Saturday, August 06, 2011

Society is being shaped for us while we are busy making other plans

I am disheartened by how our society is being shaped in ways that I don't think most people agree with. The problem is the system that shapes society is not some wonderful system that collects and synthesizes the wants, desires, hope, dreams and hard work of individuals to create an ideal system for peace and prosperity of all mankind. Too bad. But that has never been the case. However, the level to which society is being malformed today by special interests manipulating things for their favor at the expense of society is disheartening.

One of those areas is the legal system that inhibits many positive things for society and encourages many negative things. It is within our power to shape society. But it is not within our desire.

Society is being shaped for us while we are not paying attention.

Here is one small example, of how we have somehow reached a place where honestly providing your opinion of an employee is dangerous to you (this harms: employees [not being able to get references that will speak], companies [not being able to get references on potential hires], society [the inefficiency added to the market is a negative cost with no benefit - just a reduction in everyone's standard of living] and the person not allowed to give an honest reference [not being able to be honest, help those that helped them...]):

What Employers Can Say About You When Giving References

This is why many employers have neutral reference policies, where they only give out dates of employment and job title. This is obviously safe information to give. I would caution employers who have neutral reference policies to apply them evenly. If you give positive or negative references to some employees, you could get socked with a discrimination claim.

Don't you think the huge negative externalities of limiting honest discussion of people's strengths and weaknesses is a sign of the sickness of the legal system? The reason we have a legal system to to help society function. Unfortunately it often does the opposite and makes society avoid activity that is good for society. There are good reasons for things like defamation suits when someone is behaving egregiously. When we force people to self sensor in order to avoid the hugely overreaching legal system that does great damage to our society.

People seem to think bad societal repercussions are inevitable. They are not. If we didn't roll over for run away legal activism we wouldn't have to put up with it. Not being able to be honest is not a good outcome for society. And, in fact, is against the moral code most people would subscribe too. Unfortunately we more an more are concerned not with what is moral, right or good but what is a bother and what pain the legal system will inflict on us for being honest.

Society is being shaped for us while we are busy making other plans.

We need the rule of law. The problem I see is that today the way that is being done (and not done) is harmful to our society. It is not that we need to eliminate the legal system. We need to fix it so it works to make society better and not so often to do damage to society instead.

Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans. - Beautiful Boy, John Lennon, 1980
Life is what happens to us while we are making other plans." to Allen Saunders, 1957

Related: Bikinis For Liberty - Librarians Standing Up to the Madness - Copywrong - Freedom Increasingly at Risk - Bad Behavior - CEOs Plundering Corporate Coffers

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Saving for Retirement Globally

Comment posted to: Does the idea of planning for retirement vary across the globe?

Huge numbers of people in the in the USA and I believe in England too, have done a horrible job of saving for retirement. Many in China save over 20% of their income. Why shouldn't they be confident. Also comparing to your parents in China is a pretty easy comparison to beat. I am still learning about Malaysia (I would imagine they save well - but it is possible they are just optimistic :-)

Saving for retirement everywhere is pretty basic. You have to save 8-12% of your income to have a decent shot at a good retirement. And in exceptional circumstances you need something different. I write about investing and retirement on one of my blogs: Retiring Overseas is an Appealing Option for Some Retirees, In the USA 43% Have Less Than $10,000 in Retirement Savings, Delaying Retirement – Working Longer.