have the thing. We have the name for capitalism; we have the name 'for' economics: the signifier we have; but, maybe not the signified.
     We have the name and there is something that this name stands for, or "represents." This means that there is a name (a word) and a thing (a thing). Usually the thing is "bigger," but not necessarily. The thing that the word represents is usually bigger or vaster that the signifier, the mere word. There are however words that are as big, or bigger, than their things, so it is possible that it works the other way around, too. As an example of that, if I am a 19th century explorer who likes to find new species or new sub-species, and I am excited about a new, sub-species I believe myself to have discovered, the name I make up for this entity I think I have discovered -- "Charlies Sparrow" -- would be bigger that the sub-species if I made an error ---- if it doesn't exist. In the related case of the T.V. show, "Charlies Angels," although we can say it is a T.V. show, a T.V. show is just a kind of an electronic illusion-thing, and the name is more on par with, equal to, its signified, its thing. Here both name and thing are each as real or as big as the other, and this is, of course, Hollywood stuff --- a world where the "thing" and the "name" emanate at the same time. Or, perhaps the "thing itself" manifests later, subsequent to its' "idea" or "name." In Hollywood, someone comes up with an idea, then they create a finished product.
      In the case of economics these are some things that we should bring under consideration. In economics and capitalism we have the name, which is a matter of language, but we may not be quite sure what the thing that language refers to actually is. (We have the language; whereas the "thing" out there is somewhat ambiguous. It is harder to pin down.) That thing "out there" is certainly not a mistake or a fantasy. Nor is it a T.V. show, needless to say. We are reasonably certain "economics" is out there. It is not just a word. Nor is the word equally as "large" as the thing "out there." But we still have a (much) better grasp of the name ("capitalism" or "economics") than we do of the thing----can we just admit this?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

What Causes a Situation to be termed "Economically Positive"?

The result of my (apparently controversial) cut-and-paste operation, and the act simply stems from and was instigated by the Financial Times newspaper itself, is that a message is generated. I have included that message, in order to be transparent. I am trying to do here is to focus on Martin Wolf's first three sentences only, which seems to be a bit of a losing battle. Perhaps this is illicit activity, but, it does seem, doesn't it?, that cutting and pasting would be a smart move, if you just want to use three sentences. FT seems to think that the unit of reference should only be the full article, so that is a dispute or difference of interest. In capitalism that would be solved by free markets. But if I am a member of the general society and yet not a member of the business community of business sector of that society, I may have my own ideas. Also: the FT people use the word "investment" here in a way that would seem to be euphemistic (but then such words always are, aren't they?) So, what is to be done? The FT message is reproduced below, just as it popped up before my eye.
"High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. See our Ts&Cs and Copyright Policy for more detail. Email to buy additional rights."
Another interesting technical point: I am basically following their instructions correctly since I am including the link, which merely a link it the article, as it turns out. After all that?

The world is in the midst of a natural gas revolution. Even the sober International Energy Agency refers to a scenario it calls a “golden age of gas”. If such optimism proves right, the implications would not only be far greater than those of the eurozone’s painful dissolution, but would also be economically positive.


So, to get that which is "economically positive" we need fracking? Wolf seems to create, despite his best intentions, a straight line from "fracking" to "economics."

In the fragment, he tries to separate economic implications from social implications that are far greater . There are two implications: the "great" ones and the "economically positive" ones. But, in the end, we are back with fracking. So, the basic thing to recognize here is the straight line between fracking and the notion of what is economically positive. Despite his environmentalist caveats, such thinking can only imply just what Wolf is trying to avoid implying: that the economic health of a society is dependent on the arbitrary happenstance of some new industry or commodity.
    This reasoning seems inadequate to me, and as with so many other areas in  the field of economics I do not quite get it or see the sense in it. And I am concerned with the lack of sense in economics, this is a real cause for concern, and the notion of a lack of sense in the field encompasses at one both the "field," meaning study of, economics, and the real world practices of trade.These two can also be called "ideology" and "material actuality," which is a bit what Marx discussed, and which does in fact make good sense up to a point.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The End of SLoth

Since the 1800's, "Harpers" magazine has existed. It is, to be sure, a well-known publication. It was not always called "Harpers," but was always published under a variant of that name. "Harpers" has always been trendy and frothy, featuring readings, articles, paraphenalia, cunnilingus and columns and drawings too; and now, in an effort to bolster their flagging popularitythey are telling us not to eat. Yes, this iconic and possibly popular publication is, in its latest issue, encouraging us to stop eating. We are to desist from eating, to stop eating, this exhortation coming irrespective of the loss to the pork industry (which just finished its completely mindless annual bacon celebration in Iowa: [loss to the pork industry...] not to mention the sugar and flour concerns.
     Yea. I myself have 'caught the bug' and I can report that not eating is the bee's knees. I did not drink anything this morning but black coffee, and otherwise all I have had was a kid's grilled cheese (I was not ashamed to order this, from a persnickety gay waiter; hold the bacon, ha ha ha; I'm a card). This was at the Historical Society, where I work (for free----what a deal these people are getting).
     I read the article, or most of it at my old school and alma mater, Roosevelt U., standing next to the magazine rack and without paying/spending/buying anything at all, which of course somehow segues into not eating anything. At all. 
     Nothing. But is that actually good for this thing we know as the economy? Ah, there's a weighty question for ya. Normally, you see, powerful "economic" interests ("economic," a.k.a. "people who want to make money"?) entice us, goad us, and actually, yes, Virginia, encourage us to EAT. I am giving my impression of what the eloquently expressive neon advertising signs that adorn so many of America's grills and greasy spoons (actually those two may be the same thing. Aren't I silly) used to say. Back in the day before economics was "rationalized." 
     The "other" side of the story ("page two," for Paul Harvey fans; eulogy webpage here: is that sure, you get a little dizzy, but there are supposedly people who can do quite good living off their bodyfat for, dare we suggest, one or two months? OMG. This is what I read, but is that even possible? I only did it for half a day.
     Obviously, the hog butchers are not going to be happy. As they live off of our gluttony. But the question a real economics scholar would have here: what's "economic" about that? (Gluttony and economics being, like, opposites?)

