9/2 Growth: It Ain't Happening

Instead of our usual series of questions to think through an issue, this week and the previous week we are studying an article written by Darius Guppy for the Telegraph, a British newspaper, that was published in February, 2010.
I’ve made a summary of the article for us to discuss, as he uses quite complex English to make his points. The original article can be found here.

Darius Guppy was educated at Eton and was a member of the Bullingdon Club, of which David Cameron (prime minister of Britain) and Boris Johnson (Mayor of London) were also members. He was once a close friend of the brother of Princess Diana, Charles Spencer, but later Guppy became angry at him and broke the friendship. Guppy now lives in South Africa. The articles he’s written have been dismissed since he was once put in jail for insurance fraud, but I think they’re the clearest descriptions I have yet read about what is going on in the finance system.

The summary:
We don't grow our economies because we want to, we're forced to do so because of how banks work. In my previous article I argued that because of the fact that banks can lend out 10 times the money that's actually in their vaults--that they can in effect lend out 10 bars of gold for every bar of gold in their bank--is in effect a hidden fraud that separates finance from the real world, and creates a virtual economy based on debt that is bound to implode.

8/26 課堂筆記 Our World Balances on a Sea of Debt

Participants: Amy, Maggie, Fanny, Stacy, Angela

Concluding statements:
I must say what I learned in this article. This article made me have more orgainzed clear idea of how the monetary system works, and solves some questions of why bank failed, gvt failed, and why our economy becomes so terrible. And the most interesting thing I learned is the story of Jewish law, how the Catholic Church made interest illegal, and so that's one reason why some people hate Jewish people so much. (because the Jews were the moneylenders, and charged interest)

I think I'm so surprised that the money base and the circulating money is 10 times of the money base, because I never thought about this question before. I always thought, yes, the bank and the gvt will have so much money to circulate in the economic system. so I know that why the economy will collapse, or decrease, because they created a virtual economy system, that's not equal to the real money, or real economy. So I'm very shocked, and I learned about that. The other thing is, I still have some question about the, how do we know that the value of the currency. Because I wonder if the US gvt printed more and more money, how wouldn't that solve things!

But Fanny answered that question!

8/26 (五) 7:30pm Our World Balances on a Sea of Debt

Who creates money?
Is our economy based on the actual value of goods and services exchanged?
Do governments have any real control over the economy?
How does economic ‘growth’ actually work?

Instead of our usual series of questions to think through an issue, This week and next week I would like to study two article written by Darius Guppy for the Telegraph, a British newspaper, that was published in February, 2010. The points he makes are quite similar to an idea brought up earlier this year when we were discussing Time Banking, the idea that if your economy is based on interest, it means that it is based on permanent growth, which is ultimately unsustainable, considering that the planet has a finite amount of resources.
I’ve made a summary of the article, as he uses quite educated English to make his points. The original article can be found here.

8/19 課堂筆記: Redefining Normal

Closing Statements:
Well, I think it's always hard for people to change, because of the fear, we are not sure about the change afterwards, if its going to be better or worse. But in my own experience and in my friends' experience change usually gives us a better life. just like one of my friends quit her job for over one year at the age of 40, that takes courage, and actually she had a very good job. But now she already started her new job, and after this one year of refreshing herself, I think her life will be different. and from my own experience i have the same feeling. Before you change, you feel so scared, it's too hard for people to change, but it's always worth the effort, and the struggle, if you want to change, I mean.

Just like she said, if we want to change, we will be scared, or uncertain, so actually I don't like to change.

I don't think anybody does.

But I think some people, they like to change their style often.

But that's minor.

But how do we define the change, if it's minor, that's okay, but if it's a big major change it matters, i think. Actually, when I moved near the school, that led me to do my experiments, but then I can't sleep in my soft bed. Because now where I live, I don't have a fridge, it's very inconvenient, but I'm getting used to this lifestyle, so maybe the change is not so bad for us, but we fear the uncertainty of the change i think. So if we conquer the difficulty of the, it's hard to say, but maybe it's not so difficult to fact the change itself.

8/19 (五) 7:30pm Redefining Normal

Discussion Question: When you’ve made a change, what’s the best way to help it become the ‘new normal’?

Questions to Think About:
1. What is normal?
2. What are some of the things in your everyday life that you consider normal?
3. What do you normally talk about with people you know?
4. What sorts of things do you normally see in the media?

5. What are some changes you’ve chosen to make in your life?
6. What are some changes you’ve been forced to make in your life?

7. When you’re dealing with change, who do you talk to about it?
8. What are some of the things you do when you’re faced with a sudden change?

8/5課堂筆記 When being who you are challenges the norms

Closing Statements:
I don't want to get married, and society can't accept this. Also my family will not accept this. I told my mom that I will probably not get married in this life, and she's always like, "oh, you will be alooooone." And i say this is okay, and she's like, this is not okay. And my aunties and cousins think it'll be good for me to get married. But I think it's okay to be alone. I've got friends! And my sister says she'll push my chair when I get old.
I think for society and for the traditional part, I'm not okay in the marriage problem.

Can I suggest something evil? The next time your mom says you'll be alone, then why don't you ask her, "Aren't YOU alone?"

Ohhh! you're evil!! But it's true, even if you're married, you can be alone, or lonely.

8/5 (五) 7:30pm: When being who you are challenges the norms

Discussion Question: What about who you are is hard for society to accept?

Questions to Think About:
1. What is a tradition?
2. Do you enjoy traditional things?
3. Which traditions do you enjoy? What’s your favorite tradition?
4. Which ones irritate or frustrate you? Which one bothers you the most?
5. How do you know something is ‘traditional’?
6. Is there a difference between ‘tradition’ and ‘this is how we’ve always done it’?
7. Do traditions evolve? (i.e. barbeque at moon festival) Which ones tend to stay the same, which ones tend to evolve?
8. Does the evolution change what the tradition is about? Does it change the essence?