1073. One secret to 77 is going to be staying one day ahead of the curve. I need to keep my options open each day and work and sleep in 1 to 4 hour blocks. I am tired. I want to increase my energy and get these books done. I need to start 3 meals a day with no snacking, and eat more raw foods and fewer starches for 2 to 4 weeks. It’s time to knock out diabetes once and for all. If I get sick of raw foods, I can go to alternate day (36 hour fasts) or even a full week or more. But diabetes has to go.
1074. When first reading Kindle ebooks or articles online, I need to outline in a text editor or here. I need to research once and create posts.
1075. I need to do more document scanning and to get rid of useless paper.
1076. Institutions are programmed to cling to what no longer works. You have heard that generals always fight the last war. 18 years and trillions of dollars later, we are still bogged down in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. No institution voluntarily gives up power or budget merely because it is failing. When the Berlin Wall and the Soviet Union fell, we were supposed to receive a peace dividend. How did that work out.
Those in power, whether government or business, seek to protect themselves from accountability for the results of their actions. People who work for these entities favor secure jobs and rigid processes, and are incapable of dismantling the organization and remaking it in turbulent times.
1077. The United States is about to face change like we have not faced in decades. Some have called it the Fourth Turning, but we can't let the labels and description tear us away from the monumental job at hand. What we have in store for us may not be recognizable to IBMs*, of which I am one. We hear it in the calls for socialism, open borders, universal basic income, medicare for all, and the destruction of monuments for Founding Fathers no longer in vogue.
You can search YouTube and listen to socialist/communist professors (Chris Hughes, Richard Wolff, others) describe why the system is crumbling. Capitalism is the enemy of the people. If you visit Fox News, capitalism was the engine that lifted generations out of poverty. Both camps are right. The problem is that the 1% are living larger than ever, even larger than the Robber Barons, and that socialism will not rescue the bottom 90%.
1078. While we must radically transform our current economy and society, tired old socialist "solutions" will not and cannot work in America. In fact, they have never worked for long anywhere. What we have is a looming battle between Millennials and Baby Boomers. Millennials have college degrees and no jobs to apply them to, and the Boomers have the assets to raid to put those socialist ideas into practice.
One problem is who is going to seize power and put a new social system into place. And, will they do it before the Boomers take their money and run?
The financial elites will cling to their 1% wealth and power no matter how much we need to decentralize power and make capital available for side hustles and the next economy. I think we all see a collapse coming. Hundreds of economists say the same thing, but no one has a handle on timing.
As the professors describe capitalism - accurately - we have a dog-eat-dog winner-take-all system run by a fascist state which rigs the system to enrich a chosen few at the expense of the many, which are called workers. I will get back to that later, and why the whole notion of management and workers will have to be revised.
Workers have created a super productive economy over the past 40 years, and virtually all of the income gains have gone not only to the 1%, but to the 0.1%.
1079. I don't care much about watching sports on TV anymore, not even my U.Va. Cavaliers. They are destined for a Number 1 bracket seed, and I hope they don't repeat the disaster of last year. I remember the stars of my time in Charlottesville - Barry Parkhill, Wally Walker, Gus Gerard, and Marc Ivaroni. Later came glory with Ralph Sampson and others. But what does it matter? Bread and circuses for the masses.
1080. Markets only factor in real time supply and demand based on price. Value not based on price is discounted. All taxpayers chip in for roads and bridges, electrical grids and water pipes. Capitalists maximize personal gain even within their corporations. Everything else is ignored. Even destroying the ecosystem by profiteering is of no consequence.
It's easy to determine what we need as an alternative destiny. New systems need to be adaptable for a brave new world, and not centralized top down to benefit the elites. Trickle down economics was a farce. Reminds me of the old adage, "don't piss on my head and tell me it's raining". We can try to separate the parts of the system doomed to failure and those which have the ability to adapt.
1081. Organizations always work to maintain the status quo, even when it's not in their best interest. Think of big box stores like Sears. They used to own tools and appliances. Then they decided they needed a "Softer Side of Sears". What crap. What woman wants to go to Sears for bras and panties. Along came Home Depot and Lowes to eat Sear's Craftsman empire. It's almost impossible for organizations to change their structure once it's been institutionalized.
1082. I like the Japanese concept of small changes/constant improvement called Kaizen. But Kaizen only works if your business is viable and headed in the right direction. Very Stoic in nature. What we are headed for are changes to the system that will leave IBMs* hanging out to dry unless we make the radical personal changes necessary for us to adapt to the new systems ahead of everyone else, even the radicals who will put the new systems in place. I am concerned on a micro level, the individual. No one can control the macro level at the beginning of a revolution.
