Comments on: Digging Dollars: Make-Work, Agriculture, and Empire http://sharonastyk.com/2007/05/28/digging-dollars-make-work-agriculture-and-empire/ Sharon Astyk's Ruminations on an Ambiguous Future Wed, 03 Dec 2008 23:21:44 +0000 #?v=2.3.2 By: Pat Logan http://sharonastyk.com/2007/05/28/digging-dollars-make-work-agriculture-and-empire/#comment-1262 Pat Logan Fri, 15 Jun 2007 17:19:00 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/2007/05/28/digging-dollars-make-work-agriculture-and-empire/#comment-1262 "50% of the things the government chooses to spend money on are about our ability to blow things up. The American defense budget annually exceeds the combined defense budget of every other nation in the world."<br/><br/>I quoted this to my twelve year old and he said, "I guess we're pretty paranoid."<br/><br/>Out of the mouths of babes ... “50% of the things the government chooses to spend money on are about our ability to blow things up. The American defense budget annually exceeds the combined defense budget of every other nation in the world.”

I quoted this to my twelve year old and he said, “I guess we’re pretty paranoid.”

Out of the mouths of babes …

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By: Zach http://sharonastyk.com/2007/05/28/digging-dollars-make-work-agriculture-and-empire/#comment-1261 Zach Thu, 31 May 2007 13:08:00 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/2007/05/28/digging-dollars-make-work-agriculture-and-empire/#comment-1261 Annette,<br/><br/><i>And I don't think being anti-capitalist necessarily means being against all private ownership. I have no problem with small-scale private ownership and very small businesses.</i><br/><br/>It's called "distributism". :) The name and idea was promoted heavily in the early 20th century by the English writers G. K. Chesterton and Hillaire Belloc, among others, as a concrete attempt to implement the Catholic social encyclicals.<br/><br/><i>"Too much capitalism does not mean too many capitalists, but too few capitalists."</i><br/><br/>This is exactly what Chesterton and the other distributists were (are) after - a <b>widespread</b> distribution of usable property. Or put another way (which ties directly into Sharon's writing), aiming at a society of "tolerably contented peasants."<br/><br/><br/>peace, Annette,

And I don’t think being anti-capitalist necessarily means being against all private ownership. I have no problem with small-scale private ownership and very small businesses.

It’s called “distributism”. :) The name and idea was promoted heavily in the early 20th century by the English writers G. K. Chesterton and Hillaire Belloc, among others, as a concrete attempt to implement the Catholic social encyclicals.

“Too much capitalism does not mean too many capitalists, but too few capitalists.”

This is exactly what Chesterton and the other distributists were (are) after - a widespread distribution of usable property. Or put another way (which ties directly into Sharon’s writing), aiming at a society of “tolerably contented peasants.”

peace,

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By: Annette http://sharonastyk.com/2007/05/28/digging-dollars-make-work-agriculture-and-empire/#comment-1260 Annette Wed, 30 May 2007 16:17:00 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/2007/05/28/digging-dollars-make-work-agriculture-and-empire/#comment-1260 I agree with Pat Meadows - and yes, maybe evil isn't the correct word - but I think there can be little doubt that capitalism has been a terrible, immoral, earth- and community- destroying system. And how could it be otherwise when the central tenet of capitalism is that greed and selfishness are to be encouraged as they somehow result in the best decisions for society? That whole "invisible hand" thing never made any sense to me!<br/><br/>And I don't think being anti-capitalist necessarily means being against all private ownership. I have no problem with small-scale private ownership and very small businesses. But I think it was one of the sadder days in American history (not, of couse, on the scale of slavery and the genocide of the Indian nations) when corporations were given the rights of persons. We now live in a country where corporations have virtually unlimited rights and we have virtually none (if you doubt this, just read the USA Patriot Act, the Homeland Security Act, The Military Commisions Act). The Bill of Rights to the United States Constitution has been gutted recently, but even before that, Corporations had ever-growing rights and powers. I think its terribly important that we withdraw our support from the corporate powers-that-be. And not buying anything from them is one very important way of doing that. I agree with Pat Meadows - and yes, maybe evil isn’t the correct word - but I think there can be little doubt that capitalism has been a terrible, immoral, earth- and community- destroying system. And how could it be otherwise when the central tenet of capitalism is that greed and selfishness are to be encouraged as they somehow result in the best decisions for society? That whole “invisible hand” thing never made any sense to me!

