One step at a time…

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Governments say one thing, the media another, and your community something else. It’s hard to imagine changing the world when nothing seems to make any sense :

At the same time as governments around the world are cutting budgets and services for the bottom half of society they are pumping millions of dollars back into the top end of society through quantitative easing.

While cutting class sizes and valuing teachers has been proven to improve educational outcomes, these are the policies which seem least likely to be enacted.

Stock indexes go up, yet regular people often experience things as getting worse.

Here is a collection of books I have found helpful in understanding and making sense of what is happening in the world around us; it is a collection that provides perspective on how things can be changed one step at a time.

Culture

The Soul of Man under Socialism – Oscar Wilde

“They try to solve the problem of poverty, for instance, by keeping the poor alive; or, in the case of a very advanced school, by amusing the poor. But this is not a solution: it is an aggravation of the difficulty. The proper aim is to try and reconstruct society on such a basis that poverty will be impossible”

Power: A New Social Analysis – Bertrand Russell

“Syracuse (he contended) could never be saved, unless men of a totally different character were invested with authority; men, not chosen from wealth or station, but of humble birth, belonging to the people by position, and kind in their deportment from consciousness of their own weakness” – Dionysius

“A common peril is much the easiest way of producing homogeneity.”

Economics

How Numbers Rule the World (Economic Controversies) –  Lorenzo Fioramonti

“The most important things cannot be measured.” –  W. E. Deming

“Uncertainty can be defined as pure possibility, which cannot be trapped into numbers.”

“Statistics are, by definition, static: ‘Things have to keep static if you’re going to count them’, argues David Boyle, fellow at the New Economics Foundation and author of The Tyranny of Numbers: ‘But real life isn’t still.’”
“If the boundaries of what you are studying cannot be scientifically determined, what you are doing is not a science.”

“Instead of blaming their own poor people for dragging the country down, the rich of the poor countries should ask themselves why they cannot pull the rest of their countries up as much as the rich of the rich countries do”

“the internet revolution has (at least as yet) not been as important as the washing machine and other household appliances, which, by vastly reducing the amount of work needed for household chores, allowed women to enter the labour market and virtually abolished professions like domestic service.”

Education

The end of education – Neil Postman

“The reason for this is that public education does not serve a public. It creates a public.”

“Max Frisch, who remarked, “Technology is the knack of so arranging the world that we do not experience it.”

“In learning about difference, we become less afraid and therefore more courageous. In learning about commonalities, we become more hopeful.”
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