TODAY FROM AMERICA:
This is the third or fourth time I have revised this paragraph.
We each view our own experiences as unique but that does not mean they are appreciably different from the experiences of others. For whatever the psychological reasons, we apply great significance to our own experiences that, as any fiction writer I am sure would be happy to point out, when all is said and done are not all that significant. Nevertheless they are ours and we cling to them as if they affirm our personal existence.
I left El Dorado Hills it sadness believing my time and relationship with Hayden may be ending, and uncertain as to whether it makes a difference to either of us beyond the time it takes us to focus on other things. I will write more about what happened these past few weeks in a later post when time and distance hopefully brings some objectivity to my thoughts and feelings.
I got as far as Sacramento and the welcome sympathy and kindness from Stevie and Norbert Dall. I stayed the night there. The next morning I set off by train to spend the day with my sister Mary Anne and her husband George. Mary Anne and I are working together to produce a business plan for a new type of social network. At least it takes my mind off recent events.
I had Lunch at MoMo’s across the street from the Giant’s Stadium with Bill Gates and Mary and George. Bill had just returned from Thailand.
Then a night at my son Jason’s where I hugged my granddaughter Amanda who has a cold and was forced to watch hours and hours of “reality” television and now I am off to Mendocino for a few days before returning to Thailand.
B. 2012 (DECEMBER 2011) PREDICTIONS AND MARCH UPDATE:
December predictions: Barely avoids social and economic collapse. Major areas of unrest in the smaller industrial cities and along the edges of the desert inhabited by ethnic minorities.
March update: Too early to know if accurate, but nothing I have seen seems to indicate that it is not. In fact predictions of an impending economic collapse in China has become a recent staple of the financial press. I believe, if there is to be a China crisis, it will not become apparent until late summer and if it does occur, could throw the American presidential election into turmoil depending upon the severity of its impact on the domestic economy. I would guess it would not be too severe immediately since in the short run it would just cause a temporary rise in prices as American companies search for other suppliers.
December prediction: Proudly marches off into the future, its economy flourishing, until by years end it stumbles under the weight of its own corruption.
March update: Prediction remains valid.
December prediction: Brazil, Argentina and Chile (the ABC powers) are a bright spot in the world economy and remain so throughout the year.
March update: Prediction remains unchanged.
Science and Technology:
December prediction: The first clear evidence that something is amiss with standard physical theory will emerge. War among physicists breaks out over preservation of the theory in the face of observation and the absence of an alternative theory (This is a repeat of what occurred in Galileo’s time) Medicine. Drugs and treatments to halt certain types of cancer hit the market and begin to proliferate.
March update: Prediction remains unchanged. In physics, the initial claims of a particle observed to be traveling faster that the speed of light, if substantiated, would do it. Meanwhile it is becoming increasingly evident that the fact that the vast majority of the universe falls out of traditional equations as “Dark” matter and energy hangs like the legendary Greek’s sword over the profession.
Technology and the internet:
December prediction: I made no prediction in December.
March update: I suspect that by autumn, the social and economic effects of social networks and mobile communication devices will begin to move from the ranks of idle speculation (such as mine) into the realm of “serious” study where vast amounts of time and ink will be expended attempting to fit it within standard social and economic theory (not to mention political ideology) and there it shall languish until its effects have effectively been completed whereupon someone will more or less accurately describe the situation and claim it is a new theory of almost everything.
From a product perspective, most development will be directed to making mobile more useful for high volume and professional users.
Robots will become the rage in business, allowing things like warehousing and assembly to be returned to America from foreign low-cost jurisdictions to further replace American jobs while construction of the robots moves offshore to fill in some of the foreign jobs lost.
Arts and Entertainment:
December Prediction: Lady GaGa follows Madonna into a luxurious semi-retirement. The music industry continues to contract. The Art market collapses.
March update: Prediction remains valid. New “serious art” if such a distinction is at all viable anymore, becomes an application for ones mobile phone.
MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES,THE NAKED MOLE RAT CHRONICLES and JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:
Under examination for possible cosmetic surgery.
PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:
1. Today, only 55.3 percent of all Americans between the ages of 16 and 29 have jobs.
2. In the United States today, there are 240 million working age people. Only about 140 million of them are working.
3. According to CareerBuilder, only 23 percent of American companies plan to hire more employees in 2012.
4. Since the year 2000, the United States has lost 10% of its middle class jobs. In the year 2000 there were about 72 million middle class jobs in the United States but today there are only about 65 million middle class jobs.
5. According to the New York Times, approximately 100 million Americans are either living in poverty or in “the fretful zone just above it”.
6. According to that same article in the New York Times, 34 percent of all elderly Americans are living in poverty or “near poverty”, and 39 percent of all children in America are living in poverty or “near poverty”.
7. In 1984, the median net worth of households led by someone 65 or older was 10 times larger than the median net worth of households led by someone 35 or younger. Today, the median net worth of households led by someone 65 or older is 47 times larger than the median net worth of households led by someone 35 or younger.
8. Since the year 2000, incomes for U.S. households led by someone between the ages of 25 and 34 have fallen by about 12 percent after you adjust for inflation.
9. The total value of household real estate in the U.S. has declined from $22.7 trillion in 2006 to $16.2 trillion today. Most of that wealth has been lost by the middle class.
10. Many formerly great manufacturing cities are turning into ghost towns. Since 1950, the population of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania has declined by more than 50 percent. In Dayton, Ohio 18.9 percent of all houses now stand empty.
The most significant take away from the above dolorous statistics and the most predictive of the future of American society is the sudden and calamitous reversal of traditional American expectations that each generation is expected to enjoy greater economic and material success than the prior generation.
To step away from examining the political and economic causes of that reversal, hopefully without ignoring or diminishing them, it may be worthwhile speculating on whether or not there are other contributing or exacerbating causes.
One possible and I guess one can call a positive influence on this seeming slide is the emergence in our economy and society of the pervasive and ubiquitous impact of mobile communication and social networking. To look at it in one way, those most proficient in using the devices, have the potential to provide for pennies almost all ones needs except food and shelter. If that is even remotely so, what remains of the incentive to work hard and achieve material success, if such success is directed in part to acquiring those things necessary to travel to and impress others or to entertain oneself? And in terms of personal satisfaction, proficiency in manipulating the device may be adequate for many and if truth be known more personally rewarding than what was available for most people only a generation ago.
So, if I am right that access to basic food, basic shelter and inexpensive mobile communication devices and applications may satisfy an increasing number of the emerging generation, who grows the food, who delivers it, who builds the shelters and the devices? Robots? Perhaps that is why Amazon purchased Kiva Robots. What happens to the economy if a sizable portion of the population chooses to travel less, buy less clothing or cosmetics and the like?
And what sort of world is being created? Do those without food and shelter take it by force from those who have, like they did thousands of years ago? Who fights to preserve this rudimentary lifestyle? Does the industrial economy continue to contract and along with it the metaphor for work credit, money, find less and less upon which to, well, work so that gambling appears as valid a use for it as any? And what is the purpose of education? Are these new people, lazy parasites for opting out as they may do? If so, what do you make them do instead, work on the farms?
What “Occupy” is all about and what it really wants:
It just proves that poor people are lazy and rich people are not because according to standard economic theory if they really worked as hard as they should have, instead of the minimum wage rising from about $6 an hour to $7.50 an hour the market would have raised the minimum wage to $23 an hour. That’s the magic of the invisible hand at work.
Please see the blog: http://papajoestales.wordpress.com/
1. “Our climate is changing, human activity is helping to drive the change, and the costs of these extreme weather events are going to keep ballooning unless we break through our political paralysis, and bring down emissions that are warming our planet. If we continue on this path, extreme weather is certain to cause more homes and businesses to be uninsurable in the private insurance market, leaving the costs to taxpayers or individuals.”
Cynthia McHale, the insurance program director at Ceres
2. “Today, when we produce more food than ever before, more than one in ten people on Earth are hungry. The hunger of 800 million happens at the same time as another historical first: that they are outnumbered by the one billion people on this planet who are overweight.”
Raj Patel. Stuffed and Starved: Markets, Power and the Hidden Battle for the World’s Food System