Sunday, August 16, 2009

Paradise is not a Permanent State of Entitlement

When I returned to Hawaii in 1998 after living 30 years on the mainland, it was because because of the Asian currency crisis and Hawaii's fortunes tied to it -- that Hawaii was actually undervalued relative to the hot economies (tech boom) elsewhere.

Hawaii stayed depressed until President Bush's response to terrorism put an end to the climate of fear and terrorism overhanging the world. Up to that time, people could not fly on planes without the thought that it could be hijacked, and that was also true for cruise ships, and foreign travel.

Once that fear was eliminated, Hawaii started to boom again, and because there is no real economic activity but tourism, federal grants and real estate speculation, those fundamental costs skyrocketed to where a quality of life is unaffordable for many.

The logical choice is to move back to areas that are now undervalued, where even people on nominal incomes, can live decent lives.

Meanwhile, many of the "homeless" in the Islands actually have fixed incomes but since the lowest rents would consume it entirely, they figure they might as well be homeless and afford everything else, or pay rent and have no money for anything else -- but what would be the point?

So life has changed greatly, while many in Hawaii, are used to, and think life never changes -- but always stays the same, as life in paradise should.

But paradise is where one finds quality of life that one can afford, as a fully valued member of that community, and not as the increasingly many dispossessed.

That's a great problem that no matter how many public opinion studies the state underwrites, people eventually awaken to the reality of -- and most have to do something drastic about it and move.

But that doesn't mean that those who remain are the winners. They may in fact be the losers because they pay dearly for everything, and notice they fall even further behind -- because a few with strong unions can "afford" to pay the now higher costs.

They must justify and rationalize that it is the only place worth living -- despite paying four times more for everything -- because every time they raise the GET tax, everybody else has to make that adjustment as a multiplier, and not just one retailer adding it on at the end.

That's why Hawaii is the only state with an excise tax on everything -- multiplying the cost of living, and the lawmakers and public service worker unions only solution, is to raise the GET tax a little more, because people won't notice.

But the difference now is not 2-4% more, but 2-4 TIMES more, and so, in every forum in the land, people complain incessantly and rightfully, that the cost for everything is escalating out of control.

And the only solution the lawmakers and public worker unions suggest, is to raise the GET tax so they won't have to "sacrifice."

Sunday, August 09, 2009

The Trouble with Paradise

If businesses are uneconomic, let them fail on their own merits -- and not because the trust fund babies of the world only want a pristine paradise where people never need concern themselves with sustainable enterprises -- and can surf all day.

The value of these enterprises is that they create and develop the human ingenuity for overcoming all the challenges they will undoubtedly face. So even a Superferry, brings organizational and logistical skill for planning and running a business -- rather than just relying on Senator Dan to secure more than the state's fair share of federal money so the people can grow up to be good for nothings in guaranteed lifetime make-work (government) jobs.

Island states are prone to failures -- rather than becoming overwhelming successes; there are more Haitis and Nauru Republics than there are Singapores. Presently, many people realize Hawaii has already overstretched its economic capacity -- because there are no promising businesses. You have to begin to create and develop them -- as the next step in the evolution of that statehood, rather than reminiscing about the good old days of the first day of becoming organized and recognized as one.

Things are not "automatic" from thereon -- but one has to keep progressing and evolving to the next level of challenge, rather than being stunted at a certain point and time forevermore. That doesn't work for any place, and any society.

For any time and place, one has natural strengths as well as weaknesses. Obviously, the mass model of the world doesn't favor doing business in Hawaii, because it wouldn't be cost-economic to do so. That requires a certain critical mass that is inherently limited by its geography. Plentiful, cheap products, are likely to be at transportation and freight crossroads -- and not out of the way, to ship virtually everything to the most distant location from the population and production centers.

