an odd collection of tales about learning to do the impossible

Posts tagged ‘economic policy’

How Much for a Wall?

Big numbers kind of all sound the same to us. If you tell me something is 100 million miles away, or 100 trillion miles away, it gets the same reaction. Far. Damn far. Never mind that one is a million times more far than the other…

What do you say we get rid of these big numbers?

We run our government, and the good, bad and ugly parts our country, with 1/6 of what we take in. Incredible isn’t it? You’d think if we could do that, we could have avoided getting into this mess in the first place.

Read the complete post at How Much for a Wall?

Ah, the stock market …

Or, this positive exuberance could be no more than the enthusiasm of a classroom full of misbehaved children who have just figured out that their substitute teacher is an idiot. Oh boy. Are we going to have fun today.

Or maybe it’s a combination of all three. What do you think?

Read more at Ah, the stock market …

Should I hope for calm or cheer on the storm?

crystal-ballI wrote a book about prescience, the ability to see into the future and understand the true likelihood that an event will or won’t occur. Constructing the plot of d4 forced me to spend quite a bit of time considering how such an ability could work.  What’s more, several of my characters were attempting to use their prescient skills to make money in the stock market, so I ended up learning quite a bit more about Mr. Dow Jones and all his friends, too.

Read more at Should I hope for calm or cheer on the storm?

Of baseball, tennis and predatory lending

umpireHe got me thinking. There are two ways to approach any competition. One is to take every advantage that you can. Soccer players writhing in imagined pain hoping to inflict a foul on the other team are an extreme example of this. In this world, the savvy player tries to play everyone, and get away with everything possible. The only goal is to win.

The other approach is cooperative only in the sense that one of the goals is to get the calls right. Players believe that points should be scored and games won with good rules that are fairly applied.

What do you think happens most often in a close competition between a team or person taking the first approach and one taking the second? Yes, you’re right. I believe we call it “nice guys finish last.”

Read the entire post on my d4 blog at Of baseball, tennis and predatory lending.”

“The Big Short”: a review and a look at modern investing

BS3In 2007 I took over managing all the money my husband and I had saved over our lifetime, even though I knew nothing about investing. Most of the money was in a 401K plan with my employer. I got laid off, was damned sure I didn’t want to keep that company’s stock, and so I had to do something else with it. We’d already had bad experiences with professionals too busy to answer the questions of folks with our meager level of savings, and twice we’d been directed into investments clearly not in our own best interest.  There wasn’t going to be a third time. Not when everything we had was on the table.

So I spent the rest of 2007 figuring out how to buy stocks myself and, hopefully, how do it well. The jargon was overwhelming and the websites intimidating and the calls from other people who wanted to handle my money for me were relentless. I think it was the tenacity of those who wanted to get their hands on my savings that pushed me to persevere.  I mean, if they were all that eager to do this, it couldn’t be that good for me, right? Then, well…..

I guess you all heard about what happened to the economy in 2008, didn’t you?

Read the rest of the story on my d4 blog at “The Big Short”: a review and a look at modern investing.

Happiness fascinates me

gratefulMy dad used to say “Work fascinates me. I can sit and watch someone do it all day.” Sometimes I think I have the same relationship with happiness.

Read the entire post on my y1 blog at Happiness fascinates me.

Back to Building a World of Telepaths

emI am learning more about the concept of privilege  — white, male, western, hetero, cis, wealthy, healthy, pretty, young — there are a lot of variations here — but the concept that I am ordained by God or nature to be better than you seems to hold the key to failing to care about you at all. Why wouldn’t a human who is certain of his (or her) greater importance be deaf to the pain of those lesser? Might they just find it annoying? I think it depends on exactly how superior these people think they are. Maybe if they had a superpower, like telepathy …..

Read the entire post on my x0 blog at Back to Building a World of Telepaths

“I Need A Dollar”

unlevelEvery so often an artist captures a complex problem in a simple way. I’m in awe of the photo or sketch that conveys nuances in a glance, and of the poem, song or piece of flash fiction that evokes layers of meaning in its few words. The best of popular music manages this, I think. I put the song “I Need A Dollar” by Aloe Blacc in this small group.

Read the entire post at “I Need A Dollar.”

Predicting the future, or shaping it?

Thanks to George Orwell we are considerably less likely to live in an “Orwellian” society. He didn’t predict the future. He, and an army of teachers, shaped it. What an amazing thing.

Read the whole post at Predicting the future, or shaping it?

Poverty is sexist

March 8 was International Women’s Day. On my x0 blog I wrote about a report by Maria Shriver that noted that in the U.S. (1) Nearly two-thirds of minimum wage workers are women,  (2) The average woman is paid 77 cents for every dollar a man makes, and African American women earn only 64 cents and Hispanic women only 55 cents for every dollar made by a white man and (3) men make more money than women who have the same level of educational achievement, from high school diplomas to advanced graduate degrees.

You can read my original post on the X0 blog called Poverty is sexist.

I praised the group One for encouraging Chancellor Angela Merkel to select women’s economic empowerment as one of the key issues for the 2015 agenda at the G7 summit meeting being held in Germany.

Well, the summit has come and gone, and I was delighted to read recently that Angela Merkel did include women’s economic empowerment as one of those key issues.  The G7 committed to “increasing the number of women and girls in developing countries receiving technical and vocational training through G7 measures by one third by 2030”, noted the need to improve working conditions that allow women and men to balance family life and employment, and agreed to the G7 Principles on Women’s Entrepreneurship including encouraging girls’ participation in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields. More broadly, the G7 stated support for UN Women’s Empowerment Principles, and encouraged companies around the world to incorporate them into their practices.

High level conferences such as this don’t yield immediate policy changes anywhere, much less immediate results. None-the-less by placing a focus on the disproportionate financial burdens placed on women throughout the world, the G-7 summit took a step in the right direction. Good news is good.

 

Creating the future

Creating the future

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