Category Archives: Finance

10 Great Ideas to Bring More Traffic to Your Blog

10 Great Ideas to Bring More Traffic to Your Blog

blog traffic

When I started this blog, over two years ago now, I had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t understand why people wrote blogs, or what made one blog more popular that another, or why anyone reads blogs at all. I never read blogs myself. I have better things to do with my time, and feel terribly sad for those who don’t.

feeling sad

After a couple of years in the blogosphere, however, I have discovered that the key to understanding the blog phenomena, and to blogging successfully lies in understanding one critical fact. That fact is, people are idiots.

full of idiots

Yes, the web is full of suckers, in fact, the web was designed for suckers, and these suckers roam the web looking for something to suck on. If you want them to suck your blog, the first thing you have to do is:

suck

  1. Think like an idiot. If you visit the web’s most popular blogs, you’ll find yourself wondering, “Who would be stupid enough to read this tripe?” The answer is that among today’s, “media savvy” content consumers, you won’t find many with an IQ higher than your average hamster. Intelligent people think for themselves, based on their own experience, and learn from doing things themselves. Consequently, intelligent people have little use for the internet, and spend very little time online.intelligent people

  2. Create the illusion that you are providing useful information. Your blog should look, on first glance, as though it might really supply something useful or insightful. Of course it doesn’t, because if you knew how to do anything, you would have something better to do that write a blog.something better to do

  3. State your opinion. Like the old saying goes: opinions are like assholes, everyone has one, and mostly they’re full of shit. Chances are, your stupid opinion falls somewhere on the continuum of idiocy between flaming liberal and lock and load libertarian. So, no matter how pea-brained, ill-considered or moronic your opinion, most idiots will either agree, or disagree with it. This encourages “reader engagement”, and soon your blog will overflow with stupid comments.stupid_comments

  4. Celebrity endorsements. Sure, it would be great if you could convince a major celebrity to endorse your blog, but you probably don’t know any major celebrities, and they will never return your calls because they have better things to do than read your stupid blog. Instead, to increase traffic at your blog, I suggest that you endorse some celebrities For instance, I wholeheartedly endorse Mylee Cyrus’ decision to go braless.cyrus braless

  5. Find a way to inject some T and A into your blog. Sure, sexualized images are exploitative and degrading, besides that, they are cruel, but if it weren’t for exploitative, degrading and cruel uses of technology, we’d all still live in teepees and hunt bears with stone tipped spears. Adding T+A to your blog is as close as you can come to directly injecting your readers with drugs. Sure it’s great if people enjoy your writing, but to keep them coming back, you want them to physically desire your blog.early ass

  6. Ask a provocative question that keeps people hanging until they click on a link. For instance: Is this a picture of Tom Hanks diseased penis? Click here to find out.California sea lion

  7. Write about famous brand name products, like this: McDonald’s to open luxury drive through lane for Lexus owners serving Crystal champagne and Absolut Vodka bloody marys. Not only are brand names like Starbucks, GAP and KFC some of the few words that idiots rarely misspell, brand name companies tend to google themselves a lot.google-yourself-cartoon-snakes

  8. Use lots of photographs. Idiots don’t have much of an attention span. The quickest way to get them to leave your site is to post a whole page of text without a single picture, and the best way to get an idiot to read the copy you write, is to insert an intriguing, but inscrutable photograph into it.inscrutable

  9. Lists. 5 reasons lists work:

    1. Eliminate the need for pesky context

    2. Suit short attention spans

    3. No need to index

    4. Easy to pad out

    5. No need to think in complete sentencesStupid-list-740x280

  10. Offer to help people attract more traffic to their website. Everyone wants more traffic at their website. They don’t care where it comes from, or how it got there. When it comes to web traffic, more is always better. You’ll never know if people actually read your post, but on the web, all that really matters is that they looked at the page. If, after reading a sentence or two, they decide to go looking for something else, that counts as much as someone who read every word, so all you really need is a title that sucks people in, followed by a bunch of blah… blah… blah…BLAH BLAH BLAH

Try these ten tips and see if they don’t dramatically improve the stats on your blog.


Where’s Godzilla When You Really Need Him?

Where’s Godzilla When You Really Need Him?

godzilla water

The Professor suggested that I write something about the recent revelations from Tepco about the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster. What humor could I possibly find in the worst industrial catastrophe in the history of mankind? How about:

fukushima_nuclear_2-other

What’s the difference between Tepco and Bradley Manning?

Bradley Manning saved innocent civilians by leaking secret information to the press, while Tepco killed innocent civilians by keeping information about the leak secret from the press.

fukushima radioactive seawater 2

Or how about…

What do Tepco and Jorma Kaukonen have in common?

They both produced Hot Tuna.

hot tuna

How many Tepco employees does it take to change a light bulb?

