#knowledge #intelligence #wisdom #education
Knowledge is different from intelligence.
Both are different from wisdom.
Knowledge is the collection of facts, information and skill. These can be acquired at any age. They can be acquired either through reading, education or by doing.
Intelligence can be acquired naturally. Or, it can be honed through learning. It takes intelligence to apply knowledge properly.
Wisdom can only be required through experience. It can be learned in youth through mentoring, but it more likely comes with learning by doing over time.
One can know a lot, and not apply what he or she knows intelligently. As one applies knowledge, properly or not, presumably, over time, he or she gains wisdom.
However, consistent misapplication of knowledge can help one evade wisdom.
We all want to be knowledgeable, intelligent and wise. Depending on the person, that can be a tall task.
The begged question here is: how does a truly knowledgeable, intelligent and wise person behave?
As humans, we make decisions. Not all decisions are good. Virtually no one can make every single decision a good one.
But knowledgeable, intelligent and wise people make more good decisions than bad ones.
One’s character is shaped by decisions. A person of good character doesn’t just want everyone to think he or she is knowledgeable, intelligent and wise. He or she wants to believe he or she is so.
Usually, that means saying less and doing more. It also means doing good things even when no one is watching.
If you know you are being watched, however, model your good behavior with pride.
Many people, if not all, can attain the three characteristics. But, attainment has to start with the inner desire to do so.
Some have no interest in, and couldn’t care less, whether they are knowledgeable, intelligent or wise. To them, life is lived on their own terms, regardless of the consequences.
Others have disabilities that keep them from attaining their full potential. But they, too, can attain a great deal if they have the desire to do so.
Knowledge, intelligence and wisdom are there for the taking for most, if one has the desire.
The combination of traits does not, in itself, make a good person. But how one applies each of those traits can determine the type of person one becomes.
So, do you have the knowledge, intelligence and wisdom to be the best you can be?
If not, do you want to be your best?
How one thinks about those questions can determine one’s path to success and happiness.


#PrescriptionDrugs #DrugPriceNegotiations #DrugCompanies #tgovernment #PrivateSector
The United States is the only country in the world that puts medical care in the free market.
That tells the country that you get what you can afford, or, perhaps, you suffer or die.
The large drug companies, as well as academic research institutions, do the research that creates the newest, perhaps blockbuster, drugs, therapies and treatments.
That research, in the case of private companies, is funded largely by the (mostly U.S.) profits it makes from drugs, when they are approved and sold.
These companies want to maximize their profit initially because they know that drugs will eventually come off patent and can be duplicated by rivals.
That will lower the cost of the drug, usually.
Once a drug is developed and approved, the cost of manufacturing usually drops. Some drugs that cost relative pennies per dose to make are sold for up to thousands of dollars because the companies are trying to recover all their research costs.
So, the question becomes: why should a drug that has been prescribed for many years, that costs relative pennies to make, still cost so much long after the companies have recovered most or all of their research costs?
Perhaps it could be argued that the company is trying to pay for current research on drugs not yet approved. (What will they charge for that drug later, if approved?) Perhaps it could be argued that the companies are also trying to recover research costs on drugs that turned out to be busts, and never approved for sale.
Most of the drugs in the initial rollout of Medicare price negotiations with companies are drugs that have been around awhile. The companies by now should have recovered most, if not all, of their research costs on those drugs.
In some cases, companies are spending millions of dollars on television and other advertising to get people to ask their doctors about these drugs.
Perhaps, when Medicare starts negotiating prices it will pay for some of those drugs, the TV ads for those drugs will stop, or be cut back. That’s not good news for the TV networks and other media outlets that depend on such advertising.
In essentially every other country, drug price negotiations are the norm. There is usually only one buyer – the government – for the whole country. That gives those countries leverage to determine how much drugs will cost within their boundaries. (That’s why a lot of Americans buy their drugs from Canada or Mexico).
