MANIFESTO FOR CHANGE, PART 2

INCENTIVE: THE CORE SOLUTION

This is the 2nd in a series of 17, to be published every 3 days.

There is a popular movie titled “The Theory of Everything”. I want a new one titled “The Solution to Everything”. I had an epiphany this morning while brushing my teeth. (A very philosophical time). I recently Tweeted: “Incentive is the key to an efficient system.” I think it may be the answer to almost everything that needs fixing. Think of Capitalism and its success as an economic system. Sure, there are a few rough areas, but the system does work. If it was to be summarized in one word, that would be incentive.

I don’t believe changing our tax structure will disincentivize our system, just make it more fair. There were plenty of ambitious people when the top marginal tax rate was 90%. With a reliable social safety net in place, people will be encouraged to take risks, to innovate. It may be considered crass to imply that nothing will happen without some form of incentive, but think about it for a minute. In capitalism, the incentive is mostly monetary, but in other situations, other incentives can work. We need to find a way to reach everybody. This will require a multipronged approach. Some will be incentivized by monetary rewards, some by fame, some by internal satisfaction. We must appeal to all these motivations and any others that come to light. The economics and psychology of human behavior often takes peculiar detours. We must be cognizant of the consequences of our actions and take action quickly to correct deviations from our intended course. Keeping the carrot in front of the donkey is the answer to making it move. I know it’s cliché, but don’t be part of the problem, be part of the solution.

Many of you might be better at coming up with motivational ideas than me. I would appreciate any comments you might have.

 

MANIFESTO FOR CHANGE, PART 1

INTRODUCTION: Toward a better and more livable life.

This is the 1st in a series of 17, to be published every 3 days.

We have a need to create an enduring, humane social safety net, without stifling the benefits of capitalism, so people will be allowed to flourish, develop their full potential and live a meaningful life. We need to eliminate all of the inequities rampant in our country. Many of the ideas in this manifesto are borrowed from two sources: The Green Parties “Green New Deal” and AOC/Markey’s “Green New Deal”. Some of the points in these two sources are too radical, even for me. I have filtered out what I think is unreasonable. I’ve added in some ideas from other outspoken, forward thinkers, and even added a thought or two of my own. I have tried to come up with something more comprehensive than either of the two plans, something that will further our society and pay for itself. Many people are crying the blues about how much social change will “cost”. My position is it will cost very little. What will change is when the price will be paid and who will pay it. Since the beginning of Reaganomics, we have been borrowing from the future at an increasing rate. Trickle down doesn’t work. We need to get in a pay as you go mode and not push this huge bow-wave of debt in front of us.

I would be disappointed if many of the ideas presented in this series were new to you. I consider them a starting point. I challenge you to do better, but do something. All the ideas presented in this paper integrate together and are synergistic. We must push a comprehensive plan of reform. This is a manifesto on what government can do to improve the country we live in and thereby improve the world. Our country is currently very flawed and needs fixing. In writing this, I am not representing any group. While many of the ideas are borrowed, this is my own work. I don’t have all the answers, it’s hard enough coming up with the questions.

A long time ago, I was a worker bee on a negotiating team. We were presenting our strategy to upper management. About half way through the presentation, the manger interrupted and said words to the effect: “you are approaching this with a scalpel when you should be using a meat axe”. While an approach this aggressive is not always the right way, sometimes it is necessary to attain a workable goal. We need to come at this hard.

There are a total of seventeen posts in this series. The length of each post is not indicative of the import of the subject covered. Nothing should be left out. I expect some of the content will irritate a certain portion of the population. I may receive some irate comments. I expect that. Let’s try to find some common ground in a calm manner and solve these problems for the good of our country. We need a focused, unified approach.

I want our country and the world to be a better place. The list of things needing to be done is almost endless. Starting from any base, it is possible for the average human to imagine only so much. I have come up with a list of things I see as needing to be addressed to get to my current definition of a Utopia. This is a constantly moving target, but we must start somewhere. There will always be more to do.

The topics I have chosen to cover in this manifesto should not be considered everything that needs to be addressed, but tackling all of them would create a dramatic change in the way we live and make this country a much happier place to live.

