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How to Fix Big Tech

By Herb Bowie

We all sort of know the problems, right? Monopolies. Lock-in. Stream addiction. Reality bubbles. Billionaires seeking market dominance. All other values taking a back seat to growth. I don’t think I need to elaborate. If you’re reading this, then you’re probably well aware of all these concerns.

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Blog Post   |   2019 May 22


Building a Case for the Detective Story

By Herb Bowie

Over the many years since the receipt of my Bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Michigan, I have probably spent more rewarding hours reading detective stories than any other form of fiction.

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Appreciation   |   2019 May 07


The Challenge for Democrats: Playing the Long Game

By Herb Bowie

Right now Democrats are focused primarily on two things happening in 2020: 1. Beating Trump; 2. Regaining control of the Senate. These would both be great accomplishments for the party, and for the winning candidates. But for the country, not so much.

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Blog Post   |   2019 Apr 25


The Devastating Tragedy of our Vanishing Middle Class

By Herb Bowie

If you react in any of these typical ways, then I will argue today that you’re missing the bigger picture, and overlooking the most devastating consequences of our country’s loss of our middle class.

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Blog Post   |   2019 Apr 15


Paul Thorn and his 800 Pound Jesus

By Herb Bowie

I’d been aware of Paul Thorn for some time, but didn’t really become a fan until I saw him live last summer at The Ark in Ann Arbor.

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Appreciation   |   2019 Mar 26


How a Balanced Candidate Might Win the Presidency

By Herb Bowie

I wrote recently to express my skepticism about the chances of a centrist candidate becoming our next U.S. president. I write today to share my belief that a balanced candidate might well win.

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Blog Post   |   2019 Mar 25


My List of Requirements for our Next President

By Herb Bowie

While many of us are waiting for our 2020 presidential candidates to hit the road and give us a chance to to get to know them better, I decided to stop waiting and let them know what I’m looking for in a new president. I mean after all, it doesn’t seem fair to make them guess.

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Blog Post   |   2019 Mar 24


Citizen Kane vs. Citizen Bailey

By Herb Bowie

I’ve often considered Citizen Kane and It’s A Wonderful Life to be complementary works, much like cinematic twins separated at birth.

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Blog Post   |   2019 Mar 11


Our Three Human Approaches to Dealing with Problems

By Herb Bowie

We all run into challenges from time to time, whether at work, at home, or in our communities. In general, I would suggest, we have three different approaches available to us when we try to respond to such situations.

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Blog Post   |   2019 Mar 05


Science

By Herb Bowie

A belief in science is one of the core Practopian principles. We embrace science as one way of understanding the universe in which we live, and we accept toolmaking (aka engineering) as one means of improving the human condition.

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Basic Info   |   2019 Mar 04


The growth of firms

All the evidence we have indicates that the growth of firms is connected with the attempts of a particular group of human beings to do something.

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Quotation by Edith Penrose   |   2019 Feb 25


Is There Any Middle Left?

By Herb Bowie

As the US political scene transitions from the Democratic successes in the midterms to the beginnings of the 2020 presidential contest, one of the most pressing questions to emerge is whether there is any meaningful middle ground remaining along the political spectrum stretching from left to right.

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Blog Post   |   2019 Feb 18


The Most Precious Kind of Freedom

But there are all different kinds of freedom, and the kind that is most precious you will not hear much talked about in the great outside world of winning and achieving and displaying.

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Quotation by David Foster Wallace   |   2019 Feb 17


Rebuilding Trust In Our Large Institutions

By Herb Bowie

I find it fascinating to compare the original Star Trek television series with the first Star Wars movie. And I think this comparison can reveal a lot about the current state of our culture.

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Blog Post   |   2019 Feb 11


tikkun olam

In Jewish teachings, ‘tikkun olam’ refers to any activity that improves the world, bringing it closer to the harmonious state for which it was created. All people, regardless of religious affiliation, are encouraged to contribute to the common good.

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Quotation by John Gottman   |   2019 Jan 29


Learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think

As I’m sure you guys know by now, it is extremely difficult to stay alert and attentive, instead of getting hypnotised by the constant monologue inside your own head (may be happening right now).

