Category Archives: Balance

Living the eight fold path

Pitchfork Economics

pitchfork economics dark days ahead.
Darkness Before the Dawn

A few years ago I watched Nick Hanauer (an unapologetic capitalist), as he presented a TED Talk on the coming pitchforks. He’s a billionaire himself and is spreading the word for why the system that allows billionaire is a flawed economics system. Especially when the system creates poverty. That is a pitch fork economics system. Along with several data points that identify where the issues with capitalism need to be corrected he uses his money today to spread knowledge. The narrative is the issue and he’s making the effort to spread a new narrative. Since 1980, Reagan era dismantling of the best political system in the history of man the USA has steadily lead the world in establishing the most wealth. In every other category and the categories that matter, the USA continues to fall behind every country. Healthcare, education, standard of living, infrastructure, income, human rights, human freedoms, child mortality, life expectancy, and more are all categories the Regan era (Neoliberalism) destroyed and the republicans continue to erode daily. Now and then perhaps it’s time to stop the tug-of-war between republicans and democrats and just settle on where everyone is together. It’s better for everyone to join together in agreement than to separate individually by disagreements.

Here’s where we all agree, even those Fox News watchers and AON advocates all agree with the rest of us on these key issues.

  • The influence from the wealthy on the government needs to end.
  • The income inequality is out of control.
  • Democracy needs to be reestablished and protected.
  • Equal pay, workers rights, and CEO pay are no brainers. Fix this now.
  • Everyone living in the wealthiest country in the world should have a living wage, the best education and an amazing healthcare for all.
  • Politicians should not be allowed to own stocks, businesses, or board of directors.
  • Lobiast should be unconstitutional.
  • Voting should be electronic.

The magic all happens in Seattle Washington and is shared online at https://www.pitchforkeconomics.com Even though the word economics reminds me of school, college courses in micro and macro economics were as exciting as watching a goldfish in a bowl. Fun for a few minutes but 4 semesters of material… really? The content of the website is all in podcast so it’s just stuff to listen to, and it’s pretty cool people to listen to. I would list the names of the speakers but I doubt most people reading this would know them. Governors, politicians, entrepreneurs, sports team owners, billionaires, poor people, etc.

If you call yourself a republican then this website isn’t for you. If you call yourself a democrat this website is not for you either. Actually if you think of politics with the same stubborn enthusiasm most people have for their favorite football or baseball team (politics is like a sport) this site isn’t for you, at all. Here’s an example of why you need to embrace the sunrise now and then. 

Thick Storm Clouds Closing In

Seattle raised the minimum wage to $15 an hour three years ago. OMG! Right? Before the legislation passed Nick and team surveyed several hundred business owners across seattle. In every case the business owners said the $15 an hour would destroy businesses, increase unemployment, ruin the city’s economy. One year after the increase Seattle was the fastest growing city in the USA. More new businesses were opening, employment was higher, crime rates were dropping, and a surprising 75% drop in time lost at work for sick time. When Nick and team researched and interviewed business owners the facts revealed a very different truth. It turns out that when you nearly double the income of waiters, cashiers, factory workers, healthcare workers, and about 25% of the general workforce that those people now become consumers. Those people could now afford to eat in restaurants and so rather than restaurant owners having to layoff staff and close down business, they had to hire more help and open more restaurants to keep up with the increased demand. More new and used cars were getting purchased, more televisions, more cell phones, tablets, and clothes. People could get their own apartments rather than sharing and so the city has faced a boom in new apartment building construction. The narrative from the neoliberals that taxing the rich, increasing wages, helping those less fortunate, providing free medical, free education and increasing funds to the retired is a doomsday recipe  are forced down our throats and spouted as if they were scientific facts and laws of nature but they are not correct nor scientific fact. They are absolutely wrong. And so, trying to develop India, Africa, and still vastly third world China so that the UK/USA businesses can generate more money is the pursuit even while the standard of living, mortality rates, and education of the citizens of her majesty’s kingdom continue to plummet is a crime against humanity. To increase wealth in the UK’s colonies including Canada, is simple. Give money to the people. Establish a strong middle class. Trickle up economics.

One last fun fact from Pitchfork Economics. The neoliberals have used the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as the standard for measuring economic success since the 1950’s. It too is wrong in the same way that taxing the rich is bad for everyone kind of wrong. The wealthiest country in the world should lead the way in establishing a living wage. We should begin by removing GDP and replacing the measure of economic growth with measures that truly reflect the economy. Four such measures are suggested by the economic experts.

  1. How many times a day do you worry about losing your job? When it’s zero we have a living wage stage 1.
  2. How many times a day do you worry about not being able to pay rent/mortgage? When it’s zero we have a living wage stage 2.
  3. How many times a day do you worry about not being able to financially take care of your family? When it’s zero we have a living wage stage 3.
  4. How many times a day do you worry that you won’t be able financially afford to retire? When it’s zero we have a living wage stage 4.

Simple and truly those measures above are the real indicators of economic growth and prosperity. We will always get what we measure.

Nick Hanauer’s newer Ted Talk on income inequality.

“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it–always.”