Economic never-never land. Where "profits" (all economics words are really euphemisms) count for more than place and we are suspended in economic never-never land. So, now we ask the question that all this has led up to: is that good?
    Good or not good, this seems to be where the "Economic Society" leads. We are "homo economicus." Once again I say that I favor regulation, and that the far-right/far-out (yet often heard) idea of "do not regulate" is all wrong.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Economics Post

(Note: revised, when I saw that it had gone up to 12 page views; July 24)

The problem: Given that you have a society how do you give consideration to the one that is different? How do you give consideration to the other...the "them"?
     We are good at one way of handling it: integrating them. In this stratagem, they are glommed together into, in a sense, a new product. (Just like a "cross-over" hit in music; a "fusion" menu) The problem is that this is the only method we have at present-----turning everybody into the same thing. It is no small problem. It is the main problem. So, we need to consider this problem of difference.
     What is the fundamental method of capitalism? Why does a particular system work? As far as the unique way of life that a few capitalistic societies have developed, does capitalism really work according to this fusion principle? -principle of just glomming everything together? Just saying "we are all the same" solves something? We should consider another way of looking at is, that in the specifically capitalistic system, difference is a fundamental, basic part of the reality of it. Therefore, the first thing we must do is learn to see the system for what it is. We should learn to theorize how it is that difference is a structural part of capitalism. We need to see how  the system actually works. And glomming and fusion is not all there is to it. (And if that is the case, it is not going to work in the end. Another consideration I though of: even we proceed by glomming things together, if we did not start with difference then there is nothing to glom, is there?)
     In the real life of things, the history of the last few centuries, we know that capitalism gets bigger. Other systems do not do that. It has been often pointed out, by writers other than myself, that as capitalism gets bigger we want to standardize everybody to the same universalized, McDonalds-patronizing consumer, we become the same type beings who shop at the mall, etc. There is a tendency to conceive of only one type of "first-world person." We seem to want to reduce everything to one.
     In order to get everyone to accept the idea of capitalism as one homogenous system, the public media system (there are lots of these guys) transmit the idea that their method works.
     The problem is that it does. For us, (the inquirers) the problem, then, is to get beyond the hype and understand this topic of what capitalism is. Marketers know it is far easier to add hype a product that is already popular.
     So, this is my view. My view here says that this kind of society does work, but what I am saying here is that it does not, and has never, worked in terms of there being no such thing as different persons or kinds of persons ("people" "peoples"). That is not true. At a fundamental level, capitalism required these different persons, different kinds of persons.

     So, if we ask capitalism to just erase difference, or turn everything into a big fusion product, it isn't going to work.

Defender of Um----Greece, that's right!

Germany bears responsibility for being inferior species-members not to mention that it was their own damn fault for having made bad loans to Greece. But then Germany has a certain history of screwing up. Let's face it. 
     Germany did not have to make the loans. What I am basically thinking here is that the Germans made the loans, so there they go. Again Germans are making trouble in the world -  and this is only one part. Perhaps making bad loans is what some inferior, dumbass Germans do, under certain conditions. And now they are being real stubborn about getting their money back.

     I am thinking about the 30s and 40s, you know. So are some of the Greek public, according to reports. This is according to reports that I read. During those years, Germans did some bad things. I don't think anyone will contest that. They did worse things than anybody even thought the human race was capable of. 
     So Germans have some responsibility, too. That's what I have to say. So sue me. Or gas me. The modern way?

In 1920, says Ahamad, in his book (Lords of Finance) collecting Russia's debt looked unlikely. The Russians had just had a revolution. Collection, the book seems to say, can, under at least some conditions, be considered less likely. 
     In point of fact they were socialist. The book by Ahamad seems to be saying that this was a good enough reason not to pay debts. So, there are some fundamental problems here with the German position, not to mention Germany's groupthink, or the Germans' idea of insisting on getting back every penny, which seems pretty obviously not a good idea. But, as I said, they're Germans. You can re-direct their German tendencies, but you cannot get rid of that. 
      Is it not the case that everyone agrees that for a bad debt the debtor should sometimes be forgiven? Actually I am seeing the answer, which is that everyone does not agree on it. But I think they should. It's called "bankruptcy." Bankruptcy gives a person the chance to start over and it gives society a chance to not be destroyed by debt-collectors, which is all very sound and simple. This should be a simple concept. Why are people pretending they never heard of it? 
     So, there are various ways to understand inability to repay a debt. Of course this is certainly true. What is a country to do?
     Maybe, Greece needs to become socialist. Why the hell not? Maybe they need to be a different kind of country. To suggest that every country needs to be the same is a frightening spectre and false suggestion. It is a fabrication to declare that there is only one standard. And this one standard applies always? 
     What kind of idea is that? Since when does everyone need to be the same? I mean, why can't there ever be a different kind of country? 
     I ask you! Should everything be all  the same? 

     No and no, again.
     Everyone does not need to wear a tie. 

     And maybe everyone does not need to be the exact same thing. 

     And maybe capitalism makes mistakes. And maybe capitalism is flawed.  And maybe Greece should not be forced to repay anything.

     But what a scandal that would be!

True, Truth, and Truthy; And Nothing Left Out?

