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Immigration and Wages

2017 February 22
by Ian Welsh

Wages are partially determined by supply and demand. The tighter the labor market, the higher the wages.  There is a very direct relationship.

People who dislike immigrants for economic reasons think that if there are less immigrants, there will be less people competing for jobs, and therefore wages will be higher.

The alternative argument is that immigrants spend money. They are consumers.  The more money that is being spent, the more demand there is for goods and services, and therefore the more demand there is for workers, and therefore wages are higher.

Which is true varies by society and time period, and it also depends on what jobs you’re talking about.  Immigrants compete for low-end jobs, and they compete for some high end jobs as well (in particular various tech jobs, especially in programming, engineering and science.)  The second lot tend to come in visas, often worker visas which give them limited rights.  The first lot are often undocumented, and the folks that Trump wants to deport.

A lot of older programmers (coders) can’t get hired. If there were fewer work-visa immigrants, perhaps they could.  If there were fewer undocumented workers, perhaps there would be higher wages for low paid manual labor jobs.

I support immigration, but I recognize that making immigration work means having policies which generate domestic work from domestic demand. If an immigrant makes money and spends most of it on Wal-mart goods made in China, it might well be that he or she is producing less local demand for workers than the job or jobs that immigrant has.

There are ways of making it so that immigrants produce more jobs than they consume, but that has to be something you want to do, and it hasn’t been a priority for most nations for decades. Heck, it hasn’t been a consideration, not a priority, because policy has been run to keep wages from increasing as fast as inflation, let alone as fast as productivity.

In this environment, it is not unreasonable for low wage workers who are directly competing with undocumented workers to see them as competition. They are competition.

The right way to fix this, as with almost everything, is to make sure it’s a clear win/win and not questionable which way it goes.  Low wage workers, and tech workers, need to see a tight labor market where there’s plenty of work and wages rising faster than inflation. If they do, they won’t care about immigration.

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The Press is Trump’s Enemy, Not The Left’s Friend

2017 February 20
by Ian Welsh

The enemy of my my enemy is not my friend. It often isn’t even my ally, but just someone who I have something in common with.

Roosevelt on the Press from F.D.R. and the Press

FDR wasn’t that left wing, yet the Press savaged him relentlessly. Corbyn is relentlessly savaged and lied about by the British press, and his political beliefs are basically 60s liberal with a side of anti-nuke.

The media works for its owners. As of 2000, 80% of US media was owned by six companies, and that number is higher now.  The media serves the interests of the people who own it and anyone else’s only incidentally and insofar as those interests don’t contradict the owners. Furthermore and this point almost all journalists and editors in American media are Ivy League grinders.

Such people are deeply, personally, offended by the idea that someone like Trump, who just does not know how to act and who is rich despite being everything that parses as incompetent and gross to them, is President.  Trump is not part of the club; despite being rich, he never has been. His father was rich, he was rich, but he comes across as nouveau riche, a parvenu, without taste or class.  And his followers, in whose company he revels, are culturally beyond the pale to virtually anyone who was conditioned in an ivy league school, and who jumped thru all the hoops to get into an ivy league school (a process which requires the unfortunate subject to be a grind and a brown noser from elementary school all the way thru high school.)

Just as the intelligence community’s opposition to Trump does not make them good guys; the Press’s opposition to Trump does not make them good guys. For all the screams about “fake news” the worst purveyors of false news in the past 20 years were the mainstream media who sold the Iraq war for George Bush; with the most prestigious newspaper in America, the New York Times, making the flagship effort.

As a result, by the time Iraq was invaded, 72% of Americans thought that Iraq had been involved in 9/11 and a majority thought they had WMD and were a threat to America.

Now that’s fake news.

The  media has been relentless in mocking any real left-wing candidates as well. Kucinich, who ran for president multiple times, was treated as a joke. Oddly, he had been a successful mayor: he was both a successful legislator and a successful executive, but somehow he wasn’t credible.

The best case scenario of the Trump/Media fight for anyone who wants a better, more egalitarian world with greater welfare for all and true respect for democracy is that they destroy each other and that the media is even further discredited, so that it can be broken back up into thousands of pieces.  Even in that state the majority of media outlets will the enemy of all decent, kind individuals, but they will be less powerful, and there will be room for a larger minority to advocate for something other than oligarchy and empire and all the evils that flow from both.

