INTEGRATIONALISM

"all things in existence are physiologically connected"

Archive for Economics

Portable Value

(c) Stan Honda / AFP / Getty Images

Hernando de Soto – The main message of de Soto’s work and writings is that no nation can have a strong market economy without adequate participation in an information framework that records ownership of property and other economic information.[10]

While I don’t agree with de Soto’s position on land titling and side with a more communal and democratic systems of collective land tenure because this offers protection to the poorest and prevents ‘downward raiding’ in which richer people displace squatters once their neighborhoods are formalized, I am aligned with the idea of an individual titling. While neither de Soto nor his opponents wrote about individual titling specifically, and I’m not very fond of the phrase, I’m assuming that they would have called the distributing of ownerships outside of land specifically some version of “individual titling”.

More opposing views on de Soto’s high level point of view lend a hand to a century lacking solutions to large complex statistical problems across a population outgrowing the traditional identification of known and own-able things (land included).

Robert J. Samuelson has argued against what he sees as de Soto’s “single bullet” approach and has argued for a greater emphasis on culture and how local conditions affect people’s perceptions of their opportunities.[30]

Roy Culpepper notes that it is often very difficult to establish who owns what among the poor. He also notes that the titling is biased against those who are completely landless and property-less.[34]

Currently there is an endless argument between the thinkers of the group of Dependency Theory and Modernization Theory

Dependency Theory: is a body of social science theories predicated on the notion that resources flow from a “periphery” of poor and underdeveloped states to a “core” of wealthy states, enriching the latter at the expense of the former.

Modernization Theory: is a theory used to explain the process of modernization within societies. The theory looks at the internal factors of a country while assuming that, with assistance, “traditional” countries can be brought to development in the same manner more developed countries have.

Per Integrationalism I’m not compelled by either of these social thought groups to align in any formal sense, as the prior is simply in defense to the latter, while the latter is lacking sophistication based on culture derived from geographic factors inherent to place. I don’t actually think that economic empowerment can have a group based policy. Its got to be specific to the individual. Actualization through empowerment is what is key, and blanket strategy cant be pervasively compelling.

Regarding de Soto’s emphasis on “adequate participation in an information framework that records ownership”, I think that this is where the value exists. If we consider the existing exponential forecasts for human population growth and for the growth of computing power, we start to notice a landscape where human-kind (consisting of humans and their creations) start to outnumber the amount of land and commodities available to be owned and traded for value. Likely reaching the population rage of 10,000,000,000 by the year 2080 C.E., as extrapolated by UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund), none of the confusion over who owns what based on inheritance or acquisition is helping our most urgent PEST dilemma.

Identifying and distributing value among the existing human-kind is crucial in assigning carbon-foot prints, identifying information sets which can recommend solutions to how we cooperate in this growingly global community, lowering culture barriers via clichés, and lowering the  entitlement gap. The difference between de Soto, his contemporary’s theory, and the most modern day is that we possess the technology to start tracking what I like to call “Portable Value”.

Unlike the ties of ownership to static (non or slowly changing physical) entities which is what de Soto and his contemporaries argue about too eloquently, portable value is rooted in identifying ownership of dynamic (changing) and static entities. Reference my General Theory of Value.

… Much more to come on this issue ….

Ownership of Archieved Tweets

In April of 2010 the Library of Congress announced that it will acquire all of the public tweets for future generations to review. It’s quite the ambitious effort from a technological standpoint, considering all of the data migration and storage as the micro-blogging social network grows. The initiative also has some uncovered ethical and democratic potential that are currently being overlooked.

Twitter as a platform is empowering the creators of the world to understand how their co-conspirers and consumers are affecting the discovery, development, and delivery of new goods & services to be brought to market. For instance, Marketing and other R&D departments across the globe at the enterprise scale are using social networks like Twitter to monitor and improve their CRM (Customer Relationship Management) processes. These aren’t rigid customer service initiatives, but also customer discovery initiatives. Social networking is giving new meaning to the idea that supply & demand are never ending sphere of interaction; further, confusing the philosophical ideal of who might our creators and consumers be.

This is important because ownership is allocated to creators of sorts, regardless of initial or latter impact.

