Contributor Invitation


Poor Richard’s Almanack 2010’s “Economical Bestiary Project” invites progressive thinkers/writers to submit material.

Contributors may be generously compensated!

Dear Progressive Thinker/Blogger,

PRA 2010’s “Economical Bestiary” is a work of  hypertext literature — a blog-based book– about economic myths and facts from a liberal/progressive point of view. It is currently about 25% complete.

Creative thinkers and writers are invited to become contributors to the project. Familiarity with economic and political ideas, especially areas of popular controversy, is desired. Contributors to the project will be compensated by receiving a pro rata share of the intellectual rights (copyright) to the work, including any subsequent derivatives as, for example,  merchandise or video games that may be based on the Economical Bestiary.

I may also need someone with wiki expertise to set up and administer a wiki to facilitate project collaboration.

When the Bestiary is completed there may be opportunities to collaborate on additional projects, including spin-off’s of the Bestiary as well as other, separate projects. These may include:

— The Inner Hunchback

Synopsis: In Victor Hugo’s novel, The Hunchback of Notradame, each character has its own individual point of view, drawn from trusted sources such as religion, academic or political authority, kinship, popular culture, traditions, etc.  Hugo  leads the reader through each character’s reality, giving us privileged vantage points from which to glimpse the insights, errors, and cognitive biases of each and providing us an opportunity to assemble a “bigger picture” of our own. More –>

— Animal Farm 2.0 (A nail-biting modern sequel to George Orwell’s original novel)

Synopsis: Over a course of  years, an average family farm is gradually transformed into a corporate animal death camp, complete with an ersatz animist-fundamentalist theocracy that secretly serves the human corporate overlords. There will also be sinister, mad scientists doing gene-splicing experiments on plants, animals and humans alike….Too scary for young readers? Don’t worry–it all comes out right in the end! More –>

— The Illustrated Treasury of Cognitive-Bias Fairy Tales and Folk Stories (The description of this project will be posted shortly.)

All of these projects, including the Economical Bestiary, have a potential to be made into video games or other spin-offs that could be designed not simply as entertainment products but also as educational tools–both pedagogical and dialectical–perhaps the first of their kind.

Please visit the “Ecological Bestiary” and leave a comment, whether you are interested in becoming a creative contributor or collaborator, or if only to share your impressions of this unusual project with me.

For Progress,

Poor Richard

Visit “The Economical Bestiary” –>

ps This invitation is just what it says– a call for collaborators on a blog-based book project. There are no ulterior motives or hidden agendas. There is nothing for sale.


51 Responses to “Contributor Invitation”

  1. Natural Lefty Says:

    Well, this answers my question from 2 days ago. I was thinking even prior to seeing this, that I could mention this endeavor on the Thom Hartmann message board. Do you think that would be a good idea?

  2. Poor Richard Says:

    Thanks for dropping by again.

    Yes, I would appreciate your mentioning it anyplace. Feel free to cut/paste the invitation, that’s why I made it plain text.

    BTW I was meaning to ask –do you have trouble viewing the bestiary on your computer because of length, graphics, or whatever?


  3. Natural Lefty Says:

    Yes, it’s both the length and number of graphics, but it’s getting better as the cookies or whatever those are get stored on my computer.

    I will put the invitation and description of the project on the Hartmann site then. I can put it on Facebook too, and so can you.

  4. Poor Richard Says:

    I can put “read more…” tags in the post to break it up, so it doesn’t have to load all at once. I can also restructure it as multiple “pages”, say one per beast, all linked to a top-level intro/table-of-contents page. That’s a lot more work, maybe requiring a very short synopsis and thumbnail graphic for each beast on the TOC page, but people could comment on each beast individually that way.

    • Natural Lefty Says:

      All good organizational suggestions, I think.

  5. Lori Says:

    Video games? Suggests that the beasties pack a quantifiable amount of punch. Which is the most formidable opponent?

    • Poor Richard Says:

      The video game aspect only occurred to me a couple days ago.

