The cycle of Society

Everyone would like to be rich, but of course everyone cannot be rich.

The concept is simple, if everyone had loads of money, then why would people want to work, and so they would prefer to hire people to do things for them. But of course there would be no one to hire, as everyone else is rich and in the same situation!

So to get anything you would have to find a price that would motivate these other rich people to do things, and they in turn would have to find ways of motiving you. So if everyone had loads of money, the value of money would just decrease. What once cost $1 would now possibly cost (for example) $1,000,000.

Quite simply if everyone was rich then all that would happen is we would suffer hyper-inflation, a massive devaluation of money.

Economics requires disparity; there must be people who want more and are willing to work for it, and people who have more, who are willing to spend in exchange for services and goods.

The challenge comes if the spread of wealth is too big. If too many people are too poor, then society fails. While if too many people are too rich, then there isn’t enough people to work and society fails.

I’m not sure there is a perfect balance, but there is a healthy balance where everyone is motivated to make society better. A balance where there is enough chance for poor people to become less poor, creating motivation to be part of society. And the wealth of society is active rather than sitting in accounts doing nothing of any value.

Society works best when wealth is active, meaning it is used to create more things.

Banks have a very positive role to play in this, they should be able to loan money to businesses to allow for investment in new ventures, and in exchange receive a fair level of interest on the loans. But if banks take too much, then we get back to that place where there is too much in the hands of the richest, and not enough in the active part of the economic system to be healthy.

It’s a tough thing to get right, and it’s very rare that it will stay right for long. This capitalist system that we have is without a doubt the best system that mankind has ever used, but no one would honestly say it’s perfect.

When it gets out of balance in most respects it is destined to eventually work itself back to a manageable system. But there are times when the process of correction can be extremely painful for many involved.

Some of the rhetoric from extremists at either end of the economic scale will always sound preposterous to the majority of people. If it doesn’t sound scary to you then you may be part of the problem.

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I am the average angry American and I am tired.

I am tired of commercial media that comments on the news instead of reporting the news. And I’m tired of the people who believe that commentary as truth. AND I am tired of these lemmings having the right to vote for someone who affects ME!

If you cannot give me ONE good reason why your flipping the lever for your candidate, other then spewing some rote memorized data  that a taking head has told you, or defend ONE position your candidate stands for, or telling me exactly and TRUTHFULLY  and HONESTLY  and IN YOUR OWN WORDS how this person is going to make this country a better place….you don’t get to vote.

You can vote for your local mayor, counsel person, school board or any one who has no presence or sway on the national stage and can ultimately effect ME!

It is common knowledge that if you want to drive you need to take a test to get a license. Why? Because your driving effects me. If you don’t know how to drive you can get into an accident and kill someone. Well the same thing goes for ignorant voters….your lack of knowledge can kill someone. Voting through ignorance and because some idiot talking head has told you to has lead us to a tea party, two wars, oil spills, poison groundwater, the near end of any social safety net, in fact the near end of any social conscience at all. I’m tired.

 

I am FUCKING tired…maybe I just need a nap! (6)

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Legalize everything

All addiction is bad.

Why are some drugs legal and some illegal? It seems to me that the worst aspects of illegal drugs are not the poor decisions that weak-minded users make to consume them, but the effects of making them illegal.

Can you imagine what would happen if all drugs were legal but controlled?

Can you imagine how the world would change if Pfizer were to go to the poppy farmers of Afghanistan and agree to purchase their crops legally?

What would happen if those farmers all of a sudden became legal, responsible members of society, and their children could go to university?

What would happen if companies could legally transport crops from those farmers to warehouses, which could legally distribute them to legal manufacturers? Who in turn would need to meet quality controls and could sell their products openly around the world.

Imagine that selling and consuming drugs would be legal? Would any more people take drugs?

Caffine

Taking a drug like Ethanol (Alcohol), Caffine or Nicotine is already legal. And since there are legal controls on quality and access and moderation, they are kept out of the hands of children and strict limits of consumption in conjunction with machinery are mandated. Many people still suffer from over consumption, but they are not criminals just by the fact they consume. Of course addiction can lead to crimes to feed the addiction, and it’s the act of stealing, driving under the influence or making any other poor decisions that is illegal, not the consumption itself.

nicotine

Today there are no controls on the quality of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), benzoylmethylecgonine (cocaine) or Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD). And the means of production, distribution and consumption are all illegal. This has not limited access, but has fostered a subculture of gangs, guns and crime that actually grows stronger as enforcement and punishment get higher.

Imagine if all drugs were legal but controlled just like Alcohol or Tabaco? That effort could be legitimately taken to create safer drugs?

And think if the tax income.

Imagine if todays drug lords became the CEO’s of legitimate companies, who could be brought back into society. My guess is that many of the current purveyors of drugs would quickly be replaced by a new class of business leader.