At current, the world is enduring a series of spiking economic crisis, and as the engineers and economists try and root-cause to remedy our problems, the political conservatism that we all possess at some extent is making it difficult to justify spreading the wealth. Moral and Political arguments haven’t been working over the millennia or most recently. The books/rants/calls for gifting larger amounts to working-poor, nor distributing wealth at high rates to compensate the lesser valued have yielded a change in the gap between those with an immense value and those without. This crisis is not one of lost value, or population growth, or technological change. It is (and has always been) one of poorly allocated ownership. Those causes can be debated separately.

Ownership is paramount in distributing value to individuals and institutions, outside of charity. I don’t think it necessary to elaborate on how miniscule charity is in the known world. It’s legally defensible and mathematically quantifiable. One of the missions of the Library of Congress is to log intellectual property; further, so that it may (if necessary) be defended on the behalf of stakeholders. The initiative to capture tweets for the future generations should not only be technologically charged, but it should be economically charged to assign ownership to authors. This effort would assist greatly in identifying the degrees of separation between the various stakeholders in the discovery, development, and delivery of things.

 

MLK Day: Why The #Occupy Movement Has No Chance, Yet

I’ve spent some time thinking about what the #Occupy movement is really representing. I’ve tried to attend the camps as I’ve traveled and interview the people in the camps; as well as, their formidable opponents in the ownership positions of the respective societies that Occupiers exist.

I think that I’m comfortable echoing the analysis in that Occupiers have done a good initial job in comparison to similar movements around the world and in the United States in particular. They’ve caught the attention of the masses, in that everyone knows what #Occupy means. Of course the problems of any fledgling movement are that its priorities aren’t hashed (#) out. While everyone knows what #Occupy is; no one has any idea of what it wants, or rather, needs.

Every movement-struggle-jihad, has is a battle of philosophy on how a society should exist versus how it does. Based on the consistent and more frequent collapse in the economic system, it is evident that we are due for some structural change in the modern world. When I listen to the rhetoric of this movement and the defense of its identified opponents, I think the following apply. There is a clash of ideals on whose altruism is not only virtuous but most beneficial. On the one hand we have that of the individuals, formally represented by the #Occupiers. On the other we have that of the institutions, formally represented by their owners/stakeholders. While individuals (humans in this case) can allocate a moral regard to their fellow man/woman based on their acknowledgment of his/her intrinsic or extrinsic value, institutions do not. Yet some individuals can advocate the virtues of an institution because for their holding that the institution’s incentives to take action better the society as a whole.

Institutions were created by individuals to protect the discovery, development, and deployment of technologies (methodologies, hardware, & software) that help individuals control what would otherwise be a chaotic environment. Who wants to live in 3000 B.C.E.? I’d doubt any of us could enjoy limiting our communication to a distances less than 20 feet. While institutions have served individuals well over the millennia their control mechanisms have the potential to run-a-muck. Their primary control mechanisms are related to their extrinsic value, or ability to generate revenues above the costs to exists. Controls validate the existence of each institution (for-profit & not-for-profit alike), but individuals don’t regard themselves as having extrinsic value alone (at least not all of them), per this on-going survey that I’ve been taking with some backlash about the use of language on “value“. Problem comes into play when those who are still benefiting from the existing operations of institutions clashes with those who are no longer benefiting. As institutions trying to sustain existence, they actually have incentives to suppress markets to indemnify stakeholders, per their understanding of who is most valuable.

Regarding the Occupy movement and its potential participants, the progress will occur when and if the most radical of the bunch agree that the contrast of values between individuals and institutions is infringing on their civil or even human rights and is in fact stifling their ability to live productive lives. Regardless of how they derive their understanding of the modern economic situation, they’ll have to hold it as dear and urgent as their more radical predecessors of the last past successful liberal movements. I’m not referring to MLK’s boycotts or the freedom riders, or the Jewish resistance in Europe, or the Mandela‘s political activism. I’m referring to the immediate threat that militant groups like the Black Panthers, or the onslaught of the Allied Forces, or the provocative military growth of Umkhonto we Sizwe and the many like groups respectively per each struggle. The laws of arbitrage are clear and animalistic. Incumbent leadership, ideals, and conservatism can only respect some formidable opposition.

