Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Boston Currency for fuller and sustainable employment?

Boston has suffered lately along with the nation and the world, as we adapt to financial recession. It seems clear that financial stimulus is the next step,, but Washington, D.C. and the state of Massachusetts seem unable or unwilling to step in.

Since Boston has property tax authority, perhaps there is a way for Boston government to stimulate the local economy in a way which ensures the return to the locale of the resulting benefit. I'm thinking of a municipal currency redeemable for Boston property taxes as they come due in the future. These notes would be accepted by Boston, and perhaps other participating municipalities here, toward yearly property accessments. Boston would print them now for acceptance in the coming years.

There are a number of ways they might be used. Boston could use them to pay otherwise furloughed state employees, and to pay otherwise-out-of-work contractors to do work. These bills would be exchangable, and people could exchange them, with Boston property owners accepting them as rent payments, with the incentive that they could pay future property taxes with them.

Another way to use these bills would be to arrange that all unions, employees and contractors currently used by Boston accept part of their payments in these bills.

Either of these would accomplish two things: It would employ those Bostonians otherwise unemployed, ( it would tend to steer its economic activity eventually toward involvement of Boston tenants and property owners ). It would also, as these bills flowed through the economy, draw attention to those economic opportunities that 'close the local loop'.

For example, off Boston are many mackerel, which used to be a staple, and still are in Europe. Underutilized locally now, these plentiful fish could be caught with local labor and eaten in town. Sailing sloops called 'Boston Hookers' used to sail out of our harbor to hook these, for sale on our piers, and could again, without imported oil use , if fresh mackerel were to find their earlier favor here.

As a flavorful oil-rich fish, mackerel's flesh probably would supply vitamin D to us, a vitamin who's health impacts have been lately researched, and which could help us, especially those of us with more pigment in our skin, in these long winters, to get the nutrition we need, as the sun with which our skin might make vitamin D is dim inn winter, and on the other side of our warm winter clothes.

It would take a business-labor-government-civil alliance to establish such a municipal currency, but there's a chance it could help us who most need help now, while helping in the longer term to draw attention and business to our options for local self reliance.

Brian Cady

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Bet Your Life? Planning career and retirement in a changing climate.

Are your career and retirement climate-ready? The fortunate of us have made elaborate plans for our career and retirement, yet aren't these generally made based on outdated expectations of stability of our earth's climate? Climate change will affect stability of the economic systems, which are inevitably based on use of agricultural land and other resources within that changing climate.

Perhaps we can do better for ourselves. Perhaps there are great personal financial and risk-aversion opportunities here for those who understand climatic reality and who plan ahead.

Perhaps, in doing better for ourselves, we will also do better for others, in that, while this recent election shows that the U.S. House has just lost even more of its grasp of climatic reality, individual efforts to sensibly prepare for likely futures will help the system of as a whole prepare. Indeed, these may be the only sytematic preparations possible for us.

For retirement, integrating forecasts (used in planning) that are actually based on the best possible climate-corrected projections of investment and commodity prices and transacted volumes may influence both investment planning directly, and anticipated withdrawals for living expenses. This integration may also influence the extent of risk inherent in these projections, which may well also influence withdrawal planning (e.g. planning for wider margins of error in what you'll need).

For career planning, climate-corrected employment forecasts could yield more security, and/or higher realized income, as well as better projections of the ethical implications of various possible careers. You might not want to be a sheriff if all you'll do is evict the mortgage-frauded innocent, suffering an economic collapse not of their making. Similarly, positions that are involved with supplying ecosystem services, when such services are made climatically impossible, might well be miserable. You wouldn't want to be invested in supplying water from desertifying watersheds to customers who, through no fault of their own, can no longer pay.
Similarly, property insurance firms that have essentially bet that weather will continue as it has will lose their shirts. Seaside flood insurance providers will lose out in two ways - more weather extremes will occur while sea levels rise.

These are simple forecasts; more intricate and more accurate forecasts are possible, and are probably being done for a few far-sighted folks already.

