Earl Grey

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About Earl Grey

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    Duke of Earl, Erl-King in Bloom, and Grey Lord of Balance

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  1. Are there any other leftists here? 👀

    On a different note, here's something very interesting to discuss: http://evonomics.com/no-productivity-does-not-explain-income/ Excerpt: Clark was also explicit about why his theory was needed. The stability of the capitalist order was at stake! Here’s Clark again: So the neoclassical theory of income distribution was born as an ideological response to Marxism. According to Marx, capitalists extract a surplus from workers, and so workers get less than what they deserve. Clark’s marginal productivity theory aimed to show that this was not true. Both capitalists and workers, Clark claimed, got what they deserved. The message of Clark’s theory is simple: workers need to stay in their place. They already earn what they produce, so they have no right to demand more.
  2. Are there any other leftists here? 👀

    Ah, thanks for clarifying. As for photos and ecology, let me get clearance from my old employers before I post as these belong to them. And yes: Bolsonaro to me is more dangerous than Putin or Xi or Trump because of what he can do to the Amazon rain forest...Sorry to any of his supporters, but he's a populist piece of shit and a homophobe.
  3. Are there any other leftists here? 👀

    Are you even able to read and comprehend that you're making false comparisons of the capitalistic businesses such as mining firms versus development organizations being the same thing, which is what was just explained thoroughly how they are not the same thing? Anyway, this is for you and everyone to read: https://www.rappler.com/views/imho/237729-humanitarian-worker-frontlines
  4. Jesus from Siberia

    I’m more interested in Brian than Jesus.
  5. I’m happy to give one free session to answer questions if you want someone to check your form and stances after you’ve done it for a few months. I come from a Yi Quan background and will officially become an instructor next year, and I notice a lot of people have a fundamental mistake when learning from books or YouTube.
  6. Climate Change

  7. Are there any other leftists here? 👀

    Quite correct especially in that capitalist interests either reached those groups long before development indices and protections were in place or that those indices and protections were and are and continue to be not just ignored but completely disregarded. Much of the development context is arguably seen by many in the small and medium organizations as the foundation for the third way, but the challenge is that it’s the long game towards self-determination for all that is routinely undermined by the global capitalistic structure. As a result, many people either live like Sisyphus pushing his boulder up the hills and Atlas carrying the world on his shoulders, or grow old and resign themselves to what little progress they have made may end up undone by change in government like Duterte and more contracts with China for biodiesel at the expense of groups like the Badjao or Trump undoing a lot of climate change action. https://www.rappler.com/nation/114975-badjao-nameless-forgotten-faceless
  8. Are there any other leftists here? 👀

    This is nice, but it’s still not what a lot of people are thinking of when trying to provide for their families. We can talk about this as idealism and we can mention some cultural groups who are thriving as Taomeow mentioned above. But for every Miao tribe I think of other cultural minority groups like the Lumad, https://www.rappler.com/move-ph/178181-infographic-lumad-indigenous-peoples. Leave them alone? Not as simple as it sounds because the local government is systematically oppressing them under the Duterte regime, not to mention Canadian mining companies displacing them. People are deprived of access to their own way of living on one hand, and this is mutually exclusive on those who want to participate in that ugly thing we call “modernization”. Now in terms of development which in the language of this field actually no longer uses “Third World” officially but more often Global North and Global South due to the baggage behind the terminology spells out the great divide between (mostly) urban industrial economies of the Global North and their opposites. However for sake of reference within development context, it does not actually mean countries with traditional culture(s) that do not rely on the new world system for survival. To clarify with more cynicism, they are underdeveloped. When we speak of underdeveloped, we mean that not only are their education, infrastructure, healthcare, or human rights indices far below global standards as outlined by the UN, it also means that they are vulnerable to systematic exploitation in their broader attempts to catch up. And strictly speaking, we actually use the Human Development Index rather than first world or second world or third world or fourth world. I will again refer to both the macro level and micro level, the macro level being the one people commonly associate with colonialism like the Chinese BRI that has caused problems in Sri Lanka through debt diplomacy, and the micro level where people historically connected to their lands such as the Rohingya or those in the Crimea who are deprived of their land through displacement from external forces like government oppression to mining companies that also completely destroy the lives and the land of the people until they’re stripped dry like in the Philippines or Latin America. A capitalistic abomination like mining companies drain the respective resources in an area and create an economy based off of service to the mining group, deal permanent environmental damage and irreparable social damage, and the community is left without anything to do to reclaim their old life. In a development context, this is not development, this is an abuse of rights and in a country with a weak level of development in that its representation and state power should theoretically be representing minority group interests—meaning that mining contracts would never have been awarded had their been full consideration of the groups who would be potentially affected by that activity because it would cause externalities and problems for them. Where the field of development sees this hypothetical scenario is that it’s a case of capitalism over community. The indigenous cultural groups could be left to their own devices, yes, but the development context is that there needs to be guaranteed protections for them in any kind of context whether it is access to resources they have historically held or that activity must have them as key players in decision making as primary stakeholders. Instead, however, we have seen capitalist interests completely disregard development context and focus on shareholders and pretend these cultural minority groups within a state don’t exist, whether it is mining or other other natural resources. Near the area between the Philippines of Sulu and Sabah with Malaysia, one source of contention is the tens of thousands of dollars made off of natural resources there by the Malaysian government whereas the original deal made to the sultan earns roughly what is only a few thousand dollars dollars while the Malaysian government earns hundreds of thousands. He has little sovereignty in his view compared to what the state earns and even then this is not the whole picture. Long story short, we can talk about how nice some groups have survived historically without infrastructure or development and access to healthcare, but they often do not actually have adequate access to support themselves and they often try to send children to the cities so that they can send money home if that’s even attainable as they get stuck in service work and if left totally alone and disengaged they won’t even understand their rights that allow them to speak up and make their claims and interests known as stakeholders over both their community and their country as a whole. I think the key problem in our discussion now is we are confusing the difference between idealism and historical self-sufficiency rather than the economic and systematic context, so the overlapping terms such as poverty actually have different definitions rather than the idealized “living in nature and self-sufficient” romantic view. Oversimplification with that romantic view thus ignores the fact that people and their homes aren’t protected or the structures meant to protect them are ignored in favor of capitalist interests rather than development indices that respect them. Addendum: development does not mean more capitalism, capitalism actually runs contrary to development.
  9. All Hail the Algorithm