     Truth is not at a very high dividend. Or surplus marginal value. Customers are buying products all the time. Spending. 
     Why is there no value placed on truth? Free email makes money for somebody. Mortgage lending and hedge-betting has a profitable side. But the market places zero value on truth?
     Thinking is worthless, then. The market puts value on many things. The market likes hundreds of millions of things. But truth is not one of them? The market is very good at placing value on things that seem to have none. No value.
     As for truth, that too has no value it would appear. No one can create a market value for truth. 
     Hard as they may try they cannot put Humpty-Dumpty together again. In the old days they used to say "hard word" a lot. Hard word has value. "Thrift" has value.
     Obviously these things no longer have any. Thrift does not have value, hard work does not have value. Baloney has value.

     In the situation of the market what is it that has value? The answer: money. But money has no value, really. And money assassinates truth.
     Who focuses on money? Economists and bankers do. Investors. They focus on money, and when we focus on money we lose our feeling for the truth.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Example 2 of "The ModeL essay"


      A lot of people are pricks; I am a prick myself.
      I really enjoy it. However the word "prick" is encountered as a pejorative. What this indicates is that what we need to do is pay heed, a little bit, to what we do.
     We need to practice ethics and self-restraint; because, being a prick is not exactly a permanent life strategy.

The Model Essay (example 1)

Explain(-nation): picked up a book at big city library.PE 1478 .M35 This being "How to Write Themes and Essays." checked it out fr. library. turned out to be for students, which I didn't get at first from the title. reminds me of the on-line English course I took from Indiana University. inspired once again, by my contact with this pedagogical material, to write accordingly. the ModEl eSsay. to wit:

     There is no way to get human beings to behave any better. Humans are humans and tangled. No one can tell a human being to be a different type of person. What if I were to try to tell a person: "you go be a different kind of human being"? You cannot, for example, tell an insincere person, "you should be more sincere." He won't listen. Who are you to tell him that? In the same way, you cannot force complicated adjustments upon the human race. The human race is already so complicated. If you keep telling people to change, what are you going to do? You are going to muddy up the waters; you are no longer able to see; and you will create all kinds of ramifications. You will not serve your own stated purpose.
     No one should try to control society; it isn't like turning a knob on a prefigured mechanical device. Humans should be appreciated; first you appreciate, you don't fiddle.
     Governments try to manipulate human beings, and they try to create programs to make a world, a world that they envision. Which is what they are paid for. After all the superstar amongst political leaders is the "visionary."
     Why does this not work more often? Well. It is because - in a word, you people are sneaky. If you fiddle with a typical sneaky one all you are going to get is an expanded more psychedelic disaster. Oops. 
     I am trying to be realistic.  The idea of "creating better people" is just an idea. Just one amongst many. Schemes of this sort - which are just ideas - should be judiciously evaluated, and, as for people, if you first of all appreciate them you may also appreciate how difficult it is to find the "knob" to turn, that changes them!
     Finally, of course this may be clicked into the "conservative" classification by some, but, I am not trying to be conservative: I am trying to be realistic.

Where are You?

                                                           Space is the Place

What is the world we live in and Where is it really located? In space? In the earth's solar system? Yes, of course.
That is the correct answer. The world we live in is the earth, and it is located in the solar system. Now you know
where you are. Now you feel better.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

As far as creating a country goes-

As far as creating a country goes, there is a lesson to take. In the last 50 or 100 years, as far as creating a country goes, and as far as any country that exists today ...everyone who created a country----Syria or wherever---embraced certain capitalistic methods. They must have used these kinds of methods, because, if they created something, they certainly did not ignore the capitalist process or method. All successful nation-building processes, seen from the vantage point of  today, from today's observation point, have the shared experience of having accepted certain processes or procedures proper to capitalism. The successes they experience always include their association with the techniques or methods of the capitalist process, and no other methods would have worked.

Here's a link to look at. Just read the first paragraph: Forbes. Exciting stuff, huh?

Now that you've finished reading the 1st paragraph of this brilliant polemic here at no charge is the first sentence of the second paragraph, and in this case I actually agree with the sentence: "Capitalism, in our unique version of a free market society, has created the strongest, wealthiest country in the world. " That is true of course.

     What the genius Steve Odland, who must come from an odd land, says is that "capitalism" created something. But here, Odland himself is not a capitalist, he is a writer. Here he functions within the marketing department, or pep squad, like a cheerleader, working on the social propaganda team, and writing for Forbes, a laughable magazine to aspire to. Before he entered into this writer or propaganda stuff, which is to say as a drug distributor for pep drugs aimed at the squad, he was corporate. Here he is revealing it all: I was Chairman & CEO of Office Depot, Inc., and AutoZone, Inc. I worked in consumer products at Quaker Oats and Sara Lee for the first half of my career. Now his online info indicates a career in academica. He writes and teaches, then. He wrote the polemic here under consideration. The piece is about what "capitalism" did. But it does not quite make sense, because first we would have to know whether or not "capitalism" is a conscious agent that can "do" things. It is social propaganda, but where it falls short is that, while we are exhorted to admire "capitalism," he treats "capitalism" like it is a conscious agent "doing" things. What we really need to know is what "capitalism" is and how it does things. But this is a very low-level kind of Forbes magazine pep team for business nonsense, and not a serious discussion of ideas.
     I would also like to not that there is something like an undercurrent of anger, or the potential for anger and violence, at those who would have the temerity to disagree with Odland's supposedly brilliant words---the very idea that some kind of mean people who are not civilized would have the nerve to disagree or dissent! And that is frightening. 
     It is Odland's particular task to assert, "capitalism is good," whatever that actually means. These kinds of statements about what "capitalism" is are facile. But this is what Forbes magazine seems to be all about. (Remember that this element of anger directed at possible disagreement with what is rubbish writing in the first place, was, at one time, directed at "subversives," which is to say back when there were any. There aren't any anymore, but what we can say is that this does not in any way stanch the anger. You feel it still there. As I mentioned, this anger and potential violence is frightening. The element of so-called apparent "outrage" is still there. It must be a permanent attitude. Judging from the picture they used on the webpage he certainly does look it because he looks like he needs to take a shit on the page I linked to above. As a person who likes to blame, he would probably say that his appearance is due to those horrible little anti-capitalists. 
     What are they doing to the poor fellow? Well, they are supposedly ruining his life, trying to stop him from publishing his brilliant articles in a gutter level business magazine for others like himself to slobber over. And he will say that all he did was make an effort to use simple common sense, and clarity, to support something called "capitalism" which we still have not defined. Full scale neurotic paranoia. And these are some of the wealthier people in the United States of America. And again: He says he likes "capitalism." But what is "capitalism"?