And I don’t think being anti-capitalist necessarily means being against all private ownership. I have no problem with small-scale private ownership and very small businesses. But I think it was one of the sadder days in American history (not, of couse, on the scale of slavery and the genocide of the Indian nations) when corporations were given the rights of persons. We now live in a country where corporations have virtually unlimited rights and we have virtually none (if you doubt this, just read the USA Patriot Act, the Homeland Security Act, The Military Commisions Act). The Bill of Rights to the United States Constitution has been gutted recently, but even before that, Corporations had ever-growing rights and powers. I think its terribly important that we withdraw our support from the corporate powers-that-be. And not buying anything from them is one very important way of doing that.

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By: ulu http://sharonastyk.com/2007/05/28/digging-dollars-make-work-agriculture-and-empire/#comment-1259 ulu Tue, 29 May 2007 21:37:00 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/2007/05/28/digging-dollars-make-work-agriculture-and-empire/#comment-1259 Talking about debt. <br/><br/>It's certainly true that paying of your debts, all of them, no more mortgage, no more nothing, would be a more effective way than not paying taxes to achieve your goals.<br/><br/>This is because all our money is created as debt. Hence, no more debt, no more money. It's a shame not more people understand this. For high-speed connectors, there is a nice animation that explains it very well:<br/><a HREF="http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-9050474362583451279&q=money+as+debt" REL="nofollow">Money as Debt</a>.<br/><br/>Problem is, most of our debts are hidden from view. USA Today, of all rags, runs a piece today that states every U.S. household carries $516,348 in Federal debt. <i>(By comparison, U.S. households owe an average of "just" $112,043 for personal loans, including mortgages etc.)</i><br/><br/>This means every household would have to pay about $31,000 a year for 75 years just tp pay off the current Federal debt.<br/><a HREF="http://www.usatoday.com/printedition/news/20070529/1a_lede29.art.htm" REL="nofollow">Rules 'hiding' trillions in debt</a><br/><br/>It looks like we're beaten by creative accounting.<br/><br/>But getting out of debt should be the first priority for everyone, before doing anything else. Debts feed the machine. And you are the fuel.<br/><br/>"In very short", it goes like this: when a million people sign for a $100.000 mortgage, that's $100 billion. But fractional banking allows for 100 times that amount to be created. So $10 trillion flows into the economy. And that’s not all: before that mortgage is paid off in full, you’ll have paid $300.000, though principal, fees, interest, etc. Do the math.<br/><br/>Another matter: the way Washington hides its debts is by saying that future obligations don’t have to show up in this year’s books. Hmmm.. that would be like you signing a mortgage with one bank, and then closing another one with the next bank, without saying you already have a mortgage, claiming that since you don’t have to pay it right away, it’s not a debt. Yeah, that would be callled fraud. Talking about debt.

It’s certainly true that paying of your debts, all of them, no more mortgage, no more nothing, would be a more effective way than not paying taxes to achieve your goals.

This is because all our money is created as debt. Hence, no more debt, no more money. It’s a shame not more people understand this. For high-speed connectors, there is a nice animation that explains it very well:
Money as Debt.

Problem is, most of our debts are hidden from view. USA Today, of all rags, runs a piece today that states every U.S. household carries $516,348 in Federal debt. (By comparison, U.S. households owe an average of “just” $112,043 for personal loans, including mortgages etc.)

