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Leadership Qualities That Matter the Most: Lessons from Davos 2014

Leadership Qualities That Matter the Most: Lessons from Davos 2014 | It Comes Undone-Think About It | Scoop.it

Empathy: Connecting with a multitude of diverse, demanding, and sometimes unpredictable constituencies is an inescapable reality of today's world. This point was driven home time and again at Davos 2014. In a networked environment relationship management can hold the key to unlocking value in an infinite variety of ways -- with customers, colleagues, subordinates, strategic partners, unions, activist investors and corporate board members.


Possessing the ability to really put yourself in the shoes of another individual and understand where they're coming from, how they're feeling, what they're thinking, what their underlying agenda is and motivations are all key leadership requirements. There are two sides to empathy. One is cognitive empathy, the ability to understand what another individual is thinking. Second is emotional empathy, the ability to understand how another person is feeling.


Empathy shouldn't be confused with its first cousin, compassion. A compassionate leader can help set the right cultural tone in an organization. But too much compassion can actually be counterproductive for a leader, particularly when tough interpersonal decisions need to made that will inevitably cause collateral damage.


Jeffrey M Cohn 


Via Edwin Rutsch
Eli Levine's insight:

Funny stuff, coming from the Davos folks (who have displayed none of these traits in actual practice).

 

And they wonder how it is that governments, societies and whole social systems collapse.

 

As the old saying goes: the fish rots from the head down.

 

And it shows in history and current events.

 

Think about it.

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LiquidFeedback - more than Liquid Democracy

LiquidFeedback - more than Liquid Democracy | It Comes Undone-Think About It | Scoop.it
Eli Levine's insight:

This could be one of the most significant tools for organizational and social management. Imagine a direct feedback loop between administrators and managers an the general public of their organization. Imagine people being designated to speak and choose on behalf of everyone rather than on the few who are able and willing to turn out to vote. Imagine a responsive, evidence driven government aligned with the general needs and desires of the public. Imagine what we, as a society, could do with this technology, insight, and incentive structure. 

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The Preservation of Power

You don't have to join a rebel movement in order to play an effective role in supporting it. Shelter can be provided, misinformation for the opposing troops, food, disguises, safe passage, etc, all can be provided by civilians. If the movement is popular enough, it will be impossible to get rid of it with this kind of support.  Force will only alienate the opposing army from the public, making their situation all the more untenable. People see through deception in time, and there will be no end of random volunteers and loosely organized forces to stand against what can be technically more advanced and numerous troops.  Never underestimate the power of narrative, being reasoned and reasonable in your positioning and dialogue, followed up by genuine action with sincere desire to do what's right by everybody, sometimes, at your own absolute expense.

 

It's called maintaining a good relationship with people.  I think it's the only effective way to maintain power, consequence, position, and authority in any given human society.  It involves listening, caring, and sometimes putting the needs and desires of others above your own immediate or short term wants and hopes.  That is, from my experience and observations of the past, the best way for power to preserve and earn itself.

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Constitute

Constitute | It Comes Undone-Think About It | Scoop.it
The World's Constitutions to Read, Search, and Compare
Eli Levine's insight:

Very cool.

 

While I believe that the only constitution that truly matters is the one that gives rise to natural laws, it is interesting to look at how each society and given political unit (which does not naturally correspond to a society necessarily) determines what is right for them in their particular situation and cultural condition. 

 

There is a consequence to every written law that gets produced that is independent of the intentions and desires of the individuals who crafted it.  There are, in fact, universal laws which apply to societies, economies, and environments.  However, in addition to accounting for the universal, natural laws of each given society, it must also be reckoned that there are particular natural laws for each social unit that are socially constructed and, therefore, apart of natural law as a sort of customizable appendix of customs.  I think that it is this wiggle room and diversity that we have within natural law that gives us, as a species, our greatest strength.  Rather than be limited by one way of looking at the universe, we can look at it in different ways and receive different correct answers that compose the whole of our universe.  There are right and wrong answers and hypotheses.  But it is through synthesizing all of the different perspectives that we can get the most accurate perception of our universe, just as insects have compound eyes to give them a more accurate interpretation of the physical world around them so they can manage to fly safely and avoid predators and problems.  Add in the other senses, known and unknown, and we flesh out and push the limits of our abilities to work with the universe for our own health and well-being and our own survival.  Remember, if you don't have the appropriate functional nerves for something, you're not going to perceive it (just as we can't taste with our hands or smell with our feet).  By accurately synthesizing the perspectives of all people, accepting what is there while eliminating that which isn't really there, you enhance our ability to perceive, work with, and live in this universe amongst ourselves and our cosmological cousins around us.

 

Therefore, the preamble to my universal constitution would be "In accordance with the discovered natural laws of the universe and with the utmost respect for the particular laws of each society, for the sake of all living beings in the universe, we hereby institute this government for the sake of improving, maintaining, and sustaining all of society and all living beings within it."  We are, in fact, one society.  We're just made up of many different societies and many different individuals within those individual societies.

 

Enjoy!

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Self-Organization, Emergence, and Constraint in Complex Natural Systems

Contemporary complexity theory has been instrumental in providing novel rigorous definitions for some classic philosophical concepts, including emergence. In an attempt to provide an account of emergence that is consistent with complexity and dynamical systems theory, several authors have turned to the notion of constraints on state transitions. Drawing on complexity theory directly, this paper builds on those accounts, further developing the constraint-based interpretation of emergence and arguing that such accounts recover many of the features of more traditional accounts. We show that the constraint-based account of emergence also leads naturally into a meaningful definition of self-organization, another concept that has received increasing attention recently. Along the way, we distinguish between order and organization, two concepts which are frequently conflated. Finally, we consider possibilities for future research in the philosophy of complex systems, as well as applications of the distinctions made in this paper.

 

Self-Organization, Emergence, and Constraint in Complex Natural Systems
Jonathan Lawhead

http://arxiv.org/abs/1502.01476


Via Complexity Digest
Eli Levine's insight:

We are naturally constrained by many natural laws in our universe.  Our governments are likewise constrained by physical laws of nature as well as the natural laws behind people, societies, economies, and ecosystems.  Where the constraints came from in nature, I don't know.  But what I do see, is that like the natural laws of the universe, societies impose other constraints upon our actions, behaviors, perceptions, chosen courses of action, abilities to frame issues and topics, abilities to define conditions within our social systems.  Governments can likewise make and define constraints for behaviors or willingness and ability to behave on the part of the citizenry, either by offering incentives to get people to behave in a particular way or to penalize and possibly limit some actions and chosen patterns of behavior. 

 

It should be noted that the laws and chosen constraints and incentives of the government on this level of existence can only be as good as the people who sit within them and make choices.  They are also limited by the physical laws of the universe and the natural laws, conditions, desires, and motives of the general public that composes the whole of society in aggregate and as that which is greater than the aggregate; the combined whole of human thought, behavior, and sentiment. 

