Politics, Economics, and Religion


Politics, Economics, and Religion

Religion has so many connections to political and economic beliefs, there needs to be a place to identify linkages, problems, goals, options, action plans and evaluation criteria.  

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What is the purpose of life?

An eternal question, what is the purpose of life?, occupied philosophers’ thoughts throughout history. Stone pictographs reveal even primitive peoples reflected on this query. Each one has the capacity to define his or her personal thinking about politics, economics and religion.

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Comment by Darin Cowan on December 31, 2011 at 11:51pm


Yes, you know me via michael richter, although I have no idea how you encountered him :)

Comment by Joan Denoo on December 31, 2011 at 4:21pm

Darin, you are right, when I first typed my ham call I typed KL7 and erased it and typed DLZ!  Those were interesting days ... I even learned Morris code, although not very well. 

I know what you mean and the cloud just does not go away.  One day, I stood in my dining room wondering if I should take my stash of pills and end it all.  I looked at the fact that I was conceived and exist, I worked hard to be a good daughter, wife, mother and community leader, and I felt lonely, helpless, hopeless, afraid, and worthless.  I thought of my family and community and felt utterly unappreciated, and I thought of death, decay, decomposition, dormancy, sleep, no heaven and no hell, only black. That night I went into my splendid back yard I designed and built with my own hands and the stars.

Seeing the stars, in this frame of mind, I thought of time and space, and why did I matter if I lived or died.  Something happened.  I can't describe it.  It was a realization that life is a wheel, being born, working, reproducing, participating in community, dying, and black.  As a wheel turns, so does life turn and I thought of spring, summer, autumn, and winter and realized I was not ready to die.  I had more questions to explore, more things to do, grandchildren and later great-grandchildren came along. The black cloud lifted and has not returned.  

This is what I know for sure, I am a passenger on the Earth that moves around the sun that moves around the Milky Way that moves through the universe with many other galaxies and I am made of the same stuff as stars, oxygen, carbon, nitrogen and a whole lot of other elements and things. I live in a universe with forces that I cannot control or influence: electromagnetism, gravity, weak nuclear and strong nuclear forces. 

So, I may have a purpose or I may not.  Does it matter? 

You are damned right it matters! I have all that I need to be fully human, eyes, ears, nose, mouth, physical and emotional feelings and I have as much right as anyone else to breathe air, drink water, eat food, pee and poop.  

So now I am a little old lady with white hair, wearing blue jeans and sturdy oxfords puttering around in my garden, cooking up a storm and reading and writing as long as I like about things that interest me.  There is no god or heaven or hell and when I die it will be because the switch that controls the electric energy that keeps my heart pumping is toggled to the off position and I exist no more.  

I am happy, content and raising some mischief and having a lot of fun.  

By the way, do I know you through Michael Richter?


Comment by Darin Cowan on December 31, 2011 at 8:49am

Your ham call was probably KL7DLZ then :)  Alaska almost always starts KL7.

Oh, I have been in the deep pits of clinical depression and have thus had considerable time to think about why I'm alive and whether or not I should even bother remaining alive, and in those times, I also felt the notion of a purpose to be unsatisfying.

People, and times change.  What may seem a purpose now may become obsolete, unwanted, unnecessary.  Imagine the horror of your life's purpose being washed away with the changing times?  The potentially fruitless search for a new purpose?

A celebration of life itself... that's a good way of putting it.

Comment by Joan Denoo on December 30, 2011 at 8:49pm

Darin, you make an excellent point; perhaps you haven't reached a time when you wondered why even be alive, just do whatever is necessary to stop pain.  Those days are gone, thankfully, and each day  is a celebration of life.  Thanks for reminding me. 

I had a ham license at one time, DLZ ... I can't remember now. That was 51 years ago at Wildwood Station, Alaska.  

Comment by Darin Cowan on December 30, 2011 at 6:36pm

For most of my adult life, I have been of the opinion that there is no "purpose" of life.  Life just is.

Seeking a "purpose" for life, I think, detracts from the experience.  A person can waste their life looking for that purpose, and will never find it, and in looking will miss out on so much.

