Tuesday, July 30, 2002

Random musing

I wonder if it's possible, long-term, for a person to be completely committed (in action) to his principles while also being willing to change his principles if he discovers that his principles need tweaking.

As an example, suppose someone believes that he should always use public transportation whenever it is available as an alternative to driving. So, he starts doing so. However, after awhile, he realizes that it's incredibly inefficient to travel an hour by public transit, changing buses twice, to go 2 miles up the road. So, he modifies his principle. He now believes that he should always use public transportation when it is available as an efficient alternative to driving. The question is, has he "seen the light" and therefore changed his principle to better reflect reality? Or has he instead found himself unable to stick to his original principle and therefore changed it simply so that he could convince himself that he's acting on his principles?

Just wondering...

Friday, July 26, 2002

You know, when it comes to bowling, I always thought turkey meant three consecutive strikes. This game, however, gives the term a whole new meaning.

Apologies to my friend Ananda at WhatTheHeck.com for posting this, since it's usually he who posts these quirkly little web games.

Wednesday, July 24, 2002

According to the White House, our economy is doing really well right now. Sure, unemployment is rising, large corporations are going bankrupt, and the stock market is in the tank (despite today's "rebound"). But that's not really important, says Bush's gang in a Reuter's story on Yahoo! News:

"When you take a look at the data -- the hard cold facts about the economy -- impartial economists will all tell you, even partisan economists will tell you, the economy is growing, the economy is growing solidly, fundamentals are strong," White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said on Wednesday.

What's interesting is that this parallels the logic of publicly-traded corporations: it doesn't matter whether we're profitable, or how many people we lay off, what matters is the growth of our revenue. I think that some people (specifically, big-business people such as corporate executives and George W. Bush) don't get that growth, in itself, is not universally good. I mean, everyone realizes this in other contexts; imagine if a child kept growing indefinitely. That would be bad. Same thing with a balloon - bigger is better, but too big ends up in an explosion. Yet somehow, corporate types think that unlimited, continual growth in revenue (in the case of a corporation) or growth in "the economy" are worth aspiring to. Doesn't anyone realize that things sometimes have an ideal size? Just like a balloon is at its best when it's inflated to its max, but not beyond, a company does its best work, and has the easiest time maintaining profitability, when it's at an optimal size. This size may be different for every company (and every country's economy). But, to at least one college-educated citizen (that would be me), it's pretty obvious that an optimal size exists and that exceeding it can lead to bankruptcies, stock market collapses, unemployment, pollution problems, and other seriously bad stuff.

Oh, well, maybe the recent rash of corporate scandals will help voters realize that voting for corporate-sponsored candidates is not in the best interest of Joe and Jane American.