Thursday, October 27, 2011

Good morning, again, to all of you out there.  Hopefully, today will go better with the blogging.  The weather is the same as yesterday: wet, cool, miserable.  At least I don't have to worry about the containers drying out right now and I don't have to move the inside plants because they won't get any more light by the south door than they would by the north.  At least we don't have snow yet.

The part of yesterday's blog that disappeared into nothingness concerned how words seem to have lost meaning in today's world of 24/7/365 advertising.  The link I lost featured the misuse of the word 'artisan.'  That term gives the impression of small-batch, hand-made and quality goods.  But fast-food restaurants use it to describe hamburger buns and industrial chip producers use it to sell tortilla chips.  But that is only the tip of the iceberg (as the old saying goes.)  We have 'natural' flavors that aren't, 'organic' products that stretch the definition, and 'environmentally friendly' industries that fit the definition only if you cherry pick the factors on which you base the definition.  Politics has given us the absurd notion of 'compassionate conservative,' 'job killing' referring to taxes on the top earners who may or may not (probably the latter) create jobs, and 'job creating' describes any legislation that cuts government jobs while funneling the 'savings' to pet supporters.  Oh, and corporations are 'persons.'

I just had a thought as I was reading yet another story about a city discussing consolidating, closing, or in some other way cutting schools to close a big budget gap.  I won't link to it because I am sure all of us have nearby schools that have had similar problems.  My thought involves the history of public education in this country.  Back in the early 19th century when Indiana was being settled one section of township acreage was set aside (by law) to support public schools.  At the same time, Catherine Beecher (sister of Harriet Beecher Stowe) spent considerable time and energy pushing the establishment of frontier schools and the hiring, for the lower grades at least, women teachers.  In addition to teaching the children of frontier settlers to read, write, and cipher, she thought women teachers (besides being cheaper than men) would also 'civilize' the uncouth children of the frontier.  Later on, others pushed public education to foster literacy and numeracy as well as inculcate the values industrial employers required in workers: punctuality, sobriety, and obedience.  Now-a-days, it occurred to me, when we have fewer industrial employers and fewer such jobs and more of the work is handled by computers and computerized automatons public education is a value more often given lip service than real resources.  Today we don't have peasants coming from the farms of Europe or America to acculturate to the demands of an industrial workplace.  Nor do our employers require the numbers of workers they once did--so they don't want to be taxed to support a system of mass education.  We have been raised with the belief that education is the high road to middle class prosperity and what ever might lie beyond it.  I think it is time to question that received wisdom.

Charles Hugh Smith (oftwominds) accurately describes, to my thinking anyway, the real result of the Obama Administration's new home re-fi plan:  perfection of debt slavery.  I would go further, however.  The whole structure of our present economic system is to turn all of into debt slaves.  Get the individual hooked with student loans (which almost can't be discharged in bankruptcy) then progress to a car loan, a home mortgage and consumer loans (i.e. credit cards).  It wasn't all that long ago that insolvent debtors were thrown in prison.  Lately some states have been trying to revive that institution (sorry, don't have the links to the stories).  Even without that effort, most of us are in debt prison--the bars are simply invisible.

Jesse's Cafe Americain posted a cartoon that more than adequately sums up our current economy.

No comments: