Friday, December 23, 2016

When work reality shifts and skills must

There can be a good feeling about one's society, even if worried about world at large, where most people am sure are not walking about challenging others as to their contribution. And I think in general we suppose that as long as people are being productive in a way good for society that things are ok without knowing the details.

Then there can be the concerns about those we may fear are not pulling their own weight as the phrase goes while getting the benefits of social support. But also want those who really need help to get it, when have a healthy community in mind.

But what about those desperate to be productive who watched their world shift and the value of their skill-sets shift as well in a way that left them struggling? What do you do?

And a LOT of people faced recently and are facing those kinds of questions which can challenge your sense of self. How do you feel about your benefit to society? When the easy answer is to go back to school, or re-tool, or re-learn and find other things you can do that people value. Easy to type up in a sentence, but really think about living it.

For me feel gratified that skills of mine that in the past looked one way, now look another as I took touch typing in high school. Was in a class back in the 1980's that was mostly girls, as fewer males in my school were like me, valuing the need to have those skills. Will admit I knew I wanted to do computer programming. MUCH better to type up your code without having to look at the keys! But today if you want to do something like am attempting with this post, which is to communicate to people ideas you think are important, is useful to be able to type your thoughts rapidly, and accurately.

And also I was one of those kids who loved English grammar for some reason. The logic of it fascinated me, and now rely heavily on those skills, even as I test the limits of the rules I learned very well, or decide is cool to simply break those I do not think matter. If you read my writing you can see the evidence of grammar pushed to its limits often as I look to communicate best as I see it. But need to know the rules first! Knowing the rules lets you find the limits where thoughts can push against restrictions that would barrier them.

This post has taken about five minutes of my time so far, which is good! Time is valuable and in our time getting there faster is the way to keep ahead and not find yourself wondering where to go, or what do you need to learn now?

The rapid shifts brought about by technological change have stressed people in unique ways I believe and it's important for society in general to recognize that, and continue to value people still trying. There is a new area now, where despite your best efforts you can struggle to keep up in a world that pauses for no one.

And your society needs to support you in finding your way, for the good of that society.

And now am running out of time for this post! Ten minutes of my time and more editing, where can take days to fully edit but gist of it will remain the same.

What does it take to be able to type up a post here in about ten minutes?

Well I think it takes working at skills diligently that have been built up, but also represents a shift in skills to what seems more valued for what is available for me to use! Like being able to type up a post on a blog that can speak to people all over, as just a typical thing, in our modern world.


James Harris

Saturday, December 17, 2016

New public self

Web does something interesting in that even if not on it, it can push your public self in ways not previously true. Like if I meet someone and ask a few questions: Like, are you on social media? Do you watch web video? How do you get your news?

If a person is not on social media, doesn't watch web video and gets their news from television then I feel like I know a lot about that person quickly. If they ARE on social media for instance though then I may just go look and see what public they have up!

That public person is the modern persona which is available 24 hours a day.

We have a new kind of public self.

Like it dawned on me recently that MOST people who know of me anywhere, probably know of me because of things I have public on the web, like here.

Sat and pondered that sentence for a bit as very different from world I was trained to face as a kid, as that world evolved into our modern one, and a public reality that is increasingly default, even in the null case.

You have a public persona in the modern world whether you like it or not, even if it is a null one driven by NOT being on the web as people can find that out too!

For me the public persona is fun. It intrigues me that people can literally spend days reading through things I've written and maybe learn a bit about me, if they wish. Choice rules. If they lack interest though is not a negative for me as I will not know either way for most regardless. I will not know what choice was made by most people who come across my content. That is the new public reality that is true for all. Is maybe weird though? Thought and pondered that for a bit too.

Trying to measure though is the web analytics problem which consumes many.

And people trying to figure out where your interest goes is defining the web, and pushing back into society, as can help figure out decisions that will be made, like how you might vote in an election, like the recent one here in the US.

The web has the unique ability to potentially have information readily available on every single person on planet Earth. That potential is driving so much whether you like it or not, consider it or not, or know of it or not.

Your public self will matter, even if is null from trying to stay off the web.

And there will be people who will learn about you whether you wish them to know anything or not. For instance for many it's as simple as web search, as web search will likely tell.

Thinking how you present in public will define you, as how you think? Will determine how you act. And your actions will define the behaviors others may notice.


James Harris

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

How will we work?

Considering what work is has intrigued me and in our times people have to ponder the question of automation and wonder what might be left for humans to do? And I was comforted to note that there was a time when most people did agriculture while now in major countries like my own few do. So huge shifts in how humans work have been ongoing for millennia.

And another huge one actually is about done as factories changed so much as our world industrialized and I think much of the idea of work as a horror came with factories as well. Sure farm work is hard, and can be difficult but the idea of dehumanizing labor, outside of slavery should add, I think really came with factories. And robots and automation are changing that story.

Took it for granted that our education system was long designed to create good factory workers. And the needs of the factory may have pushed more education for everyone, so should add that as well.

Now information technology is pushing for a different kind of worker in many areas, while many are also more likely to go into services.

That reality of 10.3% of workforce over 16 in manufacturing in the US tells the tale I think, and so much was focused on factories, but reality now is few people work in them. And thankfully today here in this country at least such jobs are not the horrors they were in the past, when humans were treated like, well like machines.