      The most formidable beast so far might be the Tyrannical Governosaurus Rex. The “Palins” and Beckers” I just added tonight could always pull a neo-nazi kind of thing out of the bag, though. You never know…

      I haven’t thought that far ahead in any detail, but its a good question. I could be giving that some thought as I make up the mythical natural histories.

      One short-term object of the game would be to take-over the status quo government/economy, based mainly on accumulating economic and political points–but some violence is inevitable… and good for suspense.

      I suppose it would have to go all “Global”, with economical and political beasties from multiple nations slugging it out.

      The ultimate ULTIMATE objective might be an egalitarian, steady-state civilization that would solve global warming, etc. At the very least, the players would have to prevent and/or survive any number of possible catastrophes, regardless of who was in power.

      If it were done right it might be a fun game for business- and politically-minded people of just about any age, and it might get some people to think harder and smarter about how to save the world at the same time.

      The game could continue to evolve, becoming more realistic, until it actually started spilling out into reality with people creating real alliances and institutions.


  6. Natural Lefty Says:

    By the way, I noticed (belatedly) that you have entitled this e-book “An Economical Bestiary.” Shouldn’t it be spelled “An Economicl Beastiary” since it is about beasts, or is the spelling changed to “bestiary” in reference to a collection of beasts.

    • Poor Richard Says:

      As Wikipedia puts it: “A bestiary, or Bestiarum vocabulum is a compendium of beasts. Bestiaries were made popular in the Middle Ages in illustrated volumes that described various animals, birds and even rocks. The natural history and illustration of each beast was usually accompanied by a moral lesson.”

      As I kid I read mythology a little and I particularly loved the old illustrated bestiarys.

      I don’t know why bestiary wasn’t spelled “beastiary”. I suppose its a Latin thing, i.e., a mystery to me, but I like sticking with the medieval spelling.

  7. Natural Lefty Says:

    That is “An Economical Beastiary,” and of course that is a question with a question mark at the end.

    • Poor Richard Says:

      I don’t think I’m getting your meaning/point about beastiary (with an a) or the question mark.

  8. Natural Lefty Says:

    I did start a topic yesterday afternoon on the economics subtopic of the Thom Hartmann site which described your project and the invitation for contributors. However, there has been no response yet, which is disappointing. If no one responds quickly, it will quickly get “buried” by more recent posts and replies. Nonetheless, it is there. I saw you put the invitation on Facebook, too.

    • Poor Richard Says:

      Thanks for posting on Hartmann. You can reply to your own post there to keep it from getting buried. If your computer will allow you to cut and past from the bestiary to the hartmann blog you could post excerpts once in a while. Please do. It may be wise to just put “CC (Creative Commons) by PRA 2010” at the bottom of any excepts.

      PRA did get 2 hits from there yesterday–might have been you, though.

  9. Natural Lefty Says:

    No that wasn’t me, so that’s something a little encouraging. The way the current Hartmann site is organized, it only registers how many replies to a post there have been, not how many views, and the post most recently replied to, goes directly to the top. I can reply to my own post, which I plan to do if necessary, but I don’t want to do that so often that I seem to be a nut. Fortunately (I guess), there has not been a lot of posting going on in the economics section, so the bestiary post is still near the top.

    I have noticed that there do not seem to be as many conservatives posting there now as there used to be, but have no idea what happened to them. That is, I don’t know if they decided to stop posting there, got busy, were banned, or a combination of the above. Nonetheless, some threads have over 100 posts over the last few weeks. My post on Manfred Max-Neef quickly grew to 13 replies there, then stalled, at least for now. Frankly, I thought that some of the conservatives there were obnoxious, and that they already have more venues for expressing their opinions than progressives have, but they do have a right to mix it up with us and that does presumably serve some purpose.

    • Poor Richard Says:

      I never could understand the attraction for the conservative posters at hartmann. I wonder if they get paid.

  10. Natural Lefty Says:

    I wish they would let you back on the Hartmann site. Then you could post your own excerpts. I suppose they wouldn’t mind me posting excerpts, though, as long as there is no offensive material in them.

    • Poor Richard Says:

      I sent louise hartmann a polite email after I was banned but never got a reply. I don’t know how else to get back on.

