Monday, May 11, 2009
Markets is where most work occurs and where most things are bought and sold. Manufacturers first transport then sell or transport their merchandise, sellers receive goods or structure available services, employers hire workers who perform for customers and communities, buyers seek out, compare, and make purchases, and integrators structure consumer choices in typologies of competitive markets.
Markets involve tension, where there is usually a 'spread' between purchase and sale price. This gap relates to underlying costs such as facilities, transport, labor, utilities, debt, and, where practicable, profit margin.
Pricing gives dynamic pricing information about demand, availability, and competition. The very essence of the word 'market' relates to distribution. As we say, markets are forms of 'complex adaptive systems', and as such can be stable or unstable, large or small, local or global, open or closed, and transparent or opaque.
Lastly, while some markets can be highly efficient, others can be grossly confused and involve great stupidity and loss of vital energy. Markets are a lot like codependency and addiction, and it is really hard to separate markets from either exploitation or flagrant ignorance.
While market employ agents often involving persons, to a large extent, in modern society markets are beyond the pale of any one person and truly rule.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Everyone knows what work is. Yet something so directly experienced cannot always clear. What can be said of work which is not trite or does not repeat well-worn catch phrases, and what is significant that can be distinguished here?
First of all, the essence of work is that for most persons it goes under the rubric of 'necessity'. Work is what we do to earn money or, outside a monetized system, what we do to survive. Even persons who control large amounts of capital must work, in managing paperwork, staying secure, exercising oversight in the never ending need to evaluate asset performance and service providers.
Yet work also occurs in others ways outside a heavily monetized society. If for example we are building a large database which helps to guide greatest passion, not for remuneration but so that not only we but also our friends and contacts worldwide can benefit from it, this may not be painful or profitable but it is hard work.
Most of what goes for work or is involved in what we call work relates to undergoing effort, in exchanging time and attention in a fixed periods of time, in specific structured environments, usually having to work in cooperation with others in structures of rank and authority, all of this exchanged for money. The great majority of persons in industrialized society then takes that earned money, and spends it, in paying for goods and services provided by others, in an intricate web of earning and consuming.
Work is usually done apart from or outside of nature, and really goes against it. Nature is unrelenting in its force, in opposing man's insignificance, but work performed in a petrochemical society overcomes nature, such compensating for heat and cold, food production, and moving in ways other than with arms and legs. Work typifies modern life, and inexorable economic expansion always creates more work, to the chagrin of all.