A.M. 10 miles in 1:18:28, first 7 with Jeff. Ran a tempo mile in 5:29 just because - the legs felt a bit feisty and I decided to give them a shake.
Discussed a new economic concept I have thought of. Perhaps it is not new, just plain common sense, but I do not see it discussed very often. They talk about inflation, price index, GDP, (un)employment rate, etc, but I find those measurements rather removed from real life. Example - we say that creating new jobs is good, but removing jobs is bad. By that definition, if one could completely automate the production of life necessities and conveniences that would be bad because a lot of jobs would be lost. We are producing and buying from each other a lot of gimmicky junk, this raises our GDP. If increased GDP is what we are after, producing more junk is good. When we try to spend less time producing the gimmicky junk and more time with our families, GDP goes down, so that is bad.
So I wanted to have a different set of metrics and came up with this rough idea:
Each individual at any point in his life contributes and withdraws economic value. E.g when he eats he withdraws. When he produces food he contributes. When he helps somebody in some way he contributes. He may get paid for his contribution, he may not. He might have to pay to withdraw or he might not. We create a withdrawal-contribution model by assigning a value to every action. Granted, you can debate the values, but I believe you tried hard enough you could create a reasonable model. We already do it with money, and it works more or less OK, at least enough to keep us doing things for each other even when we do not feel like it. But we could do much better if all we are doing is a mathematical analysis - e.g we can assign a teacher much higher contribution value than a tobacco sales exec, and we do not have to pass any laws in the Congress, raise taxes, or mess with the free market otherwise.
Throughout an individual's life, the deposits and withdrawals add up to a net total. The key to our survival and progress is to have the net total of the whole population as high as possible. Definitely a non-negative, ideally highly positive. To make that happen, we need to maximize the net total of each individual. Some will have to be negative. E.g someone is born with a handicap. Others will be highly positive - e.g a scientist that invents a process for feeding millions off a small portion of land. We want to help each individual arrive at the end of his life with a positive balance.
We are born with a negative balance already - our parents had to sacrifice just for the pregnancy alone. As children we continue to accrue the negative. Then hopefully we eventually get to the point where we are starting to deposit more than we withdraw, and begin to eat away the negative balance. At some point it hopefully becomes positive, hopefully positive enough to where when we get old and need care, we have enough positive to still stay positive all the way through.
The cause of the current economic crisis could be explained in traditional economic terms and complex discussion of cash flow, assets, borrowing, etc, but I believe it is much simpler. As a society we have been withdrawing more than we have been contributing. Again, referencing the thoughts above, not necessarily just the money, but rather in terms of true value which correlates with money maybe 50-70%. For a while we were OK because the previous generation has build a positive balance of value. But now that we've squandered some of it things are starting to get a bit tougher. The solution is to start contribution more and withdrawing less.
So with that vision in mind our education should be reformed. Right now we have a system when a lot of people do not reach the level of a positive economic existence until they are 30, and I would guess net zero is often not reached until 45. While education is very important, we need to do something to help people become productive contributors while they are being educated. Less pure academic learning and more learning on the job in other words. In my area (computer programming), for example, most jobs require a BS degree. Yet every good programmer I've ever known acquired most of his skill either on the job or hacking on his own. If he went to school at all he did so to prove that he was good more than to become good. Classroom instruction would not hurt, but political issues aside, if somebody asked me to train a good programmer, I would spend 10% of the time instructing him, and 90% of the time throwing him in the water to see if he would learn to swim. While learning how to swim he could produce something useful and end his education with a positive net value balance.
P.M. 2 with Benjamin in 16:41, Jenny ran the first 1.5 in 13:08. Julia was sick, so no run for her.