Two, a janitor to hold the bulb up to the socket, and the CEO to screw the whole world around it.

screw up fairy

There’s a start, I guess.

start

When faced with an overwhelming situation like Fukushima, it can help to look on the bright side. For instance…

bright side

A glowing ocean means people can now surf at night.

glowing-waves

Now you can use your Geiger counter to locate nearby sushi restaurants.

geiger counter sushi

Fish enthusiasts will find new mutant species for their marine aquariums

two_mouth_mutant_fish-3

Pacific seafood now comes out of the water pre-cooked

precooked shrimp

See, even though the Fukushima nuclear meltdown has become an unmitigated disaster of epic proportions, it’s not all bad news. In fact, the Fuk Nuke Puke will create tremendous economic opportunities for people who know how to take advantage of them. For example, there’s never been a better time to become a pediatric oncologist. The pay is great, and you’ll be up to your eyeballs in bald six-year-olds in no time.

childhood cancer

You know what they say, “When GE sells you a lemon of a nuclear reactor, make the ocean into radioactive lemonade.”

radioactive lemonade


The Power of the Press

 

The Power of the Press

power of the press 1

Today, I am especially grateful to all of the writers and editors of our local newspapers here in Humboldt County who helped save my most recent gig. First, I want to thank Jennifer Savage who has been covering the music beat for the North Coast Journal while Bob Doran recovers. Not only did Jennifer do a nice write up about my show, she reminded me to send a photograph, which would not have occurred to me if I hadn’t read her column. The Hum, the NCJ’s weekly music feature is the best single source for upcoming music events in our area, and it was great to see my picture prominently displayed there.

DSC_0218

Kevin Hoover gave me a nice bit of ink in his colorful, and colorfully written paper, The Arcata Eye. Humboldt County’s only daily newspaper, the conservative Times Standard printed my entire 800 odd word press release almost verbatim in their Sunday edition, as did their SoHum sister paper, The (weekly) Redwood Times.

DSC_0226

Not to be outdone, my favorite SoHum newspaper, the family owned, left-leaning, free, weekly paper The Independent printed two great stories about my little gig way up there in Eureka, in the weeks preceding the show, and listed it in the calendar section as well. Special thanks to Managing Editor Joe Kirby for going the extra mile.

DSC_0225

Even the Tri-City Weekly, an oft ignored, but ever present collection of classified ads fluffed out with entertainment and human interest features, gave me a mention on their Calendar page. Counting the listing in the Arts Alive section of the North Coast Journal, that was a total of six newspapers, six stories, one picture, and nine listings in our local print media, for one little performance at a record store. The show had also been mentioned on one of KHSU’s most popular music shows, Fogou with Vinny Devaney, as well as on KMUD’s Community Callendar.

vinny devaney

The biggest surprise in media coverage was a great piece by John Olson that appeared on the RadioHum Yahoo Group web site. John not only plugged my didgeridoo gig, but also mentioned the radio show that I host on KMUD on behalf of the Southern Humboldt Amateur Radio Club called The SHARC Report. Judging by the number of Hams that turned out for my gig, John’s piece clearly made an impact, and all of that coverage really saved the day for me. Besides putting my name and picture in front of thousands of people and luring some of them to come out to hear me play, that press actually saved the gig itself.

saved the gig

To me, as a musician, this little gig at the record store was a pretty big deal. It’s the only gig I have scheduled this month, and Arts Alive actually draws a pretty big crowd in Eureka. I knew that a lot of people would hear me play over the course of the evening. To most downtown business owners, however, Arts Alive is a pretty small part of running their business. Most business owners want to support local artists, and hate to say “no” to anyone who asks to show their work, or play in their establishment.

hate to say no

Bandon, owner of The Works Records in Eureka is especially supportive of local musicians, so when a personal friend of his asked him, just a few days before the Arts Alive event, if his band could also play at his record store on the same night, Bandon said “yes”, thinking that the two of us could split the three hours of Arts Alive.

dont-say-yes

Now you might think that an hour and a half of unaccompanied didgeridoo solos might be more than anyone should have to endure, but I very much wanted to play for the whole evening, knowing that there would be a completely different audience at 8:30 than at 6:30. I have two new CDs, and I wanted to make this event my CD release party for both of them. I intended to play two sets and demonstrate some of my circuit-bent instruments between sets. Like I said, this performance was a pretty big deal for me, and that’s why I pulled out all the stops on the press coverage.

pulloutallstops1a

My experience tells me that August is a good time to send out press releases because the news gets a little thin this time of year, but newspapers still have the same amount of space to fill, so items that might get ignored during busier times of the year, have a better shot at getting ink in August. Sure enough, every single paper I sent a release to, covered the story, and every single paper told its readers that I would be playing from 6:30 to 9:00pm.

clyde watches cubs game

So, when I checked in with Bandon on the day of the gig, I pressed my case. In a calculated assault, I began with a Savage blow, and dropped a copy of The Hum from the NCJ, that included that great picture taken by Traci Bear Thiele, in front of him, and let it sink in for a moment. Then I dropped the clipping from the Arcata Eye on top of it, followed by the piece in the Times Standard, The Independent, The Redwood Times, the second story from The Independent, and the Tri-City Weekly. Finally, I dropped a printout of John Olsen’s story from the HumRadio Yahoo Group, which was quite well written and flattering, Boom!

keep-calm-and-boom-boom-boom-8

Bandon was overwhelmed. All of the clippings said that I would be playing from 6:30-9:00pm, none of them mentioned any other band playing at his venue that night. Bandon apologized for the mixup, called his friend and told them they could play at his store for Arts Alive next month, but their gig for that night was canceled. Success!

success

I got to play two sets, show off my circuit-bent creations and sell my CDs all night, as I had hoped. I had a great time, Bandon seemed happy about it, and the audience dug it too. It just goes to show you that despite the explosion of “new media”, newspapers still have clout, and Ham radio can still save your ass in times of emergency. Let that be a lesson to all of you seeking attention in the modern media landscape. Do not underestimate the power of newspapers to to change the course of history.