 

These human-made constraints (created by governments and social authority figures) are also imperfect in their ability to contain and constrain the society, since the society and its members have autonomy from the government.  Humans and human societies are more constrained by the natural laws and the limitations of knowledge and perception that are present in our brains and neural systems.  Therefore, it can be said that human-made social constraints are less important than the natural ones that exist amongst ourselves and within the universe that we are apart of.

 

Therefore, I think that in order to continue to advance humanity and contribute to our potential to survive, endure, and thrive, we should be constantly and safely pushing at the constraints of what we already know and can do as individuals and as a species.  Our government(s) should focus on studying the universal natural laws of societies, economies, human behavior, and environmental functions in addition to the particular laws of their own societies, making laws and legal systems that work better and better with the natural laws of their own societies and amongst all human societies.  We should capitalize on our differences of perspective and opinion, sifting out those that don't fall into line with discovered reality while using that which is accurate to complete the puzzles of our universe in order to produce something greater than what we've presently got and to continue to advance ourselves safely and in accordance with what is actually helpful, healthful, and ethical for all sentient life in the universe.  Study, research, observation, and exploration are what will make tomorrow better than today, even as the natural laws and some conditions remain the same.  Health, well-being, quality of life, sustainability, and the ability to thrive for all are what we need to prioritize and produce as a society over financial profits and short term economic gains for a few.  Some constraints can be pushed, some can't, and some really shouldn't from the perspective of health, well-being, quality of life, and the ability to thrive for all.  Welcome to nature.

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The Four Pillars of Our Present Society

By targeting the executives and leadership cadres of the energy, finance, public, and media sectors at all levels, we can institute real solid changes to our world for better or worse.  These four, I believe, represent the main axiomatic core of our American society's power structure and, indeed, the world's power structure.

 

Specifically, what we need is clean, renewable, inexpensive, and effective energy, socially and environmentally conscious finance and investment, socially oriented and cooperative/collaborative government, and media platforms to shut down the ignorant, delusional, and malevolent.  By making small changes in each of these sectors in terms of logic, perceived interest, and chosen courses of action, we can truly revolutionize the world.

 

The ultimate battlefield is in the hearts and minds (specifically, the brains) of each individual living person in human society, to go either towards either progressivism, adaptability, and grounding in reality, or conservatism, ideology, and delusion.  Once these four pillars have been converted to what are scientifically ensured methods of survival and well-being, the rest of society can fall into place.  The main challenge will be from those persisting in darkness and confusion but, with these evolutionary changes in these places, they should prove to be just an unpopular nuisance.  If done correctly, these radical right wing and Libertarian elements will self-isolate, alienate the rest of human society, and ultimately consume themselves in a maelstrom of self-destruction, possibly aided and abetted by the new power elements in society.  They'll make themselves irrelevant and invite people to ask for them to be possibly put to death for their agitation and violence.

 

We have the game.  The game is either going to be won or end entirely.  No more middling.

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The Optimization Function of Governments

One of the biggest problems with governing is that there is no consensus about what is the actual thing that government is meant to do.  We can look back at the past and see many many examples of what governments (and government members) should not do.  We see a constant pattern throughout time and space that indicates that cheating, theft, lies, failure to uphold standards of behavior, tyranny, economic mismanagement, and environmental mismanagement, ie, bad government, has tended to lead to catastrophic social, if not environmental, collapse.  The government and governing entities themselves pay a price for their inability or refusal to abide by common sense, pragmatism, and reality.  We also see that society itself, and all people who live in societies, pay a price for the mismanagement of social, political, economic, and environmental capital by the government.  The government and its members are to blame for this mismanagement, chiefly because they are the ones who are directly influencing the policies and choices that are being made, not the general public who elects them in democratic systems.  What then is the role of government in light of these constraints on their ability and interest to accumulate wealth, power, and prestige?

 

My proposal for such a mathematical and practical function of government is as follows:  The goal of the government and its members, acting within the constraints of what is feasible within this universe, is to maximize societal utility (not profit) while minimizing the costs associated with the production of that social utility given the financial, environmental, physical, psychological, cultural, historical, social, and economic, (the list can go on) constraints that they are faced with.  Social utility is first defined as survival, and followed by health, well-being, and the ability to thrive.  This is taken as an aggregate of all utilities throughout the human species within the range of what is feasible, known, and healthy for the individual.  Excess utility by some leads to negative utility for others (thus, making it possible to create a net loss in spite of one person or group of people reaching a higher utility level).  The goal of the government, from the perspective of its own self-interests, is to maximize these utilities throughout the entire population of the universe within the bounds of financial, environmental, physical, psychological, cultural, historical, social, and economic, (and so on) constraints upon it and its members’ abilities to act.  It borrows from the profit maximization logic of the private, for-profit market and the cost minimization logic from the not-for-profit sector.  The government, in short, when it is acting on behalf of ITSELF and ITS MEMBERS is balancing between costs and benefits that can be empirically derived through the same techniques used in marketing research, psychology, social-psychology, neurology, and sociology.  It’s job is to understand what the needs and desires of the people are and then to, within reason, feasibility, and all other constraints, deliver those needs and wants through the writing, structure, enforcement, and adjudication of written law.  All of these written laws must then be derivatives of the natural laws of society, economy, environmental science, physical science, and technological development, for these are the constraints that bind us all regardless of preference, choice, desire, hope, opinion, belief, or action to make it be otherwise.

 

A society needs a government to ensure a degree of predictability, order, and justice within the society.  There are no human societies without one or without an otherwise extremely powerful governing ethos that controls, constrains, and regulates their actions, behaviors, choices, and ways of living.  These smaller scale societies, without governments, require these governing ethics from the perspective of providing themselves survivability, health, well-being, and the ability to thrive within the context of their social, psychological, economic, and environmental constraints.  I, for one, do not believe that we have the ability to be perfectly free, if we have freedom to begin with in actuality.  All I would like is for the human species to stop killing itself off through poor, uninformed, and delusional decision-making based on irrelevant or inaccurate readings of information around them.  There is a better way forward for this life and this universe.  I think that I just happen to know it better than many other people, quite frankly.

 

Prove me wrong humans.  Make better choices with your societies, governments, and own personal selves.  You’re going to die no matter what.  It’s just a question of when and how.

 

Silly monkeys.

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Everybody Governs

All societies may not have formal governing structures. Those that don't still do not live in complete anarchy, as they are frequently bound together by very powerful social customs, taboos, and moral codes that the members of society go to great ends to enforce.  It should also be noted that those societies without governing structures are frequently very small in comparison to our present day societies (the units of these societies may have at most between 80 to 120 people in them) and survive in environments where nature provides their needs without the need for agriculture or anything more advanced than the bow or harpoon.  If you'd truly like to live in a functional society without a government, I would recommend moving to Namibia and Botswana to live with the San people of the Kalahari, or the various Inuit tribes in the arctic.  But bear in mind, you will not be at liberty to do as you'd please, nor will you have access to modern technology, nor the ability to develop technology at a faster pace than the resources that you have or the people's willingness to adopt the technology.