Technology has transformed how humans work for a long time. But the one constant is that we work for each other.

I think what humans do for other humans is where focus should be, and in the past to feed each other was in agriculture, and later for a bit factories needed human effort. Now? Well we're figuring that out.

It is important to value human effort though. My own view based on my analysis of money as best thought of as a return for a favor where that favor is abstracted is that it is important to return that favor in equal exchange. The idea that businesses can cheat workers with less pay than deserved I think will go away, as a challenge to nations.

If you want your people employed? You can't let them be cheated as you discourage your workforce, limit your economy and in a world where information travels well, you are likely to be held accountable.

Wealthy individuals in the past could rely on gatekeepers to hide information for their benefit, while today the web zips information around with great facility.

And if your people find out they should be paid more, why should they like you?

The reality I think is that with the collapse of the factory system, and the growth in shared knowledge, we will do well in valuing what we do for each other.

Just like machines took over much of farm work and still have more to take, and are taking over factories, with a freeing of humans to do other things for each other, so will technological innovation stress more and more, giving value, so you can make that money for value returned.

Money facilitates commerce between strangers, helping us appreciate the input of others and think about how we can bring value to others. Sure it's had its problems lately, but with our species? Figuring things out is what we do.

Human beings seem to have a joy in figuring things out, which I think is so grand.


James Harris

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Ringing phone reality and my vet care

As much as care for veterans and problems with it get in the news it bothers me that in my experience am still facing the most stunning problem to me in terms of access to care, which is hearing a phone ring, and ring, and ring...until you give up.

At least in the past I remember getting to an answering machine, and waiting days for a callback. That didn't even happen this time this morning.

Not someone who wants to share lots as it is my personal life and medical information is very personal but thought could talk about some things related to my experience with care through US Department of Veterans Affairs. And very much appreciate that it is there and like that changes are being made but just this morning? I made some calls and once past the auto-answer, trying to get to a person found that the phone rang, and rang, and rang, until I gave up.

But I know am looking at a peak time so will try again later as you learn strategies and the basic answer I think is, there aren't enough people available to handle the phones. Why aren't there? Because I believe the bureaucratic system in place refuses to set up a working system so that phone lines have enough people. Which is my opinion.

There ARE more options for contact though like online which are being developed but if you're a veteran in crisis? At least you repeatedly get the advice which works which is to call 911. Yup. New message with the recorded voice after the auto-answer, I think, as do notice now after the recommendation if in crisis is to call a suicide crisis line, if you are suicidal, which thankfully I don't need but I fear if I did, would I get a ring, and ring, and ring? I don't trust that I would not. I think that's new. Sadly the need is there. I'm not so sure about the support. But I am not in a position to check, thankfully. The problem with getting a human being to answer at the VA is bizarre to me.

Have debated talking more about what I see as problems with veterans care, and having been in a VA facility in the past, was lucky enough to have my curiosity satisfied somewhat, as I heard a phone ring, in an office, of a VA staffer who was really good, but overworked in my opinion. The staffer was not in the office. I heard the phone ring, and ring, and ring, until it stopped. That person, back then as was over two years ago, probably went to an answering machine.

But it was weird seeing the reality and understanding why. Just were not enough people for that phone line. The person to whom it went probably should not have been answering directly as was a counselor who needed to be working all the time with veterans. To me is a wacky system.

May talk more about the subject and what I see as the primary problem rarely discussed properly with the VA system now in place. But there is a debate with myself and a simple reason to fear talking too much as really believe could impact my care.

To me the system in place makes it very hard to talk against it. The ability for retaliation against veterans is real, and there is very little help and HUGE hurdles to get over if you are wronged. The system is definitely setup to make it hard for veterans like myself to raise the alarm. And reality is for those who need it, the VA care that you can get DOES help immensely.

I greatly value the care I receive through the VA, and hesitate to mess that up. But this post should be ok, I think.

And to update as have edited this piece a bit, did call later and promptly got to a person which is great! But to me is a lot about technique, experience as timing is important. And yeah keep trying.


James Harris

Monday, August 15, 2016

Our grand national tolerance

The United States of America has faced some serious challenges, like emerging as an independent nation after the bold declaration that founded it, which required a fierce war of independence, and also surviving a bid to destroy it by states seceding from it, which was sort of the opposite, as the American Civil War was about inflicting death to bind, while the American Revolutionary War was about enduring death to escape.

"...give me liberty or give me death!" -- Patrick Henry

Both events had people who really thought they were bad ideas. Not all colonists wanted independence from the British Empire. They were loyal citizens to it, and guess what? Can we say they were wrong? Our nation's founding citizens were mostly traitors to their nation of birth--not all were British--hellbent on starting a new nation, and thank God they succeeded and we get to continue the freedoms for which they fought, and many died, to have.

And when some time had passed and some decided the United States of America was no longer a good idea, were they wrong? How do we know? Nonetheless they were defeated in a war that forever changed the nation and the world as it introduced modern battle field techniques and ruthless war. The immensity of the slaughter can be lost on people today and hard to grasp, though later wars would greatly magnify it, peeking with World War II.

