Capitalism is an Abstraction; It’s People That Need Attention

Today (7/31/15), David Brooks [writes](http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/31/opinion/david-brooks-two-cheers-for-capitalism.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=opinion-c-col-right-region&region=opinion-c-col-right-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-right-region) about some new questions being asked about capitalism. He recently attended a conference devoted to this topic. He reports only on a keynote address made by his “friend and Times colleague Anand Giridharadas.” Anand’s comments were directed more towards capitalists than at the underlying system. He argued that the capitalist philanthropists need to be held to account for the harm they do in acquiring their wealth as well as for the “good” they do with the money. Second, he noted that the new form of labor this is growing off-loads much of the risk that should go to the capitalists. I would add that so… Read More

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Gratitude Is the Result of Caring

David Brooks [writes](http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/28/opinion/david-brooks-the-structure-of-gratitude.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=opinion-c-col-left-region&region=opinion-c-col-left-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-left-region) today (7/28/15) about gratitude. In reading it, I learned something closely related to my constant theme of flourishing. Gratitude is a feeling or assessment one has when another has done something beyond bounds of the normal transactions. Here’s his definition: “Gratitude happens when some kindness exceeds expectations, when it is undeserved. Gratitude is a sort of laughter of the heart that comes about after some surprising kindness.” Nice poetry, but misses the true source of gratitude. The gist of the article is centers on two themes. One is the pleasurable sense of gratitude. The other is the general absence of the feeling in our capitalistic meritocracy. >… Read More

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Injecting Care into the “Sharing Economy”

Several of the online conversations I have been following have focused on the sharing economy, as well as have many articles in the mainstream news. Some are about its possibilities for sustainable consumption; others talk about the legal problems involved in the in-between nature of laborers like drivers for Uber or Lyft and other so called sharing sectors. Most, if not all, of these new economic sectors have one thing in common: the customers make use of material goods owned by the vendor of the services. They are all service-oriented—an important facet. The sustainability folk look at these as providing services at a much higher eco-efficient level, since they use… Read More

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Stuck Inside of Language

I have been a little depressed lately; maybe I’m just feeling that I am stuck and so is the world. Two days ago, James Hansen and other climate scientists published a report that predicts ocean rise is occurring much faster than previously thought. If he is right, cities like New York will be inundated by as early as mid-century. You might think that this would be newsworthy but I found almost no news reported about it through a Google search. Only the Huffington Post and Washington Post and a handful of others appeared to have covered. Nothing in the NYTimes. Some argued that, since it is yet to be peer-reviewed,… Read More

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Tying Together Some Loose Ends

I have a very interesting dream last night, clearly triggered by what I had been thinking about during the day. I was writing a blog post about what I discovered in doing some background research: my use of flourishing to describe successful human life falls into the philosophic domain of “virtue ethics.” My specific focus on flourishing is the central topic in a subdivision of that discipline called, Eudaimonism, the Greek word Aristotle used to describe the outcome of living a virtuous (or good) life. The equivalent English word that comes closest is flourishing; happiness is perhaps more commonly used, but philosophers (and I) prefer the more ontologically relevant one,… Read More

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Ecomodernism is Not the Answer!

Summer has finally come and with it lots of fish have arrived in our bays. I know it might seem contradictory to be a fisherman and an advocate for flourishing at the same time. I always release my catch and use barbless hooks to minimize any damage to the fish. Most time spent on the water is still and very peaceful as striped bass in Maine are few and far between. But once I have a bite, it soon turns into a battle; stripers can fight very hard. Yesterday, my rod snapped in two while trying to boat a big one. Even with that, I managed to pull the fish… Read More

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