Economic data is vital to running a business, organization, or nation. Governments and businesses gather a lot of it, and analyze it extensively, to provide better services to stakeholders. However, these same entities use this same data to delve into personal lives and influence personal behavior. Ordinary people need to understand all of these uses, know the benefits, and yet guard themselves and others.
By Mark D. Harris
The world is awash in data. The government obtains data, typically by querying governmental institutions, requiring reports from private industry and organizations, and surveying groups of stakeholders. No other organization could gather information of such depth and scope. Even if some other organization attempted to gather such a volume of data, they would not provide it free to inquirers. After collection, the government checks, analyzes, categorizes, and interprets the data. Finally, the government acts on and distributes the data, hopefully for the benefit of all its citizens. Governments may use information derived from data to position resources, cut crime, minimize poverty, prevent disease, aid business, and otherwise do good.
There are many dangers when anyone has too much information. Governments have so much data that they can violate privacy and manipulate people. Big tech and large companies, from Amazon to Zhejiang, can do the same. The literature is flooded with studies trying to discover the proper use of data and information in the modern world.
Continue reading “Economic Data, Business Needs, Privacy, and Freedom”
How to reduce spending, save resources, thrive financially, and protect the environment in this time of poor governance and economic uncertainty.
By Mark D, Harris
Inflation is higher than it has been in America since 1974. It is not merely a policy problem, but a major financial threat for every family in America, and most families throughout the world. Regardless of what one thinks about policy, we all need practical ways that we can fight inflation.
Simultaneously, we all want a cleaner, more sustainable environment. Many things that you and I do protect our pocketbooks also protect our environment. People who want to protect the natural world ought to be doing most, or all, of what they see below. We can all walk our talk better. Here’s how:
Continue reading “70 Ways to Beat Inflation and Save the Environment”
Thrift doesn’t start with seeking sales and clipping coupons, but with a character of contentment.
By Mark D. Harris
Disasters strike, both in nations and in families. Hurricanes happen, jobs are lost, and terrorists crash airliners into buildings. Our first reaction is disbelief and disorientation. On 9/11/2001 many Americans spent the day staring at the television, unable to accept that such an attack happened in the USA and uncertain of what the attack meant for our future. On any day, when a family member is diagnosed with terminal cancer, a friend dies in an accident, or a husband loses his job, our normal reaction is stunned silence, fear, sadness, and stunned silence again.
Our second reaction depends on the individual. Some people sink into despair, others begin frenzied work, and still others lash out at whoever or whatever they think is responsible for their pain. Over time, those who are psychologically healthy transform their hardship into a new way of looking at the world, adjust their actions, and resume a normal if inexorably altered life. Those who cannot end up getting help from health care providers and ministers to help them reassemble the pieces of their shattered soul.
Continue reading “Robust Thrift”
We often buy not to enjoy our purchase or meet a physical need, but to fill a hole in our hearts, a lack in who we are.
By Mark D. Harris
The Christmas season has just ended, and people worldwide have been evaluating the effects of the holiday. Some people do not celebrate Christmas, and so whatever effect the holiday has on them is indirect. A Buddhist in China, for example, may not believe in Jesus Christ, but may be employed manufacturing toys or clothes given as gifts by those who do believe. A Muslim in the Islamic State may hate the very idea of Jesus Christ, but realize that his American and Western foes are less likely to attack him on December 25th. A Western secularist may scoff at Christianity, but still take advantage of Black Friday shopping bargains and deal with holiday traffic. For many in the West, and in other parts of the world, Christmas is a social rather than a religious holiday.
Continue reading “Why We Buy”