R.E.M. ~ Superman
Gentleman's choice .......
" The commentators excoriating today’s students for studying the wrong subjects are pursuing certainty where none exists. Like the health fanatics convinced that every case of cancer must be caused by smoking or a bad diet, they want to believe that good people, people like them, will always have good jobs and that today’s unemployed college grads are suffering because they were self-indulgent or stupid. But plenty of organic chemists can testify that the mere fact that you pursued a technical career that was practical two or three decades ago doesn’t mean you have job security today.
I was lucky to graduate from high school in the late 1970s, when the best research said that going to college was an economically losing proposition. You would be better off just getting a job out of high school — or so it appeared at the time. Such studies are always backward-looking.
I thus entered college to pursue learning for its own sake. As an English major determined not to be a lawyer, I also made sure I graduated with not one but two practical trades —neither learned in the college classroom. At the depths of the previous worst recession since the Great Depression, I had no problem getting a job as a rookie journalist and, as an emergency backup, I knew I could always fall back on my excellent typing skills. Three decades later, nobody needs typists, and journalists are almost as obsolete.
The skills that still matter are the habits of mind I honed in the classroom: how to analyze texts carefully, how to craft and evaluate arguments, and how to apply microeconomic reasoning, along with basic literacy in accounting and statistics. My biggest regret isn’t that I didn’t learn Fortran, but that I didn’t study Dante.
The most valuable skill anyone can learn in college is how to learn efficiently — how to figure out what you don’t know and build on what you do know to adapt to new situations and new problems."
~ Virginia Postrel
"Turner was an eyewitness to the great fire and when we view Turner’s magnificent painting, we ought to keep in mind what it was all about."
“[M]uch of commerce was carried on simply as credits and debits, often recorded in the form of tally sticks. A tally stick was a bit of hazel wood upon which a debt was recorded in the form of notches; the stick was then split in half. The creditor’s half was called the “stock,” which made him the stockholder, and the debtor’s half was called the stub. The stock would circulate as money, and as long as the stub remained it was impossible to change the debt.
Tally sticks circulated in England for 500 years. It is worth noting that when the Bank of England was founded, in 1694, one quarter of its capital was in the form of tally sticks. But the bankers wished to monopolize the creation of money, and immediately set out on a long campaign to get the tally sticks outlawed. And they got their wish when the Liberal party came to power in 1832. One of their first acts was to fulfill the agenda of the Bank of England. All of the tally sticks were gathered together and burned in a stove in the House of Lords. However, the fire got out of hand and burned down the Houses of Parliament.”
~ Excerpted from the essay: Friends and Strangers: A Meditation on Money by John Medaille
There are some truths so hard to face, so ugly and so at odds with how we imagine the world should be, that nobody can accept them. Here's one: It is obvious that a class system has arrived in America — a recent study of the thirty-four countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development found that only Italy and Great Britain have less social mobility. But nobody wants to admit: If your daddy was rich, you're gonna stay rich, and if your daddy was poor, you're gonna stay poor. Every instinct in the American gut, every institution, every national symbol, runs on the idea that anybody can make it; the only limits are your own limits. Which is an amazing idea, a gift to the world — just no longer true. Culturally, and in their daily lives, Americans continue to glide through a ghostly land of opportunity they can't bear to tell themselves isn't real. It's the most dangerous lie the country tells itself....(more)
~ from wood s lot