Friday, March 11, 2016

the velocity of money...

I found this to be interesting.  On the program Fast Money, Asher Edelman was briefly interviewed. He is known to have been the role model for the character Gordon Gecko in the the movie Wall St. and the panel of interviewers wonder why the man judged by some as a symbol of Wall St. greed would support Bernie Sanders in the coming election. Edelman insists that Senator Sanders is the only one who understands "the velocity of money." The interviewers were incredulous.

There are actually many things at play beyond money. The nation that understands the necessity of making beautiful and useful things is a nation that's willing to invest in the moral fiber of its citizenry, and believe it or not, while moral fiber is not something you can take to the bank, it is the basis of a strong economy. For those unfamiliar with the concept, we can call it "honest work for honest pay." It is different from "investing" in whatever makes the most bucks. The difference is (for those who are clueless) that investing moves money around in search of itself. Honest work for honest pay actually creates new value that did not exist before, that comes both in external form as service to others and internally as self-respect and a sense of holistic engagement in life.

I was telling our head of schools today about the emphasis placed in educational Sloyd on the development of morality in all children, not only in the working class... That as children made beautiful and useful things, or attempted to, they grew in moral responsibility and relationship to community and family.  Even if their attempts were unsuccessful they at least learned to respect to those others who did so. But an economy in which those who engage in honest labor are diminished by it, will not last regardless of how much money the rich siphon off and sock away. As it is, more money made by the rich means higher stock prices and higher real estate prices and higher gold prices with no increase in productivity.

Asher Edelman notes that for most Americans (80%), the recession has not as yet come to an end. Most citizens are making less money and fewer are employed. But with the rich able to simply bid up stock prices, it gives the appearance of a successful economy.

The "recovery" (aftermath) of the "great recession" involved the largest transfer of wealth from the middle class to the economic elite in American history. Never before has the middle class lost so much wealth disproportionately in so few years. During the great depression, even bankers suffered, but in this recession, the banks were bailed out immediately by the Bush administration in 2008 and made larger and stronger while thousands of homeowners were left homeless.

This illustration at left is my attempt to explain the real value of investing, and ironically, Edelman grew up to be an investor in art.

The deceptive illusion of a successful economy is what happens when you have an intellectual elite that has been groomed and cultivated to be out of touch with the working class as described by Woodrow Wilson in 1909.
"We want one class of persons to have a liberal education, and we want another class of persons, a very much larger class, of necessity, in every society, to forgo the privileges of a liberal education and fit themselves to perform specific difficult manual tasks."—Woodrow Wilson
But at least in Wilson's time the lower class was understood to have value and Wilson provided some understanding of the value of the middle class and practical learning in the following.
"You cannot develop human nature by devoting yourselves entirely to the intellectual side of it. Intellectual life is the flower of a thing much wider and richer than itself. The man whom we deem the mere man of books we reject as a counsellor, because he is separated in his thinking from the rich flow of life. It is the rich flow of life, compact of emotion, compact of all those motives which are unsusceptible of analysis, which produces the fine flower of literature and the solid products of thinking."—Woodrow Wilson
The same can be said of a man of labor. His work may be an expression of intellectual engagement and a flowering of human culture, just as might be that of the academic. The most fruitful flowering is when both sides are expressed in and through each other.

In the meantime, my second grade student Oen worked more on his boomerang, carefully carving its contour like an airplane wing. He's worked on it off and on for weeks, and finally got it so that it not only came all the way back, but he had to duck to keep from being hit in the head. Imagine how exciting that was for him. Also imagine what it would have been like for you to have the attention and admiration of all the big kids in your school! That's the kind of experience that comes from wood shop.

So what's happening to the intelligence of our nation? According to this report, American graduates are equal to other nations' high school dropouts. How could that be? We invest heavily in schooling and get such poor results! Even in computer skills, our students are falling behind. Can it be that we fail to ask our children to do real things?

You can read about the Clear Spring School in one of our local papers here: Clear Spring School offers different approach to education

Make, fix, create, and extend the opportunity that others may learn likewise.

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