Remember, it is a rare person or institution that doesn’t serve the interests of whoever controls it, and if you cut a person’s paycheck, you are paying for control over that person. That is literally what the check is for, and if the person doesn’t act in the interests of their owner, they get fired.

The media is not your friend; they are the bought and paid for workers for oligarchy.  That is their job. On the side, where the oligarchs don’t care much, they may do some good, but if “good” and “pushing the interests of their owners” conflict, they will always side with pushing the interests of their owners.

Trump cut the TPP. Trump wants to renegotiate NAFTA. Trump wants huge tariffs on various countries. He wants to kick out undocumented immigrants, who work for bad wages in shitty jobs for people who don’t want to pay enough for people who aren’t scared of ICE to do the job.

There are oligarchs who support Trump’s plan, to be sure (see Fox, various others), but there are plenty who don’t.

That doesn’t make Trump’s plans good, nor by itself does it make them bad.  It just means that giants are fighting above our heads.  To them, we are ants, and if while they fight each other they happen to step on some ants, that isn’t important to them.

Trump: not your friend. Media, not your friend; intelligence agencies: not your friend.  This is true even if part of their current interests happens to coincide with yours.

The results of the work I do, like this article, are free, but food isn’t, so if you value my work, please DONATE or SUBSCRIBE.

Fools Russians where angels fear to tread

2017 February 18
by Mandos

(NB: post by Mandos.)

Recent events suggest that, whatever they may have originally thought, the Trump administration is in the process of being pulled back into the overall historical attractor of US policy regarding Russia.  The Russian establishment had made no secret of its preference for Trump and its belief that Trump was a person with which they could deal on a more even footing, a politician in a mold they understood, etc.

I’m not here to argue whether or not Trump (or Flynn) is some kind of Russian plant, an issue that seems to be occupying many others.  I gather that conclusive evidence on this matter has yet to be produced and that it so far lies in the realm of (negative) wishful thinking.  However, Russian policy-makers are already voicing disappointment that Russia-favorable entities in the Trump administration are increasingly weakened.  The US state, particularly its intelligence community, are deeply set up for conflict with Russia, for better or for worse, and it turns out that the White House is only part of a large infrastructure, and any fantasies of an election resulting in a vast purge and house-cleaning were just that: fantasies.  The intelligence community still believes to its core in the necessity of containing Russia.

However, one thing that is different now is the position of Western social liberals.  Unfortunately, Russia had decided to back in spirit, if not always materially, movements that are identified with various strains of nationalist conservatism that are hostile to the goals and beliefs of social liberals.  This is not only in the USA, but especially so in Europe, with the on-going rise of the Le Pens, the Wilders, and other groups in the world.  Once upon a time, social liberal groups were principally parochial movements which were relatively indifferent on foreign policy questions regarding Russia, and to a very large extent also overlapped with anti-war movements — and so were once at odds with the intelligence community.

However, the apparent desire of Russia to return to a world of ordinary nation-state politics, and therefore its willing appearance (at minimum) of siding with conservative nationalist movements, have led to many social liberals now viewing Russia as mortal threat to their projects, and therefore, having a plausible motive to try to subvert political movements like that of Trumpism to their aims.  In this situation, social liberals (or “identity politics” movements, or whatever you want to call them) will quite rationally stake out a position that the devil you know (American intelligence forces) are better than the devil you don’t (Vladimir Putin).  This is not helped by the appearance of things like Russia loosening its laws on domestic violence.

While social liberals have not lately been winning elections on their platforms (most notably, in the USA due to the Electoral College structure), it would be a mistake to assume that these groups have no power whatsoever.  In fact, they have broad and deep bases of popular support (merely electorally inefficient), and those bases are being pushed into the arms of forces hostile to Russian interests.  The combination of Cold War-style intelligence community conservatism with popular social liberalism is one that is likely to lead to an even more hostile neo-Cold War posture on the part of the Western establishment in the medium-term, unless in the short term Trumpism can generate the political competence required to coerce the establishment in the other direction.

For its part, Russia has been attempting to play, in the “further abroad”, a soft power role given that its other options are not effective.  It is attempting to play the part of a rival global hegemon without actually being a hegemon.  It does not currently have the cultural or technological reach to do so.  While it operates a technologically advanced, developed economy, it is still highly dependent on natural resource development and export.  That means that the risks accruing from a strategy of using cultural divisions in the currently hegemonic Western social order are high: should social liberals gain the upper hand due to the inability of nationalist populism to operate the levers of state effectively, they will be confirmed in a resolve for further containment and suppression of a Russia that took sides against them.

How to Fix Posts and Comments Not Showing

2017 February 16
by Ian Welsh

Ok, after some hours of fun, fun, fun, posts should now show as soon as they are published and so should comments.

If they are NOT, please press ctrl-F5 (or command-F5 on Mac) and that should resolve it. For Chromebook, use Ctrl-Shift-r.

Comments were turned off; they are now turned on. If you have any problems, please let me know (comment below, or admin-at-ianwelsh-dot-net).

The Deep State vs. Trump

2017 February 15
by Ian Welsh

So, Flynn is gone. This was foolish on Trump’s part, because the odds of a Logan Act prosecution were zero.  Telling Russians to chill could easily be argued to be a good thing: If they hadn’t, it would have meant the Russians would have inflicted their own sanctions on the US, which, presumably, Americans wouldn’t want.

Not that I care if Flynn is gone. The man was an insane warmonger on the subject of Iran.

Meanwhile, there are constant leaks, always un-named and virtually never with any actual evidence.

Trump pissed off both the intelligence community and the foreign affairs community, and they want him taken out.

There were two stories used to delegitimize Trump during the election: He’s a Fascist (Hitler reborn, he’ll put you all in camps and exterminate you), and He’s a Russian Pawn.

Both are being run heavily now. The idea is to have a constant stream of scandals until he’s so damaged that he can be impeached by Republicans and replaced with Pence. (And if Pence goes down, you get Paul Ryan, who will be worse than Trump on many issues. There is no Nice Daddy to be gotten by impeaching Trump, children. They’re all bad people.)

The intelligence services are anti-Trump. The police are pro-Trump and where the military stands is uncertain.

The power circle here is as follows: Police > Intelligence > Military > Police. When there’s a confrontation, that’s who tends to win. Intelligence tends to beat the military, the military the police, the police the intelligence services. (That’s assuming unity. When you have a coup like the one in Turkey, where the military is not unified, the police can beat them.)

The question here is the loyalty of the FBI, which is the primary investigative arm of the police forces. If loyal, Trump should use them hard, to find who the leakers are. These ‘unnamed sources” have to contact journalists, and thanks to Obama, it is legal to wiretap journalists to find out who leakers are.

Once they are found, Trump should not just make examples of them, he should use them as a reason to break at least one agency (probably the CIA, far weaker than the NSA), with the understanding that there is enough material to break others if they continue.

I do not say “should” in the sense that I hope Trump does; I am agnostic. Unlike many left-wingers, I do not think that just because bad actors oppose Trump (a bad actor), they are now my friends. I’m a left-winger: No intelligence agency is my friend.

I am, however, genuinely concerned by the anti-Russia hysteria being whipped up. It is shameful and could easily lead to real, hot war with a nation which is much weaker than the US and its allies, except in nuclear terms. A nation whom has also noted that it will use nukes in case of a war.

Pushing Russia up against a wall is in almost no one’s interest and is profoundly dangerous.

I am dismayed that so many on the left are willing to collude in this anti-Russian hysteria, but I suppose I shouldn’t be, nothing more is to be expected.

The game will continue, and, yes, if Trump goes down, it will be because of a concerted campaign by the intelligence community. However much you may hate Trump, if you think that’s a good thing, you are delusional.

Note that I have no position on what happened or didn’t happen. I don’t know. I want proof. After Iraq, I don’t take “the intelligence community’s word” for anything. Only a fool would.

(Also, this:


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Market Failure, Epinephrine Injections, and Societal Failure

2017 February 13

This is not a competitive market:

Pharmaceutical company Kaléo – already under fire for raising the price of an overdose antidote – now plans to put an alternative to the EpiPen on the market for more than seven times the cost of the leading $608 drug.

Kaléo’s epinephrine injector, used to stop severe allergic reactions, will go on sale for $4,500 for a pack of two beginning on February 14. The auto-injector’s innovative audio instructions walk caregivers through administering less than $5 worth of epinephrine.

Remarkably, because of a system of coupons and discounts, Kaléo’s epinephrine injector Auvi-Q may have the lowest out-of-pocket costs for patients, a strategy some critics say may help some customers, but leads insurance companies to redistribute the cost of the drug through insurance fees to remain profitable.

The materials in such epinephrine injectors are worth about $8.

This is market failure. In a free market without collusion, if something is this high-priced, the price drops to more closely match the cost of production as other producers move into the market. It does not radically increase. As it stands, if you need an epinephrine injector and don’t have one, you stand a good chance of dying.