To sum up, there may be great personal financial and moral possibilities in integrating the best current science into one's career and retirement planning.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Worksharing, One State At A Time, or How to Make Jobs

Worksharing, as done in Germany, is the practice of shortening the forty hour work week to thirty two hours for as long as the recession holds, and making up most of the difference in take-home pay by issuing under-employment insurance. This would create jobs, especially for minorities, and help ease the load on welfare, etc., while protecting our communities from the desperate attempts at survival at other's cost that the unemployed will be forced to without help during this recession.
Worksharing can be done on a state-by-state basis, legislatively, and could be paid for in Massachusetts by merely extending the sales tax to real estate sales, which is only fair anyhow.
With more people able to afford staying in their homes, home values won't fall as much, which will benefit every homeowner, and less people will be stuck in overcrowded homeless shelters.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Vetch emergence rate low

Most of the Bigflower Vetch seed has not emerged. Emergence:#sown is very low, less than 1:10.
I don't know whether this is due to seedling death, poor germination or germination delay due to seed dormancy. Maybe I'll do a little digging in the sown rows and see what I find.
If this is due to inherited dormancy, I could select for no dormancy by just saving seed from these early sprouters - If recessive, then all their offspring will be early sprouters, if dominant, then some percentage of intercrossed offspring would also be early sprouters.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Further News of Leguminous Winter Cover Crops

Here are 'Woodford' Bigflower Vetch and 'Hope' White Lupin on Oct. 3rd.
The penny is for scale.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Leguminous Winter Cover Crops Fix Nitrogen and Hold Soil

This is 'Hope' White Lupin, winter-hardy to -10F, emerging on Sept. 25th 2010 at 50 Atherton street, Jamaica Plain, MA. I expect it to survive winter, fix nitrogen, hold soil and yield seed in late spring, at this USDA zone 6-7 site.

How equal are we financially? USers imagine current US wealth distribution

Note. Pie charts depict the percentage of wealth possessed by each quintile; for instance, in the bottom one, the top wealth quintile owns 84% of the total wealth, the second highest 11%, and so on. IF you want to, you can choose which would be the best wealth distribution for USA, and which is the real USA wealth distribution, then check by going to the source paper linked below.

This graph is modified from this paper.

Friday, August 13, 2010

How are we going to compete internationally...

with 2/5ths of our hands tied behind our back? Less than 60% of us are working!

Isn't full employment economic national security? Can you imagine the effect on Social Security if there were too many jobs available? If immigration wasn't seen as a problem,, but an opportunity?

Why have the feds allow R & D deductions that replace workers with machines, then have to pay idled worker support? What's the hurry? Why not allow technological development to proceed at its own pace, without subsidy?

Perhaps new employers could be encouraged instead, by giving them credits toward future payroll taxes for each new position created that lasts through the year.

Labor is a different type of resource than oil or coal - what isn't used now isn't lying in the ground to be used later. That opportunity to get work done is just gone, and we are all suffering more without it being done.
There is plenty that needs doing, and is worth doing - for example, every dollar spent on public agricultural R & D yields more than ten dollars of increased value to society, and much of that within a bond's lifetime. The average rate of return per annum for public ag. R & D is over 50% per year:

There is an opportunity to sell bonds, fund agricultural research and development, and pay for the bond yields out of generally increased federal revenues due to the investment.

There is not an absence of work worth doing, there is only an absence of private work worth doing in this 'recession'. This is why the effort to shrink public expenditure is wrong - we need more investment in public goods, not less, to seed a financial recovery. Not taking care of bridges while the richest profit four times more than they ever did before means that structural changes in the economy due to technology have inordinately favored those already favored by fate. Taxing the rich, too, to fix bridges and develop the crops that can feed us through this climate crisis only makes sense.

Haiti is lying in ruins and 2/5ths of us are sitting around with nothing to do, not to mention that portion of the 'working' who are merely parasitical - witness the recent year's world food price peak now known to be due to the 'work' of speculators:
The world can no longer afford weapons 'investments' when there is so much green infrastructure needed, and needed now, to avoid further Russian wildfires and wheat yield depression, further flooding death and destruction in Pakistan and China. If these weapons are used, other investments will be destroyed, and more people will suffer. Even if the weapons are merely stockpiled, the effort and resources that could have gone to a productive use are wasted. Weapons are attacks on the best of capitalism. We don't have wars between US states to settle differences, and we thrive as a result, compared to the Middle East and such.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Dump Gibbs - An open letter to President Obama

Gibbs has a federal right to speak his slander of the liberal basis of Western Civilization, but it is inappropriate for him to hold the press secretary position while doing so. I will judge you by his speech while he holds the office.

This nation has often suffered for its irrational hatred of anything seen as left. We entered Vietnam after McCathy purges left our foreign service without a left eye. Mossedek of Iran was murdered by US forces, and the hated and hateful Shah imposed, when the alternative was a third way between USSR totalitarianism and USA hegemony, which threatened no one. The perfectly predictable result is the current stand-off with Iran, and hundreds of thousands of innocent's lives lost.

