JAK Interest-free Banking in Sweden

Part 1 - Ethics

This part introduces the JAK bank in a very simple way, and then mostly makes an argument (which we already understand) about why our virtual (exponential, interest-based, debt-based) economy is unethical and ultimately unsustainable.
"Money is produced as a loan, mostly. In the OCD countries, only 3% of the money is produced as coins and notes. The rest of it is debt. And debt has to be repaid with interest. To avoid getting inflation, everything you use money for also has to grow at the same pace as you increase the money. And money has to be increased, because you need to repay the earlier years' debt with interest.

What are the problems linked with and interest based-economy?
The main problem is that it forces people to borrow more money each year in order to pay the interest on the loans they already have. If you dn't do that you have to cut your other expenses in order to pay thie interest, and this means you have to choose between exponential debt growth or a rapid increasing unemployment.

Now in September (2007) the ECB is going to raise again the interest rate on moeny, they say to counteract inflation. But this is quite wrong. I've done some statistical researches that analyze Swedish society over a perioud of 20 years. It very clearly shows that about 4 months after you have raised the interest, you get an increase in invlation, a price increas. And then between 8 and 9 months after a raise of interest, you get an increase in unemployement. And this will ahve an impact on the prices downward, but this downward is not so big as the initial rise of the prices. if you rise the interest by 1%, you will get an increase in inflation about 0.5%."


Part 2 Techniques

0:45 Begins the explanation of the bank. I would like to discuss this, why it works out equivalent to a 2.5% interest rate on the loan.
2:06 Post-saving, or after-saving: The member pays back the loan, and then is allowed to withdraw the resulting savings. It seems that in a way, she gets the money twice.
3:11 Savings are not the same as savings points.

Since there is no interest given to members, won't a member who only saves and doesn't borrow lose money?
Answer at 4:22. The point is supporting the community. When the community is wealthy and stable, everyone benefits. So saving your money in this way is not about individual profit, it's about profiting the whole group, and making the community viable. The JAK bank is mostly staffed by volunteers.
"Loaning as a mutual service among people, that is the financial heresy of JAK bank."

The Basis of Trust

Last week's conversation, Ants, Control and Hierarchy, ended with a short discussion about trust:
-Trust? Why is it hard for people to trust each other?
-Evolution!
-Is it natural? Is a genetic thing? Is it about education? Is it culture and subroutines?

Since people wanted to explore this further, today's question is:
What is the basis of trust between human beings?
Here are some answers gleaned from the internet, let's see where this takes us! Click on the headlines to find the article from which the quote or synopsis was taken.


A Definition of Trust
Rousseau and her colleagues offer the following definition: "Trust is a psychological state comprising the intention to accept vulnerability based upon positive expectations of the intentions or behavior of another."[1] Similarly, Lewicki and his colleagues describe trust as "an individual's belief in, and willingness to act on the basis of, the words, actions, and decisions of another."[2]

討論逐字稿 Ants, Control and Hierarchy

This is the transcript from our Ants, Control and Hierarchy discussion.

Discussion
So can someone summarise our article today?
It talks about ants and human beings.
...aaaaand?
Okay, the story is about an experiment about how ants' networks work, and compare it to human beings' society.
The first part, the short story is, if Argentinian ants eat the same things as other ants, they think they're friends.
I think what they eat matters so much because they communicate by touch and smell. So maybe for some human beings, they focus on how people dress, in that case what you wear and how you carry yourself is more important than what you eat.

Ants, Control, and Hierarchy

Last week we we spoke about control, and people wanted to continue this discussion. Since some of what we touched on was control within society or a social group, I thought we might look at this article in the Boston Review on ants. Ants are often held up as an example of good social organization, they're thought to be hard workers, and often what we perceive as the organization of ant colonies is used for exploring ideas about human societies, so it might be fun to look at organization and control through this lens.
Here's the transcript from the discussion.


Whether ants fight is determined by whether they share food.
In the early 1990s a group of scientists at the University of California, San Diego introduced the notion that Argentine ants form a super-colony, one enormous colony stretching throughout California. … The force of the idea of the super-colony came from the observation that Argentine ants from different nests rarely fight with each other. The super-colony evoked an image of huge numbers of small brown ants pouring into California from Latin America. The fact that the ants didn’t fight with each other suggested that somehow they were all linked together, and that united they could defeat all the native ants in their path.

But the lack of fighting among Argentine ants does not reveal a collective purpose. Like all ants, the experience of an Argentine ant is largely olfactory and tactile; most of the 11,000 species of ants have very poor vision. An ant is coated with a layer of grease (cuticular hydrocarbons) that carry its colony’s odor, and ants of some species react aggressively to the odor of a different colony. Argentine ants, like some other ant species, are not very sensitive to small differences in odor.

However, scientists recently have discovered that, with sufficient differences, Argentine ants will fight after all. In a laboratory working to develop pesticides, a technician fed some Argentine ants a German cockroach. The result was both unintended and exciting: the cockroach’s odor was incorporated into the ants that ate it, and they were attacked by other Argentine ants that had not eaten the cockroach. When it comes to fighting among Argentine ants, what matters may be whether they have been sharing the remains of Big Macs, not their genetic origins.

Jealousy, Envy, Harmony


What is jealousy?
What is envy?

These two words are so similar in Chinese and English, even though they don't translate exactly directly in terms of how strong an emotion they convey. What's the relationship between these two emotions?

What does jealousy feel like?
What does envy feel like?
Are they similar or different feelings?

Do you ever feel that if others are doing well, you are less likely to have the same happen to you?
Could fear of envy bring about social harmony? (See story and examples below)
Was that how things worked in any experiences you've had?

Jealousy/Envy and Harmony
Is jealousy or envy based on a fear of not being good enough, to work for or keep something valuable? Is jealousy or envy based on a fear of losing something valuable?
Do these fears have a common root?
Are these fears going to influence group harmony?

Group Harmony and Sense of Self
Is it more important to take care of yourself before others, or others before yourself?
Does taking care of others first, or taking care of yourself first, have any relationship to your sense of your own value?
Does your sense of your own value influence your ability to work well in a group?
Our society values selflessness, and our society also values harmony. Are these two attitudes compatible?
"This sort of serves a useful group function," says van de Ven. We all think better off people should share with others, "but that's not something we are inclined to do when we are better off."
Do you agree or disagree?
What kind of attitude does this quote seem to be talking about?

Harmony & Conflict, Experience & Knowledge

We're continuing our discussion of Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals. Previously in this series we discussed Apathy & Compliance, Dignity & Participation.

"…Madison Avenue public relations, middle-class moral hygiene, which has made of conflict or controversy something negative and undesirable. This has all been part of an Advertising Culture that emphasizes getting along with people and avoiding friction. If you look at our television commercials you get the picture that American society is largely devoted to ensuring that no odors come from our mouths or armpits. Consensus is a keynote—one must not offend one's fellow human; and so today we find that people in the mass media are fired for expressing their opinions or being "controversial"; in the churches they are fired for the same reason but the words used there are "lacking in prudence"; and on university campuses, faculty members are fired for the same reason, but the words used there are "personality difficulties."