     What I said above about creating a country is a little similar to some of what Odland said. OK, but also different. I am saying that persons - or people -- and there seems to be this ambiguity in contemporary English about the two words, as either seems to work equally well here -- create countries, which they arguably do. And, following that brilliant idea, then I say they need to use capitalism in doing it. Of course when they create countries they do it in various ways, maybe they do it by many means, not just in one standard way. They may use whatever methods and techniques work or fit.   
     But it seems to me like they always allow for the capitalistic kind of process to have some place in their nation-creation. How would one could create a modern country any other way? I do not think it is possible. You need to use capitalist tools. 
     (Now that should make "Forbes" happy, they should forgive me everything I said, as it is the magazine's slogan: "capitalist tool." Definitely there is something very wrong with these persons. And they are very wealthy. To think that this guy was CEO of both AutoZone and OfficeDepot! He must be a very wealthy capitalist!)

     So I am saying that our only option is capitalism. 
     But this certainly is not the capitalism of "Forbes" magazine or of Steve ("I need to take a shit") Odland.  

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Freedom, by Rick

When Santorum holds sovereignty or becomes president, we can expect that he will rigorously apply the "rule" of freedom. Freedom, to Santorum, is "rigorous" because he, Santorum, has clarity. He therefore may be expected to apply his absolute rule of freedom as he see that rule, in accordance with said clarity.
     This may be similar to I. Berlin's "equality" [see expertly cut-and-pasted document below]. Just as any sovereign may apply "equality" as a rule, for a "given society," so too may Santorum impose freedom, but all we do is we switch "freedom" for "equality." Which does not sound like a big deal. Meaning I guess that he is going to whip his freedom thing on us. And it is going to be so big --- the freedom thing --- and clear, and absolute. Under Santorum, we can expect to be whipped regularly, with the chains of freedom.

Here is the idea of equality in terms of "the irreducible minimum" statement of the concept:      "Every man to count for one and no one to count for more than one."

     This formula [says Isaiah Berlin], much used by utilitarian philosophers, seems to me to form the heart of the doctrine of equality or of equal rights, and has coloured much liberal and democratic thought. Like many familiar phrases of political philosophy it is vague, ambiguous, and has changed in connotation from one thinker and society to another. Nevertheless, it appears, more than any other formula, to constitute the irreducible minimum of the idea of equality. Moreover it is not self-evident in the sense in which many simple empirical propositions seem [to be]; it has not been universally believed; and it is not uniquely connected with any one philosophical system. The notion of each man counting for one and only one...does not depend on belief in rights, either natural of positive...The statement that each man is to count for one may, of course, be conceived as flowing from the recognition of natural rights possessed by all men as such---rights "inherent" in being a man at all---whether innate, or conferred at birth by a divine act---and so an "inalienable" element in the "ultimate structure" of reality. But equally it may be held without any metaphysical views of this kind. Again, it may be regarded as a rule...But again it need not depend on this. One can perfectly well conceive of a society organised on Benthamite or Hobbesian lines, in which rights did not exist, or played a small part, and in which the principle of "every man to count for one" was rigorously applied for utilitarian reasons, or because such was the will of the despot, or of the majority, or of the legislator or whoever held sovereignty in a given society

[copied, word for word, from "The Concept of Equality," Burgess Pub. Minn; 1969. orig. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 1966]

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Speaking of Santorum... (Great Crayola Scandal)

Santorum may praise the U.S. on behalf of its inherent[quality of] freedom. He may paint the  U.S. to be the home of freedom. He may call the country from which I write (although not with crayons) the country of freedom----and I really admire the idea, but in the current environment the U.S. also lets loose the stupid in persons, which is kind of like the dye in your food coloring.
     Actually, I was looking at a crayola crayon. This happened just the other day. I found a crayon in some box in some restaurant somewhere. The label said bittersweet----that was the color name. This is not a color, in my opinion. NOT. Is taste, or a flavor. Do you want the kid to eat the thing? Thank g-d our kids are smarter than that. I think they are above and beyond the persons responsible for these atrocious colors. The adults name the crayons that they pass out to kids like candy. Anyway, the color was kind of a reddish-brown, like a masonry brick maybe. Or like cinnamon. They called it "bittersweet." I know the color naming adult will certainly defend his actions but I think that the simple fact is that this is not the name of a color, rather an adjective that could describe food. So, the point here if there is one, is that food and color are different, OK?
     What kind of a society are we? The color-namers at the Crayon company cannot make the distinction between color and flavor? Aren't they different things? My feeling is that they are getting everything mixed-up: color, flavor, food, the color of food, maybe the smell of the food, the scent of the crayon. Who cares? -- it's all the same to them. Do they like doing this to their minds? I'm sure they just love it! Sight, sound, smell, and ideas----who cares? It's all the same to us. Creativity is not at issue; it is a paper label. It is one word on a piece of crayon wrapper. It is not poetry, it is not sarcasm, and not even humor. It's not really humor either. (Although there are "Good Humor" ice cream bars in Chicago.)
     Back to the crayon factory, the owners of it are just getting everything mixed up; they are proud of this, too.
     They think they are good. They think they are a good flavor, but I do not think this is good! I see these crayon-naming persons as failing to make distinctions. The basic characteristic of consciousness is rationality, and the basic characteristic of a rational mind (or consciousness) is the capacity to make clear distinctions----like right and wrong, for example. Or high and low. Or good and bad.
     If someone believed in clarity, he would not name a color "bittersweet." What kind of a message does that convey to the children? It is just very depressing, really.