    A very interesting series of insights of our wired and weird world.
  10. Are there any other leftists here? 👀

    Yes, thank you, Luke. A little reference I like to use is this: https://blog.udemy.com/types-of-poverty/
  11. Haiku Chain

    Shoe fetishism Imelda Marcos had it while kids had no food
  12. Are there any other leftists here? 👀

    There was no doubt that the people I worked with were happy, but that doesn't rule out that people wanted access to these things--because they specifically requested cooperation. This also does not account for the fact that this access is critical to sanitation (soap), healthcare (people live far away from any hospital and when at risk for malaria or dengue among other things, this is crucial), and participation in their provincial government. And little or no incidents of reported crime is a very different thing than what I've worked on when people have sold their own children to syndicates or trafficked them for income. Happiness is a state of being and great, but when someone is hungry or someone has to walk 5km each way for water daily (if it's even available at all--see the crisis in India now), to them, it's a platitude. A Chinese-Thai woman once told me that money can't buy love and happiness, but money at times sure makes falling in love and being happy easier. I didn't agree with her because she seemed to think everything revolved around money and was a product of the capitalist society that fueled her business in Bangkok, but it illustrates the attitude of survival and scarcity, which, sadly the capitalistic system has produced far more than wealth and prosperity opportunities that it promises. Sometimes I wonder if it's worth showing pictures of the places we worked in and how they are a lot different than how Westerners define "rural", because Barstow, California is a lot different than living in the middle of Eastern Indonesia or Cambodia. The definition of "poverty" in development is better explained at this link: https://www.concernusa.org/story/top-9-causes-global-poverty/ You may believe in what is not "poor" but development work likes to focus on access to basic human amenities as described in the link above. There's also a big difference between someone who was a Wall Street-type who lost his money and goes around snorting coke in the alley versus someone in the Philippines who is being pushed down by the global power structures that encourage deceit. While I applaud the organizations you have posted that appear predominantly focused on Americans, I will note that many of the organizations listed in the sites I have posted are locally-founded, locally-managed, and local stakeholder focused--so I'm not sure how recruiting people who are of foreign nationality suddenly makes this colonialist. For example, the children's hospital in Cambodia where I worked in: is it colonialism to want specialists in fields such as oncology, when many healthcare professionals there do not have the training to identify early stages of retinoblastoma? Without requesting either volunteers or full-time staff as we have had from Australia, Canada, the US, New Zealand, and UK, we would neither have the ability to train local staff or even the 2 individuals available in the whole country who could treat this, when retinoblastoma is easily preventable in developed countries. Due to lack of ability to recognize it or lack of resources to treat it if identified early enough, it was about 75% more common in 2014. All: as I've said before, development work tends to unintentionally parallel and confirm Marxian theory, there is a big difference in that much of the development work done is not core and periphery or trickle-down economics. Social enterprise in particular by nature is often small and occasionally medium size because once it gets too large, the focus on the community is harder since the mission trying to expand treads a fine line between capitalist growth for wealth rather than trying to work within the existing paradigm in order to ensure the people who are left out get the things that they want. Here's an example from Sri Lanka of a social enterprise project: when the Civil War destroyed many people's homes and businesses, many of the victims were women who lost their husbands and sons, their limbs and became the sole providers. What was opened was a resource center with several members who received formal training in the capital for counseling and trauma, returned with some local citizens in both professional and volunteer capacities to help manage and monitor and evaluate the project. In addition to providing grief counseling and helping form women's support groups, they were offered training in things from weaving to coconut refinery and small agriculture. I have so far not seen anyone with formal training in international development work (aside from Drew whose research at a macro level is actually quite good) and for a forum that focuses on Taoist principles and nature, it is easy to see that there is an idealized kind of view of nature and rural living. I myself enjoy rural living and simplicity. However, for the globally marginalized, it's a totally different thing when you have to raise multiple children and provide for your family with limited resources that states are theoretically supposed to guarantee their constituents as outlined by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Let us return to Thailand to the north with the Isarn/Esarn minority, otherwise known as ethnic Lao in regards to development: they do not speak or identify as Thai, the government even before the military junta often gave less funding for education, electricity, textbooks, and healthcare, and educational professionals often asked for bribes on top of tuition fees. People from Isarn are disengaged from the country, systematically neglected, and the dropout rate and community health remains poor. The result is alarming as people turn to drugs, crime, prostitution, and can even end up trafficked--not too