Hello there friends and philosophers,
I have been struggling to figure out what to post, as information seems to be coming at us so fast these days, and everyone has a different opinion about what they hear. I have a lot of different opinions about what I hear too, and finally, it occured to me that by not sharing, I'm effectively censoring myself. Besides, opinions are meant to be simply a waymarker on the path we are taking, just like footprints, so I'll take step here, and you can decide if you like the boots I'm wearing, or the earth upon which I trod.
Yesterday was the Bell let's talk mental health day, and some of the things I was listening to reminded me that the surest way to support your mental health is to have meaningful work. I take issue with anyone who arbitrarily divides certain classes of work into essential, and non-essential - what is essential for the body is not the whole of what is essential for the mind or spirit, and denying the importance of some kinds of work is just another way of negating someones life experience, which can have disastrous consequences. It is important for everyone to decide for themselves what "essential" means to them.
My mother's maternal family grew and marketed vegetables in southern Pennsylvania. I guess you could say they were one of the "lucky" families that made it through the depression with food on the table and a secure place to live, because of their rather default lifestyle. When my grandmother married, and moved to Ontario, she continued to grow a large household garden - not because she was afraid of food shortages - but because it was the only rational way to do it, if you wanted to can and freeze enough to feed your family through the winter. She was ever so relieved when Green Giant figured out how to mechanically process frozen peas that didnt taste like starchy cow fodder. Though they were never as good as garden peas, hand shelled and picked at peak sweetness and tenderness, frozen peas from the grocery store were a reasonable compromise that liberated a lot of time and effort. For reasons of her own, my mother went back to that tradition of shelling and freezing garden peas...its not logical or even "essential" perhaps - modern canning factories can do it more efficiently - but it feeds a part of her soul, and, in having taught it to her daughters, she keeps a kind of experiential knowledge alive, that has value to us as a family.
Coming into this financial catastrophe that, despite popular belief, is not sitting on our doorstep - it's been an unacknowledged house guest for years - I find that I am taking for granted the enormous wealth creation that has been in my hands, all these years, simply by growing my own food. I'm glad for opportunity to finally understand the value of what I have.
Every time an item is sold, and transferred from maker, to marketer to retailer, to consumer, not only does the government usually take a cut (sales tax) but the initial price that the maker receives becomes a smaller portion of the final cost of the goods. It's almost like inflation, but in real time, on real goods. Each middleman performs a service that is essential to the process of getting that product to the buyer, including advertisers...but what if you didnt have to get it to the buyer? What if some things you could make for yourself?
This is the flip side of consumer economics - saver economics. It hasn't been popular in part because of interest rates being so low for the past two decades. When my parents were first married, it was possible to live off of the interest your savings made for you. Taking out a loan was serious business, and you paid dearly for the time it took for you to pay the money back, and become self sufficient again. Money and time are linked by interest rates. Ironically, at a time when minimum wage is the highest it's ever been, the value of our time, as defined by interest rates, is at its lowest. When your debt doesn't grow, but your pay check does, it sort of looks like a good time to take out a loan; a blank cheque on life, as it were, no matter how artificial the circumstances.
I would not be surprised if the Bank of Canada is now getting close to implementing negative interest rates, as the European central banks have been doing since 2016. Negative interest rates take ownership and savings and make them out to be a liability. Add inflation and you dont need highway robbery to bankrupt people.
Our essential tools need to be justice, not welfare. Justice slices away untruths and inequalities that otherwise make it impossible to protect an individual's right to properties, or to work for their own benefit. Welfare is a moral sanction that justifies our tolerance for inequality.
It is unethical to take more than you have to give - moreover, it is unsustainable to life on earth - yet that is the financial leadership of first world countries, who would have you believe that deficit is the inevitable truth of humanity's productivity. Think about it: if you agree that the debt our country is carrying is a natural consequence of the most evolved economic system we could possibly facilitate, it means that human beings are parasites, incapable of supplying to their own needs.
This is grossly untrue.
I know this from experience because I know what productivity looks like before it becomes drained by the system. I grow my own food. I trade for some things, and I support small business, which is the ethical form of capitalism, and the backbone of democracy.
The future will never look exactly like the past, yet the past holds a mirror to our future that defines how far we have come, and in what direction.
So where are we going, and what will life on earth look like in the future? Well, it's up to all of us to ask this question: Do you smell life in back door deals behind corporate counters, or in back yard gardens, under rotting leaf mulch? Can you feel it growing abundantly in nurtured soils, or in dirivitive market shares? Can you taste it in nutritious, homegrown vegetables, or in lysol cans? Where do you see life?