 

If you really believe that a society is better off without a government then please go and move to these places where they already have things established.  The other option is for you to strike out on your own and produce a new society of your own.  But, I warn you, you'll take the baggage of the past society and your own self with you.  You will not be, as it were, at liberty to do anything beyond what you were able to do at present, and it will be doubtful as to whether or not you will survive in such a state of nature where you are more acutely beholden to nature's law as opposed to the written laws of our given social units.

 

So, to my Libertarian friends, I will agree with you that a better functional and more ethical government is better than one that's not.  I will argue that it is in the government's interest, at least in the United States, to abide by the people's needs and to be careful and circumspect about when and how it intervenes in the society to address societal problems.  I will also point out that this does not mean that I think a government should sit idly by while its people are being exploited under the pretense of an idealized market that does not exist and will not function properly were it not for the income and wealth of all people living in it.  A rising tide rises all boats only when the benefits are proportionately spread throughout the economy and the society.  That means that when a bosses feel they are able to take $5 million in bonuses for themselves, they should, by law, be required to share out those profits to the people who put in the day to day blood, sweat, toil, and labor to produce that $5 million in cream.  That means that when companies go under, it is the base of society that should be reinforced while the superstructure gets re-done, because without that base, there cannot be a superstructure, let alone, a better handled, and better governed one at that.

 

To the people who are conservatives, I will agree with you in principle that there should be concepts and principles that ground us.  However, I will never agree with your apparent belief and desire for an unchanging universe that is petrified in time and ultimately stagnant and devoid of the original life force that made it move.  News flash: you are going to die.  All of your friends and family members are going to die.  Your entire world is going to die, especially if it no longer serves a helpful or useful purpose relative to our ever evolving knowledge and conception of common reality.  I say to you all that you are truly the most foolish of individuals, who are both standing in opposition to the principles and values that make any society thrive and be great, and that it is your specific actions that cause societies to crumble artificially as opposed to the natural flow of births, deaths, and rebirths.  It is your work that causes societies to retard and decay and it is your failure to accept death that causes you and yours to die prematurely and in the worst possible ways, as opposed to quietly moving on to a peaceable rebirth in another time and, possibly, in another place.  I have nothing but pity for your poor selves, and I hope that we out evolve your nonsense.  I wish you and yours nothing but love and death (yes, those two can go together), such that you and yours pass on to a world that is more conducive for your enlightenment and education.

 

Therefore, everyone governs in some way, and those that lack formal governing structures are not going to be growing much or doing much, and can be more repressive collectively than a highly centralized and authoritarian state. It's perfectly natural, perfectly normal, and much better than living in a state of anarchy or on small scales with collectively enforced codes of ethic.  As a matter of fact, the governments of our world can do phenomenal things for us, if their members would only recognize the benefits for themselves in doing those things effectively and often.

 

That is all.  Thanks for reading!

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A Way Forward

Governments need data. Without understanding what they're doing and how they're impacting the world around them, they are at a loss. Money gets wasted, people get upset or hurt or killed, and it becomes harder to justify the presence of the existing government members along with the existing institutions of government themselves. It is in the existential interests of a government of any type or order to get their work right. Therefore, we need to know what data to collect, what data is relevant to society's well-being, and how to generally model societies and economies through data relationships and networks of connectivity. Above all, we need comprehensive models of societies' working parts; the anatomies of societies and economies in order to understand how they work and how they are connected to the base units, which are people like yourself. We then interfaces with our environment, which then interfaces with ourselves, one influencing the other.  

 

Therefore, it would be wise if we devoted more of our societal resources towards understanding how societies, economies, and ecosystems work and how we can operate as individual human beings, such that we can understand how we work as societies and how we move and change depending upon our internal and external conditions.  I see a massive push for research in these ares involving historians, statisticians, computer scientists, economists, sociologists, political scientists, psychologists, neurologists, and government officials.  This would be step one towards making a coherent comprehension of our societies and economies and ecology, such that we can make effective policies, laws, and programs in accordance with the natural laws and conditions of our world.  

 

It should be noted that the government would have to be the one producing this public good, since there is no apparent interest or desire from the free market to birth this knowledge.  There is no immediate financial profit to it, and therefore, the market will not likely pursue this knowledge other than for a business perspective.  This has to be done though in order to crack the puzzle of perpetual power, sustainability, and positive social conditions that can make lives able to be better for all of us.

 

Just some thoughts.

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A Thought

As a society becomes managed better, life in government becomes more complicated and life in society becomes more simple. As life in government gets simpler, life in society gets more complicated. The trick is to strike a reasoned balance between the two so that life in government becomes feasible and effective while life in society balances between being engaging and being healthful.

 

Consider two extreme states: anarchy and totalitarianism.  In one, the government is absent, making its level of complexity 0.  However, in such a state, society and its members lack organization, have no means of redress and life essentially reverting to a brutish system of overlordship by whomever is the physically strongest and able to repel all challengers.  There is no accountability, even though it logically seems that a new order emerges from the ashes of the collapsed old order in real life away from the hypothetical scenario of anarchy.

 

Now we can consider totalitarianism.  Under such circumstances everything is controlled by the government.  Complexity would have to be near approaching 1 (for shorthand) as the day to day operations of enforcing and maintaining everything becomes so complex and unattainable that the system collapses in real life.  The job of managing society is too great for any government, and we once again see the collapse of this hypothetical extreme state in common reality.

 

What then is likely to happen is that societies will adopt some level of government in between 0 and 1 on this hypothetical complexity scale for the managing of their affairs on a daily basis.  A word of caution would need to be inserted as the quality, objective, and effectiveness of the government would also have to be considered as additional axes for determining the overall effectiveness and outcomes that will actually be realized as a result of governments' policies and actions.  Obviously the extremes of all must be avoided due to their inability to generate anything positive.  There are also different combinations of values on these axes that are feasible depending upon the cultural preferences and condition of the given society.  However, there are most certainly undesirable combinations of each of these values for every member of society due to their instability and inability to enable a society and government to survive well, let alone thrive.

 

I believe that the key combinations of these axes enable people in societies to thrive while also maintaining a human need for engagement and autonomy in life.  This then gets paired with what is feasible, practical, acceptable, and appropriate for the government to do in any given time and condition.  Ultimately, there is are solutions to the problems that societies are faced with that governments need to either coordinate efforts for or deal with directly.  All of this is conditional upon the changing conditions in societies, our environments, and our knowledge of how things are and can be in the universe.  The key to all this is the willingness and ability to adapt to new and changing conditions.  Without that initial capability, all is lost, and the most we can hope for is to occasionally come up with winning combinations every once and awhile, if at all.

 

Frankly, I think we're running out of time to do a successful overhaul of our governing systems, primarily due to lack of will on top and potentially down below in our governing systems.  Too much money is fouling the political game, not enough consideration or care for the people of society who compose the actual society.  Too much emphasis on ideals and ideologies, not enough focus on the actual mechanics of economies and societies.

 

Pity everyone, for we will be paying the price for these mistakes.

 

Enjoy.

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Bill Mitchell: Demystifying Modern Monetary Theory - YouTube

In a challenge to conventional views on modern monetary and fiscal policy, Professor Bill Mitchell of Newcastle University in Australia has emerged as one of...
Eli Levine's insight:

At the root of true conservative government, there is a malfeasance towards the larger social and environmental world that is toxic to both the collective and to the individual who is experiencing the malfeasance.  There are the ideologues, for sure, who genuinely believe that what they're doing is actually a positive thing for everyone.  But then there are those who are just so overwhelming wrapped up in their own bs that they either don't see or won't see the costs that come from destroying the social or environmental systems. 

 

In short, true conservatives are just plain mean, and ideological conservatives are just plain misguided.  We see it time and time again in the social, environmental, and economic science and we see it time and time again in our governments and politics.  There are fundamental, immutable truths out there that apply to economies, societies, and human well-being within the context of the social and environmental worlds.  We may not know all of the truths or how to use them to our advantages all of the time.  There could be unforeseen consequences that then require tinkering with the system in order to adapt it to the new knowledge and/or the new knowledge that is present.  But you must pay attention to natural law and to the changes that happen within the circumstances and conditions that we find ourselves.  This is precisely what is not being done by many policymakers, academics, administrators, and voters.  We cannot afford to keep on the current system that doesn't even provide for the small self in absolute or in the long term.  Conservatives and ideologues must be removed from office or they must change their behavior, attitudes, and patterns of perspective.  Otherwise, I think they belong in mental institutions where they can be treated.  It is that simple.  Trust the peanut gallery in society and government to make it more complicated than it already is.

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Darkness to Light

Take the universe in your arms, neither being above nor below it in stature.  To be in power is to enter into a perpetual and equal dialogue with those whom you are having power over.  To wield power is to do so only with the others' needs and interests at heart, for that is the only way that you receive and maintain power in a society of human beings.

You can only dominate those who will be dominated in the ways that they are willing to be dominated.  Force, fear, deception, and all other negative actions of power will not last forever, and will more likely be permanently removed from power once people get a taste of truly effective and benevolent government.

We are a world that only knows the dark.  We have people who do not know how to use and do not care to know how to use the power that is within their grasp.  We then mistakenly believe that all power is negative; that all hierarchy is a negative thing, that it is impossible to have a good, well managed, and effective state that governs and works with the general public on their behalf.  Only then can the interests of the powerful be truly sustainably and reliably achieved.  To do otherwise is to put the cart before the horse and to risk death at the hands of those whose needs and wishes you perceived incorrectly.

We can actually come out of this darkness to realize something better for us all, if you'd be willing to permit it to happen.  We cannot get bogged down in talk of political parties, ideology, or personal interests ahead of what is actually needed for the society, as determined and expressed by the society.  We can do so much better than has been done in the past, if the past would only have a little self-respect and decency toward itself.  Our governments can do better, both within and amongst themselves in the national context and the international context.  If only our past wouldn't hold us back.

Silly demons.

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Return Of Debtors' Prison. Many 99% still jailed for inability to pay fines/debts VIDEO REPORT

Return Of Debtors' Prison.  Many 99% still jailed for inability to pay fines/debts VIDEO REPORT | It Comes Undone-Think About It | Scoop.it

 

                                               VIDEO REPORT

                                 PBS Newshour, December 27, 2014

RETURN OF THE DEBTORS' PRISON?  MANY STILL JAILED FOR INABILITY TO PAY FINES

Cities across the country are increasingly turning to what are known as private probation companies to collect unpaid fines. But are indigent people ending up in jail because they can't afford to pay? Since NewsHour Weekend's first story on this issue aired last spring, the Childersburg Municipal Court issued a “standing order” stating that “In no case shall an indigent defendant be incarcerated … based solely on his or her inability to pay fines.” But the practice continues elsewhere in the country. Special correspondent John Carlos Frey takes an in-depth look at what some are calling the return of the debtors' prison. Continue reading → http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/return-debtors-prison/


Alternet, June 13, 2014
-▶  DEADLY NEW DEBTOR'S PRISONS:  PENNSYLVANIA MOTHER DIES IN JAIL FOR TRUANCY FINES. CRIMINALIZING POVERTY.  If you thought debtors prison was something straight out of Charles Dickens—and something long ago left behind us—think again. Debtors prison is becoming  very much a part of the American prison-industrial complex. http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/deadly-new-debtors-prisons-pennsylvania-mother-dies-jail-truancy-fines


August 8, 2013 Daily Kos:

-▶  DEBTORS PRISON:  PRIVATE PRISONS ENSURE ONGOING PROFITS FOR INCARCERATING PEOPLE WHO OWE BUT CAN'T PAY http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/08/11/1230307/-Charging-prisoners-fees-even-for-public-defender-creates-debtors-prison#

 

                                              INVESTIGATIONS
                                                    ProPublica
                           UNFORGIVEN : THE LONG LIFE OF DEBT
       Old Debts, Fresh Pain: Weak Laws Offer Debtors Little Protection
Critics say the 1968 federal law that allows collectors to take 25 percent of debtors’ wages, or every penny in their bank accounts, is out of date and overly harsh.

More » http://www.propublica.org/series/unforgiven

 

ProPublica, September 15, 2014
-▶  UNSEEN TOLL:  WAGES OF MILLIONS SEIZED TO PAY PAST DEBTS. A new study provides the first-ever tally of how many employees lose up to a quarter of their paychecks over debts like unpaid credit card or medical bills and student loans. http://www.propublica.org/article/unseen-toll-wages-of-millions-seized-to-pay-past-debts

 

Truthdig, December 22, 2013
-▶ LOCKING UP POOR PEOPLE IN CORPORATE AMERICA IS BOOMING "Aramark, often contracted to provide food to prisoners at about a dollar a meal, is one of numerous corporations, from phone companies to construction firms, that have found our grotesque system of mass incarceration to be very profitable."  http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/food_behind_bars_isnt_fit_for_your_dog_20131222

 

YES Magazine, June 04 2014

-▶  A MODERN-DAY DEBTORS PRISON? JUDGES PUSH BACK AGAINST THE SOUTH' PRIVATIZATION WAVE: In Southern states, small-town courts have outsourced probation management to for-profit companies charging fees out of reach to the country's poorest residents. Many people end up in jail for nonpayment. These judges want private companies out of their courts. PRIVATIZING PROBATION AND PROFITING FROM POVERTY http://www.yesmagazine.org/peace-justice/a-modern-day-debtors-prison

 

Brave New Films
-▶  HOW PRIVATE PROBATION COMPANIES PROFIT OFF THE POOR http://www.bravenewfilms.org/toprisonforpoverty

 

American Civil Liberties Union, February 06, 2014
-▶  COURT-SANCTIONED EXTORTION BY PRIVATE PROBATION COMPANIES:  MODERN DEBTORS PRISON https://www.aclu.org/blog/criminal-law-reform-racial-justice/court-sanctioned-extortion-private-probation-companies

 

                                                    WATCH

                                   TO PRISON FOR POVERTY

                                             Brave New Films
        HOW PRIVATE PROBATION COMPANIES PROFIT OFF THE POOR http://www.bravenewfilms.org/toprisonforpoverty

 

Huffington Post UK, July 03, 2014
-▶  UK IS PRIVATIZING IT'S PROBATION SERVICE http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/07/03/chris-grayling-probation-drawn-from-a-hat_n_5554340.html?utm_hp_ref=uk

 

                                                      VIDEO

                                    "WHO PROFITS FROM POVERTY?"

