Thursday, February 25, 2016

Regets of an Older Person

I have grown old enough to remember times past. Now I regret several trends in the modern world.

First and foremost, I dislike that cold hard cash is going away. I think money is a good thing. It is hard to trace, which is both good and bad, depending on the situation. I like less information in the hands of governments, because I do not trust governments. The American government is one of the better ones, but I still do not trust it completely. That which is mortal is prone to failure--and to corruption. Money is good for human beings, because we evolved along with it for thousands of years, and it has a long history with us. When money is invisible, as in the case of a credit card, then it is hard to fathom. I see young people getting into debt all the time, and not idiots either, but extremely intelligent young people, who should know better, but they have been seduced by the siren call of easy credit and getting things now as opposed to saving up for them. Where is wisdom, forbearance, and delayed gratification? Young people are the ones that will suffer most, because they have been unschooled by money.

And money is a school. I know exactly how much I can spend at any given time, because of the money in my wallet. I can see it. I can feel it. It has a texture. It even has a smell. If it takes a little bit longer to make change at a cash register, then that delay allows time for reflection over my purchase. The easier and the faster that a purchase is, the more likely it will be made upon impulse and not grounded in reason. Credit cards are horrible tools devised by clever marketing specialists. They use psychology, mathematics, and statistics, just like casino owners, to overwhelm the feeble human defences against overspending and impulse purchases. Remember, it was not long ago that there existed no money, no market, no economy. We were hunter-gatherers. Money in itself is a recent and radical innovation. Before money, there was bartering. Credit cards have arisen just within the last hundred years, and the human race is far from ready for them.

I regret that America is less than what it once was, and that no-one seems capable of reversing its decline, while China rises. China will cause many problems in the world, because their leadership is ruthless. America appears to be ruled by crony capitalists who seem only interested in their own affairs rather than those of their country. There is too much corruption and too little efficiency. Much money and time is wasted upon pointless exercises, such as adventures in the Middle East. It would be better to attend to domestic problems than to meddle overseas. Improve infrastructure and invest in scientific research and education is the simple answer and the correct one. But people want to stretch for bloody glory against weak enemies, foes that die easily but reproduce their numbers continually, so that a never-ending quagmire of money-draining goes on. Meanwhile, China improves infrastructure and invests in scientific research. Can anyone read the writing on the wall? Perhaps I will be gone before the fate I see comes to pass.

I am neutral, rather than partisan, on the issue of books and newspapers. They were good and bad. There was a lot of bad. Some people don't remember. They think of Shakespeare when they think of books. I remember bad books, bad newspapers, bad magazines. So now the world derives information online. I do not think that is necessarily a bad thing. I think it may be good, but I reserve judgment. I do like books, too. But most books are probably bad. There are some authors that I really like to escape with and join them in their mental space for hours and days and months at a time. Their books are good. They can be formative, even life-changing. I think books will always be with us. Videos can be tedious, and they are hard to produce, but not only that, some people express themselves best through thought, rather than theatrics, and books are the most efficient medium for thought.

Health care is a big PITA in the U.S.A., and is only getting worse. Nurses and doctors are now expected to be accountants and programmers. Instead of studying medicine, they must study computer programs and insurance plans. Instead of paying attention to the patient, they pay attention to the computer. So health care is terrible. When you go to see a nurse, she has to stare at the computer screen instead of listening to you. Meanwhile, other countries like Canada have health care figured out. Unfortunately, in the USA we have something called the Republican party that opposes anything that might potentially improve the lot of the poor or minorities. If you have insurance, then you have to navigate a maze of different insurance companies, different insurance policies, updates to said policies, HSA debit cards, insurance cards, toll-free numbers with wait times in excess of one hour, and so on, ad nauseum. I am sick to death of insurance companies. I have four different insurance companies for different facets of my health care, four different usernames and passwords, four different phone numbers I need to call, and I had no choice in the matter but was given this by my employer. The Democrats are stupid because they want to make health care more complicated, rather than less. The Republicans are stupid because they don't even want people to have health care in the first place. Both of the stupidities intermingle and combine to create an ever bigger stupidity. And what we are left with is health care in the U.S., which is boneheaded stupid.

I will have to continue this post another time.

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