1001-battles-that-changed-the-course-of-history


Slightly Less Obvious Consequences of Ending Marijuana Prohibition

While we’re on the subject of marijuana prohibition:

Rand-Corporation

The Rand Corporation recently published the results of their latest study on the economic effects of legalizing cannabis.  To great fanfare, they predicted that if legalized, the price of pot will fall, while the number of users will rise. This prediction shocked people who were also surprised to learn of the Pope’s religious affiliation, and that bears shit right on the ground in the middle of the woods. Since this kind of speculation seems popular these days, I offer:

Slightly Less Obvious Consequences of Ending Marijuana Prohibition

california bear high

Farmers Markets – sales rise

Grow Shops – sales fall

With legal farmers growing cannabis in local soil fertilized with manure from animals that live on the farm, we’ll finally taste Humboldt County’s Terroir. But, we’ll no longer import enough potting soil every year to build a small island nation off the coast of Petrolia.

island nation

Head Shops – sales rise

Hair Salons – sales fall

With the prices falling and availability increasing, demand for marijuana rises, which means more people will need, pipes, rolling papers, bongs etc., and since pot is so cheap, I’ll also take a couple of those black-light posters, some incense, and a glow-in-the-dark Frisbee. On the other hand, stoners hate getting their hair cut. The more pot you smoke, the more averse to haircuts you become. Anthropologists believe this well documented side effect of marijuana use to be at the heart of many tonsorial religious traditions from Rastafarianism to Sikhism. Business booms for makers of tams, turbans, and ponytail-holders, but barbershops take a beating.

dreads round

Grow lights – sales fall

Lava lamps – sales rise

As grow houses close down, makers of HID lamps, ballasts, and reflectors see sales tumble. As more of us discover the pleasures of cheap, plentiful marijuana, sales of lava lamps, plasma spheres and mirrored balls soar.

lava lamp rainbow

Custom Trucks – sales fall

Custom Bicycles – sales rise

As more people get stoned, fewer people want to drive large, loud or fast vehicles and a plethora of unique pedal powered and electric vehicles, conceived in a hashish reverie, and hand built by stoners, take the streets. Others will have to chop a lot of firewood to pay for that new truck. A lift kit only means they’ll have to lift that firewood that much higher. They’ll skip the custom bumper, wheels and headache rack because they might need to take a day-off sometime in the next six years.

custom-aztlan-bicycle

Energy – demand falls

Energy drinks – demand rises

As grow houses become a thing of the past, those electric meters won’t spin nearly as fast, but you can’t get your stoned ass to work without 300mg of caffeine in your system.

more energy

Unemployment – rises

Interest in work – falls

As grow shops, truck dealerships and hair salons lay-off workers and outlaw growers lose their source of income, the ranks of the jobless swell. However, thanks to the 80% drop in the price of marijuana, pot smokers will only have to work half as much to enjoy the same quality of life. Why work harder than you have to?

work

Reggae music – sales rise

Classical music – sales fall

Who am I kidding? No one buys music anymore.

record store closed

Pit bull popularity – falls

Cat popularity – rises

With pot legal, fewer growers need dangerous watch dogs to guard their grow or stash. Stoners, on the other hand, prefer a pet they can relax with, and no one knows how to relax like a cat.

relaxed cat

Costa-Rican real estate – sales fall

Costco – sales rise

Pot growers often used illegal profits to buy real estate in Costa-Rica, Mexico or Hawaii. With those profits gone, tropical real estate markets feel the pinch. But, with the price of an ounce of bud dropping to about $35, pot smokers can afford to buy Oreos by the pallet.

pallet of oreos

Incidents of arrest – fall

Incident of “I’m sorry, what did you just say” – rise

With pot finally legalized, the cops have one less tool with which to fuck people over. And…I’m sorry, what was I talking about?

what was I talking about


Murder v Money

 

Murder v Money

murder and money

In response to last week’s post about marijuana prohibition, I received a notable comment from Joel Meilke. I found the comment notable not because it was especially well thought out, or because it brought up a fresh perspective, quite the contrary. Joel’s comment was notable because it articulated the most common knee jerk reaction to any discussion about ending marijuana prohibition around here. Joel described Humboldt County’s tradition of almost weekly, prohibition related homicides and disappearances as “a conundrum”, weighing them against the amount of money the black market marijuana industry brings into Humboldt County.