Flags have become extraordinary symbols, and for nations can help exemplify.

Our American flag has stood against the challenges to the life of the nation and emerged triumphant on the battlefield.

That fact is definitive for so many lives and maybe taken for granted by many Americans, though they might deny it, as some would rather fly a defeated flag in a nation that is very tolerant of dissent.

Wishing the United States of America were no longer here is not something I think most would display proudly, but those who wish the Confederacy had won the Civil War are stating that boldly with a symbol, and I welcome their freedom to say it in a nation brilliant for its tolerance. Don't believe me? Ask someone flying that flag: Do they wish the Confederacy had won?

Call it tradition if you will, but that defeated flag would not be bragging rights except for hope that maybe, just maybe, if those who believe work at it long enough, they can finally defeat the United States of America.

Won't happen though.

There were quite a few British who weren't exactly fans of that independence thing, and some went home, but for others this country was their home, still. As much as they might hate what they knew was treason, as it was.

They stayed in the new nation, and had children, and their children had children, and so on.

And somehow we all kind of get along together most of the time.

Too many may fail to appreciate the various forces hellbent on destroying this nation, from people who probably feel confident they are correct, who are citizens of a nation born in fire and blood. Which endures through it all, not because it forgets its history, but because it understands it.

The revolutionary spirit which created this nation still fires it in so many ways, and the freedoms that keep it alive are an inspiration to a world.

Thank you Patrick Henry and so many other patriots throughout this nation's history, as you gave us liberty. And it's up to each American generation to remember that liberty is a really cool thing to have.

I know I like it.


James Harris

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Speculation including office supply theft

One of the more remarkable things to me in American work culture for those who work in offices is routine theft of office supplies, and found myself with speculations that offer a simple explanation which trace back to what I see as wage theft, gender inequality in pay, and slavery.

To me money is a social IOU as society guarantees payback, as for instance US currency is backed by the US Government. And when employing someone is given usually in exchange for a favor, typically called labor, where works best with strangers. That means community is another area, where for instance volunteer firefighters presumably are not pay motivated, but work for their community.

With wages occurring best between strangers in non-community arenas, I think it easy to explain why pay problems can occur in more community focused occupations like police work, firefighting, teaching among others.

Communities have to figure out how to value the work, versus in other areas, as for instance your community is MUCH better off if your firefighters are less busy putting out fires than not.

And for example with the president of the United States pay is set by the US Congress, but the president doesn't need it during time in office as things needed are supplied by the people of the United States of America.

Oh yeah, and soldiers are in a community focused area. You do not volunteer for service in the US military to get rich, I would think. And wages are set in a way that is about what the community assesses as should be given, versus in direct compensation for legal services or products as favors in exchange for money.

However, in other areas pay is supposed to be about value of work received and I think there are legitimate concerns by many that often workers in non-community focused areas can simply be exploited, forced to either accept less value in return for their work, or fight relentlessly against employers who may see theft through wages as just a way of doing business.

I speculate that attitude that thievery from workers is just part of business arose in areas where slavery had existed and slaves were not paid, of course, but once institutional slavery ended, those who had been slaves were to be paid. I suggest their work was not properly valued as many were in a situation where their employers were those who had been slave-owners. Those people I doubt highly valued their work, and didn't pay properly, and as their attitude gained traction it spread throughout the United States and around the globe, until we get the modern system, which includes a known tendency to underpay women generally known as the gender pay gap.

Which to me is high level thievery, as workers in such a system can find it very difficult to force proper pay levels. And it occurs to me that some may retaliate with low level thievery, considering office supplies to at least be something.

Which is why am sure former military can be surprised in that system. For them work was separated from pay, while in the military, and no reason for hostility against a system they volunteered for and understand.

Community can be exploited too unfortunately by unscrupulous business owners. In a work environment where people are contractually providing their labor as services in exchange for pay, a ruthless employer might push a sense of community to extract beyond the contract.

In contrast for a community oriented entity, like a non-profit or the military, of course community services IS the thing. And someone unethical might lust after that ability to extract work from a sense of community, while underpaying, which is also simply theft.

Figuring out what the job is, and why then matters a lot. People who are providing service to their community are dependent on that community properly valuing their services, like military members whose pay is simply set. While people working for employers at jobs where their efforts get direct compensation, have to be sure that they are paid properly for those efforts.

People should work to make sure there is no snarl between efforts for community, like coming together for protection of your community say with sand-bagging efforts to protect against rising flood waters, and those involving work between strangers where favor should be equally exchanged, where money allows enumeration of value of a legally provided service.


James Harris

Friday, June 10, 2016

Did stealing with wages become standard?

Considering the rather simple argument that after slavery ended, the work of those who had been slaves was not fully valued so they weren't paid properly actually can lead much further. As I think for a long time the idea was that you paid value for value. If someone did $100 US worth of work for you, then that's what you should pay, and not say $50 US and dare them to catch you, or force you to pay up.

However, today I think many see it as standard around the globe that employers underpay, which is stealing.

That stealing in this way could be considered socially acceptable probably was because it first arose in areas where there had been slaves and then spread outward.

Today, many take it for granted.

Later it captured women especially, and other vulnerable people, while also staying very much with certain ethnic groups in the US crippling their lives.

