QandU
Q and D… D is for Decalogue

The term ‘decalogue’ has been used, within certain constituencies, to denote the Ten Commandments, recall the tablets Moses received in a magical moment.  Years ago, the late Christopher Hitchens, acclaimed atheist, did his own spin on the Commandments, which is a fascinating read, bringing a current commentary and irreligious relevancy to the divine deliverable.  With the growing religious fervor both abroad and at home, maybe it time to revisit and posit a new set, recognizing the diversity of thought, evolution of moral righteousness and behaviors, weaved together in a fashion of equanimity.

Let’s first recount some of the original content in Cliff Note fashion: 1.  Monotheism; 2. No bad pix of the supreme. 3.No cussing. 4.  Take the day off and pray. 5. Respect mom and dad 6. Don’t murder 7. Don’t cheat 8.Don’t steal 9. Don’t lie 10.Don’t wish for things other might have. 

Now let’s do our own spin, and a bit secular.   First, let’s not use the “negative” (i.e., “Do Not…”) but rather the affirmative.  And let’s take it further, to a kids’ version as they are the ones that are exposed early to the teaching.  Here we go…..

 

1.Believe in a future.  Have dreams.

2.Be true to yourself and to those that you love.  Find your passions and pursue them.

3.Speak kindly of those around you.  Or don’t speak at all. Bad jou-jou.

4.Work hard and play hard.  Gain pride in your effort, while recognizing that life is too short not to enjoy the moment.

5.Love and respect your parents, your siblings, your friends and all the “little folks” (children), as they only mean well.  And respect your teachers.  They are helping your future.

6.Be nice to everyone, even when it’s difficult.  Just because someone may be of different colors or thoughts or practices, consider it a new experience, something new to learn about. You only grow smarter and wiser. And you will have more fun.

7.Always be honest, tell the truth, even when it is easier to fib.  Fibs come back and bite you.

8.Share what you have and hope others share too.  More fun that way. Let’s party.

9.Do something nice for someone everyday.  Pay it forward, it will come back to you many times over.

10.Appreciate that what you have, as so many aren’t as lucky. While some have more, more have less. 

This is not intended to be at all dismissive of the original Commandments, as a Catholic personally.  Sometimes though a refreshed interpretation adds positively to the narrative and our collective experience.

Q and B… is for Binary Economics

Remember Kelso?  He authored and lobbied for the ESOP, The Employee Stock Ownership Plan.  A mechanism created in the 1950’s that gave employees the opportunity to be compensated with stock in the companies that they work for.  The ESOP was the real world application of Kelso’s theory of Binary Economics.  Kelso posited that the factors of production are divided into two (binary) categories: labor and capital.  Labor, the human component is compensated by wages and capital, the non-human component is compensated by appreciation.  

During his studies, Kelso noticed that classical and neo-classical economists had overlooked a fundamental component of production theory.  They united around the assertion that is it is the increasing productivity of labor that drives growth in a post industrial economy.  Kelso noted that advances in science and technology meant that capital had, in fact, become more productive while labor productivity remained largely unchanged.   The significant implication of this demonstrable fact is that those who can enable capital to work on their behalf are, by a significant margin, accumulating more than those who rely on their labor alone.  These people will advance economically at a much greater pace even in an economy where wages increase which has not been the case in the US for decades.  

The “so what?” here is huge.  As capital assets continue to be owned by a smaller and smaller segment of our population, a systemic and compounding wealth gap is created and self perpetuates to the levels that we see today.  The Occupy Movement, the debate over CEO compensation and so on are all manifestations of this fatal flaw in our current system.  Even the unemployment that is fueling the civil strife can be traced back to the migration of capital, and hence wealth, and hence political influence in favor a tiny economic elite at the expense of education.  American companies are sitting on trillions of dollars that they are reluctant to invest in domestic growth because of a mismatch between the skills the US labor force and their needs and because of weak demand in an underemployed and economically stressed population.  

The ESOP was brilliant because it recognized the importance of a more even distribution of capital ownership in the development of a healthy, long-term economic outlook with a thriving middle class capable of consuming the products of a healthy domestic economy.  Now would be a good time to revisit the principles that Kelso laid down and develop additional mechanism in support of broad capital ownership throughout our economy.

An Answer to the National/Sovereign Debt Problem

Ok.  In the spirit of the blog Q and A: Here’s an Answer for the national/sovereign debt issue.  Similar to how Bill Gates and Warren Buffet contributed to the Gates Foundation for both do- good reasons but also an estate tax planning , I might suggest that the richest individuals, like over $1 billion in net worth, contribute 20-30% of their wealth as a direct reduction to the $14 trillion of outstanding debt, but for it, they would receive a tax holiday for 10-12 years.  Further, the fed government would be required, with the fresh start, to limit deficit spending to 2-3% per annum, with a limitation of 10% overall.   This would be construed as the national recapitaIization. Sort of a capital call, but with long term benefits.   Issue is that we need a comprehensive fix now, not thru time and not a feckless or temporal effort. Rather something that changes the current status.  Result would be a debt free government, improved value of the dollar, sustenance of the reserve currency of the dollar.   Certainly, while the rich would ultimately accrue wealth faster for the subsequent years (binary economics), the federal government would need to establish programs to develop wealth for the middle and lower classes.

