Jun 022013
 

Ayn Rand and the real parasites
Have you swallowed the big fat lie?

Ayn Rand, in Atlas Shrugged, promotes the idea that, “The man at the top of the intellectual pyramid contributes the most to all those below him. … The man at the bottom who, left to himself, would starve in his hopeless ineptitude, contributes nothing to those above him, but receives the bonus of all their brains.” Really? And, are the richest businessmen the real “job creators?” No, and you’ve been told a whopper. Over and over, you’ve been told a big fat lie.

Do you remember company towns and company stores? Do you believe that the company was just creating jobs and looking out for the best interests of their employees? Do you believe that your niece, struggling to pay her bills with a part-time minimum-wage job, is too stupid to do any better? Is she so ignorant, irresponsible, and inept that she is incapable of contributing to the welfare of her family and community?

Do you believe that feudal lords or plantation owners were the praiseworthy “job creators” for the serfs and slaves of their time? Do you believe that the character of those who acquire money and power with no sufficient end has changed recently? Of course, we all have the responsibility to work hard and do our best. Some will always do better than others and they should be able to keep a healthy cut of their earnings. But, there is no excuse for perpetually enriching yourself by increasing the burden and misery of others.

As communities, and as a nation, we all have the duty to pay a fair share of taxes. Ideally, we pay according to our sufficiency. In turn, we all receive benefits from our government that are intended to enable us to prosper and protect us from exceptional loss. We expect fair laws and just courts. We expect a clean environment, fairly-priced utilities, and for good schools, roads, parks, and other public commons to be openly available. And, according to our need, we hope for the temporary support that may be required to lift ourselves out of difficult circumstances.

In America, it is a foundational belief that God loves all of his children and that all men are created equal. We believe that, as fellow citizens, we should all have access to a fair position in our society from which to climb and to earn the reward that is due for all of our hard work. In practical terms, we believe in fairness under the law. It is just wrong to buy justice, privileges, and exemptions. So why do we tolerate such unjust gain by some of those among us?

Even worse: Why do we embrace those who maneuver to drive us increasingly down? Why do we accept this mushrooming inequality and embrace the authority of tyrants? Why do we act against the best interests of ourselves and our children? Have we simply failed to recognize the big fat lies that we are now choking on?

Our danger is not from government itself. The proper function of our representative democracy is to enable and protect all citizens fairly. Our danger is from those who would take control of our government from us (the public) in order to privately enrich themselves at our expense.

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Dec 292011
 

Source: Back to Work: Why We Need Smart Government for a Strong Economy by Bill Clinton
Abstracted from pages 17-18

I believe the only way we can keep the American dream alive for all Americans and continue to be the world’s leading force for freedom and prosperity, peace and security, is to have both a strong, effective private-sector and a strong, effective government that work together to promote an economy of good jobs, rising incomes, increasing exports, and greater energy independence.

All over the world, the most successful nations, including many with lower unemployment rates, less inequality, and, in this decade, even higher college graduation rates than the United States, have both. And they work together, not always agreeing, but moving poured common goals. In other countries, conservatives and liberals also have arguments about taxes, energy policy, bank regulations, and how much government is helping an affordable, but they tend to be less ideological and more rooted in evidence and experience. They focus more on what works.

That’s the focus America

needs. It’s the only way to get back into the future business. In the modern world, leaned too few citizens have the time or opportunity to analyze the larger forces shaping our lives, and the lines between news, advocacy, and entertainment are increasingly blurred, ideological conflicts effectively waged may be good politics, and provide fodder for the nightly news, and columnist, that they won’t get us to a better future.

Our long antigovernment obsession has proved to be remarkably successful politics, but its policy failures have given us an anemic, increasingly unequal economy, with too few jobs and stagnant incomes; that is at a competitive disadvantage compared with other nations, especially in manufacturing and clean energy; and left as a potentially crippling debt burden just as the baby boomers begin to retire.

By contrast, other nations, as well as cities and states within the United States, with a commitment to building networks of cooperation involving the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, are creating economic opportunity and charging into the future with confidence.

My argument here isn’t that Democrats are always right and Republicans always wrong. It’s that by jamming all issues into the antigovernment, antitax, anti regulation straitjacket, we hog-tie ourselves and keep ourselves for making necessary changes no matter how much evidence exists to support them.

The antigovernment paradigm blinds us to possibilities that lie outside its ideological litmus tests and prevents us from creating new networks of cooperation that can restore economic growth, bring economic opportunity to more people and places, and increase our ability to lead the world to a better future.

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Dec 182009
 

Source: Amazon.com

“Ed Diener is the Joseph R. Smiley Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of Illinois. He received his doctorate at the University of Washington in 1974, and has been a faculty member at the University of Illinois for the past 34 years. Dr. Diener was the president of both the International Society of Quality of Life Studies and the Society of Personality and Social Psychology. Currently he is the president of the International Positive Psychology Association. Dr. Diener was the editor of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology and the Journal of Happiness Studies, and he is the founding editor of Perspectives on Psychological Science. Diener has over 240 publications, with about 190 being in the area of the psychology of well-being, and is listed as one of the most highly cited psychologists by the Institute of Scientific Information with over 12,000 citations to his credit. He won the Distinguished Researcher Award from the International Society of Quality of Life Studies, the first Gallup Academic Leadership Award, and the Jack Block Award for Personality Psychology. Dr. Diener also won several teaching awards, including the Oakley-Kundee Award for Undergraduate Teaching at the University of Illinois.”