                                            http://sco.lt/4qDiJl

 

 

Truthout, December 27, 2013
-▶ THE GRAYING OF OUR INCARCERATION NATION -  Our prisons have increasingly become homes for the aging, as there are now some 125,000 prisoners age 55 or older, nearly quadruple the number there were in 1995. .. http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/20743-the-graying-of-our-incarceration-nation

 

                                       VIDEO REPORT (Full Episode)
                            Al Jazeera America, November 01, 2014
                               "DYING INSIDE: ELDERLY IN PRISON"
http://america.aljazeera.com/watch/shows/fault-lines/multimedia/2014/11/fault-lines-dyinginsideelderlyinprisonfullepisode.html

 

The Atlantic, October 30, 2014
-▶ INNER-CITY VIOLENCE IN THE AGE OF MASS INCARCERATION. Harsh criminal-justice policies have thrown America's poorest urban communities into chaos  http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2014/10/inner-city-violence-in-the-age-of-mass-incarceration/382154/

 

Alertnet, November 25, 2013

-▶ HOW WALL STREET TURNED AMERICA INTO INCARCERATION NATION http://www.alternet.org/corporate-accountability-and-workplace/how-wall-st-turned-america-incarceration-nation?akid=11186.237541.CCl2M1&rd=1&src=newsletter929145&t=3

 

                                          A PLAGUE OF PRISONS

                 The Epidemiology of Mass Incarceration in America

                                             Alternet, April 13, 2013
HOW MASS INCARCERATION IS A PLAGUE INFECTING OUR NATION -- LITERALLY http://www.alternet.org/books/how-mass-incarceration-plague-infecting-our-nation-literally

 

 

                                      CRUSHING COLLEGE DEBT

                                     A TRILLION DOLLAR BUSINESS

                    PREDATORY LOANS AND AN UNKNOWN FUTURE

                                               http://sco.lt/8wWGOX

 

 

              CORPORATE PROFITS TRUMPS FAIR WAGES

More than half of U.S. fast food workers on public aid, report says http://sco.lt/5zp197



HOW DEREGULATION/TAX LOOPHOLES ARE DESTROYING SOCIETY, AS THE RICH GET RICHER AND THE POOR GET POORER  http://sco.lt/56KBZB

 

 

                            JAILING AMERICANS FOR PROFIT    

                        THE RISE OF THE BILLION DOLLAR

                    PRIVATE PRISON INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX

                                            http://sco.lt/6bHg3N

 

PolicyMic, December 2, 2014
WATCH AMERICA'S PRISON SYSTEM EXPLODE IN ONE ALARMING GIF

http://mic.com/articles/107088/watch-america-s-prison-system-explode-in-one-alarming-gif

 

                                            KIDS FOR CASH

         INSIDE ONE OF THE NATION'S MOST SHOCKING

                          JUVENILE JUSTICE SCANDALS

                                         http://sco.lt/9HDYeH




                                         PRIVATIZING EVERYTHING

                            THE PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP

                                        http://sco.lt/6G1wgr

 

 




Via pdjmoo
Eli Levine's insight:

Welcome to America.  We chose this path.  Now, we're going to have to walk it until enough people are angry enough and organized enough to effectively change the course of our society and our nation.

 

Absolutely disgusting, in my honest opinion.  Absolutely disgusting.

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       YOU ARE INVITED TO FOLLOW MY NEWS AGGREGATES:


▶  CLIMATE CHANGE WILL IMPACT US ALL http://www.scoop.it/t/changingplanet

▶ CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY http://www.scoop.it/t/environmental-and-human-health

▶  BIODIVERSITY IS LIFE  http://www.scoop.it/t/biodiversity-is-life

▶  OUR OCEANS NEED US  http://www.scoop.it/t/our-oceans-need-us

▶  OUR FOOD, OUR HEALTH http://www.scoop.it/t/agriculture-gmos-pesticides

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The Great Split of Consciousness

I hypothesize that the universe is about to go through another split, just as it may have done when the physical universe was born.  This time, it may be consciousness that will split on this plane of existence and form into two or more universes.  Those who are grounded in reality, who are more compassionate, caring, kind, benevolent, and wise will more likely move in one direction while those who are not really these things will move in another, with room for possibly other branches of the cosmological tree of consciousness to branch off as well.  It doesn't matter if you're the "last one standing" in this present universe because consciousness, I think, is something that transcends physical death and decay.  What does matter is the content of your mind now; the workings, preferences, beliefs, and actions, that will either lead you to becoming more human or move you away to a different form of life elsewhere in the universe for the time being.  It is possible to make choices within the bounds of your biological and circumstantial limitations.  However, those choices are dependent upon countless past choices, preferences, desires, actions, etc.  So, while you have a choice and a possibility to make choices other than what you've made in the past, it still is limited by habituation, circumstance, and condition.

I think that the universe is convulsing with something at this moment.  And, I think, all that really matters is what you do with the present situation and the present condition that will either ensure that you move on, clarify, advance, and continue on, or, move on to another universe and mental state that will make it harder for you to practice.  You have the power, now, to make or break yourself.  However, you are limited by all of your past actions, past habits, and present circumstances that you come into touch with through your past actions.  Therefore, be kind to yourself, and make that better decision today.  If that's not a good enough reason, then do it for all the people you care about in this lifetime.  If that isn't good enough, do it for all living beings and all of the universe ad infinitum and beyond (which is, ironically, just yourself to begin with).

Enjoy the split.

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The Blueprint: A Manifesto for a New Age in Society

We need a group who will run for offices, will expect only the effort of votes and support, will use the science of psychology to get their messages across and will use the science of governing to lead and make choices for the public over the wants of the private.  We need a group who will play the long game, not taking into account just the next election cycle; who will stand for the truly American principles of inclusion, prosperity, pragmatic sense, and a basis in reality rather than hallucinations and beliefs.

 

If the conservatives wish to make other stabs at eliminating economic and social democracy, we should get organized into decentralized, organized bands and make ready to fight if necessary to get our governments to work for the American people.  I am not going to be willing to subsidize someone elses' second luxury yacht if it comes at the expense of our schools, health, environment, technology, and overall prosperity.  We should not be robbed of the wealth that we produce through our labor, nor should we be denied the right to live as human beings and pursue happiness in according to our needs, tastes, and desires within the bounds of safety, sensibility, and others' happiness.  I am sick of being told that my work isn't valuable to an organization.  I am sick of someone far away telling me how I can non-destructively live my personal life.  And I can't stand the amount of willful ignorance and logical contortions that the conservative opposition comes up with to continue to justify their poorly chosen stances and priorities.

 

It is time to govern with science and through facts and evidence as to how things are rather than how we think things are or want them to be.  I am done being nice to the conservatives and the ideologues.