“The book posits, I believe correctly, that in the near future most nation states will have broken down. Many will have ceased to exist. It’s quite logical, because they’re a dysfunctional way for people to organize. And it’s happening right before our eyes. None of the countries in the Middle East, Africa, or Central Asia have any coherence. They’re just the result of some ruler’s military prowess, or some politicians drawing lines on a distant map. Nation states themselves have really only been around since the 17th century. Before that, people weren’t loyal to a country; they were loyal to a chief, a king, or an emperor.”
“As the world becomes more educated, the average man becomes more acutely aware of that fact. And as jet travel and the internet become universal, people start to realize they might have almost nothing in common with their so-called “countrymen.” And a lot more in common with people who may be on the other side of the globe, many of whom will feel the same way about their own countrymen.”
“I can tell you that I have much more in common with friends in the Congo or China than I do with my fellow Americans living down the road from me in a trailer park. I have nothing in common with them. These people not only aren’t my friends, they’re liabilities. And may turn into active enemies under the right circumstances. I’d rather associate with people with whom I share common values and interests, not just the same government ID.”
“In any event, almost all the world’s nation states are terminally burdened with debt, taxes, regulations and increasingly, strife between groups fighting for either a teat on the milk cow or political power. The nation state is a dinosaur; it no longer makes sense in a world with today’s technology and demographics.”
“In fact, the primary reason that’s given for the very existence of the nation state is to defend its inhabitants. But, with the changing nature of warfare, that’s one of the things it’s least able to do. Can it defend against a nuclear attack? No. At best it can just threaten to counterattack.”
“Many nation states will simply collapse or disappear. Incidentally, I don’t think the U.S. will be a survivor. The country used to share a common culture, albeit with quaint regional variations. ”
1084. As IBMs*, should we create some kind of communes or plantations that are nearly self sufficient to survive when the SHTF?
1085. My A1c has risen from 7.0 to 8.0 over the past 3 months. Damn. I have been jonesing for pasta over recent weeks. I am now getting serious by going back to salads and roasted vegetables. If necessary, I will begin a 7 day fast once I’ve eaten up the food in the cupboard.
1086. I have to go on a money diet for the rest of the month. I should have been here already, but am not. I will have to eat some rice and pasta to keep costs down, or go full bore fasting to get way healthier.
1087. “It’s also very Stoic. Seneca spoke often of the reversals that life has in store for us—no matter how successful or secure we might believe that we are. “No man has ever been so far advanced by Fortune,” he wrote, “that she did not threaten him as greatly as she had previously indulged him.” Which is why we have to make sure that our identity and our happiness is not tied up in physical or financial things—because these things are not in our control. Seneca’s advice was that we ought to “possess nothing that can be snatched from us to the great profit of a plotting foe.””
“There’s one very persuasive reason arguing against the purchase of any new car – regardless of make or model:
The property tax you’ll be forced to pay . . . forever.
Ot at least, for as long as you “own” your car. Which (like your home) you don’t really – because you’ll never stop making payments on it. Not to the bank – but to the government.
Which is the true owner of your home – and your vehicle.”
“Here’s what’s actually going on in that beast known as The Economy: Globalism is winding down as a decade of Central Bank machinations reach their limits of deception, leaving the major trading nations with little more than comparative disadvantages. Europe is dissolving into political chaos. Japan is cannibalizing itself in preparation for its return to the Tokugawa shogunate. China is groaning with factories that turn out too much stuff; America is groaning with so much of that stuff that it’s turning into Yard Sale Nation. In the background of all that are the problematic flows of oil on tankers through dangerous chokepoints like the Straits of Molucca and the Straits of Hormuz, with a looming horizon on the supply as US shale oil production chokes to death on unpayable debt.”
1090. Aches and Pains
I woke up around 5:20 this morning. Achy. All over. After washing dishes, making the bed, cleaning and storing the rice cooker, and feeding the animals, I headed out for a 1.6 mile walk to McDonald’s at Cobblestone.
It was still dark, and muggy, as anyone who watched the NE - Jaguars game yesterday can attest. That was the hottest NFL game in years. Officially 97 degrees, but 107 on the field.
Damn I hurt. Just little aches and pains in a dozen places. Getting into ideal IBM* shape is going to be a bear.
On Mondays, the health care worker comes in. This is one of 3 days each week I have to stay away until about 2:00 p.m. It’s easier to get work done early when I have some exercise under my belt. I may go downtown or to the beach when I am done here.
McDonald’s coffee is the best deal in town. The senior coffee is $.64 and they will give you a refill if you want it. I work until I need to hit the head, then move over to Starbucks or catch a bus to another coffee shop.
I also like the the taste of their coffee better than Starbucks or even Dunkin’ Donuts.
The problem with most McDonald’s is their wifi is not as good. I went to Dunkin’ Donuts too, and the wifi is much faster and better. Also, Dunkin’ at Cobblestone opens at 5:00 a.m. which makes it fit my schedule better.
* Dunkin’ has a counter that can serve as a perfect standing desk. My butt is hurting from all the sitting.
I think I have a new primary wifi office. The hard part is smelling the sugar.