     If politician R. S. believes in clarity I would hope he would have something to say about a crayon they label "bittersweet." And freedom too, can mean just about anything. We are getting to that. But if the man has any real clarity about what he means by "freedom," I hope he understands that freedom is of no value to some crayon CEO who runs the company, yet is stupid.
     Can't we do any better? It isn't freedom, it is stupidity. You cannot simultaniously preach to me about freedom and yet fail to condemn the stupidity that ends the whole conversation.
     It does not matter that you proclaim that you luv freedom. You are not supporting freedom throughout the land, if you also support the free reign of stupidity throughout the land. As for these conservatives like Santorum, conservatives have a particular set of values and they emphasize certain things more so than others. Freedom means that different perspectives or sets of values are OK, in one country or society, to the extent they do no offense to the basic freedom principle which is the very principle you are operating under. But I do not think that you can support the conservative perspective, or the liberal one -- it doesn't make any difference -- without also supporting basic intelligence.

     Let's go back to the crayons. I found the original box again and I found another crayon, you know? This one is called "wild strawberry." It is like a brilliant red. Why? Is "tame" strawberry less red? They are just making things up. But as I wander the touching "freedom" exhibition on the second floor of the historical society   ( ), I realize that all kinds of things are included under that designation, which is at least superficially a bit like having all kinds of names for crayons. Isn't it. The theme of the exhibit is Americans who have struggled to each obtain----or define----freedom; so there are these differences, a lot of meanings to freedom, as Americans struggle to define the word. That is kind of like the theme here of "freedom" as it is conceptualized by the Chicago Historical Society, which does not seem to be that bad of a place to study freedom. Yet freedom is not a color of a crayon----I should better say not only a color of a crayon. It is a sacred word, and not a stupid word. And even though it is a sacred word a whole lot comes under its meaning. This is what the exhibit showed.
     In the article I read yesterday, Santorum emphasised the word strongly. One cannot help noticing that the historical society's take on freedom, on the meaning of freedom, seemed to exclude Mr. Santorum's meaning. You just have to feel sorry for these conservatives sometimes don't you?  But actually it would have been there. It would have been represented by the forces of law and order and not the anarchists publishing in German and English language newspapers (who are equally represented in the video, tit-for-tat). The Santorum kind of rhetoric would have actually been a bit buried, underneath the activisms or the Americans looking to define what freedom means, a definitional process that extended not only establishment figures like Mayor Richard J. Daley, who issued a famous order to shoot looters----on behalf of freedom of course----but to Haymarket anarchists and American Indians. And other deviant strains of American flower. So, a little different emphasis there! Lots of hybrids here! Not all flowers wear sweater-vests. Some do, some do not.
     Now you have a nation here whose collective intelligence is steadily falling; no is remedy in sight. So you cannot really go around calling them stupid. And why do I say that?
     You have to bend with the bow or go with the flow. You live in a culture and you need to paddle your canoe in your own cultural river. So, you have to come to terms with these persons, persons that Green Day--the band--is talking about in their theatrical presentation now playing in Chicago: American Jerkoffs or whatever their show is called. Jaghoffs? No, I don't think that was exactly it. But something like that at any rate.
     You have to kind of accept the fact that as of right now, anyway----this country, including our sterling elite, intellectual class, is, Well----stupid. But, although you have to accept it, you cannot just call things whatever you wish ("freedom"? "bittersweet"?).
     Tomorrow I'll maybe find another crayon with a stupid color, and I can already predict that it just won't make any darn sense.

Well, that'll have to do for now...

Monday, February 13, 2012

Santorum investigation

Finished Santorum’s piece on foreign policy, regarding Iran, Cuba and the Muslim countries. Most striking is Santorum’s strong belief in freedom.
     Although most Americans have strong feelings as regards this word or this concept, this guy is particularly clear-cut. In fact, a website, referenced at the bottom of the page on which this piece is found, is called “Real Clear World.” So, an especially strong emphasis on clarity exists here.
     For example. "Some wonder why conservatives like me have such a problem with the oppressive Castro regime of the relatively tiny Island nation of Cuba. We do because we believe in freedom and don't like the stink of oppression next door.” This is, to be sure, an example of clarity.
     I admire the clarity. I do not know whether he is completely right about Cuba, as I do not have enough information. I personally think that as far as “stink of oppression” there is also the stink of oppression right here in the U.S. It just depends where you look. If freedom means being on top, I suppose Cuba is less free, because they are not on top. They are a “tiny island.” I think Santorum probably wants Cuba to remain unfree. Santorum likes it that way. It gives him the opportunity for clarity.
     But it is hard to be a politician, and I am not necessarily saying I don’t like Santorum or his clarity. I really am not saying I necessarily do not like Santorum. I'm open for anybody, at this point. He is not running for the presidency of Cuba; he is running for the presidency of America. He seems like a very American type guy. Very straight-arrow. Rick Santorum does not like oppression. He likes freedom. OK, that makes sense. But he also does not favor Obama as president of the United States. Why not----if America is the land of freedom? The Americans elected him, didn't they? He does think America is the land of freedom.  For Santorum, Obama would be powerless. This is so. Why do I come to this conclusion? Well, according to my line of thought, it seems to be because it is impossible for him to envision an America that is not free. Freedom is an inherent characteristic of America. What could Obama do to change this?
     OK. Then what is his basic problem with Obama if Obama is America and America is perfect and free? How could Santorum have a problem with and elected president? America is perfect. How could Obama change that? How would he ever have gotten elected?
     “America” and “freedom” are synonymous, in this view imbued with clarity.
      So, again, what difference would Obama make, except if Obama is unAmerican? What difference could tiny Obama make? He is just a little half-black speck. America is good, always. So if Santorum really believed in American, Obama would be powerless, in the face of such freedom! Santorum or no Santorum. Hmmmm...
     Santorum seems to not only like clarity. It seems to be his only value. So, for tiny little Rick Santorum, who could not himself make much of a difference in that clarity, it’s a “Real Clear World.” But maybe tiny little Rick Santorum doesn't see himself as tiny. Wait. Maybe Santorum doesn't wanna be tiny. Maybe he wants to be a big shot, wants to get power. Powah. Steal it from Obamah.
     But, still, I like the clarity thing. Maybe we need a little more clarity.
     I disagree with Santorum about most things, but he is clear. I want to be clear about that.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Restaurant Review

