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« Greybeards Take Over Facebook | Main | Fact for the Day »

February 27, 2009

Scary Sentence of the Day

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

From Newsweek's Michael Hirsh and Evan Thomas comes this:

The president has assembled a team of Harvard and Yale types whose SAT scores have not been equaled since perhaps the Kennedy administration.

And didn't the best and the brightest acquit themselves just beautifully back in the '60s?

Hey, a posting that I should probably get around to pulling together sometime would be my little contribution to the insights-and-guesses-about-Obama's-character genre. I'd argue this: An important aspect of his personality that has been underemphasized is that he's the product of a prep-school / prestigious-college formation. Your truly is too. (And, like Obama, I didn't enter this pipeline with a ruling-class, let alone prosperous, background.) When I look at Obama, what I mainly see is a generic example of a kid like many hundreds that I went through school with. Even his racial crises, dreams, and conflicts look to me like standard examples of the ones routinely experienced by the black kids who are fed into this system.

Given that I may never manage to pull something semi-coherent together, I'll venture a few scattershot musings now: For many people from this kind of background, a belief in dial-twisting, "inspirational," top-down rule-by-the-right-people comes pretty darned easy. Your real dream as such a person? To install and lead a team that includes your buddies, mentors, classmates, connections, and favorite professors. Because, like you, they're the best. It's just an established fact. I mean, we all got accepted by, and flourished in, the "best" schools, didn't we?

Bonus link: Thanks to Greg Ransom for pointing out this CNBC doc about our current economic travails.



posted by Michael at February 27, 2009


"Your real dream as such a person? To install and lead a team that includes your buddies, mentors, classmates, connections, and favorite professors. Because, like you, they're the best. It's just an established fact."

GW certainly believed that. I think most people who seek power do.

Posted by: JV on February 27, 2009 5:31 PM

At least the authors seem to recognize (somewhat) the ominous implications of their comment.

How long can an elite class trundle along without having to demonstrate the legitimacy of its claim to rule? Ach - centuries, actually. We are so boned.

Perhaps we're just witnessing the final entrenchment of credentialism - results not required or evaluated, just test scores, thank you very much. Isn't it disturbing to live in a society where middle-aged men, at the height of their powers and careers, have their SAT scores referenced? Those tests exist, after all, to uncover potential in the young. By the time one is old enough to join an administration, that potential will already have been extensively realized or squandered, and the scores no longer have any meaningful function. Shall we use them now for defense or exculpation? "Sir, your incompetence and hubris have succeeded in unleashing the Four Horsemen upon anguished humanity." "But, but, my 1600! My 1600! And that's a pre-'re-centered' 1600, too, you scrofulous peasant!"

I can't remember if you discussed Murray's Real Education around here. (I was just reading it 'tother day so it's on my mind.) There are a few pages where he discusses the deficiencies of our current system of selecting an elite: though it is efficiently meritocratic in its ability to throw up people who really do have superior natural capacity, it also works against their acquiring the kind of experience that brings wisdom. This, he says, is particularly true of those who have been trained in the liberal arts rather than the hard sciences or mathematics. Though he claims that it is possible to have a rigorous, properly humbling education in the humanities (which I think is true), it is possible, and more than likely, that one receives no such thing. Such a person, in such a "funnel", is never forced to run up against his own limits and realize how little he really knows or understands - aka "wisdom". Unlike Murray, I suspect that there are enough people out there who are clever enough to not be humbled by the maths and hard science programs they sail through before moving on to lucrative private careers and then public service. (Ha! "Service"!) Enough to do a lot of damage, anyway.

Posted by: Moira Breen on February 27, 2009 5:54 PM

The Kennedy administration was led by a man who had his undergraduate thesis written for him by someone else. It was led by a man whose IQ would have put him at the bottom of the High School class I was in. No damned nonsense about merit in his case, eh?

Posted by: dearieme on February 27, 2009 6:30 PM

Hell, what do I know, but it looks to me like Obama is convinced he is the smartest guy in the room, even a room full of Ivy's. And I think he feels confident in his ability to size up talent, especially in the case of the really important jobs.
On the other hand, I think he took other people's word for it that Geithner was the right guy for Treasury. Obviously he isn't.

Posted by: Luke Lea on February 27, 2009 7:37 PM

"Because, like you, they're the best. It's just an established fact. I mean, we all got accepted by, and flourished in, the "best" schools, didn't we?"