Because most medical care in the U.S. is in the free market, that hasn’t been possible here. Because of that, people not only had to be concerned whether a drug, or other medical treatment, was going to be the best for their conditions, they had to worry how they were going to pay for it. That’s stress atop stress unnecessarily.
In the U.S. private sector, a large-volume buyer usually negotiates prices. The more one buys, the lower the price per unit. The sellers want to sell lots of product. The buyer wants to pay as little as possible. So, they negotiate. Medicare is a bulk buyer of prescription drugs, and has never been allowed to negotiate prices – until now.
There is no telling yet how much prescription drug price negotiations will bring down the federal deficit, but, very likely, it could be considerable over a few years.
Therefore, there could be a two-part bang for the buck here. Medicare, and, ultimately, patients will pay less for the drugs they need, and the federal deficit could come down a lot. As a bonus, the drug companies will still make plenty of money.
And, over time, as the number of drugs that are subject to price negotiation increases, the difference could be huge, compared to the current situation.
The actual results have not yet been realized, but the whole idea could be a game-changer for the country.


#parenting #ParentingStrategies #children #ChildrensAnxieties #depression
Children significantly are more anxious and depressed than they were five years ago.
So says a March article in JAMA Pediatrics,. The article was quoted in Nedra Rhone’s “Real Life” column published October 6, 2022, in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Much of this anxiety is attributable to the pandemic, but, as Rhone points out, anxiety in children from birth to age 17 has been on the rise long before COVID-19.
In fact, she points out, from 2016 to 2019, children’s anxiety increased 27 percent and depression increased 24 percent, quoting data from a study from the National Survey of Children’s Health.
Parents and caregivers have suffered a steady decline in well-being over the past five years, she quotes from that study.
Shefali Tsabary has advocated for a parenting style that dispenses with traditional paradigms featuring control, fear and punishment, Rhone writes. Tsabary has a doctorate in clinical psychology and specializes in blending Western psychology and Eastern philosophy.
“What children really need from parents is not a laundry list of rules, and overload of shame and guilt or feeling silenced and oppressed. Children need to feel seen, to feel worth and to know that they matter for who they are rather than their accomplishments,” Rhone writes from Tsabary’s work.
There is much to unpack here, but suffice it to say that the old way of parenting apparently is not cutting it with kids today. In past decades, parents told kids what they expected of them. They may have even told them how they were going to live their lives as adults. Kids who fought such instruction were considered rebels, or something worse.
When some parents were children, rigor was all they knew. Disappointing Mom and Dad was taboo, even though Mom and Dad wanted them to be something they weren’t, or did not want to be.
Certainly, children need to be taught right from wrong. After all, some things are indisputably right, and indisputably wrong. But today, right and wrong have much gray area between them. Children should be allowed, with perhaps some limitations, to explore that gray area and decide for themselves what, to them, is right and wrong.
Kids should have some freedom to “be kids,” again with appropriate limitations. As they navigate childhood, they will make decisions for themselves AND accept consequences for those decisions.
Some will want to be like their parents. Some will want to be completely different from them as they grow.
If they want to be different from their parents, or what their parents expect from them, it likely is not from a lack of love of parents.
Parents, therefore, should encourage children to be who they want to be, with appropriate warning about the pitfalls of pursuit.
Perhaps that will make them less depressed or anxious. Parental and academic requirements can be overwhelming. Parents should strive to encourage their children, while trying to ease their burdens. Parents may not think burdens on children are a big problem, but they can be bigger than many realize.
Raising children in an atmosphere of encouragement rather than rigor may keep many from developing conditions that can be debilitating for life.


#economy #jobs #GoodEconomy #BadEconomy #EconomicNumbers
The U.S. economy is good, according to the numbers.
Unemployment is low, salaries and wages are rising. Yes, inflation is higher than most would like, but seems to be coming down. Also, most experts say pay increases are outpacing inflation.
Yet, people still believe the economy is not so good, according to media reports.
Certainly, in any economy, there will be some people left in the lurch. Some of them are left behind by their own choosing (they don’t want to work). Many are left behind because juggling child care, a job and other responsibilities is difficult.