It is past time for a change. If someone does work for you?

Then you should pay the value for that work, or quite simply?

You ARE a thief, even if society doesn't call you out for it.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Wages and civil rights

Can talk simply about topics like money with my own ideas, where it doesn't take much to delve into very contentious areas. Like already noted in a previous post that what I call political science leads easily to the hypothesis that wealthy people may drive up national debts as a tax deferment scheme.

Making a hypothesis does not make it so, but it does give a predictive framework, which you can test! And science is testable.

Here will look to see what my ideas about money as a social IOU given in exchange for a favor, which works best with strangers can do in the arena of wages and civil rights.

One of the stranger things with human beings I think can be on issues of value of effort, where for instance in times past, like in Old Europe, someone might work in a manor house for some Lord, and there was status in that, as well as food and lodgings. Wages were probably paid, but the condition of servitude was recognized. When wages were NOT paid, a condition of slavery was in place, which was something that was in the United States during a period.

That a condition of servitude could entail benefits all the way to a condition of slavery with a wage scale going to zero is important for what comes next.

In our times, people see pay primarily as the value returned in exchange for the service of their labor, which includes mental labor, when working for an employer which is distinguished from being self-employed even in our times.

Getting a proper return on the favor of a labor, say writing a computer program if a software developer, is important, as if an employer gets services without giving compensation then as seen above, the wage scale is at zero, which is slavery.

If we look at what happened in the US after the end of institutionalized slavery we can use these ideas to note something of interest: People previously slaves who were freed, often had little choice but to return to the people who had been enslaving them, only now in return for their services they were supposed to get adequate compensation.

Not surprisingly can have serious doubts on the notion that occurred, so from one perspective, their condition of slavery was not completely removed, but lessened, with significant responsibilities placed upon them, like housing. They were forced to make money somehow to purchase needed things, but were limited as to who was available to take the favor of their services in exchange for wages to people likely to value those the least. And under pressure to find some way to survive, things like sharecropping could push even closer back to the original condition.

So with my terminology, can say that workers were pushed into offering the favor of their services, to the very people who often had previously valued those services at nothing because they were slaves then.

Best thing would have been if they could start their own businesses.

That wages involve a valuation of the favor of services provided is key. Someone who honestly thinks workers are rather worthless can potentially pay a much lower wage, believing it is adequate compensation.

Return on the favor of effort is a fascinating subject, and the social IOU system we call money can have the flaw that to make money you both need someone who wants the favor of your services and that person needs to value those at a level that can vary, so what if in both areas there is a serious problem?

But yeah if you're working say at 80% of what you should be making as a wage? And you work Monday through Friday? Then conceivably on the simplest interpretation on Friday you're at 0 on the scale, and that day? You're a slave.

This approach can also be used to talk about pay disparities for women, who can be said to work for free from a certain day in the year, based on the percentage less they tend to receive than men doing the same work. The gender pay gap could also be seriously impacted by valuation of services, where someone might see a man doing the same amount of work as somehow doing them a bigger favor than a woman. That perceptual bias, however, if it exists is nonsense. If the work done is the same, then the favor is the same, and the compensation should be the same.

Is relevant though that in considering some of the worst horror stories around employment I've noticed in the news, they tend to occur in low wage areas, were people can be pressured in horrifying ways, leading to a lot of labor laws to try and curb abuses, as well as laws pushing against discriminatory hiring practices. Actually LOTS of laws to protect against all kinds of abuses, like a boss who pushes someone into sexual favors, or people pressured to steal or lie for an employer. Which can occur at higher wages too, of course.

But if someone is paid a lot less by this interpretation they're giving a favor without getting an appropriate return. And they're outside of natural bounds, and who might know better than the employee what their work is actually worth? The employer.

What kind of person could exploit with that kind of knowledge? Maybe the cascade of modern labor laws are revealing about what kind.

The basic concept is simple--if someone does you a favor you should give them equal favor in return, without exception to the best of your ability to give a return, where money is simply a convenient abstraction allowing people to enumerate the value of a favor.

Maybe the simplest thing is to force employers to not steal from workers, by having governments work tirelessly to be sure that return on the effort of the favor is commensurate with actual value to the employer. Shared information is very useful in this regard.

From one perspective then can argue that slavery did not completely die around the world in just this one respect, where the position is muddled by other compensations besides wages. Like the servants who had a wage, but other benefits working for a noble, so were in servitude but NOT slaves, technically.

But yeah, if working without compensation for efforts, as an employee, even for a day? That day may be the one where many experience a form of modern slavery which has simply not been called out as such. People may instead say, you're working for free! Um, what's the difference?

Which is yet another hypothesis. From my kind of political science perspective, then simply enough former slaves were consistently given less in return for their efforts than should have received, limiting them immensely.

Or in other words, quite simply, they weren't paid enough.

Then I could predict that government efforts to push people to give adequate return for favors, will force equality among them. Which may be a reason for some to fight to maintain unequal systems, to fight back for lower wages, so that they can devalue human effort, and the humans who give that effort as well.

Obviously, valuing human effort to the extent is opinion, can give lots of room to just claim those people aren't good enough for higher wages, whether that is true, or not, in any number of circumstances.

