Many people whom I listen to, and read from, have eschewed the idea that the #USA can slip into autocracy, but also many I get news content from were warning early on that it definitely can—and is—happening here.
The "jury" is out and the facts are in. We had a near miss, and it is not over. The woefully, dangerously, well-armed, misguided people who were effectively footsoldiers in this attempt did not see the errors of their ways and recant their thinking. They saw it as a tactic to growing their movement and are planning the next stages.
That is a convincing argument, but it's one that has hindsight as its aid. Suppose the historian had to decide what the cohesive ideology was as they were evaluating the aggregated news of the time as they first saw it instead of evaluating it many years after it happened.
Well, #MashaGessen has done something similar to that. I felt his words deeply when he said it and talked about what was seen in diaries and journals of the day as #Germany was becoming its worst. Those diaries match our perception of current events.
Compare the following two episodes of the #Throughline #Podcast. The first is an interview with a Historian specializing in inter-war Germany named Timothy Snyder. The second is with a Russian-American journalist, author, translator, and activist named Masha Gessen.
note Timothy's words at the 26:00 time mark
note Masha's words at the 15:00 time mark
Perhaps it's not obvious that I'm not denigrating Timothy's work based on his interview, so I'll specify that I liked what he said. I'm only picking at a little bit of it because Masha's thinking is superior about that point.
It's comparable to a lead section in Jordan Ellenberg’s wonderful book, “How Not To Be Wrong,” when he wrote about where to armor warplanes based on the bullet holes.
Military officers had gathered and studied bullet holes in the aircraft that returned from missions. One early thought was that the planes should have more armor where they had been hit the most— fuselage, fuel system, the rest of the plane— but not on the engines, which had the smallest number of bullet holes per square foot.
Abraham Wald, a leading mathematician, disagreed. Working with the SRG (Statistics Research Group) in Manhattan, he asked an odd question: Where were the missing bullet holes— the ones that would be all over the engine if bullets were equally distributed?
They were on the missing planes, the ones that had been shot down. So the vulnerable place wasn’t where all the bullet holes were on the returning planes. It was where the bullet holes were on the planes that didn’t return.
Restricting your measurements to a final sample, excluding part of the sample that didn’t survive, creates what statisticians call “survivor bias.” It can cause you to come to conclusions that are entirely wrong.
The commonality is using incomplete evidence and hindsight to determine truth/reality. Masha added more evidence.
Because of that recent #PlowedBoiz & #QerNon attack on #Democracy in the #USA, a prolific amount of retrospect was undertaken by content creators of all kinds. Many seem to reflect on the claim, "This isn't us," and have discovered, "Actually it is us, and it's us often."
#Amazon #Lies. If you haven't heard the #Reveal #Podcast yet, you are missing a LOT. It's some of the best detailed, coherent, in-depth reporting on a wide array of subjects. Their only #Bias is that they generally report on the situations where the few empowered inflict harm on the many for profits.
This episode Al Letson gets to take another swing at Amazon and I'm pretty sure he 'sent it over the fence'. #Bezos had publically stated that he welcomed scrutiny, so Al delivered it.
If you think this story is just about Amazon, don't worry, they are just the main course. The dessert is the whole for-profit siloed networking system on the Internet.
I'm extremely fond of the hosts Kai Ryssdal & Molly Wood as well as the content of the show even though I'm about to criticize a moment of Wednesday's show below. Their work is great, their humanity is exemplary.
Something triggered a visceral & bad feeling when I heard the quote of the venerated Adam Smith
Adam Smith wrote:
"Consumption is the sole end and purpose of all production."
Here's the gist of the content of the show before the quote:
audience question about the work-from-home market ...
high pay workers moving to low-cost locations ...
Apple can not/should not pay American level wages in China ...
can't have the same labor wage across the globe ...
some distracting banter ...
audience question Can has Economy not based on Consumerism? ...
Kai says no, then quotes Adam Smith...
Molly and I simultaneously have our brains go into skeptic mode and Molly's went too fast ...
There is a lot to unpack, and I'm going to come back to why I reacted to the spurious idea inside the quote later.