  11. Natural Lefty Says:

    I wonder if some of the conservatives on the Hartmann site get paid, too. Some of them claim to have demanding, lucrative jobs. If so, how do they spend so much time on his site? Shouldn’t they be working? Maybe they are working when they are on there. I understand retired people, part-timers, bloggers, etc. being on these sites a lot, but people who claim to be working something like 60 hours per week, doesn’t make sense unless they hardly ever sleep, or are on there while they are supposedly working.

    I think a lot of conservatives are driven to convince others of their point of view, especially those who disagree with them. Maybe it’s a sign of insecurity, or a result of a fearful, intolerant world view. I even get this on a religious basis from my own evangelical Christian stepdaughter. She even asks workers in stores whether they are Christians, if they believe in the bible, etc. I think she also does that with her coworkers. My mother thinks that may be why she always seems to have problems with her co-workers and keeps quitting jobs or getting fired. (She just quit another one after getting what appeared to be a good job following being unemployed for 16 months.) I think another reason is Isabella being hypersensitive and picky, but the religion thing is a problem, too. It’s strange, when you think about it, that she is trying to convince people that she knows “the way” and wants to tell others about it, when she doesn’t exactly lead a charmed life, to make an understatement.

    I have heard of people being returning to the Hartmann site after being banned. Some use a completely different identity, and usually get banned again when their true identity is discovered, but others are allowed to use their same identity, I believe. It’s a shame that Louise didn’t reply to you. I wouldn’t know how else to be let back on, either. I just hope not to be banned. I seem to be good at not overly offending anybody, although I have made some really sarcastic or insulting comments on occasion.

    • Poor Richard Says:

      Natural Lefty, you wrote: “I think a lot of conservatives are driven to convince others of their point of view, especially those who disagree with them. Maybe it’s a sign of insecurity, or a result of a fearful, intolerant world view.”

      That’s my theory, too. I’m sorry to hear about Isabella’s problems. I think in most cases such behavior suggests sub-clinical neurochemical or hormone imbalances. Unfortunately, the psychopharmacology is poorly understood/developed. The only consolation is that many of the “antidepressants,” “mood stabilizers,” etc. seem to have a relatively low incidence of adverse affects, so they sometimes do more good than harm. There are a number of nutritional supplements that can affect serotonin, dopamine, glutamine, and other hormone levels, but there is little help with choosing the appropriate agent or dosage from the family doctor.

      Isabella’s generation’s brains had to develop in an environment heavily contaminated with man-made chemicals. I’m fairly convinced that has a profound effect on neurodevelopment.

      Sometimes a maturing frontal cortex is the only help we can get. Group therapy (like CBT) and support groups like al-anon can sometimes teach coping skills and help the maturation process.

      Someday I hope there will be a safe and effective pill that conservatives and other “neurodiverse” people can take.


  12. Lori Says:

    Neither neurodiversity nor opinion diversity are appropriate targets for medication.

    • Poor Richard Says:

      “Medication” for cognitive issues has a rightly-deserved bad rep. The insurance, pharma, and medical industries have been both incompetent and bad-faith players. I think I was clear in saying that at present the psychopharmacology is poorly understood/developed. But that doesn’t mean that most cognitive problems are not organic and don’t have potential organic treatments.

      I am aware that my view is unpopular with many of my fellow liberals.

      I don’t suggest that all neurodiversity should be “treated” and I would never want it forced on anyone. I only medicate my own neurodiversity when it becomes a functional problem (by my own standards) that I can’t manage with cognitive skills. That does happen sometimes. I might medicate more often if the technology were to a point where the risks were lower and the efficacy higher.

      As Natural Lefty and I have discussed elsewhere, we suspect that many conservatives have personality or character disorders or other cognitive problems underlying their world view and behavior. It is important to me to point out in their moral defense that such problems often (if not always) have some organic neurological component and are not simply moral or intellectual failures.

      I suspect that a subliminal dose (one so low the recipient would not even be consciously aware of it) of cannabinoids or psylocybin might convert many conservatives to liberals and change climate-change deniers to constructive conservationists.

      I would also like to see progress in the area of chemical cognitive enhancement for the so-called normal brains that are driving the bus of civilization over a cliff. I don’t care if most of the neurodiverse go their own merry way as long as some of us are able and willing to keep the bus on the road.