Government should, if the hypothesis is correct, disincentivize the benefit to that devaluation. Simply remove the reward for devaluing human effort.

And I suspect it's easier to suggest, than to get done. Especially if you have people who got away with it for a long time, and found huge financial rewards as a result.

Maybe society is very lucky in that most people simply will not behave that way, but will try to give an appropriate return on a favor received.


James Harris

Monday, May 23, 2016

How to define success?

Coming up with the simple approach to money as a social IOU for a favor that is guaranteed by society turned out to be extremely useful to me. And that approach was one I posted back August 2014 and have been working with it ever since. While how I present the idea has shifted a bit, while focus on favors is constant, and helps explain why things like teaching or firefighting, or being a soldier can have pay problems as those involve things NOT favors.

While in contrast, someone favoring you with a beautiful song? Well that can garner that person millions of dollars or more if millions of others see it as a favor to hear as well. And the social IOU is guaranteed by society! That person favors you with a song, say at a concert, in exchange for an abstraction enumerating the value of that favor, we call money.

And money is best to keep up with favors from strangers, as people in communities do each other favors all the time, and the people who keep up with those very carefully? Can be kind of obnoxious. But a stranger can walk into a store, talk briefly to another stranger, and in exchange for social IOU's, have the favor of useful items or just wanted ones. In other words, you walk into a store, find what you want, and buy it. Seems so simple, as in much of the world, it is.

Looking back at ancient human communities knowing who was doing what was probably easy most of the time. You could see the leaders organizing the community around things like food gathering, caring for members of the group, and even if necessary defense. You were together with members of that community doing things. And people could have a rough sense of favors as well, who was doing what for whom. And also keep up with those not pulling their own weight.

In contrast with vastly larger numbers of people in our times money can give a number on value people are bringing to their community to some extent. And societies can grow to vast sizes, and it is very granular who is watching whom, so that an employer can look over work being done, to see who is doing what.

The greater value in getting work from strangers, as hiring family or close community can cause problems in and of itself, can help build social cohesion, give greater independence, and push human beings to be more communal on the large. Yes, some families will admit do apparently work well for each other as employees or bosses of each other, but society as a whole can see greater benefit in the linking of strangers by work bonds.

People are usually pushed by the need for employment to make connections outside of their family or close community.

Without the connections between peoples that money facilitates it's hard to see how modern civilization could exist.

However as efficient as it can be in principle, money does run into problems, like with things valued by community NOT favors, like teaching and caring for children, putting out fires or police work though I didn't mention that above, and also national defense. Soldiers are not doing you a favor by protecting their nation! And without perspective, societies can struggle to pay properly in important areas.

The favor system can also be deliberately broken by deceit. People can quite simply steal money, as the abstraction in hand in the form of the concrete like with cash can imply something that was not actually done. And on bigger scales entire nations can simply print money, running up deficits that can be more about politics than national necessity.

Thankfully the web, which allows me to push these thoughts out to those willing to read them around the globe easily enough, also helps us keep up with information that helps bring money back to its greatest efficiency.

That person who manages to use means harmful to society to get the appearance of value can be undone by an informed public.

People understandably prefer that money to be earned. And will accept inherited to some extent, even though there can be battles over how much should be passed to a next generation of favors earned not by them, or even won, like with lotteries, but few tolerate simply stolen, or counterfeited.

Money is a way to do a favor for a stranger, or receive a favor from a stranger in a way that limits social trust I argue. It is a great system, and can help see those who are helping society by being of use to others.

Still I'm sure that communities will also use the web to see those people who are great at organizing their community, regardless of how much paid, or very good in helping others, even if not amply compensated, as well as so many others who are NOT doing favors for social IOU's as successful as well.

And in fact, some of those who don't charge could be the most successful of all, not from the favors for which they are paid, but for the duty which causes them to serve.

Finding success I think is something a lot about what we see in each other, so will be so much about communities and what they value. And the fate of those communities?

Well that fate is what will happen, as decisions are made, and consequences follow.

The human story is always a work in progress. And that progress I am certain will always be so much about what people do for each other, and why.


James Harris

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Beyond the selfish gatherers

Most would probably agree our ancestors spent much of their time focused on basics like gathering food and having sources of potable water. And throughout human history the primary activity probably was focused on just those areas, with also gaining shelter, taking care of children being high on the list but further down. And then going down the line of priorities until there was time for things like entertainment.

As science and technology have increased predictability for so many humans, things have shifted and for instance in countries like the United States, where I grew up, very few people are directly working at producing food. Gathering it is as easy as going to a shopping market, which many take for granted.

I do not.

However, something else odd has happened. With money helping to fuel human civilization by allowing strangers to do favors for other strangers in exchange for a socially backed IOU we call money, human beings could move to many other things. Like today, a pedicure can be had. Theoretically a robot could someday give a pedicure, but I do wonder, what humans would want it?

If we focus on money as a way that humans interact with strangers, then there is no reason to believe human beings will not keep finding ways to employ each other, with contracts that allow limited social trust in that exchange of goods or services for remuneration.

So why so much inequity today in so many parts of the world that consider themselves well developed?

Simplest explanation will present--SOME humans apparently overly value gathering favors.

Like there are hoarders who will continue to pile up things in their living spaces for reasons that are gathering increasing study, I believe there are human beings who will gather social favors in the form of money, without regard to need. And they will do this gathering even if in so doing they destabilize society, and also do not give adequate return for the efforts of other humans.

Here I've noted the massive impact in US history of just one American who more than doubled the wages of his workers. Henry Ford managed to do something that shifted world history, and I think after him, others have been fighting a longer battle to reverse those lessons and nearly crashed the entire world economy in 2008, bringing the human story to a near stunning reversal which in the future may be seen simply as a sign of a mental illness prevalent with some not diagnosed.

Hoarding in a way that can destroy your nation? I think that qualifies as remarkable.

Why would a man fight for a billion dollars US as if his life depended on it if he already has half a billion? And convince himself his workers are worthless when without them he'd have nothing? Or that he shouldn't pay taxes at all, when without his country he would lack the ability to accrue his wealth? And then strut around like he's brilliant?

Few notice that relentless and ruthless aggregation of wealth has been promoted as a good, except to decry when it becomes the anthem of a movie. And finally maybe some were scared.

Greed is NOT good. And it never will be.

But face reality that today human beings in many areas suffer because other humans devalue their efforts, while accruing vast resources to themselves where it is dubious as to how that was deserved. Especially when you find that they view cheating as basic, lying as being smart, and have utter contempt for people who are destroyed by their behavior, when they trusted their society.

There is a basic faith I think most Americans like myself had that our country focused more on merit, gave opportunity, and valued its people. Which was shaken I think by some who were ruthless in exploitation of trust.

But that trust has gone. As a new political order begins to arise I think we will rethink how we value the efforts of strangers. How we decide who gets paid what. And realize that unlike our ancestors, desperate often for food and water, we decide our destiny in so many powerful nations.

So our communities have no excuse.

If there is plenty, yet so many are without even opportunity? Your society is corrupted, and I'm thinking you probably have people I see as parasitic lurking within your midst. Pulling resources to themselves--by any means they can without even a true enjoyment of it, as they are driven, like hoarders in ways they may not even understand.

Science will answer so many questions though. It's up to us to act on what we learn to be true.


James Harris


Saturday, April 30, 2016

No fan of political despair, question? Often.

To me one of the more obvious things I see often with politics in America is an attempt at driving people to political despair, and convincing them there is no point in trying. Like you can easily bump into those who will talk calmly about why they don't vote. Or who will quietly assert that no matter how bad the current system is with Republicans and Democrats that there is no other choice.

But in this country? We Americans ARE free, whether you believe it or not.

It's a cool thing that protects a country where if you probe into what some people say, you realize they have become trapped into some kind of despairing reality, which does not make it true! It just means someone convinced.

I like questions probing into what is real, and political reality? It's a great arena to always keep asking for answers to important questions to you. So am going to give some questions I think are important, pulled from an earlier post. Where this time will show my answer with them for one. Where ALL my answers are in the original party platform of ideas for a new political party that I presented on this blog.

1. What do you think is the role of government?

The role of government is to protect and enable its citizens.

2. How do you feel about separation of Church and State?

3. What is your stance on freedom of information? Right to privacy?

4. To what extent do you believe people should be allowed to choose their own destiny, including a woman's right to choose?

5. Do you believe in a strong national defense?

6. What is your opinion of political recalls?

7. How do you think we best hold representatives and government in general accountable?

8. What is your position on government services for children?

9. Do you support universal healthcare?

10. Do you support the mortgage deduction? Charitable deductions? What is your position in general on taxes?

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Ways our modern money is funny

One of the things am glad I did a while back is sit down and come up with my own explanations for money. So yeah figured some things out on my own and you can click the money tag at bottom of this post to chase down that path. In essence though I concluded that money is a social IOU which society guarantees, which is given at best in exchange for a favor. So money enumerates the value of a favor in my opinion.

In the past though before the modern monetary system, money I think was just one thing, like gold itself could be made into money, but was also just gold. And like, there were jewels. Ok there still are lots of things for riches, but today people focus on money. So people could have riches, where money was just a part of it, and how did the nobility gain riches in feudal societies as shift to a particular political system?

Sitting here typing this post can guess, so not saying did the research, but wars for riches were one way, as well as selling things from things owned by the nobility, but also think a lot of their money came from taxes.

So could the nobility go bankrupt? My understanding is, yes.

And the idea of simply minting money probably was abhorrent but not researching for this post! But today with modern money, of course, governments have figured out ways to simply make money, which typically involve government bonds.

Original ideas for government bonds were temporary funds, but lots of nations now have a constant supply of government bonds which allows them to run immense deficits, which to me is how modern money can get funny.

My own explanation for endless government deficits is that there were wealthy people who realized that if they bought government bonds and pushed governments to fund that way, they could avoid taxes. Though it actually simply pushes taxes down the road, though for some wealthy that could be enough to live a lifetime with a much smaller tax payment than otherwise.

In my opinion we have wealthy members of society willing to completely destabilize the social order ONLY to limit their taxes. No other motivation is necessary to explain a tremendous amount of problems of modern government.

These wealthy avoiding taxes in my opinion lack any moral guidance in this behavior.

And recently, some managed to get governments to bail them out around the concept of "too big to fail" which is something even the nobility couldn't do in the past.

We have modern rich who have pushed themselves beyond past nobility by controlling governments in such a way that they are rescued even when financially stupid.

And not against wealth at all, but do think that people should earn their money or I guess inherit it, is ok.

The nobility in the past did not have the same option of funny money.

If they were running out of riches, they could raise taxes, and possibly lead to rebellion, or they could go on a war to go grab riches.

In our time, we had demonstrated recently how some of our wealthy can just have the government make money for them, bail them out, and go on living in luxury.

I've seen no shame in their manipulate the government to save them game either. And I dare say, there are wealthy who probably have actually en toto earned nothing, who are in essence some of the greatest government welfare recipients in human history.


James Harris

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Focusing on community with weapons discussion

My position when it comes to weapons is, simply that communities have the right under the US Constitution to defend themselves, all the way up to the biggest national community, which is the country itself.

That community interpretation of the 2nd Amendment is simply powerful, as the point is, that the needs of defense are what's important, and I think those writing it would have thought that obvious and been puzzled by modern debates focusing on individuals.

The reality for politics in the US is that so much is about "the People" which is a community focus. And I can understand those who wish the US Constitution to be an individually focused document, but even when giving substantial individual rights, the health of the nation as a whole was the point.

It IS better for the nation to have a free press for example, to keep the People informed, which importantly outs wrongdoing at all levels. It's healthy for democracy for people to be able to gather peacefully. It's best for freedom to be able speak one's mind publicly, for the nation.

And the nation must defend itself.

So much focus settles on guns though. So it's worth it to talk about them specifically.

One problem I think with debates around certain issues in the US is a refusal to be honest, for instance some people I think DO want to tell every American whether or not that person can own a gun, with the answer being, no. And while to such people their ideals make sense, the US Constitution does not agree. And there is a spectrum there all the way back to another extreme. While it also would probably be ludicrous to those writing the 2nd Amendment am sure, to believe it is saying any individual can own a gun, or carry a gun wherever he chooses. That just makes no sense and is against the needs of the community.

The United States has multiple levels of protection, with individuals empowered at all levels to act in the best interest of their community. And if you wish to go against your community? It is empowered to defend itself from you. As communities in the US can defend themselves against all enemies, foreign or domestic.


James Harris

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Controlling weapons in the 21st century

Individual freedoms and liberty in general are worth fighting for--is a constant theme which indicates that defense of same can require such. The use of weapons in defense of liberty is not controversial if that is the actuality. So in self-defense of person or national defense against aggressor it is hardly problematic if weapons are used if available.

The US Constitution addresses weapons in the Bill of Rights with the 2nd Amendment:

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

While many seem to think "Arms" should be read as guns, as guns were known at the time of the writing, and "arms" is far more general, it makes more sense that arms in general with weapons as a synonym were intended.

Now consider a community tasked with its own defense, for instance if suddenly set upon by outlaws, and members of the community united in that defense using whatever weapons were available. Am sure no one would see that as problematic.

Now imagine a community where rogue police officers set upon the citizens and try to take over the town, am certain its population would welcome their disarmament!

The "security of a free State" seems critical, and if the protection is a self-defense then that flows from the individual up to the State itself, as a community united, where conflict in that regard would lean towards the State.

That individual rights and liberty are important when in pursuit of the greater good, would then indicate that if the State were taken over by hostile forces, so that it was at harm to itself, and its own principles, as embodied within the US Constitution, then individuals in defense of self would in actuality be acting in defense of the State at its best self when taking up arms against attacks on their liberty.

Thus then individuals have the right under the US Constitution to defend against internal tyranny even if official in nature, or from officials, like with the example of rogue police already given.

That good citizens have the right to have weapons is then seen as part of the security of a free State, and in our modern times can extend beyond what was true then, as for instance computer systems require defense. Then it would seem clear that American citizens are empowered under the US Constitution to have cyberdefenses, including cyberweapons, for their own use in self-defense. And can in fact use such weapons as required for their own defense and the defense of the State at its best self.

There is then NO defense of use of weapons for those acting against the State at its best self, and the State can of course deprive them of same, if their intent is to do harm to the United States of America or at a lesser level communities that make it up.

Proving intent to do harm should be a substantial burden on the State so that it is not used by corrupt officials to try and deprive citizens of their right to self-defense or by negligence or short-sightedness on the part of any US Government or state or local agency.

Intent to use any weapon to do harm can be accepted as a point of decision by established authority as to whether that intent is in keeping with the security of a free State.

For instance, if someone legally purchasing a weapon is simply asked whether or not, intends to do harm with that weapon, the answer can be used to determine whether or not access should be given, without contravening the spirit and letter of the 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution.

Weapons have been a part of human life as long as there have been humans. And weapons control is crucial to human civilization in maintaining a secure state where citizens are both free, and capable of defending that precious freedom.

Weapons control legislation should not be a point of contention for those dedicated to the security of their nation, but an arena of pride in the robustness of a US Constitution which manages to continue to defend us, even as our technological world moves ever forward.


James Harris

Monday, March 21, 2016

Innovation should work in politics too

As our world learns the astonishing efficacy of simple yet powerful ideas it is worth it to consider that politics could sure use some help as well.

As a ponderous political process continues in the presidential race, I can't help but think, can't our smart country do better to inspire us? Shouldn't the presidential race be a chance for the nation to focus on priorities? Figuring out better how to get things done?

Maybe an important key to getting to better politics is to expect better?

Which is why I don't like simply dismissing it as a mess.

Have my own political ideas, but for this short post just wish to suggest the idea:

Expect more in politics so we can get more.

Look for the political Innovators I suggest who can make you feel good about your politics, your nation, and our future as citizens on a planet that needs our best.


James Harris

Monday, March 7, 2016

So much good in a name

Growing up learned things about my country which maybe weren't exactly correct but did have that routine of seeing Americans as the good ones. And in entertainment could just kind of take it for granted that American heroes behaved a certain way. Though there were some nuances, for instance with movies about Vietnam.

After the September 11th terrorist attacks though so much changed. And was surprised to hear a narrative from some against what they saw as a too soft America. Some were even saying then that the country had to be more like the bad guys. Had to be meaner.

Some of the hostility against aspects of the US Constitution which actually are rather liberal, is something people may not realize today or fathom. There was a deep questioning of some American values. The nation I feel had to go to war, and we must protect ourselves, but I do wonder about those who clearly decided that what was before was not good enough.

Today few will openly question basic American values. Many will wrap themselves up in the American flag metaphorically, as they claim to want what's best for the country, while attacking the foundations of its existence.

Luckily the web can help! Was pleasantly surprised when I found myself enjoying reading the Declaration of Independence which made so much more sense to me as an adult, than when studied in school as a child. And for the first time really felt I could identify with the momentous decisions that were made which would lead to a vibrant nation, of which I can be proud to be a citizen.

Today politicians battle it out for so many things in our country, and I do think is lost the idea of having a good name. And also is too often lost in commentary the value in having a country with a great reputation for core human values.

The principles on which this nation were founded can stand against challenge. And have withstood it for centuries, proving themselves as great ideals even while not really met, as a nation built on liberty had slaves, or was hostile to its other immigrants, or waged wars of various kinds which could bring many to question.

What might be a greater challenge for my nation in our times though is a steady weakening of principle by people who dare not go against directly. Who claim allegiance while spitting on the behaviors that prove it. Like believing that abusing prisoners is ok, if you need information, as if this nation could ever celebrate beating up on those at your mercy.

Am not wise enough to think better than those principles, nor do I dare. But if I ever did, at least I'd be brave enough to admit it, rather than demean a name that has stood for something in this world.

The United States of America should always stand for something I firmly believe. And I prefer when it stands for greatness in values as well as so much else, yes material.

Where life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness will have meaning that resonates for many in a world as words that help herald a nation which will never yield to tyranny of any kind, the name should be one that comes to mind.


James Harris

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Our work really matters

For me back in San Francisco years ago, perspective on employment got very personal when was part of a group lay-off from my clerical job at an insurance company. Since then a bleak landscape in the world of work presented itself and have puzzled about why, which has been reflected on this blog.

With a degree in physics from a top university, ability to code computers, and work experience in a variety of jobs there is also the reality am an avid user of social media, who is very political. So realize that yeah, there are reasons a potential employer might be wary with a guy with a global readership.

Nonetheless through the years since that layoff I've thought a lot about how many middle-class people found out the hard way that few options were available beyond their current job, which vanished in ways hard to predict. Our nation should do better.

Work matters a lot for people. For most it will consume their daily lives, provide the means for their pursuit of happiness through pay, and also quite a bit potentially through the accomplishments through it. For many beyond personal, their greatest professional accomplishments will of course, be through work.

Political reality in the United States for too long though has, in my opinion, been about preferential treatment for some wealthy political donors who curry favor with politicians they help elect, who quit hiding that they would protect them at all costs to the taxpayers. During the financial crisis that emerged so forcefully in 2008 and beyond, some wealthy people were bailed out, from a problem they were instrumental in creating, while middle-class were for the most part left to fend for themselves, with heartbreaking stories constantly emerging, like of families forced to live in their vehicles having lost their homes.

The ruthlessness of some--as not all wealthy participated and do plan on being wealthy myself at some point--was shocking, and thoughtless. Some even went back to partying, and insisting that the rest of the nation was simply suffering the results of people's lack of ability, rather than recognizing that the US Government had taken community resources to save some wealthy from the consequences of their own stupid financial decisions.

Today there is understandably a darkened mood of the electorate. Politics for the weak in business, living as a de facto noble class on the backs of taxpayers is no longer going to be accepted. But what will the new political order be?

Work MUST be valued. Who cares how wealthy someone is, or how big a corporation is, if it acts to shatter the foundations for which continuing wealth for all depends upon?

And our rules and laws should be followed in both the letter and spirit, where federal resources are not so easily used to maintain wealth for people who endanger their country and their world by financial stupidity.

We must find our way with our best principles, and our best values as a nation focused on always getting better.

With need, it should be fully understood that our future depends on the nation as a whole respecting that work really matters for the best. Pursuit of happiness is a great thing which should be facilitated as a core principle.

And moving outward from this nation, our world should be ever more focused on work as highly valued, where the people who do their best are best helped by their governments.


James Harris