Given those challenges, one needs to find and develop their niches -- and not hope to out-New York, New York, London, Paris, or Tokyo. Even if one can hire all the public relations liars and lawyers to say so, Honolulu, is not the same as downtown Manhattan -- and will be hard pressed to justify that kind of infrastructure. But the mega-mass model for the future of world economies, has likely passed for everyone and every place -- and the custom designer reality is possible for those who simply are aware of the choices, and choose to exercise them.

That's what even the political discussions are all about. Whether government becomes the only provider, or ensures, many options provided by private enterprises trying to figure out a better way.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

The Sorry State of Journalism

If the newspapers weren't so overfull of biased, misleading and distorted opinions and articles, they'd be plenty of room for unbiased opinions and articles -- which would be more valuable to the readers, and establish the credibility of that forum and media.

It's not true that opinions are SUPPOSED to be biased; the most valuable and credible opinions are those that are unbiased, and reliably nonpartisan -- while those that are consistently and deliberately biased, misleading and distorted, are worthless and a waste of time and space -- which many have concluded, is the state of contemporary journalism.

This is the very crisis of the newspapers and other media -- that people have traditionally relied on the media to provide them unbiased articles and opinions -- rather than now, being the source of endless biased and misleading information leading to bad information and bad choices.

Two, or endlessly more biased opinions don't cancel each other out to the truth. That is an indication of how journalism and all failing institutions at this time, have lost their credibility and reason for being. Two partisan and biased opinions don't make a whole truth -- but are just two wrongs. And what the world has always needed, is observations that bring us closer to the truth of any matter.

A large reason for the failings of any society, as well as its emergence as a leading light for progress and the future, is the quality by which all members share (communicate) information -- which in Hawaii, has been pretty much a surrogate for the the union newsletters -- in spreading their propaganda. In fact, that the newspapers and other media, early became union organized and influenced, to serve their own interests, and that of its twin the Democratic Party, is the underlying development that undermined its future as the leading provider of unbiased information -- that lately has become, unabashedly and unashamedly, a partisan organ.

That created the vacuum by which the Internet could explode and become not only a viable alternate media, but very quickly the dominant media and publication in the emerging world of global consciousness and participation. Old media is witnessing these developments, yet are powerless to do anything about it -- because real human progress will not be denied, in the service of a traditional trade/power association. The part cannot compete against the whole, but like the famous Borg of the Star Trek movies, subsumes everything in its sphere -- which is what we're seeing happen on the online discussions of the Hawaii newspapers, which has always been the defenders of the status quo, by controlling participation and information, as all newspapers did in the past.

Not to allow that possibility, if they have it, is certain doom -- because not all forums have a participation. Ironically, not all forums that allow this possibility, are overrun with thoughtless and abusive comments -- because each author sets the standards for the quality of that participation with their own thoughts. That's what the mass media has a difficult time understanding -- that simply the number of comments, hits, or readers, is no longer the measure of success and influence, when the right targeted audience is now what counts.

This is a very troubling concept for the mass media to deal with -- so used as they are to manipulating the unthinking masses to their will and opinions, in some easily measurable way. That people should be allowed to express/think their own thoughts rather than repeat the media's programming of words and thoughts, is unthinkable.

So it still wants to divide thought into the monolithic left and right -- rather than recognizing the right of individuals to speak wholly for themselves, without just advancing the doctrines of the traditional partisanships that they have controlled. Real progress and evolution, is the transcendence of the old thinking into the new, that synthesizes the old partial and partisan views into a greater whole -- which those who have only been conditioned in the old arguments and divisions, and their control, are overwhelmed.

That's how the old gives way to the new -- and not just continuing the old in a modified form by which they maintain their traditional control, influence, and place at the top of the pecking order. There is a new world order -- which is unlike the old, beyond their control. Once they can recognize that nobody is allowed that primacy of control, then they can develop those skills necessary to thriving in the new, rather than thinking and demanding that the old must reassert and repeat itself -- for their convenience, so they can remain on top, and in control again.