Bucket of Sand

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ltlredwagon's picture
ltlredwagon
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Bucket of Sand

     You have a bucket of sand.  The bucket holds the sand in place.   Hundreds of millions of grains and not a single one moving.  Oh, you might jostle a few, or more than a few, as you carry the bucket, or unwittingly bang it against a wall, but for the most part the integrity of the whole remains.

     One day the sand starts moving.  You see a small vortex forming, like in an hourglass.  Then another appears.  Then another.  Each one a new movement of sand, each one affecting the others and being affected by them.

     Obviously, you begin to study these vortices and the movement of the grains.  After all, one does not expect to see such movement in a bucket of sand.  It is troubling.  Moreover, it appears that you may be losing sand.  With so many grains, the movements become extremely complex.   The study is enormously difficult.  You persevere in this all-consuming task and eventually begin to note patterns in the vortices and the granular movement, cataloging them in a large tome.  You gain a certain skill at predicting movement or where a new vortex might appear.   You take steps to control the movement but your victories are limited and fleeting.   It is not until the bucket is empty that you find the three holes in the bottom.

      One need only glance at this website and forum to know how complex is the dire economic state in which we find ourselves.  Those posting have offered many analyses of this vortex or that one, this movement or that one.   Please don’t conclude that I am anything but appreciative and respectful of those doing the research and analysis, much of it brilliant and quite helpful to a person such as myself with little understanding of economics.  But I do not believe we will achieve the change, the stability, the calm we all desire without identifying the specific holes in the bucket and what must be done to repair them.   If you regularly view this website you are one in a million with the ability to confront this storm of confusion and seek a solution, if only for yourself.  But all the brilliant research and analysis in the world will not focus a citizenry or a Congress to good effect if we cannot tell them in plain English where the holes are and why those holes are the problem.   P.S.:  To those who read my last post, be assured I'll soon be changing my handle to "brokenrecord".

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Ken C
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Re: Bucket of Sand

The hole in our economic bucket is the FED. It has been siphoning off the "sand" since it started in 1913 and now we are seeing the bucket almost empty.

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JAG
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Re: Bucket of Sand

Little Red Wagon (brokenrecord),

I think you underestimate the capacity of the general population to comprehend this situation. The "people" don't lack intelligence, they lack motivation and time. Unfortunately, pain and suffering are necessary to remedy this lack of motivation. 

Dr. M is excellent at using "everyday" language to explain complex theories and concepts, so this website is the "people's" best opportunity to achieve the understanding that they seek, when they decide to seek it.

I don't think that this is the answer you were looking for, but its the best I could offer.

Jeff

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ltlredwagon
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Re: Bucket of Sand

kenc, JAG, thanks for responding.

JAG, your answer is what I want to hear because its your answer.   If my post has given anyone the idea that I think the majority of the populace is unable to comprehend the current situation, then I messed up.  I know that’s not true

You say, “unfortunately, pain and suffering are necessary to remedy this lack of motivation.”  I can’t accept that.  In some parts of the world the penalty for lack of motivation for moving to higher ground following an earthquake is death by tsunami.  “Joe”  the Samoan doesn’t move to higher ground after the earthquake because his “motivation” is just to survive – he’s hungry, creditors are after him, his home’s falling down, family is upset, whatever.   You ask him if he knows about tsunamis.  He says yes, that’s when the waves come and flood everything.   He’s got it.  But he needs to work, and besides, there are no evacuation notices on the news.  Is he insufficiently motivated to run for higher ground?  Yes!  But, to put it absurdly, I can’t allow death to be his motivation.

But the economic situation we’re discussing is worse.  The Samoan at least was given a clear objective:  1.  Move to Higher Ground.   What are the clear objectives for an American citizen?  Not Chapter 20 Crash Course stuff (which is great), but what are the clear objectives for the nation?   “kenc” above and DrKrbyLuv who posts frequently, and others have stated one objective, whether one agrees or not, quite clearly:  End the Fed.

In my earlier “Wildfire” thread you wrote:  “We need a new systemic vision to work towards and we need it now.”  That’s all I’m saying.  To be effective we must isolate and state what is VITAL.  Look at all the topics in the forum.   An encyclopedia of philosophy, speculation, helpful tips and important information. But surely there are only a handful of truly vital objectives – the “holes in the bucket”  that must be repaired. 

That’s my frustration JAG.  I feel like an earthquake just hit my island, my nation, and someone has arrived with the Ken Burns 12 hour special on Tsunamis.   I do want to learn all I can about tsunamis, but please first give me the “systemic vision” as you say:  “America, we need to rally around the following 5 vital objectives: 1.  2.  3.  4.  5.  These next few pages will give you the basic idea of why these are the vital objectives.   You can then study all these additional materials which go into as much detail as you want to prove that these are the vital objectives.”  Oh, yes, there will be disagreement on the vital objectives, or which are the most vital, etc., but the point is to focus and try to identify what is truly vital.

Such statements of vital objectives are done all the time.   In CPR class you learn “ABC” – Air, Breathing, Circulation.   I don’t know lungs from lox, but I learned in a few hours that if I don’t do “ABC” the guy is going to die.

