Free The Memes Archive
September 2007

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1:20pm Sunday September 30, 2007 (link)

People write that statistic "70% of the economy is consumer spending" like it was shocking, even evidence of waste and decadence. But what should the percentage be? If the purpose of the economy is to provide things for people to use, then the non-consumer portion just reflects the overhead. It's the business-to-business transfers that are required to produce the final portion that is actually consumed. We don't build car parts for fun, after all. We build them to put into cars that people buy.

In that view, a decline in the non-consumer portion reflects an improvement in productivity. If the economy becomes even more efficient at producing goods, presumably the consumer portion will just rise. That sounds like a good thing to me.

You could argue that since consumer purchases are optional, a more consumer-oriented economy would be more volatile. But that assumes there's some portion of the economy that is NOT dependent on consumption. Again, if the purpose of making car parts is to build cars, then a drop in the demand for cars drops the demand for car parts, even if 30% of the economy were dedicated to making them.

I suppose in less prosperous periods, more of the economy was dedicated to necessities, and those would not be as volatile as luxuries. But choosing poverty to avoid economic ups and downs doesn't seem like much of a solution either.

10:13pm Saturday September 29, 2007 (link)

Welcome to my blog! This is actually my second attempt. The first time, I did one of those chatty, all-about-me blogs, figuring friends and family would read it, and it would be easy to write. After all, it was all about ME!! Unfortunately, none of my friends and family spend any time reading blogs. And I don't really like to talk about myself much. So it died pretty quickly.

Since then, I have been doing some more serious opinion pieces on various topics, published over at Charles Hugh Smith. Most of his posts are on financial topics however, and I haven't received many comments from his readers. You can see my posts there and some other items in the Writings section on this blog.

I have also uploaded a few of my better Photos. I have thousands of these on my machine, and boxes of prints, but I didn't really want to overwhelm my readers. I am missing a few of my favorite redwoods pictures though, so perhaps a few more will appear in the future.

I've also just finished the programming for an odd feature -- Mike's Newspaper. Since I spend hours each day reading news and blogs on the net, I figured I should try to get some content for this blog out of that time. The newspaper contains selected links from my daily reading. There's an RSS feed if you want to add that to your own blog reading.

Finally, there are my various Projects. The biggest two at this point are Turning a bus into an RV, which is self-explanatory, and The Big Stupid Project (BSP). The BSP is this impossibly large programming project I've been fooling with off and on (mostly off) for the last ten years. I'm preparing to take another whack at it, for reasons which escape me at the moment.

Please look around and feel free to send me email.

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