The rational reaction to these sorts of market failures, increasingly common in pharma, would be: (1) to either restructure the market to prevent them, which would require breaking up big pharma companies, streamlining approval processes, and allowing reverse-engineered knock-offs, or; (2) more simply, for the government to just manufacture them itself and charge a fair price.

There are some government services which should be kept entirely in-house. (The military, for example. Mercenaries are failure mode for any government.) There are many other services for which the government should be one provider among a number. The government stays in the business, providing about a third of the service; because if you aren’t in the business yourself you can’t always know if you’re being rooked by private companies and if you are being rooked, it’s very difficult to do anything about it because you don’t have the expertise to provide the service yourself.

At the same time, you want private companies involved to keep the in-house providers honest. You have multiple contractors, and those who do the best for the least are rewarded, so they have incentives to improve. You swap out the lowest performing ones on a regular basis, especially allowing a few upstarts in at the lowest viable level, so that radical new ideas can be tried.

If those new ideas work, everyone, government and private, adopt them.

At any rate, the market failures in pharma, with price markups in the thousands to tens of thousands of percents, are now so common that it’s clear that a radical solution is needed. The simplest solutions are price control and government getting into the business. Ideally, both should be done at the same time.

Note that price control includes forcing companies to take a profit. Dumping is (theoretically) illegal for a reason. If the government was to get into epinephrine injectors, for example, the logical solution for private enterprise would be to undercut their prices until the government pulled out because, “The private sector is more efficient.” Then, once the government was out of the business, they would jack their prices back up.

So you mandate a healthy profit, and because you’re in the business, you have a decent idea what a healthy profit is, not just for manufacturing, but also for distribution, sales, and so on. “You will make inflation +X percent on this.”

None of this is particularly complicated to do, in theory or in practice, though that isn’t to say that the technical details of setting it up are easy. But pharma is full of scientists and engineers who hate their jobs, and there have been vast waves of lay-offs as well; there’s plenty of expertise lying around.

I should add that this is a solved problem. It is simple to fix. This sort of price-gouging simply wasn’t tolerated in the past, and it is now, and pharma executives know it. Stop tolerating it, and it will go away.

But private pharma is a stupid way to invent and produce drugs anyway. They spend more on advertising than on research, they sponge off publicly-funded research, and they have vast incentives towards palliatives because a pill a day for life is far more profitable than a cure.

Medicines in the public interest, such as new antibiotics, receive little research because they are not profitable, and medicines long out of patent are subject to horrific price-gouging, and so on.

If you’re sick, you’ll pay almost anything for a cure. Medicine, drugs, and medical devices are one of the last things which should be provided through the private sector. If they are, they must be very highly regulated or in an engineered market with careful oversight–one from which the profit motive is largely excised at any level where decisions of patient care are being made.

The fact that our societies can no longer manage something as simple as drug prices is yet another sign of deep social failure.

The results of the work I do, like this article, are free, but food isn’t, so if you value my work, please DONATE or SUBSCRIBE.

Trump and the Resistance

2017 February 10
by Ian Welsh

So, the Resistance are doing something effective, and important: They are showing up to town halls and holding their congress members feet to the fire. This is what the Tea Party did, and it works. Combined with aggressive campaigning for down-ticket offices: state, municipal, school-board, and so on, this is where true power comes from.

Obama’s reign left the Democratic party a shambling ruins, with hardly any states under their control. The weakness at the federal level is only a shadow of the weakness at lower levels, so much so that the Republicans are within spitting distance of controlling enough States to get through constitutional amendments. (If they do, bend over and kiss your ass goodbye. If you’re smart, get the fuck out of the country.)

Liberals tend to think that Trump’s on the run. Sure, there’s been setbacks, but it’s worth remembering that the polls are, well, probably wrong, as they were running up to the election. Besides, general approval is irrelevant, even if the polling is correct. Trump is never going to win California, or New York, or Massachussets, and if those states oppose him en-masse it means little.

Traditional phone polls that use live interviewers — including some of the most trusted polls in politics and media — report limited support for Trump and the controversial executive orders he’s signed. But automated phone and Internet-based surveys tell a different story. Once the element of anonymity is added, the president’s approval ratings suddenly look a lot better.

In referring to an automated poll that put the president’s popularity in the black, Spicer actually understated Trump’s level of support. According to Rasmussen Reports’ most recent survey (released Friday), 54 percent of likely voters approved of the president’s job performance.