The foibles of the intellectual elite demonstrate to the proles that maybe there's some purpose for us after all. It gives one a gratifying sense of schadenfreude knowing that despite the fact you are among those who wouldn't be escorted to a secret underground city in case of a nuclear holocaust, Larry Summers, et al, just might be highly verbal idiots. ; )

Posted by: shiva on February 27, 2009 9:35 PM

I thought that Obama's grades and SAT scores were still not known to the public? How can anyone say how smart he is, or compare him to other Presidents, if we don't know these facts.

The track record of supposedly "smart" Presidents (Wilson and Carter) is, well, not good. Judging by the results so far, this "smart" President is going to be an absolute disaster as well.

Posted by: JP on February 27, 2009 9:47 PM

Your real dream as such a person? To install and lead a team that includes your buddies, mentors, classmates, connections, and favorite professors. Because, like you, they're the best.

And one other thing - we pretty much are going to spend the next four years, at least, under the thumb of what amounts to an Ivy League student council. Lots of brains, but lots of crazy ideas and no real-world experience whatsoever. Be afraid, be VERY afraid.

Posted by: JP on February 27, 2009 9:54 PM

What would you have Obama do?

Posted by: Just Passing By on February 28, 2009 2:22 AM

"What would you have Obama do?" I'd suggest the he find people who are not only clever but also well and diversely educated, who have a record that demonstrates good judgement and a sense of proportion, and who bring varied experiences of the world, work and life. Whether such paragons would want to work for him is a different question.

Posted by: dearieme on February 28, 2009 7:32 AM


Those of us who do attempt the humanities and social sciences route who have not deeply quaffed the Kool-Aide of Pomo Sophism, tend not to finish their degrees (myself included).

By your standards, I'm a raving leftist, but to most of the folks around me in grad school, I was just slightly to the left of Francisco Franco for believing in such things as reductive logic, the ideal of civilizational progress, and the idea that the world pre-1968 actually had quite a bunch of good things that should be resurrected (fedora hats, three piece suits and tobacco pipes anyone?)

It's a pity really. Not all of us have the native mathematical facilities to move into engineering or the hard sciences, also to say the rot has infested all the humanities is a bit much, it has set its roots much deeper in some places compared to others (English departments versus Philosophy departments for example) and even the most lost departments have at least one or two professors carrying on the torch, to pass on to grad students with more wherewithal than myself. It's really depressing, I glimpse it at times from my facebook list. It's always enough to kill the urge to return.

Posted by: Spike Gomes on February 28, 2009 8:21 AM

Obama's Advisor Summers fired Derivatives whistleblower‏

Harvard alum Iris Mack, MBA/PhD communicated with Larry Summers (former Harvard President and current Obama economic advisor) to express her concerns about how her Harvard Management Company (HMC) boss Jeff Larson used derivatives to manage an HMC portfolio. Larson eventually left HMC to start Sowood hedge fund with hundreds of millions of dollars of Harvard alums' donations. Sowood was one of the first hedge funds to blow up during the subprime mortgage derivatives crisis.

Dr. Mack communicated with Summers' office regarding such derviatives trades. Perhaps, she could have saved Harvard alums hundreds of millions of dollars if Summers had bothered to continue to hear her out before forcing her resignation. There is a wealth of information describing this derivatives whistleblowing case: correspondence between Dr. Mack and Summer's office (emails, faxes, snail mail, phone records, etc.); legal documents; reports from FBI and DOJ interviews, etc.

Given all this, you have to wonder whether Summers was either too
(a) corrupt and wanted to coverup up something(s) at HMC.
(b) arrogant to think that Dr. Mack had anything of value to tell him about mathematical finance and derivatives. Please recall Summers' comments about women and math. Also, please note that Dr. Mack has a doctorate in Applied Mathematics from Harvard and a Sloan Fellows MBA from London Business School.
(c) incompetent to understand what Dr. Mack was trying to warn him about regarding derivatives trades in HMC portfolios.

Did Summers try to silence Dr. Mack the way he, Rubin and Greenspan tried to silence Attorney Brooksley Born of the CFTC.