I realize the problem is higher than MT Everest, but if we start and keep at it, we can get to the top. Any problem, no matter how large, can be broken down into pieces small enough that something can be done today. We should try to make some progress, no matter how little, every day. If we start accomplishing things and keep track of our progress, our enthusiasm for change will grow and self-propagate. I believe all the issues should be put on the table at once. People using special leverage or rules to stymie progress should be called out. This should be sold to the general population, the majority. I’m a firm believer in the economic system being able to adapt. Phase some of the changes in and the system will take care of itself.

One of the reasons for having much of this done at the Federal level is to give some help to areas of the country not as economically advantaged, but with good people, able to make a contribution.

A satisfaction with being a part of a new social order. Thinking of new ways to approach the problems of our country. That’s why I’m writing. If you have comments or suggestions, please include a comment.

 

More About Blogging

I’m entering my fifth month blogging. It’s been a strange and interesting journey. I have never been much of a writer, but that has changed. I don’t know how long writing for the world to see will be important to me. For some it’s a lifetime passion. I didn’t start until a point in my life when many think it’s almost over.

Blogging is an interesting concept, made popular by the ease of accessing the internet. Is there anybody who’s life isn’t impacted by the internet? A person can set up a blog in about an hour and say almost anything they want. It doesn’t have to play to a large market. You can do it for free if you have a connection. If you can’t afford a connection, I assume you can blog from the public library. It is the most democratic, non-discriminatory media available for social comment, philosophy, or just babbling. I’ve done all of these. Does it serve a useful place in our society? Yes. Could it be done better than it is? Yes, but that would partly undermine its character and its role as a vehicle for change. It is an effective way to get a multitude of ideas out there for people to think about. I’ve seen more ideas with slight variations since I have been blogging. As I blogger, I read many blogs for inspiration, ideas to comment on, and just a different perspective. It’s good to see views different from your own.

I’ve read a little about how to grow an audience for your blog. The conventional wisdom is to focus on one topic or genre. My sometimes contrary nature forces me to do the opposite and let the chips fall where they may. My topic selection is eclectic, but I do tend to focus on political and social issues. I am currently working on a seventeen part series on how I feel the country should be run. Everyone has their own theories on how this should be done. The difference is I’m going to put mine out there for everyone to see. In my reading about how to write, one of the problems some writers face is turning loose of their writing. Is it done yet? Is it good enough? I am experiencing some of these feelings with my Manifesto for Change. It for sure needs more work, but I am setting a tentative target to publish the first installment on February 18, 2019, with additional installments every three days after. It needs to be in final form before I start to make sure it fits together, at least in my mind. When it does start running, I would appreciate any feedback.

 

 

A thought about how Nutrition fits in the World

When I originally started my blogging life, I promised one of the things I would talk about is nutrition. I am passionate about my personal nutrition, but sometimes I wonder if others want to hear my non-mainstream ideas. I made the decision not to preach about nutrition because it seems most people already know what I know or more likely they don’t care and just eat what tastes good. We all know some foods are better for us than others, just like smokers know smoking causes cancer.

The other day, as I was thinking about the troubles of the world and how my solutions were obviously the best, a thought experiment popped into my head. Lucky you, now I am going to share with you. Here it is: If a group of scientists and nutritionists ranked all the foods available to us in our country, from best to worst nutritionally, and the bottom 60% were magically made unavailable to us, what would happen? Almost immediately a black-market would form with Snickers and Twinkies as their top sellers. If it was made illegal to buy the bad 60, I think a lot of people would comply, but I could be wrong.

If we did indeed have high compliance, what kind of changes would we experience? Would we suddenly have too many doctors, because of lower disease rates? Would our food bills go down? Would the reduced advertising expenditures and production costs of the higher cost foods in the bad 60 be transferred to increased productivity in other areas that would benefit civilization. Would the cost of health insurance and healthcare in general go down? Could research dollars go towards other ailments effecting humankind? This isn’t going to happen in my lifetime. But maybe someday it will.

