Tag Archives: economics
[ from a. addair who is listening to Levon Walker (New York City Spanks Levon Walker) ]
I gave up store-bought toothpaste but failed in making a cavity-fighting homemade version and now I have cavities. Stupid hipster. This would be funny if I had spare teeth. Or dental insurance.
A few weeks ago, I decided to inquire within a charitable dental clinic for the uninsured. I approached the front desk and found that the anxiety in my body had collected in my throat, and that my only choices we’re to remain silent or sob.
Walking home, sniffling into my tissue, I realized that the anxiety stemmed from an uncertainty about my validity as an artist.
I didn’t feel good about asking for financial help because I believed that what I really should do was go get a job that would pay me enough to visit with a dentist on my own dime.
This implies that the work I am doing now is not worthwhile. I was equating financial provision with hard work and worth (thank you Benjamin effing Franklin), which actually I don’t believe.
With some counsel and thought I am working to shed this myth of our culture. My work and objective is to create good art; this requires sacrifice (and at least for today, the help of a dental clinic and Colgate) but it is my responsibility to order my life so.
Tags: acrylic, american ethics, benjamin franklin, boots, capitalism, cavities, colgate, dentist, economics, hard work, health care, hipster, insurance, Levon Walker, little girl, money, mustard green, new york city spanks levon walker, p, painting, provision, skin, starving artist, validation
[ from a. addair who is listening to The Flaming Lips (At War With The Mystics) ]
Wondering how I would spend my time differently if I didn’t need to get paid for the things that I do. It is pretty likely that I’ll never actually need to/get to answer this question. But still, it gets to the heart of some real confusion for me.
I keep thinking of Thoreau when he wrote, “A man had better starve at once than lose his innocence in the process of getting bread.”
I’m struggling with the way art (and the artist who lives from his art) functions justly in our culture and economic system.
I don’t want to be a part of the hype. I don’t want it to be all about me. I don’t want to be a propagate consumerism.
I’m not certain that how I’m currently operating (even keeping this blog) is good and pure, but I feel stuck.
Tags: advertising, america, art, at war with the mystics, auction, bread, capitalism, confusion, consumerism, corruption, culture, economics, Hipsters, hype, income, innocence, justice, money, predatory, purity, storytelling, the flaming lips, the mason jar, thoreau, trends, Work
A post from a friend.
that night, we set out to liberate a billboard. to throw a rock at the corporate giant.
ultimately, we were david and this was goliath.
two worlds, fighting to exist on the same physical plane.
their world is built on models designed for profit, inspired by greed, and justified by the claim that everyone deserves the luxury of apathy, as if it were an afforded right, not an earned curse.
their world is massive and self perpetuating.
their world swallows whole worlds of thought, whole worlds of authenticity, and leaves nothing but waste and homogenized culture in its wake.
their world is a world built on cold mathematics. an inhumane numbers game.
our world is built from the heart.
i looked over the pictures jonathan had taken that night, and some part of me felt petty. i could’ve done so much more in that hour. but i must move one foot a time. tonight, the billboard. tomorrow, the country.
that night, i slept more at peace than i will tonight, because i had lived more at peace in that moment. nothing is more peaceful than the fight for empathy. than the fight for meaning.
i slept well that night because their world had one less billboard to promote itself. because their world was a little bit smaller….and perhaps, that meant our world was a little bit bigger.
“You don’t look into the eyes of a carrot seed in quite the same way as a panda bear’s, but its important” Carey Fowler.
I listened to a TED talk (ted.com) and learned that we’re losing agriculture biodiversity at an alarming rate. This is happening largely because of economic forces; only top-selling breeds get propagated. Fowler explains that this extinction of lesser-known breeds is unfavorable because as conditions change, the breeds we use now may not be able to sustain us. If we don’t preserve breeds now, we won’t have options later; and the results will be life-threatening.
I began to think of each human life as a rare breed; so rare, in fact, that only one exists. If you’re lucky, the world will only have you for 80-120 years before you are extinct; your particulars will only happen once.
It occurred to me that a huge downside to our economic system is that many talents, projects, and ideas go extinct, merely because they aren’t economically profitable. If an idea or project cannot make money, or at least provide the means for survival, it won’t flourish to its potential; at best, it will be confined to the meager fruition of a hobby. It is incredibly frustrating and sad to think that our human potential or output is so greatly hindered by what the market believes to be valuable. Lord knows the market gets it wrong sometimes (think Lawn Darts and The Hanson Brothers).
Not only is personal satisfaction at stake, but the world is missing out.
As individuals, we can take steps toward deflating the hustle so that our values can take priority over the perpetual (and often superficial) exchange of goods and services. But without a shift in cultural, political, and economic infrastructure, individuals pursuing simplification must compromise to maintain involvement within their communities. In our culture, providing for basic needs generally requires 40 hours per week. Some are fortunate enough to align their passions with paychecks, but even they are limited by market forces (painters paint what sells, writers write fashionably, and so on).
And this is the part where I think hunter-gatherers have it right. Hunter-gatherer societies typically spend 2-3 hours per day working for their subsistence. That leaves plenty of time for the pursuit of non-profitable projects; in our culture that could translate as charity, problem solving, care-taking, or beautification.
I’m not calling for a complete turn toward a strictly nomadic lifestyle, but I am saying we could use about 500 giant steps in that direction. We humans should have the option to dramatically simplify without being forced to isolate ourselves from the benefits of community.
The framework of our society should allow for and even encourage simplification for the overall health of the planet and it’s inhabitants. Reworking our infrastructure toward sustainability would provide individuals with more choice in the way their human potential is spent. Generally, an improved infrastructure would promote the localized exchange of resources while allowing for self-sustaining practices. A few of the most simple changes might be to make bee-keeping and backyard chickens legal in city limits, making urban centers walkable with heavy restrictions placed on the use of automobiles, and regulating mega-corporations to allow for viable local service and retail options. Local infrastructures would vary, reflecting the native needs and resources of the particular place.
Sustainable infrastructure has many benefits and protecting humanity and its diverse output is just one. With viable options toward simplification people could be intimately connected to the generation of their basic needs with time left to explore their potential, regardless of market demand.
And if that doesn’t convince you, do it for the pandas.