Posted by: S H Mills on February 28, 2009 12:31 PM

I was talking with a friend the other day about the failure of the humanities in the twentieth century, and Julien Benda's Trahison des clercs (Treason of the Intellectuals) came up. Benda's argument was that the treason consisted of something widely admired, nay demanded, in humanities departments these days: commitment. As in political commitment. The commitment demanded these days is to the usual tired litany of leftist causes: "dissenters" towing the line right down to the details. Benda, of course, wrote of intellectuals in a time when their commitment was to political ideologies infinitely more serious and (at least in the short term) far more destructive than today's SWPL eco/PC/poseur bullsh*t.

But it's clear that the treason continues, with the tired slag heap of the humanities so drained of objectivity, integrity and inquisitive curious energy by all that "commitment", that any resurrection of genuine investigation into the human condition is going to have to come from the sciences...even though scientists are in some ways even less well-equipped to do so than are the burnt-out leftover academic drudges in humanities departments.

At least scientists believe in sh*t like reality, truth, objectivity, and reason. I'm in favour of those things myself, actually. If only because they help make genuine communication possible.

Posted by: PatrickH on February 28, 2009 1:27 PM

High SAT scores? That's what the media cheerleaders came up with for this crew of incompetents? They are running out of shit to talk about, for sure.
We're fucked, really and truly fucked. Every time I read an article like this, I go and buy more guns, ammo and canned food...

Posted by: We're Fucked on February 28, 2009 1:39 PM

And the point is? Should we choose leaders of no more than average intelligence and achievement who went to fair-to-middling public schools so that they will be more like the population as a whole? In one of the more frivolous sex and culture threads around here you could ask the question, what make an Alpha an Alpha and why are they the leaders not followers?

You note: "For many people from this kind of background, a belief in dial-twisting, "inspirational," top-down rule-by-the-right-people comes pretty darned easy. Your real dream as such a person? To install and lead a team that includes your buddies, mentors, classmates, connections, and favorite professors. Because, like you, they're the best. It's just an established fact. I mean, we all got accepted by, and flourished in, the "best" schools, didn't we?

Does this describe your own POV? If so, are you projecting it onto Obama, if not, why are you different while Obama is not? And in what way is this approach different from the one McCain or any other Republican would have taken? Oh, one might imagine more school of Chicago economists and fewer Chicago community organizers, but isn't that why we have elections?

To be clear, I advocate for Instant Runoff Voting as a potential means of breaking the lock the two major parties have on our government. I see the Dems and Pubs both as creatures of the entrenched elite. That elite has a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. Global corporate interests have, since at least the late seventies, dominated the elite.

That said, so long as our default position is simply to snipe at those in office without offering cogent alternatives, what is the point? Furthermore, until and unless "we the people" begin to create for ourselves a new batch of grassroots, bottom-up solutions, aren't we all complicit in not only accepting, but actively seeking, top-down solutions-by-the-right-people? It is just we have plenty of disagreements about who exactly those right people might be.

Posted by: Chris White on February 28, 2009 2:15 PM

Should we choose leaders of no more than average intelligence and achievement

That might be better than what we have now, which is leaders of unknown intelligence and no achievement.

Where did this idea come from that these guys and gals are smart, when the number one policy they are pushing is manifestly stupid (borrow your way out of debt)?

I'm with We're Fucked. Buy guns, ammo, and food.

Posted by: Lugo on February 28, 2009 4:20 PM

Posted by Chris White at February 28, 2009

You're easily impressed...

Posted by: Anon on February 28, 2009 5:27 PM


Instant runoff voting won't change anything unless we were to have only public funding for campaigns.

Since it would take an act of Congress to do so, it'll never happen.

Posted by: Peter L. Winkler on February 28, 2009 5:52 PM

Once more, with feeling:

I accept as a given that the leaders we elect, under a system that has calcified as one of, by, and for the oligarchy, will primarily serve the interests of that oligarchy. The true power lies within the network of global corporatists that serve as the brains and nervous system for the aforementioned oligarchy. It is close to impossible for anyone not within this network of the elite to become a "serious" candidate for anything much past the local level.

Financial services, banking, and insurance concerns are going to benefit more than they should from any attempt to recover from this crisis, one they largely created. Yes, and the sun rises in the east; well, actually the planet rotates and the sun appears to rise in the east ... but I digress.

We can bitch and moan while we pick sides between those oligarchs we think will piss on us less and those we fear will piss on us more. Is the piss we're going to get from Team Obama more or less than the pissin' we would have gotten under Team McCain? Some folks might get more benefit from one or the other but, in the end, it is always a minor, if not entirely illusory, difference for those of us who are not part of the elite.

