Tag Archives: economics

Earning money by writing

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It’s what all aspiring writers want to do, make money with their writing. But as I look at the possibilities it always feels like a lot of work with very little gain. Just this morning, I saw an ad on craigslist advertising for writers they could hire. They wanted a recent example of something I had written, and so I decided to write something just for them. I can write about anything, perhaps not intelligently, but enough to keep the reader’s attention. I do have things to say about a lot of issues, but do I have the discipline to produce x number of words to a strict deadline? I think so. I live in San Francisco and it is funny to me how many writers there are in this city. Whenever I tell someone I am a writer, they almost always say they are a writer as well. I have yet to meet a writer who makes their living writing.

Most of what I write nowadays is poetry. I write poetry because it comes easily to me, and a lot of people seem to like it. It has been a hobby of mine. But I really ought to be writing more, and get paid for doing it. I work as a sales associate at a clothing store, and it barely pays the bills. If I am talented, and have something to contribute, it is foolish to live in poverty if it is unnecessary. There are a lot of people just like me, talented and barely able to keep a roof over their heads.

So what do people want to read? I think they want to read something different from the usual things you find. We need writing that doesn’t nurture our worst instincts. We need writing that inspires people to live meaningful lives, and to find solutions to the many problems which plague us. Take the income disparity problem, for instance. I think the educated need to be educated. They have some crazy ideas. They seem to think that the poor deserve to be poor, and the rich deserve to have what they have. They fail to recognize how rigged the game is. Poverty destroys a vital resource. People who are in poverty become a liability because they are poor. If they could have enough to simply live unassisted by government, they could be in a position to contribute their abilities and talents. Instead they are written off. I have been shocked and appalled by the way poverty stricken people have been treated. They are treated like trash, as if they have no value whatsoever. I think this is distorted thinking.

The rich entrepreneurs need to ask a simple question: Who is going to buy their goods and services? When most of the population is struggling to survive, they are not going to be able to buy expensive meals or expensive products. Here in San Francisco, business relies on tourists. Most of the locals can only afford to live here, if they have some kind of government assistance. Families have moved away to the suburbs, or out of California altogether. A nation without a middle class is in trouble. I think our troubles began when corporations put their own interests ahead of the interests of our country. They destroyed our economy in pursuit of quick profits.

What is the answer to this problem? I am not an economist, but it seems to me that the average person in America needs to take back capitalism. Capitalism that is concentrated around the uppermost one percent is no longer capitalism, it is oligarchy. We need to stop giving our money to large corporations and begin supporting the small businessman. We can create our own economy which does not depend on government or big business to survive. Of course, this means trading convenience for freedom. It is much more awkward to create an alternative economy, than it is to simply consume as we always have. That lifestyle, however, keeps us stuck in poverty, dependent upon either government programs or a part time job at a pitiful wage. The best model would be for all of us to find ways of being entrepreneurial. Business doesn’t need to be the exclusive domain of the rich. It is for all of us.

Being paid to write is an example of this entrepreneurial spirit. If I have the talent and the discipline, I can do something about my circumstances. I don’t have to give up my dignity in order to get my government handout. I can find ways to support myself on my own terms. This little essay is just an introduction. I haven’t worked out all of the details of how this new economy would work, but a lot of people have. We can get into contact with one another and network.

The Fate of The Republic on this fourth of july

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Here are some quick reflections on this fourth of July morning.

We are in trouble folks!!! When I read the paper (big mistake), I see the seeds of global decay, social disruption, and future despair dwarfing the present misery. Everyone who has plenty are merrily watching Big Bang Theory and working at their half-way decent job with a half-way decent wage and dreaming of their next vacation, while those who don’t have much continue to struggle. The options for the destitute are few and government is going to provide less and less. This is a recipe for riot and mayhem. When you examine history you can see where all of this leads. Our Republic is split, pretty much evenly, between the rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, the smug and the desperate. As happened in France in 1789, the poor and destitute will not sit idly by watching the rich cavort and flaunt their wealth in their faces. We have an obligation to bring this republic back into balance, but I fear that we have already passed from republic to oligarchy (rule by the rich). Only the rich, such as Mitt Romney, can afford to become President. The rich pull all the strings and continue to feel free to screw the rest of us over at their convenience. It is not a pretty picture. Our republic is in danger of collapse. It isn’t apparent yet, but give it a few years. Twenty years from now will either show that we got our collective act together or we will be actively fighting one another.

China is quietly waiting in the wings. China is preparing for the collapse of the West. They are teaching English to those who will become our future leaders. Could we suffer such a takeover? Quite possibly, we might invite the Chinese in. Chinese style Communism would have a strong appeal to those who have nothing, can expect nothing, and are tired of being the victims of an oligarchy. I am not a Communist or a Socialist, but I can understand the appeal. When you have nothing to eat, nowhere to live, Communism looks like the answer to your problems. We have far too many people on the streets.

Some radical changes are needed and I don’t see anybody stepping up to the plate. There are significant differences between Obama and Romney, but in the final analysis they miss the mark when it comes to having the guts to say that we have to stop being complacent and give up our creature comforts and life of privilege and take responsibility for this republic.