mielke

I like Joel, I mean, I’ve never met him, but I enjoy his cartoons in the North Coast Journal, and he did post the very first comment in this blog, back in May of 2011, so I appreciate him as a reader, but money ain’t everything folks, and counting the dollars is no way to measure the effects of prohibition on Humboldt County. Joel lamented that the local economy might contract by as much as one-third without the massive government subsidies that pay for the arrest, conviction and incarceration of millions of innocent, mostly poor, mostly minority, and mostly young Americans across the country.

kids in prison

They say “Money talks”, and I’ve lived behind “The Redwood Curtain” long enough to know that most people here really don’t give a rat’s ass about what goes on in the rest of the country, and couldn’t care less about the people who pay for Humboldt County’s marijuana crop, so long as someone shows up with the cash to buy it from them. That’s why I wrote about the ways marijuana prohibition negatively affects us, the predominantly white, middle-class residents of Humboldt County, despite the influx of illicit funds it brings.

humboldt county line

Even so, last week’s post barely scratched the surface of the negative side-effects of prohibition on our local community. It would take many volumes to analyze to real cost of prohibition here in Humboldt County, but we all suffer the consequences of marijuana prohibition, and often in ways you might not consider.

consider this

For instance: Haven’t you noticed the proliferation of overpriced mediocre restaurants around here? Aren’t you tired of paying through the nose for disappointing meals out? If so, you can thank marijuana prohibition. How’s that?”, you ask.

disappointing restaurant

Simple. Drug dealers are the quintessential nouveau riche. They don’t mind being overcharged, so long as they get to flash the cash. Drug dealers spend money much more indiscriminately than working people. They also tend to value convenience more than quality, appearance more than substance and generally lack good taste. The restaurants in Humboldt County reflect that.

nouveau riche

Were it not for prohibition, we might have fewer restaurants, but we would certainly have better restaurants, and we would have cheaper restaurants. Besides that, the restaurants would have much less trouble finding decent help, and the people who work at the restaurants would have an easier time finding a place to live that they could afford, because half of the available housing would not be full of grow lights and pot plants. That’s how marijuana prohibition makes restaurants in Humboldt County suck.

bad-restaurant-experience

Fewer murders, better restaurants, cheaper eats and more affordable housing are just a few of the ways that ending marijuana prohibition would improve the quality of life for the residents of Humboldt County. Sure, less money will come into the county, but most of that money ends up in the hands of a few rich, greedy bastards who mostly use it to fuck the rest of us over. Besides, without the financial incentive that marijuana prohibition provides, a lot of those bottom-feeders would move out of the county to search for some other dark, murky slime-pit in which to lurk.

Bottom Feeder Food

So don’t worry about the economy. The economy will not suffer. The economy never suffers. Grieving mothers suffer. Crime victims suffer. Children who see their parents hauled away in handcuffs at gunpoint suffer, but the economy does not suffer. People who pay too much for mediocre food suffer. People who work for a living but can’t find an affordable place to live suffer, and people who pay too much for pot suffer, but the economy doesn’t suffer. Salmon suffer, the environment suffers, and the community suffers, but the economy does not suffer. The economy never suffers because the economy is not alive. The economy doesn’t feel a thing. No matter how much we suffer for the economy, the economy will never return the favor.

Bees and the economy cartoon 1

Remember, Reagan broke the unions to help the economy. Bush relaxed environmental standards to help the economy. Clinton signed NAFTA to help the economy. Bush II cut taxes on the rich to help the economy, and then we all bailed out the bankers to save the economy. How stupid can we be that we haven’t figured out that when they tell us something is helping the economy, that means it’s hurting most of us?

illegalization

So fuck the economy! If you want forests and salmon and a place to live, and you think there should be plenty of marijuana for everyone, then work to end marijuana prohibition. If you want overpriced mediocre restaurants full of nouveau riche drug dealers, murderers, and greedy slimeball bottom-feeders, because it’s “good for the economy”, I suppose there should be a place for you. Call it Hell, and go there.

acdc-acdc-funny-highway-to-hell-led-zeppelin-Favim.com-352202_large


On The Money; A Brief History of Private Property

 

 

On The Money;

Economics for the 99%

A Brief History of Private Property

 

quote-if-history-could-teach-us-anything-it-would-be-that-private-property-is-inextricably-linked-with-ludwig-von-mises-128364

 

For most of human history, the modern concept of private property would have been unimaginable. Early humans, as individuals, had very few possessions indeed. Early humans would have used possessive pronouns, in reference to things literally attached to them, my hair, my hand, my penis etc, if they even had pronouns at all, which they probably didn’t. Early humans were not even possessive enough to own pronouns, but they did recognize that some things, the things that grew on their own bodies, belonged to them exclusively.

 

Early-man

 

Early humans also recognized that things that grew on other creatures belonged to those creatures as well. A bear’s claw belonged to the bear. A deer’s antler belonged to the deer, and so on. Early humans needed stuff from these animals, food especially, so early humans hunted these animals and took theses things for themselves.