We can all jump on one the various secession bandwagons and when the US breaks apart into a half dozen or more parts we can choose to move to the Non-Republic of Montana where a coalition of anarchists, the White People's Party, and purist offshoot of the Libertarians have declared a government-free zone of pure capitalism. Or New Scandinavia (formerly New England), which has adopted a version of socialism based on the Swedish model. And exactly how likely is this to happen?

Another option is to attempt, however inadequately, to create alternatives. I haven't seen much of that, merely arguments that boil down to lamenting that "the wrong side won" and crystal ball gazing that looks forward, however perversely, to being able to link back to an archived thread from early 2009 where one has posted a comment saying, "This ain't gonna work."

Posted by: Chris White on February 28, 2009 6:57 PM

I recommend Paleo eating, watching Italian horror movies from the '70s, and surfing alt-porn.

But seriously ... No one else is struck by what I'm struck by with Obama? That he's a totally generic prep-school-and-Ivy kinda guy? I haven't seen him do a thing that didn't conform to the type.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on February 28, 2009 7:35 PM

Incidentally, no disrespect intended to Chris' question, which is a good one. FWIW, I see some of Chris' favored protests as little acts of secession ...

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on February 28, 2009 8:52 PM

"An important aspect of his personality that has been underemphasized is that he's the product of a prep-school / prestigious-college formation. Your truly is too."

That'll suffice as explanation for all the perverseness. Why didn't you tell me you were an alumni co-op for the exes of various snooty schools? It's all starting to make sense. Like the time a poster declared me unfit for admission to UCLA or Berkley or both as if I had spent all these years wondering why I didn't get into the school that made the sperm movie.

Posted by: shiva on February 28, 2009 9:14 PM

All the black identity stuff struck me as forced. Obama's got mild emotions, an even temperament, and probably almost no genuine religious convictions at all. Most stuff is water off his back.

There are advantages to being this way, especially after eight years of You-Know-Who. But his blandness, his low inner temperature has always struck me as being the most important fact about him. It's what allowed white voters to vote for him: he doesn't seem black at all. He's just this even-tempered white guy with a funny name.

He strikes me as totally assimilated to white culture, and the Ivy/prep qualities that you mentioned, MIchael, are simply the signs of that utter assimilation.

Oddly, he reminds me in some ways of George H. W. Bush, who is my candidate for The Whitest Man Who Ever Lived.

Posted by: PatrickH on February 28, 2009 9:30 PM

his blandness, his low inner temperature has always struck me as being the most important fact about him.

What has always struck me as the most important fact about him is his narcissism. He fits the description perfectly (and I recognize the type very easily, since my own father was a truly toxic narcissist).

Posted by: Lugo on February 28, 2009 11:49 PM

MB: There are people all over the dextrosphere who noticed that Obama is deeply preppie/Ivy League elite. He's also "black-identity" - vide the association with Rev. Wright. Of course these two strains aren't in conflict. The Ivy League long ago embraced racism-mongering (part of their 'native' superiority, don'tcha know). And he's careful not to show it to white audiences.

There's been a transformation of course: the WASP-y "Old Ivy" has been replaced by the meritocratic "New Ivy"; but the feeling of entitlement remains.

It merges with the arrogant attitude that "We aren't just the smartest guys in the room, we're the only smart guys in the room." Obama and his staff have that big-time. He's far more plugged into the Ivy/elite culture than he ever was into Chicago.

On that point, I note that he spent 16 years in Chicago (1988-2004) without making any particular reputation here, or any real connection to the city.

We've had other 'rootless' Presidents (Eisenhower, Hoover, Grant) but they all had major careers taking them around the country (or the world). Obama feels like someone who just passed through looking for a career opportunity.

I note that by 2012, we will have 24 years of Ivy League Presidents. We have 8 of 9 SCotUS Justices from Ivies.

One last point. The people in the Obama administration seem very much like the "leaders" of the European Union. There appears to be a shared belief that the "policy elite" should run things with no interference from the masses.

Posted by: Rich Rostrom on March 1, 2009 1:20 AM

I agree with some of the later comments about Obama, too. But I have a question to add: Obama is considered not only a good speechmaker, but a great one. And yet it is obvious to me that he is a boring, flat, droning, cliche-ridden uninspired speechmaker. He's actually not that good at all.

Has anyone else noticed this? That Obama is actually lousy at making speeches?