If Silicon Valley people move to rural places with big money flowing to them because teleworking, some of the excess money will drop on the scene, it's going to splash off onto the people that live there. Like Yacht's are disgusting opulence, but the people who built them got paid. You won't have a lot of friends in town if you tip small but they find out you are earning 1,000x the local wages. If you ask the local builders to make an ice-ring addition on your 2,000 square-foot home, you will be charged more than if the town commissioned the job for public use.
Molly, if you are reading this, write labor is not an invasive species on the chalkboard 100 times. the population of high paid people is small and if they do diaspora it's not going to change much. The place they leave will feel it more than the place they go to.
Geography dependant wages have a plethora of reasons behind them. For one, Silicon Valley with all their secrets and espionage wouldn't be able to secure their ideas if people could work from everywhere; e.g. the CIA will not move their headquarters to China. Also, the biggest players need the best people to stay ahead of the competitors, so the talent moves to where the geography pulls it to (depending a lot on the economic and moral value system of the talented). In the type of labor that requires the production of goods, or the performance of in-person services (think factories, mechanics, carpenters, lawyers, doctors, and so on), the topography of wages across the Earths surface will be dependant on supply and demand of the thing adjusted for the population density and some other factors. Land is a scarce resource and that's why in cities you have to manufacture land by creating taller buildings. Too many people want the same land, so you take the footprint of the land and multiply it by the number of floors you set on top of it to try making the footprint cheaper per square unit. This base cost of doing business raises the ask for all goods and services and has to be higher as a consequence where the population density is higher. Density decides the price of the wages, not the wages deciding the price of the land. The more economic engines a location has to attract people the higher the density gets. If your product can be delivered from afar, the owners of the company get a bigger share of the selling price, this is because they can absolutely underpay but relatively overpay a worker in Flint to build an item they sell in NYC for full price; build in low density, sell in high density. The ability to move to where things are produced to a location where people are more disadvantaged and/or the cost of living is lower can only lower the wages, never raise them. Where it moved away from becomes more desperate so asks for less to do something. When the production moves again is when the new place becomes skilled and has enough money and power to ask for more. The wages will not go up till industrialists without morals run out of downtrodden people on the Earth; better pack a lunch.
So now, what if a person is a factory unto themselves who can build in one place and deliver in another place? They are the owner and the labor of their system. If their product/service is unique enough and has value to more people than it can be produced for, they can ask whatever they want to make it wherever they want and deliver it to wherever they want. That type of person/product/service is rare indeed. Most of us and our abilities are commoditized, so if we say we won't do it another person will replace us fairly quickly. Most of also can't leave an area because we are emotionally attached to people places and things in an area and languages, and foods, and so on. We can't move like a factory and that is a disadvantage for labor.
I'm finally circling back to Adam Smith and Kai. When he said it, it sounded like it was right; like truthiness. But it bothered me like to me it felt like a broken clock that is right twice a day and close to right a lot of time in the day depending on how accurate you need the time to be. I also feel like I'm hearing a man tell me that he saw a cart pushing a horse up a street. I think Molly started to do the mathematical thing where you generalize the statement testing for counterexamples by asking questions, like what is "production", like does a mom produce babies.
I think it would be more accurate to say, extending one's life and culture is the sole purpose of all human activity and most human activity is the production of goods and the performance of services. I could be easily taking Adam Smith out of context, but I don't think I'm taking the way Kai used it out of context. Kai just finished reading parts of a nuanced question and called TLDR then quoted Adam Smith. The word "consumerism" which the audience questioner used is nuanced, the ideas of production & consumption stated in the Smith quote are nuanced, but it got whipped out there in a declarative way that was intended to stop discussion on the topic. I know nearly nothing about producing a radio show, time constraints, and so on, so I'm not assembling a posse to right this wrong, yet it compelled this post and the things linking to it.
Is a metal tool with a lifetime guarantee that you have multiple generations using ever consumed? Do I consume art when I look at a painting? Do I produce smiles for the consumption of others? Has nobody ever failed at trying to produce something? Like built something they thought was great but nobody bought/consumed it? You can't consume what has yet to be produced so consuming can't start the production.