 

early man village

 

Still, early humans acknowledged that the meat they ate, the skins they wore, and the bones they used for tools still belonged to the animals from which they had taken them. They believed that the spirits of these animals continued to inhabit these things. Early man did not so much feel that they owned these animals, as they felt that these animals inhabited them and the things they made from them. The more bear you ate, the more bear inhabited you. If you wore buckskin clothing, the spirit of the deer that inhabited those skins kept you warm.

 

Paleolithic Cave Painting of Cattle at Lascaux

 

These early possessions, tools, clothes, furs etc could not be considered private property in the modern sense, however. They would instead be considered “belongings”. The clothes you wore, the fur you slept on, the hunting bow you used, belonged to you. You inhabited them more than owned them. Other items, like shelters, fire rings, and food were shared among the entire band. Still other items, ornamental items, game pieces, fishhooks arrowheads or arrows, drums and whistles, were often traded, or used for gambling.

 

prehistoric_man_tools

 

Early humans depended much more on the people in their band or tribe, than they relied on their few possessions. These cultures developed quite extensive social software to prevent anyone from becoming too possessive with objects. They treated greed with scorn. Gambling on games of chance provided entertainment, and insured that prized items changed hands often.

 

cavemenoutcave

 

Early humans valued equality, and their cultures reflect that. Many tribal cultures strongly avoided debt and obligation between tribal members. Gift-giving was frowned on, especially of valuable items, because of this aversion to interpersonal obligations. . However, gifts of arrows made hunting even more communal. A kill made with a gifted arrow, involved the efforts of both the hunter and the arrow-maker.

 

prehistory-hunting

 

Humility helped to insure the stability of the band, and tribal people often took it to extreme. If a hunter made a kill, instead of bragging about it, he might say it was a lucky shot, or praise the gifted arrow that made the kill. Then he would say that it seems like a tired old animal that will probably be too tough to eat. The men who help him carry the kill home will complain about how bony and mangy it looks, and ask why he even bothered to hunt such a worthless quarry, and waste their time with it, but the whole band will feast on it together.

 

cave man feast

 

Early man lived a nomadic life, moving seasonally to take advantage of a variety of wild foods. This encouraged them to keep possessions to a minimum, as they would have to carry them all, often long distances, on foot. Again, the things they carried with them would be more accurately described as “belongings” than private property.

 

Nomad Bushmen

 

Early humans lived together in small groups, usually consisting of between 15-40 members on average. These groups, although very close knit, might be quite wary of other groups, depending on their history with them. If another group of humans got too close to your camp, you might interpret that as a sign of aggression, and try to drive them off.

 

warriors

 

As with most animals, these confrontations between groups of humans often involved little more than bluster, before one group backed down. If the confrontation escalated to violence, and especially if it resulted in death, the two groups would likely remain enemies for a very long time. Hostile raids and revenge killings would be expected.

 

care for the dead

 

You could call these kinds of conflicts “territorial” but they were really more personal than territorial. The territory between the groups created a buffer that allowed hostile groups to avoid each other, but no one thought they owned the territory. For millions of years, human beings lived this way, and, where they haven’t been wiped out, they continue to live this way. This is not a primitive lifestyle. This is who we are.

 

indigenous tribe

 

About 10,000 years ago, one particular group of humans became especially fond of a fermented grain beverage. Today, we would call it beer, but who knows what they called it then. They began burning large tracts of land to cultivate grain to make it. This burned and planted land must have been quite jealously guarded, not only from other humans, but from animals seeking to graze there.

 

early Agriculture

 

Thus began the concept of private property. Still, this had more to do with labor than land. In those days, they didn’t know much about fertility, so a burned patch of forest land would only produce grain for a few years before exhausting the soil. Before long, they would need to burn more forest land leaving the old exhausted fields abandoned. In these early days, private property was kind of like a roll of toilet paper in a public restroom. It was there. You took what you needed, and when you were done with it, no one else really wanted it.

 

toilet paper

 

As sometimes happens in public restrooms, eventually the roll ran out. That is, they ran out of virgin forest land to burn. They did what you or I would do when confronted with an exhausted roll of toilet paper in a restroom stall. They checked the adjacent stall. If they found the adjacent stall empty, that solved their problem.

 

public-restrooms

 

On the other hand, if they found the stall occupied, and the occupant felt nervous about the dwindling supply of toilet paper roll in that stall, they might find themselves in a conflict situation, as “Elaine” once did in a memorable episode of the TV series Seinfeld. For those of you unfamiliar with history, I’ll remind you that in that episode, “Elaine” found herself in a restroom stall with an empty roll of toilet paper, a fact she discovered too late. She pleaded with the woman in the next stall for a length of toilet paper, but the woman refused, claiming that she could not even spare one square of toilet paper for “Elaine”.

square to spare

 

 

This made “Elaine” extremely angry, and hilarity ensued. If you substitute land for toilet paper, and violence for hilarity, the history of agricultural man followed more or less the same plot as that episode of Seinfeld. That is why you won’t find a scrap of proverbial toilet paper left on the proverbial roll in any proverbial restroom stall from Morocco to Afghanistan, but you will find a lot of angry people.