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Quotation by David Foster Wallace   |   2019 Jan 29


If you'll just rattle your jewelry

For our last number, I’d like to ask your help. Would the people in the cheaper seats clap your hands. And the rest of you, if you’ll just rattle your jewelry.

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Quotation by John Lennon   |   2019 Jan 27


Our American Class System

By Herb Bowie

In short, this was a period of our history during which class distinctions seemed to be fading. Sure, some people had more money than others. My mother drove a Ford Falcon, my father drove a Mustang, and my Uncle drove a Thunderbird.

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Blog Post   |   2019 Jan 27


Most humans desire cultural stability, not change

All of this confirms something that I’ve long suspected: Most humans, until very recently, desired and maintained cultural stability, not change. Change was a threat and was embraced only when absolutely necessary.

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Quotation by Stephen E. Nash   |   2019 Jan 26


More Love

By Herb Bowie

For me, love is an elemental human feeling that helps to bind us to one another, and to the world around us. It is a feeling of care and appreciation for, and attachment to, people and things of value that have an independent existence outside of ourselves.

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Basic Info   |   2019 Jan 26


What We Can Learn from the Government Shutdown

By Herb Bowie

As I write this, those of us in the U.S. are on day 30 of a partial federal government shutdown whose effects are increasingly rippling through our society.

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Blog Post   |   2019 Jan 21


All of us are trim tabs

One guy, he had nothing to do with the movies, but I’ve taken a lot of direction from him. That’s Bucky Fuller. Bucky, he’s most famous for the geodesic dome, but he made a great observation about these oceangoing tankers.

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Quotation by Jeff Bridges   |   2019 Jan 07


The Truth About Capitalism

By Herb Bowie

No matter which way you lean politically, you probably have strong feelings about capitalism. It seems to me that there are a lot of odd ideas on this topic running around out there in today’s world. Let me offer some thoughts about what seems true to me.

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Blog Post   |   2019 Jan 07


The exercise of the intellect

From the time when the exercise of the intellect became a source of strength and of wealth, we see that every addition to science, every fresh truth and every new idea became a germ of power placed within the reach of the people.

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Quotation by Alexis de Tocqueville   |   2019 Jan 03


The economy is too important to leave to the economists

This book grew out of my Greek publisher’s invitation, back in 2013, to talk directly to young people about the economy. My reason for writing it was the conviction that the economy is too important to leave to the economists.

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Quotation by Yanis Varoufakis   |   2018 Dec 28


Capitalism as a Market Society

Readers may be surprised by the absence of any mention of ‘capital’ or ‘capitalism’ in the book. I chose to leave out such words not because there is anything wrong with them but because, loaded as they are with heavy baggage, they get in the way of illuminating the essence of things.

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Quotation by Yanis Varoufakis   |   2018 Dec 28


Have We Passed The Point of Maximum Useful Tech?

By Herb Bowie

What happened between 1990 and 2018? Who stuck the playing card between the spokes of the bicycle for my mind, turning a mental enabler into an annoying distraction?

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Blog Post   |   2018 Dec 17


Television mesmerizes people

The boob tube turns you into a boob,. Television mesmerizes people and turns them into intellectual spectators. It feeds passivity and makes you less engaged.

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Quotation by Eric Braverman   |   2018 Dec 14


Amusing ourselves to death

Our politics, religion, news, athletics, education and commerce have been transformed into congenial adjuncts of show business, largely without protest or even much popular notice. The result is that we are a people on the verge of amusing ourselves to death.

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Quotation by Neil Postman   |   2018 Dec 14


The Value of Individuals

By Herb Bowie

A belief in the value of individuals is one of the core Practopian principles.

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Basic Info   |   2018 Dec 10


The welfare of the whole human race

The twentieth century will be chiefly remembered by future generations not as an era of political conflicts or technical inventions, but as an age in which human society dared to think of the welfare of the whole human race as a practical objective.