  13. Natural Lefty Says:

    PR, I am inclined to agree with Lori, for the following reason: the notion that neurochemical imbalances are the cause of psychological problems is dubious, except in a few exceptional disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. It seems much more likely (if one doesn’t listen to the pharmaceutical and medical community propaganda) that changes in a person’s thought patterns causes the changes in neurotransmitter levels or processes, not the other way around. In fact, a recent study (don’t know the authors but I think it could be looked up on the internet) found that cognitive therapy causes changes in the brain, both changes in brain structure and neurotransmission I think. Of course, this realization places the major responsibility for one’s psychological health upon oneself, but social support, life events, and genetics also play a role.

    Thus, cognitive enhancement need not require the use of chemical interference in neurological processes.

    • Poor Richard Says:

      Y’all go ahead and gang up on me. I know my genetic/organic view is currently unpopular among liberals/progressives.

      Which comes first, the chicken or the egg?

      100 Genetic/epigenetic neurological predispositions
      200 Prenatal impacts on neural development
      300 Postnatal environmental impacts (physical and cultural) on brain development
      400 DO WHILE ALIVE — Cognitive and behavioral patterns change the brain and the brain affects subsequent cognitive and behavioral patterns in an infinite feedback loop.
      500 Acquired epigenetic changes, random mutations, and social/sexual/natural selection alter the gene pool.
      600 GOTO 100

      I have been a client/victim of the psycho-therapeutic industry for 50 years, and have seen all the abuses and incompetence first hand, so I don’t mean to minimize the risks. I admit that psychopharmacology sucks at present, but as the technology improves, I see no reason in principle (given responsible risk/benefit analysis and management) not to use it to intervene constructively in the cognitive-behavioral-brain-change cycles. I also support “talk therapy”, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical CBT, group therapy, and many other kinds of behavioral therapy and humane operant conditioning. I support the concurrent and serial application of all therapeutic modalities in a cost-risk-benefit hierarchy.

      It is a fundamental consideration that brain changes accumulate over a lifetime and are not easily or quickly altered or reversed by elective behavior (i.e. “willpower”) alone. My organic emphasis also takes some of the “moral” and social stigma out of cognitive and behavioral issues.

      Given responsible risk/benefit analysis and management, I also see no reason not to use psychopharmacology for positive cognitive enhancement (attention, alertness, “energy”, memory, mood, affect, intelligence, etc.) in “normal” people.


      • Natural Lefty Says:

        Well, I had the impression you wanted something to disagree about, so I finally found this issue.

        To disclose some family baggage, my sister in law was diagnosed with bipolar disorder a few years ago, and according to my brother, she got worse when she took medication. I have heard several similar horror stories from students. Even worse, my father had major anxiety last year, so he was given an antianxiety drug, but that made him suicidal. He was worried about hurting my mother, for some reason, so he tried to overdose on the antianxiety pills, which reduce brain activity (a depressant). After that, he spent a month in a mental ward of a hospital along with a bunch of drug addicts, and he still goes to therapy groups at the hospital. Horror stories such as these only help to confirm my feelings that we need to be very careful with any psychoactive drug, even when supposedly therapeutic, and that they are basically being exploited for profit by big pharma. (Antianxiety drugs and antidepressants are the two most profitable categories of drug, I have heard.)

        • Poor Richard Says:

          Natural Lefty,

          I am pleased to disagree. I think our main conflict is with cases vs principles. You can’t argue against brain surgery because in the 50s and 60s they used lobotomies to pacify uppity women.

          However, people are rightly concerned by problems with current drugs–atypical responses, liver toxicity, allergies, etc. A drug (lamotrigine) which eased my bipolar depression for about a year eventually made me break out in hives and I had to stop using it. Some people die from adverse reactions, too.

          The AMA estimates about two million adverse reactions to all FDA-approved drugs (about 100,000 fatal) per year.


      • Lori Says:

        I also support “talk therapy”, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical CBT, group therapy, and many other kinds of behavioral therapy and humane operant conditioning.

        If there’s one thing that Noam Chomsky and Ayn Rand agreed on it’s B. F. Skinner.

        As for cognitive enhancement, I say great if folkx do it on their own initiative and on their own terms. Performance enhancing drugs and economic competition are a bad mix. Artificially ‘raising the bar’ means eventually the artificially unenhanced need not apply.

        • Poor Richard Says:

          Skinner suffered from the general “tabla rasa” ignorance of cognitive neuroscience and evolutionary psychology common to everyone of his time but he was a smart guy and I think he made some important contributions. Chomsky’s justified criticisms pertained to the fact that many linguistic capabilities are built-in –not constructed by conditioning. Rand’s criticisms don’t deserve attention. (snark, snark)

          “the artificially unenhanced need not apply”

          You put your finger on the biggest problem not just with cognitive enhancement but any kind of human enhancement including all the trans-humanism controversy: raising the bar for “normals”. Normals are going to find out what disability feels like. (Boo hoo)

          Did you see Gattica with Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke?

          I don’t mean to downplay the downside at all, but we are all going to have to DEAL with artificial enhancements somehow. Students, athletes, competitive business professionals…everyone. I don’t know if pursuing it “on their own initiative and on their own terms” (which goes without saying) is going to be any kind of solution.

          All I know is I don’t know all the answers.


          • Natural Lefty Says:

            PR, I think it’s tabula rasa, not tabla rasa. I don’t know much about Ayn Rand except that she provided a lot of the background work for libertarian ideology, and she wrote a book that a high school classmate lent to me, which I stopped reading after about 15 pages because I didn’t care for it — and to think I used to “like” that classmate.

            I agree that it is potentially possible to fix the application issues with psychotherapeutic drugs, but we are a long way from being there. I think you mentioned that there are 100,000 deaths per year from adverse reactions to medications (of all types, I presume). I wonder how many lives those drugs “save?” One-hundred thousand seems like an awful lot of deaths.

            IMO using performance enhancing drugs in athletics is immoral and clearly cheating. In other fields such as business, it may not neccesarily be immoral, but it seems dangerous.

            I have never heard of a person dying from psychotherapy, on the other hand, whereas most people are helped by psychotherapy.

          • Poor Richard Says:

            I suspect psychotherapy has plenty of suicides to its credit (debit?) Every intervention with unstable people has its risks.

            Ayn Rand was the Mother of all Unapologetic Apologists of Narcissism.

            Oops! Tabla = Hindi: तबला, Marathi: तबला, Kannada: ತಬಲ, Telugu: తబల, Tamil: தபேலா, Bengali: তবলা, Nepali: तबला, Urdu: طبلہ, Arabic: طبل، طبلة‎) a popular Indian percussion instrument (of the membranophone family) used in Hindustani classical music and in popular and devotional music of the Indian subcontinent. The instrument consists of a pair of hand drums of contrasting sizes and timbres. The term tabla is derived from an Arabic word, tabl, which simply means “drum.” (Wikipedia)

            Tabula = wax tablet, used for notes, which was blanked by heating the wax and then smoothing it to give a tabula rasa (Wikipedia)

            You can see how I got the two things mixed up…


  14. Natural Lefty Says:

    Getting back to the Economical Bestiary, my question earlier was simply about the spelling of the word “bestiary” but I see that it is correct although it seems it should be “beastiary” since it is about beasts.

    I have been busy commuting to the remodelling project plus teaching and testing, but while I was there waiting for Eunice to finish something, I read some old books about various animals (you know, the alphabetized encyclopedia type of book), and one of the entries I saw gave me a bestiary idea. It turns out that anglerfish, the fish which lure prey with a fleshy wormlike projection in front of their mouths, are even stranger than I had thought. All of those large, visible ones (sold as “monkfish” in markets), are females. The males are about 1/2 inch long. Their job is to find a mate, and burrow into her. He somehow attaches himself to her bloodstream to draw nourishment, his eyes and body degenerate, and he basically sits there and fertilizes her eggs. Perhaps we see a case of convergent evolution in Republican political strategists or political groupies who feel compelled to attach their wee little selves to a “big politician” basically serving the sole purpose of bolstering the politicians’ gigantic egos and serving them with “talking points.” It’s just an idea I had which I hope you can use. It could result in some pretty funny pictures, to say the least.