 

seinfeld_episode076

 

As time went on, this metaphorical “hilarity” escalated, and became more common. Before long “hilarity” became the standard method for acquiring agricultural land, leading to the rise of “funny” men, who did not farm at all, but specialized in hacking people to bits. These “professional comedians” as we’ll call them. Fought each other for scraps of agricultural “toilet paper”, and the farmers who tended them.

 

feudal village

 

These farmers then became the subjects of these “professional comedians”, so called because these “comedians” subjected the farmers to “punchlines” of very pointed “jokes” if they refused to provide them with a share of the crops they harvested. While farmers remained with the land they tended, these “professional comedians” slayed each other for control of them, if you catch my drift.

 

fontenoy-bat

 

Military might became increasingly central to the control of resources, especially land. While farmers continued to work the land, the “professional comedians”, the dukes, kings and warlords who fought over the land claimed “ownership” of it. Farmers became terrorized peasants, while the military class took control of their lands by violence, and demanded payment from them, in the form of crops and livestock.

 

feudal system

 

Everything that these conquerors could extract from conquered lands became known as “the spoils of war”. They took people, especially women, as slaves, people’s belongings, livestock, any thing of value quickly became the property of the conquering forces. Wild game and natural resources also became “private property” as military forces plundered the entire known world.

 

the-spoils-of-war-booty

 

In this way, military power trumped the labor of the farmers who worked the land, the belongings of people who lived on the land, and the natural integrity of the land itself, as the modern definition of private property fully crystallized. Since then, military powers have measured the value of everything, according to their own short-term purposes, and their own ability to plunder and exploit. Economists use this same skewed perspective to this day, which partially explains why they get things so wrong.

 

spoils_of_war_on_holiday_table_hurwitt_large

 

As this method of resource distribution became more institutionalized, military violence grew in scale, and military forces became increasingly hierarchical. To insure the loyalty of the vast armies necessary for this kind of conquest, the kings, dukes, robber barons and warlords who led these conquests needed to pay their soldiers. This they did by issuing contracts or covenants, promising each soldier, according to his rank, a share of the spoils, which might include land, slaves, other people’s belongings and natural resources.

 

feudal war

 

The age of naval conquest vastly expanded the lands available to become private property through the process of conquest and plunder. Adventurous plunderers like Christopher Columbus and Cortez exported this new concept of private property, as they began the colonial plunder of the Americas, commencing the most abominable undertaking in all of human history, at least in terms of human lives extinguished, the American genocide.

 

cortez-montezuma-mexico-city

 

European conquerors spread like locusts around the globe. Slavery, genocide and complete environmental plunder became the calling cards of Western Civilization, as colonial military invaders sought to exterminate thousands of indigenous cultures, replacing them with this new concept of private property.

 

genocide

 

Since then, conquerors have felt free to trade lands, resources, people, livestock etc, through legally binding contracts, enforced with military might. From this proud history, we inherited our modern concept of private property. From the Mayflower Charter to the mortgage on your home, the concept of private property arises from, belongs to and exemplifies the violence, oppression and environmental plunder which defines Western Civilization, but it does not reflect economic reality.

 

indian-land-for-sale

 

This flawed concept of private property underpins all modern economic analysis, but it clearly misses the forest for the lumber, so to speak. Of course the world has value in its natural integrity. Of course the indigenous people that inhabited those conquered lands valued their homeland, and their lives. Of course an ocean teeming with fish, whales and other marine mammals is worth more than one depleted of fish, but full of toxic pollution and plastic debris.

 

floating plastic garbage

 

Destroying natural habitat, certainly does not increase its value. The destruction only diminishes the value of the natural environment, and whatever price the resources extracted from it bring on an open market, pales against the loss. Western Civilization has not created wealth. Western Civilization has butchered the natural wealth of the planet, and pillaged the Earth for its own aggrandizement.

 

pile of buffalo skulls

 

As we watch the biodiversity of the Earth diminish before our eyes, and the global environment becomes increasingly desertified and polluted, we cannot fathom the lost wealth of the planet. The losses are incalculable. Modern economics has ignored these losses and hidden them from view. Instead it celebrates the petty fortunes of the privateers who have plundered the Earth.

 

christopher columbus

 

We feel the loss though, and the pain of it tortures our soul. Billions of creatures have perished of it, with billions more to follow, and billions of humans can be counted among them. Why people, who claim to detest slavery, genocide and violence, also respect private property, I cannot fathom. I call it hypocrisy. Personally, I have nothing but contempt for the concept of private property, and the titles held by so called “land owners” backed by the ferocious violence of the state. There’s no saving private property. For the planet to live, private property must die.

the world is yours

 


On The Money; What’s My Objection To Objective Science?