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Quotation by Arnold J. Toynbee   |   2018 Dec 06


It's the rich class that's winning

There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.

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Quotation by Warren Buffett   |   2018 Dec 04


Calling for a US Sustainability Initiative

By Herb Bowie

Looking back over the history of the United States, it’s easy to see in hindsight a series of events and actions that have either united or divided us.

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Blog Post   |   2018 Dec 03


The Importance of Mission

By Herb Bowie

The dictionary on my Mac defines mission as “a strongly felt aim, ambition, or calling.”

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Basic Info   |   2018 Nov 26


This strange hankering for play and surprise

That exploratory, expansive drive is what separates delight from demand: when we are in play mode, we are open to new surprises, while our base appetites focus the mind on the urgent needs of staying alive.

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Quotation by Steven Johnson   |   2018 Nov 22


A Broadcast Consciousness

By Herb Bowie

Let me take you on a little journey of thought exploring some hitherto unconsidered aspects of our common cultural evolution.

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Blog Post   |   2018 Nov 19


Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts

Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts

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Quotation by Daniel Patrick Moynihan   |   2018 Nov 15


It's sports and it's all love

At the end of the day, it’s sports, and it’s all love. I feel for both sides. – Commenting on stopping on the court after a game to console Devin Davis, an opponent who was sobbing on the court, despondent over missing two crucual free throws.

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Quotation by Moritz Wagner   |   2018 Nov 15


Living with the strains of complexity

Political society wants things simple. Political scientists know them to be complex…

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Quotation by Daniel Patrick Moynihan   |   2018 Nov 15


Public Truth

Reviving the common good also depends on each of us taking responsibility for finding, sharing, and insisting upon public truth.

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Quotation by Robert B. Reich   |   2018 Nov 15


Public morality

Moral guidance about what is right or decent can be found both in religious teachings and in our contemporary understanding of what we owe one another as members of the same society. As I have suggested, they overlap.

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Quotation by Robert B. Reich   |   2018 Nov 15


Set off from the rest by a line drawn

Of all dangers to a nation, as things exist in our day, there can be no greater one than having certain portions of the people set off from the rest by a line drawn – they not privileged as others, but degraded, humiliated, made of no account.

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Quotation by Walt Whitman   |   2018 Nov 15


That community asks for and gets chaos

From the wild Irish slums of the 19th century Eastern seaboard, to the riot-torn suburbs of Los Angeles, there is one unmistakable lesson in American history; a community that allows a large number of men to grow up in broken families, dominated by women, never acquiring any stable relationship to….

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Quotation by Daniel Patrick Moynihan   |   2018 Nov 15


The divine literatus

View’d, to-day, from a point of view sufficiently over-arching, the problem of humanity all over the civilized world is social and religious, and is to be finally met and treated by literature. The priest departs, the divine literatus comes.

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Quotation by Walt Whitman   |   2018 Nov 15


The institution of the family

The institution of the family is decisive in determining not only if a person has the capacity to love another individual but in the larger social sense whether he is capable of loving his fellow men collectively.

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Quotation by Daniel Patrick Moynihan   |   2018 Nov 15


To differentiate truth from falsehood

It is the civic responsibility of all of us to check the facts we read or hear, to find and depend upon reliable sources, to share the truth with others, and hold accountable those who lie to us or suppress the truth.

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Quotation by Robert B. Reich   |   2018 Nov 15


Man must believe in an open future

Man’s freedom is a reality – a reality that makes a difference to his physical, as well as his mental health. When Frankl’s prisoners ceased to believe in the possibility of freedom, they grew sick and died.

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Quotation by Colin Wilson   |   2018 Nov 13


Each man is questioned by life

Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather must recognize that it is he who is asked. In a word, each man is questioned by life; and he can only answer to life by answering for his own life; to life he can only respond by being responsible.

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Quotation by Victor Frankl   |   2018 Nov 13


Love is the ultimate and the highest goal

A thought transfixed me: for the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth – that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which man can aspire.

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Quotation by Victor Frankl   |   2018 Nov 13


We should always be fighting evil

All I tried to do in my stories was show that there’s some innate goodness in the human condition. And there’s always going to be evil; we should always be fighting evil.