Posted by: PatrickH on March 1, 2009 8:29 AM

Rich Rostrom: We've had other 'rootless' Presidents (Eisenhower, Hoover, Grant) but they all had major careers taking them around the country (or the world). Obama feels like someone who just passed through looking for a career opportunity.

Interesting comment, Rich. I think I understand what you mean by the "rootlessness" of the above three men (their careers are not associated with their local origins), but they were not rootless in the same sense of detachment from national roots that characterizes the recent crop of leaders. And I include GW Bush in that latter group, despite his indelible association with Texas and his "unilateral", pseudo-nationalist posturing. His campaigning schtick was as an anti-Ivy (while actually being an Ivy, if legacy Ivy, product), anti-"Euro-weenie" persona, but his mentality - about nationhood, and about the irrelevancy of the populace - was essentially no different. Obama is just a more obvious manifestation of that "just passing through", "how do we use the nation for purposes other than its own" trend that has been developing for some time.

PatrickH: Oddly, he reminds me in some ways of George H. W. Bush, who is my candidate for The Whitest Man Who Ever Lived.

I'm guessing from the context that you are referring to GHWB's effete, lackluster public image, not any actual, admirable acts in his life - in which case, shame on you. (Not decided upon whom I'd confer the (noble) title "Whitest Man Who Ever Lived", but my candidate for the last century would probably be Eisenhower. All go, no show.)

Posted by: Moira Breen on March 1, 2009 10:05 AM

Spike - Time to develop some equivalent of Benedictine monasteries among the decay? I don't doubt that a "rigorous humanities" can survive and rekindle, but I would bet it will all happen (or is already happening) away from the universities. This would not require the tremendous material resources that would be necessary for retrieving the sciences from the rubble, if they were to suffer a similar fate. Anyway, I have a deep hopeful conviction that civilization shall be saved by men wearing fedora hats. Keep fighting the good fight. Pipes optional.

Posted by: Moira Breen on March 1, 2009 10:13 AM

PatrckH -- Obama is nothing if not assimilated, god knows. But would you say that it's to "white culture" generally? Smalltown midwest whitebread America? Go-getter MBA/real-estate America? I wonder. FWIW, he strikes me as a such an obvious subtype -- the JFK-wannabe middle-class-kid-who-went-thru-the-prep-and-Ivy pipeline ... Now that you've got me thinking about it, that isn't even particularly a white thing these days.

Rich -- The preppie-kid thing has been much-commented-on elsewhere? Dang, I thought I was volunteering something semi-fresh. Do you have any links for me? I'd love to see what people have said. What I'd try to draw a line between (should I ever gather a few thoughts together) would be the middle-class-kid-gone-to-prep-school thing and JFK-era-style Keynesianism. I'd try to spell out the psychology of this (in my mind they're almost one and the same thing), and I'd try to bring out some of the inner drama of these folks. Like I say, even his racial crisis (at least what I've read about it in accounts of his book) is absolutely typical of the racial crises black kids from this microlife go through.

Spike, Moira -- I don't worry too much about "the humanities" in colleges, do you? Seems to me almost inconceivable that college as we know it these days could ever be a good place for them to revive, though I'll certainly cheer on what I expect will be the rare exceptions. (New Classicism-style architecture at Notre Dame, for instance.) It may turn out that the "universities as responsible shepherds of civilization" thing was a bizarre, short-lived aberration and not a to-be-expected and we-shall-get-back-to-it-one-day thing, as we sometimes imagine it to be. I'm rooting for a return of the fedora myself.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on March 1, 2009 11:25 AM

Yes, others have noticed that Obama is lousy at making speeches. But you'll never hear anything about that in the MSM, which is too busy abjectly slobbering on his feet.

Posted by: Lugo on March 1, 2009 1:03 PM

MB – I sometimes see my views as little acts of secession as well. And I would not be opposed at all to voting for it should Maine decide to put the question on the ballot. I just don't think that it is very likely to happen, so I spend little time seriously considering it.

My primary point remains similar to that famous prayer; God, grant us the serenity of mind to accept that which cannot be changed; the courage to change that which can be changed, and the wisdom to know the one from the other.

Threads like this one, on which nearly everyone just vents spleen at the elite and argues about which faction of the elite is more onerous, dissipate energy without much, if any, effect. Only rarely do these threads become productive, respectful, sharing of ideas and strategies for positive change. The default is to sling invectives at some scapegoat or other be it Obama, Bush, PC liberals, racists, immigrants or ... my personal favorite ... global capitalists. And sometimes venting a little steam makes us feel better, but I'd like to think that we have the wisdom to recognize these targets as beyond our ability to change.

