Money Saving Suggestions

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Since I lived quite a few centuries ago, I don’t have to worry about paying taxes any longer. Nevertheless, thrift being a virtue and because I have areputation for being obnoxious, here are a few suggestions.

  1. The White House should start labeling offices for cabinet members with those yellow stickies; they also could be used for organization charts.
  2. Even better, if the White House used a temporary employment agency for cabinet members, the taxpayers wouldn’t have to pay for benefits and a replacement could be found in a matter of days.

Is it coincidence that given the current world situation there’s a trend for governments to make marijuana legal–or is it a survival mechanism?

In any case, being dead for hundreds of years has its advantages, at least for me

Respect for One’s Elders

Diogenes was known for his (alleged) dedication to honesty. It might have actually been hype, but it succeeded in putting him into the history books that survived until the 21st Century.

In certain cultures there is a respect for elders–for the knowledge and wisdom that they absorbed over their lifetime. After all, experience is the most expensive, yet most effective teacher, and one cannot experience much in twenty, thirty, or perhaps even forty years-even though we all believe that, before we are twenty, we have all the answers.

I watch people. I observe how they interact with one another–as families, as tribes/communities, or as part of structured organizations. I’ve seen the same things pass by at least twice; in some cases, more than twice. So, what wisdom have I distilled?

  • Seeing the same thing over and over is less than fulfilling. Have we learned nothing?
  • Each new boss/leader/commander/premier/grand imperial poobah begins with “Cast aside the old norms! Think outside the box! We’re going to embrace a new way  to be agile, more efficient, and more effective.” Words that are meant to stir the heart.
  • The new boss/leader/commander/premier/grand imperial poobah meets with the high level mucky-mucks (or whatever term you prefer) who applaud his or her every idea. He or she believes that the mucky-mucks will infuse the people on their teams with such enthusiasm.
  • Instead, mucky-mucks pull the wagons into a circle, dig in their heels, and knowing that the new boss/leader/commander/premier/grand imperial poobah will be gone in three to five years, they nod and tell him or her how wonderful the ideas are.
  • In a few years, the next contestant–I mean the next boss/leader/commander/premier/grand imperial poobah will appear and displace the current boss/leader/blah-blah-blah/etc.

And at each juncture, our hopes are dashed and we’re surprised that nothing changes.

I shudder when I realize that I will see the same things I’ve seen before at least one more time, or possibly more before I leave this world. Do/Will we ever learn? I suspect not.

When I was young, I believed that I–and my generation–would change the world. It was the Sixties, after all, and anything was possible. Now, I’m in my sixties, and I’ve resigned myself to things being the same way they were in the days of Ptolemy, Charlemagne, Robespierre, and–well, you fill in the blanks.

As always, it’s the Golden Rule–Them With the Gold–Rule.

It would be wonderful if Gen X, Gen Y, the Millenials, Gen Z, or whoever could actually make some changes before I leave this world for the next. I have always hoped to see this world better after me than it was before; I couldn’t do it, so I hope somebody else can.

I–and my contemporaries–are ready, willing, and able to share what we’ve learned, if anyone is interested.

Anyone? Anyone? Buehler? Buehler?

The Elites

e·lite [əˈlēt, āˈlēt] NOUN; elites (plural noun)–a select group that is superior in terms of ability or qualities to the rest of a group or society.

There have always been elites and always will. In the past, if you read the Bible, the elites such as Moses, David, and the prophets were chosen by God. Through much of history, being an elite was either a birthright or the outcome of a conquest. From the time of the enlightenment until–well, who knows when it ended–elites exhibited special talents or capabilities, such as America’s Founding Fathers, inventors, etc..

Today, being either immensely rich, powerful, or famous is how one becomes an elite. Some are elites because their parents were accomplished (Look at how many actors or musicians are the offspring of parents who succeeded, as opposed to having competed against others on an even playing field). Some elite are elites merely because they are famous for being famous.

The problem is that the Elites achieve their position due to society, and they owe society something in return. Would Bill Gates or Steve Jobs, as creative or brilliant as they are have had the same success if they had been born in rural Afghanistan or Mali? Probably not.

The Robber Barons enriched themselves in the 19th century, however, in the process, they gave the rest of society telegraph and rail systems that connected both coasts and various industries, which provided jobs to regular people. It can be argued that the Elites got the better end of the bargain, however, society benefitted substantially, nevertheless.

Henry Ford, while not the inventor of the automobile, through his invention of the assembly line, changed society. The most radical thing he did–which was condemned by the rich and powerful–was to pay his employees $5.00 per week. Why? Was he beneficent? Was he charitable? No, he was a model capitalist. By paying his employees such an “extravagant” sum, his employees were now able to afford to purchase Ford automobiles.

Not a bad move.

During the twentieth century, elites forgot that they had been succesful and became rich by utilizing the benefits of society–the roads, electricity, clean water, financing systems, etc. They forgot that they owed something back and this tends to lead to disaster. There are some very persuasive arguments that their attitude led to the Great Depression.

The theory continues that people, disenchanted with the Elites in power, turned to the other end of the spectrum. They were not benefiting–in fact they were disadvantaged by the Elites, so they wanted something different–something totally different.

In Germany, their was severe economic hardship. The “different” choice for the citizenry led to the ascendance of Hitler.

Today, many Elites seem oblivious to the plight of others and feel no obligation to contribute to the good of the order. There are exceptions, of course, but for every Bill and Melinda Gates there are a hundred other Elites who lose sleep because their yacht/house/country club is not the biggest and best.

The Elites have their advantage based on what society provides; whether they appreciate it or not, their future depends upon replenishing it.