Please see the first post [A-I] for more info about this post. Unfortunately, post character limit is 40k, so I will have to break this into multiple posts linked here:
1944 – Present Born: United States Resides: United States
· Professor in Economics at the University of Chicago. Professor at the Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies. Director of the Center for the Economics of Human Development (CEHD). Co-Director of Human Capital and Economic Opportunity (HCEO) Global Working Group. Heckman is also a Professor of Law at ‘the Law School’, a senior research fellow at the American Bar Foundation, and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research.
· In 2000, Heckman shared the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences with Daniel McFadden, for his pioneering work in econometrics and microeconomics.
· As of February 2019 (according to RePEc), he is the next most influential economist in the world behind Daniel McFadden.
· Heckman has received numerous awards for his work, including the John Bates Clark Medal of the American Economic Association in 1983, the 2005 and 2007 Dennis Aigner Award for Applied Econometrics from the Journal of Econometrics, the 2005 Jacob Mincer Award for Lifetime Achievement in Labor Economics, the 2005 Ulysses Medal from the University College Dublin, the 2007 Theodore W. Schultz Award from the American Agricultural Economics Association, the Gold Medal of the President of the Italian Republic awarded by the International Scientific Committee of the Pio Manzú Centre in 2008, the Distinguished Contributions to Public Policy for Children Award from the Society for Research in Child Development in 2009, the 2014 Frisch Medal from the Econometric Society, the 2014 Spirit of Erikson Award from the Erikson Institute, and the 2016 Dan David Prize for Combating Poverty from Tel Aviv University. “The best way to improve the American workforce in the 21st century is to invest in early childhood education, to ensure that even the most disadvantaged children have the opportunity to succeed alongside their more advantaged peers”
1945 – Present Born: United States Resides: United States
· Successor to Ben Bernanke, serving as the Chair of the Federal Reserve from 2014 to 2018, and as Vice Chair from 2010 to 2014, following her position as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. Yellen was also Chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers under President Bill Clinton.
· Yellen is a Keynesian economist and advocates the use of monetary policy in stabilizing economic activity over the business cycle. She believes in the modern version of the Phillips curve, which originally was an observation about an inverse relationship between unemployment and inflation. In her 2010 nomination hearing for Vice Chair of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, Yellen said, “The modern version of the Phillips curve model—relating movements in inflation to the degree of slack in the economy—has solid theoretical and empirical support.”
· Yellen is married to George Akerlof, another notable economist, Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences laureate, professor at Georgetown University and the University of California, Berkeley..
· In 2014, Yellen was named by Forbes as the second most powerful woman in the world. She was the highest ranking American on the list. In October 2015, Bloomberg Markets ranked her first in their annual list of the 50 most influential economists and policymakers. In October 2015, Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute ranked Yellen #1 in the Public Investor 100 list. In October 2010, she received the Adam Smith Award from the National Association for Business Economics (NABE). “In the long run, outsourcing is another form of trade that benefits the U.S. economy by giving us cheaper ways to do things.” “I'm just opposed to a pure inflation-only mandate in which the only thing a central bank cares about is inflation and not unemployment.”
1975 – Present Born: United States Resides: United States
· 43rd governor of Colorado since January 2019. Polis served on the Colorado State Board of Education from 2001 to 2007 and was the United States Representative for Colorado's 2nd congressional district from 2009 to 2019.
· Polis is the first openly gay person and second openly LGBT person (after Kate Brown of Oregon) to be elected governor in the United States.
· In 2000 Polis founded the Jared Polis Foundation, whose mission is to “create opportunities for success by supporting educators, increasing access to technology, and strengthening our community.” Polis has also founded two charter schools.
· Polis was named Outstanding Philanthropist for the 2006 National Philanthropy Day in Colorado. He has received many awards, including the Boulder Daily Camera's 2007 Pacesetter Award in Education; the Kauffman Foundation Community Award; the Denver consul general of Mexico “Ohtli”; the Martin Luther King Jr. Colorado Humanitarian Award; and the Anti-Defamation League's inaugural Boulder Community Builder Award. “Having alternative currencies is great, right, because, historically, government's had a monopoly on currency. … At the end of the day, why should only politicians—either directly or indirectly—control the currency? We can reduce transaction cost, provide an alternative, and—look, I don't know whether it'll be Bitcoin or not—but I think the concept of digital currencies is here to stay, and the fact that a politician would write to try to ban them in their infancy is just the wrong way to go about it. Let the market determine whether there's any value there or not.”
1964 – Present Born: United States Resides: United States
· Best known as the founder, CEO, and president of Amazon, Bezos is an American internet and aerospace entrepreneur, media proprietor, and investor. The first centi-billionaire on the Forbes wealth index, Bezos was named the “richest man in modern history” after his net worth increased to $150 billion in July 2018. In September 2018, Forbes described him as “far richer than anyone else on the planet” as he added $1.8 billion to his net worth when Amazon became the second company in history to reach a market cap of $1 trillion.
· Bezos supported the electoral campaigns of U.S. senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, two Democratic U.S. senators from Washington. He has also supported U.S. representative John Conyers, as well as Patrick Leahy and Spencer Abraham, U.S. senators serving on committees dealing with Internet-related issues.