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Quotation by Stan Lee   |   2018 Nov 13


Regulating the ownership of data

So we had better call upon our lawyers, politicians, philosophers, and even poets to turn their attention to this conundrum: how do you regulate the ownership of data? This may well be the most important political question of our era.

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Quotation by Yuval Noah Harari   |   2018 Nov 12


People are happy to give away their most valuable asset

At present, people are happy to give away their most valuable asset – their personal data – in exchange for free email services and funny cat videos.

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Quotation by Yuval Noah Harari   |   2018 Nov 12


Selling sugared water

Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water, or do you want a chance to change the world?

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Quotation by Steve Jobs   |   2018 Nov 12


The Written Word in the 21st Century

By Herb Bowie

Whether we are talking about the King James Bible, The Catcher in the Rye, On the Origin of Species, or Wikipedia, we recognize that writing things down is an important means of preserving human knowledge and wisdom, and that both writing and reading are invaluable human activities.

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Basic Info   |   2018 Nov 12


An emotional poverty so bottomless

I have always been struck, in America, by an emotional poverty so bottomless, and a terror of human life, of human touch, so deep that virtually no American appears able to achieve any viable, organic connection between his public stance and his private life.

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Quotation by James Baldwin   |   2018 Nov 09


A beast or a god

But he who is unable to live in society, or who has no need because he is sufficient for himself, must be either a beast or a god: he is no part of a state. A social instinct is implanted in all men by nature.

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Quotation by Aristotle   |   2018 Nov 08


Egocentric Existence

Both the authoritarian and the submissive develop standards which they feel will insure them against threat, but these are very raw standards. The submissive person chooses to get away with what he can within the life style which is possible for him. The authoritarian chooses to do as he pleases.

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Quotation by Clare W. Graves   |   2018 Nov 07


While he was focusing on the inner self, his outer world has gone to pot

At the personalistic level (F-S), man becomes centrally concerned with peace with his inner self and in the relation of his self to the inner self of others.

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Quotation by Clare W. Graves   |   2018 Nov 07


Man's nature is an open, constantly evolving system

The error which most people make when they think about human values is that they assume the nature of man is fixed and there is a single set of human values by which he should live. Such an assumption does not fit with my research.

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Quotation by Clare W. Graves   |   2018 Nov 07


My Advice to Young People of All Ages

By Herb Bowie

Today I’d like to change my focus and offer some advice for what people can and should do to improve their own personal lots in modern life. I have only a few recommendations, and they’re rather brief and straightforward, although I won’t claim they’re easy.

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Blog Post   |   2018 Oct 31


Let us accept our own responsibility for the future

Let us not despair but act. Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past – let us accept our own responsibility for the future.

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Quotation by John F. Kennedy   |   2018 Oct 29


Thinking should be generous and have a good appetite

Thinking should be generous and have a good appetite. I find life far too valuable these days to shut out most of its variety in favour of digging down into the depths….

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Quotation by Sarah Bakewell   |   2018 Oct 26


The historical trajectory of violence

The historical trajectory of violence affects not only how life is lived but how it is understood.

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Quotation by Steven Pinker   |   2018 Oct 26


If the future of humanity is decided in your absence...

In a world deluged by irrelevant information, clarity is power. In theory, anybody can join the debate about the future of humanity, but it is so hard to maintain a clear vision. We might not even notice that a debate is going on, or what the key questions are.

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Quotation by Yuval Noah Harari   |   2018 Oct 26


Struggling against irrelevance

Brexit and the rise of Trump might therefore demonstrate a trajectory opposite to that of traditional socialist revolutions.

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Quotation by Yuval Noah Harari   |   2018 Oct 26


Economic growth will not save the global ecosystem

Liberalism traditionally relied on economic growth to magically solve difficult social and political conflicts.

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Quotation by Yuval Noah Harari   |   2018 Oct 26


The better angels of our nature

We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection.

