Monday, October 06, 2008

Economic Koans or Just Bad Behavior?

The Planet and It's People are All Crying,
And I am Crying With It. Get a cleanex.

My very dear friend BDK, who is one of the smartest guys around, has been gently pushing me, but without let up all the same, to write about the meltdown. Now, this is a chess blog, and chess besides being a form of mental combat if not 'mental torture' [1], is a form of consumption. We consume free time, and emotional energy in pursuit of our craft. And if we are forcibly disturbed daily, neh, not disturbed, but unrelentingly attacked by the media, by financial markets, by national instability, by sinking and towering debt to fight two wars offshore when we cannot even mobilize our society to put shoes on children or fix the many potholes in our roads then, well *God Damn It* , it seems to me that this is chess too. You know the drill: we have to send probes to Mars but cannot regulate the ten largest banks in the country, we cannot face the issues.

KEATING ECONOMICS: John McCain & The Making of a Financial Crisis [2]

So yes all right. Its chess. Fuck yea it's chess. I was on a roll. I was blogging several times a week, I was in flow and all the rest is in my brain. But I can't write. No I cannot. Not today. Am I to write about chessBase intervening files when we are reeling with staggering upset? I have a lot more to say in chess, but not today:

When someone closer to a Fulbright Scholarship to Japan than not, when someone is a Registered Architect, when someone is a deft knowledge manager, and nimble in sales and customer service is asked three times, in eight days, to unload tractor trailer trucks, when such a person protests the third time constructively to his HR Department that this is bad business, leaving his Tool World Empty for theft or lost and helpless customers, to what? unload a tractor trailer truck AND hurts his lower back, AND then works sick the next two days because it is pre-inventory, yes, America, we are fucked. When at the end of the second day, I am approached by my bosses boss, told that big boss 'WILL DEFININETLY BE WANTING TO SEE' ME 'TOMORROW', said in an intimidating fashion, this is a problem. So I call District HR Manger, who asks me to stay home today and rest my back, and that it is very wrong for me to have to work in an intimidating work environment. Let me say more:

This is not an economic crisis. Yes, yes, I know.... 'we didn't land on the moon, but Disney did it in hidden areas in Yemen' and 'Nixon had it done with off the books money...'

It is not an economic crisis! Got your attention?

Global Warming is NOT Real, and Soylent Green is People

The crisis is that we think it is an economic crisis, that somehow we are going to, 'baby, baby, just one more time baby' re-engineer ourselves, borrow more money, postpone the day of reckoning?

We are immature. We are juvenile. We overconsume. We are fragmented. We allow hatred to rule the day. We are petty. We concentrate wealth among the few, fewer and fewer each day, while cutting taxes to the rich? We abuse our workers, seperate ourselves from our neighbors, we are overstimulated, and overtaxed. Our cars are too big, are wars too far from home, our spending leaves us ill prepared for an unsustainable future. We polute. We cut down. We both allow drugs and punish drugs. We punish guns, and we shoot guns. We talk of conservation, then we reward big Golf with Big Skin Games, we have gigantic Superbowls, we have Emmy's, we have monstrocity sized Indianappolis 500's while preaching air quality, Dupont while talking of water quality, we have glory, but we are a society which rewards hatred, excess, instability, narcisisim, ignoreAnce, and fame. We exploit sexuality. We disrespect our old. We disregard the moans of our planet, which is crying.

No Caption Necessary!

We ALLOW corporations to run our so called democracy, and we remove and punish dissenters, much as Ralph Nadir says, and Noam Chompsky, yes, all of it is true. We are infantile and spiritually bankrupt. We conduct our work places, like gulags, so that those who work the hardest are often treated the worst. And if you are not honest, you get more sick time, more days off from work, and if as me you are the sort who never calls in sick unless you are dying, then, yes, you sir, are off on an adventure.