I ordered the Caprese salad at the "Artist Cafe." And I liked it. But you have to know what you are getting at the "Artist." Since some of their stuff is not so very very very good. The ownership is Greek, unashamedly Greek. I have read the work "Naked," by the writer David Sedaris, and I know about this. This kind of person is going to do as he pleases, as they pleases. As they please --- whatever. Definitely they are not going to go down on their knees to some schmuck they don't even know, who just walked in off the street, and they have never met them?, or had them over to the house? You are a just another customer at the "Artist Cafe." You are not fake-friended, like the other places do. Probably you are a complete failure, also. I'll bet you are. I'll bet you are a failure as a human being. I'll bet you work either at the Fine Arts building, next door, or at the "Hall" formerly known as "Orchestra Hall" now known as simply "Symphony Center" [insert trumpet fanfare, please].
     Do you get the picture? Their customers have no other choice of a place to go.
     The venue is very busy during lunch hour and it is usually empty at other times. This venue has no business plan, but it needs none. They are happy. Which is what life is about, isn't it? The "Artist Cafe" is run by real authentic human beings, and, as such, it is more like a human being than a business. Like any human being, you can encounter the "Artist" in a good mood or a bad mood; this mostly depends on which dish you order.
     Maybe if you deserve a good dish, then you will get one, you schmuck. I mean, "friend." Who knows? Everything is in flux, here at the Artist Cafe on Michigan Avenue.
     There are no comedy clubs in the area.
     These persons are dead serious.
     Do not ---I-repeat-do-NOT--- order the three cheese grilled cheese. This inspired and special piece says to me: "for you, a schmuk who comes in here and orders the grilled cheese, we make this special." But if your ambition is to be a waiter, or waitress, and you don't have a clue, here is a place for you.
     The waiters here - mine was an 18 yr. old man who acted like Bela Lugosi doing Count Dracula of Transylvania - are oddly unskillful. And, oddly enough, this boy gave me no love, no emotional support. Here you are on your own and, come to think of it, the "Artist Cafe" which is conveniently located on the 400 block of South Michigan near Roosevelt University, gives new meaning to "self-service."
     I sincerely hope you enjoy your visit,

     Jack Silverman
     (restaurant reviewer)

Sunday, February 5, 2012



fb came out of the ordinary workings of human beings, which is to say the business community. Fb comes from business. Yet the founder, Zuckerberg, lived, at the time of fb's creation, in a milieu, and not a business mileu but rather that of Harvard.

Out of that milieu he created not a public institution like a Harvard, but business, like a business...

Business is our most basic, most characteristic (social) institution. That's the fact. FB came out of the ordinary workings of human beings, which, in our, as stated is the business community. Our ordinary life is our economic life, and FB comes from, or is rooted in, real life and part of that is business. Yet at the time of fb's origination or its founding, founder Zuckerberg lived in another kind of mileu, not necessarily the business world. He was, of course, at Harvard, and I think it is alright to say that that is not the business world, not exactly. Why? Well, Harvard is a sort of educational institution, isn't it? And that is different. For example, they get a lot of their money from endowments. Businesses do not get charity money coming in regularly. So, the distinction is probably valid. We don't think of Harvard as being a business. It is associated with education, and any small profit it might happen to achieve is not  the main point, is it? 

So, it is out of the mileu of an educational institution, not a business, that he created a business. Which is another sort of thing, not an educational sort of thing. Instead, Zuck created a for-profit kind of thing.
     He created a different kind of thing from a university.
     This is what is worth noting: that it was at a mileau of the first kind where he had the wit, nerve, or verve to start a thing that we think of as belonging to the mileau of the second kind. 

And today, he goes "public."  Whatever that means.

(some more reading:


The businessman is not a market dealer or a fair dealer. He is a hustler. He is not about to find a fairly negotiated price. That is not what he is there for. Marx’s version of how business takes place is much preferable, despite Marx’s execrable politics, something that I am not necessarily endorsing. However, in the explanation of business that we find in the works of Karl Marx, the behavior of the businessman comes across as the desire to extract a dividend, or "surplus value." 
    Compared to the idea of a price negotiation this is much more thematically interesting and to the point. The dividend sought by business amounts to a “surplus,” so the businessperson wants to get that surplus.  
    This is pretty simple, it seems to me. The fact of the surplus is the thing and the businessman’s goal is simply to come out of it with more than he put into it—and all this is universally recognized, when business writers speak of "profit.” Now as to the kind of size of this extraction of a surplus, obviously it is usually in money. Generally speaking, one also seems safe to presume this also, that the object of desire of business, the profit, is going to occur as a quantity of money. 
    But, basically, he needs any amount of surplus. And extraction of a surplus is a very different theme and topic as compared with the much for frequently encountered concept of fair-dealing or the creation of some market price by means of negotiation. In fact, Marx's explanation is much better. 
     It is more like being sneaky—hustling. 

(Batang font, transferred to blogspot blog)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

"The Wasteland"

Societies have their main influences and persons. Amongst these main influences is what we might call "the conservative establishment." They are the leading societal force. They push certain ideas, and the ideas the conservatives push seems to be ideas that function, in terms of society's idea of itself. This is what I mean in general by "main influences and persons" who establish certain main public ideas. They push certain ideas about what should motivate us. Motives would include the motive of making money, which is something that is terribly important. Making da money is terribly important, in any case. This is important to many of us. Not me, I have money in the bank. But for most persons, as we (OK: you!) try to make money in a capitalistic society or capitalist environment you are extremely susceptible. (Would not have know how to spell that; I owe my teacher the spell-check a great debt of gratitude, I'm sure.)
     So: the "conservative establishment" are persons that tell us what to think, in regard to public things. Or, controversial things. One example: the making of money.
     The "establishment" are the creators of cultural currents. They create the main currents. They are the leading edge, the public edge, of the society. And they are the public expression or public presence of society's elites. Since they have all these functions, they are able to create a value system, what Vidal calls RW, or "received wisdom." The "establishment" is where you get your basic RW -- ideas that "must" be true. Enough said? Is there anything more that could be said? About such an everyday experience? It is not necessarily even something bad or abnormal. Societies have their values, and they safeguard them. All societies do this; it is "cultural."
     Today, as in all other days, this is so. For us, too, certain influences and persons are at the lead. Today, they are also sometimes called the neo-liberals (i.e., in the context of world trade). But, for the sake of having just one name, we are going to stick with "conservative establishment," at least until I get bored of using it.

     The society gathers and coordinates itself around these themes or currents. All cultures have their ideas. It's no big deal. But it is a big deal should the ideas be really, really crappy.
     In any case such ideas emerge and they are out front and center. They are public.
     We, too, get to have our ideas.
     Our era's idea is that as for the explanation of life it's about money. This comes to you courtesy of the conservative establishment. Let's say we, for example, want to know about universities -- not just how to get into one -- also the how and why of it.
     According to today's prominent action figures, we should see the university and most other things we do as human beings in terms of money. They want to drill this into our heads. So let's try it, then. After all, it is the RW. We should consider, for example, that universities exist only insofar as they make money. And that is right. Isn't it? So, they exist to make profit. It makes sense. We have also accepted the RW but in any case the making of money becomes the centerpiece of the investigation into the nature of the university. The nature of the university is that it is there to make money.
     We seriously believe this. This is real to us. We do not experience this idea as one idea among many; it is central. It is what we are supposed to believe nowadays. It is the current, preferred explanation in establishment circles. There can be no newspapers or magazine articles without due obeisance to this. We use this thinking to bring order and rationality to life. We accept it. Let's do it, then. Let's just do it. Let's provisionally accept that the leading force in the society is, UM ---- making money. We don't really feel better or worse for that. We have accepted the statement. The leading force is the need to make money. The leading force in society is the making of, pursuit of ---- money.

     Now there are some interesting things about that statement, should we really attempt to inquire into it. One of these interesting things is that it seems to require being expressed in vernacular, making of money. These three words are vernacular. There are many other interesting things we could say about the statement above, but, continuing to focus on the seeming need to use vernacular expression: when I am trying to understand what society is telling me to think I find that I am using the phrase "making money," and it is quite an informal phrase. I believe one calls this the "vernacular." But assuming we want to go deeply into things, don't we want to go deeper than the vernacular? What does it really mean to make money? The purpose of life is to make money, or earn a profit. This is what we are told. But what does that mean? Aren't we scholars? Don't we want to understand what we mean? What do we mean by "making money"? Heavens to Betsy, I would think we would want to know. If "making money" is so important, we would want to know what the hell it is.

     We are considering the logic that tells us that universities (Evans, 1998) are for making money. This is not a secondary reason, it is the preferred explanation at least in the sense that it is the culturally dominant explanation, the explanation that the conservative establishment, which dictates what we think about the world, directs us towards. Also, hospitals -- you don't want to leave hospitals out -- they are for making money. Why do musicians strum their guitars and blow their horns? To make money. Of course. What this kind of thinking is really trying to do is get to the point where most everything is explained that way.

     This is the world we are asking our kids to live in. Money makes the world go 'round? I suppose that's the way the world works. Life itself is the pursuit of profit, which is to say, making of money. That is the current received wisdom, and no one is allowed to say anything else. (Except cutting edge intellectuals like me.) It's the new tradition of truth. Now we understand that even preachers want to make money.  Aren't we enlightened? But -- I know I'm being way old-fashioned here -- but we are, after all speaking about universities. And are not universities supposed to be concerned with something like knowledge or learning? (I'll wait for the laughter to die down. I know I am throwing the audience off with these wild ideas, but...)  Since it goes without saying that the university is for money or for the purpose of turning a profit or breaking even or earning a stipend from the state, and since all of these are already accepted as given, let's combine these givens with the idea about learning. Let's combine them to get a two fold understanding, as follows. Universities are about making money. Universities are for knowledge. They are for both.
    That feels like a little deeper explanation. Isn't that also better? So just put the two together: if the university is about learning, and if we also know that it is about money, since after all we have accepted our culture's message that the university, life, and everything else is concerned with earning, with money, then we would want to learn everything we can about this activity of earning. Why can't we do that?
     We'd seek to acquire some learning about earning.
     What is 'homo economicus'?