Some people are embarrassed to support Trump, but they do nonetheless, and his hard core support him very much. Further, his support among likely voters is his higher than his support among the general population.

The Resistance also has another problem: To win, Trump has to fail. This is bad in the sense that what Trump really needs to do to win is to deliver a decent economy to his core. Attacks on Kushner and Ivanka, for example, if those attacks succeed in reducing their influence, would actually make Americans worse off, because these are the sanest and kindest people who have significant influence over Trump. Likewise, while Bannon is a piece of work, the people who would replace him are an incoherent mess; evil without the silver lining of actually wanting a good economy for the working and middle class.

And if you get rid of Trump, you get Pence. He’ll make a lot less crazy headlines, but he’s a theocrat’s theocrat and an oligarch’s tool. He will be as bad as Trump in most ways and worse in others (for example, on gay rights).

Indiscriminate attacks on Trump’s advisers may make Trump fail (he’s vastly reliant on advice and guidance when it comes to policy), but they also risk railroading his and Pence’s presidencies into including all the bad and none of the good.

All this said, and at the end of the day, Trump’s fate is in his hands. If he can goose the economy, and replace Obamacare with something at least as good, and if he doesn’t allow Republicans to gut Social Security/Medicare, he’ll stay president and probably win re-election. If he doesn’t, he’s toast; either impeached or loses re-election.

But, for now, don’t believe all the numbers you’re being fed. Polling works badly with Trump; what matters is likely voters, and what really matters to them is if he delivers.

But the best form of resistance is the “In Your Face” kind: make the lives of Republicans and any Democrats who support him, personally miserable. If they are Democrats? Make it clear that you will primary them if they cooperate with Trump.

The results of the work I do, like this article, are free, but food isn’t, so if you value my work, please DONATE or SUBSCRIBE.


A Note on Happiness

2017 February 8
by Ian Welsh

I live in a single room, in a downscale neighbourhoood. I sleep on some pads on the floor. I am in debt, and I have a couple serious health problems.

I am also happy most of the time.

I’ll be sitting in my garret and thinking, “God, life is amazing. This is wonderful.”

And I’ll laugh and mock myself, “What’s good about this? You’re poor, sick, overweight, and broke.”

All that is true, but I’m happy (and my health is improving, no worries, I don’t expect to die soon, though who knows).

So I’m going to give some unsolicited advice on how to be happy even though your life sucks, because, well, I’m pretty good at it.

The first step is to not be unhappy.

(Insert head smacking motion from readers.)

Seriously, though, start there. Or, as I like to say: “The whole of the path is not giving a fuck.”

Run out of fucks. Do not restock. Life will seem a lot better.

Start with not giving a fuck about how other people you don’t know are doing. Just stop. You’ve been happy many times in your life, and while you were happy, nasty people in the Congo were gang raping men and women, people were dying of starvation, people were being tortured. It was fucking horrible.

There are always people who are suffering; suffering unbelievably. Agony one can hopefully only imagine; shame, terror that rises to the level of insanity. There are people in the burn wards of the hospitals where you live begging for death, praying for it earnestly. (I’ve been there, though not with burns, thank God.)

You’ve been happy, really happy, while all these horrid things were going on. You didn’t give a fuck then, don’t give a fuck now. When you start thinking about how horrible things are for people you don’t know, STOP. Think to yourself “I’m not helping them or me,” and focus on something good.

I recommend imagining a young child you love, and seeing them running into your arms. Failing that a puppy. Stand up, open your arms wide, and imagine what it feels like. If you’re imagining a puppy, imagine yourself kneeling and it licking your face.

Or find something else, but do it. Every time you feel miserable for people you don’t know, redirect.

Next, do this for your future self. There’s a future you fear: Perhaps you’re afraid of losing your job or of Trump becoming Hitler and cackling wildly as the ovens roar, perhaps you’re afraid of something else.

STOP. Whatever it is hasn’t happened yet, and it may not happen at all. As Twain quipped, he was an old man who had known many bad times, but most of them never happened.

Even if they are sure to happen, they aren’t happening now. Why are you wrecking today over something which isn’t happening now?

Redirect. Or learn not to care. A couple summers ago I was very poor and I thought there was a good chance I’d wind up on the street. Given my health, that would be a death sentence, and not a pretty one. I looked it square in the face, just sat with it, and asked myself, “Is there anything I could do to stop this which I am not doing which I am willing to do?” The answer was no.

