Tag Archives: Business

Can a currency system be localized?

A friend of mine is studying alternative money systems in Boulder, and has solicited input from her varied professional circles. Here are the questions she poses about localizing community transactions:

What is money? What does money do? What are certain properties of money (properties/qualities of money, of the realm of money)? What is the current money system now? How does it work? What are ‘problems’ with our current money system? Any thoughts about solutions to these perceived problems? 
 
How do we ‘localize’ money to the community? Who/What are the communities we want to serve in developing a local currency infrastructure? Consumers/Citizens? Local business? Banks/Credit Unions?

Who would benefit from a local currency? Who would not benefit? What are the various ‘possible’ geographical boundaries of this local money system? One business? A block of business? City?  Watershed?

Israel and the surplus Passover bread

I thought the NPR human interest story about Passover was going to be a PR piece: What do Israeli Jews do with their leavened bread during Passover, when religious observance forbids not just the consumption of bread, but the possession of it? What do Jewish bakeries, grocers, eateries, distributors and warehouses do with their un-unleavened inventories? I’ll bet you were going to guess that they give it away!

Not to other observers of Passover obviously, but to non-Jewish needy maybe, who can eat it.

No doubt Israeli Jewish bread purveyors schedule inventory reductions to coincide with Passover. But according to the news segment, the mass of raised dough, for the brief Passover hours untouchable to Jewish adherents, regularly amounts to $150 million, every year. So what do they do with it?

Well according to NPR, here’s the deal.

On paper, the bread is entrusted to the governing rabbis, who make a collective deal with a single cooperative non-Jew. This Israeli Arab agrees to purchase the lot, by making a down-payment, with the proviso that he cannot take delivery until the balance is paid, and a further understanding that he will intentionally default on the transaction. He joked with the reporter that every year he falls short of the sum required. When the Passover restriction lifts, possession of the bread reverts to its Jewish owners, whose premises it never left, physically. The stock goes back on the books, and everyone is back in business.

No details about whether this is how Jewish communities have always overcome the Passover prohibition. Which we might assume has been a pressing challenge for centuries. And to be fair, the restriction was never about divesting of the bread, or being charitable, but more about commemoration through sacrifice, the flight from Egypt when Jews were compelled to take with them only unleavened bread.

So this news segment was not a heavy handed PR message about the piety of Israeli Jews, but a subtle glimpse into the pragmatic world of Judaism. Either message serves to familiarize the 98% of Americans who are not Jewish, with the daily life of Israelis. Though Israel may be a foreign nation, with the foreign concept of a state religion, the people of Israel are otherwise close kin of the white European Americans, as their blood-surrogate claimants to the Holy Land.

If you’re still wondering about the Arab Israelis who could have been in line for day old largess, don’t worry, this segment had that loose end tied up.

Night Porter Holocaust masochist themeBy the oddest of twists, the Israeli Arabs interviewed for this story declared their own preference for unleavened bread, for the Passover. This drew incredulous prompts from nearby Israeli Jews. Why would Arabs chose Matzo, the poor man’s bread, without being obligated?

But so says NPR. There it is. So no one’s missing the uneaten bread.

The lingering motif being, that while religious differences may remain, in terms of baked-goods gastronomy, Arab Israelis are wannabe Jewish Israelis.

God’s Chosen People, America’s chosen cousins, are even their captives’ chosen masters.

Businessmen gone WILD!

throwing moneyWorldwide the business community has gone wild as they try to resurrect the declining capitalist world economy by simply throwing trillions of government dollars at themselves to ‘stimulate’ the return of their profit making. EU, China, US unleash global assault on crisis

How many years have Americans heard these same folk exclaim that you cannot fix problems by throwing government money at a problem? What a band of liars, hypocrites, and crooks these people are! These capitalists have always used this refrain to keep from helping people out with government monies, but show no such restraint when it comes to themselves. It’s called the ‘virtue of greed’ by their more ideologically minded sycophants, in fact.

These same businessmen will not deal with real problems the world faces as long as we let them have total control over our world society. In fact they will totally destroy the planet’s ecology if we continue to let them do as they have done, and we will simply not have a planet for an economy of any kind.

Yes, the whole world is watching these businessmen gone WILD! … and the world does not like what it is seeing. Simply put, people are tolerant and will sit back passively and do nothing if the capitalist ship’s keel is righted, but this gigantesque toss of trillions of dollars to the super-rich has no guaranteed success ahead since no real problems of world economy are actually being addressed in any meaningful manner. The boat might become temporarily stabilized once again (a BIG IF???), but a world capitalist economy based on warfare and the destruction of Nature will not sail for that much longer in the stormy seas that world capitalism itself is making. It will capsize itself.

Yes, Big Business has gone totally wild and they have done it before, People. And when they went wild in previous eras the price common folk paid was horrifying. We have some grim times ahead and realistically we must sit back and wait, until people simply begin to wake up to what is happening to them. The tsunami approaches, and with it comes world depression and yet more US government created war.

$6.55 an hour? Oh, whoopee…

BonusNotice how all the big guys look out after themselves. They got themselves a ‘bailout’ of several tens of billions of dollars over at Fannie Mae’s and Freddie’s houses, and it will be paid to them from much of the work of all those who, today, will get a big boost up to $6.55 an hour! More than that would be socialism they say. Federal Minimum Wage to Increase to $6.55 on July 24

What cons these business men are, because people believe them with their idiotic nonsense justifying their own largess at others expense, too. Their looting of the National Treasury is never called socialism at all. And it’s not. It’s just pure thievery and real socialism is not thievery at all, like what the American business community practices daily. Real socialism is nothing more than helping out the less fortunate in society, instead of helping out the more fortunate in their robberies of the rest of us.

Barack- ‘I may have a pigmentation disorder, but I’m just like you, Mr. Businessman’

Barack Obama’s recent campaigning has highlighted how he’s ready to go to war against Iran alongside Israel, and how he supports using the death penalty even more than it already is used by the government in the US. Barack Obama, to the Right of the Supreme Court! Change the business community can back safely! Why he even berates Black fathers for being bad role models for the kids! They’re Black!

Let’s see? More guns, bombs, and equipment for more war! Looks good for business. More prisons, death chambers, and nastiness to the lower classes! Looks good for the industrial-police-prison-National Security business crowd. More sanctimonious moralizing. Looks good for the church businesses, too.

‘I may have a pigmentation disorder, but I’m just like you, Mr. American Dumb Ass Businessman!’ Vote Barack Obama! Safely, now.

Want a public psychological profile?

Scantron Psych EvaluationI’m not one to shy from self-expression online, but I draw the line at providing survey-question data, particularly psychological tests. They may plow up interesting stuff, but online, associating my IP and cookies, for harvesting by profile aggregators, I don’t think so. I’ve done the 6-question Which Book Are You, but I won’t do the List Your Favorite Books and I certainly won’t do a Myers-Briggs type analysis. For whom?

Scantron multiple choice formWhat could an online profiler deduce from such results? I’ve no idea. But that’s my lack of imagination. I’m not in the business of trading social profiles and profiting by it.

I do know that psychoanalysis is still a crap shoot, likewise so is literary interp. But carbon pencil marks on a multiple choice form can be tabulated by number crunchers which size up everyone with tables and graphs. Heavy machinery can then make informed decisions about you based simply on how the numbers come together. It’s punch card technology. You prefer Tiramisu over Creme Brule, Boggle over Scrabble? The survey says: we need two times the security deposit from you, sorry dude.

Multiple choices with no.2 pencilHandling internet sales at the Bookman, we use a rudimentary fashion of account profiling. Its efficacy is something we’ve wised up to over the years. Here’s how it works: if someone makes an inquiry about shipping details before they place an order, we reject their order. Period. They may be earnest, even upstanding, but our experience shows they’ll be trouble. Our actuarial table says basically, this customer is so likely to be a bother, let them go. So we pass.

It seems a shame, but it’s the only bureaucratic edge Bookman has, and why not take it? Shipping books is a business after all, for profit. Who needs the aggravation of someone figuring they can get their money back AND keep the book. The odds they won’t? Not good enough.

That’s the way profiling works in business applications. If you’re a client falsely cast, you’ve no recourse. The semi-literate customer service rep on the phone has no discretion to treat you differently. And why should they? The designers of the business model know where to fish for profit and when to cut bait. The statistical overlay supersedes any argument you can make. What are you going to say? I’ll be an exception, I promise!? Insurance companies didn’t grow such tall impressive buildings with unreliable actuarial tables.