"Conflict is the essential core of a free and open society. If one were to project the democratic way of life in the form of a musical score, its major theme would be the harmony of dissonance." -Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals p.63

What does 'harmony' mean?
What are the most common contexts in which you hear the word 'harmony' used?
What do you feel when you hear the word harmony? What's your first association with this word?
Chinese culture is historically about harmony. Can we talk more about this?
Why is harmony valued? What about harmony makes it an intrinsic good?

討論逐字稿 Apathy & Compliance, Dignity & Participation

This is the first discussion about Saul Alinsky's book, Rules for Radicals.
Here's the quotes and questions we were discussing.


Discussion:
I think if people want to do something, they will organize the thing by themselves, when they have the feeling of responsibility.
I totally agree.

What's the main thing happening in these two quotes? What state of being is the author describing?

In my opinion, it's about the…in a group, if you don't do anything, it's a benefit for you, so if someone says we can cooperate together, then maybe you can do it. But before that, everything thinks it's not my business, and maybe someone else will do it.
And it occurred to me, there's a tv show from japan. In that show, there's a group of people, they need to serve a mission together, but it's free for everyone, you can join or not. So you can see people are enthusiastic to solve the mission, but other people will think, that's not my business, and there must be someone else to do this, so those people will not do anything. But if the rules of the game changed, that everyone has to solve the mission together, then at that time people will solve it together.
So you have to force people to join it?
Or you have to make it so that if they don't join it, they will lose money.
Many years ago, I joined a conference, and Tsai Yingwen had a presentation at the conference. She said that for government, or political people, if you want to change the situation, you have to make people think it's a big problem, it's everyone's problem.

Apathy & Compliance, Dignity & Participation

Last week we talked about boundaries and compliant children. This week we're going to start a series of discussions about ideas from this book Rules for Radicals. The book is only about 300 pages long, and in very normal english, so I highly recommend giving it a peek.

The transcript of the first discussion is here.

Today, I want to first talk about a couple of ideas from the chapters, Policy after Power (p.106) and "The Process of Power" (p.113):

"One of the great problems in the beginning of an organization is, often, that the people do not know what they want. Discovering this stirs up, in the organizer, that inner doubt shared by so many, whether the masses of people are competent to make decisions for a democratic society. … These reservations can destroy the effectiveness of the most creative and talented organizer. Many times, contact with low-income groups does not fire one with enthusiasm for the political gospel of democracy. This disillusionment comes … because when you talk with any people you find yourselves confronted with cliches, a variety of superficial, stereotyped responses, and a general lack of information. In a black ghetto if you ask, "What's wrong?" you are told, "Well, the schools are segregated." "What do you think should be done to make better schools?" "Well, they should be desegregated." "How?" "Well, you know." And if you say you don't know, then a lack of knowledge or an inability on the part of the one you are talking to may show itself in a defensive, hostile reaction: "You whites were responsible for the segregation in the first place. We didn't do it. So it's your problem, not ours. You started it, you finish it." If you pursue the point by asking, "Well, what else is wrong with the schools right now?" you get the answer, "The buildings are old; the teachers are bad. We've got to have change." "Well, what kind of change?" "Well, everybody knows things have to be changed." That is usually the end of the line. If you push it any further, you come again to a hostile, defensive reaction or to withdrawal as they suddenly remember they have to be somewhere else.

The issue that is not clear to organizers, missionaries, educators, or any outsider, is simply that if people feel they don't have the power to change a bad situation, then they do not think about it. Why start figuring out how you are going to spend a million dollars if you do not have a million dollars or are ever going to have a million dollars—unless you want to engage in fantasy?

討論逐字稿 Boundaries, Trust, Consent

We discussed 'Boundaries, Trust, Consent' the second discussion in the 'Boundaries' series.

Discussion:
Why was it okay (according to the parents) for the boy to repeatedly knock down the girl's castle?
Boys are supposed to be like that.
Like what?
To be naughty. To damage things, to create some damage.
Because other boys do the same thing.
They prefer the boy can show the power or to dominate or control the situation.
What do you mean by naughty?
Not behave.
So boys are supposed to break the rules.
Uh-huh. It's okay for boys to break the rules.
Most of the time, boys are more aggressive. This is what I think.

Do you personally feel it was okay that the boy kept knocking down the castle?

討論逐字稿 Boundaries, Trust, Community

This is the transcript for the first of our 'Boundaries' discussions.

Concluding Statements:
I think normally groups set the boundaries for the individual in the beginning, because it is easy to have the order instead of chaos. What I can think if, is, for example, when a group of people joins a summer camp, and the organizer, or workers will try to make the members follow certain rules, and if most people follow the rules of the camp, and actually all the members can get the most benefit from it, and they will learn more, and also enjoy more. I think the group has its own boundary, and most of the time, I need to follow, because I am a part of the group. But if that boundary influence my private life, or have too much of an impact on me, it's time to step out, or adjust or actually set my own boundary there. So I can be in that group for the longer term.

Boundaries, Trust, Consent

Today we are continuing our conversation about boundaries. Here's the transcript from a previous discussion of this article.

In general, most cultures encourage boy children to be more unruly, and girl children to be more cooperative. In this article she describes how in her daughter's playgroup, a boy would daily destroy the castle her daughter built. Frustratingly, the boy's parents did nothing about their son's behavior. They didn't try to discuss it with him or even point out that there was a problem. Instead they say things like this:

"You know! Boys will be boys!" 
"He's just going through a phase!"
"He’s such a boy! He LOVES destroying things!"
"Oh my god! Girls and boys are SO different!"
"He. Just. Can't. Help himself!"

She goes on to critique their response to the situation.

Not once did they talk to him about invading another little person's space and claiming for his own purposes something that was not his to claim. It was, to them, some kind of XY entitlement. How much of the boy's behavior in coming years would be excused in these ways, be calibrated to meet these expectations, and enforce the “rules” his parents kept repeating?

Boundaries, Trust, Community

This is the first part of a two-part discussion. Here's the transcript of a previous discussion on this article.

The following quotes come from this blog post, and from the comments below it. The last quote is a concept invented by people in the USian blogosphere.

"…as soon as someone stops having fun, we stop. If [our 4-year old] tells us to stop, we stop. This is the only way to teach our kids boundaries."

"When I was a child (and now, actually) my mother didn’t respect me saying no or telling her to stop doing something to me at all, and … she wonders now why I don’t trust her."

"It’s important to teach these things to the next generation but just as important to model them, too.
Unfortunately this side is so often ignored. When the two-year old in question says “no!” to his Dad, is he listened to? Or is his “no”, like the “no” of so many children, ignored, called a”tantrum”, is he told to “get on with it, there’s no choice”, is he told to “stop answering back”? "

"Raising an assertive girl means valuing and respecting her assertions and letting go of the notion that a “good” child is a compliant child."

“You don’t get to say what offends other people. If they don’t like it, you can’t keep doing it. As soon as you know you’re offending them, and you keep doing that thing, you’re saying you don’t care how you make them feel, that you’re ok that they’re uncomfortable, and that it’s your fault.”