· Bezos has supported the legalization of same-sex marriage, and in 2012 contributed $2.5 million to a group supporting a yes vote on Washington Referendum 74, which affirmed same-sex marriage.
· After the 2016 presidential election, Bezos was invited to join Donald Trump's Defense Innovation Advisory Board, an advisory council to improve the technology used by the Defense Department. Bezos declined the offer without further comment.
· In September 2018, Business Insider reported that Bezos was the only one of the top five billionaires in the world who had not signed the Giving Pledge, an initiative created by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett that encourage wealthy people to give away their wealth. “Percentage margins don't matter. What matters always is dollar margins: the actual dollar amount. Companies are valued not on their percentage margins, but on how many dollars they actually make, and a multiple of that.” “We have the resources to build room for a trillion humans in this solar system, and when we have a trillion humans, we'll have a thousand Einsteins and a thousand Mozarts. It will be a way more interesting place to live.”
1968 – Present Born: Germany Resides: Germany
· German economist and president of the Deutsche Bundesbank. Chairman of the Board of the Bank for International Settlements. From 1997 to 1999, Weidmann worked at the International Monetary Fund. In 2006, he began serving as Head of Division IV (Economic and Financial Policy) in the Federal Chancellery. He was the chief negotiator of the Federal Republic of Germany for both the summits of the G8 and the G20. He was given the 2016 Medal for Extraordinary Merits for Bavaria in a United Europe.
· Weidmann was involved in a series of major decisions in response to the financial crisis in Germany and Europe: preventing the meltdown of the bank Hypo Real Estate, guaranteeing German deposits and implementing a rescue programme for the banking system, piecing together two fiscal-stimulus programmes, and setting up the Greek bail-out package and the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF).
· In a 2011 speech, Weidmann criticized the errors and “many years of wrong developments” of the European Monetary Union (EMU) peripheral states, particularly the wasted opportunity represented by their “disproportionate investment in private home-building, high government spending or private consumption”. In May, 2012, Weidmann's stance was characterized by US economist and columnist Paul Krugman as amounting to wanting to destroy the Euro. In 2016, Weidmann dismissed deflation in light of the European Central Bank's current stimulus program, pointing out the healthy condition of the German economy and that the euro area is not that bad off. “I share the concerns regarding monetary policy that is too loose for too long. … As you know I have concerns about granting emergency liquidity on account of the fact that the banks are not doing everything to improve their liquidity situation.”
1953 – Present Born: United States Resides: United States
· Current Chair of the Federal Reserve, nominated by Trump. Powell has faced substantial and repeated criticism from Trump after his confirmation. The Senate Banking Committee approved Powell's nomination in a 22–1 vote, with Senator Elizabeth Warren casting the lone dissenting vote.
· Powell briefly served as Under Secretary of the Treasury for Domestic Finance under George H. W. Bush in 1992. He has served as a member of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors since 2012. He is the first Chair of the Federal Reserve since 1987 not to hold a Ph.D. degree in Economics.
· Powell has described the Fed's role as nonpartisan and apolitical. Trump has criticized Powell for not massively lowering federal interest rates and instituting quantitative easing.
· The Bloomberg Intelligence Fed Spectrometer rated Powell as neutral (not dove nor hawk). Powell has been a skeptic of round 3 of quantitative easing, initiated in 2012, although he did vote in favor of implementation.
· Powell stated that higher capital and liquidity requirements and stress tests have made the financial system safer and must be preserved. However, he also stated that the Volcker Rule should be re-written to exclude smaller banks. Powell supports ample amounts of private capital to support housing finance activities. “The Fed's organization reflects a long-standing desire in American history to ensure that power over our nation's monetary policy and financial system is not concentrated in a few hands, whether in Washington or in high finance or in any single group or constituency.”
1957 – Present Born: United States Resides: United States
· Senior Fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and economist, specializing in financial economics and macroeconomics.
· The central idea of Cochrane's research is that macroeconomics and finance should be linked, and a comprehensive theory needs to explain both 1.) how, given the observed prices and financial returns, households and firms decide on consumption, investment, and financing; and 2.) how, in equilibrium, prices and financial returns are determined by households and firms decisions.
· Cochrane is the author of ‘Asset Pricing,’ a widely used textbook in graduate courses on asset pricing. According to his own words, the organizing principle of the book is that everything can be traced back to specializations of a single equation: the basic pricing equation. Cochrane received the TIAA-CREF Institute Paul A. Samuelson Award for this book. “Regulators and politicians aren’t nitwits. The libertarian argument that regulation is so dumb — which it surely is — misses the point that it is enacted by really smart people. The fact that the regulatory state is an ideal tool for the entrenchment of political power was surely not missed by its architects.”
John Keynes (John Maynard Keynes, 1st Baron Keynes)
1883 – 1946 Born: England Died: England
· British economist, whose ideas fundamentally changed the theory and practice of macroeconomics and the economic policies of governments. Originally trained in mathematics, he built on and greatly refined earlier work on the causes of business cycles, and was one of the most influential economists of the 20th century. Widely considered the founder of modern macroeconomics, his ideas are the basis for the school of thought known as Keynesian economics, and its various offshoots. Keynes was a lifelong member of the Liberal Party, which until the 1920s had been one of the two main political parties in the United Kingdom.
