Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Screw affordable childcare

Screw affordable childcare.

Screw affordable childcare and crap made in China that falls apart and all the other ways we are penny wise and pound foolish.

But especially affordable childcare. Childcare should not be affordable. Childcare is priceless to a society. It is the very foundation and framework on which the entire fabric of society rests. The first four years of life predict far too many social cost outcomes to be ignored.

Childcare is critical work. And we value it at Zero.

I commit to take on another human from infancy, raise them as a human resource in the slave-society where access to money is required for participation. I commit to 24-7 life-or-death responsibility for this helpless individual. If that child is mine, it's presumed the value is all mine. But it's certainly not.

Anita works in a child care facility earning $16.50 per hour, no sick time, no benefits. She has a college diploma in early childhood education and 6 months of experience. She is responsible for the social, cognitive, physical, psychological, emotional, and physiological development of 15 toddlers. And to wipe their noses and change their diapers.

This is what I call Assembly Line resource development. We are building machines for the economy. The economy is asking for expensive machines, but we keep giving them stuff that breaks. Human machines rushed through an assembly-line process of education beginning with wasting valuable development opportunities on babysitting.

The humans break under pressure, the stress in the system. We've leaned it out too far. Like a car engine, when the band tightens and there is no more slack - it breaks. The stress and economic pressure of having to find and keep a good paying full-time job for sustenance and to meet basic life goals has broken the capacity of huge swaths of people.

Adults under stress parent less patiently. Parents with fewer resources parent with less help from outside sources such as clubs, athletics, etc. Parents with no time parent with less information, more on the fly, and with less awareness of what they are teaching in their daily actions.

Children living in stress environments do not grow as well, learn as well, adapt as well or feel as well as children living in low stress environments. They grow up into unhealthy adults under stress.

It means we can't do as much with as many of them. Lots of the human machines lose their capacity to learn the information, skills, etc. that they need to thrive as adults, but more importantly to everyone else, to contribute effectively in the economy. Too many of them can't be used by the private sector and come back to society as "rejects." Unemployed.

Maybe they could have grasped calculus if we'd taught it to them slowly for six years instead of asking them to learn the basics in six months in high school (see here). Maybe they could have become strategic thinkers who solved world problems if they'd been supported, mentored, coached and helped during their formative years. But in reality, only the very bravest, best and most capable will rise above their circumstances to overcome and triumph by being better lubricated machines and critical cogs. There are not enough of them for the future.

It may be worth trying to salvage the current adults. They are probably fully capable machines that just need to be repaired - that is, healed from the stress-inflicted damage on their social, cognitive, physical, psychological, emotional and physiological development. Maybe the adults can be salvaged for private-sector use at great cost. But it's the small children where we have the most chance to impact.

Which brings us back to Anita and her college diploma, her $16.50/hour, and her her responsibility for the social, cognitive, physical, psychological, emotional, and physiological development of 15 toddlers between 8am and 4pm Monday to Friday while their parents work in the economy. Her rent is $700 a month. I wonder how her stress level is?

The work of Care should be valued. It should be trained, it should have standards tied to research, and it should be compensated as professional work. Which means it could never, never be affordable. And it shouldn't be. It should be infrastructure. To build our workforce.

Valuing the work of Care means rethinking everything about how we engage as society, what our goals are. Just the way that building road and wire and plumbing infrastructures required a public commitment, public support and public access, so does the establishment of a private-sector-ready workforce. Caring for small children is not the work of play, though it is playful work. It is critical for everything we want in our society.

Unless we only want shareholder profits this quarter.


Monday, June 17, 2013

Three Pillars

People often ask me how to fix it.

You complain about how bad it is, they say, so what's the answer?

There is no answer. Just different ways to pose and explore new questions.

But there is an answer, one pretty much everyone knows. Three pillars.

Three Pods, A ThousandSeeds
1) Enable people
2) Charge what resources are worth
3) Use taxation to shape private and public behaviour

Enable people with stability - enough to eat, safe shelter, opportunities to learn.

Charge for resources. When corporations come begging for cheap resources, bargain and negotiate so their profits are not at our expense. Price according to the usefulness of use, the cost to produce.