Starting today, I am not carrying my wireless keyboard with me when I go out. I use it at home, but I have to go minimalist on the road. I don’t like that chiclet keyboard much. When I get faster, that will make international travel much easier.
1091. TV is an incredible waste. I did watch some football yesterday, but more sleep would be better.
Last night, I did not get my 3,000 words finished until almost 11:00 p.m. Stupid. I would rather get it done by 11:00 a.m. Today is a much better day.
I spoke to Cleo. She is still getting sick in the morning and night. People are getting her concerned about having twins. Pregnancy makes a lot of people crazy. I can’t imagine what twins would do.
My blood sugar was down to 92 after a morning of work. I am consuming soup and starches including rice and a baked potato.
I am hoping to make McDougall’s Starch Solution work.
His program is the most desirable one available among many gurus. I love potatoes, rice, corn, oatmeal, and sweet potatoes. I hate salads. Soup is good.
The State of Inequality in America and the World
It seems like all you hear about is how one group is privileged over another. White power or white privilege. It could be the 1%ers taking all of the increases in the economy.
Inequality is rising around the world. People are getting richer in China and India. How do they express it? By eating more meat, and jacking up the rate of heart disease and diabetes. Amazing.
Inequality can cause political and social instability. It all comes down to privilege, which destabilizes the status quo.
Privilege delivers wealth and power to some individuals, all of it unearned.
If the privileged keep a grip on power, the deplorables will eventually rise up. With the rise of the Internet, the idea that power in the hands of the elite as natural order is going by the wayside.
Internet users do not need a hierarchical chain of command to manage workflow. Whole layers of middle managers have disappeared with their comfortable middle class lifestyles. Technology has improved productivity while eliminating good jobs.
Privilege will disappear one way or another. The collapse can be fruitful, or it can be messy.
Open societies with social cohesion and equal access to economic opportunity will thrive. Others will hang onto old social orders and decline.
The traditional source of privilege is birthright. We in America think of this as a British or European problem. After all, they have the lords and ladies. America had “Queen for a Day.”
Privilege has certain characteristics:
1. the benefits are unearned
2. accountability and risk are transferred to others
3. the privileged have opportunities that are not available to the masses
America has always tried to be a land of equality of opportunity, not outcome. An honest competition benefits society and even the losing players. You want equal potential for gain or loss.
Outcomes cannot and should not be equalized. Most of us from earlier generations abhor what is happening to young people, especially in sports. We want to keep score. We want championship trophies, not participation awards.
You don’t need an award for just showing up.
Are we creating a generation of pussies?
Everyone should have equal opportunity but without a guarantee of positive outcomes. Americans have a fairly fine-tuned sense of fairness. We love to win, but not with an unfair advantage.
On the other hand, privilege is inherently unfair, and we recognize it almost immediately. Those with privilege reap the rewards without skin in the game.
Privilege is the result of systems rigged in favor of the few. A classic example is legacy admissions to top universities. Rich donors expect their sons and grandsons to be accepted to Harvard and Yale. Think President Bush 43.
Privilege should not be confused with better outcomes due to luck, personal decisions, or values.
A level playing field does not eliminate privilege. You don’t need affirmative action, but you must have clear pathways for the disadvantaged to succeed.
Membership in the privileged class is inaccessible to the unprivileged regardless of how hard they work or how many credentials they accumulate. They can rise to an advantaged class which is open to anyone with the ability, values, and training.
Unequal outcomes still exist in a merit based system. Women are paid less in high managerial positions, whether or not they exist the system for child care.
STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, math) are prime examples of where people can enter an advantaged class. If certain individuals are not allowed admission regardless of merit, that’s a sign of an impermeable privilege.
People in a privileged class often feel they earned their advantages. And those who truly earned their positions can get downright pissed at perceptions to the contrary.
For example, every year the State Department gives a rigorous test for finding diplomats - Foreign Service Officers. The year I took it, 20,000 people applied for 250 spots.
Not all of those accepted came via the test. Some were accepted based on race alone. Some were females who were transferred in from other government agencies without taking the test.
Who was pissed the most about these exceptions? Women and blacks who passed the normal tests. Their whole careers, their peers had to guess whether or not they were back door officers.
One suggestion was tee shirts that stated, “I took the test.”
Back door officers benefited from government imposed affirmative action that set up a new racial and gender based class of privilege to compete with a traditional one of moneyed and connected class.
Think John McCain.
He was near the bottom of his class in Annapolis, but his father and grandfather were admirals. Do we want our military officers to be anything but based on merit?
Think of the crime of “driving while black”. Regardless of what my test officers may have done, they remain black. I think of Chris Darden of the OJ prosecution team. As a successful black man driving a high end car in Los Angeles, he is constantly pulled over for DWB.
The disparity is invisible to whites, Hispanics, and Asians. You don’t see it when it doesn’t happen to you. Only the unprivileged classes experience the differences.