So I don’t feel terribly patriotic on this fourth of July. I don’t feel proud of how we celebrate celebrity, wealth, and treat all of the old liberal ideals with disdain. Our present culture is a culture of death. We are unconsciously embracing disaster, it gives us a sick thrill. We figure we have it coming, others are foolishly looking forward to the apocalypse, thinking they will be taken up into the clouds in a supernatural rapture. This is madness.

However, we have faced disaster before in our history, and we managed to avoid it. Perhaps we can again. There is reason to hope. There are many brilliant people out there. They are building a new paradigm, a new world which will take out the corrupt present paradigm by stealth. There is far too much going on in the world for anyone, myself included, to be able to keep track of. The newspapers have a disaster agenda, fear sells, and so they peddle dread. So I should take that fact into consideration. Much is happening behind the scenes, and the powerful may not be as powerful as they imagine. I sense big changes in the next few decades, both good and bad. I know that within each negative lies a positive and vice versa. It is up to us to provide the tipping point towards disaster or renewal.

My last thoughts? At some point in our own lives and in the life of the republic, something has got to give. Nothing just stays fucked forever. Things change.

Wake Up !!! My Message to Occupy Oakland

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Occupy Oakland plays into the enemy's hands

This post consists of my reaction to the latest bullshit from the Occupy Oakland movement. They were doing fine yesterday, until they insisted on breaking the law by breaking into a vacant building to occupy it. The police responded with tear gas, flashbangs,  and beanbag bullets. While I like the idea of occupying vacant buildings, there is a better way to go about it. If confrontation is the goal, you better damn well have the support, and Occupy Oakland doesn’t have it. If confrontation is your goal, you need to have allies in law enforcement, the local government, local businesses, the military, and of course, the general public. It needs to be in the thousands, not hundreds. It needs to be fucking overwhelming, if confrontation is the goal. Otherwise it alienates almost everyone. Only the bonehead anarchists are left. The people that didn’t give a fuck before, and don’t give a fuck now, are left. These are not the people you want leading a revolution. They are guaranteed to screw it up, because, as I said, they are boneheads. They are courting violence. That only works at the tipping point of revolution, when you have overwhelming support which the government and military cannot successfully resist. Guys????? You aren’t even remotely close to even the beginning of such a movement. So stop the violence, it is getting you nowhere fast. The worst thing Occupy Oakland did yesterday had to be the invasion of City Hall, where they burned an American flag (great PR move, boneheads!), and trashed an exhibit of children’s art (what point did that serve?). This is precisely the direction Occupy Oakland should avoid, at all costs, lest they lose even more support. What were these people thinking? I can sympathize, being unemployed and dangling into the darkness of my own fears, but I am not ready to throw in my lot with a lot of Robespierre wannabes. The ultimate result is not pretty, because the American people are not quite ready for revolution. They won’t back you, and it might even push them into the arms of Romney or Gingrich. We need to find a better way.

The original focus of Occupy Wall Street was excellent. They wanted to educate Americans regarding the ridiculous gulf between rich and poor in this country. And not just that, but recognizing the consequences of this gulf. We can’t all be filthy rich, but we can be filthy. And this is what is happening. Unless there is a fundamental shift in priorities, and the rich recognize their obligation to turn this economy around, things are going to get a lot worse for everyone. But we need to wake up!! When I see people obsessing over Kim Kardashian, or who is going to win an Oscar, or some twitter bullshit, it tells me we are out of touch. I don’t think the American people in general realize just how fucked up things really are. The super rich of this country have blatantly ripped off the rest of us, and I don’t think that has sinked in quite yet. Although it may only be bikini underwear, the Emperor seems to still be wearing clothes. He’s naked, people!! He really is! Wake up!

Here’s some sobering video of yesterday’s events in Oakland

So what am I trying to say here? Well, first off, I am truly impressed at the degree of organization, commitment, and courage show by Occupy Oakland. It would be a shame to squander all that because of a minority of boneheads.  I think breaking the law is a bad idea. Unless you have a significant proportion of the police on your side, you are fighting a losing battle. It occurs to me that the boneheads want blood, they want casualties, because that might produce a sympathetic backlash in the public, supporting the movement. But at this stage, it would most likely lead to deadly polarization throughout the country. Violent language could lead to actual violence. I lived through a period of polarization with violence just under the surface during the early days of the counterculture. As I pointed out before, a tipping point must be reached before you throw your bodies on the barricades. We need to be finding ways of networking with government, businesses, and just regular folks, to forge a true mass movement, that the rich fuckers cannot ignore. Free enterprise is not the enemy. The grotesque abuse of free enterprise, which isn’t ‘free’ enterprise at all, is the enemy. These ultra rich bastards have raped the free enterprise system and left it to die in a ditch. Small business owners could be, and should be allies of the Occupy movement. Why not adopt a strategy in which the owners of vacant buildings invite Occupy Oakland to occupy their buildings? It could happen with the right attitude. But I guess that isn’t dramatic enough for the dumb asses that have poisoned this movement.  Trust me, if you let the anarchists have their way, it will fuck everything up in ways you cannot imagine. We’re talking anarchy!! Duh!!! Look the word up in the dictionary! It doesn’t mean social justice, it means no government at all, everyone doing whatever they fucking want to do. Anarchy lasts for about a week, if it’s lucky, then it degenerates into a vicious authoritarianism. Whoever has the guns, gets to make the rules. And they won’t be fun rules, folks! Wise up! Wake up!!