standards

What if We Owned the Banks?

Economic Inequality: Part 3

In June of 2015, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, and Barclays, among other Libor-rigging giants, pleaded guilty to felony charges related to the [Libor] conspiracy and greed to pay more than $2.5 billion in criminal fines to U.S. regulators.

Protesters and Chase(AP Photo / Edouard H.R. Gluck)

Representing only a single instance of a commonplace practice played out the world over, this corporate criminality instigated the outage of Craig Brandt, an attorney from Oakland, California. He set out to enact an audacious plan. With other individuals, Mr. Brandt endeavored to have the Oakland City Council “take radical action to combat plutocracy, inequality and financial dislocation”. Mr. Brandt wanted to create a city-owned “public bank”.

Recent posts on this blog have explored economic inequality and its ramifications. The post this week continues this series, beginning to focus on potential solutions to what some see as a looming economic catastrophe. As Part 3 our Economic Inequality series, consider this article by Jimmy Tobias: “What if People Owned the Banks Instead of Wall Street?

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You Say You Want a Revolution

Economic Inequality: Part 2

GINI Article banner

Have you ever heard of a “GINI score”? This “score” is a statistical coefficient used in economics (don’t run away, this gets better). A GINI score measures wealth distribution in a designated area (like a country). Cutting to the chase, the score has been used to predict revolutions. Apples and oranges? Not really. The theory goes like this: the greater the GINI score operative in any given society (that is, the higher the measure of inequality), the greater the likelihood of a violent revolution occurring in that society. The United States has one of the highest GINI scores in the history of the world!

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Corruption of the American Republic

We are living through the most dangerous challenge
to the free government 
of the United States
that anyone alive has encountered.”

~David Frum

Trumpocracy - small

Juxtapositions, oxymorons and other somewhat paradoxical encounters can presents useful intrigue, piquing our interest considerably more than more mundane occurrences. David Frum and his new book Trumpocracy, might present just such an experience for you. (more…)

Moral-ity

Jonathan Haidt 06This blog is all about “morality”. To seek Good is to aspire for the attainment of some standard of thought and behavior defined as positive in some manner. As such, a construction such as Moral Foundations Theory represents a paramount interest of this blog (and, presumably those who read it). Likewise, the trustworthiness of such a construction becomes crucial regarding its usefulness. So how useful is this theory—Jonathan Haidt’s MFT, a theoretical, research-based notion about rubrics of our moral perspective?

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Truth as a Common Good

A democratic society becomes very fragile
when
[Truth] the central common good is assailed…
directly and repeatedly”

~ Robert Reich

Robert ReichWhat are the most fundamental components of any democracy?  Robert Reich, speaking on the theme of his book The Common Good, suggests that “truth” (which he defines as a “common good”) represents one of the most significant foundations of any democratic endeavor. Regardless of sociopolitical persuasion, preservation of high standards for truth should be paramount in our thinking. Democratic governance depends on such a perspective. However, according to Mr. Reich and many others, the manner in which certain government officials portray the concept of truth represents a clear and present danger to the very foundations of democratic institutions.

In this 40 minute video, Mr. Reich presents his case around three general categories: (1) how did “this” happen (2) the central problem we face and (3) what are we going to do?

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Meaning is a Verb

A Life Worth Living?

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Amid the swirl of thoughts that reverberate throughout life experience, once in a while an interesting idea settles onto Quora, a question and answer website (registration required).  As often as not, users post answers which are more interesting than the questions themselves.  A few weeks ago, just such a response appeared in reply to the question ‘What makes life worth living?’

Many of us ponder this or similar questions, most often with little expectation of receiving a reasonable answer.  In this instance, a responder we will simply call “Jimmy”, a self-defined entrepreneur and ”a Wall Street investor” stated the following:

“Nothing makes life worth living. The fact that this is even a question underlines the lack of life itself to provide a natural answer.”

The phrase “the lack of life” presents a curiously pointed accusation—an accusation directed at reality itself. Jimmy seems to think life owes us something, that life is somehow deficient, leaving us to pick up the pieces so to speak. He continues “Most of life is a sentence [did he mean “sequence”?] of failures and pains, punctuated with only the briefest of moments of happiness.”  What’s wrong with this picture?  (more…)

Perspective I

persepctive - ParisIf you could do anything right now, anything at all, what would you do? Why? Here is a slightly different question. If you had no constraints, if you could cause one thing to happen in the world, what event or change would you choose? Now, consider that of all the things you could have chosen, you chose this (whatever that is). What does that say about you? About your orientation and desires? Do you express such interests in your day to day decisions?

When you begin to consider what you might do if you could do anything, what is your first and second thought? Hard to pin down? For many of us one of those thoughts will be negative—some reason we believe stands in the way of doing something we say we want. We bump our heads on that learned limitation some have called achievable belief threshold or ABT—which effectively stops us in our tracks. While our wishes reflect what is important to us, so do our beliefs in limits to our freedom to fully express ourselves. But are these limits real, imposed contrivances or excuses? (more…)