Entries Tagged as 'Economics'

Graph Alert: The New York Times actually comes up with a decent infographic?!

Surprisingly, yes!

Better yet, not even one that relates to Apple market share, rates of alcoholism in West Virginia, or Glenn Beck (*ahem* Pig-fucker conservative commentator).

This is one I’d love to embed (with due accreditation, of course) but sadly, NYT after all. Nevertheless, hit the link below for a decent look at the calculated average unemployment rate for a variety of demographics over the last twelve months (as of Sept). Change a few of the criteria around,  and a couple quick comparisons will reveal rather distinctly  exactly how far this country still needs to go in the areas of gender and racial equality. I suppose the one bright spot to a few of these numbers is the long term value that higher education can provide, despite its increasing cost and therefore declining availability. Moral of the story: get in school now, before you have to mortgage your first-born, your cat, and a kidney or two just for a little job security. There’s an Economy on, after all.

NYT graph of 12 month unemployment

We Now Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Broadcast: Pop!Tech ’09

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If you’re not familiar with it, Pop!Tech is a yearly conference based in our very own Camden, Maine. It’s not a ‘Con, or and Event, but rather lives at a multidisciplinary corner somewhere North of Technology and East of Culture. Topics cover everything from the impact of technology on the arts, to the development and promotion of human culture, to recent developments in online security, to ideas around education reform. But what unites them all is a focus on thinking of the larger picture that any discipline can influence, and this year’s topic is billed as reimagining America. The design is to create a true synergistic environment to discuss art, culture, technology, and ideally motivate social change. The conference, which has been running for upwards of a decade,  is on through tomorrow. It’s gotten a bit pricey over the years, but luckily it’s also being streamed live as it happens, so hit the embed below. Any fan of big ideas will get a thrill out of this one, and after the jump are a few samples from previous years. Enjoy!

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And It’s Elegance is matched only by It’s Simplicity

The newest issue of Wired turned up yesterday; and leafing over it with my coffee this morning I came across a couple phrases that I found to be truly jarring. Below is the excerpt from Wired’s Creative Director Scott Dadich (I’d link to the full article but they haven’t updated the site with the new issue yet):

Constraint offers an unparalleled opportunity for growth and innovation. Think of a young tree, a sapling. With water and sunshine, it can grow tall and strong. But include some careful pruning early in its development- removing low hanging branches – and the tree will grow taller, stronger, faster. It won’t waste precious resources on growth that doesn’t serve its ultimate purpose. The same principle applies to design. Given fewer resources, you have to make better decisions.

This gets me on a couple different levels. Given the economic climate, we’re all attempting to do this in one way or another. On another, Neko and I have had this up in discussion a lot lately. But the thing is, I’ve never looked at it from a design perspective though. Taking a more expansive view; if you treat your own life as a design of your own making, doesn’t it behoove you to make it the most efficient (and therefore the most minimal) that you’re able to? Isn’t it such that our boundaries present the greatest opportunities for growth?

**Update** The websites been refreshed, so the full article is Here

Rate Cut Announcement – Will Wall Street Survive?

The Federal Reserve is expected to announce their rate cut today.  Wall Street hangs in the balance, so to say, waiting for the ball to drop.  The market was back down this morning with the anticipation of the rate cut…we are all kind of holding our breathe wondering what is going to happen next.

I for one am thinking this rate cut won’t have a long term effect on Wall Street like most are hoping to see.  Etruscan and I were having a conversation last night about how volatile the market truly is right now.  The fact that it plummets to an almost uncanny death then a week later it rocks back to a record high!

The bank bailouts and housing crisis, we are scared to change jobs because who knows if we will even have one two weeks from now.  People are holding back on spending for the upcoming holidays because they are trying to make their rent or mortgages.  In the northern states, it’s the price of oil to heat your home that is killing people.

Maybe I’m crazy here but is it me or are we just in an uncertain time of economic foreplay with our asses just hanging out there asking for the punishments? 

Your thoughts?  Concerns?  Questions?

CNN Article Link

The Politics of Being Dead, part the second.

Well, I can’t compare with Ryan North’s Dinosaur Comics speaking to the philosophical ramifications of the living dead, so I’d best stick to what I am good at and once again look at the Zombie as political/ economic metaphor for class struggle, and the inherent devauluation of individual existence in a Capitalist social structure. I came across an extremely interesting article recently from a while back written by Tim Cavanaugh of the libertarian Reason which goes into some depth about the basic structure of the zombie film (we all know what it is, I won’t rehash it) and some of the manners in which it’s been interpreted as politcal statement, outcry against patriachial societies, investigation of cannibalism as metaphor for capitalism, parody of Catholicism, and symbol of racial oppression to name a few. From the article:

“The spectacle of an advanced society laid low by a Third World catastrophe is the zombie film’s stock in trade —the “return of the repressed” in a modern, death-denying culture.”

The more value we are taught to place on the idea of a greater good, that is, a valuation of ourselves only within the context of a larger socioeconomic framework the more we become one of the dead and possessed of only one characteristic, a desire to consume. So neccessarily then the Zombie film serves as metaphorical reminder of the ultimate outcome such a system and a polemic against the slippery slope that causes us to pursue consumption long after our own desires have been met. Cavanaugh writes:

“it gets to the heart of what makes our zombie friends such paradoxical creatures: metaphorically potent because they’re grounded in a mundane reality, spiritually provocative because they dispense completely with spirituality, symbols of class warfare that posit a classless society as the ultimate horror. The zombie embodies the greatest horror of death: the inescapable sameness of it.”

It becomes all the more ironic of course when you examine the fact the the medium itself used to present this message is one designed specifically for passive consumption, as David Foster Wallace points out in his essay titled E Unibus Pluram from A Supposedly fun thing i’ll never do again. To take a spin on G’s earlier post could it be that conscious consumption, as opposed to rote or unthinking consumption, could then be the only economic alternative?

Link to the full Reason aticle.