"My rights end where yours begin."

I feel that there is a connection between the ideas contained in these quotes, with wider implications for building a successful community. Would you come explore with me?

Workshop results for "What are the qualities of a sustainable action/product/system?"

We explored the question "What are the qualities of a sustainable action/product/system?" in a workshop format. The Consensus Workshop process, developed by ICA builds ideas gradually, starting from brainstorming individually to sharing ideas in pairs, until finally coming together as a whole group to organize and name six or seven answers to this question.

What is Sustainability?

Last week we looked at Cuba, and how it was kind of forced into sustainable living in the 1990s because of the loss of its lifeline, the Soviet Union. Through our discussion, we came up against the realization that actually, we're going to have to learn how to live sustainably as a planet within our lifetimes! It turns out, we personally are going to have to figure it out sooner or later, so maybe now is a good time to start.

So, if we're going to face up to sustainability, the next step is to visualize just what sustainability means to us. To help us understand this, tonight we're going to do a visioning workshop. We're going to use the power of the group to answer this question:

What are the qualities of a sustainable action/product/system?
What defines something as sustainable?

This workshop is going to be a little more active than our usual discussion.
We're going to write down things with markers! And stick paper on the wall with tape! We might even draw things! So, come prepared to have fun!

討論逐字稿 How Cuba Survived Peak Oil

We discussed how Cuba survived a kind of peak oil. Here's the transcript of most of the discussion:

Okay, what's the main thing you understood from the first 10 minutes of this video?
The production of oil goes down year to year, but on the contrary, the consumption of oil continues to increase.
We have a certain amount of oil, but the population is growing, even big countries like China, they need to consume more oil, much more than before, and that's a problem, how to survive.
Oil is limited. And we need to find other alternatives.

What does 'peak oil' mean?
The oil that we have found now is it, there's no more that can be found.
In the beginning, the whole production of oil can be consumed maybe over twenty or thirty years, but in the time of peak oil, we just can only use oil in a short time period. In the beginning it's a kind of bell curve, but now it's more like a spike than a curve.
Basically, no more oil can be found than is already found, and we're already halfway through it.

How Cuba Survived Peak Oil



看”古巴怎麼樣存活石油峰值“的討論逐字稿

Normally, when we talk about change, we're talking about personal change. Personal change is very worthwhile, because we truly only can change things outside of ourselves once we ourselves have changed.

At the same time, personal change can only go so far before you run into conflict with the structures of society, one example being capitalism.

So in looking at the Cuba movie, one thing I want to explore is, what happens when society as a whole is forced to change?

Another question I had, watching this movie is, "How do Cuba's base values influence the decisions they made when confronted with a crisis of this magnitude. For example: Cuba's education systems and medical systems are completely free. During the crisis, this was not changed. What I want to know is, how does that come about? How many people have to participate in this decision for it to hold up? How many people have to oppose an idea like this for it to fall apart?


The whole movie is about an hour long. We won't look at all of it, just these segments:

Basic Background
10:05 It explains the basic story of what Cuba went through, called 'The Special Period'.

How Cultural Narratives Influence Perception




This kind of silly video is a great example of how 'framing' an idea can really affect how people then perceive that idea.

Narratives are constructed not only about ideas, but about products, political parties, minority groups in society. Parents construct a narrative about their kids, and that narrative affects their kids' perception of themselves.

Basically, the stories we tell influence our thinking as much as or more than the subjects of the stories do.

Like last week, we're going to practice using our critical faculties and intuition. As we watch the video together, we'll share the thoughts that occur to us, and create the discussion together.

Video Transcript:
Here are definitive scientific facts that prove that cats are better than dogs.
Here's a picture of a dog after a grueling and demeaning day working the pole at a local strip club.
Here's a picture of the cat after only five minutes, at the same club.

Coding a Better Government



Today we're going to try a little experiment. We'll watch the video together, and I'll keep my hand hovering over the 'pause' button. The instant anyone has a question or comment we'll stop the video and talk about what they have to say.



8/25 討論逐字稿 Competition

We discussed "Competition".

This corresponds to how I think society should work.
How so?
People are supposedly natural-born communitarians, based on scientists studying how people arrange resources.
How do people arrange them?
People who major in economics tend to try to monopolize all the resources.
What were some of the proofs that people were communitarian by nature?
They gave children 100 dollars. They tended to equally divide into two parts.
And the economists were like here, give me all the money and I’ll invest it for you!
The economics students would take 98% instead of 50/50.
98?
Or 99.
Wow.

Professional or Human Being? Can we be both?

For today's discussion there are three ideas to explore. The first area has come out of our 8/21 discussion of Aliens vs. Robots:
"Professionalism is about controlling emotions to appropriate expression.
Emotional expression is sometimes a burden on other people, and at the same time sometimes it's the most respectful thing."
For the following questions, I want to understand two things:
What's the standard cultural opinion as you understand it?
Do you have a different opinion on this than the standard cultural opinion?


When is emotional expression 'drama', and when is it 'authentic'?
When is emotional expression 'appropriate'? When is it not appropriate?
When someone can't avoid emotional expression in an 'inappropriate' situation, what is the person's responsibility in that situation? What are others' responsibility in that situation? Meaning, what is the appropriate way to handle it?

8/21 討論逐字稿 SuperBetter

We discussed Jane McGonigal's two TED talks about gaming.

Closing Statements
Firstly, when I saw this topic, I was a little bit shocked, because I used to play console games when I was a kid. I enjoyed myself. But I did my homework, actually, and I would finish as quickly as possible in order to play games. When I grew up, again, I used to indulge myself in Sudoku games, I played this a lot. So, the first time I saw this video's title, I think, it's totally a waste of time, playing games! Because I really didn't do anything, and I really spent most of my time on it. So it shocked me that she can see things in this way. So the most impressive part of the video is maybe the final part. She wants to design a real world into a game world.
I think she wants to make the world into a game.

After she explained the difference between the reality and the game, I think it's really cool to think this way, if we really can do so, it's brilliant, totally. And, but at the same time, I just wonder that, why people can trust each other easily in the game, is there something different from the game and the real world we are living in? Or it's like, people just get rid of their sense of embarrassment when they are in the game?

8/18 課堂筆記 Aliens vs. Robots

Concluding statements:
Today we talked about professionalism, the first thing that came to mind is related to doctors.  In addition to being a music educator, I’m also working on projects related to medical ethics, so this really interests me.  I think there's a lot to talk about in medical ethics, how we train doctors to become empathic to human beings, and also not to lost professionalism, when they are treating a patient, and trying to communicate with them.  But from working on these projects, I find it's hard to teach ethics, in a widely accepted way.  And so this topic becomes quite interesting.  But I deeply believe that, being a doctor, since I work with a lot of doctors, and try to help them, and as a research assistant try to help them build medical ethics, I think a professional doctor, it's not mutually exclusive to be a good doctor and a good person.  And sometimes, it's interesting to see how doctors from older generations, in their time there were no medical ethics, in fact, but they were great doctors, and they care about their patients as much as young doctors do, even though the were not taught medical ethics, they just do things based on their experience.  So I think, yes we should teach this, but it's also not something you teach, you just expect doctors to be this way.  We should carefully select those who want to dedicate their lives to medical practice.  It's the person that makes him or her be a good doctor. 
I was thinking about a high school friend.  He used to be a very smart person, in 7th grade, he was one year younger than us because he skipped ahead.  He was a genius and he always ranked at the top, and in 9th grade he skipped again, and then got into medical school.  Lots of people go to medical school if they have high grades.   But he didn't become successful like I thought, he turned out to not really become a doctor in the end.  He said he was not perfect for it.  He liked medicine, but he felt he was not suitable for it.  So he studied neuroscience, to be a researcher instead of a doctor.  He's in medicine, but not treating patients. I would say he's a very professional person.  It's kind of that he was professional, to choose what he knew he was suited for. But it still kind of surprises me.

It seems to me that everything I said today related to not trusting professionals, so I will continue in this vein.   Well, I tend to think that the empathy thing, or being caring of 

SuperBetter



8/21課堂筆記在這裡

Today we're discussing both of Jane McGonigal's TED talks, "The game that can give you 10 extra years of life" and "Gaming can make a better world" I feel the points she is making in each talk is related. Each quote below links to the talk it originally came from.

If you can manage to experience three positive emotions for every one negative emotion over the course of an hour, a day, a week, you dramatically improve your health and your ability to successfully tackle any problem you're facing. And this is called the three-to-one positive emotion ratio.

Notes to TED Wed 8/8, The Power of Being Embarrassed

What does it mean to practice?
Doing something consciously, noticing the details, with an eye towards improving it.
Making you more familiar with what you're doing.
Broaden your comfort zone.
Trying new things in order to broaden your skills.

Is there a difference between practicing and doing?
Practicing and doing should be the same thing. Some practice is for a habit, and some doing is for real life.
Practicing is an ongoing thing, but doing is now.
Two aspects to practice:
It's a scheduled thing, you do it without consciousness.
Do it enough, it becomes part of your life, it becomes doing.
Practicing is about having a goal, but doing has no goal.
"do the dishes" = you get it done.
Practice doesn't end.
To get something done, you have to practice endlessly first.

Robots vs. Aliens




We're going to discuss Tonee Ndugu's talk. Here's the challenge, we're not going to discuss so much what he said, as how he presents it. Well, we're also going to talk about what he said, because it relates. But, if you look under the Youtube video of his talk, you see all his credentials of what he's started up and done. But if you look at how he presents himself, it's strange and weird and doesn't fit in to how a presentation, a TED talk! is 'supposed' to be. So this presentation of his, brings up some questions:

What is professional? Professional behavior?
What's the difference between an amateur and a professional?
Why is it considered good to be professional?
What are the advantages? Drawbacks?

Why is emotionalism, leaping around topic to topic, talking about oneself, or even literally leaping around on stage, suspect?
Why do we have to show a dour and reasonable demeanor?

When does being a person interfere with being a professional?
When does being a professional interfere with being a person?
Is it possible to be both?

Why is it easier to regularly have one's face looking scowly and busy than to smile at each other on the street?

Tonee Ndungu says robots vs. aliens is the greatest fight of you against you. So, what are the characteristics of an alien, according to Tonee Ndungu? A robot?
Do you know people who fall into these categories?
Are you comfortable with this characterization?

The Power of Being Embarrassed




According to John Berkavitch in his Ubud TEDx talk, there are six steps you need to take to become good at something.

1. Want to be good at that thing
2. Learn your craft. Understand it, and practice
3. Start practicing more than you're actually practicing.
4. Realizing that if you stop practicing you're not going to get better, and in fact will backslide.
5. When you're actually quite good at something, stay humble, and realize there's always going to be someone who's better than you, if not now, than eventually.
6. Listen to other people. Listen to their advice, criticism and opinions. You can't be precious about your ideas or what you're doing. Realize the everyone's opinion has value, absolutely everyone. Understand that an idea is something that can grow. The best way to make it grow is to expose it to another idea.


What does it mean to practice?
Is there a difference between practicing and doing?

討論逐字稿 Self-Nurturing as the Ultimate Leadership

How would you define self-centered? Selfish?
I thought they're similar.
Well if they're similar, what do they both mean?
Because if I know someone, only take care of themself, and only want other people to follow their opinions, then I will think he is self-centered. But if use another stronger words, maybe we will say, he is very selfish! So it's similar. No, no, no, it's different.
What's different?
No, selfish is he only cares about he or herself, but self-centered want others to...
Take care of--
...follow his or her opinions, but he only cares about him or herself.
I agree with your first one. And I think, a selfish person, he or she always thinks his opinion is right. Or they are the most smart, others are stupid.
I think self-centered is just care about themselves, and selfish, I think it might harm other people. And self-centered, you don't think about harming other people.
I guess selfish has benefit involved. Selfish people care about what benefit they will get.

討論逐字稿 The Courage to Live

We discussed "The Courage to Live".

Saturday Transcript
Concluding Statements
Recently I’ve come here several times, this is the third time. You know, and every time I have to encounter a bunch of questions that challenge me a lot, but this means that I'm kind of in a stage of lots of chaos. Lots of thoughts in my head that I can't put them together to produce something meaningful. But by looking at these questions, not just including this time, and the several questions that were posed last Saturday or Wednesday, so I’ve found out that I might have the gift of giving strategies or solutions. Like two days ago I ate in MacDonald's, and I saw a couple of middle aged women sitting next door, and they were trying to solve a particular problem, and I just couldn’t help but to try to figure out something for them. I knew that it wasn't my business, but I just couldn't help to offer them a solution.
Were they surprised?
It was okay. Kind of, but they were friendly. So, returning to today's article, and especially the last part of the article, which gives us step-by-step solutions to find what we want to do, to realize the kind of personal goal, and I start thinking that I may do it in this way. It does offer me a practical solution to my personal problem. And here comes another fear, that where I am earning my money for, it's the fear that I do not want to continues, so and then there comes another fear that I may have to offer this for free and don't have a real job for awhile, so yeah, it's complicated. And, another thing I want to say is that, um, the reason why I want to study abroad and pick up something, that is because I want to gain some financial details or knowledge ...
But sometimes, I even challenge to my own thought in this question, by this I mean that, when I really have to obtain some knowledge, I still can gain it on my own. Yes, so, sometimes I don't know what to do in the next step, anything could happen. So embrace anything. Embrace that possibility, I think.