At least one day-care center, rather than raising pay for their teachers, is instead providing housing for them. That way, struggling parents won’t have to pay higher rates.
There are specific hardships as well. Tyson Foods is closing several chicken plants in small towns – where it is likely the primary employer — because chicken sales are down.
The post-COVID work world has changed. More people are working from home. Some companies are raising pay rather substantially to get and keep people in their jobs. (That might be one trigger for the inflation numbers.)
People’s feelings about the economy may also be affected by the messaging they receive. Some media outlets don’t want certain people elected to office, so they will keep telling their viewers and listeners that they SHOULD feel that the economy is bad.
Even though numbers may not be what they seem in some cases, except for inflation, the numbers tell a pretty good economic story.
It might make one wonder: why do I not think the economy is good?
Certainly, every person has the power to better their own situations. There are oodles of options out there now that might not be there if the economy really does take a downturn. This economy present golden, if, perhaps, fleeting, opportunities.
Perhaps you don’t like your job. Perhaps your job doesn’t pay enough. In this economy, you can change both of those things by looking elsewhere for employment.
If day care and other life necessities are keeping you from working, perhaps finding something that would allow you to work from home might be an option.
If your skills or job situation doesn’t allow you to work from home, many employers will work with you on your family situation. Most of them need workers. They will do almost anything to keep you, if you are reliable and good at what you do.
Certainly, life and work are complicated. The pandemic exposed many of the vulnerabilities workers can face.
This may be the perfect time for anyone to better his or her situation by checking out options that, perhaps, one may never have thought of doing.
This is the best time in decades for workers. If you work hard, are willing to learn new skills, visit convenient employers to see what they might have available. Most of them are looking for help.
If you like your job, and it works for you, excellent. If not, it’s incumbent upon you to find something else.
Do you still think the economy is bad? Very likely, YOU can do something about it. If you don’t know why you think the economy is bad, perhaps you should re-evaluate where you get your information about it.
Some people in power, when the economy was suffering, would say that if you were not prospering in that economy, it was your own fault. For many, it was not their fault.
Now is the time to take matters into your own hands and find work that you can feel good about. Very likely, it’s out there.


#string #strung #ties #disarray #TheWorldOnAString #AllStrungOut #DontStringMeAlong
“I’ve got the world on a string.”
“All strung out over you.”
Don’t string me along.
These lyrics or themes from various songs and stories discuss string in its many different and diverse uses.
We think of string as a bonder – something that puts many things together into one.
We think of string as a securer – something that can hold things together.
We also think of it as a dangler, from which an object(s) can hang securely.
In the first lyric, having the world on a string means one is dangling the world securely from his or her hands. Who wouldn’t want to have the world as his or her yo-yo.
In the second lyric, one is in a state of disarray. His or her “string” has unraveled.
In the third theme, one has succumbed to someone else’s string which that person has attached to him or her.
Life can often be characterized by metaphorical string, and how we use it. Do we want to attach others to us? Do we want to dangle the world under the security of our hands? Do we want to unravel and be in disarray?
However we decide to use our “string,” we most often can control it.
We make choices, usually after considerable thought. We accept the consequences of those choices, good and bad.
Regardless, they are OUR choices. Certainly, there are limits to our choices. Generally, if our choices adversely affect someone else, the consequences could be dire.
If they affect others positively, the consequences are usually celebratory.
What we choose and how we choose it (them) are the art and science of living. Unlike other animals, who must do certain things to survive, we empower ourselves to survive by our intelligence rather than our instincts. As humans, we certainly have instincts, some of which are quite powerful and positive.
Other times, we have instincts that produce negative results for ourselves and others. Therefore, we use our intelligence to overcome those negative instincts.
What position would you like your “string” to be in? Taut is usually more preferable than unraveled.
String that is taut can give the holder power. It’s up to the holder to use that power for his or her own good, and the good of others.
Unraveled string creates disarray, and can leave one adrift.