Upper Deck, Now Making Presidential Predictor Trading Cards...
Yes, Yes, We are all Serious About this!
[3], [4]

Me? I have seen it all. The zen monks with shaved heads with the stick that smacks you if you sleep. I have trained with Marine Special forces in martial arts, I have walked with Grandmasters for hours discussing the global world and FIDE's travisty of mismanged irresponsibility. I have bought and sold $150,000,000 worth of stock with these same fingers, I have unloaded trucks with ten intercity kids, I have sat with the ineffable Joe Six Pack and know his hurt. I have sat with his lover, hearing of her hurt, the worry for her children while he watches videos as she cooks and cleans and mends. I have seen it all.

We cannot fix this, and it is too late now, by re-engineering our society. The economy is a major minimal signal, maybe one of the largest most significant signals, but this is not the problem, but the symptom. We, my friends, are in very, very serious trouble, and if the 'virtuous circle' or virtuous cycle accelerates, as it surely will, falling equities, leads to falling dollars, then they are repatriated offshore, leading to lower stocks, leading yet again to lower dollars.

Lets Be Clear. I don't like Ted Nugent or agree with his views, but put it up here apropos of passion. I give him credit for that. And authenticity.

More of the Same. I repeat, I do not agree with him. But he is real man!

It is time to pay guys. And it won't be financial. It will be physical, social, psychological, behavioral, and relational, as in how we are each day with each other, but yes, for sure, someone will really have to pay, and I suspect that both Joe Six Pack and Vanila Ice will all be paying.

God Bless, yes. Now I have said it. Thank you BDK for giving me the initiative to say this, say this now, say this here. May you all carry on and be well in your lives.

Warmly, dk

[1] Attribution, well known to Garry Kasparov, the very essence of masculinity.

[2] Links to Obama web site and video here (I have not planned to vote for Obama but keep thinking about it. I think that he is a truly great man, but cannot do half of what he promises, and this, I feel, perpectuates more dilusional thinking here on our shores).

[3] Makers, for example of 'World of Warcraft'; needless to say, as a young stock broker, I called on the two founders, and had a big two hour meeting with them, but they were, yes, surprise, real bona fide jerks. They asked me to do a bunch of free work, then, at its conclusion, wouldn't return my calls. Oh well.

[4] It took a bit of counter intuitive digging, but the full series can be handsomely viewed here, at Presidential Predictors.


Blogger Temposchlucker said...

Life is just a play. Problems arise when people start to take themselves seriously.

You remember Atlas, who carried the whole world on his neck as a burden? You are Atlas.

Mon Oct 06, 07:35:00 PM PDT  
Blogger transformation said...

come unload trucks for three nights and tell me that :) !

seriously, its an easy intelectual construct to assert, in a zen or human potential kind of way. BUT, i have good reason to be upset.

our society has lost all respect, and what we do to older people is a symptom of that loss.

the average delta, between the other young men and me is about 28 years. that is not the issue. the issue is my being repeatedly asked to do this work when other WHITE males are not, nor the women, when *ahem* we are the same now? so now we have age and race and genter all operating selectively.

that is called discrimination and is unlawful. now, again, easy for you to say about me. but i had to leave four entire carts of products waiting for needy customers, to unload other products for stocking in three or four days, and so the current work must wait AND my area must be empty ready for theft, while the two coworkers next door are not selected?

putting a man of my skills and character onto tractor trailer trucks to unload is not only an insult, but to try to antimidate me when i file an injury report is very wrongful and harmful.

if life is a play, then this is my turn to stand up.

America is falling apart and my experience is deeply symtomatic of where we went wrong: emphasis upon the wrong things, abuse of power, irresponsibility, antagonism to producers and rightous leaders, all that.

sorry. no way. enough is enough.

Mon Oct 06, 08:53:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

A perfect storm of personal, national, and international turmoil all come together in this post. Awesome.

I hope you are wrong in your further predictions (and I know you predicted something like this already) but I fear you are right.

I saw Obama speak last week in Greensboro NC. It was an amazing experience, and not even b/c of his speech (which was great). But to be in such a diverse crowd of 20,000 people, where usually when people get together of such different socioeconomic and racial classes there is awkwardness and distrust (especially as I see it in Durham where it's the Dukies vs the gangbangers), instead there was a unity of purpose and enthusiasm directed toward this one aim. We unified because of our shared task (much like this wonderful study, which if you haven't seen it you will probably delight in). The rally was quite inspiring, and I usually hate those freaking things because I don't like when people try to get me to chant crap.

That Palin card is hilarious.

Mon Oct 06, 09:06:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Temposchlucker said...

I'm talking from experience.

Mon Oct 06, 10:23:00 PM PDT  
Blogger transformation said...

@temposchlucker: you mean threw your lower back out unloading trucks THEN ultimately got yelled at for unknown reasons, when you had reporting for work on the TWO busyiest days of the week WHEN you had lots of accumulated unused sick time, but instead gave prejudicial preference to Weberian Protestant (of now Singaporian!) work ethic? you must know this!

@BDK: glad you like it. the certainty that we can somehow bootstrap outselves into functionality without enormous discipline and sacrifice is most repugnant to me. turn on the TV and you see the modus operendae. entitlement, priviledge, comfort, alure, beauty, luxury, pharmacological provisions or erectile disfunction, diabetes, pain, alergy. we always want an external fix.

me? i vowed very, very, very deeply and irrevocably, when i left morgan stanley, that i would never again let myself be abused or mistreated badly in a job setting. i dont mean work, or necessary subordinary, of submission. i mean wrongful treatment.

i am the wrong guy, let me tell you.

you should have seen the face of my friend Alan, the Assistant Store Manager, when he did my State Labor and Industry and company injury form (mind you, he was an early Microsoft person, and had to leave due to a stroke. he knew bill gates, balmer, all those guys. he cashed out for 5.0M and now he works at a big hardware store. how life can kick your ass!)...

should have seen his face, when i produced pages of matrices, with all my personal information, neatly writen, my days of work, times, tasks, time of day, physiological data. all of it. i have each week on a sheet, and i never fail to record. this dude knows about knowledge managament.

his eyes got real big: "David, very impressive". yea, just put me on the truck!

Mon Oct 06, 11:02:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Phaedrus said...

I agree with BDK. Most impressive how you integrate the personal, national and global turmoil.

The overall economic situation is completely chaotic. Personally I think it is beyond every ones capacity to predict where this is all heading.

But as a mutual friend of ours once said in one of his emails: "in the end, economic hardship is just what it is, economic hardship". less income and less to spend.

Of course there are also other structural global issues (climate, resources). But correlation does not always mean that there is causality.

It might well be that you perceive this point of view as a way of coping or being in denial, but for me, a father of two young sons, overall pessimism is just not an option.

Mon Oct 06, 11:24:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

About Tempo's stuff: sometimes it is good to let shit roll off your back. Sometimes it is good to fight and get pissed off.

But then again, wasn't it Tempo that said all activism is useless, that we are all just little pieces of dust? :)

Tue Oct 07, 01:11:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Temposchlucker said...

I accomplish more when I play that I'm pissed off. And it certainly feels better.

There's nothing people are so attached to as their suffering.

It is easier to not write this.

Tue Oct 07, 10:43:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Temposchlucker said...

To Blue:

That's the lazyman's conclusion. When I plea to know what you are doing OR to do nothing it isn't the same as a plea to do nothing.:)

Tue Oct 07, 10:47:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What worries me the most is that taxpayers are now gonna pay for those pricks that loanded to much to build their house while those pricks just give you the long nose and comfortable stay in their house they shouldn't have bought or build in the first place because they didn't had the money for it.

Wed Oct 08, 07:20:00 AM PDT  

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