Ever since my mom told me she couldn't afford to let me go to cram school, I have suddenly realized there is something I can't control. Before that, I may even believe I can achieve anything. And this kind of crushed me down. And then, I start to conceal myself. By this I mean, I will evaluate whether the problem I'm encountering can gain help from others, otherwise I will keep it to myself. The reason why I stopped learning in both junior and senior high, may be due to the fact that I can't deal with the obstacle I have to face. So I kind of abandon myself, and the high school teacher, although the high school teacher came to ask me what's the problem, I still didn't tell them. Despite that I feel 'what's the point of studying hard and working hard', I haven’t been able to find the real thing I really want to do. So, maybe that's also why I always come back to study hard.
Because it's what you know how to do.
Yeah. Compared with work for some idiot, study is a kind of paradise for me.
Yes, I think this is the reasoning of a lot of people in graduate school.
But recently, I’ve come to know you, Angela, and you kind of reinvigorate, you make me feel this world is still interesting. So that I can still find something I can devote myself to. And all the way, I try to study abroad, or try to improve my English proficiency. In the beginning, it's almost impossible for me, but now I'm glad I insisted on this goal. And maybe the best thing about this whole process is that I have the chance to meet some good people. And I also start to realize sometimes I have to reveal myself to others. And so I'm kind of happy I start to get in touch with my friends too.

Don't Regret Regret



Let's define regret.
What is the feeling of regret?
When you regret something, what do you do?
Which do you regret more, things you did do, or things you didn't?
Do you try to live a life without regrets?
Would you be happier if you didn't regret things?
Is not regretting things the same as living a life without making mistakes?

The five components of regret are denial, a sense of bewilderment, a desire to punish ourselves, perseveration, and a kind of existential wake-up-call.
Why do you suppose we wish to punish ourselves?
Where does that come from? What does that existential wake-up-call do to our sense of self, and our sense of our place in the world?

Where does Control-Z culture come from? Undo!
How do we get taught to think like this?
"We want to do everything ourselves and we want to do it right." Is this true for you?
If so, do you agree with this attitude?

What is being human, and what is being humane? What do these two ideas mean to you?
What does this have to do with regret?

Self-Nurturing as the Ultimate Leadership



In this video, Koelle Simpson, a "horse whisperer and life coach" talks about a very different way of being a leader.

How would you define self-centered? Selfish?
Why is self-centeredness/selfishness bad?

What would be an example self-nurturing?
What might the difference be between self-nurturing and selfish?

What does a leader look like? Who is an example of a leader you admire?
How can you tell when someone is 'in power'? Who's an example of being 'in power'?
Is there a difference between being 'in power' and being a leader?

Should a leader prove themselves in some way? If so, how?
Does winning an election prove that a leader is the best for the job?

The Courage to Live

討論逐字稿這裡

The Courage to Live Consciously is a stupendously long article (this author is officially a long-talker) but the subject fit our recent trend of discussions, so let's have at it!

What is the hardest thing in the world for you to do?
What's something you wish you were good at?
What's something that you fail at a lot, but want to do well?
What's something you want to start now, but are kind of afraid of doing?
When have you been courageous or brave in your life? Stories?

Have you ever had any of these fears?
Fear of failure.
Fear of rejection.
Fear of going broke.
Fear of being alone.
Fear of humiliation.
Fear of public speaking.
Fear of being ostracized by family and friends.
Fear of physical discomfort.
Fear of regret.
Fear of success.

Why would sb. be afraid of success? Of being ostracized? Of being alone?

Can you admit that you're great?

討論逐字稿 Embracing Failure

Today we're talking about Embracing Failure. We start by talking about learning to ride a bike, learning to speak a foreign language.

Let's first talk about riding a bike. How did you learn to ride a bike, what was the process?
Just do it!
I started with the training wheels.
Me too.
When did you lose the training wheels and just start biking?
I can't remember the actual.
Do you remember how you felt ready enough to take them off?
I didn't start with the training wheels, just rode it.
But there's a point at which you learn to balance, how did that happen?
No idea, it just happened.
For me too.
My mom, or my father stand behind me, to try to help me balance.
Did they walk along holding the bike?
And sometimes they just let go, and rode, and it just worked.
My grandfather would hold the bike at first and then he would let go but hold his arm out like he was holding it, and then he would tell you that he let go, and you would realise that you'd been doing it yourself. Then you would freak out and fall over, but it was about building confidence.
Yeah, same thing.

Embracing Failure

(討論逐字稿在這裡)

Today's topic is from a blog called Living the Dream. They made a collection of links to different articles talking about failure. If you want to look into the subject more I encourage you to click through on some of the articles.

Let's first talk about riding a bike. How did you learn to ride a bike, what was the process?
Can someone 'teach' you how to ride a bike?

What are we talking about when we say 'failure'? Let's try to get a definition together first.
What are we afraid of, when we're afraid of failure? What's involved in being afraid of failure?
Is there a difference between 'failure' and 'fucking up'?
Can failing tests be helpful to overall learning?
Do you often repeat mistakes? Do you repeat them even when you understood what went wrong the first time?

How is creativity related to failure?
What is meant by creativity?
Can creativity be taught? Can it be facilitated?

討論逐字稿 Boundaries

We discussed a couple of articles on Boundaries. One was a blog post by Jim C. Hines, and the other was an article on CNN. CNN also collected the reactions to their article here.

Do we teach people that they have the right to take care of themselves?
I don't understand, of course people have to take care of themselves.
Actually, no, we don't teach people to take care of themselves. We teach people to take care of others first, then ourselves.
I mean, it's natural for me that people know that they should take care of themselves, they don't need to be taught by others, that's why I don’t get this question.
She just assumes that people know they should take care of themselves.
That's because you're very self-sufficient.
Yes, I agree.
Lots of people don't know how to take care of themselves.
Yes, that's true.
They don't know how to, that's the other question. The question here, they don't know they have the right.
They don’t know?
They don't know they have the right?
That's my humble opinion.
Mine is humble too, don't get me wrong!
In my memory it's that, my mother told me that, you have to take the responsibility for yourself. When you are maybe above 18 years old. But I don't think it's quite equal to take care of myself it's different things, but my parents didn’t tell me HOW to take care of myself. Be alone with myself.
That's an important skill!
I think we are taught to sacrifice ourself, a lot, a lot more than taking care of ourselves.

Discovery + Mentoring = Education


Today we're discussing how we ourselves learn, and some ideas about how to do school. There are two TED lectures for this discussion, "A short intro to the Studio School" and "Gever Tulley teaches life lessons through tinkering". The link at the top of each quote will take you to the lecture it comes from.

Multiple intelligences is a theory that there is more than one kind of intelligence in human beings. There's a lot of disagreement as to how to categorize the different intelligences, but the diagram above shows a lot of the options that have been put forward. Looking at the diagram, which kinds of intelligence do you have?

How teenagers (people!) learn
Teenagers who are really bored by schooling. It doesn't animate them. They're not like all of you who can sit in rows and hear things said to you for hour after hour. They want to do things, they want to get their hands dirty, they want education to be for real.
Teenagers learn best in teams.
Teenagers learn best by doing things for real.
You work by learning, and you learn by working.

Is this true or partially true for you? Is this true for anyone you know?
How do you personally learn best?

Boundaries

討論逐字稿這裡

"Over the weekend, I was talking on Facebook about an incident where a friend offered me food. I said no, and she immediately responded with, “Oh, why not? Come on, just take one.” -Jim C. Hines
Do you have a story about some time when you said no and someone didn't take it seriously, and kept bugging you about it?
How did you feel at the time?
How did you start feeling about that person? About yourself?