How about this instead? Solving problems and making life easier is the sole driving force behind all innovation/invention, and popular inventions have a strong calling, so production must be done to satisfy that demand, and if the invention is difficult to make or scaling it up can lower the cost it will be produced in mass, and if the product doesn't last long it will be consumed repeatedly.
Let's think about food & shelter. We consume food, but we don't really produce it, the Earth produces it and was doing that before us, we just sort out the bad planning of nature in order to have the Earth get more made per square foot (I'm not saying that's healthy for us though.). And we do produce shelter, though we don't really consume it. Sure we use it, but the intention is not to make it deteriorate from us using it so not a consumed good. This one is for Molly, we produce babies, but not to consume them, we do it because we are compelled to.
Regarding the specific thing about consumerism from a listener, think about the parallels between illegal drugs and all other products. Illegal drugs have almost no lasting value, and if they were never introduced into the world, we would all have been better off. They are marketed in a way that people who shouldn't consume them do, and the value they cost the world is greater than the value they give their consumers. Many legal products fit that form. Advertisers, like Steve Jobs hacked brains and forced people to think they needed something they didn't, overcharged for it, and left a lot of environmental degradation in the process of doing that. So very many products would not be consumed if they weren't marketed with psychological hacks, they cost much and they deliver little. They warp culture into something it doesn't need to be and it makes the majority of people worse off for the benefit of the few.
Kai, you should have said, "yes, we could have an economy without consumerism, it just would be a different one than what we have now. I don't know if it would be better or worse, but it would probably be better the way you asked the question."
This is the embedded audio player for the show attached at the bottom of the post.
These two windows into the life and times of Ron & Nancy Reagan were pretty eye-opening to me and I already have a lot of #Economic reasons to detest him for his hidden agenda connected to his actions.
I hope you take the time to listen to them.Ronald Reagan, Part 1 with Patton Oswalt | The Dollop #400 Ronald Reagan, Part 2 with Patton Oswalt | The Dollop #400
Typically I'm posting a #Podcast for people to listen to and a reason to listen to it, but here, a podcast merely #Triggered my thoughts while doing man-on-the-street type interviews of #Arizona #Voters.
An older-sounding white man said something about how all the #Progressives (pejoratively) and their #Socialism and free #Medicare is going to kill off all the #Ambition of #Capitalism. I definitely paraphrased him, but his point is intact.
His comment caught me in that way where you clearly see how and why he is so mistaken. I felt the immediate recoil from him misunderstanding what a #Progressive is, but I'll give him that because #Politics is messy and people on the same side disagree if given the chance to talk to each other instead of yelling at the "others". However, he is fundamentally wrong about ambition. He was confusing the idea of working out of desperation and the survival instinct with ambition. Perhaps he was a #BlueCollar type who had hopes for his next of kin doing better and instead sees 23-year-old grandchildren playing X-Box all day and drinking at night. I don't know why he thinks his opinions are valid, but I do know he is wrong.
It's been #Scientifically proven that when we are stressed over meeting our basic needs in life that we can't make good decisions. Ambition comes from having a good idea that can improve people's lives in a way that it would be valued at more than what it costs to produce. It's hard to have good ideas when you can't figure out what to do without; #Healthcare, #Food, #Heat, #Electricity, Clean #Water, or the #Mortgage / #Rent payment. I believe it's a goal of socialism to meet these basic needs without question, thus the desperation is lifted and people can be free to think of greater things.
The #Ancient #Greeks had an unquestionably great thing going with flourishes of #Math, #Science, #Medicine and so forth. Their institutions of learning did not charge admission for entrance. They did, however, have a bar to entry, and it was based on the economic standing of the citizens. If you were wealthy enough to stop working for a period of time, you could get the "go-ahead goal" of learning about important things. Poor people were still stuck in the cycle of desperation. This may explain why it's so much more likely that non-poor people have #Innovative ideas and subsequently the ambition to get rich as a result.