I sat with it, I decided I didn’t care, and from that day to today I haven’t worried about it. That doesn’t mean I haven’t done anything about it, I have. But I haven’t sat there torturing myself with visions of it; nor have I tormented myself with all the things I might do which, frankly, I’m not going to do.

People spend vast amounts of time wishing they would do what they won’t do and feeling guilty that they aren’t paragons of hard work and virtue and blah, blah, blah. You are who you are, and while you can change that, it will change slowly. So stop beating yourself up over who you are, because mostly you don’t control it.

And that’s the next step: Just stop caring that you aren’t everything you think you should be, that you aren’t who you wanted to be when you were 20, and so on. A little introspection is useful here. Watch your thoughts, experiment with controlling them, experiment with controlling your actions. Or just remember the last time you tried to change yourself and failed. And the time before that. And the time before that.

Right. If you were really in charge, if you could easily change yourself, you would have already done so. You haven’t, and you aren’t. So stop beating yourself up, you (mostly) aren’t to blame for who you are, and you sure as hell can’t change what you’ve done in the past. Don’t do regret.

Now, let’s say you’re suffering now. Right now. Sit down, lie down, stand, go for a walk, and just look at whatever it is. Dive right into the pain, observe it, feel it, watch it. Just let it be. After a while (and a while may be weeks of doing this), you’ll find that you just don’t much care. The pain doesn’t go away, but most of the suffering does. And, one day, if it’s the sort of pain which is self-inflicted through thoughts, well, that may go away, because you aren’t reinforcing it.

As you do all of this, you will suffer less and less, and you will be happy more and more. Your energy will recover, and you will then be able to make changes. I will suggest that making changes mainly means changing habits, and that changing habits (which includes what you habitually think about) is mostly about doing what comes easily. Make it easier for yourself. If you want to exercise, start by doing one minute. One minute. Increase it as you feel like. Do most things this way: Start easy and ramp up.

On the positive side, do what you enjoy and look particularly for those things which feel good not just when you do them, but afterwards.

Stop making heroic efforts and using willpower. Instead, relax, and do what you like doing.

There will be a time for pushing out of your comfort zone, yes, but first, make your life basically decent. If you don’t want to do something, don’t do it unless you must, and make must a small list: Do you need the money? Is someone going to hurt you if you don’t do it?

If your life includes doing things you hate which you can’t avoid because you need to eat or someone will hurt you, or a dependent needs to eat, that is what you need to spend any energy you have on changing.

Get it out of your life, or learn not to give a shit. Is your coworker or boss an asshole, but not an asshole who is actually physically harming you or threatening you? Mentally tune out their bullshit.

The whole of the path may be not giving a fuck, but sometimes there are things you don’t have the detachment to wave away, at least right now. Those are the things which should be removed from your life.

As you stop the bad thoughts, as you stop worrying about the future and regretting the past, as you stop self-harming by doing what you hate or by locking yourself in situations you despise, you will find something very surprising: Humans are naturally happy.

You almost certainly don’t believe that, but it’s true. Get rid of the shit, relax, and you will find that you are happy most of the time, that it takes very little to make you happy. A simple meal makes me happy. I listen to music and I smile. I hear a bus’s brakes squeal and I am happy because I don’t have to walk. It’s insane, really, how little it takes.

Humans are made to be happy most of the time. They have to learn how to be unhappy. Stop being unhappy, and the upside will probably take care of itself.

Unhappiness isn’t a choice: You didn’t really make it. It’s not your fault. You fell into it due to the circumstances of  your life and your history. Nor can you choose, by an act of will, to stop being unhappy. But you can, over time, learn not to be unhappy, to not dwell on the bad, and to let your natural happy nature take the fore.

Imagine that puppy licking your face, and when bad shit happens redirect. If you can’t redirect, simply sit with the badness, not judging it, till it loses its power. And refuse to let other people’s unhappiness make you unhappy, except as required by immediate circumstances. If your friend is sick, commiserate and feel bad for a bit, but don’t take that with you, and never let the suffering of complete strangers or imagined futures wreck you.

The whole of the path is not giving a fuck. Run out of fucks and don’t restock, and the sun will rise again and light your world up in a way it may not have been lit since you were a child.

Human nature is happy. Clear the detritus out, and it will bloom.

The results of the work I do, like this article, are free, but food isn’t, so if you value my work, please DONATE or SUBSCRIBE.