We can and must tolerate Mosques near ground zero, and embrace the great USA history of left leadership and values, not because it has a monopoly on truth, but because at times it offers needed perspective, and because to surrender to such intolerance is as unAmerican and totalitarian as McCarthy was.

This 'DFH' trash talk has gone too far. If you do not sack Gibbs, I will not vote for you again.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

USA needs jobs.

US economic stimulus via USA metrification, slavery reparations and restitution to Native Americans for stolen fossil fuel and mining rights could stimulate the economy to create needed jobs, prepare the USA for this century's manufacturing, as well as put a new, more solid moral foundation under the edifice of Western Culture.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Economic Stimulation by Slavery Reparations

Forty acres and a mule, plus inflation, to every African-American family who's ancestors were robbed of their life's work. This would go a long way toward restoring USA's moral legitimacy in the world, and help instruct other nations that tolerating slavery doesn't pay.
It could also do more for the current USA economy than trillions to too-big-to-fail bully banks.
When labor is not utilized fully in a nation, that effect is different from when oil is left in the ground. The oil can be pumped out another day, while a day unworked is gone forever. When less than all of a country's residents work fully, there's less stuff of value produced to split up between residents. Everyone is poorer.
When desperately poor, we are all likely to try anything to survive, even if it means taking away from others what is rightfully theirs. So in times of economic crisis, police budgets should be spared, if not increased, and, as done in Germany, the USA should shorten the work week so that everyone has a fair chance to work and earn, even amidst this recession.

Without moral leadership, the USA is left being nothing but the biggest bully on the block. Without jobs, the poor have no reason not to look after themselves at our expense. Without clear economic repercussions, slavery's found financially rewarding, and will continue to again worsen. Without borders, open to trade and investment, being open to people, nations themselves can and will be enslaved by vulture capitalists and such, as author John Perkins has described.

How to save earth from climatic crisis? 'Geritol' solution obsolete?

The 'Geritol solution' is the idea that supplementing low-iron areas of the world's oceans could allow existing oceanic cyanobacteria's iron-requiring nitrogenases to fix the nitrogen (from dissolved gaseous nitrogen) needed to fix the carbon (from dissolved atmospheric carbon dioxide) needed to reverse the climate crisis. Now that may not be needed.

Biotechnology is beginning to successfully design enzymes. A newly-designed nitrogenase which needed either no metal ion, or needed a metal cation which is more prevalent in the oceans than iron could induce enormous carbon fixation and a rebound in oceanic life, including deepwater fisheries like tuna, if that new nitrogenase was active in widespread cyanobacteria.

Such a nitrogenase, if widespread in cyanobacteria, might help to fix atmospheric carbon at rates that could restore temperature homeostasis on earth, without depriving the biosphere of sunlight energy like shading the earth with satellites or stratospheric smog would. Instead, this approach would increase the amount of sunlight energy entering the biosphere, and thus the amount of living beings and biomass on earth.

But there are risks that increased nitrogenase activity in the deep oceanic iron-poor areas could lead to such increased methane emissions, itself an greenhouse gas, that the climatic crisis would be worsened. Also, contrarily, so much carbon dioxide might be removed that the greenhouse effect might be reduced below levels earth's living being need to survive. It is probable that spreading a non-iron nitrogenase wold be an irreversible step. Therefore careful research is needed.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Career advising and life planning amidst a climate crisis

Does your career or retirement plan include a livable planet? As we and our children prepare for life's challenges, we use assumptions about how the earth will be. Are those assumptions integrating modern climate science? The warming world will differ vastly from the world of our past, in terms of sea level, agriculture, rainfall patterns, fuel and food prices and industrial activity.

How will this affect you and those close to you? How can you integrate your plans with a habitable planet's needs? We need to know if our career and retirement planning integrates modern climate science in its understanding of how the world will be.

One comprehensive and affordable web tool for career planning, SIGI3 was originally created by the Educational Testing Service, a controversial organization. (For more on the controversy, see:

The planning horizon for career and retirement planning exceeds most Western business planning by at least a factor of four. Contrast five year business planning with twenty to forty year career and retirement planning. Those of us making these plans could make ones that would be better for ourselves and for the world with integration of sane climate science in the forecast. Is this done? Do you think the question's important? I hope you'll feel welcome to comment, below: