The Value of Homespun

With Mr. Trump’s current focus of rewarding billionaires and millionaires I wonder if it might not be prudent to take wisdom from the actions of Mahatma Ghandi. Ghandi was an unfaltering advocate for the poor, undertaking a number of hunger strikes to protest the oppression of the poor. In order to insure India’s economic independence from the Colonial policies of England he participated in and encouraged others to participate in an ascetic lifestyle. The most popular images of him are in a loincloth and a shawl. As part of his struggle to gain economic independence for India he advocated the manufacture of homespun cloth. He did this as an alternative to expensive imported textiles, effectively creating a boycott on items he felt disadvantaged India’s poor.

We are entering a new era of imperialism, one not unlike that of England in the beginnings of the 20th century. I fear if we are not careful we will see that a larger and larger percentage of our wages will end up in the hands of the wealthy imperialists in our country. That is why I advocate for keeping more of those wages for ourselves. To do this we must recognize the power we have to drive the economy. We must give ourselves a raise by buying local.  We must cut our costs by spending less, buying usedsaving half of what we make and growing our own food. The rising use of pesticides in the production of our food as an impact on our health. Growing our own food gives us the control over our health and it is neither expensive or time consuming. It also decreases our reliance on Big Pharma.

It will take time and commitment to change our world and with food and housing taking up more and more of our income we find that we have less time to engage in those things we love. The beauty of living on less is that we end up having more time for those things we love. We all suffered in the recession of 2008. Looking at the make up of the current administration it is very possible that the recession can happen again. Let’s prepare for that eventuality by following Ghandi’s lead and becoming more self sufficient. Let’s create our own homespun.

Snake Oil Salesman Unite

The Medicine Show in Washington has begun. Snake Oil Salesman of any ilk will be coming out of the woodworks. That means that they will be vying for our hard earned dollars. What does that mean for us? If we look at who’s on the Trump transition team we can take steps to keep that hard earned cash to ourselves. Ron Nicol is director of agency action. His focus has been telecommunications and airlines. Keith Kellogg who is in charge of defense has worked for a variety of defense and homeland security contractors. Cindy Hayden, Jim Carafano and Ronald Burgess are responsible for national security. Combined these individuals have expertise in the areas of tobacco, defense and national security in a social media age. David Malpass assisting with economic issues was an economist at Bear Stearns which failed in the 2008 market crash. Myron Ebell, Mike McKenna and Steve Hart. Combined these three represent climate change skeptics, Dow Chemical and Koch Industries lobbyists and de-regulation.

What this tells me is that in years ahead the following industries should benefit greatly by de-regulation and tax incentives: telecommunications, airlines, defense, military and police contractors, tobacco, internet security, spyware, investment banking, oil & gas and food production. That de-regulation will mean higher costs to us and the environment. The easiest way to defend against higher costs in these areas is to reduce our dependence on these industries. Again, I advocate getting involved in your local economy and eat organic. Talk to your neighbors, visit local businesses, stay away from national chains, support the people who live and work in your community. If we do this then they will support us as well.

Change Our World

In the light of the recent election there are many people who are dissatisfied with the result. The good news is we can change our world. We do that by supporting those who have the same beliefs that we have. We do that spiritually, emotionally, physically and financially. The energy we give to our causes, causes them to grow. If we engage every minute of our day with thoughtfulness and mindfulness then those things we hold dear will grow. Here are a number of ways that we can support our community. When we spend our money we are giving our energy to a bigger community. We choose that community by deciding where to spend. We need to be aware of where that money goes. Read the labels. Every product has a “made in” or “distributed by” label. If we want to change our world we need to support the communities we believe in. There are people in our neighborhoods, in our communities who have the skills and connections we need to satisfy our daily wants and needs. Find these people, support them. Give them your business and they will reciprocate. It doesn’t matter if you’re African-American, Latino, Native-American, Asian-American or any other american. When we do business in our community our community grows. That’s how we change our world.

Paying TOO MUCH for internet?

According to Reviews.com the US lags behind the rest of the developed world in both internet speed and affordability. In Tokyo, Paris, and Bucharest, $40 will get you around 300 Mbps; in Kansas City and most of the US, it’ll buy you 30 Mbps, according to New America’s The Cost of Connectivity 2014 report. So what do you do? Well, the best thing to do is figure out just how much bandwidth you need. To do that go to the FCC’s Broadband guide. Don’t ask your provider. Their first line of customer service is to sell you more product. As an example, my family is a light to moderate user according to the FCC. When I signed up with Comcast they didn’t even ask me any usage questions. They went ahead and signed me up for the Blast which is about ten times what I need.

Now figuring out what package you need from your provider is a little trickier. Take Xfinity for example. The way their website is set up you can’t just go there and find out what package gives you X amount of Mbps at what price. You have to talk to one of them. Why do you ask? It’s because the few telecommunication monoliths have created local monopolies. Your options from the major providers will depend almost completely on where you live. And in order to take advantage of that local monopoly and charge you the most that they can they don’t publish national rates. Check it out. Go out to Xfinity and try to find a price structure before you put in your address. You can’t.

You can do an internet search on “internet speeds” but be prepared to search. The information isn’t compiled in a specific area that I can find as of yet. Here are some of the speeds: Comcast Xfinity, CenturyLink. Once you’ve purchased a package you can make sure you get what you pay for by periodically checking your upload and download speeds. You can do that at Speedtest. The nice thing about Speedtest is that after you’ve checked you speeds you can answer a survey that allows them to track those speeds.

Your internet provider can also do something that is called “throttling.” This is where the ISP slows your download speeds for whatever reason. How many of you have been watching a movie on Netflix when all of a sudden the movie begins to buffer? This could be a case of your ISP throttling you. Lifehacker addresses the issue and tells you how to measure whether you are being throttled by using Glasnost.

My partner had her car broken into a few months back. When talking with the sheriff about it afterward his advice was “don’t be a victim.” When choosing an internet provider don’t be a victim. Do your research first. Broadband Now will help you find the internet providers in your area.

 

Give Yourself a Raise

The Multiplier Effect as talked about on the AMIBA website is a way to give yourself and your community a raise. The way the multiplier effect works is that when you buy local you recirculate that money through your local economy in more ways than you do if you shop at a national chain. The impact happens in three ways:

Direct impact happens when the business spends money in the local economy to operate the business, including inventory, utilities, equipment and pay to employees.

Indirect impact happens when those other businesses recirculate that money to other local businesses.

Induced impact happens through consumer spending when employees and business owners spend money at local businesses.

The difference between spending your money at a local business versus a chain is that when you spend at a local business 48 cents of every dollar recirculates through the local economy versus 14 cents if the money is spent at a local chain. That’s a difference of 34 cents.

Now if we look at the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) per capita then we can measure how much of a raise we give ourselves when we shop locally. As I’m currently living there, let’s look at New Mexico. Per capita GDP in New Mexico in 2015 was $41,551. If all of that money was spent at national chains then each resident of New Mexico is giving themselves a raise of 14 cents of each dollar spent or $5,817 per year. Now if everyone spent their money at local businesses the amount of a raise everyone would be giving themselves would be 48 cents of each dollar or $19,944 per year. That’s a difference of $14,127 per person, per year.

This assumes that every dollar you spend is spent at local businesses and that everything you need is manufactured locally. Which is never the case. But, by shopping as much as you can locally you end up paying yourself more than if you shop at a national chain.

Look up your state’s per capita GDP and figure out how much of a raise you can give yourself by shopping local.