CategoryIn the news

The Divide: A Brief Guide to Global Inequality

It has been four months since Debt: The First 5,000 Years, and my quest to find answers to inequality.  In that time I came across The Divide, by Jason Hickel, which claimed in the subtitle “A Brief Guide to Global Inequality and it’s Solutions” to provide not just problems but also solutions.  That jumped it to the top of my growing stack of books. The first two thirds of the...

Will Seattle Become the Capital of Social Entrepreneurship? (5 years later)

Five years ago, while still working on the business plan that was to become Fledge, I helped run a weekend event for “social entrepreneurs” called #SocEnt Weekend.  From that came the following video with Brian Howe, co-founder of what was to become Impact Hub Seattle. Reminiscing is often fun.  More so when we can look back five years to see what we thought might happen in ten years...

Sorry Jeff, but Mary’s Place isn’t enough

(This is in response to Jeff Bezos’ call for feedback/ideas on his philanthropy) Jeff, If you want to immediately help a few homeless in Seattle, do that.  But what about the other 10,000 homeless in Seattle and the other tens of thousands of homeless in other American cities?  And what about the billion others who live a life with even less food, less shelter, and less chance of a...

Debt: The First 5,000 Years

It’s good to be out of debt… even when that means finishing David Graeber’s Debt: The First 5,000 Years.  I had started on this book before diving into the rabbit hole of The Wealth of Nations, Communist Manifesto, Capitalist Manifesto, Divine Right of Capital, Et al, revisiting Debt’s 400 pages on occasion to clean my mental palate between other books. Debt is another...

Owning our Future

After finishing The Divine Right of Capital, I searched my house high and low for my copy of Owning our Future, Marjorie Kelly’s other book on Capitalism, which I remembered was good enough to merit ordering a second copy after the search came up empty. Whereas The Divine Right of Capital is 95% problem, Owning our Future is a travelogue of solutions.  Kelly takes us with her traveling to...

The Divine Right of Capital

A much better manifesto of Capitalism is Marjorie Kelly’s The Divine Right of Capital (amazon.com).  In it, Kelly explains in greater detail the divide between capital and labor, some of its origins, and dives deep into the assumptions latent within the current system which she hopes to see uncovered and overturned. Kelly repeatedly returns to the metaphor of feudalism, with the noble Board...

The Communist Manifesto

Jumping forward to 1848, 72 years from The Wealth of Nations, Great Britain, Western Europe, and the United States experienced an economic revolution in the Industrial Revolution.  Steam power, coal, gaslight, railroads, etc.  With that change came the industrialization of work, with far more powerful capitalists and unpowerful laborers. From that change came Karl Marx’s Manifesto of the...

The Wealth of Nations

Continuing my dive into Capitalism, I headed to the beginning, to An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, better known simply as Adam Smith’s masterpiece The Wealth of Nations. This is one of those books you hear about so often you think already know, but which you really only know of until you crack it open and dig into the details.  And wow, are there ever details...

Capital in the 21st Century

Income inequality is in the news, along with the populist Brexit, Trump, and La Pen movements that have sprung from the consequences of that issue.  Before those votes, I wondered if there were any real-world consequences from income inequality, or whether it just made good sky-is-falling news stories. One book that greatly helped me understand what is truly going on is Thomas Piketty’s...

Three cars per STOP sign… and other inefficiencies

I often blame my training as an undergraduate mathematician for seeing the world differently than most others.  Case in point, the inefficiencies of the everyday stop sign, and the lesson that fails to teach us about other areas of society. Specifically, picture a busy intersection with a 4-way stop sign.  Or better yet, picture a traffic light on a busy street on a day when the power has gone...

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