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Quotation by Abraham Lincoln   |   2018 Oct 26


An Integral Approach

By Herb Bowie

A belief in an integral approach is one of the core Practopian principles. At its most basic, this principle simply means that people can see things from different perspectives, and that often no one way of seeing something is the “right” or only way.

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Basic Info   |   2018 Oct 26


Fruitcakes

By Herb Bowie

I’ve always considered this to be Jimmy Buffet’s masterwork. The musical backing is infectious, swaying and danceable, and the background vocals add depth. The words are cleverly crafted, and perfectly suited to Buffett’s conversational, wisecracking delivery.

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Appreciation   |   2018 Oct 13


When I get a little money I buy books

When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes.

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Quotation by Desiderius Erasmus   |   2018 Oct 11


Imperfection

By Herb Bowie

Belief in imperfection as a fundamental principle may seem like an odd concept but, in fact, it is an essential part of our thinking. Let’s look at some of the reasoning behind this principle.

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Basic Info   |   2018 Oct 11


Core Clusters

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Core Writing   |   2018 Oct 10


US Political Observations for October 2018

By Herb Bowie

In this brief respite between primary season and the general US midterm elections in November, I thought it might be fitting to offer up a few suggestions to those of us who will be participating, whether as candidates or as voters.

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Blog Post   |   2018 Oct 04


I learned a lot of things from failure

I learned a lot of things from failure. When you play 162 games, I don’t think any sport emulates life like baseball. You play football once a week or basketball twice. But you start playing baseball, you play every day, day in and day out.

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Quotation by Brooks Robinson   |   2018 Oct 03


Seeking ways to disagree with myself

It has allowed me to return to a long-lost self who once wrote in peace and quiet … doing what I have always loved: finding ways to disagree with myself in order to discover what my true thoughts are.

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Quotation by Yanis Varoufakis   |   2018 Oct 02


Our Societal Disconnect

By Herb Bowie

I was thinking recently about my own upbringing in Annapolis, Maryland, back in the sixties, and it occurred to me that there were several aspects of my experience there and then that I took for granted, but that are no longer very common today.

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Blog Post   |   2018 Sep 26


The Village Green Preservation Society

By Herb Bowie

This is a rather amazing song by The Kinks, first released in 1968. I loved this song from the moment I first heard it, but my appreciation for it has only grown over the years.

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Appreciation   |   2018 Sep 21


Why I Call Myself a Practopian

By Herb Bowie

I suffered a crisis of faith a few years ago: a crisis of faith in my atheism.

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Blog Post   |   2018 Sep 15


Confusion leads to understanding

I’m trying to confuse peoples’ initial perceptions. Confusion leads to exploration, exploration to learning, and learning to understanding.

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Quotation by Vishavjit Singh   |   2018 Sep 14


Will the Circle be Unbroken

By Herb Bowie

It’s certainly fair to categorize this song as a religious one, and more particularly as a Christian song, and yet, even though I consider myself to be a non-believer, my lack of faith doesn’t diminish my appreciation for this song in the slightest: if anything, I think it increases it.

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Appreciation   |   2018 Aug 15


Cultural Evolution

By Herb Bowie

A belief in cultural evolution is one of the core Practopian principles. But what do we mean by human culture? And by its evolution? Let’s dive a little deeper to uncover some of the significant ideas lurking behind this simple statement.

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Basic Info   |   2018 Aug 13


If triangles had a god

If triangles had a god, they would give him three sides.

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Quotation by Montesquieu   |   2018 Aug 12


A Twenty-Six Legged Stool?

By Herb Bowie

A few years ago, when I was teaching software development, I often invoked the image of a three-legged stool, with each leg representing one of the essential leadership roles: leave out any one of them, you see, and your project is liable to fall over.

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Blog Post   |   2018 Aug 04


Liberal democracy's strongest glue is economic growth

We are taught to think our democracies are held together by values. Our faith in history fuels that myth. But liberal democracy’s strongest glue is economic growth. When groups fight over the fruits of growth, the rules of the political game are relatively easy to uphold.