Establish tax rules that significantly and deliberately encourage private sector employers, private citizens and neighbourhoods to adopt community-strengthening behaviours.

The answer is: implement the three pillars. That is the job of government.

Unless you ask our government, in which case they would tell you it most certainly is not.

So, who's job is it?

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Being Me

I need my space
It's not easy being me.

It's not that hard, either, as long as I overlook that most humans can only handle me in small doses.

As long as I accept the highs and lows and I told you so's.

I think I must be hard to take in large doses.
I think I must seem confoundingly arbitrary in my whims.
I think I must grate on the nerves of the serious
while making the easy-going uneasy with my uptight pent-uped-ness.
I think I must be hard to follow, hard to swallow.

It's not easy being me
but who else would I rather be?

not a soul. 

(I am perfect.)

Eye See Me (June, 2013)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Where the **** are my robots? (or, Aim)

Okay, 2013, I've gotta ask this again: Where the **** are my robots?

We quarks had a grand master plan. We were going to build a world were we can live a combined sentient experience of pleasure. Sure, there would be work along the way, but in the end, every human experience would be heaven on earth. Literally.

What we didn't bargain for is Hell. Hell on Earth. Because it's here, too. There is meaning in having to go through hell to get to heaven.

Every human that's ever lived on this planet has worked hard to survive. And every generation of humans has contributed to the knowledge and capabilities that keep us on the path to widespread heaven. Unfortunately, the sentients in charge got their heaven, and they decided the purpose of all this human work was to keep their heaven getting more heavenly. They used power to decide they had no responsibility to the rest of the humans on the planet. They didn't actively try to make everything better for everyone. They weren't content with having only extravagantly more than the masses. They didn't try to reduce the workload, they piled it on.

If we're doomed by speed of replication, the best we can do is to try to slow down acceleration.

What is wrong with a world where humans are paid a living wage to do exactly what they care about doing, every day, while robots do the work? Why shouldn't that be a more valid goal, in fact, than speeding up the slow-drip of public resources into private hands?

Forget jobs as the means to feed and house a population. Pay people to be alive and contribute their unique gifts. Create environments for them to learn and explore what we know of the world in the context of what calls them.

How can we afford to do that? By focusing our resource use through creative resource pricing and taxation approaches that put power back in the hands of smaller entities. And by getting robots to do what they do best, and humans suck at  - boring, repetitive work.

2013, we are behind the times. We're still letting ourselves be fooled and fueled by old understanding. If we're going to believe in fairy tales, believe in mine - we can each live a happy, fulfilled life on this planet. It's possible. We just have to aim for it and build the ant hill grain by grain, generation by generation. It's aiming that represents our current challenge.

Wait, no. It's believing.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Fighting For...?

Warrior's Eye

I can't get behind fighting for beliefs. Beliefs are patterns to organize perceptions into a concept of reality that a person can live within. They can't be foisted on other people with other perceptions.

I can't get behind fighting for truth. Truth is a phantom that appears to have substance until you try to touch it, make it real - then, it dissipates, pops up somewhere else. The human brain is not a fine enough instrument to comprehend truth.

I can't get behind fighting. Fighting implies win/lose, us/them, either/or. 

If not fighting, what is this war about?

This is not a war of ideology. It is not a war of beliefs, or truth. It is a war on people. A war on the animal that is a person. It's a colonization from inside bodies, a colonization of a physical animal, with particular properties, towards particular ends. Does any ant know the secrets of The Hill? Does any ant understand she is on a planet, floating in space? Do we know we are on a galaxy, floating in eternity?

We are animals trying to live like angels. Lately, we are animals trying to live like robots. Machines. We place the needs of Life below the needs of Production. And we put the needs of Production below the needs of Profit. And we put the needs of even Profit below the needs of Power. And thus, Power runs the show.

I vote for Love to run the show. I realize her name is not even on the ballot. But this is a write-in. By popular demand. I want Love to run the show.

Can I fight for Love? That's the kicker - there is no such thing as fighting for Love. I need to love for Love. I need to create pockets and spaces for her reserves, spread her where I can, plow and seed the fields where her roots might get strangled. 

Whatever that means. 

(it doesn't feel nearly as satisfying as a good, clean fight)