· During the 1930s Great Depression, Keynes challenged the ideas of neoclassical economics that held that free markets would, in the short to medium term, automatically provide full employment, as long as workers were flexible in their wage demands. He argued that aggregate demand (total spending in the economy) determined the overall level of economic activity, and that inadequate aggregate demand could lead to prolonged periods of high unemployment. Keynes advocated the use of fiscal and monetary policies to mitigate the adverse effects of economic recessions and depressions.
· Keynes's influence started to wane in the 1970s, his ideas challenged by those who disputed the ability of government to favorably regulate the business cycle with fiscal policy. However, the advent of the global financial crisis of 2007–2008 sparked a resurgence in Keynesian thought. Keynesian economics provided the theoretical underpinning for economic policies undertaken in response to the crisis by President Barack Obama of the United States, Prime Minister Gordon Brown of the United Kingdom, and other heads of governments.
· Keynes was vice-chairman of the Marie Stopes Society which provided birth control education and campaigned against job discrimination against women and unequal pay. He was an outspoken critic of laws against homosexuality. Keynes thought that the pursuit of money for its own sake was a pathological condition, and that the proper aim of work is to provide leisure. He wanted shorter working hours and longer holidays for all. Keynes was ultimately a successful investor, building up a private fortune. “How can I accept the Communist doctrine, which sets up as its bible, above and beyond criticism, an obsolete textbook which I know not only to be scientifically erroneous but without interest or application to the modern world? How can I adopt a creed which, preferring the mud to the fish, exalts the boorish proletariat above the bourgeoisie and the intelligentsia, who with all their faults, are the quality of life and surely carry the seeds of all human achievement? Even if we need a religion, how can we find it in the turbid rubbish of the red bookshop? It is hard for an educated, decent, intelligent son of Western Europe to find his ideals here, unless he has first suffered some strange and horrid process of conversion which has changed all his values.”
1632 – 1704 Born: England Died: England
· Known as the “Father of Liberalism,” Locke was an English philosopher and physician, widely regarded as one of the most influential of Enlightenment thinkers. His work greatly affected the development of epistemology and political philosophy. His writings influenced Voltaire and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, many Scottish Enlightenment thinkers, as well as the American revolutionaries. His contributions to classical republicanism and liberal theory are reflected in the United States Declaration of Independence.
· Locke's political theory was founded on social contract theory. Social contract arguments typically posit that individuals have consented, either explicitly or tacitly, to surrender some of their freedoms and submit to the authority (of the ruler, or to the decision of a majority) in exchange for protection of their remaining rights or maintenance of the social order.
· Locke advocated for governmental separation of powers and believed that revolution is not only a right but an obligation in some circumstances. Locke was vehemently opposed to slavery, calling it “vile and miserable … directly opposite to the generous Temper and Courage of our Nation.”
· Locke uses the word “property” in both broad and narrow senses. In a broad sense, it covers a wide range of human interests and aspirations; more narrowly, it refers to material goods. He argues that property is a natural right and it is derived from labour aand that the individual ownership of goods and property is justified by the labour exerted to produce those goods
· According to Locke, unused property is wasteful and an offence against nature, but, with the introduction of “durable” goods, men could exchange their excessive perishable goods for goods that would last longer and thus not offend the natural law. In his view, the introduction of money marks the culmination of this process, making possible the unlimited accumulation of property without causing waste through spoilage. “The power of the legislative, being derived from the people by a positive voluntary grant and institution, can be no other than what that positive grant conveyed, which being only to make laws, and not to make legislators, the legislative can have no power to transfer their authority of making laws, and place it in other hands.” “No man in civil society can be exempted from the laws of it: for if any man may do what he thinks fit, and there be no appeal on earth, for redress or security against any harm he shall do; I ask, whether he be not perfectly still in the state of nature, and so can be no part or member of that civil society; unless any one will say, the state of nature and civil society are one and the same thing, which I have never yet found any one so great a patron of anarchy as to affirm.”
John Mill (John Stuart Mill a.k.a. J. S. Mill)
1806 – 1873 Born: England Died: France
· John Stuart Mill was arguably the most influential English speaking philosopher of the nineteenth century. He was a naturalist, a utilitarian, and a liberal, whose work explores the consequences of a thoroughgoing empiricist outlook. In doing so, he sought to combine the best of eighteenth-century Enlightenment thinking with newly emerging currents of nineteenth-century Romantic and historical philosophy. His most important works include System of Logic (1843), On Liberty (1859), Utilitarianism (1861) and An Examination of Sir William Hamilton’s Philosophy (1865).
· Mill's conception of liberty justified the freedom of the individual in opposition to unlimited state and social control. A member of the Liberal Party and author of the early feminist work The Subjection of Women (in which he also condemned slavery), he was also the second Member of Parliament to call for women's suffrage after Henry Hunt in 1832.
