The term “Giver’s Gain” may not be familiar to you, but the idea behind it surely is. It refer’s to the belief that in business and life, if you give help to someone, with a genuine sense of concern for that person’s welfare, then the return you receive will be greater than that which you spent in helping the individual in the first place. You give, and you gain.
The phrase is very popular in some business circles, such that it is the core mantra of the global business networking enterprise, BNI. but even more than the stated phrase, the idea is one of the most important tenets behind much of what we now know as social networking, as well as, in many respects, open source and the free software movement.
People who give their time, ideas, and creations in these platforms and endeavors hope that their efforts will provide value to others. They (We) do so even though there is rarely any direct way in which we can benefit from these efforts. But the underlying belief is that ultimately we, too, will benefit from sharing, often with returns far greater than we measure our own contributions to the community.
While some of the applications of this belief may seem quite modern, I would argue that this way of thinking is the dominant way most people have interacted over much of human history. We seem today to believe that most people act primarily in self-interest. This may be true in terms of innermost motivations for human behavior, but in most tightly knit, non-ultra-urban communities, the best way to ensure selfish interests is to put group interests first.
But the overwhelming concept underlying contemporary capitalist society is a perverse reversal of this once predominant way of thinking. The corporate doctrine in modern times is profit at all costs. There is no other interest of a contemporary corporation, with a stockholding, non-managerial, board of directors, other than the relentless pursuit of profit. All other values are merely a kind of marketing profile to enhance the machine’s ability to profit.
But, surely, say the pundits, corporations have to do good things, make stuff, employ people, and enable the wealth to do the good that societies need. Capitalism, they say, won, because it is the only form of government to prove that wealth can be distributed to enough people to be even considered fair and just. And, thus, the notion “Giver’s Gain” is supplanted by the notion, “Gainer’s Give.” Like Bill and Melissa Gates, they give, in fact, more than anyone has given before! How nice.
I’m not just being cynical about this, but the best way to distribute limited benefits has never been to expect altruism from someone that hoards the wealth first. Any kindergarten teacher will say that it isn’t best to distribute 50 candies to 25 kids by giving them all to the most selfish bully among them. Or, to more accurately see what happens, give 40 candies to the bully, 10 each to two of his closest friends, and 2 or 3 to all but 5 of the kids. I’d be willing to bet that in most modern urban societies, without intervention, all of the kids would end up with at least 1 or 2 candies, but the bully and his inner circle would hoard the vast majority. It is not because they are “kids” either, but just the nature of the psychology behind hoarding as a prerequisite to distribution. Certainly You can replace the word hoarding with something else, like centralized resource management, but the results will be much the same.
This article brilliantly and succinctly discusses how Nature demonstrates the principles we use in mathematics. While math frequently seems to be disconnected from reality, hopelessly abstract and difficult to comprehend, it is really a discipline that can help us to understand and explain our world.
Reading this short article, I was reminded of a great book that I now plan to introduce to my 12 year old son. The book is The Number Devil: A Mathematical Adventure, by Hans Magnus Enzensberger. In the book, Robert, a boy who hates math, meets the Number Devil, who teaches Robert the beauty and wonder of math in a series of 12 dreams. Full of wit, wonder, and fiendish charm, Enzensberger creates realistic worlds that make prime numbers, Fibonacci numbers, and infinite numbers real, finite, understandable, and fun.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could be doing more of this in our schools than taking the fun out of study and making it all seem so difficult that it just doesn’t seem worth the trouble?
Proposition 37 in California would have mandated the labeling of all GMO food sold in California. It was voted down in November 2012 under dubious circumstances, by a very small margin.
Many people lobbied for a recount, leading to a challenge headed by Tom Gourbat, former senior analyst for Los Angeles County. After 2 county recounts, the viable and legally supported challenge was brought down in Fresno County by one person, Brandi Orth, the county clerk of Fresno. She arbitrarily set the charge for the recount to nearly 7 times the cost of the recount in Orange and Sierra Counties. (Fresno Counties big employers include Kraft Foods, Del Monte, Sun-Maid and other giant agriculture firms, who profit immensely from GMO foods.) And who selected Brandi Orth as county clerk?
This story was uncovered by Jon Rappoport, a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe.
Read the full story on: Jon Rappoport’s Blog.
This TED Talk is one of the best speeches I have EVER heard about how we can work to save the world. I am a huge fan of mushrooms. I have always been certain that they do much to improve the conditions of our forests and our health. But I have never realized until now to what extent they are our most important partner in our journey on this planet.
Wonderful blues/rock, by the Alabama Shakes. Brittany Howard sounds like Janis, but she’s got a character that is reminiscent of Jimi, too. The band is tight, with fantastic drumming, electric piano/organ, and searing lead guitars, complemented by a driving, jazzy bass and Brittany’s rhythm guitar. I’m Shakin’
My father’s family were interned at Poston Arizona, after being detained at the Santa Anita Racetrack. My grandfather was arrested first, leaving his wife and two young sons to take whatever they could with them from their farm in Porterville to their internment.
Grandfather was taken to another camp with many other supposed ringleaders of the Japanese in California. His crime: sending money back to his family before the war.
We don’t know which camp grandfather was taken to. I think it was Tule Lake in California, but it could be these camps in New Mexico. He eventually rejoined his family in Poston, but didn’t speak about his time of separation. He died before I was born.
Granddad was a guy who boarded a freight ship to head off to America – a stowaway. He ended up becoming a ranch hand in Arizona before heading back to Japan to marry my grandma. He was a real pioneer, an adventurer. Had a farm in Terra Bella before moving to Porterville.
I wish I knew more about him, but I am sure that the first camp he spent time in was not a picnic. Neither was Poston.
This should not have happened then. It should never happen again.
A couple of days ago this little graph surfaced online displaying some interesting statistics. It’s a bar chart of the busiest train stations in the world, measured by the number of people who pass through them each year.
Perhaps coming as no surprise to those who have experienced its mind-numbingly complex transport complexes, Japan tops the list. What is surprising is the degree to which Japan dominates this list, with all but six stations residing here, and about half of them in the Tokyo area alone.
Recent Hollywood blockbuster, ‘Zero Dark Thirty’, was quite an experience. Though sharp in its production and direction and largely accurate in depicting the events that led to the death of Osama Bin Laden, it went ballistic bad in depicting everyday life on the streets of Pakistan.
With millions of dollars at their disposal, I wonder why the makers of this film couldn’t hire even a most basic advisor to inform them that…
Children's Eyes on Earth is sponsoring an international youth photo contest. To enter, you must be 17 or under, and have parental or guardian consent. There are two themes: "I Love Nature" and "I Fear Pollution", and each participant must upload at least one photo for each theme. The deadline for this contest is September 15th. Even if you don't plan to have your students formally enter this contest, these would be neat themes to use for a classroom display of photographs taken by the children.