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Monks to the left of us, ascetics to the right ... something in the nature of money and wealth is sacred, for sure.
Toggle Commented Oct 4, 2009 on The Vow of Wealth at Gift Hub
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We can learn to satisfy our basic human needs with a lot less in the resources space, but much much more in the spaces of relationship and service to one another. The second bottom line subsumes the first, not the other way around. I believe that this is the core premise of the school of thought and emerging theory of the Economics of Happiness (Dr. John Helliwell at the U of BC, researchers at the U of Bologna, Jane Jacobs' work, Hermann Daly, and a number of others) and the Ethical Economy (Arvinsson and Peiterson). It is gaining awareness around the world, I believe. How could it not as the moral aridity and cruelty of today's distorted arrangements is revealed more clearly every week ? Economy and society involve people, and exchange and interaction are the true currencies of life, however any proxy might operate.
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heh ..
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Come on now, you hippies. The first class in my MBA program was all about how capitalism and money are sacred. What more could you want ? MBAs consider themselves to be very modern monks.
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re: interest or re: visibility of mirages ? ;-)
Toggle Commented Oct 1, 2009 on Investing in a Mirage at Gift Hub
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Used to be in interest-bearing accounts or relatively safe bonds, medium and long term. But if we are in perpetual low-to-near zero interest environment, what then ? I'd love to see some informed speculation about the relationship(s) between interest and (perceived and / or real) risk ... and yes, I wonder what the role / purpose of "interest" is, now in an environment that has become distorted by newfangled forms of packaging risk as product. And what that means for the visibility and non-visibility of mirages.
Toggle Commented Oct 1, 2009 on Investing in a Mirage at Gift Hub
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I walked home tonight from a volunteer meeting, about a 45 minute walk ... past a number of signs on buildings (re; renovation or expansion) and other elements of urban infrastructure (including a massive modernist statue) that made me feel a little warm when I realized that each one had some provincial or federal tax-based funding going into it. Each one could or is considered to be contributing to the public good or supporting and enhancing some capability or other that all can benefit from. I think our attitudes towards the role of government and the private sector are quite different north of the 49th. I wish some of my American friends could experience the tangible and visible difference(s) a different approach yields.
Toggle Commented Oct 1, 2009 on The Normal Violence of Capitalism at Gift Hub
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Proposed Republican health care plan for the USA: 1. Don't get sick. 2. If you do get sick, die early.
Toggle Commented Sep 30, 2009 on The Normal Violence of Capitalism at Gift Hub
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I've done rough approximations of the total insurance premiums I've paid to provincial governments during my adult life ... probably between $20,000 and $30,000. So far, I've probably used maybe $5,000 worth of services. But obviously, I am protected if I get into any serious health complications that require more resources. The system we have pools all the premiums and adds from general taxation the remainder required to run and manage the health care system. That said, there have been enquiries and various government commissions, etc. looking at and worrying about the growth in health care costs since almost as long as I can remember. I think it's a given that it is the third rail of Canadian politics .. mess with health care and you've got some explaining to do to the electorate You might almost say that until we have better public education, better media in the public interest, and a more informed citizery (as opposed to consumers), we won't have a decent health care system, public or private You think ? I also think we are being reasonably effective with our public education system (though it could be much better) and we have a reasonably effective form of the 4th Estate, aka CBC. Much better than CNN, MSNBC or Fox. Who broke capitalism? The capitalists themselves, or their journalists (aka copywriters) and salespeople ? It's quite amazing what the terms "capitalist" and "socialist" have come to mean relative to more stringent definitions of the terms. Personally, I like the idea of what has come to be called 'social democracies" (even if not really democratic per se), and I wish Canada was more 'socialist' than it really is. We too have become quite consumer-oriented over the past 20 - 30 years. I don't see 'socialism' as diminishing the drive to compete where it really matters .. not in the ongoing accumulation of things material, but in the infrastructure and capabilities of a dynamic society that is relatively open to all (when compared with many or most other countries). I'd like Canada to be a North American Denmark, Norway or Holland .. but drat ! it's too closely connected to that other country.
Toggle Commented Sep 30, 2009 on The Normal Violence of Capitalism at Gift Hub
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Interesting, so the care is self-regulated, people minimize their use of itHmm .. I can't presume to speak for everybody .. I believe that I hedged my words above appropriately. I wonder how the system deals with those who have long term, high cost needs, when those people opt for the maximum potentially useful treatment It might be useful to use a story involving me. so that 1) we know it's true, and 2) it demonstrates choices and responsibility as I experience them in the Canadian health care system. For years I have had friends and partners urge me to obtain an evaluation and diagnosis as to whether I have sleep apnea, a relatively serious condition that affects daytime functioning and also poses an elevated risk of stroke and heart attack. Well, I finally (after years of urging from those who know me) went about tracking it down. 1. A first ten-minute visit to my GP (at a Community Health Care clinic, open to all) 2. A referral to a Sleep Disorder clinic .. whilst there are five or 6 major hospitals in the Lower Mainland (greater Vancouver), there is only one Sleep Disorder clinic .. just like there is only one Sports Medicine clinic and one Memory and Aging clinic, etc. There is some centralization and concentration of expertise, equipment and resources, where it seems to make sense, and decentralizing and spreading around of expertise where it's appropriate. Because sleep apnea is a specialty area and non-life-threatening, I had to wait (between 4 and 5 months) for an appointment with a sleep disorders specialist. No big deal, in this case, in my opinion. I fully expect that if I had had a stroke and showed up at an Emergency department of one of the hospitals, I would not have had to wait ;-) 3. I was given specialized diagnostic equipment (sensors-and-software-based) whereas 5 or 10 years ago I would probably have had to spend a (more expensive) night in a hospital bed, with cameras and recording equipment. After wearing the equipment for one night, I turned it in and they downloaded the data. 4. Diagnosis: I have Severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Now, I had a small sit-down and pow-wow with the sleep disorders specialist. There were (or are) three options open to me (and here's where it gets interesting, I think): a) a dental "appliance" b) a CPAP machine (headgear and tubes that provide a steady flow of forced air into the patient's windpipe and breathing process) 3) an operation that changes the shape of your throat and breathing area a bit, basically by removing that dangly-bit-at-the-back-of-your-throat (uvula). I told the doctor that I was not at all interested in wearing mechanisms and contraptions on my head whilst trying to sleep, so I wanted to know more about the dental appliance, but was most interested in having the operation (what I see as the easy way out). Well, it turns out that I can't just have whatever I want from the menu. First, both the dental appliance and the CPAP machine are only available by prescription from a specialist. Second, they are not part of basic health care, so one either pays for the appliance or the machine or uses their Extended Health Care plan (private insurance - if they have it available through their job or some other arrangement). Luckily, I have Extended Health via my common-law partner's job. But I am still not free to demand whatever I want. So far, I have argued with the specialist and have refused to try the CPAP machine (his recommendation and prescription) saying I don't even want to try sleeping with a contraption on my head .. to which he sort-of shrugs and says "well, you should try it anyway .. people report their sleep improves greatly" So .. then I ask "well, what about the dental appliance?" to which he says "well, it's more expensive, not all Extended Health Care private insurance plans cover them and there's a decent chance you will find it uncomfortable. So, I still recommend that you try the CPAP machine". BUT .. in my secret life I actually want the operation. easy-peasy .. go into the hospital, the surgeon cuts off a flap of skin (and removes your tonsils if they are still there or have grown back), you stay a couple of days in the hospital and Bob's yer uncle. Well, it turns out that it's NOT that easy. He (the specialist), after all, has to recommend and prescribe that, and clearly, even though I ask several times quite pointedly about the operation and "why not" .. he says he will not recommend that. It's much more expensive and uses up the hospital's resources, and he will not recommend it (with one caveat) unless and until I try the other proven methods. The caveat ? He would consider (though not guarantee) recommending and prescribing the operation if I were willing to pay for all of it .. but he's not even sure I could do that up here. Of course I COULD do that elsewhere in the world .. pay for the uvulectomy .. but there's no fundamental guarantee that it will be effective (it's the least effective of the three methods above, and generally only used when the patient is morbidly obese, which I am not). It might be my Canadian attitudes, but I think that the doctor mentioned above, and the health care system in my country, are being eminently sensible about all this. I am the one who is being less sensible. One of the key points I want to make .. I cannot prove it, but as a generality I think that people in Canada are less selfish, on the whole, than USians and that the accompanying attitudes and psychology (of relatively less selfishness) appears in many aspects of daily life. Please note that I realize that there are many extremely self-less USians of all sizes, shapes and ages .. and of course the USA would have the rest of the world believe that it acts (unselfishly) the way it does around the world for the benefit of everyone else's freedoms and democracy ;-) Heh ... I think its a country built on selfishness.
Toggle Commented Sep 30, 2009 on The Normal Violence of Capitalism at Gift Hub
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Who knows what is fair, but for someone to get a billion of care and pay nothing for it, indigent for life, is that fair? Good question(s). I have gone through the whole of my adult life in Canada, and have only used the healthcare system a few times (less than I probably should have) but have a vague sense that along with a "feeling" that it is part of the infrastructure of our Canadian society (a feeling I suspect most Canadians share), I also have a vague "feeling" that I should not abuse it. I would expect a doctor to politely but firmly tell me I was a hypochondriac, or find a way to minimise or refuse services if I were perceived as becoming an over-regular user of the system. I already trust them to escalate, and make wise choices about my care (subject to 2nd opinions if / when felt necessary) when faced with dollars-and-sense decisions. I also feel it incumbent upon myself to be as fully informed as possible when engaging with the health care system, and to be as intelligent and critical-thinking oriented as possible when I do decide to engage with the health care system. I don't think everyone shares those or similar values, but I expect that a majority of Canadians do. It's hard to articulate, but if you had grown up here or lived here for a while, I am guessing you'd "feel" it too, with respect to access to and reception of health care services.
Toggle Commented Sep 30, 2009 on The Normal Violence of Capitalism at Gift Hub
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In Canada, it's not framed as entitlements (Canadians please correct me if I'm wrong), but rather as infrastructural limitation. I.e, the system can afford only two hospitals for some cities, so there is a triaging of care driven by that basic limitation. That's about right. We also think of health care as part of the infrastructure that comes with living here. It's something we think taxes should be used to support.
Toggle Commented Sep 29, 2009 on The Normal Violence of Capitalism at Gift Hub
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Yes .. accepting and trusting your commendation of brilliance, one assumes he must have gone through some kind of trauma (financial, loss of power or identity, existential ?) in order to articulate such unhappy logic. Maybe he had authoritarian parents ?
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"tis a bitter and thin soup our overlords have brewed for us .. but it's all we have to drink, so .. drink and be merry, better times are on the horizon. They always are ..
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I assume that's after being subjected to the FIFO method as practiced by the "Toffs like him", and experiencing its limitations ?
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I should say "in a good place". Who am I to know what is the "right" place, huh ? Training myself to (try to) practice real and honest humility .. this was today's exercise.
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I am sure in another mood he will realize that humility comes to us all, one way or another, particularly in the field of social change. Yes, and he took a step down that path in responding to a blog post by Beth Kanter that suggested that he didn't quite set the issues out correctly or fairly. Whatever he is, he isn't stupid and I believe his heart is in the right place when he climbs off the marketing horse. I'd love to see a debate between him and Erich Fromm (whom as you know is one of my favourite thinkers about the human condition and how it lives (or not) in society).
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Careful, now. Seth probably uses Google Alerts for an ego-feed, if he hasn't subscribed to the RSS feed of this blog. He'll know you're talking about him.
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hituch said... if you want to create change, you have to hit them where it counts -- their compensation package. Someone's gonna have to look at job evaluation .. the factors and the way(s) it is applied in almost every organization still defines 'work" and come right out out of the 50's, the heart of the industrial era. I have looked at it, in a series of posts. Almost no one has read them, 'cuz the issue is so dry, arcane and boring ;-)
Toggle Commented Sep 14, 2009 on Re-designing Your Business Culture at Logic+Emotion
Almost never talked about (yet), but there will have to be (IMO) significant re-think / re-design of compensation practices, performance management schemes, the way(s) objectives are set in a networked workplace to address deep and sustainable culture change in most organizations of any size. And that, of course, implies significant change to other core management models and processes
Toggle Commented Sep 14, 2009 on Re-designing Your Business Culture at Logic+Emotion
Honestly, it was an elite co-optation of Carnival, the Bumpkin's Fair, Public Hangings, the Pillory, the scapegoat rituals, the Bordello, as well as the Mystery Cults. Delicious, and correct. Seen from outside the fishbowl, all the shenanigans of the last couple years have the distinct air of Burning Man in suits, without the collective purpose ;-) I wonder what your last comment would sound like set to a rap beat ?
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I have rediscovered my courage to write from inside wealth bondage in a way that makes the shape of that predicament visible and topical. Others sometimes write within that frame with their golden chains concealed or presented as an ornament freely chosen for personal adornment, or as a Chancellor might wear great gold chains as a sign of duly delegated authority. Golden chains, you say? A central element of the uniform of rappers and pimps? Perhaps you'll transform intelligent satire about philanthropy in an oligarchic pomo world into a new genre ... classics-based hiphop aka moral discourse ... and change your moniker from Tutor to Sixty Cents ?
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Hehe ... I wonder if Schervish will read this post ?
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