· Mill, an employee for the British East India Company from 1823 to 1858, argued in support of what he called a “benevolent despotism” with regard to the colonies. Mill argued that “To suppose that the same international customs, and the same rules of international morality, can obtain between one civilized nation and another, and between civilized nations and barbarians, is a grave error. ... To characterize any conduct whatever towards a barbarous people as a violation of the law of nations, only shows that he who so speaks has never considered the subject.”
· John Stuart Mill believed in the philosophy of Utilitarianism, which he described as the principle that holds “that actions are right in the proportion as they tend to promote happiness [intended pleasure, and the absence of pain], wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness [pain, and the privation of pleasure].” Mill asserts that even when we value virtues for selfish reasons we are in fact cherishing them as a part of our happiness.
· Mill's early economic philosophy was one of free markets. However, he accepted interventions in the economy, such as a tax on alcohol, if there were sufficient utilitarian grounds. Mill originally believed that “equality of taxation” meant “equality of sacrifice” and that progressive taxation penalized those who worked harder and saved more. Given an equal tax rate regardless of income, Mill agreed that inheritance should be taxed.
· His main objection of socialism was on that of what he saw its destruction of competition. According to Mill, a socialist society would only be attainable through the provision of basic education for all, promoting economic democracy instead of capitalism, in the manner of substituting capitalist businesses with worker cooperatives.
· Mill's major work on political democracy defends two fundamental principles at slight odds with each other: extensive participation by citizens and enlightened competence of rulers. He believed that the incompetence of the masses could eventually be overcome if they were given a chance to take part in politics, especially at the local level.
· Mill is one of the few political philosophers ever to serve in government as an elected official. In his three years in Parliament, he was more willing to compromise than the “radical” principles expressed in his writing would lead one to expect. “He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them. But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion... Nor is it enough that he should hear the opinions of adversaries from his own teachers, presented as they state them, and accompanied by what they offer as refutations. He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them...he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.” “The only freedom which deserves the name is that of pursuing our own good in our own way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs, or impede their efforts to obtain it. Each is the proper guardian of his own health, whether bodily, or mental or spiritual. Mankind are greater gainers by suffering each other to live as seems good to themselves, than by compelling each to live as seems good to the rest.”
1921 – 2002 Born: United States Died: United States
· Liberal American moral and political philosopher who received both the Schock Prize for Logic and Philosophy and the National Humanities Medal in 1999, the latter presented by President Bill Clinton, who acclaimed Rawls for having “helped a whole generation of learned Americans revive their faith in democracy itself.”
He is frequently cited by the courts of law in the United States and Canada.
· Rawls's most discussed work is his theory of a just liberal society, called justice as fairness
. Rawls first wrote about this theory in his book A Theory of Justice. Rawls spoke much about the desire for a well-ordered society; a society of free and equal persons cooperating on fair terms of social cooperation.
· Rawls’s most important principle (the Liberty Principal) states that every individual has an equal right to basic liberties. Rawls believes that “personal property” constitutes a basic liberty, but an absolute right to unlimited private property is not.
· Rawls's argument for his principles of social justice uses a thought experiment called the “original position”, in which people select what kind of society they would choose to live under if they did not know which social position they would personally occupy. “Justice is the first virtue of social institutions, as truth is of systems of thought. A theory however elegant and economical must be rejected or revised if it is untrue; likewise laws and institutions no matter how efficient and well-arranged must be reformed or abolished if they are unjust. Each person possesses an inviolability founded on justice that even the welfare of society as a whole cannot override. For this reason justice denies that the loss of freedom for some is made right by a greater good shared by others. It does not allow that the sacrifices imposed on a few are outweighed by the larger sum of advantages enjoyed by many. Therefore in a just society the liberties of equal citizenship are taken as settled; the rights secured by justice are not subject to political bargaining or to the calculus of social interests.”
1937 – Present Born: United States Resides: United States
· American political scientist and co-founder of the international relations theory of neoliberalism (a theory concerned first and foremost with absolute gains rather than relative gains to other states), developed in the 1977 book Power and Interdependence. He is noted for his notion of “smart power” (“the ability to combine hard and soft power into a successful strategy”), which became a popular phrase with the Clinton and Obama Administrations.
· Secretary of State John Kerry appointed Nye to the Foreign Affairs Policy Board in 2014. In 2014, Nye was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star in recognition of his “contribution to the development of studies on Japan-U.S. security and to the promotion of the mutual understanding between Japan and the United States.”
· From 1977 to 1979, Nye was Deputy to the Undersecretary of State for Security Assistance, Science, and Technology and chaired the National Security Council Group on Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons. In recognition of his service, he was awarded the State Department's Distinguished Honor Award in 1979. In 1993 and 1994, he was Chairman of the National Intelligence Council, which coordinates intelligence estimates for the President, and was awarded the Intelligence Community's Distinguished Service Medal. In the Clinton Administration from 1994 to 1995, Nye served as Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, and was awarded the Department's Distinguished Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster. Nye was considered by many to be the preferred choice for National Security Advisor in the 2004 presidential campaign of John Kerry.
· Nye has been a member of the Harvard faculty since 1964. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and a foreign fellow of The British Academy. Nye is also a member of the American Academy of Diplomacy. The 2011 TRIP survey of over 1700 international relations scholars ranks Joe Nye as the sixth most influential scholar in the field of international relations in the past twenty years. He was also ranked as most influential in American foreign policy. In 2011, Foreign Policy magazine named him to its list of top global thinkers. In September 2014, Foreign Policy reported that the international relations scholars and policymakers both ranked Nye as one of the most influential scholars. “When you can get others to admire your ideals and to want what you want, you do not have to spend as much on sticks and carrots to move them in your direction. Seduction is always more effective than coercion, and many values like democracy, human rights, and individual opportunities are deeply seductive.”
1902 – 1994 Born: Austria-Hungary Died: England
· Karl Popper is generally regarded as one of the greatest philosophers of science of the 20th century. He was a self-professed critical-rationalist, a dedicated opponent of all forms of scepticism, conventionalism, and relativism in science and in human affairs generally and a committed advocate and staunch defender of the ‘Open Society’.
· In ‘The Open Society and Its Enemies’ and ‘The Poverty of Historicism’, Popper developed a critique of historicism and a defense of the “Open Society”. Popper considered historicism to be the theory that history develops inexorably and necessarily according to knowable general laws towards a determinate end. He argued that this view is the principal theoretical presupposition underpinning most forms of authoritarianism and totalitarianism. He argued that historicism is founded upon mistaken assumptions regarding the nature of scientific law and prediction. Since the growth of human knowledge is a causal factor in the evolution of human history, and since “no society can predict, scientifically, its own future states of knowledge”
, it follows, he argued, that there can be no predictive science of human history. For Popper, metaphysical and historical indeterminism go hand in hand.
· Popper is known for his vigorous defense of liberal democracy and the principles of social criticism that he believed made a flourishing open society possible. His political philosophy embraced ideas from major democratic political ideologies, including socialism/social democracy, libertarianism/classical liberalism and conservatism, and attempted to reconcile them. “Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them. In this formulation, I do not imply, for instance, that we should always suppress the utterance of intolerant philosophies; as long as we can counter them by rational argument and keep them in check by public opinion, suppression would certainly be most unwise. But we should claim the right to suppress them if necessary even by force; for it may easily turn out that they are not prepared to meet us on the level of rational argument, but begin by denouncing all argument; they may forbid their followers to listen to rational argument, because it is deceptive, and teach them to answer arguments by the use of their fists or pistols. We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant. We should claim that any movement preaching intolerance places itself outside the law, and we should consider incitement to intolerance and persecution as criminal, in the same way as we should consider incitement to murder, or to kidnapping, or to the revival of the slave trade, as criminal.”
1954 – Present Born: United States Resides: United States
· American economist, former Vice President of Development Economics and Chief Economist of the World Bank, senior U.S. Treasury Department official throughout President Clinton's administration, Treasury Secretary 1999–2001, and former director of the National Economic Council for President Obama (2009–2010). Summers served as the 27th President of Harvard University from 2001 to 2006. Current professor and director of the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.
· As a researcher, Summers has made important contributions in many areas of economics, primarily public finance, labor economics, financial economics, and macroeconomics. Summers has also worked in international economics, economic demography, economic history and development economics.[ He received the John Bates Clark Medal in 1993 from the American Economic Association. In 1987, he was the first social scientist to win the Alan T. Waterman Award from the National Science Foundation. Summers is also a member of the National Academy of Sciences.
· In 1983, at age 28, Summers became one of the youngest tenured professors in Harvard's history. In 2006, Summers resigned as Harvard's president in the wake of a no-confidence vote by Harvard faculty. Summers viewed his beliefs on why science and engineering had an under-representation of women to be a large part in the vote, saying, “There is a great deal of absurd political correctness. Now, I'm somebody who believes very strongly in diversity, who resists racism in all of its many incarnations, who thinks that there is a great deal that's unjust in American society that needs to be combated, but it seems to be that there is a kind of creeping totalitarianism in terms of what kind of ideas are acceptable and are debatable on college campuses.”
· As the World Bank's Vice President of Development Economics and Chief Economist, Summers played a role in designing strategies to aid developing countries, worked on the bank's loan committee, guided the bank's research and statistics operations, and guided external training programs. The World Bank's official site reports that Summer's research included an “influential” report that demonstrated a very high return from investments in educating girls in developing nations. According to The Economist, Summers was “often at the centre of heated debates” about economic policy, to an extent exceptional for the history of the World Bank in recent decades.
· In 1999 Summers endorsed the Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act which removed the separation between investment and commercial banks. In February 2009, Summers quoted John Maynard Keynes, saying “When circumstances change, I change my opinion”, reflecting both on the failures of Wall Street deregulation and his new leadership role in the government bailout.
Novi: the last unit of currency. Gershwynn Jay
What I am about to propose is a work of science fiction. Soft science, since it deals with psychology and human nature. It is PsyFi. The hardest thing to change is the human mind, and in this piece, the assumption is that the minds have already been changed.
My aim, and I am not entirely alone, is to end money. I know, it sounds impossible, and that is the task to which I have delegated myself for some time now: how to make it seem possible. I feel I’ve achieved a certain level of confidence in the steps I am about to present, except the last one.
The first step is to create a global currency to replace all others; to end conversion rates, and to end cash transactions and crimes. It could well be the Dollar since it is basically a global currency, but it would be completely digital (no more Benjamins). Or it could be a form of cryptocurrency which I call the Novi (noh-vee), which is Latin for “new”. I like Novi simply because it is something new and different from what we already have, and it will have the connotation of change for the better. With little work, it could be a decentralized exchange much like is used for Bitcoin. This would of course absorb all other currencies, including Bitcoin, at their current market value, for the sake of transition. I have not called it a ‘bank’ because of the practical connotations associated therewith, but it would be a virtual vault for our transitional currency.
Once the shift is made, all transactions are transparent but protected. This means everyone can see where the money is at all times, but can’t steal it. (This means numbers pertaining to transactions and balances, not necessarily itemized receipts of purchases.) At this time, fair and global prices are set for all things, especially basic necessities. Rice and beans cost the same around the globe.
Upon birth, every person is given an account using their name, region and timezone code, and their numerical date of birth in the Day/Month/Year format. (Surely, a more advanced, yet easy to remember method will be thought up by some genius redditor or something.)
The second step is to tax personal wealth above 5 million a year at 100%. No one needs more than that. No one needs even that much, but for the sake of transition, it’s a tax on the super-wealthy. The 1%. Yes, this means the end of billionaires, the end of the 1%. That money will be used in all subsequent steps until it’s ultimate deletion. Anyone under the 5 million will not be taxed a cent.
Corporations will continue to operate under the umbrella of sustainability and also of automation and demonetization. Essentially, no more greed or acting in the name of profiteering. Companies can still make ‘profits’ so the ‘profits’ can be put back into the company for research and innovation, but the leaders at the top will not be super rich, and those leaders or CEOs will also be expected to be good people who have the interests of humanity in mind. Examples of leaders whom I personally see as good (within the confines of the current economic system) are those who are part of the Giving Pledge program (Bill and Melinda Gates, Warren Buffet, etc.), plus Elon Musk, Sundar Pichai (CEO of Google), and surely many more.
We use the insane and arbitrary amounts of Novi on hand to immediately end world hunger and poverty around the world. The amount of money which will be available is unheard of. (If I’m being totally realistic, this whole process is pointless and arbitrary in itself since we could simply ‘create’ all the money we need until we reach the goal of a moneyless, or resource-based economy (RBE). But I digress. Maybe this is just easier to swallow.)
Using modern distribution algorithms and logistical infrastructures, we could easily deliver a surplus of food and water to everyone on Earth. Basic things at first, of course. Over time, we would accelerate the arrival of every ‘nation’ on the planet to ‘First World’ status, just to keep everyone on an equal footing moving forward. Likewise, using automated systems such as 3D-printed homes, we can give everyone proper shelter as needed. Then, as we move forward in this endeavour and technology advances even further, more and more people will be living in sustainable, modern, and cool 3D-printed homes.
Alongside this comes the temporary implementation of Universal Basic Income, for those who need it as these steps are put into practice.
The remaining money will be used to continue the already begun work of building an automated infrastructure. If we can stop worrying about “the loss of jobs”, we can make strides in automation innovation. We’re already pretty far along with driverless cars and totally automated warehouses and GPS-guided tractors, and from where I sit, the few things keeping the reservoir of singularity from gushing forth its binary flood include the floodgates of governmental regulation, the unfounded fears of many people, and the dam funding. Having conceivably moved past this roadblock, true automation in all industries can move swiftly.
As a part of this goal, the creation of what I call “Eu-novation” competitions will keep the motivation high. These friendly competitions will focus on the creation of new and friendly technologies for the well-being of the Earth. While current similar competitions all over the world offer cash prizes or scholarships or the promise of funding for future projects, their central appeal is money. With money no longer a concern, I know the natural competitive spirit between the elite nerds in all fields will still drive us forward.
ONE, “Look what we made, and it does this really great thing.”
ZERO, “Oh, yeah, that’s nice, but look at this! It’s even better!”
ONE, “How did you do that?”
ZERO, “Let me show you…”
Simply put, I trust in the goodness and natural curiosity of our brightest minds. They will not stop wanting to make things better. The end goal is to eliminate all ‘jobs’, and I may concede that there are things which a robot cannot do, but the field of robotics is still young. For now, the aim will be to determine how much we can automate and determine which human industries are absolutely necessary in the present, and which ones only exist to give people ‘jobs’. For example: cashiers - no longer necessary. Plumbers - probably still necessary for a while; and even in my own estimation, plumbing will not be a job in the future, but basic plumbing needs will be done by each of us on an individual basis. Think about it, we won’t have a job taking up all our time, so we can give a little bit of ourselves to home maintenance.
Step 5 -
This step involves the overnight deletion of insurance companies forever. Insurance is such a racket, and it only exists due to our fears of losing even more money due to outstanding circumstances or accidents. This will no longer be the case. In terms of insurance on material goods and possessions, this makes sense as money becomes obsolete, and I only distinguish it from health insurance specifically because that is mainly a United States thing. The healthcare system in this country is so screwed up, it’s unbelievable. I literally can’t stand it, and it needs to go away. And it will go away...overnight. BAM! Just like that, healthcare will cost nothing, as it will be initially paid by the tax on the wealthy. Once the profit cycle is out of the picture, the cost of healthcare will decrease to a level equal to the rest of the world, and then globally shrink to nothing. The question you have is, “Who will be the doctors and surgeons when there is no money?” The answer is simple: the good people who want to be doctors and help their fellow humans.
