Creating a life raft of security in a stormy sea of fiscal crises.

Photo by Blake Cheek on Unsplash

People tend to talk about our economy as if it’s somehow as immutable and inescapable as gravity, but in doing so we forget that it is entirely a human invention, a giant game of Monopoly that we force everyone to play. As such, it could take different forms, and indeed it has undergone significant changes in the past. As long as a different economic model seems politically unthinkable, however, it seems sadly likely that we’re going to ride this unsustainable and increasingly unstable economic system down through its inevitable plunge no matter how great the human cost may be.


An open letter to those still worshipping this ludicrous fiction.

Photo by Dev Asangbam on Unsplash, edited by author

It’s okay, libertarians, I feel for you. Logic is hard. There you were, just looking for a justification for only ever thinking about yourself, and you innocently stumbled across a dogmatic belief in an invisible imaginary friend that appeared to meet all your needs. No, I’m not talking about (insert the name of your least favourite prosperity gospel spouting evangelical con game here). Those guys are amateurs who still have to occasionally pretend that you’re supposed to care about other people just because the bible promotes socialism, even if they never practice what they preach. You wanted to dispense with…

You can’t social distance from the planet’s most dangerous psychopaths.

Photo by Beth Hope on Unsplash, cropped by author

Over the course of a decade, the General Motors corporation sold vehicles that it knew contained a dangerous flaw. A faulty ignition switch could suddenly shut off the car while it was being driven, disabling the power steering, power brakes, and air bag at the same time, even in the middle of high speed traffic. The problematic part itself was inexpensive, only $0.57, but the cost of a recall would somewhat reduce their profits, so it was decided by executives that it would be more cost effective to just let some of their customers die. At least 124 of them…

It’s somehow both trite and astute at the same time!

Erwin Schrödinger was a physicist whose work won him the coveted Nobel prize. His Schrödinger equation is a linear partial differential equation which allows you to calculate the wave function in a quantum mechanical system and how it dynamically changes over time. Unless you’re a whole lot more familiar with quantum physics than the average citizen, the previous sentence probably strikes you as meaningless jargon, but you don’t actually have to decipher it. Groundbreaking as his dedication to quantum mechanics may have been, the biggest impact he had upon our culture came through a simple thought experiment he shared with…

I can’t save the whole world, but sometimes I get to help a tiny piece of it.

Mother and baby squirrel. All photos herein by the author

On day one, I noticed all three of our cats were sitting side by side in a line, paying intense attention to the stairs. The next day, we figured out that it was a squirrel that had found its way into our house. Hestia the cat chased it out through its bolthole and while it was outside I cut a piece of lumber to fit and sealed up the egress. The squirrel returned, appearing desperate to get inside. We could hear it scrabbling at the wood with its tiny hands. My partner Moira and I concluded that perhaps we had…

Not all ideas need to be spread any further.

Photo by Fred Kearney on Unsplash

I already know what you’re thinking: this is cancel culture gone mad. We should all be able to agree that book burning is bad. Nazis burned books. Nazis are bad. Let’s not get distracted by the fact that a frightening number of our neighbours apparently can’t even agree on that “Nazis are bad” part, and focus on the book burning bit. Even the politicians quite happy to court the white supremacist vote seem to be able to get outraged about book burning. It is the implied core of the straw man argument about cancel culture that has them constantly infuriated…

We need resilient health care systems, and the pursuit of efficiency has destroyed them.

Photo by Samantha Gades on Unsplash, before photoshop additions by author

Every time you have heard a politician talk about efficiency, they were also arguing against resilience. Efficiency is all about trying to do more with less. Can we do it cheaper? Can we dedicate less time to it? What corners can we cut? Efficiency in health care is maintaining as few hospital beds as possible and working as few staff as you can get away with hiring as hard as you can possibly work them to maximize the system’s per-dollar output. To someone focussed on efficiency, every bed that’s empty is a waste, and if a nurse has a minute…

Actual pride is something to reserve for actual accomplishments

Blonde young me, about age three

The light-skinned offspring of German immigrants, I have photographs of young me with blonde hair to prove it, like the one of my sister and I that you see above these words. Despite this, I have never experienced the faintest morsel of “white pride,” ever, for the merest millisecond. Whenever the term arises, I always feel revulsion, because nothing good has ever come from those words, but it is always blended with a soupçon of pity. That pity is something of a luxury. I can indulge in it because I have enough melanin in my skin that the hostility of…

How bipartisanship transformed from statesmanship into something more like a death cult

Photo by Micah Williams on Unsplash

For generations, we were often told in the political realm that a political solution was probably a good one if it satisfied neither side. This idea that the middle ground was the right place to govern from is a quaint relic of a bygone era when both sides of the political aisle were capable of agreeing on the most basic facts. …

Economics is a belief system, not a science, wielding the wrong tools for the job

Thermometer photo by Polina Tankilevitch from Pexels, Tools on table photo by Tima Miroshnichenko from Pexels, Peeler image by Walter Bichler from Pixabay, and photoshop by author

One way to build something wildly awful is to use the wrong measuring tools. Even the most skilled carpenter in the world will be incapable of building something wonderful if you take away his ruler and replace it with a thermometer. It can be a crazily accurate thermometer, but it will still be measuring the wrong thing to get the job done.

So let’s imagine that what you’re measuring is the economy. If you revisited political discussions about the economy from the 1930s, you would find them refreshingly unfamiliar. You would hear questions like “how well is the economy serving…

Michael Nabert

Researching a road map from our imperilled world into one with a livable future with as much good humour as I can muster along the way.

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