With that in mind, I believe we can change much more through exercising our power as consumers than we can as voters or blog pundits.

Posted by: Chris White on March 1, 2009 8:42 PM

Moira: I'm guessing from the context that you are referring to GHWB's effete, lackluster public image, not any actual, admirable acts in his life...

Yes, as I should have made clearer. To be a naval aviator at the Great Marianas Turkey Shoot is my own personal candidate for the High Point Acme Moment of the white American man, with everything slowly going downhill from there. GHWB was actually an amazing guy...but hoo-boy was his image blandblandbland.

And Michael, I meant assimilated to SWPL-style white culture. All the white liberal college-educated professional crowd values. They loooove BO because they know he's one of them, and not one of those angry, sweating BLACK MEN like Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton or Jeremiah Wright. Even BO's own Afro-radical-blamewhitey- gimmemoney- mmmbabyyoulookgoodletsf*ck pastor couldn't get through Obama's inner blandness, his essential lack of passion, of deep emotion of any kind. Not even with twenty years of shouting right into Mr. Smooth's blankly smiling face.

That BO is massively ambitious and a ruthless social climber only reinforces my description of him as WHITEWHITEWHITE. SWPL's are among the most conscienceless, heartless social darwinists out there: for them, nature is not red but white in tooth and claw, but only because it's bad form (which in standard modern Whitespeak means bad strategy) to show blood anywhere on you, no matter how much of it you've spilled in the process of inflicting on the world your own "program of personal growth".

Posted by: PatrickH on March 2, 2009 11:16 AM

Chris White:

While I agree with you about the uselessnes of splenetic comments here - except for their cathartic value - and your exhortation to offer something positive, what, if anything, do you suggest? Other than your faith in instant runoff voting, you don't offer any ideas on how to recapture control of politics from the grasp of the corporate-military plutocracy.Not that I expect you to or blame you if you can't, because it's an isoluable problem.

"With that in mind, I believe we can change much more through exercising our power as consumers than we can as voters or blog pundits."

I wish I believed that, but buying a hybrid vehicle or patronising your local truck farm seems to have marginal value when our plutocratic leaders are giving each other trillions of dollars under the guise of saving the economy.

Posted by: Peter L. Winkler on March 2, 2009 5:18 PM

GHWB was actually an amazing man and a pretty good president. Baseball star at Yale, real life military hero, head of the spooks etc. As president, he oversaw the breakup of the Soviet Union, smashing of the Iron Curtain and reunification of Germany which he managed with much less bloodshed than could have been. I think that was a pretty massive fricking deal. His failures included not toppling China during the Tiananmen episode, David Souter and listening to Colin Powell when he advised to Saddam Hussein alone in Iraq. His real misfortune was to run into Ross Perot in the 1992 campaign.

Posted by: JM on March 2, 2009 7:30 PM

To paraphrase Arlo Guthrie, when one guy proclaims himself a locovore he's a lone nut, when folks all over the country become locovores it's a Movement. You can buy into the notion that we have no effect on the Powers That Be, so why bother, just accept the status quo ... and bitch about it while fantasizing about secession or the resurrection of Ronald Reagan. Or you can look for alternatives.

Buying local is how I was raised; to me it is a "conservative" American habit. This goes for banking as well. Unfortunately, despite obtaining our mortgage through a local firm, it was bought up before we made out first payment by one of the giants.

Local currencies and time banks are of interest. Joining the local time bank has thus far been thwarted by a less than ideal interface between them and potential new members. We shop the Farmer's Market during the season and have a CSA share.

While I freely admit to holding utopian guiding ideals, I am a realist. If a needed item is only available from a national corporation, and if it costs twice as much at the local retailer than the box store, I might well let my wallet decide. Still, buying local is the default.

The global corporate model created the mess we're in. A few corporations control vast amounts of cash flow fed by huge numbers of consumers. They direct enough into the pockets of politicians to dominate in discussions over the direction the government goes in areas that concern their bottom line.

Doesn't it make sense to explore alternatives to this situation that begin by us redirecting our cash, moving it into other channels than the giant corporate status quo?

Posted by: Chris White on March 2, 2009 8:19 PM

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