dissimilar from inner city living in North America. Add a few lazy westerners seeking what they believe is easy money teaching English there, and then you find things get worse as the quality of education is equal to the level of training, which many of these teachers have no more than a month or two of online TESOL or TEFL training. NGOs come in where the government fails and seeks to alleviate these issues while holding the government accountable. Granted, there are many dubious NGOs who have been outed as scammers, but to say the concept itself is bad is akin to saying that a doctor is bad because the medication you were given gave you diarrhea so all doctors and hospitals are bad when really it's that one individual. Let me discuss again the town of Siem Reap where I worked and the begging syndicate. Many of the beggars you see during the morning in Angkor Wat or around Pub Street are actually children who are pulled out of school to beg, children who have been given extra care and training from multiple organizations to oversee critical early childhood development. That money does not even go to their families, it goes to the syndicates that recruit them and give them a small cut since they believe they can earn more begging from tourists, and in the long run for development, you will have a large swathe of society that resorts to begging rather than people who have education, professional skills, and life skills that help them make choices that are healthier and safer rather than focusing on money and gratification. The milk scam is a common example: some child will go to an Australian tourist and ask not for money, but for milk for them and the baby they are carrying, and lead them to a store to buy milk. Later on, the child will return the milk and get a cut of the money with the vendor there as they divide it amongst themselves and return it to their pimp. I will add that the baby they are carrying is not even their own, but another "rented" child for sympathy. NGOs and social enterprises along with other groups come in to educate people about this and get them away from this desperate measure for easy income so that they can decide their own fates without resorting to dishonest and deceitful means that in the long run will create a generation of people who know nothing but begging and petty crime, and institutionalize it through syndicates. Social enterprises come in when locals and even a few partners from the outside come in with ideas, resources, and labor to create opportunities that were otherwise denied access to them before. For this next example, I will use an American domestic social enterprise to illustrate how society failed this marginalized group and how some enterprising individuals gave hope to these people who have fallen between the cracks: Crossroads Cafe, a San Francisco-based social enterprise, not only hires former convicts, but gives them life skills in their training, counseling, and support for further reintegration into society. How many times is someone just put on a bus in the middle of the night with no formal exit training after being freed from incarceration? This same thing happens to people who come out of the military. How hard is it for someone to get a job with a criminal record in America? Next to impossible some may feel. It then reinforces the cycle that pushes them to desperate measures and back into prison. Desperation and poverty, lack of community or sense of self, a home and a means to support themselves, this is not helpful to anyone, especially the society that shits on these former convicts. Long story short: the capitalist power structure shits on people. There are efforts from NGOs locally and internationally trying to help come in, and there are efforts from social entrepreneurs evolving society bottom-up. It is not perfect by any means, but we're doing our goddamned best to serve the marginalized and the forgotten through the concept of social enterprise and development without having to argue about platitudes that most people have little time to laugh about with rewilding or being happy free of clean water and electricity and adequate representation and governance, especially when they struggle to feed their families and give them opportunities to escape the poverty cycle.
  13. Are there any other leftists here? 👀

    Their desire. I'm talking about people in Eastern Indonesia and Northern Sri Lanka for example, people who we once marveled at how they could live well, and they said they wanted modern plumbing, electricity, roads that lead them to a hospital with medicine that is available when needed, and Internet. My experience with rural in the Global South is that they didn't have clean water or had to take 2 buses and a boat for 14 hours just to get to a provincial hospital, which is a problem when diseases run rampant and many people tough it out just to avoid the long trip to town. But what do I knoweth, fer Faulke's sick...
  14. Are there any other leftists here? 👀

    Anarchist, not socialist. I advocate for people to find what it is they can offer (go see what Burning Man was like before Silicon Valley Bros took over), but if they're just sitting on the corner shooting up, then what? "If people acted the way that they should then there wouldn't be any need for government" but we are too damned optimistic about human nature. Rewilding is a wonderful idea, but in practice, tell that to people in the rural areas that their desire to have a "modernized" place is a bad idea. Am I saying that I wouldn't like people to go back to nature? No, what I'm saying is that convincing people what is good for the planet when it conflicts with human desires and preferences is damned challenging. Check these out: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/slum-tourism-brazil-india-south-africa_n_3237489 and https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/shanty-town/index.html
  15. Haiku Chain

    Tickle him silly with names, schools, and gold: they mean nothing to a sage!