Let drug addicts be able to sue drug companies for creating an addictive drug, and quickly (just like alcohol and Tabaco) those companies would look at ways of reducing addiction while maintaining their products “desirable” qualities.

I’m not a taker of “illegal” drugs, and it’s not because they are illegal, it’s simply because I know that I don’t want to ruin by mind. If I wanted drugs today, I know I can get them in any city in the world. Supply actually outstrips demand.

I like that children cannot get alcohol or cigarettes, and I want the same controls placed on all drugs. That can only happen when a sensible legal framework is employed.

Any day I walk around Manhattan I smell the distinctive aroma of marijuana smoke. It’s as pervasive everywhere in the world, and clearly any concept of a war of drugs can be seen as over and lost.

It’s time for a new approach, one that brings the whole drugs ecosystem into a legal framework, and allows the millions (if not billions) of people all over this planet who are part of this drug world to be part of society.

There is no simple answer, but removing violence and any motivation to make people even more addicted or unwell has to be the right direction.

How much of the worlds resources are today consumed in trying to stop the drug trade? Wars only get won when people start to talk. It’s time to think differently.

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The power of regulations

This week I travelled to Europe on one of the major American Airlines, Actually it was American Airlines, but it could have just as easily been United/Continental or Delta, because in the following respect they are all exactly the same.

I was at Heathrow airport about to return to New York, when American decided to cancel all their flights to the East Coast. I was in the lounge surrounded by American Employees. I was told that all flights were cancelled and that I would need to rebook in a few days once they were flying again. There was no help offered to even get my fellow passengers or me back to a hotel. Nothing, except the advice to call the American phone number to re-book.

As this was going on Virgin and many other European airlines were still having flights go both ways. Actually American chose to cancel all their flights in excess of 30 hours before the US airports were officially closed. While, the European airlines were flying to within a couple of hours of the airports being closed.

I wondered why the difference. And it turns out it’s down to a regulation that European airlines have to follow. All European airlines must pay the costs of passengers who are stranded when a flight is cancelled for any reason. They have a clear financial incentive to keep moving people. While the American deregulated airlines do not have to follow these rules.

At no point was safety an issue. The exact time when the airports and flight paths would be dangerous was clearly known, but all American Airlines chose to just cancel their flights. I assume they suspected that many people wouldn’t want to fly or would not be able to reach the planes in time, and so the planes would be mostly empty. So it was a purely financial decision, which placed a huge additional burden on the travelling public.

I was at Heathrow working out how to get out of the terminal and get back to the city, while multiple Virgin flights continued to fly to and from the East coast. All these flights of course were full.

I called American to change my flights. And waited on fully loaded phone systems for hours with presumably thousands of other passengers. When I eventually did get through the American agent explained to me that the civil Aviation Authority had closed the airports. I explained that this was not true and used Virgin as my proof point. The agent stuttered a little and then went on to plan B, and said that this was a huge storm and not something in Americans control. While I didn’t disagree that the storm was going to be terrible, I explained that it was still over a day away. I wasn’t really interested in an excuse but wanted to work out when was the right time to expect to be able to get back. He suggested I wait until the next weekend (a full week later). We eventually agreed that Wednesday would be a safe bet, and he rebooked me on an indirect flight, as all direct flights were already booked.
All international flights cannot be changed online on American, but require a call to the airline. The agent I spoke to tried to charge me a $370 change fee, which I disputed due to the Hurricane, but he insisted on a credit card number before he would book it.

The experience was so terrible, that I decided to call Virgin and book a backup flight with them. What a different experience. A happy, even chirpy agent who answered the phone was able to book me on a direct flight to JFK, for the same Wednesday. And she explained to be that Virgin were committed to getting people to their destinations whenever it was safe.

Wednesday came; the American Flight was cancelled (as were many other American flights to the east coast) while every single Virgin Flight on the same routes flew.

I got home to a very happy wife and dog. Many of Americans customers are still trapped around the world.

I like American Airlines; I’ve flown over a million miles with them. I like them for their powerful network across all of the US. I now understand why their staff are often so miserable. It must be terrible to follow rules, which are purely financially motivated, and not customer centric, and I’m sure these same rules are just as draconian for the staff.

I don’t believe the Virgin staff is any better than the American staff, but they sure are happier.

I’ll still fly American, but when I have a flight option between American and Virgin on a route, and all other things are equal I’ll choose Virgin.

Hurricane Sandy has had a huge impact on many of my friends and family. Many people I know are still without power, water and heat. Natural disasters are horrible, but this is no excuse for deregulated airlines to put finance ahead of their duty of care to their customers. While safety cannot be compromised, every person who was able to travel home opened up a hotel room on long island and Manhattan for people who are without a house, and getting people home to their families increased the help people in need were able to get. Virgin should be very proud of the way they handled them responsibilities, and while I’m sure they had a financial motivation, they still did the right thing.

That’s the power of regulations!

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