What are the top 5 things this nation MUST do, whether it takes 5 years or 50, to emerge from the mess we are now in and restore sanity?   Anyone? 

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JAG
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Re: Bucket of Sand
ltlredwagon wrote:

What are the top 5 things this nation MUST do, whether it takes 5 years or 50, to emerge from the mess we are now in and restore sanity?   

LRW,

What a fantastic question. Or is it a koan?

I have sat here in front of this stupid computer for 2 hours trying to come up with 5 things this nation MUST do to get out of this mess and I'll be damned if I can do it.  Simple analysis invalidates every one of my proposed solutions. The futility of this thought exercise is quite enlightening to me personally.

Which brings me back to my original reply to this question, as bleak as this sounds, pain and suffering is what is needed here. Pain is more than just a mental or physical sensation, its information. It seems apparent that our nation will do anything it can to avoid the suffering that is part of our nature. But the truth is that we need this suffering to illuminate the path forward. 

Thus there is only one thing that MUST be done: Let it Be.

"Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing" -Helen Keller

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thatchmo
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Re: Bucket of Sand

Thank you, JAG,  for the Let it Be.  Been a while since I've heard it.  Think I'll share it with my audience tomorrow....Aloha, Steve.

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Re: Bucket of Sand - Steps to Stop the Leaks

I'll give this a stab-

First we'll agree - everyone knows there is a bucket of sand, though not everyone knows of the holes.

  • The first thing to do - let everyone know the bucket HAS HOLES. Advertise it by talking about it, write about it and pass the info on. "Our bucket has holes" needs to be accepted as an important issue to everyone.
  • The next thing - define the holes (where are they, how much sand is leaving each hole, how did the holes get there so we can prevent holes from appearing in the future). Determine holes that should be there and ways to replenish the sand as needed.
  • Taking action - identify in detail the options to stop the sand from leaving the bucket by plugging the major holes first, then the next and on. Define who will stop what holes, when and how. --->Advertise the information as to what the holes are, how they help/deter society and the solutions by talking about it, write about it and pass the info on. Mass education program will be needed on every level.
  • Provide the support needed to complete the hole repairs. Lawyers, guns and money approach is the last resort. Education of masses of people comes first.
  • Make future generations aware there are people who want to put holes in the bucket because they want all the sand for themselves and set up the method by which future generations guard against these people.

Live in Peace - EGP Set up a system that continually repair the system in the future.

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Re: Bucket of Sand
JAG wrote:
ltlredwagon wrote:

What are the top 5 things this nation MUST do, whether it takes 5 years or 50, to emerge from the mess we are now in and restore sanity?   

 

Which brings me back to my original reply to this question, as bleak as this sounds, pain and suffering is what is needed here. Pain is more than just a mental or physical sensation, its information. It seems apparent that our nation will do anything it can to avoid the suffering that is part of our nature. But the truth is that we need this suffering to illuminate the path forward. 

Thus there is only one thing that MUST be done: Let it Be.

"Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing" -Helen Keller

 

Nice thoughts Cap'n.  We are so caught up in safety, security, comfort, etc, that we pursue an even more dangerous course. My belief is that life is very dangerous, and always deadly,  we should never forget that.  Safety is an illusion.

 

 

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ltlredwagon
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Re: Bucket of Sand

JAG, I just love you.   You gotta big heart.  Here is a koan for you:  When should one let it be?

(“Answer”  at end of post).

My life, by Paleolithic standards, is dead boring.  But I have some adventure in running a small school.  Billy didn’t eat breakfast.   Sally’s parents are splitting up.   Joe’s mom lost her job.  Susan’s mom has been in bed for months with a weird disease and guess what, her dad, the healthy one, just died of a heart attack.  A few of these kids have lives more in turmoil than I will ever know.  At times there is absolutely no way they should be able to learn anything, but they come to school and they sit down and they open their books.  And through suppressed tears they come up to me and say, “I don’t get this problem”.  

In my “previous life” I worked for a human rights group investigating the use of mental patients in South Africa as slave labor.  Very hard and dangerous to get information.  Drugged, tortured and enslaved human beings.  They can’t let it be.  

Yes, “security is a superstition”, “safety is an illusion”.  I couldn’t agree more.   If you live in the real world you know that.  (Not the the excitement-with-no-effort world of TV, movies, People Magazine, video games, internet-as-a-playground, etc., the virtual reality world which is doing its best to suck all effort and all real adventure out of life.)

However, if you’ll allow a reference to Buddhism, adopting “let it be” as an overall philosophy is like selecting out “All human life is suffering” from the Four Noble Truths and then just forgetting about the Eightfold Noble Path.

I’m going to see if I can’t answer my own question.  That’s the only responsible thing for me to do at this point.  Might take me quite a bit longer than some others, but I think I can do it. I’ll study what the brilliant CM and others have already written and see if I can’t derive some vital objectives.

“Answer”:  When it is.  

JAG, it ain't yet.   At least I sure as hell hope not.  Nothing noble about me, that’s for sure, but I’ll see if I can do something to prevent “it” from getting progessively worse.  