Do we teach people that they have the right to take care of themselves?
Do we teach that it’s okay to set boundaries?
Do we teach people to respect them?


Our culture says saying 'no' is rude/selfish/bad.
We grow up learning that “No” is rude. It’s more important to avoid hurting other people’s feelings. It’s important to be polite and accommodating. Setting boundaries and prioritizing our own comfort and safety is selfish. We push these lessons even harder on women, expecting them to be caretakers, putting everyone else’s needs above their own.
Screw that.


Our culture treats someone saying 'no' as a challenge to overcome
You have the right to set your own boundaries, to say no and to have that be respected.
It’s something my culture is really bad at. We treat “No” as a challenge, a hurdle to be overcome through pressure, alcohol, emotional manipulation, even physical force.

How to learn? From mistakes.



Here are some quotes illustrating the main points of Diana Laufenberg's TED talk, entitled,"How to learn? From mistakes."

School as access to information
In 1931, my grandmother graduated from the eighth grade. She went to school to get the information because that's where the information lived. It was in the books; it was inside the teacher's head; and she needed to go there to get the information, because that's how you learned.

Fast-forward a generation: this is the one-room schoolhouse, Oak Grove, where my father went to a one-room schoolhouse. And he again had to travel to the school to get the information from the teacher, stored it in the only portable memory he has, which is inside his own head, and take it with him, because that is how information was being transported from teacher to student and then used in the world.

When I was a kid, we had a set of encyclopedias at my house. It was purchased the year I was born, and it was extraordinary, because I did not have to wait to go to the library to get to the information. The information was inside my house and it was awesome. This was different than either generation had experienced before, and it changed the way I interacted with information even at just a small level. But the information was closer to me. I could get access to it.

討論逐字稿 Bring on the Education Revolution

We talked about Sir Ken Robinson's TED talk, Bring on the Revolution

Okay, who wants to retell the story of Gillian Lynne?
Okay, she is a creator to create a dance or play. When she was at school, she was so fidgity that her schoolteacher treated her as a problem at the school, and when her mother took her took her to a doctor, that doctor was able to find out the special ability Gillian Lynne possessed. So he suggested to her mother to take her to the dance class. That's how the legend started. And then later on she became a famous dancer and had her own company. She ended up becoming a billionaire. Maybe you can say she lived out her dream.
She lived out her dream and got rich, that's not bad. But she wouldn't have had any of that if someone had medicated her with Ritalin and put her back in school
I think that happens to a lot of people.

討論逐字稿 A Wonderful Country for Positive Thinkers

This is the transcript for the discussion "A Wonderful Country for Positive Thinkers", a talk from the Sudan Youth TEDx conference. Wafa Elamin talks about how the people in Sudan have to work on and invest in their own country, and not leave and wait for someone else to fix it.

Neuroplasticity
Neuro = brain
Plastic = easily stretchable or transformable (so the material plastic was named after its property)

Okay, so let's do her questionnaire. [this is for the group of 7]
Easy 3
Difficult 0
Opportunity 6
Unpromising 1
Excitement 0
Stress 6
Hope 3
Tiresome 2

Positive 12
Negative 9

So, we're more postiive than negative, that's not what I was expecting.
So, what's you're reaction to this?
Uh, why is Taiwan easy?
Why is it hard?
I mean, what do you mean when you say it's easy?
You need to go to college, it's easy, easy to eat, easy to go anywhere.
Easy to live, actually.
Based on my experience, it's easier than the US, it's even easier than NYC.
You mean convenient.
Part of it, yeah, but people are softer here, more human here.

Child-Driven Education



In his work, Sugatra Mitra shows that children are self-organizing learners. Now that he has demonstrated this, how do we take advantage of this across the world, and also in Taiwan?

Children will learn to do what they want to do
I started in 1999 to try and address this problem with an experiment, which was a very simple experiment in New Delhi. I basically embedded a computer into a wall of a slum in New Delhi. The children barely went to school, they didn't know any English -- they'd never seen a computer before, and they didn't know what the internet was. I connected high speed internet to it -- it's about three feet off the ground -- turned it on and left it there. After this, we noticed a couple of interesting things, which you'll see. But I repeated this all over India and then through a large part of the world and noticed that children will learn to do what they want to learn to do.
This is the first experiment that we did -- eight year-old boy on your right teaching his student, a six year-old girl, and he was teaching her how to browse. This boy here in the middle of central India -- this is in a Rajasthan village, where the children recorded their own music and then played it back to each other and in the process, they've enjoyed themselves thoroughly. They did all of this in four hours after seeing the computer for the first time. In another South Indian village, these boys here had assembled a video camera and were trying to take the photograph of a bumble bee. They downloaded it from Disney.com, or one of these websites, 14 days after putting the computer in their village. So at the end of it, we concluded that groups of children can learn to use computers and the internet on their own, irrespective of who or where they were.
At that point, I became a little more ambitious and decided to see what else could children do with a computer. We started off with an experiment in Hyderabad, India, where I gave a group of children -- they spoke English with a very strong Telugu accent. I gave them a computer with a speech-to-text interface, which you now get free with Windows, and asked them to speak into it. So when they spoke into it, the computer typed out gibberish, so they said, "Well, it doesn't understand anything of what we are saying." So I said, "Yeah, I'll leave it here for two months. Make yourself understood to the computer." So the children said, "How do we do that." And I said, "I don't know, actually." (Laughter) And I left. (Laughter) Two months later --

Bring on the Education Revoluition



討論逐字稿here.

Today I'm showing quotes from two different TED talks by Sir Ken Robinson. They center around the same ideas. If you just watch one, watch Bring on the Revolution, where he summarizes his ideas more. Schools Kill Creativity is an older talk, where he lays things out step by step a little more. The title of each quote holds the link to the talk it came from.