To be clear, #Capitalism did invent #SurveillanceCapitalism because it was always a problem for #Capitalists to figure out how to persuade their market into overpaying for their products/services. Broadcast advertisement was a blunt instrument, like washing clothes by banging them with rocks along the riverbed, but it was the best option they had for mind control. They would try to get a "better bang for the buck" by all kinds of user surveys, but it just narrowed down fishing with dynamite to fishing with nets. They wanted to fish with smart hooks that found the fish they wanted without them making any effort. #Google showed them all the way. #Facebook just didn't have a pretense of #Morals or #Ethics to slow them down.
Companies in a #Capitalistic society, if they are big enough, hate government because they want to be as powerful as a government, but with dictatorial powers. China and Russia are showing us that is what they want too. Capitalism infected the world like a virus and now we are going to reap the whirlwind.
The latest #Podcast by Intercepted is a big reveal on how we #American's have lied to ourselves for over a decade about our #CIA #Torture programs. At least 2 of our #POTUS have been implicated as complicit in this episode, and other perpetrators who got off scot-free are called out with the evidence against them.
This #Podcast is noteworthy, especially if you genuinely want to live in a more #Sustainable way with respect to the #Environment. It might mean you have to change the way you chose #Clothing and other #Apparel, but you'll be doing the right thing for the right reasons.
Next time you buy clothes, buy ones that will last longer, and keep them longer. Own fewer items. Consider getting and giving items at consignment shops. Look into repairing clothes instead of discarding them; all my childhood jeans had iron-on patches in the knees.
The FT Newspodcast called News In Focus just recently reviewed that recent question of, "did #Iran do the damage to the #Saudi #oil production facility?" The FT talks about claims of where the weapons were launched from and who built them as well as other nations having a consensus building and decaying over who to blame.
I'm personally not convinced yet by any claims of who did it, but if the #USA (my home country) wants to claim that #Iranian looking #weapons means Iran did it, I'm gonna have to call bullshit and fuck-you. We never find the time to blame ourselves for all the #death and #carnage that our weapons do in the hands of others! I'm leaving Iran off the hook on this one so far.
I just love this Jennifer Briney #Podcaster! From the April-2013 CD024: Let’s Gut the STOCK Act episode where she first—in a non-partisan way—"gives the game away" of how unethical our "elected" officials can be, to the latest show where she reveals where she's coming from personally and ethically. She turns Congressional Gruel into palatable delicacies for the hungry masses. A true #Journalist.
and it gave us a very foreboding message about one of the very real possibilities we are facing worldwide if my countries #Asshole in the #WhiteHouse continues making decisions to profit his ego and his massively wealthy donors bottom-lines.Just this week, that same podcast aired another show along the same lines as the one linked above called, What happens in a recession.
The show paints a grim picture for the future, but it's not a dystopian fantasy, it's a likely outcome.Because I tend to be a contrarian, I looked for a silver lining. This type of an economic downturn, while it's helping the rich, hurting the middle-class, and not affecting the poor, it will be helping the fight against #ClimateChange. We will be doing less of everything that releases carbons into the atmosphere, and less of everything that degrades the earth and sea.
In the event that I have readers unfamiliar with the school of Economics, don't shy away. All people have the ability to contribute to this school of thought. In general, all economists study the motivation people have for selecting goods and services with their limited resources. All you need to participate is some personal insight and some curiosity in others rationale for their decisions.
Microeconomics focuses on those atomic level decisions like if you pick whole milk over 2% or a red-colored package over a green-colored package.
Macroeconomics focuses on what happens when all of us make decisions simultaneously, and how policy and/or regulatory actions can be enacted to avoid large scale societal problems.
#American #Elections have more troubles for 2020. The #Marketplace podcasts are very brief. At the start of this one, we hear why trees will fall in the forest but nobody will hear them so they didn't happen. Well, the #Campaign #Finance version of that. #Koch will own it.
I use Google, Facebook, Amazon, Lyft, Uber, Netflix, Hulu, and Spotify. I have two Amazon Echos, a Google Home, an iPhone, a MacBook Air, a Nest thermostat, a Fitbit, and a Roku. I shared the secrets of my genetic makeup by spitting in one vial for 23andMe, another for an ancestry site affiliated with National Geographic, and a third to test my athletic potential.
Oh, that's weird cause your on a Friendica server too. It renders right on my screen. The iframe is built into the BBCode. It's basically [iframe] url for the content that came from their embedded content <iframe> code [/iframe].
