Thursday, December 29, 2011

Structural Classism

Some statistics for those of us in the United States to reflect upon:

  • This 2011 Holiday season the top seven banks are expected to give record bonuses totaling $156 billion. [source]  
  • Goldman Sachs compensation this year for its 38,900 workers averages to $362,862 per employee. ← I somehow suspect the copy-boy didn't receive this tidy sum. [source] 
  • Jaimie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, compensation last year came to $20.8 billion. That is an hourly wage of $10,400. [source]
  • 1.6 million children in the U.S. were homeless in 2010. [source]
  • At the height of the Roman Empire the top 1% controlled 16% of the wealth. [source]
  • Today in the U.S. the 1% control 40% of the nation's wealth. [source]
  • Total net worth of the bottom 60% of the U.S. is less than Forbes 400 richest. [source]
  • The net worth of the six heirs of Walmart equals the bottom 30% of the country. [source]

Just how did these grim numbers come about? Are they simply a result of "greed"? An inescapable fact of "human nature"? Too much government intervention???... OR just maybe is there something else going on that is the driving force behind these incredible distortions of wealth distribution?

Peter Joseph of the Zeitgeist Movement, in this next lecture/podcast persuasively argues what we are experiencing today is strongly influenced by something called "Structural Classism" ~ a powerful term worth getting a handle on since it reveals key insight into how we landed in our current predicament as well as offers up clues on where we can go from here to turn back the tide of inequity.

Peter Joseph – Structural Classism

NOTE: If time is of essence you can skip the preamble and directly jump to the lecture starting at: 20:04.

NOTE: If your browser is not picking up the audio player above here is the YouTube version.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Three Holy Wars

Is there such a thing as a "just war"?

Three wars in American history in this respect are considered "good" – The Revolutionary War, The Civil War and World War II. The first, this nation's battle for "independence" from an occupying empire, the second to "end slavery" & "protect the union" and the third to overthrow fascism & spread "democracy" throughout the world.

Do these historical accounts however fairly summarize the messy realities that befell the peoples who lived through these times? Was war really the only choice? Who benefitted from these conflicts and who shouldered the heaviest of burdens? Who with their own lives?

Of greater importance in this day and age of "terrorism", "rogue states", nuclear brinkmanship and seemingly endless conflict how does our cultural relationship with war feed this sad state of affairs and imperil our collective survival? How do our beliefs surrounding these "good" wars provide the rhetorical ammunition for our leaders to engage in yet more bloodshed?

Howard Zinn ~ historian, playwright, WWII Air Force bomber and author of numerous books including, "A People's History of the United States" ~ throughout a lifetime of deep and uncompromising inquiry reveals for us a wider historical context surrounding these wars and with it an entirely new more balanced picture comes to light – one which should make anyone of conscience take serious pause before joining the drumbeat of militarism.

Howard Zinn – Myth of the Good Wars

Howard Zinn – Three Holy Wars

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Occupy Our Resources...

Occupy Venice this last week invited Peter Joseph, Jason Lord and Jen Wilding of the Zeitgeist Movement for an excellent Q & A session that covers a myriad of subjects. Great mind-expanding material for these changing times!

Some topics of discussion:
  • What is next for Occupy?
  • The "differential advantage game" that we must all play.
  • Traditional assumptions and how they clash with our emergent reality.
  • The economic system - the greatest religion of all time!
  • Understanding that our problems are technical and global.
  • Transitional elements toward a Resourced-Based & environmentally sustainable economic model.
  • The current economic model is based on service not resolution.
  • What does "leadership" mean in a leaderless movement.
  • Do we have an overpopulation problem?
  • On an individual level how can we NOT play the game?
  • The tyranny of "divide and conquer".
  • The "stories" we have that are holding us back. 
  • Parallel sustainable communities?

Occupy Venice Talks with The Zeitgeist Movement LA

NOTE: The audio of some of the questions at times are on the low side. Just turn up the volume a bit and you oughta be okay. :)

If you wish to watch the speech Joseph gave at Occupy LA in October that is mentioned at the beginning of the Q & A here it is:

Peter Joseph | Occupy LA | Oct 15th 2011

For more on this topic try this.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Print Me a What??? A House!!!

Okay folks! 3D Printing is about to go colossal!!

Scientist & professor Behrokh Khoshnevis of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering is now working with Caterpillar Inc. to perfect the technology so at the press of a button we can literally print our own homes – foundation, walls, plumbing, electrical, insulation, roof, etc. – with the whole process unfolding in hours. 

If that weren't enough, this new technology (called "Contour Crafting") does so with dramatically reduced waste, less environmental damage and high safety – which is of great importance considering construction related jobs are some of the most dangerous professions to be engaged in.

... and here come the questions!
  • What is going to happen when construction jobs are rapidly replaced by these better almost entirely automated methods?
  • Where will the hundreds of millions of workers across the world go when their jobs can be managed by a relatively few engineers and computer technicians?
  • With such powerful & freeing technology at our disposal how much sense does it make to chain oneself to a thirty year mortgage when the home you reside in can be constructed in such an easy and abundant manner?
  • With such abundance could we really any longer justify anyone – regardless of their circumstances – being left out in the cold? 
I'll let you answer those. 

One thing for certain humanity is now entering a fundamental & never-before encountered phase change (much like ice going to water) where the rules we have been accustomed to our whole lives are now melting away. 

We have a choice: Keep wearing those heavy ice skates and let them drag us to the bottom of the lake OR slap on our bathing suits, snorkel and flippers and happily embrace all this new more expansive & abundant realm has to offer.

Home Contour Crafting

Future of Construction Process: 3D Concrete Printing

More on the topic from the researchers at Loughborough University in the UK...

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Economic Hitmen

The United States currently represents 5% of the world's population yet consumes 25% of the world's resources.

How did we manage to "talk" the rest of the world into handing over that extra 20%???

Enter the Economic Hitmen! ...among others

John Perkins, author of the book "Confessions of an Economic Hitman" and former Economic Hitman himself pulls aside the curtain on the government/corporate cabal of the 1% that has been systematically and relentlessly enslaving a better part of the world since the end of the second World War.

In this fully exposing 2008 Greek documentary by director Stelios Koul, Perkin's life is laid bare for the whole world to see and along with it the systemic corruption that goes to the very core of the economic system we were born into.

Apologies of an Economic Hitman

If you enjoyed the documentary (or are the type to skip ahead) here are a couple more excellent interviews with Perkins:

John Perkins – "Zeitgeist: Addendum" Extended Interview

Confessions of an Economic Hitman – Part I

Confessions of an Economic Hitman – Part II