On The Money;

Economics for the 99%

The Method To My Madness pt 2

What’s My Objection To Objective Science?

funny-pictures-cat-will-do-science

For centuries now, objective science has ruled the world. About 500 years ago, objective science overthrew God, and replaced religion as the chief source of human knowledge about the world, during a period known as The Renaissance, or “The Enlightenment”. Sure, religion was ripe for an overthrow. Religion had become incredibly corrupt, violent and oppressive, and did little for the millions of poor people who served it so, well, religiously, but today, objective science has failed, and the seeds of it’s failure were there from the beginning.

scientist fail

For a while, objective science seemed like a wonderful thing. The freedom to study the world, and publish your findings without fear of being condemned to death as a heretic must have been quite refreshing. In its early years, objective science made great strides in understanding how the world worked, especially in the field of physics.

science

Sir Isaac Newton, besides earning himself a knighthood, and a distinguished place in history, remains a household word to this day for his groundbreaking work in describing the mathematical relationship between objects in motion. This was such a big deal, they even named a cookie after him. Newton’s way of looking at the world, as a collection of objects, in motion or at rest, falling and bumping into each other, became the foundation of “objective science”. Suddenly, science, specifically physics, was all about objects, and the transfer of energy between them.

newton

Lots of people jumped on the “objective science” bandwagon, and soon, the “scientific method” was born. Science teachers all over the world, in all kinds of fields, from chemistry to sociology still teach this scientific method. The scientific method is a way of designing experiments, and scientists all over the world use it religiously.

scientific method

Using the scientific method, the scientist tries to isolate one particular variable in a complex system, and then looks for something that determines change in that variable. For instance, a scientist might start a number of identical plants, raising them in exactly the same soil and nutrients, and then vary the amount of light the plants receive, to see how that effects the plant’s growth rate. Ideally, the scientist finds a cause and effect relationship, that can be expressed in the form of a mathematical equation, x hours of sunlight produces y amount of new growth, for instance.

plant experiment

While physical objects yield very easily to this kind of experiment, producing mathematically predictable results, complex systems, specifically organisms, like plants, animals, people, families, cities, or the economy, do not yield such cut and dried results. Organisms teem with variables, and scientists find it difficult, if not impossible, to control all of them, as well as they do the variables of objects, like chemicals, rocks, or metal parts.

gears

Objective science taught us a lot about organisms, but never with the kind of mathematical accuracy and predictability of physics, and the more complex the organism, the less predictable the results, and the harder it was for scientists to find these mechanical cause and effect relationships. That didn’t stop them from trying, though. In the mean time, the objective science of physics really took off.

science-youre-doing-it-wrong

Thanks to “objective science”, physics gave birth to modern technology. From the steam locomotive and the cotton gin, to the ipad and the X-Box, the world of applied objective science, commonly called technology, transformed the world, and our lives. Not only did theses new things change our lives, objective science itself, made us feel smarter and more powerful.

high tech

We began to believe that through objective science, we could unlock all of the secrets of the universe and know the mind of God. This was the goal of “The Enlightenment”, to explain how the universe worked, in scientific equations, rather than religious terms. When we saw the first nuclear explosion, and learned the equation E=MCsquared, a lot of people thought we were getting close to that goal.

Einstein

Despite the fact that physics had left biology, psychology, sociology, economics and other sciences that study organisms in the dust, many scientists in those fields, and most laypeople, still assume that objective science will eventually unlock all of the secrets of the universe, and so they continue to pursue objective science, believing that only the vast number of variables inherent in the study of organisms, prevents scientists from completely grasping the mechanics of life, but they think they are getting close too.

science guy

These scientists think that unraveling the mysteries of the universe is a good thing, in and of itself, but more importantly, they believe that we can use this knowledge to make the world a better place to live. This idea has guided our culture for the last 500 years. These were the assumptions behind the rise of objective science: That objective science would unlock the mysteries of the universe, and that we could use that knowledge to engineer a better world.

engineerabetterworld8

That’s why they overthrew God and religion to begin with. Not that God and religion didn’t deserve to be overthrown, but now objective science has led us into a system more corrupt, violent and oppressive than even the sickest ambitions of the most sadistic Cardinals of the Spanish Inquisition. Objective science has become a scam, a way to make money, and a political tool to bamboozle the public, and instead of helping us to engineer a better world, it has unleashed hell on Earth.

spanish inquisition

Fans of objective science, and there are many, usually see the mysteries of the universe as falling into two broad categories: The stuff we already understand, and the stuff scientists are studying right now, so that we will understand it pretty soon. Most of them still believe that we will someday unravel the mysteries of the universe through objective science, and that we will use that knowledge to make the world a better place to live, but they couldn’t be more wrong, and the further we pursue objective science, the more obvious that fact becomes.

crisis_-what-crisis_

The truth is, We don’t have a freakin’ clue! We are no closer to unraveling the mysteries of the universe that we have ever been. The mythology of the Big Bang has no more truth in it than the story of Adam’s rib, or the story that the whole world sits on the back of a turtle. These stories all provide convenient ways to explain what we see around us, but I wouldn’t take any of them too seriously. Before you call me a heretic for renouncing the Big Bang, you should consider a few things.