    There is also a history of psychological theory behind the idea that people with an authoritarian mindset and a deep sense of insecurity, can only validate themselves by associating with a powerful figure.

    • Poor Richard Says:

      Natural Lefty– excellent suggestions. I think I will use them for the “Blue-Blooded Wannabe” unless you think of a better name.

  15. Natural Lefty Says:

    Blue-Blooded Wannabe is fine with me.

    The Blue-Blooded Wannabe is a curious example of convergent evolution. This is a tiny male conservative, carrying a recessive gene which makes them crave being around a powerful authority figure, to which they can submit. Much as the tiny male Anglerfish burrows into an adult female, where he obtains sustenance from her while he degenerates into little more than a sperm provider with an atrophied body, the Blue-Blooded Wannabe attaches himself to a powerful authoritarian figure, such as a conservative politician, burrowing his way into the host’s chest cavity where he is barely noticable to the public. However, his rudimentary brain provides simple but widely understood “talking points” to the host, which keeps the politician always “on point.” (Good examples would be Mitch McConnell and John Boehner.)

    Meanwhile, the Blue-Blooded Wannabe injects his host with special DNA packets which invade the host and is transmitted to any offspring of the host. In this way, the nefarious gene is passed on to new generations. It is also thought that the gene makes the host lose all sense of moral judgment, resulting in many affairs and a fair number of illegitimate offspring carrying the Blue-Blooded Wannabe gene.

  16. Natural Lefty Says:

    Above is my description of the Blue-Blooded Wannabe. Again, you are free to modify the description, make improvements, and photoshop illustrations of this strange phenomenon.

  17. Natural Lefty Says:

    PR, I will reply here because I am getting tired of reading those anorexic threads.

    So, Skinner was an advocate of the “blank drum” Hmm, that is interesting. I think that the philosopher Locke was the original advocate of the “blank drum,” not to be confused with the fish known as the “black drum.” The idea that Locke had was that each person is born as a “blank drum” upon which life beats the rhythm of it’s song upon the psyche of the individual, or to quote the infamous John Q. Moronowitz, “We’ve got to beat some sense into you, child!” Like Locke, Skinner was also an enthusiastic advocate of beating sense into children, resulting in Skinner’s recommendation that parents rely on punishment techniques such as spanking, to the exclusion of positive reinforcement.

    Wait a moment, Skinner believed in the exact opposite, which is positive reinforcement to the exclusion of punishment. In other words, you admit that I was correct. Tabula Rasa means blank slate, upon which life writes its experiences according to Locke and Skinner, which is the extreme environmental influence end of the nature-nurture spectrum.

    I know that Ayn Rand was the extreme apologist for greed, selfishness and narcissism, but I know that largely by heresay.

    It is true that many clients of psychotherapists have certainly committed suicide, but it seems very dubious to attribute those suicides to the psychotherapy. Most of them probably would have committed suicide, anyway, perhaps even sooner. Also, most of the people who commit suicide who have psychologists, probably are on psychotropic medication as well. Thus, it is difficult to make an unambiguous attribution for suicide to psychotherapy gone wrong, whereas, it apparently is possible to make an unambiguous attribution of suicide or death in many cases to medication gone wrong.

    • Poor Richard Says:

      “each person is born as a “blank drum” upon which life beats the rhythm of it’s song upon the psyche of the individual, or to quote the infamous John Q. Moronowitz, “We’ve got to beat some sense into you, child!”

      We should share a Nobel for the tabla rasa theory.

      • Natural Lefty Says:

        In what topic, BSology?

        By the way, John Q. Moronowitz is a character I made up who represents the conservative view of John Q. Public, but it comes out as Moron-No Wits, just to make it clear. He would be someone who would write naive essays with titles such as “Why taxes are bad,” “Why government is bad,” “Why the free-market is good,” and so forth. He would conflate communism with socialism, and democracy with capitalism, for example. I just saw a new one of those on the Hartmann site recently, but there only seem to be a few conservatives posting there these days.