In summary, have your world on a string. Don’t get strung out. And, try not to string others along. Let them follow you because they want to.
Tie up any loose ends. Wrap your world in success, for you and others.


#debt #1Trillion #FinancialInstruments #FinancialBurdens #GoodDebt #BadDebt
Outstanding consumer debt in the U.S. has reached $1 trillion, according to recent reports.
Economists on news shows don’t seem terribly alarmed by that number, since much of it may have been racked up during the COVID-19 pandemic.
But there are lessons to consider here.
First, there is good debt and bad debt. Good debt can actually be a worthwhile financial instrument. Bad debt is likely to be just that: bad debt.
If you borrow money to buy a durable, life-necessary item, say, a house or a car, that’s an example of good debt. You need the item, you’ll have it for a long time, and you’ll eventually pay off that debt, even if it takes years, while you still have the item.
Such debt becomes a good financial instrument, presuming reasonable interest rates, because it can free up your cash to invest in other things that may pay a dividend that would well exceed the interest you are paying on your good debt.
It allows you to use other people’s money for the things you need now, while investing your own money to meet your future needs.
Another example of good debt is a credit card that gives you something back, i.e. cash, gift cards etc.
The trick in making this good debt is that you religiously pay off your balances monthly.
This way, you are not paying exorbitant interest rates the credit card companies charge, and you are getting something from the companies just for spending money.
Don’t worry if the credit card companies cry foul that people are not carrying balances. They get paid a fee per transaction by the places at which you spend money.
If you carry balances, the interest rate will likely well exceed whatever benefit you get back from the card company.
Bad debt is borrowing for frivolous expenses. If you borrow money to take a vacation you could not otherwise afford, you’ll likely be paying that debt back long after you’ve returned from your trip.
In short, you will have nothing to show for your debt other than memories of a trip.
During the pandemic, many people lost jobs, and had to use credit cards to pay for necessities, Many of those people are back to work now, so they can begin catching up on their debt. That’s why economists may not be alarmed at the big debt number.
The lesson here is, in general, go into debt out of necessity, rather than out of pleasure. And, make sure your debt rewards you.
We all indeed want to engage in pleasure activities, but if you go into debt to pay for those pleasures, make sure you know that you can pay that debt back in a relatively short time, thereby accruing as little interest as possible.
You’ll pay interest on a car, furniture etc. for a few years, and on a house for many years. But you will, in theory, have your cash to help grow your wealth as you pay your debt.
Debt can be a financial instrument, rather than a burden. Learn how to manage your debt, and your cash, wisely.


#BookBans #education #students #teachers #parents
Parents are clamoring for certain books to be banned in schools.
Do students want the same thing?
It appears no one cares what the kids think.
Maureen Downey, education columnist for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, tackled this subject in her October 11, 2022, column.
“(Parents) often roll their eyes or guffaw when students themselves defend the books, suggesting that while they want to protect kids, they don’t want to hear their views,” Downey writes.
Downey asked students who have attended school board meetings and hearings what they would like to tell adults advocating book bans.
“I would ask them not even to change their viewpoint, but to keep and open mind. Even though I didn’t agree with what the parents were saying, I still listened. They refused to listen. Whenever someone would speak against book bans, they would start yelling. I also wish they were more informed. They were taking so many things out of context.”
That quote comes from Anvita Sachdeva, a senior at Forsyth County High School, outside Atlanta.
The whole debate about banning books and “protecting” kids centers on open minds vs. closed minds.
So many fear that schools will indoctrinate children into believing things that oppose what they are taught at home by parents, at church or in other non-school locales.
Past generations were easily able to reconcile what they were taught in church, at home and in school, even if there were seemingly contradictory narratives.
Why do some parents fear that no longer is the case?
Perhaps these parents so desperately want their children to think exactly as they do. They don’t want them exposed to ideas, religions etc., that differ from theirs.
Parental restrictions may be the purest form of indoctrination.
