Friday, October 28, 2011

How the Game of Life is Different from Monopoly

Rev. Tony Lorenzen writing in Sunflower Chalice suggests playing two games of Monopoly back to back as a demonstration of how our economic system works.  Play the first with the normal rules and then:
Play a second game of Monopoly. This time... players start the game differently. Player ONE begins the game already owning Boardwalk and Park Place as well as all the Green Properties – all with hotels already on them, all the Railroads, and both utilities... What [some people] wrongly assume is that our society and our world is the first game of Monopoly—that we all start on a level playing field, playing by the same rules with all the same advantages and disadvantages. The reality is that we live in the world of the second Monopoly game. It is not a rigged game so much as we are all born into the game in different circumstances and in different places. That simple fact has much to do with the lack of economic and social justice we experience (or do not experience). . . . Making it and surviving should be something available to everyone everywhere.

Listening to Occupy Wall Street

The founder and president of Capital Institute, John Fullerton, has written an essay on the Huffington Post about what Occupy Wall Street stands for:

William Blake cautioned that abstraction without the particular becomes demonic. As a society, we became intoxicated with the pursuit of money, and then in our stupor, allowed forces emanating from Wall Street to layer abstraction upon abstraction in the name of innovation. This morphed into nothing but leveraged speculation at best, and into manipulation, conflicts of interest, cynicism, cheating, and fraud. I know because I was there at the creation in the 1980s. Back then, these tools were innovative, purposeful and productive. But they have since metastasized into a cancer. Free market fundamentalism blinded us to a timely diagnosis, and continues to do so today.

It is time for finance to resume its proper and humble place as servant to, not master of, the real economy -- an economy that promotes a more equitably shared prosperity while respecting the physical limits of our finite planet. Such transformation is the Great Work of our age; work that drives the Capital Institute and many other organizations fostering the emergence of a new economy. The restoration of our democracy OWS seeks is an essential step, which may be at hand. It's still a long shot, but we shall see. One thing is for certain: OWS has started a national conversation long overdue.

Read the rest at the Huffington Post.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Broke Food: Ramen Sandwich

The blog of the NPR radio show Wait Wait Don't Tell Me today posted a feature on a rather odd food stuff: The Ramen Sandwich. It uses blocks of ramen instead of bread, which the commentators describe as "weirdly tasty if you're able to get it in your mouth."

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Crisis of Bigness

Interesting article in The Guardian that looks at the economic theory of Leopold Kohr, who argued that "Whenever something is wrong, something is too big."

We have now reached the point that Kohr warned about over half a century ago: the point where "instead of growth serving life, life must now serve growth, perverting the very purpose of existence". Kohr's "crisis of bigness" is upon us and, true to form, we are scrabbling to tackle it with more of the same: closer fiscal unions, tighter global governance, geoengineering schemes, more economic growth. Big, it seems, is as beautiful as ever to those who have the unenviable task of keeping the growth machine going.

Worth a read in full.