Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Daily Briefing for Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Where Do I Start?

Lots to share today, so let's drop the puck.

First, I Turned In My Notice At Work.

Actually, I did that on Monday, but today my employer officially announced my departure.  Next month, I will be working for an insurance trade association as a lobbyist.  My job will require me to travel a fair amount, especially during the months that state legislatures are normally in session.  While I will miss my co-workers and my work in emergency management, legislative and regulatory affairs there, my new job is a fantastic opportunity.  I'm very excited.

Traveling out of town presents some tough challenges for people trying to live with a self-sufficient mindset.  I will be working on this in the coming weeks, sharing my experiences with you.

Next, You People Set An All Time Record For Traffic To My Site.

The blog received nearly 200 visits in the last 24 hours.  Apparently, you like Xtranormal videos far more than I would have thought.  And let me take a moment to welcome the many visitors from Get Off The X, a fantastic internet forum on guns and preparedness.  Glad to have you!

And Third, The New Yorker Stumbles Into Pure Greatness.

I generally don't read the New Yorker.  Lots of big words and not enough pictures of things that interest me, for starters.

But Jay in Nashville posted this story on Facebook, and in short order, I realized he'd found a great book review in the magazine.  Why are American kids so spoiled, you ask?  The author of a new book hypothesizes that the reason American kids are spoiled as compared to their global counterparts is because we coddle them.  Shocking, I know.

From the article:

Ochs and Izquierdo noted, in their paper on the differences between the family lives of the Matsigenka and the Angelenos, how early the Matsigenka begin encouraging their children to be useful. Toddlers routinely heat their own food over an open fire, they observed, while “three-year-olds frequently practice cutting wood and grass with machetes and knives.” Boys, when they are six or seven, start to accompany their fathers on fishing and hunting trips, and girls learn to help their mothers with the cooking. As a consequence, by the time they reach puberty Matsigenka kids have mastered most of the skills necessary for survival. Their competence encourages autonomy, which fosters further competence—a virtuous cycle that continues to adulthood.

Think through that.  Toddlers playing with fire, cooking things over it (like roasting hotdogs and marshmellows.)  Three year olds practicing cutting and chopping with sharp objects (like farm kids do.)  Little boys hunting with their fathers and little girls learning to help with cooking (like farm kids do).  As a result, "their competence encourages autonomy, which fosters further competence - a virtuous cycle that continues to childhood."

That's not to say that farm kids are better people than city kids.  But as a former farm kid, I can attest that I did things my city and suburban counterparts never did.  It wasn't because I had permissive, laissez-faire parents; I certainly didn't.  My brother and I were simply expected to help around the house and farm from a young age.  We were never discouraged from playing with knives, tools, tractors, pick up trucks, guns, kitchen utensils, garden implements, chemisty sets, pesticides, herbicides (I had a pesticide/herbicide applicator's permit, issued by the state of Tennessee, at the ripe old age of 14.  No joke.  God bless the Bedford County Farmer's Co-Op.) or wild animals.  I'd like to think it made us more resilient and independent than other kids our age.

When we look at the young adults today, we see many of them in the workplace who lack the basic work ethics necessary to become good employees.  I suspect that's in large part due to the fact so many of them were coddled by their parents, no doubt in an effort to make them feel special.

Make your kid feel special.  Let them learn how to do things on their own.  That's true self-sufficiency.

And Finally, A Word On Hyperinflation.

Here's another article from the "It's not me; It's from CNBC" file for your consideration.  A treasurer from the Royal Bank of Scotland (and not some gold bug hawking a mining stock) had this to say about the risk of hyperinflation:

Because it has no more intrinsic value than Monopoly money, fiat money retains its value only because of confidence. As central banks print more and more money, all else being equal, its real value must decline. That explains partly the desire of the German government to enforce public sector spending controls as the price of saving the euro. Otherwise a blanket bailout without cuts in spending would just be a road to inflationary ruin.

But is there something more at stake here than just an orthodox macroeconomic argument about inflation? Does the ability to keep printing money without any real control or discipline, creating a circular flow of money in which one branch of government lends to another branch of government, undermine confidence in the concept of paper money itself?

You decide what you need to do to protect against that risk.

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