The Great Soul

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

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Survey The World Twice Each Day

Moonrise over Salobrena
Moonrise over Salobrena

While Sakyamuni Buddha was alive he would meditate on the world every morning and again each evening. Using supernatural powers only available to the arhats, he would survey for where effort was needed. The Dhammapada is filled with dozens of short stories about the adventures of the munks, elders, and lay people as observed by the Tathagata. I’m reminded of those teachings everyday as I check the daily statistics for the war on the Chinese Plague. One of my favorite sites for surveying data shows the daily counts for the number of people infected; how many recovered, how many are severe, how many are dead. The data is updated twice each day and by each country. Like the Buddha surveying the world twice each day I check the data for Spain, India, Canada, Sweden, China, and United States. I have family and friends in all these places and I visit each of them twice each day. Anxiously I wait for the day, as I’m certain each of them does too,  when I can walk out of my apartment and begin to enjoy living in Spain once again. Selfishly, I wonder why the WHO got this so wrong, and how easily destroyed what little peace we peasants had left. We have enjoyed a system of consumerism and with the exceptions of the United Kingdom and it’s Pseudo autonomous country, the United States, we had a strong middle class system of life. The Chinese have destroyed so much. They have killed hundreds of thousands of people across the entire world without firing a single shot, not dropping a single bomb. They’ve stopped the world from turning without destroying any infrastructure. Their much beloved general from the 5th century wrote China’s war strategies in the treaties known as “The Art of War”, by Sun Tzu. Among the instructions for methods to destroy the enemy is a strategy to win their country without destroying the infrastructure. Sun explains it is best for the empire to take the enemies with their factories, roads, farmland, etc. intact so the proceeds and products from the production can immediately provide benefit to the empire. 

Survey the world twice each day.
Darkest night in Spain

Most of the world’s inhabitants are feeling the strain of the disruption to their life and trying to stay positive expecting one day soon for life to be back to normal. I fear it won’t return and that we are coming closer to a point of regime change. The UK’s branch of government managed by Trump has gone a step too far in poking the bear with the tariff stick. While you won’t find a lot of mainstream media accusing the British Empire of interfering in US elections, you may understand how ironic the UK sudden move to become nationalistic coincides with US sudden drive to become nationalistic. Nationalists policies cannot win. Despite this seemingly overwhelming stress of cold war tactics, if you can consider germ warfare a cold war tactic the power of a unified consciousness has always prevailed and will in this case prevail again. Not the same as we had from 1934 to 2019, but tyrants and the wealthy will fail as they always have.

Have you ever played the game of Monopoly? Most everyone around the world has some knowledge of the game. Though not everyone has the patience to have played to the end of the game, there are lessons to learn for us all. There are several research experiments that have studied people’s performance using games such as Monopoly. The results will vary from experiment to experiment but the bottom line from each is the same. The basis of the results is that people perform better and with greater success when they work together than when they work as individuals. Not only do each of us play monopoly differently as an individual than we do when we play as part of a team, but when we are part of a team competing with other teams the games often become a balance of power and a unified whole rather than producing a single victor. Think bye bye nazi, bye bye women power, white power, black power, china power, and hello humanity first for All.

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Sea Glass – The Pass of Time

Collecting Sea Glass – The Pass of Time

After five months of retirement Mark and I have settled into a nice weekly routine.  We have days of the week that we do walks, hikes, yoga, grocery shopping, flea market, reading, writing, and of course a few rest days in between.  We both love to cook and have taken on new recipes and enjoy baking and cooking at home most days. We have found our home cooking is by far much better than any food we can get in a restaurant.   Travel is also very much a passion for us and we also have had the pleasure to travel to Madrid and also explored the town beside us called La Herradura. 

So far I have not had the concern of being bored having every single day to do exactly what I want to do.  I know many folks often are worried to retire thinking they may be bored or lonely day to day. Every person is different but I can say for myself, so far I have no complaints outside of sometimes missing being able to see my children in person whenever I want.  WhatsApp calls, instant messaging and video chats have helped with that. The world is much easier to stay in touch these days with the technology we have at our fingertips.  

One Wednesday morning Mark and I were doing our regular weekly hike over the hills of Parque de Mediterraneo to the various beaches on the route.  We wandered onto the beach of Playa Curumbico and walked along the water’s edge. Mark was taking some pictures and then handed me a piece of green round rough edged glass.  I recognized it right way as a piece of Sea Glass. It brought back memories watching the movie “Spanglish”. In the movie Adam Sandler proposes a challenge the children to collect a bucket of sea glass and he would pay them for it.  Sea glass is broken glass that has been tossed around in the ocean and comes up as frosted coloured gems.

When we got home Mark sent me a beautiful photo of ocean stones and the brightly coloured green stone amongst the rocks.  I decided I am going to start collecting. After about a month I barely have a handful of the stones. Upon reading online about sea glass it appears that it is widely sought after and people are now making jewelry and other craft items out of the stones.  It seems that green is the most common, red and black are more rare. I now have a challenge for myself to search for that elusive black or red stone. It’s a fun pass time when we wander on the beach and also gives me a reason to focus and be mindful searching for that perfect stone.  I have decided I am going to collect enough to fill a whisky bottle for decoration, and who knows someday I might even take up making sea glass into jewelry pieces.

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