Monday, September 28, 2015

Capitalism Defense

One never hears of a nation facing famine that experiences a resultant flowering of black-market co-ops.

Capitalism organically flows out of normal human desires to enjoy life to the highest degree possible, and it doesn't need the might of the government to force it into being. Unlike socialism or communism.

Capitalism is the enshrinement of "thou shalt not steal." Someone works to create or bring about something. Then they get to keep it. Thus the motivation to work is protected, and more work and creativity will typically ensue.

If a person tries to steal from another in a free market system, the law should step in to prevent theft. The law can also can be used to prevent force or tyranny from distorting the freedom that should be inherent in a free market (mafia, monopolies, etc.).

The free market is not a free-for-all. Regulations to protect basic human health and property are good. Regulations that protect one noisy or well-connected group from its competitors, however, are government-backed monopolies, and black markets can be expected to grow up wherever such regulations have been put into place.

A capitalist system can have a social safety net, but it must be minimal. The net should not be one that rewards an idle person with a more enjoyable life than a worker, or the system will eventually implode as too many opt to be more idle (i.e., "go John Galt"). A hardworking culture can keep that implosion at bay for a couple of generations (see Scandinavia and Germany).

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Math delay

Dd8 has been done with her homeschool studies early nearly every day for the past few weeks, while dd10 struggles to get through with her work before lunch and the drive to their charter school. Dd10 doesn't have that many more subjects, and I let her do her grammar exercises verbally most days. I think dd10 spends so much longer on her work because math facts just don't come as easily to her as they do to dd8; she seems to spend a lot of time sighing while sitting over her open math book.

Over lunch today I asked her if she sits over her math sometimes without doing it, and dd10 replied that she often looks off into space. I have challenged her to change that habit so that she doesn't let herself stare into space until after she has finished the problem she is currently doing. A little mental down time is fine, but taking it in the middle of a problem makes it so she essentially starts the problem all over after her stare break.

Hopefully, she can make this small behavior change so that her math lesson doesn't fill all the available time in the morning.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Ads and Joy

A friend lamented today that her one-year-old daughter finds joy in everything, while her six-year-old boy finds joy in nothing. She wondered what the world is doing that it steals happiness away from little children so quickly.

She is a very involved mother who takes her children many fun and interesting places. I suspect a main culprit in causing her son's joylessness is advertising.

The purpose of advertising is to make us aware of a product and hopefully desire to obtain that product. How do the creators of advertising manufacture in us a desire to obtain the product, though? If we, the targeted audience, are content with our lives, we are unlikely to disturb ourselves to go out and get the product. What would be the point? We're already happy! So advertisers--sometimes knowingly, sometimes not--frequently present to us messages aimed to diminish our feelings of well-being. Then we're more receptive to the idea of seeking to get our happiness and contentment back by buying their product, which they promise us will make us feel better!

If you want happy children, minimize their contact with ads. Advertisers don't love your children; they see them as market share.