Gillian Lynne's story
Gillian Lynne -- have you heard of her? Some have. She's a choreographer and everybody knows her work. She did "Cats" and "Phantom of the Opera." She's wonderful. I used to be on the board of the Royal Ballet in England, as you can see. Anyway, Gillian and I had lunch one day and I said, "Gillian, how'd you get to be a dancer?" And she said it was interesting; when she was at school, she was really hopeless. And the school, in the '30s, wrote to her parents and said, "We think Gillian has a learning disorder." She couldn't concentrate; she was fidgeting. I think now they'd say she had ADHD. Wouldn't you? But this was the 1930s, and ADHD hadn't been invented at this point. It wasn't an available condition. (Laughter) People weren't aware they could have that.
Anyway, she went to see this specialist. So, this oak-paneled room, and she was there with her mother, and she was led and sat on this chair at the end, and she sat on her hands for 20 minutes while this man talked to her mother about all the problems Gillian was having at school. And at the end of it -- because she was disturbing people; her homework was always late; and so on, little kid of eight -- in the end, the doctor went and sat next to Gillian and said, "Gillian, I've listened to all these things that your mother's told me, and I need to speak to her privately." He said, "Wait here. We'll be back; we won't be very long," and they went and left her. But as they went out the room, he turned on the radio that was sitting on his desk. And when they got out the room, he said to her mother, "Just stand and watch her." And the minute they left the room, she said, she was on her feet, moving to the music. And they watched for a few minutes and he turned to her mother and said, "Mrs. Lynne, Gillian isn't sick; she's a dancer. Take her to a dance school."
I said, "What happened?" She said, "She did. I can't tell you how wonderful it was. We walked in this room and it was full of people like me. People who couldn't sit still. People who had to move to think." Who had to move to think. They did ballet; they did tap; they did jazz; they did modern; they did contemporary. She was eventually auditioned for the Royal Ballet School; she became a soloist; she had a wonderful career at the Royal Ballet. She eventually graduated from the Royal Ballet School and founded her own company -- the Gillian Lynne Dance Company -- met Andrew Lloyd Weber. She's been responsible for some of the most successful musical theater productions in history; she's given pleasure to millions; and she's a multi-millionaire. Somebody else might have put her on medication and told her to calm down.

Totnes Transition Town



In looking into the New Economy, how to exchange value with each other in a way that benefits everyone as well as the planet, the idea of cooperatives comes up a lot. Then there's the idea of a Transition Town, which seems to be a kind of cooperative on steroids, in a very interesting way. Here's a TEDx talk that begins to explain a little.

Start watching "My Town in Transition" at 2:29 to skip the introduction.

Below is a short summary of the video.

The people in Totnes realized that the town had lost all its major economic drivers, and was going to die a long slow economic death. They also realized that no one was going to ride up and save them, that they had to save themselves. And the only way to do it was 'if we harness the collective genius of the people around us'.

They started by holding a party called 'The Unleashing' to kick off a number of projects:
Nut tree planting project = urban food forest
A new local currency, the Totnes pound = reinvestment in local business
Local food directory = where can you buy local easily
Cohousing group = looking to build or renew local housing for people to live together who don't have traditional families.
Open eco-homes, open edible gardens = awareness raising so people can see how it's done
garden-share scheme = you have land but don't have time/energy to work it, matched with people who want to grow food.

討論逐字稿 New Economic Visions: Currency

This is the transcript of our discussion of New Economic Visions: Currency.

At the most basic level, currency functions as a means of exchange (I give you a dollar and you give me an ice cream cone), a unit of value (a dollar, pound, etc.) and a store of value (you can hold onto a dollar as it maintains its worth). It’s also a source of information about relative value, and about what is needed to keep trade flowing, for instance, by adjusting the supply of money or the exchange rate so that those in other markets can afford your goods.

Does this make sense as a definition to you?
Actually at the beginning, when currency wasn't created yet, people used their own things to barter, for instance I exchanged my cup with jennifer for some bread. But because it's hard to value these things, it's hard to measure the value of those things, and in order to have a fair value on this exchanging step, the currency was created.
But it's not really fair, there's a lot of problems.
Can you iterate?
I think compared to when people are exchanging things [bartering], [using currency] takes away from the relationship of those two people.
How so?
Like if i exchange something with you, then we would chat, we would bond, but if its just money then, it's just like business.
Some of the human interaction is lost.
Yes, and it's easier to exploit people because of it.
Actually, one of the people brought that up in an article, so now it's the second time i'm hearing it. Because, we've been talking about trust a lot lately, right?
Right.
And so when they started talking about trust in these articles it made me prick up my ears.
In some parts of the world, this kind of trading still exists.
Exactly.
Like markets in Africa, and people just gather around in villages, and if I just decided I can trade my things with your things, and both sides are happy with what they get, becase the agree to exchange that and they got what they wanted.
Business activity has to be based on trust, so its no matter what the intermediate stuff is that you utilize, first of all, if you have to carry your commodity for a long distance, it won't be convenient for you to exchange your stuff directly without currency.
That's why we've moved away from direct bartering.
Also the article you posted has demonstrated a way to preserve the benefit of currency. And in the meantime, without spoiling the trust between people. On the contrary it increases the interaction and trust between people.
How so?
They created another kind of currency, people in that community, becase they trust each other.
Yes, they all accept this currency.
So the problem is we are using currency we didn't decide to use.
Hm!
Someone else decided.
I read some article, that said to decentralize the control of currency, the idea is similar to what oliver said, it means, currency can be created by a certain group of people, and these people, they trust each other. Is it the same idea?

New Economic Visions: Currency

(Click here for a transcript of the discussion)

Today we begin our explorations into new visions for how to exchange value with people in our communities and across the globe, in a way that benefits everyone. Some people are calling this "The New Economy".

These are quotes from two different articles, click the title of the quote to reach the article. The articles themselves are not long, I highly recommend reading them through.

What does currency measure?
At the most basic level, currency functions as a means of exchange (I give you a dollar and you give me an ice cream cone), a unit of value (a dollar, pound, etc.) and a store of value (you can hold onto a dollar as it maintains its worth). It’s also a source of information about relative value, and about what is needed to keep trade flowing, for instance, by adjusting the supply of money or the exchange rate so that those in other markets can afford your goods.

The Different Applications of currency
If money is for trading, you want to use it; if money is to store value, you want to save it. Greco and others such as David Boyle say that people could be better served by separating out the functions of money—and using different currencies, depending on whether you are, say, meeting friends at a local café or saving for college.

Conventional currency excels at serving as a store of value—so much so that use of money for actual trade slows down, leaving some local economies stuck. Coin and paper currencies do not lose value like the products one buys with them can, which makes hoarding and speculation attractive, particularly with the enticement of interest. Argentine economist Silvio Gesell described this phenomenon in 1913 and said that money also should lose value: that it should “rust” or go moldy like other commodities, and suggested a penalty, or demurrage fee, for holding onto it.

Austerity: The Transcript

Ok today we're discussing Austerity, Solution or Problem?, but before we start, I just want to point this out, since I hear people say this wrong a lot:
Greece = the country
Greek = the adjective "the Greek economy"
Greek = the people "the Greeks"

Okay, so today, what I'm hoping, is that we can build on what we figured out in the Apple Economics discussion, and try to sort of apply that to the austerity problem. Like, see if we can apply austerity, or Paul Krugman's solutions to our simplified Apple Economy and see what we can learn from it.
So, how did this problem with the euro get started in the first place?
When Europe was created, they were afraid that each country in Europe would spend too much, so they set a kind of rule to limit each country's spending.
Why were they afraid they would spend too much?
You mean Greece, or Germany or something?
It was called the the Maastricht Treaty.
Each country in the European union should follow this rule.
So what's the benefit? They created the euro system, so what's the benefit of the euro?
For Germany, the benefit was that their exports were increased.
Because the currency is higher?
The currency is lower. Because the real value of the mark is higher than the euro, so when it changed to the euro, it means the value decreased.
It means that they had more money.
So they created the euro because of this?
Because they wanted to fight against the prices of America, right?
It has to do with oil prices and currency strength. Before the euro, the global currency was the American dollar. Major commodities like oil were priced in US dollars. This is very convenient for the US gvt, because it doesn't have to buy currency to buy oil so it saves a lot of money on currency conversion, and a lot of headache with currency prices rising suddenly, and actually it can just print money to buy it if it needs. So the US had this built in advantage. So people wanted to have a currency as strong as the dollar as an alternative. You know, after the euro was started up, Iraq threatened to sell oil in Euros only. I wonder if that was one of the reasons for the US invading Iraq.
I think you can think about the Apple Economy to explain why they need a euro. Because we just said that the real economy needs to be equal to the virtual economuy. The value of currency should be equal to the real economy. The American economy produces a huge growth in the world. So if it can create, combine the European countries, to become another big country, then the euro just equals this product.