Same approach could be used for the PIIGS countries in Europe to solve their problems.  Yes, a bailout, but provides the (wealthy) public to step up, solve a problem, and place the onus of good management on the governments going forward, as they wouldn’t see tax revenues from the wealthy for an extended period.

Q and A… is for Answers
Questions abound but in today’s world of fractious uncertainty we seem a little short on Answers…   What to do about the US economy and unemployment, political dysfunction, the waning wisdom of our leadership?  What to do about the nuclear capability of Iran, US support of Israel in a growing Sharia spectrum, the Euro?  What about the eroding influence of our Western economies and the rapid rise of the BRIC countries, Africa and the developing world?  What does this portend for the next five, ten, fifteen years?  The fact that our children, for the first time,  are expected to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents and enjoy a lower standard of living.  How do we renew our commitment to thrive and support our next generation and those to follow?  
We can sit and cogitate, but we need to develop distinct Answers and strategies for moving forward.   We might start by questioning whether we are even asking the right “questions”, whether those posed address symptoms or cures, as the answers being tendered seem short of delivering the solutions they promise.  The movements, Arab Spring to our very own Occupy, ring of revolution and reform but their respective commentaries seem not to have distilled into meaningful and executable manifestos.  They yield more mountains of criticisms about the status quo and unanswered queries that can be scaled for a better view of the problem but, as yet, reveal no answers on the horizon.  
We are stuck in a vacuity of leadership.  Both domestically and on the world stage our government is increasingly viewed as dysfunctional, irrelevant, non-consequential and anemic.  A tough position for the leader of the free world, the holder of the reserve currency, and biggest global economy.  Might our predominant position now be considered ephemeral?   A reason… We are not providing answers. 
So how do we get from Q and the universal U to QandA for Answers.  We need thoughtful discussion, we need the best and brightest to come forward, we need out-of-the-box thinking, as times are “a-changin”.   The patterns of the past have shifted, the questions of yesteryear may be irrelevant and the answers are likely to be unexpected and challenging but they must be encouraged to emerge.  We believe that as a collective, we can provide a forum where people from every part of the social and political spectrum can be a part of that evolution towards a different way of thinking and working in our world.  Thanks for joining us and being a part of the conversation.
So, for a start, does our political process of changing the guard every two to four years allow us to address Questions and issues of  longer term consequence, such as the health of the economy?   The answer …….

Q and A… is for Answers

Questions abound but in today’s world of fractious uncertainty we seem a little short on Answers…   What to do about the US economy and unemployment, political dysfunction, the waning wisdom of our leadership?  What to do about the nuclear capability of Iran, US support of Israel in a growing Sharia spectrum, the Euro?  What about the eroding influence of our Western economies and the rapid rise of the BRIC countries, Africa and the developing world?  What does this portend for the next five, ten, fifteen years?  The fact that our children, for the first time,  are expected to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents and enjoy a lower standard of living.  How do we renew our commitment to thrive and support our next generation and those to follow? 

We can sit and cogitate, but we need to develop distinct Answers and strategies for moving forward.   We might start by questioning whether we are even asking the right “questions”, whether those posed address symptoms or cures, as the answers being tendered seem short of delivering the solutions they promise.  The movements, Arab Spring to our very own Occupy, ring of revolution and reform but their respective commentaries seem not to have distilled into meaningful and executable manifestos.  They yield more mountains of criticisms about the status quo and unanswered queries that can be scaled for a better view of the problem but, as yet, reveal no answers on the horizon.  

We are stuck in a vacuity of leadership.  Both domestically and on the world stage our government is increasingly viewed as dysfunctional, irrelevant, non-consequential and anemic.  A tough position for the leader of the free world, the holder of the reserve currency, and biggest global economy.  Might our predominant position now be considered ephemeral?   A reason… We are not providing answers.

So how do we get from Q and the universal U to QandA for Answers.  We need thoughtful discussion, we need the best and brightest to come forward, we need out-of-the-box thinking, as times are “a-changin”.   The patterns of the past have shifted, the questions of yesteryear may be irrelevant and the answers are likely to be unexpected and challenging but they must be encouraged to emerge.  We believe that as a collective, we can provide a forum where people from every part of the social and political spectrum can be a part of that evolution towards a different way of thinking and working in our world.  Thanks for joining us and being a part of the conversation.

So, for a start, does our political process of changing the guard every two to four years allow us to address Questions and issues of  longer term consequence, such as the health of the economy?   The answer …….