A Curious Notion: The Difference Between Price and Cost

Ever felt that you had been purposefully lied to, misled or manipulated? Have you ever been denied, on a bureaucratic wim, something that you thought you had a right to? Ever been tragically effected by another person’s arbitrary business decision? What if you live in Michigan and your city government is upset and nullified by decree of the governor? Have you ever had an official computer conveniently crash for no reason, losing your only copy of personal or important information? It may sound really paranoid but, hopefully we are a long way off from either AI or a computer with “emotive recognition” because, we simply aren’t ready.

I get a load of crap from others when I respond negatively to news about technological advancement or achievements of supercomputers like IBM’s “Watson” and it’s potential downsides. I am not anti-technology; I just feel that we are rushing headlong without developing our over all sense of consideration or regulation, and I don’t mean laws. While it is true that computers are programmed by humans “now” this will not always be the case. We are becoming a grave danger to ourselves, simply because we do not “think” long term before acting. Acting only for the now or the short term gain; whatever that may be, as opposed to what may be fairplay to all or critical to us down the line. Have we forgotten that vintage, wisdom, maturity, and craftsmanship all take time? Does this still have worth to us in the 21st century?

Technological advancement should not exist merely so that folks have a new play toy to fuss over, or so that Apple can make more money this quarter with a new product line. Mankind has proven time and again to be inherently lazy and incredibly fallible! We all can attest to evidence that human beings can at times be greedy reckless liars intent strictly on the accomplishment of their own ends with a mindless contempt for the needs of others. If we as a “civil society” can not get the concept of going to war correct, or capital punishment error free, what happens to us when unseen agendas are the basis for a computer’s programming, a military drone strike, or the institution of a government’s policy? If you think arbitrary decisions by government are disastrous now, just wait ‘til you face a possible healthcare cost reduction “app” that is based on your DNA files, or perhaps a labor force reduction “app” that keeps your corporate master’s bonus going because the company is “too big to fail” but, decides to end your employment as an “efficiency” measure. The eugenics movement from the past would have loved that one!

What ever happened to letting the “market” decide who wins and who loses? That’s the line that we’ve been fed by big business for decades, and it has always seemed dubious at best. Obviously they don’t mean for this to apply to them, or else why didn’t the big brokerages lose? I am no fear merchant, I just make an effort to remember what is said and to think through the logical conclusions of the things that I am told and that I witness. We should be especially mindful now, for they are appearing indeed to be frightful. These days it’s not about when will it happen, it’s about when will you notice that it has happened!

Some might argue that this is about the corruption of our government entities by “big business” or “special interest”.  In some respects this is true. This appears to be because of two very important factors. I believe that the primary reason is the influence of money on politicians. Secondly, and more importantly I might add, is the abdication of the citizenry to actively participate and question their own government.  I realize that this is blaming the victims but, it still remains that all politicians serve at the will of the people. Some would argue that we actually have the government that we deserve, and that lackluster candidates, such as the ones we have now, are the result of political correctness. I do not agree. Artificial grassroots and faux outrage notwithstanding, things clearly are not what they may seem, when it comes to the peoples participation in their democratic process.

Let me present to you a few of the glaring reasons why. Folks are distracted and do not have the time to sort through the constant bombardment of things meant to get your attention. There is no single trusted arbiter of either what is news or of what the truth is, much less where it can be found, and the minting of news as entertainment is a big culprit. This is the price we pay for hundreds of channels on cable television. The airwaves are property of the American People and the original agreement for their use was a servitude placed upon broadcasters that news be presented at regular intervals, presenting both and or all sides in order to maintain an informed populous. This was not meant to be a profit engine. Another factor is that advertisers like to use similar commercial techniques for things that are less important, as for the things that are very important, i.e. animal abuse and famine in the third world. Obviously this causes confusion and attention fatigue and is in effect systematic emotional abuse heaped upon the hapless viewer. News show teasers and bumpers of sensationalized sound bites diminish the subconscious importance of what is really being covered in an article or report. This is a result of competition and not a mandate to be comprehensive, accurate and correct; this is the cost of cable news and the 24 hour news cycle.

Our entertainment archives are filled with stories of the maniacal takeover of civilization; clearly this thought has crossed someone’s mind before. Is it mere coincidence that one politician “targets” another’s district and then there is an assassination attempt? It is more than a Curious Notion that seventy years after fighting a global war against Nazi aggression, totaling some 50 million deaths; that we as a society even tolerate a Neo-Nazi openly murdering fellow citizens peacefully at prayer. Going to a midnight movie is now a risky endeavor because of a “nut job” and the first thing out of people’s mouths is “gun control”. Does this make any sense to you? Whole slates of political freshmen were elected on a jobs platform and they spend their entire term enacting abortion regulations and voter suppression maneuvers. This could not possibly make sense to you and yet you witnessed it happening all the while. What ever happened to forming a more perfect union? We as Americans have often stated our willingness “to pay the price” for various things that seem important at the time but, we never seem willing to “count the cost” of the things that are basis of our society and it’s longevity.

My statements here should not be construed as advocacy or more partisanship but as wise caution to fellow human beings, the constituents of a civil society within the most diverse and progressive nation of self-governing peoples to take a minute to recognize clarity and maturity so that as one voice we are committed to the balance of the things that we say we believe in and realize the difference between price and cost.

One Response to “A Curious Notion: The Difference Between Price and Cost”
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