I am happy my life has no purpose.  With no purpose, I am not a tool, but a free-willed being.  If there was a purpose, I would merely be fulfilling some ordained destiny... something I find dissatisfying.

Comment by suzanne Buzz on December 28, 2011 at 9:46pm

I want to say I love george Carlin he is funny and awesome:)

Comment by Joan Denoo on December 28, 2011 at 1:34am

Non-neoclassical economist Steve Keen converts the verbal model of neoclassical economics to a mathematical one to demonstrate Neoclassical Economic Theory is “fundamentally wrong”. 

"Keen Debunking Economics" Oxford 2011 Monbiot Seminar 



0:45:25         Explicitly Monetary Minsky Model

0:49:55         Evidence based models instead of faith base 

Just as belief in faith based religion fails, so does economic faith based economics fails.  The remedy is evidence based models of economic theory. 

Comment by Daniel on December 23, 2011 at 10:29pm

I like Stiglitz, his book Freefall was reasonably good at describing some of the the fundamental flaws behind the faulty ground that neoliberalism "lies" upon.

I notice the parties never like to talk economic theory because they both agree on neoliberalism economic policies. Both parties have kept Ben Bernanke, Alan Greenspan and their ilk around without so much as a peep. 

The latest example of this system is the Panama free trade agreement that recently passed with bi-partisan support. It really is quite obvious that the purpose of this agreement is to extend political power and add tax loopholes for companies to exploit. Even if Panama spent every dollar of generated GDP on US products this would account for less than 0.2% of the US's GDP. The US GDP is over 500 times bigger than Panama's. 

Also, some of the history of neoliberalism is quite interesting and is worth knowing. The US was uniquely primed for neoliberalism due to our economic status following WWII. The US controlled over half of all the economic power following the war thanks to the competition being bombed out, and military action was not a viable solution to attack the USSR due to the threat of nuclear warfare. So then economic warfare was declared as one of the premises of communism was that political power was useless if you couldn't afford the necessities. Otherwise, we are all aware of how the red scare went and we "won" when their economic system collapsed.

But less known is how this warfare transformed colonialism into a new form of economics established through puppet states. Using these controlled states we could drive economies into debt then use the IMF and World Bank to loan these countries money at high interest rates and/or funnel natural resources out via lucrative international corporate contracts. This strategy succeeded so well in increasing profit that companies became international and adopted the same tactics not just in small countries but the US, Europe, and Russia. China claims that they are not engaged in this hegemony but  based on their actions of leveraging technological, oil and natural resources, I don't believe them.

It also should be noted that capitalism is nice as a system because it has the advantage of not only being able to motivate people but to also tolerate large economic inequality. If you didn't succeed then it is your own fault, ignore that the number one indication on how well you do financially is how well your parents did.

Comment by Joan Denoo on December 22, 2011 at 2:27am

Daniel, the George Carlin videos are priceless, thanks. 

Comment by Joan Denoo on December 22, 2011 at 2:25am

Daniel, your are a treasure!  Great references and I shall get the documentaries from the library when I return from my daughter's home. I don't own a TV so I haven't seen the documentaries

Oh! My yes!  The Real News, Democracy Now and The Young Turks pop up every morning on my computer for my breakfast viewing and I experience them as being thorough with excellent guests.  I like the longer interview times and focus on one subject for 15 or 20 minutes.  

I am so glad you brought up about the linkage between Obama and Goldman Sachs and the many people who went from G.S. to Obama's administration and advisors.  Not only were they all neoclassical economists or under its influence, but the assumptions upon which they formed policies are fallacious: money neutrality, rational expectations, level playing field. I started making a list of people under the influence of Milton Friedman, Ayn Rand and Rahm Emanuel and I knew we were in for trouble.  When Obama continued to capitulate without a fight I had my proof that I had been hoodwinked.  

Stiglitz wrote, "THE Obama administration’s $500 billion or more proposal to deal with America’s ailing banks has been described by some in the financial markets as a win-win-win proposal. Actually, it is a win-win-lose proposal: the banks win, investors win — and taxpayers lose."

Obamas Ersatz Capitalism, April 1, 2009, The New York Times, by Joseph E. Stiglitz




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