Implement sustainable living protocols to end our destruction of the planet. End deforestation and contamination of water. End the use of fossil fuels ASAP. (Am I the only one who thinks that, even now, oil should be a free global commodity like water and air? I find it completely absurd that the surface geography of the planet, along with political boundaries, gives ownership of the oil beneath to the people directly above.) At any rate, humans are already hard at work on this task, which is supremely great news, but the efforts will be redoubled and retripled once greed and capitalism are out the window. Solar technology is advancing at a rapid pace, and the use of low energy products will make sustainable living possible. I will not sit here and say all these problems are worked out yet, especially in the energy storage (battery) discussion, but advances are being made.
I, for one, envision a poetic return to times past when the living was done in the daytime. The sun provides us light and energy during our waking hours, our useful hours, and when it gets dark, all non-essential gadgets go away, much like in the days before the proliferation of electricity. This would immensely reduce our dependence on huge batteries needing to be charged all day to run all our unnecessary crap at night. Yes, maybe an LED light here and there to read a book or to make a meal, but maybe we can adapt away from such energy-hungry lifestyles. (Ironic fact: I am typing this on a computer at night.)
Step 7 -
The next step involves a modern approach to education, population control, and the hyperbolic rise of creativity. Education will be based on the model “from each according to their abilities”. This means, as Einstein pointed out so long ago, that we will no longer judge fish by their abilities to climb trees. Each of us is unique. Each of us has so much to offer. Each human brain and body is a super powerful processor, but we are all programmed differently.
First of all, we must allow children to be children. This arms race to make every child an academic genius plus a top notch athlete plus a prodigious musician plus a renowned humanitarian is nothing short of madness. Sure, I understand the current reason for it: currency. We want the children to be the best so they will be easily successful and therefore have sufficient money and a secure life. Blah blah blah. This will no longer be an issue. We can give kids time to play and learn in their own way, then we can spot their natural talents and allow them to focus on the ones they like best and the ones most beneficial to society.
The sorting method will remain basically unchanged: only the best of the best will make their way to the top, but the difference is so many more people will have the chance to show their talents. No longer will robotics teams from ‘third world’ countries be considered underdogs (there will be no political countries anyway). No longer will creative geniuses wear away in monotonous factories.
Without money and with mostly eliminated human jobs, people will have at least 100% more time to explore their creativity. I say 100% based on the model of 8 hours of work, 8 of leisure, and 8 of sleep. I know this is way off the actual numbers, but to my point, most people work way more than 8 hours per day and sleep way less, so their gain in leisure will be even greater. More important than the physical relief from work, the mental relief from worrying and stressing about money all the time, day after day after day, will be incalculably beneficial to the state of mind. Think of it: the freedom from financial pressure forever. This alone will create an unimaginable spike in creativity and mindfulness. I can’t wait to see what comes from it. Even now, we live in the golden age of television, and I would include film, but most films today are repackaged money-makers. We live in a super-connected time when anyone can break through and be seen and heard, and to elevate that on a exponential scale will be something wonderful. “I may not live to see the glory, but I will gladly join the fight.”
Education will not only change our life paths, or ‘career paths’, it will also greatly help control the global population. We can and will transcend outdated cultural roadblocks which keep people from behaving in a responsible and informed manner. It’s that simple. Reproductive health and education will help to plateau and perhaps even reduce the population, and we can avoid the chaos toward which we are headed at this very moment, if this growth is left unchecked.
This step is where it gets tricky, as if it wasn’t already. In this step, we seek to end terrorism. Hopefully, even those with violent hatred and the desire to harm and kill will see the great things which are being done around the world and realize there is no need for radical extremism of any kind. Many will say that terrorists are religious idealists and they don’t care about money, but I don’t think that’s totally true. Money is definitely a huge factor, but a large issue is the ideological education given to the youths of these terrorist groups. They are ‘radicalized’ at a young age, but it’s no different than all other radicalized teachings throughout history. We simply change the philosophy, and the way to do that is open communication: i.e. the internet.
The end of terrorism must be achieved so we can then eradicate and erase all political boundaries. We must realize that we are all equal humans on this planet, and while we have different cultures, they shouldn’t keep us from traveling freely around the globe and enjoying the Earth and each other in a natural and peaceful way. Like the winds which flow freely across the land; so, too, will humans come and go without political barriers to stop them.