This means every household would have to pay about $31,000 a year for 75 years just tp pay off the current Federal debt.
Rules ‘hiding’ trillions in debt

It looks like we’re beaten by creative accounting.

But getting out of debt should be the first priority for everyone, before doing anything else. Debts feed the machine. And you are the fuel.

“In very short”, it goes like this: when a million people sign for a $100.000 mortgage, that’s $100 billion. But fractional banking allows for 100 times that amount to be created. So $10 trillion flows into the economy. And that’s not all: before that mortgage is paid off in full, you’ll have paid $300.000, though principal, fees, interest, etc. Do the math.

Another matter: the way Washington hides its debts is by saying that future obligations don’t have to show up in this year’s books. Hmmm.. that would be like you signing a mortgage with one bank, and then closing another one with the next bank, without saying you already have a mortgage, claiming that since you don’t have to pay it right away, it’s not a debt. Yeah, that would be callled fraud.

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By: Michelle in Ga http://sharonastyk.com/2007/05/28/digging-dollars-make-work-agriculture-and-empire/#comment-1258 Michelle in Ga Tue, 29 May 2007 18:32:00 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/2007/05/28/digging-dollars-make-work-agriculture-and-empire/#comment-1258 There is every chance that we'll have 3-5 boomer family members who mostly can't stand each other (either from lack of taste or having been previously married) living with or near us. That does not fill us with glee. (sharon)<br/><br/>My answer: Set up a trailer park in the front yard. Enemies of the<br/>bride on the left, enemies of the groom on the right.(Michelle)<br/><br/>It is likely that many of our parents (and us) will experience slightly shorter lifespans. With a good triaging of the medical care system (something I'm writing about now and would be interested in your take upon), I think it isn't necessary that those lifespans drop much. But we can expect much of the interventions traditional in the last few years of one's life to end, and be replaced mostly with palliative care.(Sharon)<br/><br/>Anytime. (Michelle) There is every chance that we’ll have 3-5 boomer family members who mostly can’t stand each other (either from lack of taste or having been previously married) living with or near us. That does not fill us with glee. (sharon)

My answer: Set up a trailer park in the front yard. Enemies of the
bride on the left, enemies of the groom on the right.(Michelle)

It is likely that many of our parents (and us) will experience slightly shorter lifespans. With a good triaging of the medical care system (something I’m writing about now and would be interested in your take upon), I think it isn’t necessary that those lifespans drop much. But we can expect much of the interventions traditional in the last few years of one’s life to end, and be replaced mostly with palliative care.(Sharon)

Anytime. (Michelle)

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By: Michelle in Ga http://sharonastyk.com/2007/05/28/digging-dollars-make-work-agriculture-and-empire/#comment-1257 Michelle in Ga Tue, 29 May 2007 18:21:00 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/2007/05/28/digging-dollars-make-work-agriculture-and-empire/#comment-1257 http://www.alternet.org/healthwellness/52448/<br/><br/>This says it better than I can. http://www.alternet.org/healthwellness/52448/

This says it better than I can.