The incumbent power in 1950’s United States and 1980’s South Africa only yielded because they perceived an inevitable destructive threat; any rhetoric that suggests otherwise is misleading. It would take years to list all the martyrs from every movement who gave their lives to inspire the few, and were willing to take other’s lives for their cause. The pathology of pacifism is a failed effort when it does not inspire an aggressive colleague. Occupiers are going to have to figure out what in the world they can do to change the way institutions and individuals agree on human value. Although they were arguing slightly different causes, the incumbent powers decided to oblige Lyndon B Johnson immortalizing Martin Luther King in order to nullify the slogan “black power” and its author Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael). It seems as though it takes a guilty old man faced with the passions of an aggressive young man, to make any incremental change.

Reparations Could Have a Future

This week Reuters reported:

As many as 2,000 people forcibly sterilized under a past North Carolina program should be compensated $50,000 each, a panel voted on Tuesday, the first time a state has moved to pay victims of a discredited human selection program.

There approximately 2000 living victims of the eugenics experiment conducted between 1929 and 1974 in the State of North Carolina. The short report released at a late hour of the business day (3:26PM) in a non-graphic format only commanded ‘24’ tweets by the time that I wrote this article some 24 hour later. These are extremely small viewership numbers for the magnitude of this article.

Governor Beverly Perdue provided political backing for the aforementioned compensation derived by a five member task-force. While this information may just seem as common as Interpol discovering some Waffen SS General in his late 90’s, it is not. The political and legal implications of this executive decision are wide spread. It is not the normal protocol of any government to give legal and financial incentive to its constituencies to demand (and receive) any type of indemnification. A greater question for the NC-Governor and the task force is: Why? While I’d expect to see some District and possibly even the Supreme Court push back on this legislation, there is a real opportunity posed to the pseudo-democratic body that is the United States from a legal, socio-cultural, and technological standpoint. Of course there is a real threat posed from an economic standpoint. Every affected entity (individual or institution) seeking reparations for their abuse, from slavery to agriculture subsidies, has some new grounds for argument; and further, in the fashion of capitalistic we should assume that every ambitious attorney is paying attention.

Pandora’s passions for chaos provides all the incentives that federal, state, and local governments need to keep denying the need to even consider reparations for the many socio-cultural, ethnic, gender, and preference groups that are deemed “undesirable” by the most conservative and elitist of us all. Transhumanists have long had ties to eugenics,but ideas on how to improve the genetic composition of a population have to ensure that individual choice to (or not to) participate at their own risks/reward.

The lack of ethics that human-kind has witnessed by technological elites will over the others has been consistently dangerous to the optimal operation efficiency and effectiveness of our species.

While it is impossible philosophically for human’s to actually have a nature about themselves, the one thing that we’ve always tried to do is control our situation to better manage the risks of uncertainty. It’s not an ill mission, but the pathology of our altruism often shows that it is our most stifling virtue. Projecting our idea of greatness onto the entire population is not progressive, even as technology progresses. we must compel growth via our technologies.

As we merge away from the socio-cultural conservatism of the past century(s) and our diverse preferences become cliché, let’s be conscious to honor and protect choice, and continue to scale the distribution of information to individuals and institutions alike.

The Dumbest Idea In The World?

Roger Martin thinks the culprit behind the sorry state of American capitalism: our deep and abiding commitment to the idea that the purpose of the firm is to maximize shareholder value.

Is there any way to disincentivize profit seeking run-a-muck? These are the questions that this book doesn’t answer, it merely sheds light on the problem. But the sport analogies were nice :-). The definition of “value” also varies depending on the stakeholder and their time/cost (risk) threshold.

In the next Integrationalism book I’ll elaborate on remedies to curb the potential for rational-self-interest and collusion to run-a-muck. These remedies will be centered around better distribution of ownership over assets of sorts.

Video – U.S. Job Market — People Staying in Jobs Longer

Video – U.S. Job Market — People Staying in Jobs Longer – WSJ.com.

http://s.wsj.net/media/swf/VideoPlayerMain.swf

The Cleveland Fed shows research that people staying in jobs for longer periods of time is requiring adding the economic shock of any crisis where lay-offs or retraction is involved. The problem with this is that research also shows that people out of work are less likely ever re-enter the work force.