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ltlredwagon
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Re: Bucket of Sand

EndGamePlayer, that's better than a stab.  That's a good starting point, a good orientation, for me at least.

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JAG
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Re: Bucket of Sand
ltlredwagon wrote:

However, if you’ll allow a reference to Buddhism, adopting “let it be” as an overall philosophy is like selecting out “All human life is suffering” from the Four Noble Truths and then just forgetting about the Eightfold Noble Path.

LRW, the feeling is mutual and I have learned a great deal from this little conversation of ours.

However, it is my contention that "Letting it Be" is recognition of this noble truth, not a dismissal of it. Life is suffering. If you don't recognize and learn from suffering, you don't recognize and learn from life. As you pointed out with the children, suffering is ultimately a condition of perception, self-perception that is. So we might conclude, if we dare, that the ultimate purpose of suffering is to give us a new perspective on the mechanism of human perception itself. Without this new "suffering-induced" perspective, we are motivated to continue to act in much the same way a cancer cell acts within an organism. 

On a different note, I realized this morning why I couldn't answer your question. Because long ago I conceded myself to the idea that I couldn't change the larger world around me. And while this may or may not be accurate, it does help me to focus on the things that I can change, which is my own personal world. My only hope to changing this country, is to do my best to ensure the survival of myself and of those in my immediate community. To me, this means a lifestyle that is more integrated with nature. I hope that one day, if I succeed in this, that my experience will serve as an example for the changes that are needed on a national level.

I'm sorry I wasn't much help on this topic and I look forward to your answer.

All the best....Jeff

(edit: I didn't use boldface in my post, but I don't seem to be able to remove it)

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As it is with water, so it is with sand . . . (Humor)

[quote=JAG]

I have sat here in front of this stupid computer for 2 hours trying to come up with 5 things this nation MUST do to get out of this mess and I'll be damned if I can do it.  Simple analysis invalidates every one of my proposed solutions. The futility of this thought exercise is quite enlightening to me personally.

[/quote]

Hmmm . . . .Speaking of holey buckets, it sounds like we're suffering from Harry's circular conundrum:

. . . . . . Guess we may as well stay asleep . . . . . .

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Farmer Brown
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Re: Bucket of Sand

LittleRedWagon:

I see five holes, and what we must do about them is as follows:

Exponentially growing deficit: 

We must slash federal, state and municipal budgets by 50-80%, plain and simple.  States and municipalities are already working on this since they cannot print money.  It's really DC that must be tamed.  We didn't have the following departments for over 100 years and we did just fine.  Now we cannot afford them anyway:  Dept. Energy, Dept. Education, Dept. Agriculture, Dept. Health & Human Services, HUD.  The vast majority of non-discretionary spending is in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.  Social Security must become needs-applied, the age raised, and the pay-outs decreased.  I know it's unfair, but we have no alternative.  Medicare and Medicaid must be phased out and the 50 states allowed to carry on 50 different experiments on how replace them.

Unsound currency:  Exterminate the Fed and go back on a gold standard.  Have Treasury confiscate whatever gold the Fed may hold.  Have NO central bank.  Raise FRB reserve ratios to 25%.

Anti-business policies:  Lift offshore-drilling bans, eliminate all corporate, capital gains, and death taxes, eliminate regulations that make it too expensive for refineries, nuclear power plants, and other energy infrastructure to be built.  Eliminate the income tax and replace it with a sales tax on everything except food.

Unsustainable foreign interventions:  Withdraw from 90% of our 150 military bases around the world.  Get out of Korea and Iraq.  Keep looking for OBL but forget about civilizing Afghanistan.  Declare Saudi Arabia a terrorist State sponsor and stop buying their oil until they stop funding madrassas all over Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Immigration:  We need the immigrants that work and contribute, but not the few that simply consume precious resources.  Implement a way for working immigrants to enter the country, but impose draconian penalties on employers who hire illegal workers.  Make English the official language.  Require reciting the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, by heart and in English, for citizenship, and make dual citizenship illegal.

My 2 pesos.

 

 

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ltlredwagon
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Re: Bucket of Sand

Farmer,

Thank-you.  That’s a wonderful analysis.   Correct me if I'm wrong, but I read six “holes”/solutions there:

1.  Slash budgets – federal, state, municipal.

2.  Establish a sound currency (including end the Fed).

3.  Eliminate the income tax and replace it with a sales tax.

4.  Eliminate anti-business policies.

5.  End the vast majority of foreign military interventions and close bases.

6.  Accomodate only immigrants who work, contribute and become citizens on the same basis as the rest of us.

What is the underlying principle on Number 1?   What fundamental, simple economic principle is being violated continually by all governments?   I’m no economist as I’ve said, but is it as simple as:  what a government “earns” must be related equitably to what citizens earn and it must not spend more than that? 

Is #6 a separate major “hole” or just part of #1 – another part of general out-of-control spending, entitlement programs that weaken and degrade individuals and economies (not all do, of course), etc.?

Hope someone else will comment on the objectives you have identified.

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