        • Poor Richard Says:

          BSology sounds about right. But admit something–John Q. Moronowitz is your own repressed, dark side, isn’t he? Are you sure you don’t get up in the middle of the night and post conservative rants on under a different name?

          Sorry I haven’t posted the Blue-blooded Wannabee yet. Since I broke the bestiary down into multiple pages its twice as much work to add new stuff. I’m also working on a separate table of contents page that I have to keep in sync with all the other pages. I must be missing an easier way to do it….

  18. Natural Lefty Says:

    Yes, John Q. Moronowitz is my flip side. I guess you could say he is what I would be like if I were a naive, low information conservative.

    I was looking for the Blue-Blooded Wannabe. I was thinking an addendum to that would be ditto-head types who don’t totally meld with their authority figures, but they keep in constant psychic contact with them.

    So, what is P2P? I see that you created the group, put several of us in it, but I cannot find any content yet. I tried to post a comment there, but it did not work.

    • Poor Richard Says:

      P2P is peer-to-peer. The term comes from Napster and the anti-copyright (music piracy) movement, but it has broadened to cover social and economic theories based on open, egalitarian, populist principles. I like it because it blends the contrasting ideas of individual sovereignty and socioeconomic interdependence/cooperation into one concept. Such complementarity is a mark of a good meme. It also subordinates institutions to persons and emphasizes commerce and relations among peers.

      I haven’t searched for graphics for the wannabee. I’ll do it soon. I keep tumbling down the internet rabbit hole…

      I’ve run into a thing I’m going to email you about tomorrow. Got to keep it down low for a little while.


  19. Natural Lefty Says:

    Good, I am eagerly anticipating your email. I think P2P is a good meme, although peer-to-peer is so general that it could refer to a great variety of stuff. I don’t see anything there yet. We need something to get us started. I saw David Walker, DP, you and I, and a couple of people I am not familiar with on the list there.

    I think I need to go soon to check on my wife. My stepdaughter says the workers are at the new house, Eunice seems to be okay, but not answering the phone. On Monday, Eunice asked me to return on Wednesday, though. The remodelling project is very pre-occupying and financially draining, too.

    • Poor Richard Says:

      It seems you got my email. You don’t need to comment on the RFP, I just don’t have anything else on the video game project ready to share yet. I’ve been busy writing up a bio for the p2p foundation.

      They are going to publish the bio and republish my PRA 2010 posts on “Green Free-Enterprise” and “Disenclosing the Commons” on their blog.

  20. Natural Lefty Says:

    That’s good. How do you get something published on their blog? Also, I was wondering how long you have known about P2P. You never mentioned it until these past few days. In fact, I did not realize that it was a separate site until today. Do you think they would publish my posts?

    I am glad you got the group on Facebook started with some materials today. I will send you an email about the RFP, because this is the bestiary thread technically.

    • Poor Richard Says:

      I just discovered the p2p blog & wiki about a month ago thanks to Lori, who has commented on some of my posts here and contributed some bestiary ideas. I haven’t said much about it because I’ve been in listen/read mode instead of talk/write. They have a shitload of material that agrees with my own perspective but uses a new (to me) language that I am still rushing to assimilate. I commented something about the Homestead Act on a link that Michel Bauwens posted on his facebook page. Then he commented saying that if I wrote more on the subject to let him know, so I wrote the “Disenclosing the commons” post and let him know about it. He then offered to republish that and “Green Free-Enterprise” (which I suggested) on the p2p blog. He declined (without comment) to republish my post on “Why can’t the public and private sector just get along?” in which I propose (among other things) that government could offer more services at a fee like the post office. The recent news about the pay-for-protection fire department in TN watching a home burn down probably didn’t help my thesis, but I still defend the idea with proper conditions. I guess that’s the natural heretic in me. I can’t be orthodox to any one perspective.

      I think the p2p folks should be interested in some of your excellent writing as well. You may want to do as I am and learn their language & conceptual approach a bit. I find they are way ahead of me in both language and (some) concepts. One thing you and I share is a desire and ability to write about complex subjects in non-technical language — you more than I — and I think p2p should appreciate that even though (or because) much of what I read on their sites is a bit jargon-heavy. I think the fact that you are a teacher and communicate with young people all the time gives you some very special communication skills (not to discount your natural abilities).