While economists (per the this interview) wouldn’t look at this as a “structure problem” because of the forecasted potential for worker volume to return, it is likely that their opinions are a bit too faithful in the existing model of compensating laborers for a honest days work. The enduring jobs crisis can and should of course be looked at as an economic issue and even a political issue, but it would likely be better pursued as a socio-cultural and a legal issue.

The ideal of honesty and the preferred compensation for ones good work is perhaps too subjective; having stated that, the ability for an individual to own so greatly in lieu of the potentially many other individuals that cater to the discovery, development, and distribution of goods/services is (in my opinion) the root cause of our (nation, states, humans) wealth distribution and compensation problems.

Oligarchy, American Style By PAUL KRUGMAN

I just had to repost this….it got to me.

Inequality is back in the news, largely thanks to Occupy Wall Street, but with an assist from the Congressional Budget Office. And you know what that means: It’s time to roll out the obfuscators!

Anyone who has tracked this issue over time knows what I mean. Whenever growing income disparities threaten to come into focus, a reliable set of defenders tries to bring back the blur. Think tanks put out reports claiming that inequality isn’t really rising, or that it doesn’t matter. Pundits try to put a more benign face on the phenomenon, claiming that it’s not really the wealthy few versus the rest, it’s the educated versus the less educated.

So what you need to know is that all of these claims are basically attempts to obscure the stark reality: We have a society in which money is increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few people, and in which that concentration of income and wealth threatens to make us a democracy in name only.

The budget office laid out some of that stark reality in a recent report, which documented a sharp decline in the share of total income going to lower- and middle-income Americans. We still like to think of ourselves as a middle-class country. But with the bottom 80 percent of households now receiving less than half of total income, that’s a vision increasingly at odds with reality.

In response, the usual suspects have rolled out some familiar arguments: the data are flawed (they aren’t); the rich are an ever-changing group (not so); and so on. The most popular argument right now seems, however, to be the claim that we may not be a middle-class society, but we’re still an upper-middle-class society, in which a broad class of highly educated workers, who have the skills to compete in the modern world, is doing very well.

It’s a nice story, and a lot less disturbing than the picture of a nation in which a much smaller group of rich people is becoming increasingly dominant. But it’s not true.

Workers with college degrees have indeed, on average, done better than workers without, and the gap has generally widened over time. But highly educated Americans have by no means been immune to income stagnation and growing economic insecurity. Wage gains for most college-educated workers have been unimpressive (and nonexistent since 2000), while even the well-educated can no longer count on getting jobs with good benefits. In particular, these days workers with a college degree but no further degrees are less likely to get workplace health coverage than workers with only a high school degree were in 1979.

So who is getting the big gains? A very small, wealthy minority.

The budget office report tells us that essentially all of the upward redistribution of income away from the bottom 80 percent has gone to the highest-income 1 percent of Americans. That is, the protesters who portray themselves as representing the interests of the 99 percent have it basically right, and the pundits solemnly assuring them that it’s really about education, not the gains of a small elite, have it completely wrong.

If anything, the protesters are setting the cutoff too low. The recent budget office report doesn’t look inside the top 1 percent, but an earlier report, which only went up to 2005, found that almost two-thirds of the rising share of the top percentile in income actually went to the top 0.1 percent — the richest thousandth of Americans, who saw their real incomes rise more than 400 percent over the period from 1979 to 2005.

Who’s in that top 0.1 percent? Are they heroic entrepreneurs creating jobs? No, for the most part, they’re corporate executives. Recent research shows that around 60 percent of the top 0.1 percent either are executives in nonfinancial companies or make their money in finance, i.e., Wall Street broadly defined. Add in lawyers and people in real estate, and we’re talking about more than 70 percent of the lucky one-thousandth.

But why does this growing concentration of income and wealth in a few hands matter? Part of the answer is that rising inequality has meant a nation in which most families don’t share fully in economic growth. Another part of the answer is that once you realize just how much richer the rich have become, the argument that higher taxes on high incomes should be part of any long-run budget deal becomes a lot more compelling.

The larger answer, however, is that extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy. Can anyone seriously deny that our political system is being warped by the influence of big money, and that the warping is getting worse as the wealth of a few grows ever larger?

Some pundits are still trying to dismiss concerns about rising inequality as somehow foolish. But the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake.

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