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By: jewishfarmer http://sharonastyk.com/2007/05/28/digging-dollars-make-work-agriculture-and-empire/#comment-1256 jewishfarmer Tue, 29 May 2007 18:10:00 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/2007/05/28/digging-dollars-make-work-agriculture-and-empire/#comment-1256 Michelle, I not only sympathize, I empathize. My husband and I took care of my husband's grandparents at home. We have 8 parents between us, and for 3 of them, my husband is an only child. And I'm the only one of my sisters who is speaking to my father, so in that sense, I'm an only child too ;-). <br/><br/>There is every chance that we'll have 3-5 boomer family members who mostly can't stand each other (either from lack of taste or having been previously married) living with or near us. That does not fill us with glee. <br/><br/>We *are* going to need help, and better support systems. For example, if people imagine we could go to a 1-child family structure, they are going to have to figure out how that would happen when many of us have 6-8 parents to care for. My husband is an only child, and let's just say I wish he'd had four or five siblings some days ;-).<br/><br/>And I don't deny that the medical system is overburdened. I do point out here that jobs caring for the ill and disabled are useful. I think many of us should stop lawyering and take up nursing, for example.<br/><br/>On the other hand, no low-energy future is going to be anywhere near as medicalized as the present is, which will cut down that acute care need enormously. The average senior citizen has 3 surgeries in their last 5 years of life - in many cases, without them their lives would be only a few months shorter. <br/><br/>In many cases, we aren't so much prolonging life as prolonging death - and I've seen that in my days as a hospice and nursing home worker, and also in my own family. I've worked in EMS and seen the number of elder injuries that could have been avoided if they just lived with someone who cared about them, or had a better localized support system.<br/><br/>I watched my husband's grandfather, while dying, suffer from the side effects of numerous medications. He'd already had multiple small strokes, had poor quality of life and was 94 years old, but his doctor and wife didn't want to discontinue his heart medication since he might have a heart attack. Never mind that there was little doubt he'd be dead within the year - we wouldn't want him to have a heart attack ;-P.<br/><br/>It is likely that many of our parents (and us) will experience slightly shorter lifespans. With a good triaging of the medical care system (something I'm writing about now and would be interested in your take upon), I think it isn't necessary that those lifespans drop much. But we can expect much of the interventions traditional in the last few years of one's life to end, and be replaced mostly with palliative care.<br/><br/>Help is necessary. More professional medical help is probably necessary. But not as much as we think - a large portion of what is needed can be done by people with basic, minimal or no medical training but lots of commitment and compassion. Some of it will require nurses and doctors - but to a large degree, nurses and doctors are overburdened by a host of habits that IMHO, won't survive the end of the oil age.<br/><br/>Sharon in upstate NY Michelle, I not only sympathize, I empathize. My husband and I took care of my husband’s grandparents at home. We have 8 parents between us, and for 3 of them, my husband is an only child. And I’m the only one of my sisters who is speaking to my father, so in that sense, I’m an only child too ;-).

There is every chance that we’ll have 3-5 boomer family members who mostly can’t stand each other (either from lack of taste or having been previously married) living with or near us. That does not fill us with glee.

We *are* going to need help, and better support systems. For example, if people imagine we could go to a 1-child family structure, they are going to have to figure out how that would happen when many of us have 6-8 parents to care for. My husband is an only child, and let’s just say I wish he’d had four or five siblings some days ;-).

And I don’t deny that the medical system is overburdened. I do point out here that jobs caring for the ill and disabled are useful. I think many of us should stop lawyering and take up nursing, for example.

On the other hand, no low-energy future is going to be anywhere near as medicalized as the present is, which will cut down that acute care need enormously. The average senior citizen has 3 surgeries in their last 5 years of life - in many cases, without them their lives would be only a few months shorter.

In many cases, we aren’t so much prolonging life as prolonging death - and I’ve seen that in my days as a hospice and nursing home worker, and also in my own family. I’ve worked in EMS and seen the number of elder injuries that could have been avoided if they just lived with someone who cared about them, or had a better localized support system.

I watched my husband’s grandfather, while dying, suffer from the side effects of numerous medications. He’d already had multiple small strokes, had poor quality of life and was 94 years old, but his doctor and wife didn’t want to discontinue his heart medication since he might have a heart attack. Never mind that there was little doubt he’d be dead within the year - we wouldn’t want him to have a heart attack ;-P.

It is likely that many of our parents (and us) will experience slightly shorter lifespans. With a good triaging of the medical care system (something I’m writing about now and would be interested in your take upon), I think it isn’t necessary that those lifespans drop much. But we can expect much of the interventions traditional in the last few years of one’s life to end, and be replaced mostly with palliative care.