If you are a lover of #Logic and #Whitty #Satire, this is so worth hearing at least the first 5 minutes of Mike Pesca's #Podcast embedded below. There's 1:15 in ad content at the start. He's exposing the absurdity of the responses by Trump types of, "No you are the racist!".
Yes #WTF! The #Trump has decided to eliminate the #Right to #Privacy in the #USA. I can see the short-sightedness of his base of support being in favor of this because they think if it happens they will be in power forever.
(This post looks best when viewed directly on #Friendica) This is another great #Podcast for the @Stock Picking Discussion forum. The detail I caught in the story making it worth mentioning is one that might go past people who don't think about #Finance. It won't take you long to listen to this show, but here's the... spoiler/rant alert:Click to open/closeThe Financial Industry wanders from one type of thing to another with their big-money the way a grain farmer goes out to reap the crops, except the financial industry doesn't plant the crops, it just kills the farmer and takes the crops. The pattern is the money-hawks will look for where the middle-class stores or spends their cash, then they plot the attack, and you'll see them swoop in to monopolize things, pervert #Free #Market #Capitalism so that you're "over a barrel", then they will take it all till the middle-class is on the edge of becoming lower-class again. Based on the podcast, notice the way there was no death-business, then there was a business contrived for it, then the Wall Street types noticed it, swooped in and started making people pay for their hole in the ground decades ahead of time so they could get rich by investing your promise to be buried in the dirt. Right now they are doing schemes with #Residential #Housing and other #RealEstate a little different than they did earlier this decade. In the last decades, they were raiding retirement funds; even the Mafia made good on pensions. In the '80s & '90s, it was churn & burn the accounts because the youth of the day didn't believe their grandparents' stories of how Stock Brokers screwed them in the '20s & '30s. Almost every generation has had untold wealth extracted from its masses and funneled into the accounts of these industry giants and some to their minions.
The main point of all this is to beware of what the owners of & workers on #WallStreet decide to make a run at. You don't have to get #Screwed by them. Innoculate yourself. If you know they are trying to do it (hint: they always are), and what they are trying to do it with, you're well on your way to preventing them from getting over on you. Your common sense will do most of the rest.
Holy shit! We thought #Americans were shit to #Muslims. Wait till you get a load of what #China's doing! I think they are planning on a #Genocide of the #Uighurs. As an #Atheist, I'm not a person who thinks #Islam should be given respect, but I do think people should no matter what.
The show is produced by the National Public Radio here and it's a Financial podcast most of the time, but this episode is off their normal material. They are really good about being human with their perspective, aka: not greed-driven.
So true that quality is a better way to live! However, as it's measured, I don't think cheaper inputs to a product or service change the GDP. To avoid double counting they won't measure components made to become part of a final product that a consumer buys; they just measure the price the final product sells at. But, if cheaper inputs lower the final products price they will sell more units and thus raise the total GDP. Is that what you meant?
The theorybiz article has many of the items that I was thinking of, especially the increasing #scarcity. For example, the topsoil in the #USA is being depleted and is a positive in the GDP figures. Increasing the farming quality so that we have no net loss of topsoil should lead to the best possible results in whatever measure is used.
I spend a lot of time thinking about alternatives to #Banking. I'm not really sure how I feel about this story yet. I first heard about it in the last few minutes of the FT #Podcast called #BankingWeekly.
Two thirds of active loans issued by Lendy are now overdue while the peer-to-peer lender has also resorted to asking the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) for help in a multi-million-pound contract dispute with a borrower.
I can't help but prejudge this by thinking that they took the higher risk type enterprises that banks wouldn't—probably for damn good reasons—and with that higher risk, they didn't secure methods and plans to negotiate fair, reasonable, and equitable repayment of such risky endeavors. I sincerely hope they get their endeavor straightened out because alternatives to centralized banking are important in an egalitarian world.
Every #Iranian I've ever met, I've liked tremendously. If it weren't for our stinking backward thinking governments, we would all be good friends.Janine Jackson takes a quick look back at recent press, including coverage of #Iran, Saudi Arabia, and polio and the CIA.