    • Poor Richard Says:

      I also might add that most of us, including Chomsky and many of the neo-socialist type writers on ZNET, and you and I, are somewhat “old school” compared with the framework being developed under the p2p umbrella. I smell the future there very strongly.

  21. Natural Lefty Says:

    Are you sure that they aren’t using new terminology and complex language to convince themselves that they are the ones who really know what they are doing? I see this all the time in science — people who conflate new language with new ideas, and complexity of language with validity of their ideas. Take Sknner for example, since he was recently discussed here, or practically any other well known psychologist. They make up their own terminology and become really impressed with themselves. Sometimes they fool other psychologists and the public also, but I am not that easily impressed, nor fooled. Skinner was basically talking about reward and punishment as though they were novel concepts.

    Anyway, I will check out their ideas and terminology, although I suspect that most of it is relabelling of ideas that other people including you or I have had.

    Teaching community college students has definitely helped me learn how to communicate to the “masses.” That is an excellent observation by you, although I might have mentioned that to you before. (At least you remembered that.) I think I made a fundamental decision at some point to concentrate on writing as an exercise which is designed to result in communication rather than writing solely for my own edification. I don’t see the point in being an author if people cannot understand one’s meaning. Being a psychologist, I see myself as perhaps able to provide a link from academic understanding of psychology to the public so they can understand more about the ramifications of psychological knowledge. Perhaps I can serve that role for P2P also. I looked over some of their material briefly last night, and they did not seem psychologically oriented as far as I can tell. Most of the stuff on their site was by Bauwens, in fact, and he doesn’t seem to have a psychology background.

    • Poor Richard Says:

      I sometimes make excellent observations all by myself. ;-]

  22. Natural Lefty Says:

    Note: I am sure that much of the approach of P2P also involves combining ideas in new ways, which is important to do. I am going that direction too with my Capital Ideas approach. I plan to examine the P2P approach and write a post about it in the near future, especially as a diverse, combined approach as you say it is.

    • Poor Richard Says:

      I am not easily impressed by gratuitous terminology and jargon–just the opposite. I find it off-putting. I think p2p is much more than that, but it will take me a while to decide if some of their terminology is gratuitous/superfluous. What impresses me is the way the p2p framework offers a coherent set of new perspectives on old issues and helps to see/discuss the relationships between aspects of culture, economics, politics, etc. (and we will add psychology if it isn’t there) in a simple and rational way.

      I.E. what you said–combining old ideas in new ways. Spot on.

  23. Natural Lefty Says:

    I will have to check out the site in more detail. I did see a list of 10 progressive things we could do economically, which seemed like a compilation of existing ideas, which is fine but not novel. I hope I haven’t already offended Mr. Bauwens. P2P might be like a theory or perspective that puts many things together in a better way. I just want to make sure you aren’t too easily impressed — you don’t seem to be.

    I was looking for your posts on P2P but couldn’t find any. It seems like there should be more pages on the site, but I am not seeing them, just the main page and the YouTube links.

    • Poor Richard Says:

      When you say looking for posts on P2P do you mean at the facebook group page I created, this blog (PRA 2010) or elsewhere?

      The main portal to P2P Land is the P2P Foundation Wiki (like Wikipedia) at

      From there you can get to their blog, the p2p bookmarks, etc. and create your own browser bookmarks for the stuff you like.

      My articles won’t be posted on the P2P Foundation blog till November, but they are here on PRA 2010. I’ll post links to them on my fb p2p group page, too. I guess I’ll go ahead and post the bio I just wrote on my fb profile page.

  24. Natural Lefty Says:

    If they won’t be there until November that explains why I didn’t see your posts.

    I mean I clicked the P2P links on your Facebook group. I think I saw the page you linked to here briefly before, but I don’t know how I got there; I don’t think it was directly from any of your Facebook links that I clicked on. That looks like the page I need to really check out. I remember looking for psychology on their list of topics, and it wasn’t there.

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