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Youth & Consequences: Unemployment, Injustice and Violence

Getting youth development right has never been more pressing. Countering narratives of grievance, along with offering a better vision of the future, is the job of development. The question is how to do it.
Eli Levine's insight:

 

There are many reasons that motivate people to take up arms and fight, sometimes against improbable odds.  Many of our present government leaders seem to believe that people fight against the strong because of economic want or ignorance on the part of the volunteers.  Indeed, this narrative puts the onerous on the rebel factions and leaves no culpability or blame for the powerful and those who seek to have and take power and resources from others.

 

However, this study shows that, as you scratch beneath the narration that is applied to the stories of the fighters by the powerful, and listen to the stories of those who are actually fighting against the powerful in their own words, one finds that there is no actually correlation or real connection between their economic and educational status and willingness to fight, kill, and die.  The words from the actual fighters are that they're angry or feel like someone or something was taken from them by the powerful.  This is then what fuels them to be willing and able to risk their life and take others'. 


Contrary to the logic of the people who sit in halls of power, especially those in the halls of power in the West, the fighters are not entirely motivated by economic want or out of ignorance. As a matter of fact, they may be sacrificing relative economic prosperity and/or be highly educated even by Western standards and still willing to fight, kill, and die. 


What this then means, from the point of view of the powerful, is that their actions are what are causing the violence and resistance against themselves.  When you consider that human beings around the world had social logic and feelings long before (and in more neurologically powerful areas) than modern economies and notions of wealth and education, it should come at no surprise that as you put someone down that they're going to find ways to dissemble, sabotage, and perhaps outright attack those who are causing perceived or real harm to their perceived sense of self, dignity, and well-being.  It may mean waiting for a long period of time for weaknesses to become present and apparent, or dying in the process of fighting against what are intolerable and unacceptable conditions imposed on them by domestic or foreign powers.


In short, while fighting itself can be perceived as an economic choice, it must be remembered that there are sometimes non-economic reasons to fight for humans.  Again, money and modern notions of wealth and education are newer concepts to our species than is pride, dignity, in-group solidarity, revenge, and these other non-material emotional causes to violence.  If our leaders and our societies experienced what they/we put others through just because we have an ability to do so, they'd be fighting against the repression, oppression, corruption, stolen dignity, and lost life too.  Far from a call for division, this is a call for the recognition of other people and peoples as people like ourselves and whom we consider people.  This is a call for effective selfishness and a path to sustainable and real power, not a gift that needs to be given.  This is a call for the creation, maintenance, and preservation of real security for ourselves by recognizing how our faults lead to our problems.  This is a path to marginalize, crush, and eliminate those who would want to stand against us from within their own societies.  All it takes is kindness, comprehension, acceptance, and acknowledgement of sentiments.  When there aren't economic motivations to fight, there are no amounts of gifts that you can pay to make the violence go away; no amounts of educational and narrative manipulation.  The people who think in these ways are incorrect about their assumptions on power, human beings, and human motives relative to common reality.  It shows in their inability to hold land and people for what should be an eternal relationship on Earth and everywhere else.


It's not difficult or large changes that I'm looking for.  Not really.


Silly apes.

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The Atlas of Economic Complexity |

Networks in Macro Economics with World Trade Data
Eli Levine's insight:

A powerful tool.  The key to growth, it seems, is to keep innovating and to provide conditions that are conducive to innovation, change, and growth.  Government policy can help foster this and policy can help foster what kind of growth is achieved (you know, for if we want to consider social and environmental health and sustainability). 

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Pope Appoints 20 New Cardinals: How to Lead Change

Pope Appoints 20 New Cardinals: How to Lead Change | It Comes Undone-Think About It | Scoop.it
Pope Francis appoints 20 cardinals at a Vatican ceremony, boosting the number of men from developing nations in the group that will elect his successor.
Eli Levine's insight:

While I believe that Pope Francis believes in what he says, one has to wonder about what the motivations were behind the cardinals who elected him to office.  Regardless, this is an excellent template for how to bring about positive changes within organizations.  It requires bottom up demand, followed by an internal change at the top of the organization in logic or in perspective, with actions flowing from the top of the organization leading to the actual changes in personnel and attitude that is needed by the general populace whom the organization serves.  

 

In the case of the Catholic Church, it seems that the leadership recognized an opportunity for their organization to rise again above the fray of scandal and poor management.  If an organization is to change, there has to be a demand for that change on the bottom and the top has to be willing and able to acknowledge and work with that demand in order to make it happen.  The plane cannot fly if it violates the laws of physics and the designers must design planes in accordance with the laws of physics in order to get them to fly.  Likewise, organizations of humans have certain natural laws about them, and policy makers and leaders must obey those social laws in order to preserve, support, maintain, and grow the society in healthful and sustainable ways.  Otherwise, the society collapses, and the leadership becomes out of a job, if not their actual lives.

 

Therefore, I think that the actions of this Pope have been masterful at bringing the organizational logic of the Catholic Church more into alignment with the natural laws of humanity and human society.  He's using his authority wisely and effectively to steer and encourage the people beneath him in the organization to fall into line and regain the legitimacy and acceptability of the Catholic Church amongst the general population of the human species.  All that is needed is for the Church to not go over the line when they have succeeded in regaining the trust of humanity and fall back into a pattern of cyclical abuse and apologies.  That is, arguably, the greater challenge, since no present individual will have the ability to control that development and growth once they are dead or removed from official office.

 

If only our own social leadership could and would take these kinds of actions to create a happier, healthier, and more sustainable and functional society.

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The (Real) Great Leap Forward

The first step to governing is to understand and pick what your priorities really are.  It's ok to be honest with yourself, even if you're going to be dishonest with others.  Your priorities will show through and be made apparent regardless.  Be careful of what you choose to prioritize, as it will have repercussions for your own self in the present tense.   It should be noted that survival needs to always trump financial profitability and health and well-being enable us to thrive much more easily and naturally than the pursuit of purely personal financial profits.

 

The second step is to comprehend, accept, and abide by the natural laws and conditions of society, the environment, and the physical universe that is us.  As of yet, this body of knowledge is incomplete and would require some resources committed towards fleshing it out with evidence and honest analysis to comprehend this in order to make better choices in the society, with the society, and for the society.

 

The third step is to carefully experiment and design remedies to common problems in our society that can make information comprehensible yet not simplistic enough to distort the message that data and observations in the society can tell us about it.  This is best done these days through computer modeling and, again, spare resources should be committed to developing better tools for modeling the socio-economic and environmental complex in which we live in order to produce, again, better solutions for our society through a better understanding of this complex.

 

The fourth step is to apply the lessons that are learned from this research into the practical world such that the governing members can achieve positive priorities for our society while neglecting negative priorities and dysfunctional ways of going about achieving the positive priorities.  All specific polices and programs are subject to changing times, conditions, perceived and desired needs of the public. 

 

These steps are just the first set of stepping stones towards making this world somewhat better for ourselves in spite of its constant and predictable inclination towards self-destruction and recreation.  With any luck, the awareness and acceptance of these natural laws will always be carried on by our consciousness ad infinitum and beyond, in spite of all the changes that will occur along the way to ourselves and our comprehension of the universe.  The essential truths and laws themselves are universal and absolute, even if the solutions to the problems that we face are not.  Each of these steps must be tailored to each unique society and social condition.  The policies and priorities that work in one area of the world will not likely work in other places, cultures, social contexts, and historical settings.  Adaptation and flexibility are the names of the game.  It is not one ism or another, but rather a collection of isms that are reflective of and based in common reality used appropriately and effectively at the right times that ensures survival, health, well-being, and the ability to thrive.  I would argue that anything short of these specific priorities will lead to the ultimate and premature destruction of our species and our human societies.

 

If the governing members wish to earn the respect and legitimacy of the public at the very least, they must emphasize the priorities that lead to positive results and avoid those that don't while ignoring the sub-optimal methods for their given society and social context.  If they wish to do well for their people simply because it's a good thing for them to do, then they'll also be bound to the same basic logic and the same basic steps in order to accomplish their respective ends.

 

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Regarding Ukraine

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that all nations and all national "leaders" have been behaving extremely childishly and foolishly vis a vis the ongoing war in Ukraine.  The West does not recognize Russia's need for a buffer and seaport, and Russia does not recognize that it is antagonizing an already tense situation further by proactively aiding rebel forces in the east.  I said this a long time ago: the West, for our part, should have advocated for dialogue amongst Russian-Ukrainians and Ukrainian-Ukrainians in order to quell the ultra-nationalists in Ukraine and cooperate with the Russian-Ukrainians on what are mutual problems of economy.  The EU should not be trying to take on another broken economy in its present state and NATO should remain on the other side of the Ukrainian border, regardless of who is governing in Ukraine, as a gesture of good faith to the Russians that comes at NO cost to ourselves over here.  The only people who have been destabilizing global security are the people who were chosen for us to be elected by us in the West and Mr. Vladimir Putin.  I do not know how to put the situation in any other way and I defy anyone to say that this should not be taken as a marginalist, zero-sum game where everybody has to lose.  In the end, the Ukrainians from all walks of life need to acknowledge that Ukraine cannot be repaired from its present state without Russian and EU assistance.  Therefore, wouldn't it seem logical to do a concert of both working together towards a common goal that all three can benefit from rather than participating in this war that is costing everybody everything?  Ukraine: you can't live on national pride.  Russia: you need to be more circumspect with what's of value to you.  And, America and EU nations: never have I ever seen a more brazen and destructive attempt for marginal gains that are strategically unnecessary for us than I have seen here.  Your actions are not only incompetent, but also downright dangerous, aggressive, and hypocritical to what you allegedly stand for as democracies and as sensible strategic leaders of your peoples.

 

At present I have no reason to want to work for these leaders of the West and every reason to want to see them removed from office by the democratic will and force of the general public they claim to represent.  Only inconsequential people have liberty and only inconsequential people can and should be allowed to live away from truth, reality, and the substance of human existence.  What we've got instead are a collection of reality TV wannabes who think that the substance of the universe is negotiable and that they are at liberty to do what they'd like when they'd like just because they won the lowest rated popularity contest in their country (seriously, American Idol polls higher than a US General Election, even when the Presidency is on the line).  What good is maintaining the pretense of "democracy" when the democratic will of the people is not to maintain democracy in substance?

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The Costs of Poor Choices

War costs.  Pollution costs.  Excessive wealth concentration costs.  Excessive power reaching costs.  Infectious diseases costs.  Poor management costs.

All of these things eat away at the power, viability, and sustainability of a group of peoples' ability to remain in power.  We have chosen these people to lead and make choices for our society.  They have not lived up to their minimum requirements, and we will all pay for their ignorance, stupidity, and capriciousness.  The world of making policy is not an art form where you are at liberty to do as you will when you will and receive positive results for your liberty.  It is actually a cold, cold science at its roots, with very real and grave consequences for not abiding by the natural laws that are present within our societies and economies.  You do x bundle of policies, you get y results within the society, which then has the power to change, shift, and move on you independently of the policies that you enact.  It is better for those who are in power to know the laws of society, economy, ecology, physics, psychology, and the entire natural universe that is larger than the sub-atomic, yet smaller than the cosmological.  Unless we have this comprehension and acceptance of natural laws and conditions in our world, we will never really break free from the cycle of boom, bust, and decay with a chance of making it back to a positive rebirth.

We cannot abide the ideologues, the delusional, the warped in thinking and feeling, and the clinically anti-social in our governments and in our places of power, consequence, authority, and responsibility.  We cannot abide their anti-social, the deranged, or the delusional from being in power, nor should we accept their sub-par leadership for the sake of their personal ego.  We'll be the ones paying for their ability to be in office.  And, quite frankly, privilege of being in office, in my mind, does not outweigh my right to live a free, decent, and happy life.

How do you feel about this?

Seriously, we will die for the sake of their pathetic ego.

Your move, America.  Your move.

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Utility Maximization - Where We Go Wrong

Perhaps our real problem as a species, from an economic perspective, is a poor definition and a poor cognizance of our actual utilities, given our biological, sociological, and environmental needs.  Would anyone say that the French or Russian or Chinese or Iranian aristocrats truly maximized their utility when they took so much from their societies that the societies themselves rose up and eliminated them?  I'm not inclined to say so.  I think we're headed on a similar collision course with history of our corporate and political leaders continue on their same near-sighted, artificial, and narrow definitions of success and utility maximization.

 

Utility is going to be different for each person and position within a given society.  It is also something that is partially constructed socially and partially experienced endogenously within ourselves.  Just because something amasses you more material or financial wealth doesn't mean that it is you're actually "winning" at anything.  Just because several people or society itself may have told you what you wanted doesn't mean that it's really good for you as an individual.

 

A business person's motivation to maximize financial profits and material wealth is contradictory and, sometimes, mutually exclusive to maximizing their actual organic, sociological, and environmental needs as living beings.  Yet through a combination of genetic, socialization, and psychological factors they choose financial wealth over their own physical, social, and environmental health.  They seem to clearly mistake and misunderstand their own self interests relative to the larger social, economic, and environmental picture of the universe that is around them.

 

A governing member of society's motivation can be found in maintaining, preserving, and extending their relative power and influence within the given society.  However, we see here again that these governing members frequently mistake temporary relative power over people to long term longevity and a lasting positive influence on peoples' lives.  Without this positive influence on peoples' well-being and quality of life, they then preside over relative hovels of societies or else, get removed from office all together in more proactive societies.  Again, the key to achieving utility maximization is misunderstood, even in the public realm where traditional notions of utility maximization aren't present.

 

In short, maximizing relative power and influence, along with pure financial profit are not keys to maximizing human utility on any planet.  They should not be used in determining those things which we need to crave for our health, well-being, and quality of life in this universe within the context of our larger society, economy, and environment.  Those who don't see it like that are probably suffering from some sort of socially induced hallucination that could be an enabling factor in allowing them to fight, kill, and even die for the sake of things that we don't really need and shouldn't really want as human beings.  How does the maximization of utility in these traditional senses lead to true utility maximization if they ruin lives, well-being, and whole economies and societies?

 

Just a thought.  Hope it helps.

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Governing In The Long Term

In the long term, the universe favors the honest, the compassionate, the sensed, and the grounded in reality.  In the human world, all power relationships depend on these things from both those who have power and those who do not.  Two-way communication is key, and finding the middle ground amongst interests is key to figuring out where the optimal solution is going to lie.  There are optimal solutions and there are many more sub-optimal or dysfunctional solutions to our societal problems.  Not all opinions are equal.  Not all people are really good at registering their self-interest in the grand context of society and the universe. And, just because you're good at getting money does not mean that you're actually sensible, sensed, compassionate, honest, or able to handle anything bigger than your own personal self.  Without these positive traits in the leadership cadre of human societies, human society as a whole is going to be lost.  We need a professional governing cadre.  We need people who are educated formally or informally in the ways of life and society to govern. 

 

We cannot abide crackpots and reality TV personalities to actually operate our domestic and international states of affairs.  Yet this is who we have as governors of our American society at the very least.  This is who governs our world from both sides of the official aisle.  These are the people who are mean-spirited, who are so wrapped up in delusion that they don't know or care to know what is real and what isn't.  These are the people we've elected to office.  And American society will pay the price for its stupidity and gullibility in choosing elected officials.

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The Oath

I am only human.  Regardless of what I think I am now or what I may have been in a previous life, or what I may be in a future life, I am only human.  Without this comprehension and acceptance on my part, I will be nothing more than a delusional infant, grasping at grandeur and receiving only shame and scorn in return.  I cannot pledge to be perfect.  I cannot pledge to do all, know all, practice all things perfectly, or even be a success in this lifetime.  But what I can pledge is that I will always attempt to do my best by other people; to work hard in order to provide that which is needed at the appropriate time in the appropriate place, in the appropriate way.  I can pledge that I will always stop to listen to and for the needs of the people I interact with and balance them against the interests of the common whole that is humanity and the environment in which we live.  I can pledge that I will always be there to love, protect, serve, and, if necessary and possible, to save humanity from itself and to bring about written laws in accordance with natural law, the conditions that are present, and the effects that will likely be realized from following one course of action or preference over another.  I will pledge to work hard to learn what is needed, how things actually work, and how to satisfy those needs as best as I can with what I'm able to perceive.  I am only human and will only be able to do what I am able to do.  With these words I seal my fate as an administrator and a person to the fate of the human societ(ies) in which I'm working, for which I'm working.  I testify that there are no valid laws other than the natural laws of cause, effect, and condition which matter.  All other opinions, beliefs, written laws, and senses of authority are merely capricious in nature and are simply the babblings of ego that will dissipate in the universe as the universe and species evolves, grows, and becomes more self-aware.  With all my lives, past, present, and future, I make this pledge onto you, the individual beings of the universe to do my best.  Take it for what you will.

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Absolution

The American public and, indeed, the American citizen is the ultimate cause of all problems within the American social system.  It is because of citizen demand for sub-optimal policy choices, sold to them by shills and shysters, that we get sub-optimal policy choices in our society which then tarnishes our entire nation and our viability as a country.  It is through their democratic voice, or lack of giving a voice, that we get the dysfunctional policy choices that we get, which then sets our nation, our society, and our world backwards and degrades the overall quality of life and well-being for the general public.  Unless a new leadership emerges to counter the incorrect and sub-optimal policy recommendations of our current leadership gives and to rise above the idiotic, the delusional, the misinformed, and the ignorant elements within our society, we are never going to be able to achieve the optimal quality of life we could potentially achieve with what we've presently got.

A democratic society is good for holding leaders to account.  However, the quality of that role depends largely upon the quality of the citizens' abilities to make choices for themselves on the collective and individual level.  If the ability of the public is compromised by leadership elements or by their own human fallibility, the system breaks down, and those moments of light which democracy brings forth may not be worth the long term costs of having a generally erratic and temperamental, incoherent, and not necessarily inclusive method of reaching decisions.  Like any relationship, it takes intelligent and sensed decision making by both partners in order to achieve optimal results.  Failure to do so will result in collapse, catastrophe, or else otherwise mediocre performance by the society.

Quite honestly, if a government and its members are able to know their own interests accurately, and are otherwise able to achieve them effectively, a hybrid of democracy and dictatorship becomes the preferable option in the long term, due to the stability of a well-functioning leadership who manipulates the society to positive ends and is affirmed by the society for doing a genuinely positive job at governing.  Knowing what the people need and want is a significant piece of the governing puzzle.  However, a too much chaos in the system leaves it destabilized in the long term. Too many voices with irrelevant or harmful ideas and methods of going about things will bring down the entire system, or else, make it significantly more difficult to achieve the fundamentals of survival, let alone, the ability to thrive as a society of individuals.

This is the ultimate conundrum of society.  While I agree that voting and access to the governing should be cheap and easy, I also think that not everything or everyone should be listened to.  Opinions are not, after all, equal in common reality.  A person may believe in the geocentric universe quite honestly.  However, all evidence points to it being quite an incorrect view of how the universe is and how it works.  The same principles apply in the world of policy, even if we're less clear about what actually is happening and how things actually are and are working.  A person may believe in a policy or in a method of organizing and managing a government and a society.  However, even though it may be possible to implement those ideas, it doesn't mean that it's an actually beneficial, healthy, or sustainable thing or set of things to do.  You can eat doughnuts everyday, all day for months and years.  However, just because you can, doesn't mean that you should and, quite honestly, it will lead to your death much sooner than it otherwise may have been, thanks to all of the health problems that it creates.  A society can operate on fossil fuels for energy or with the wealth being concentrated in the hands of a few with the democratic processes otherwise shut down to anything opposing the immediate desires of the elite.  However, that doesn't mean that a society should operate and function in such a condition and, having things be as such, the lifetime of the society will be shortened due to environmental and social pressures (assuming that no additional external catastrophes happen along the way).  This is going to be a moment of absolution for our society throughout these coming years and decades.  I don't know how we're going to do with the present set of socially illiterate people at the helms of our societies and the bumbling, incompetent nature of the general public to compound the problems that we're facing.

 

That's all I've got to say for now.  A shame I don't have better news to give.  I wish I could do something about it.  However, I need the permission of the society and its leadership in order to do that.

 

Shame, things were starting to look so cool.

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Scooped by Eli Levine
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Social Administration

The goal of a social leader is to deliver the best policies and qualities of programs that are possible, not to advocate for their own side or perspective or perceived interests. If you want to stay in power reliably and sustainably, you will be on the constant search for truth, reality, and ways to achieve optional social health, well-being, and quality of life for other people. Your comfort and convenience and position comes second if you're interested in preserving your power and your institutions. That's the lesson from history and psychology. Like it or lump it, it's still going to hold for those who have it wish to be in power. 

 

Period.

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