The other problem is that parents objecting to certain texts take certain passages out of context, thereby condemning the entire work without reading it in its entirety.
Something that may have a good, even wholesome, overall message may have passages that are less so.
That seems like the old forest vs. trees syndrome.
In short, children should be taught to have open minds, for it is a closed mind that prevents innovation. In that quest, they may come across words, attitudes and behaviors they find objectionable. But that’s not nearly as important as raising a child to think for himself or herself.
Parents certainly want to teach children right from wrong. There are certainly words, attitudes and behaviors that are universally right or wrong. But, children are unlikely to become gay, or trans, based on what they are taught in school. Those are not learned behaviors, but are natural feelings.
Exposing children to people, cultures and beliefs that may not sync up with what their parents believe can not only open their minds, but teach them to accept others for who they are.
By doing that, the world will be better. The children themselves will be better people. And, unexpected friendships could result.
That should be the goal of every parent.


#fighters #compromise #disagreements #DifferentViewpoints
“I will fight for YOU.”
Or, “I’m going to (pick one: Washington, D.C. or any state capital) to start a fight.”
These may be political slogans often thrown around. Of course, those who throw them around think potential voters admire fighters. And, fighters are often better in a political setting than, say, introverts.
But what they really mean is that they are going to fight for SOME of you.
Why? Some of the things they fight for are things some of their constituents don’t want.
Might a candidate be better to say they are going to work to get something done?
Of course, that doesn’t play as well as fighting words.
Government works best when those who represent us cut deals from which every side of the argument gets SOMETHING.
No one side may get everything, but every side gets something.
Such compromise has become a dirty word in many campaigns today. More candidates prefer to play to the extremes on either side, rather than the middle.
But the middle may be where the real action is. It’s certainly OK for someone to fight hard for principles. But, in the end, his or her principles may not fit all his or her constituents’ principles. Therefore, things get done when compromises are reached.
In any sort of relationship, one must understand others’ points of view. If his or her views conflict with the other person’s viewpoint, each viewpoint can be argued and debated. But, more often than not, there are some points of agreement.
Finding those points may be the secret sauce of compromise.
Compromise becomes the secret sauce of action. We expect action from those who represent us.
Think of the many friendships, or other relationships, you have. Do you ONLY relate to those with whom you agree on all things? Not likely. Most married couples don’t agree on everything. Therefore, compromise enters the relationship. You can like, or even love, someone who may not agree with you on all things.
If a person’s views don’t match yours, do you end the relationship? If you do, how does that make you feel as a person? How much respect do you have for the other person’s feelings or ideas?
In short, is the relationship more important to you than any opinions?
A great way to preserve relationships among those with differing opinions is to refrain from talking about things that will cause disagreements.
In politics, or many other relationships, that may not always be practical. Therefore, finding the things you all agree on becomes paramount.
Among friends, family etc., finding what you all enjoy discussing and sticking to those things can work wonders in preserving relationships.
In summary, compromise is not a dirty word. Diversity in thought can enhance everyone’s life. To quote an old adage, you CAN disagree without being disagreeable.


#ActorsAndWritersStrike #RevenueStreams #TechnologicalChanges #jobs #workers
Television actors and writers are on strike over residual pay and their futures with artificial intelligence.
This is not a simple dispute, with big-money studios taking more profits out of the hides of those who create their products.
The whole media revenue stream is changing, with streaming subscriptions becoming a bigger part of the revenue stream, vs. advertising.
In general, subscription revenue is lower than advertising revenue.
Print newspapers went through this a few years ago. Advertising revenue fell, subscriptions dropped etc. There was a big bloodletting of jobs in that industry at the time.
Now, as more people are cutting the cord to cable, and streaming their entertainment online, revenue for cable providers is dropping. Fewer people are watching “regular” TV, and that number keeps dropping with time.
With such unsustainable revenue declines, the studios and networks have to do something.
It’s understandable, with the comings and goings of shows, that actors and writers feel their pay is dropping. Of course, it’s not really dropping for the big-time stars. It’s just for the soldier actors who provide smaller parts, background personnel (extras) etc.