Shop at Amazon for:
Happiness: Unlocking the Mysteries of Psychological Wealth
by: Ed Diener

“Happiness is a process, not a place. That’s one of the key concepts that leaps from Happiness: Unlocking The Mysteries Of Psychological Wealth by Ed Diener and Robert Biswas- Diener.” (Diana’s Blog: Quirky Words and Book)

“In their sweeping new book Diener and his son, Robert Biswas-Diener, distill the results of worldwide research into happiness and come up with an explanation, a recipe, for a sustained state of good feeling, psychological wealth, as they call it.” (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, November 2008)

Shop at Amazon for:
Assessing Well-Being: The Collected Works of Ed Diener

The collected works of Ed Diener, in 3 volumes, present the major works of the leading research scientist studying happiness and well-being. Professor Diener has studied subjective well-being, people’s life satisfaction and positive emotions, for over a quarter of a century, and has published 200 works on the topic, many more than any other scholar. He has studied hundreds of thousands of people in over 140 nations of the world, and the collected works present the major findings from those studies. Diener has made many of the major discoveries about well-being, which are outlined in the chapters.

Shop at Amazon for:
Well-Being: The Foundations of Hedonic Psychology

The book is highly recommendable for those interested in hedonic psychology especially Subjective Well-Being (a.k.a. Happiness). It covers a wide range of chapters which include definitions, measurement, clarifications/reactions, recent findings and researches. Its probable drawback is that, to a certain degree, it is somewhat very technical in approach. Not too many readers might easily grasp some contents/materials presented. Nonetheless, it is a great reference material.

Shop at Amazon for:
Worker Well-Being and Public Policy, Volume 22 (Research in Labor Economics)

In this volume, the authors explain the reasons why subjective indicators of well-being are needed. They describe how these indicators can offer useful input and provide examples of policy uses of well-being measures. The book then delves into objections to the use of subjective well-being indicators for policy purposes and discusses why these objections are not warranted. Finally, the book contains answers pertaining to the measures that are currently in use and describes the types of measures that are most likely to be valuable in the policy domain.

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Culture and Subjective Well-Being (Well Being and Quality of Life)

This book is based on the idea that we can empirically study quality of life and make cross-society comparisons of subjective well-being (SWB). A potential problem in studying SWB across societies is that of cultural relativism: if societies have different values, the members of those societies will use different criteria in evaluating the success of their society. By examining, however, such aspects of SWB as whether people believe they are living correctly, whether they enjoy their lives, and whether others important to them believe they are living well, SWB can represent the degree to which people in a society are achieving the values they hold dear. The contributors analyze SWB in relation to money, age, gender, democracy, and other factors.
Nov 262009
 

Source: Integral Institute – Scholars

Mark James Fischler, JD, contributed to Integral Law studies and is now a former New Hampshire Public Defender and Guardian Ad Litem who now teaches as a full-time faculty member of the Plymouth State University Criminal Justice Department in Plymouth, NH.

Source: Integral Life Contributors

image Mark James Fischler has been teaching undergraduate and graduate courses at Plymouth State University in Plymouth NH since 2003. His focus is ethics and criminal procedure.  Mark has written papers and given presentations on what is integral law from a theoretical and practical perspective, some of which can be found in the Journal of Integral Theory and Practice.

Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice
B.A., Political Science  University of New Hampshire; J.D., University of Maine

Before becoming a professor Mark worked as a N.H. Public Defender representing poor people accused of a crime for 3.5 years. Mark also did work as a Guardian Ad Litem for a year. In addition to his undergraduate degree in political science and his juris doctor of law he is also graduate of Gerry Spence’s Trial Lawyer’s College of Dubois Wyoming, and the National Criminal Defense College in Macon Georgia. Mark is also trained in divorce mediation. While in Law School Mark won the New England Law School Trial Advocacy Competition with his partner and was awarded the Trial Advocacy award from the University of Maine School of law.

Nov 242009
 

AuthorPatricia Aburdene is one of the world’s leading social forecasters and co-author of four Megatrends books with John Naisbitt—including the New York Times bestseller Megatrends 2000. She is a highly respected speaker and lectures around the world on global trends.

Patricia Aburdene is an author and motivational speaker. As an advocate of corporate transformation, Aburdene now inspires audiences with predictions of how values and consciousness will transform business. Her latest book, Megatrends 2010: the Rise of Conscious Capitalism, was published in 2005. She co-authored the bestsellers Megatrends 2000, Re-inventing the Corporation, and Megatrends for Women. The Megatrends books topped bestseller charts in the United States of America, Germany, and Japan. Aburdene has lectured throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, South America, Australia, and the Pacific Rim. Her clients include the Management Club of Vienna, the Professional Coach and Mentor Association, the Management Institute of New Zealand, and the Consciousness in Business conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Her career in business journalism began at Forbes magazine in 1978. As a Public Policy Fellow at Radcliffe College, Cambridge, Massachusetts, from 1993 to 1996, she explored emerging leadership models.

For more information, please visit www.patriciaaburdene.com.

Patricia Aburden Article on Wikipedia
Patricia Aburdene Books on Amazon
Patricia Aburdene Podcasts on Personal Life Media