Help is necessary. More professional medical help is probably necessary. But not as much as we think - a large portion of what is needed can be done by people with basic, minimal or no medical training but lots of commitment and compassion. Some of it will require nurses and doctors - but to a large degree, nurses and doctors are overburdened by a host of habits that IMHO, won’t survive the end of the oil age.

Sharon in upstate NY

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By: Michelle in Ga http://sharonastyk.com/2007/05/28/digging-dollars-make-work-agriculture-and-empire/#comment-1255 Michelle in Ga Tue, 29 May 2007 16:47:00 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/2007/05/28/digging-dollars-make-work-agriculture-and-empire/#comment-1255 An interesting essay. It gives a<br/>gentle nudge to move folks or their thinking along in other directions. BUT <br/>We are facing a huge nursing<br/>and doctor shortage. It would<br/>make an informative side study sometime. I speak from the trenches of acute care. We are<br/>crumbling now under the needs of<br/>caring for the greatest generation. The baby boomers will<br/>do us in for sure. We don't have enough staff now to care for the sick. We have fewer ER rooms, waits are longer, specialists more<br/>difficult to obtain. Staffing is<br/>patched, and a "let's get by and hope nobody dies tonight" attitude<br/>prevails. I could say more.<br/>As for caring for parents, well<br/>hubby and I have 7. I'm gonna need<br/>help. Michelle An interesting essay. It gives a
gentle nudge to move folks or their thinking along in other directions. BUT
We are facing a huge nursing
and doctor shortage. It would
make an informative side study sometime. I speak from the trenches of acute care. We are
crumbling now under the needs of
caring for the greatest generation. The baby boomers will
do us in for sure. We don’t have enough staff now to care for the sick. We have fewer ER rooms, waits are longer, specialists more
difficult to obtain. Staffing is
patched, and a “let’s get by and hope nobody dies tonight” attitude
prevails. I could say more.
As for caring for parents, well
hubby and I have 7. I’m gonna need
help. Michelle

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By: jewishfarmer http://sharonastyk.com/2007/05/28/digging-dollars-make-work-agriculture-and-empire/#comment-1254 jewishfarmer Tue, 29 May 2007 15:14:00 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/2007/05/28/digging-dollars-make-work-agriculture-and-empire/#comment-1254 3Hey Dmitry, you aren't the Dmitry who is on Ingrid's editing schedule right before me, are you ;-)? If so, I admire your writing.<br/><br/>I think you are absolutely right that we are funding this war with debt. What I'm not sure is that that means we can't shut it down - that is, I'm not convinced we're so far away from the point at which Japan and China will be disinclined to support our economy that causing a short term crisis might not precipitate a long term one.<br/><br/>For me personally, the moral argument against complicity is compelling, although I can understand your arguments for mucking things up from in the inside. Personally, I'm all for mucking it up for a long time - the system has shown what I think is surprising resiliance, and I'm increasingly convinced that we are far better off with an earlier, sooner collapse (little as I like the idea in some ways) than putting off until further into depletion, and casting not just the debt but the burden off on our kids.<br/><br/>Sharon 3Hey Dmitry, you aren’t the Dmitry who is on Ingrid’s editing schedule right before me, are you ;-)? If so, I admire your writing.

I think you are absolutely right that we are funding this war with debt. What I’m not sure is that that means we can’t shut it down - that is, I’m not convinced we’re so far away from the point at which Japan and China will be disinclined to support our economy that causing a short term crisis might not precipitate a long term one.

For me personally, the moral argument against complicity is compelling, although I can understand your arguments for mucking things up from in the inside. Personally, I’m all for mucking it up for a long time - the system has shown what I think is surprising resiliance, and I’m increasingly convinced that we are far better off with an earlier, sooner collapse (little as I like the idea in some ways) than putting off until further into depletion, and casting not just the debt but the burden off on our kids.

Sharon

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