These folks are NOT raking in the big bucks, even when they have plenty of work.
They are working people, just like carpenters, plumbers and other unionized professions – if those professions are fortunate enough to still be unionized.
As for artificial intelligence replacing some of these folks, studios should be aware that there is NO substitute for raw, human creativity. Certainly, human brains will be at the wheel when AI “creates,” but AI would simply copy past likenesses, for which those actors probably will not get residual pay. Or, if they do, it won’t be nearly as much as they would make for live appearances.
Technology can be a godsend for consumers. Getting something useful, or entertaining, for less money is a goal for every consumer, no matter what one buys.
But, we all have to remember that the less we may pay for something, the more people are going to lose jobs, careers and livelihoods.
Just as elections have consequences, technological revolutions have consequences. The difference is we can change electoral results at the next election. We can’t stop technological revolutions. That’s why no one can go home at night from work and believe he or she can never be replaced.
When the replacement comes, it comes as a shock to those affected. It’s important for everyone to have multiple revenue streams in their households.
Some machines can do things better than humans. Usually, the human touch adds quality to any product or service.
If companies care about quality – most say they do – they need to reckon with new revenue streams without compromising that quality.
If you work for a company facing revenue challenges, don’t just complain about how much executives are making. (It can easily be argued that executives make too much in most companies).
You have to figure out how your future will be impacted, and act accordingly. All the complaining in the world about executive pay isn’t going to change things. Some companies might be wise to curtail some executive pay to keep some of their best workers, if that’s what it takes.
As the world changes, we all have to change with it, or be left behind.


#GreatResignation #jobs #workers #employees #employers
Recent reports have said the so-called “Great Resignation” is ending.
Presumably, that would give employers more leverage, since people aren’t quitting their jobs in droves anymore.
Part of the reason The Great Resignation is ending may be that employers are taking better care of their employees, so they are staying put.
A warning to employers: Don’t get to confident in the leverage you may think you are getting back.
There are still labor shortages in lots of areas. New jobs, particularly in clean energy, electric vehicles and other new technology, are being created in good numbers.
Still, people staying with their employers can be a good sign for employees. Job hopping, though sometimes necessary, is not fun. A good stable work environment makes life better for most workers.
A warning for employees: Don’t presume your good, stable work environment will last as long as you want it to. In fact, other reports are showing employers going back to converting full-time positions to part time.
Today’s companies have to be flexible, and change with technology. They will be looking to shift costs and find efficiencies daily. Therefore, today’s stability can be tomorrow’s uncertainty. And, you won’t know when that change occurs, until it does.
The pandemic taught everyone that good jobs, and good employees, are both desirable. Employers constantly are working constantly to find the sweet spot of happy workers, happy customers and good profits.
Many employers have stepped up – most out of necessity – to take care of their workers as best as they can.
If you are happy with your work situation, keep it for as long as you can. But, have an eye out for changes that you can anticipate. Remember, if you see waste and redundancy in your workplace, it won’t be long before your boss sees it, too.
If you find yourself becoming no longer necessary, look for something else.
Remember, too, that there will be changes you cannot anticipate. Therefore, have a plan for the day you walk into work, only to find you are being laid off.
One such plan may start as a so-called side hustle. Income diversity eases unanticipated change. And, some side hustles can turn into full-time endeavors, or better.
While you are in your current job, try to be as useful as you can be. Show your employer – not necessarily in a flashy sense – how much you can do and how well you can do it.
In the past, workers were often advised to keep their heads down, lest they be chopped off.
That does not work today. As an employee, visibility is essential. Remember, too, that just being seen is not enough. Be seen and be useful to the maximum extent possible.
By most accounts, today’s workplaces are better than they were a few years ago. Still, that doesn’t mean anyone – employers or employees – should be complacent.
In today’s world, good situations seldom last for as long as the people experiencing them want them to.
Therefore, be visible, be diligent and be wary.