     Here is where it would all come together.
     That would be called, just to coin a term, perhaps the "economics" department? I don't mean to coin any kind of original phrase but you would want there to be something like an economics department. And that would be where the best minds of our day would go to find out the deeper portent and significance of the RW that "the university is there to make money." How does that happen? How does that work? What actually happens when persons make money? Wouldn't you want to learn about that? I would really be curious about that. Wouldn't you? We would want to find out what we mean by "earning a living." We would not just want to know how to make money; we would want something else: to know how making money actually works as a part of life.
     No, as it turns out, you do not want to do that. Learning about what it means to make money is not something that is being done at any university. If it is, I would like to hear about it. In general, it turns out that learning has nothing to do with earning. And this is what is curious to me. If you want a good grade for the course you aren't allowed to find out about what economics really is or what money really is. Those are questions that are not going to be well-received at the university today.
     That kind of thing -- this "knowledge" you are now beginning to think about -- the actual meaning of "earning a living" -- that must remain secret! What a disappointment! I thought we were going to learn about it! No my child, all those things are secret.
     These are weighty matters that only the initiated must know about. These matters of why life is about money must stay within the realm of what has been called, by Greider, in his book of that same name, the "secrets of the temple." Ooooooooo... At any rate, that book, apparently, is  about the Federal Reserve, or the "Fed." (Whose members, presumably, went to universities, the purpose of which now turn out to be making money; what a cozy, and even poetic arrangement.)

     Secrets of finance and banks, not to mention the true story or true hoodoo or lowdown on economics, (which would be the study of why life is all about money), are kept pretty close to the vest.
     It is as if they don't want us to know.

     "Economics" thus becomes a secret kind of voodoo society within universities. This is true. I know. I was in the graduate economics program at a university, and I now study economics on my own, based on certain original insights that I have had. I have became a sort of private economist myself. As for these other economists, all the more professional ones, who operate under the watchful eye of the conservative establishment, it is not that these persons are holding any actual secret, but, at any rate, they will not be giving you any of what they have in the matter of economics insight, which is to say what they may, or not, have.
     There is this question about whether anybody actually has any knowledge of economics. But they sure aren't telling us.  Either they do, and they are keeping it secret, or they do not know themselves. In that case, they are like the "wizard" in the land of Oz. He was just operating levers behind a curtain.

     That whole section of the book is good; I re-read it recently. There is also a book I saw by Keynes, on banking matters, in which he begins by saying some persons believe bankers actually do not know what they are doing, and it must be left to others to understand it, but as for Mr. Keynes himself, Lord Keynes (maybe the politically correct version?) says there that this is unkind, and we should give the bankers credit for being smarter than that. I do not know which version of this is correct -- I think these are both possibilities. Especially nowadays, I  think maybe the dumb banker is better off, and therefore more common.

     The basic purpose of all this subversion of economic investigation is to keep truth under wraps (possibly from the elites themselves, as well, which is self-deception to boot!). What you have, then, is a situation where we adopt the stance, the assumptive -- to coin a phrase on my part -- that while on the one hand the purpose of human activity is money, on the other we are forbidden to inquire into what we think we know. You cannot really study it in college. It isn't taught. There is no real "economics." (And there are plenty of books and papers by economists that play around with this, attempting to analyze how their field is possibly structured, what beautiful rules or crystalline structure exists for their supposed "science" etc. There are also some economists as well as many, many outsiders who will admit economics has failed.)
     The conservative establishment establishes our main ideas about the purpose and meaning of life. This is particularly, or specifically, so in social and economic terms. The main philosophical values of a culture are thereby thrust into the forefront of that culture. And ours, at this point in time, is the notion that all institutions, indeed all of men's activities in general, are purely, or basically, or essentially ----- a matter of profit, or of money-making, whatever that actually means. Whether this is "true" or not, or how it is true, is of no interest to them. And that is the End of it. These conservative establishment forces will, at this time in history, transmit the message that even universities "must" exist for the purpose of profit above and prior to any other consideration. And we can try to play along of course. Yet, even if we want to play along and use the RW in our daily struggle for existence, or lives, we cannot. There is no economics department anywhere that studies this. No one actually tries to understand what it is to work or earn a living. No one tries to understand how it is that a person focuses solely on the earning of money, or how such a focus affects one's life. Not in the economics departments, anyway. These places are taken for other uses.
     We want to keep knowledge away from the masses. That's my explanation, of course. Others may disagree. It seems to me as if we want to keep the people stupid. Greider, whom we have already mentioned, and who seems to create catchy book titles, also asked, "Who Will Tell the People?" The answer, for me, is: no one will "tell the people." That is not how it is done.
     The conservative establishment tells us what are to be our themes, our central ideas.
     As guardians of a culture, the conservative establishement has delivered us to exactly nowhere --- to a wasteland.

notes: Mary Evans, "Killing Thinking: the Death of the...."; Continuum; 2005
          William Greider, "Who Will Tell the People..." 1993 and
          "Secrets of the Temple..." 1987
           Gore Vidal: "One of the last great independent thinkers..." (acc. to his publisher)
         ."Vidal is the best all-round American man of letters since
         . Edmund Wilson." -Newsweek 

           (GV is published in the UK by Clairview Books: 4th November 2002

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

How Is That A "Wall"? (Governors Moderate)

I saw the report this morning in the New York Times. The governors are moderating, moderating their extremism, this applies across the board, in general to any and all recent right-wing anti-public union extremism, etc. All of it. I think I know why. I think I get it. The governors are moderating because they saw what happened in Wisconsin.
     The protests in Madison Wisc. have turned the entire nation around. They've got the guv "up against the wall." You might say so?
     What wall, though? How do we gloss that word? Well, the wall past which you can't escape, when you are running backward from an angry mob. You can't escape anymore, Scott. You cannot escape from yourself, and not from all of those angry hippie progressives blocking your escape. I guess that would be what the wall is. Self and other both, and, in some sense, it's the wall of the real world. The activists were needed to push him up against reality. And yet they are reality. (see /2012/03/simone-de-beauvoir-1948.html It's a little complicated.)

     Politics needs to be grounded in reality. The terrible events of the modern era have come from too many persons saying "I have a dream." Stop dreaming.

     Let's stop crashing million-dollar drone aircraft into foreign villagers. Into villagers who live on two dollars a day. Let's stop fantasizing, and thinking ahead of ourselves.
     Stop thinking that you can solve every problem by spending. Spending too much, or too little.

     Let us bring our thinking down to earth, instead.