Austerity, Solution or Problem?

(click here for this Austerity discussion transcript)

Here are quotes from four articles by Paul Krugman. He's criticizing the obsession of European and USian leaders with austerity, and his solution appears to be growth stimulus. What I would like to do is expand what we learned in the Apple Economics talk. What I would like to figure out is, how do Paul Krugman's suggestions work in our Apple Economy? Is he taking into account the basic problem of the virtual economy in his solution? What might be the differences between "expansionary policy" "inflation" and "growth"? This isn't going to be an easy discussion, but it might be very rewarding.

Death of a Fairy Tale
For the past two years most policy makers in Europe and many politicians and pundits in America have been in thrall to a destructive economic doctrine. According to this doctrine, governments should respond to a severely depressed economy not the way the textbooks say they should — by spending more to offset falling private demand — but with fiscal austerity, slashing spending in an effort to balance their budgets.
Critics warned from the beginning that austerity in the face of depression would only make that depression worse. But the “austerians” insisted that the reverse would happen. Why? Confidence! “Confidence-inspiring policies will foster and not hamper economic recovery.”

Easy Useless Economics
A few days ago, I read an authoritative-sounding paper in The American Economic Review, one of the leading journals in the field, arguing at length that the nation’s high unemployment rate had deep structural roots and wasn’t amenable to any quick solution. The author’s diagnosis was that the U.S. economy just wasn’t flexible enough to cope with rapid technological change. The paper was especially critical of programs like unemployment insurance, which it argued actually hurt workers because they reduced the incentive to adjust.

O.K., there’s something I didn’t tell you: The paper in question was published in June 1939. Just a few months later, World War II broke out, and the United States began a large military buildup, finally providing fiscal stimulus on a scale commensurate with the depth of the slump. And, in the two years after that article about the impossibility of rapid job creation was published, U.S. nonfarm employment rose 20 percent — the equivalent of creating 26 million jobs today.

Those Revolting Europeans
There seems to be little if any gain in return for the pain. Ireland has been a good soldier in this crisis, imposing ever-harsher austerity in an attempt to win back the favor of the bond markets. According to the prevailing orthodoxy [of austerity], this should work. In fact, the will to believe is so strong that members of Europe’s policy elite keep proclaiming that Irish austerity has indeed worked, that the Irish economy has begun to recover.
But it hasn’t. And although you’d never know it from much of the press coverage, Irish borrowing costs remain much higher than those of Spain or Italy, let alone Germany. So what are the alternatives?

討論逐字稿 A Radical Tactical Shift discussion transcript

We discussed Lewis Pugh's TED talk, A Radical Tactical Shift.

At the business magazine, we had this discussion all the time, but at the school, nobody likes change. That's why you can see lots of teachers teaching at the same levels, teaching the same level of kids for 10 years, and they don't even want to change it.
Why was the magazine always talking about change?
Because the world is changing so quickly, how you do things, the way you do things is no longer useful now. Just like, when the technology takes the place of humans, then there are lots of people who cannot, who lost their jobs. That's why you need to change. You should change your skills, that's why you need new skills, in order to put yourself into this market again.
Change, in recent years, there are many giant companies that failed, because of the new style of companies growing up, like Apple and Angry Birds, and a lot of applications providers. The make those giant like Nokia and Microsoft maybe become nothing, and that's because the whole environment changes, and people need to change their strategies, or they cannot survive.
Yeah, like a person I know, their company makes the buttons for cell phones, and they had a really good business going. But now everything is touch screen, and they're really hurting, so they made the decision to switch to cosmetics. It turns out the machines for cell phone buttons are the same machines for pressing powder. But which, imagine! Your whole contact list and way of doing things is electronics, and now you have to switch to dealing with cosmetics companies? A whole different culture, you're starting from scratch! But otherwise you have to throw out the whole company.

A Radical Tactical Shift

(Click here for the discussion transcript)



In this talk, Lewis Pugh describes the experience that showed him a radical new way to approach swimming and think about climate change.

Some quotes from Lewis Pugh's speech:
"There is nothing more powerful than the made-up mind."
"And my team just gave it to me straight. They said, Lewis, you need to have a radical tactical shift if you want to do this swim. Every single thing which you have learned in the past 23 years of swimming, you must forget. Every single thing which you learned when you were serving in the British army, about speed and aggression, you put that to one side. Instead of swimming fast, swim as slowly as possible. Instead of swimming crawl, swim breaststroke. And remember, never ever swim with aggression. This is the time to swim with real humility."

討論逐字稿 Women's Values (discussion transcript)


Last friday we discussed the TED talk given by Halla Tomasdottir, A Feminine Response to Iceland's Financial Crash

Discussion:
Name the valuable qualities of women who are close to you. What are they good at? What are their strengths? What do you admire about them? What can they do that you wish you could personally do?
She is independent, she can analyze her views and others' views clearly, and not be influenced by personal emotions. She is very open to share her own emotions, and very open minded.
Good at listening to themselves, and organizing things, following through on their own decisions. They've got really strong inner strength, and patience with people.
I know a person who is tenacious, knowledgable, kind to people, and willing to show her weakness.
That's not easy!
I know a doctor, she is sympathetic, and I think she is patient, think about her patience.
My idol in my list, is a woman with good knowledge, very brave, has the passion to do things she likes to do, and she's strong enough to fight with people, but she is very kind and gentle.
I like that you mentioned brave, because yes, a lot of the women I know are very brave.
So the pateince is the point, I found that three of us mentioned that three of us mentioned that patience is a very important characteristic. Right?
Yeah.
Actually, I said passion.
Oh, right.

What do the women you know value in life? Value in a partner? Look for in a job? Look for in a living situation?
Let's talk about life, first. Life?
Enjoyment, freedom and happiness.
Feeling at ease.
Always work hard and always play harder.
Always learning, growing, sharing.

Women's Values



Tonight we're discussing the TED talk given by Halla Tomasdottir, A Feminine Response to Iceland's Financial Crash.

Halla Tomasdottir believes that women’s values are key to solving Iceland’s economic crisis. In 2007, Halla and her business partner, Kristin Petursdottir, co-founded Audur Capital to bring greater diversity, social responsibility, and “feminine values” to the financial services industry. These values include independence, risk awareness, straight talk, emotional capital, and profit with principles.