Sunday, January 12, 2014

Economics – Chickens, Cows, and Money

People place a lot of importance on money, which is understandable. Bartering was once the major method of payment. In some areas something as simple as salt or spices were worth more than gold. The more rare an object, the more its worth in comparison to other goods and services. The more rare the tradesmen, the more their worth.

People can't provide everything they need for themselves. Let's say that a farmer needs a cow for milk. The cow cost ten chickens. Most cows are raised in a different village so the farmer has to haul the ten chickens to that village for trade. Most times he takes 11 chickens because one might die on the way.

Someone decided a long time ago that gold coins were a lot easier to carry around. One gold coin is worth 10 chickens. The farmer doesn't need a wagon to carry a single gold coin with which to buy the cow. He simply sold ten chickens to a village that was closer. Sounds pretty simple doesn't it? Well, it was until the bankers came along.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

UFO Syndrome – Ducking the Truth

 It's suggested you read the original if you haven't.

In UFO Syndrome I spoke to how government uses language to control the actions and beliefs of others. We should thank Edward Bernays, the father of modern day marketing and propaganda for the world in which we live today. Bernays used the woman’s suffrage movement to sell cigarettes to women. He helped elect presidents. Well placed marketing can affect millions of people.

Recently there was Duck Dynasty-gate where the patriarch of the family said some things against gays and blacks that made A&E place Phil Robertson on hiatus. This coincided with with the Christmas holiday Duck Dynasty marathon. Viewership for the marathon dropped 71% compared to the previous week. We will never know if it was simply because they were reruns, it was the holidays, or because of the boycott against A&E for their actions. For the purpose of this writing it doesn't matter.

We might never know how this worked out for A&E, but I saw something important when it came to the Robertson family. Many rallied around the family and began defending them as if they were their own. Those who said anything close to negative about the Robertson's was attacked. What we witnessed was the power of television, marketing, and of words.

People attach themselves to others who are total strangers – be it a sick girl in a hospital, a German family, or wealthy Louisiana business men. Everyone is looking for a victim for whom they can support and protect. This is an instinct of humankind. This protection can extended to politicians who are portrayed as victims. We saw that with Ted Cruz as he was attacked, even by his own side, for his hours long filibuster. It didn't matter that in the end he accomplished little other than he gained a dedicated following. Was this simply a political stunt? It doesn't matter for purpose of the UFO Syndrome. It matters only that it worked to improve his popularity.