big bang turtle

First, almost all of the scientists in the world are working on projects aimed at developing new products. They’re developing new drugs to treat depression, finding ways to make weapons more lethal, figuring out how to make computers smaller and faster. Sure, some of them are staring out at the universe and trying to make sense of it, but more of them are creating dangerous new life forms that they can patent and unleash on the world, to make money.

gmo-food-2

They aren’t unraveling the mysteries of the universe, so much as they are unraveling the fabric of life itself, because that’s where the research funds come from. The companies that fund science, expect to turn a profit from it. The same people who drive scientific research, also drive our economy, the scientists working for them care more about their paycheck, than uncovering the ultimate truth of the universe. The Big Bang is not really a big deal to most of them, it is just how the universe looks to them.

big bang card

Second, and this is the important part. Even though the world looks to us like its made of objects, some living, like plants and animals, some not, like rocks and ice cubes, the world only looks this way to us because this is what we need to see in order to survive. Our brains don’t have anywhere near the capacity to understand the universe. We only see what we need to know to get ourselves fed and laid. In other words, how the universe looks to us, has almost nothing to do with how the universe is. What we don’t comprehend, and doesn’t help us survive, we simply don’t see at all.

incomprehensible

Objective scientists themselves have provided plenty of evidence to prove it. According to astrophysicists, everything we have managed to detect in the universe, only accounts for about 2% of what they suspect is really there. They don’t mean that beyond the reach of our telescopes there is more stuff, they mean that all around us, there is more stuff, like dark matter, dark energy etc. We simply have no way of detecting it.

350px-DarkMatterNASA1

Einstein’s theory of relativity showed us, quite dramatically, with the first nuclear explosion, that the world is not made of objects, however tiny. Instead, the universe is made of energy, and that space and time aren’t nearly as real as we, or Newton, imagined, at least not outside of the observer who experiences them.

relativity

Even though the universe appears as though it sprang into existence out of nothingness, from one single point, no one was outside of the universe to observe it. There is no such thing as absolute space and time. Instead, space and time only exist in relation to an observer, that’s what Einstein meant by relativity. Since there were no observers, outside of the universe, before the big bang, there wasn’t any space or time in which that mythical event took place. What would the Big Bang be without any time to expand, or any space to expand into?

big bang construction

I know its hard to imagine anything outside of space and time. It’s impossible really. That’s what I mean by incomprehensible. Looking at the universe as something that exists in space and time is kind of like looking at a pie chart. When you see data expressed in a pie chart, you can make some sense of it, but when you only see pages and pages of raw data, it doesn’t make any sense at all, so you don’t bother. Everyone knows that a pie chart is not a real pie, and that data does not become sweet gooey filling when you make one. This is not a perfect analogy, but nothing is, really. It’s incomprehensible, that’s the whole problem, and that’s my point.

incomprehensiblejpg

Does all of that seem incomprehensible to you? Good! It should, because it is. It’s time we faced that fact. The universe is simply beyond our comprehension. We don’t really know any more about the universe than an orangutan, or a chimp or a hamster for that matter. None of us in this world really knows any more than we really need to know to get ourselves fed and to get ourselves laid, and some of us don’t even know that much.

feeding

By the way, what I’m telling you here, is called a phenomenological analysis of objective science. Phenomenologists don’t make discoveries that capitalists can turn into products, and so they don’t make much money, outside of the philosophy departments of some colleges and universities, where they occasionally find work as professors. If this stuff sounds interesting to you, I suggest you find a college or university who employs one, and take a few classes in phenomenology.

phenom1

Alright, now that we’ve gone over the deep end, you are probably asking yourself, “What’s all of this got to do with economics?” The short answer is that while objective science taught us a lot about objects in space and time, it never really told us much about organisms. Phenomenology, on the other hand, can tell us a lot about organisms, not everything, but more than objective science. Again, if phenomenology sounds interesting to you, find yourself a good phenomenologist, and take a few classes.

husserl

One basic principle of phenomenology is that organisms are always more than the sum of their parts, unlike machines, which are simply the sum of their parts. Plants, animals and people are organisms, and they are also part of a larger organism called the ecosystem, which is part of a larger organism called the world, which is undoubtedly part of a larger organism we call “The Universe”. . There’s much more to us than meets the eye, and that’s why objective science never really told us as much about us, as it did about objects. The economy is also an organism, and it’s part of a larger organism called “society” which is also part of the ecosystem, etc. This means that there is more to how we feed each other, trade with each other, and compete with each other than meets the eye.

more than meets the eye

On The Money, Economics for the 99% offers a phenomenological analysis of economics. You’ll notice that I include my personal perspective, as well as an environmental perspective, a workers perspective, a consumers perspective, a political perspective and a social perspective on the subject of economics, instead of just looking at the mechanical flow of money around the globe.

i love phenomenology

The phenomenological method of study, involves observing phenomena from many perspectives, rather than trying to describe it as an object or a machine. The world is more than resources, people are more than consumers and the economy is more than a machine that feeds one to the other. I also include a bit of humor, because readers are more than just digesters of information. Call me crazy, but there’s a phenomenological critique of objective science that’s On The Money.


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