Embrace the changes. We have to understand that everything will change. I don’t know how much will remain similar to what is now, but many things will take on a totally new form as our future is shaped by this necessary evolution. As we reach ‘singularity’, or near autonomy, jobs will be mostly depleted, a UBI will be in full effect and soon followed by a full RBE, and that is going to make things happen which even I can’t predict. Celebrities may continue to exist, but they won’t be more wealthy than anybody else. Athletes, musicians, actors, etc. will have a different feel. Suburbia will perhaps cease to exist, as the ‘American dream’ goes out the window. Retirement will mean something different, if anything at all. I, personally, envision a future in which self-driving RVs replace the common home, and people live to travel and move about the planet at their own pace, stopping at shared rest homes to enjoy that particular area; and then moving on to the next stop. Leisure will be redefined, as will scientific study and creativity. Prisons will not be prisons, as crimes will almost entirely disappear. The quest to conquer space will seem more real than it ever has, and our fears about what lies ahead will change from images of destruction and apocalypse to something which I can’t even imagine, perhaps a severe new existential crisis will emerge as we wonder what our purpose is. I don’t know. I really don’t, but my biggest dream is to reach that point when we don’t know what’s going to happen next, but we are there because of how good things are. Oh, and at all costs, we must avoid the eerily possible future as depicted in the movie “Wall-E”. I would accept something more like “Surrogates” starring Bruce Willis, but not as dark.
I call this Step Zero because this really is the first thing that needs to happen before any of the other steps on the list can take place.
We, all of us, all humans all around the world, must come together and agree that a great change needs to take place. Not a revolution, but a renovation. A renovation of cooperation and siblinghood and amicability and purpose. We are divided by the stupidest things (their importance lacking in so many ways), and yet we hold steadfast to these old ideals which we let guide us into division, seclusion, and demonstrable hatred.
We need to work together, to cooperate, in the way we do when natural disasters take place. There is no blame when a hurricane blows through; we immediately say “Yes, and…” we help each other in any way we can without question. We need to realize that the world is in a total natural disaster right now, and we need to make fast our hands to one another and feel the human spirit flow through us as we begin to rebuild.
We are all siblings. We are all of the same species, and we need to act like it. Simple as that. Hatred may be taught, but it is also generational, which means that in twenty years or so, we can have a whole new perspective, if we don’t pass on our most negative aspects to the new generation.
We can all be friends. Money divides us. Greed corrupts us. We get rid of those, and there will be very little to fight over. A few folks pop up here and there with mental issues which can’t be helped, but most of the vitriol and viciousness we see today is man-made (I guess that would include some mental issues, as well), and almost all of it centered around money. The beautiful thing about humans is we have a natural tendency to be nice to each other, so we need to use that and make it a practice to see the positive in others.
We need to find our purpose. Our individual purpose, yes, but we also need to find our purpose as a people. We need to renew our mission statement, if we ever really had one. Our purpose is definitely NOT to be born and work all our lives for a little bit of money to then get old and broken and then die. It shouldn’t be a matter of luck or unbelievable chance that one or two of us here and there ‘make it’ and reach a ‘higher level’ and then can have an easy life. When this happens, it is money that divides us even more because those who ‘make it’ feel they’ve earned it, and they want those below them to know that to really appreciate this higher level, they have to break their backs to reach it, as well.
This is just nonsense. The cycle must break, and it will, and when we are all together in the same level of freedom from money and we achieve true equality, we can work together to step over the threshold into the new era. But we have to start that process now. We have the ability to do it. We have the technology; all it takes is an app on a smartphone and an initial set of good leaders who can see beyond their political borders and past the ‘interests’ of their own citizens. We can create a virtual, digital town square where everyone can come together, discuss the issues and vote in a comprehensive manner, in real time, while at the same time holding leaders instantly accountable. This is happening already, as we can see on various social media sites. People are seeing the horrors and the injustices taking place, and we are making changes and enforcing accountability by the sheer volume of our voices. This is a great shift in enforcement. We are being heard; we just need to take it to the next step. Let’s take the first step, you know, Step One.
I’ll be the first to admit that this is all a bit rough, even though I’ve been thinking about it for a while, but before a house can be built, there needs to be a set of blueprints, and before the set of blueprints comes the idea for the house. That idea which is hastily sketched out on a napkin before the neurons leave the station and start firing in some other part of the brain.
That’s what this is. This is a quick sketch, a rough draft on a piece of paper, and it will need the input from many, many minds much greater and more erudite than my own. It will need chunks ripped out and details added in, the chronology may change, there may be twenty steps or five steps when all is said and done, but my sincerest hope is that, at the very least, people will read it and not dismiss it. (Actually, if it is dismissed, that would be okay, too. I always remember the words of Ghandi. “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”) I don’t personally want to ‘win’, however; I want all of us to win. I want all of us to win the future.
While writing this, I went out hiking, as corny as that sounds. I was on a trail on Mount Charleston, headed to Cathedral Rock. I wasn’t a pioneer; the trail was blazed before me, and I thought,
“I’m okay with this. I don’t mind following the footsteps of others; it’s how we got to where we are, but we do have other frontiers to explore. We have explored almost every square centimeter of the Earth, we have seen the blackest depths of the ocean, we have reached our fingertips to the sky and touched the moon!! We have even kissed the rings of Saturn and looked Jupiter in the eye. We have high-def pictures of Uranus; yet we still can’t get along with each other on a basic human level. Pity. But, you know, I’m not that worried about it, for it is only another stepping stone in the evolution of humankind.”
If you’ve read this and have productive criticism, please send me an email at [email protected]
yahoo, gmail, or hotmail.com take your pick.
I am Gershwynn Jay.
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