Alaric's Economic Recovery Plan

This paper is about economic policy, but economics relates to social context as it is clearly evident that economics affects the way people interact, so social networks will be brought in focus. Among other things I will propose economic stimulus through development of cottage industry as well as cutting costs for necessary community services. These ideas about economics carry with them benefits to social context, and the potential for diverse improvements in the quality of life for a community. The way people communicate and interact to solve problems is a significant issue.

It often has inefficient consequences to expect other people to solve our problems for us. Even still, we continue to look to authorities to take care of us. Whether it is to address crime, education, economics, or mental-health, a community could dramatically benefit from effective social interactions-- Much more than a third party removed from the situation could ever dream of. Yet, we don't even talk to our neighbors. We might call police to take a report after a crime has occurred, or ask them to rush to the scene to get in the middle of a lover's quarrel. We call for help, and someone equipped to deal with terrorists shows up. Somehow the formula that we have engaged to manage our communities seems to have taken a departure from reality. We need more police in order to stop crime. Are we talking about when someone doesn't wear their seat belt, or has an unlicensed dog? We want safety, but in order to achieve that would we give up our liberty to the degree that would be placed in a padded cell under strict supervision? We seem to want to believe in a simple hero that will save the day, and we may look up at the police in this way, but it is impossible for them to accomplish our vaguely imagined expectations. Now think about it: Suppose you want to change somebody's behavior, so if you beat them with a stick perhaps that will accomplish something. They will change their behavior because they don't want to get beat with a stick again--you may think. We may like to believe in simple solutions, but what does this really do? They might become sneakier, fight back, learn violence, condone violence, suffer serious injury, and most disturbingly pass on the belief that punitive measures are an avenue to cooperation. Oh yeah? If you went to a shopping mall and the salesman was vicious and unreasonable you probably wouldn't buy, yet we expect people to comply with the law based upon force. People don't obey the law because there's enforcement as much as they obey the law because of what their mother thinks, or what behavior other people within their social network might admire. Vindictiveness, rudeness, and punishment might impress us, but often fail to persuade people outside of our network that we’d hope to change.

We should not ignore the importance and power of social networks. In addressing crime, the removal from society and personal social network is considered punishment. Incarceration is representative of ostracism, but does not have the same effect because many serious offenders will find the same social networks in jail that they have on the streets, and instead of the effect of ostracism, incarceration actually reinforces and solidifies criminal social networks. It is well known that over 80% of convicts who go to prison will re-offend after they are released, yet we still asked for more of the same thing that doesn't work. Just like a criminal fails to escape his ties to an errant lifestyle, we also may bind ourselves according to our own network identities, and this may blind us from viewing the larger picture, or recognizing all available options.

Cutting costs should be the first consideration in an economic plan. Public safety is just one example of how lots of money is wasted on grossly inefficient methods based upon popular delusions. This is not to say we should put a stop to all the wickedness and lies we've come to accept, because we have accepted them, and change is a problematic undertaking. There is improbability and potential harm in attempting immediate change, but it can be beneficial, even on a small scale, to balance errant engagements with reason. The prison system is bankrupting the state. In regard to this, as well as police services, which have been become increasingly costly, the claim should be explored that 3 social workers, who might get paid almost half as much as police officers, could actually displaced 5 police officers over time through facilitating effective interaction within the community.

As has been suggested, avenues of social interaction can be developed to address problems in society including economics problems. Take this hypotheses for example: Given that there is an inherent value and people, and some real value in what people can produce, a persons worth could be determined by what they do rather than what they possess. Unfortunately, people's worth is determined by their possessions, and it may be difficult for us to see it the other way. The lust of consumerism fuels greed and crime. For the sake of profit, rude, violence, and obscene behavior may be presented in order to get attention in a crowded competitive market. People make decisions according to the knowledge they possess, and to be inundated with data that promotes unsavory character won't help their decisions relating to social context. Therefore an effort to acknowledge what people do should have precedence over how much they can get. This philosophy could have profound resonance across economic lines. But who controls the media?

The closer it is to home the more likely we are to control the outcome.
To empower people with more control of their communities as well as their personal incomes the government could finance local small industry. Look at the idea of making shoes, or buying shoes, for example. A popular form of footwear in America is the tennis shoe or sneaker. These shoes, which for the most part may be produced in foreign countries under adverse conditions, might make it appear that we are supporting and condoning something like slave labor in the purchase, and the shoes might last us as little as three months, and cost $60 a pair. Such shoes aren't necessarily good for feet, and have inspired new industry in Podiatrics because of problems the poorly crafted shoes create. If as an alternative, a local cobbler would produce a shoe that might last a year or two, and provide the benefits of personalized service through contact between the maker and the consumer, it seems like a winning situation with job creation as well as a potentially better product and service.. People want cheap, but advertising is to blame, and could be directed so that people understand that the higher-price gets a far better product that can actually save them money in the long term, as well as create jobs in their community. As an alternative to supporting slave labor in a foreign country, providing economic support for your local area shouldn’t be hard to market. If a local craftsman displayed a product at a Trade Fair, took pledges from people who would agree to buy within a specified time, and actually sold some so customer satisfaction could be checked a month down the road. The government could subsidize a craftsman with a wholesale purchase, and make a profit in lieu of tax. If Congress has the power to issue currency and regulate the value, then why can’t money be issued in exchange for some of what people produce? Even if it was a tandem currency that was subject to change, or only good for specific localities, such an action could create a lot of opportunity—Anyone with an idea that could produce quality goods could go to work. If the people have an ability to produce why can't the government acknowledge a value and issue funds?

If a group of people with culinary skills got together, and could use a school cafeteria after hours, the school might also obtain some revenue. The government could purchase a portion of the product to distribute to people who sampled preparations previously and pledged to make a purchase. Culinary artists could market some of the product themselves if they were able to do so, and surplus could be distributed to the homeless or people with food stamps. If the resources are there're why can't we utilize them?

Getting back to cutting costs: Police and correctional services could be reduced by social workers facilitating neighborhood interaction. Domestic disputes, which account for a large number of police calls, could be addressed before the situation got the point where someone needs to call in people with guns. Perhaps there are unions that want to perpetuate the status quo without regard for the public at large?

Health-care costs can be reduced by cutting insurance costs through limits on malpractice claims. If a secondary type of ‘at risk’ doctor could be developed whereas: the government provided insurance and regulation in exchange for the doctor excepting 25% less in personal pay, and the patient except government sponsored arbitration, as well as extreme limits on claims—take the risk for affordability. Could something like this be done to reduce health-care costs? Please shove the insurance lobbyists aside.

People who like to do a good job don’t do it just for the money. We hear the teachers need more money, but why then in some impoverished countries do students perform better? Politicians have to get paid a lot, but if a person believes in public service do they do it because they get paid more? I do a lot of public service for free. It’s time for neighbors to talk to each other, and small groups to form for the purpose of helping each other, instead of looking to someone else to solve the problems that have gone beyond the limits of what we can handle—Because whoever those people are they are separate from us personally, and are so much more overloaded with problems beyond cognitive limits. Count to a million first, and then ask yourself if one person can effectively represent or serve so many people. Even if the problems in society are enormous, the most effective solutions may rest with small groups of people working together. Nobody’s going to really care about you because it’s their job anymore than you can buy friendship. Meet all of your neighbors, offer a hand, find some common interests, and take action for each other...

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