Saturday, May 7, 2011

Quote of the Day

"How much more convenient do you want to make it?  You want to go to the house?  Take  the polling booth with us?  I wouldn't have any problem making it harder.  I would want them to vote as badly as I want to vote.  I want the people of the state of Florida to want to vote as bad as that person in Africa who's willing to walk 200 miles...This should not be easy."

Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton, after the Republican legislature passed a bill making the voting process more difficult and complicated.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Economy 101

Once upon a time we made our own tools.  With these tools we made the things we needed: our house, our barn, our clothes, our food.  We made things to sell and trade and use.
Then someone told us that they could make the tools we need faster and more cheaply than we could do it ourselves.  We could purchase these tools for a small price and have more time to make things we need and things we sell.
Then someone told us that they could make the things we need faster and more cheaply than we could do it ourselves.  We could purchase these things for a small price and have more time to do other things.  Since we had become quite accustomed to letting others do what we can do on our own and accustomed to paying them to do it for us, we found this new offer easier to accept.
Now we had the task of selling and trading things that others made.  This was more necessary because we had to have money to buy what we needed since we no longer made these things ourselves.
What surprise to learn that our neighbor was facing the same problem, and a great many other people as well.  So much competition meant that no one person could sell or trade enough to support their necessities.  They looked for solutions and discovered that the people who sold us our tools and clothing and food needed people to make them for them.  They were willing to pay money for this labor.
So millions of us went to work  making tools for others that we used to make for ourselves.
Over time we learned to accept corporate structure as the legitimate source of societal fulfillment.
Personal survival skills were devalued and replaced by the acquisition of money or extravagance or power. 
What one could do was less valuable than what one could buy. 
We also learned that certain words that once seemed important, words such as civics, family, community, self-reliance, thrift, ethics, etc. had been overtaken by other words:  consumer, jobs, economy, jobs, bargain, jobs, career, jobs, education, jobs, diploma, jobs, power, jobs, credit, jobs, etc.
I wrote the thoughts above after reading the following piece  by the American writer Guy Davenport:

"Take back your body from its possession by the automobile;  take back your imagination from the TV set;  take back your wealth from Congress's bottomless pit and maniac spending;  take back your skills as home makers from the manufacturers;  take back your minds from the arguments from necessity and the merchants of fear and prejudice.  Take back peace from perpetual war.  Take back your lives;  they are yours."