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Quotation by Edward Luce   |   2018 Aug 03


Responsible Nationalism

Lawrence Summers complained of ‘the development of stateless elites whose allegiance is to global economic success and their own prosperity rather than the interests of the nation where they are headquartered’.

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Quotation by Edward Luce   |   2018 Aug 03


Conscious Improvement for the Masses

In the newly created Germany, Otto von Bismarck set up the world’s first social insurance system for the working classes in the late nineteenth century. Britian followed suit under Lloyd George in the early twentieth century.

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Quotation by Edward Luce   |   2018 Aug 03


A hereditary meritocracy

The golden decades of the post-war era bore out the theory of declining inequality. But over the last thirty years that has gone into reverse. During those decades, the share of the US economic pie divided between labour and capital was roughly 70:30.

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Quotation by Edward Luce   |   2018 Aug 03


Capitalism works best in societies where there are high levels of trust

Adam Smith, the great theorist of free trade economics, is revered for his The Wealth of Nations. His companion work, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, is mostly forgotten. Yet it is the more important of the two.

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Quotation by Edward Luce   |   2018 Aug 03


The stagnation of American middle-class living standards

I believe that the rising intolerance and incivility and the eroding generosity and openness that have marked important aspects of American society in the recent past have been, in significant part, a consequence of the stagnation of American middle-class living standards.

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Quotation by Ben Friedman   |   2018 Aug 03


The yen to work drops in flat economies

Writing in the 1950s, Daniel Bell, the great American sociologist, said ‘economic growth has become the secular religion of advancing industrial societies’. He was right. It follows that in its absence, many people lapse into the equivalent of atheism.

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Quotation by Edward Luce   |   2018 Aug 03


Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself

Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

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Quotation by Jesus   |   2018 Jul 27


Value Creation

By Herb Bowie

Many of the Practopian Core Beliefs will seem rather straightforward to most people: Liberty and Equality, for example, are fundamental human values that should sound familiar no matter what your background. The belief in the importance of Value Creation, on the other hand, may be puzzling to many.

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Basic Info   |   2018 Jul 24


Civilization was a thin and precarious crust

We were not aware that civilization was a thin and precarious crust erected by the personality and the will of a very few, and only maintained by rules and conventions skilfully put across and guilefully preserved.

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Quotation by John Maynard Keynes   |   2018 Jul 20


Governments losing their ability to anticipate events

Governments of all types – democratic and authoritarian, small states and superpowers – are losing their ability to anticipate events. They are thus losing the means to shape them. The days when national leaders could peer around the corner and head off coming dangers are receding.

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Quotation by Edward Luce   |   2018 Jul 20


Writing off half of society as deplorable

If we write off half of society as deplorable we forfeit claims on their attention. We also endanger liberal democracy.

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Quotation by Edward Luce   |   2018 Jul 20


History is not some self-driving car

But I have grave doubts about history’s long arc. History is not some self-driving car taking humanity to a pre-set destination. Whichever human is behind the wheel must ensure the others stay in the car.

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Quotation by Edward Luce   |   2018 Jul 20


What would a new social compact look like?

What would a new social compact look like? Since our crisis is political, the solutions must stretch far beyond economics. My own views do not always fit into twentieth-century pigeonholes.

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Quotation by Edward Luce   |   2018 Jul 20


The axis is constructive-destructive

The axis today is not liberal and conservative, the axis is constructive-destructive, and you’ve cast your lot with the destructive people. Fox has become an incredibly destructive force in our society. You can be better, and this is going to be your legacy if you’re not careful.

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Quotation by Steve Jobs   |   2018 Jul 18


Technological Unemployment

We are being afflicted with a new disease of which some readers may not yet have heard the name, but of which they will hear a great deal in the years to come – namely, technological unemployment.

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Quotation by John Maynard Keynes   |   2018 Jul 09


To live wisely and agreeably and well

Thus for the first time since his creation man will be faced with his real, his permanent problem – how to use his freedom from pressing economic cares, how to occupy the leisure, which science and compound interest will have won for him, to live wisely and agreeably and well.

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Quotation by John Maynard Keynes   |   2018 Jul 09


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