Sunday, July 12, 2009

Dogs from Mars, Cats from Venus

My working hypothesis is this:

Men work to access their feelings. Women access their feelings in order to work.

I reached this conclusion after watching fellow workers for 20 years in a major university. In my experience, when a group of women met, they spent a lot of time at the beginning learning about each other, if they were not already familiar or friendly, or renewed their habits of personal inquiry with established friends. Then they got down to work. They sorted out their feelings in order to do good work.

On the other hand (in my experience) when men got together to do some task—or even just to play a team sport—they got down to work first and took the measure of each other, seeing how competent and reliable each person was. After the game or when the project was completed, the men had developed a gut sense of the others, had begun to lay the foundations of friendships. Men worked first in order to establish their feelings for each other.

In the end, both approaches (a) get the work done and (b) promote personal relationships. But they start on different feet, some with the left foot first, some with the right.

Poverty Gap, Technology Divide ... Carbon Chasm?

Remember when people spoke of the "poverty gap" and the "technology divide"? Early purchasers of personal computers—at high prices, mind you—were able to get a head-start on everybody else because they were rich. How unfair! Same with cell phones. How unfair! And Internet connections. How unfair!

Will this not be true of the whole rigmarole of "carbon offsets"? If you're rich—which in the U.S. mostly means one demographic group—you'll have a distinct advantage over everyone else. But "cap and trade" or "carbon offsets" is meant to apply to all—because we're all in the same boat.

Only the rich will be able to buy their way out of self-privation for the greater good.

It's almost like we've rolled the clock back before 1517, when Luther objected to the sale of indulgences!

Cap-and-Trade Is a Form of Class Warfare

Cap-and-trade, otherwise known as "buying carbon off-sets" (such as what Al Gore does to keep his big mansion air-conditioned), looks a lot like the old, U.S. Civil War-era practice of "commutation," i.e., rich families buying their sons' way out of the draft. If you had the money and the inclination back then, you could pay someone else (a poorer person, usually, someone from the "less advantaged" classes) to take your place among the conscripts and stop the bullet with your name on it.

Buying your way out of conscription was a form of big fish eating little fish, the ultimate kick-the-cat scenario. No one mentions that. Right now everyone is filled with the noble purpose of reducing carbon emissions, and trading green for carbon privileges strikes the proponents of C&T as a grand idea.

It's fundamentally class- and wealth-based, just as Civil War draft avoidance was.


The Draft in the Civil War