MY EXPERIENCE WITH TWITTER SO FAR

I started posting on Twitter on November 23, 2018, so by most standards, I am a newbie. My home page states(@reincke_peter), as of the time of writing this, I have made 349 Tweets. I have kept a personal log of the Tweets I originated. That number is 99 now. They are an eclectic mix. Some are slightly inane, a few, I believe are profound. Some have been retweeted, most have not. I follow 42 and am followed by 15. At 280 characters, this is how people talk. I am having a conversation with the world, it’s just that not many are listening.

I’ve read much about how social media is destroying our ability to communicate. I agree in that it is cutting down on our ability to communicate verbally. It is also cutting down on our need to communicate verbally. I don’t know if that is a good thing or not. Chances are it’s not really a good thing. There is a flip side to this that I haven’t seen discussed much. What about the introvert who communicates very little with other people? If that person communicates with others through social media, isn’t that an increase in total communication? An increase in the dissemination of ideas?

Tweeting and blogging have opened my mind to a flow of ideas which I have never experienced before. I have read views I wouldn’t have imagined existed. I am happy for the opportunity to see many views opposed to mine. I helps me understand my own views better and see where I need to modify some of my opinions that were based on faulty reasoning. As I have changed some of my opinions, I would hope I have helped others examine their views. Maybe I have changed some people’s lives, maybe not. But it’s not for the lack of trying.

I think Twitter has an important role in our society. I like what I am doing now. Like anything in life, it is subject to change, but for now it’s a part of the purpose of my life.

Happiness II, an expansion of the concept

Recently I Tweeted the following: “Happiness is not an emotion but a state of being. Remember not choosing is a choice. If the path you have chosen isn’t fulfilling, change is calling your name.” Given the character limitation of Twitter, I couldn’t fully develop the concept, but there is no such limitation here. I will expose another part of the iceberg. Happiness has been commented on by almost every philosopher since Socrates. It is a very elusive concept. There is no “one size fits all”. Happiness is only definable within the context of the individual. It is not subject to rational thought. You define it and you decide whether you are there. To be fair, you should acknowledge it’s not about a continuous euphoric feeling. Just like cold is defined as the absence of heat, happiness should be defined as the absence of overwhelming, continuous sadness. Happiness is the minimization of stress in our lives. It’s the absence of a continual battle with life. You do have choices. You must face reality with a clear sense of purpose. You can’t wander through life without some sort of plan. If you harbor hate or prejudice, you can’t be happy. Because this is my blog, I feel free to use myself as a tool to show what I mean. (As an aside, I wish to thank Microsoft Word for correcting a small portion of my grammatical ineptitude).

First a short listing of the facts. I am retired, and my finances are modest but secure. No job or financial related stress.  My health is better than most my age. This doesn’t mean I wouldn’t like to have more, just it’s not necessary for basic comfort. I don’t know anyone who hates me, and I don’t hate anyone. I care about what happens to the world. I am not a member of any group that society might be prejudiced against. I am doing what I want. I recently started writing and it’s given me a sense of purpose. I feel good. The feeling is not attributed to any one factor in my life. I have tried to be aware of the choices available to me.

Within the above framework, I am happy, and you can be too. I haven’t listed anything that is very difficult to attain.

Happiness is about peace, with yourself and the world.

I believe I am happy, and that is what matters.

If you have comments or subjects for me to comment on, please message me.

The Gentle Enemy

The gentle enemy

I recently read a post that takes the opposing position to my position on abortion rights. I mention this for several reasons.

  1. I believe it is important to be aware of positions different from our own to better understand the issue.
  2. While being clearly anti-abortion, she presented her case by redefining the problem to something that could garner more agreement. The reason for abortion is unwanted pregnancy and she presented a way to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies. While I disagree with her solution and I think she over simplified the causes to make her case, her solution could be viable for some people. She advocated wide scale vasectomies that could be reversed when conception is desired.
  3. The most important reason, to me, for mentioning this is she calmly presented her case without inflammatory, and polarizing language. This is something the world needs more of to help heal some of the wounds of the past few years.

I truly hope there is more low-key, meaningful debate on all the issues. Maybe we can make some progress towards putting some of these issues behind us. Don’t you agree?