David Eggleton's blog

The Time for Local Economy Development is Now

My title might seem awkward, might look like I made a mistake, but I did not.  I meant Economy, not Economic.  For all that each of us needs for fundamental well-being, we need a local and solar-powered economy nested in a regional one.  For basic needs, at least, we must shift reliance to what's reliable and accessible.  While players in the national and global economy may locate a headquarters or satellite office in the city, others will close theirs.  Successfully attracting any business from away to our city is a pyrrhic victory.  We don't have to leave so much to chance.

Not only because of the settlement just achieved in Washington, D.C., the world we have shared here has changed and will continue changing.  Our hopes and expectations must not be stuck in ruts made during previous eras, when society felt responsible and could try to act accordingly.  To be blunt, we must expect and increasingly get more from each other simply because we are here together.  We can design and complete projects because we want the fruits.  It is time for us to be responsible for our own good.

To begin, please comment on any post in this blog, join Woburn Local at the SCI site and – most of all – prepare to meet and interact in new ways with other Woburnites.

Your Personal "Dashboard" Works: More or Less?

We're more than 100 years into the powered vehicle era, anticipating great changes whose arrival time we cannot predict.  In every vehicle, there's an arrangement of info displays and vehicle controls that the driver can reach and view as necessary.  The arrangements vary, but not enough to make one think twice about borrowing or renting a vehicle now and then.

Thinking each of us has fashioned something like a dashboard for the various moves we make without vehicles, I wonder if I'd like to borrow yours.  After all, you might be a top-notch personal dashboard designer!  My wondering and curiosity about your talent generate a number of questions.  Please answer any of them by commenting here, if you will.  Participants might learn a lot.

Resilience: Woburn Has Some, Let's Invest in More

Saturday afternoon we were home, either doing projects outdoors or indoors conversing with a journalist about our considerations of and preparations for the future we imagine.  We didn't tune in to any kind of media during the evening.  We knew nothing about the Boston area's water supply troubles until our son, a resident of Arlington, called.  He asked if we knew of the ruptured pipe and the authorities' advice to boil any water that would pass one's lips.

Immediately, we began to imagine the inconveniences. When we learned that Woburn is not one of the affected communities, we were relieved and happy, of course.  For us, life will go on being simple.  Too bad those other communities had all their eggs in one basket!  How wonderful that in this city we draw water from more than one source and can choose which one, or ones, we will tap.  Because life requires water, making an extra effort to ensure its continuous availability is a rational choice.  We're grateful today that our predecessors chose to invest as they did, that they made arrangements for access to water both under foot and in a big pipe not far away.

"Things Could Be Lazy If They Weren't So Crazy"

My title is the first line of a song Dave Mason recorded roughly forty years ago.  The song's title is World in Changes.

I recently sat several times through a recorded description of this historical moment that declares the next twenty years will be very different from the preceeding twenty years.  Ours is a world of change, as it always has been.  What's different now is the ratio of givens to fabrications.  Humans have undone a great deal in order to put much in place.  They've moved farther and farther into their own spaces and have extended themselves greatly, not always knowing what they're doing.

Over the span of three DVDs, the author/speaker presents much economic and financial material.  He asserts and explains that our standard practice of reviewing the recent past as we make decisions cannot serve us well.  He is a Massachusetts resident and his name is Chris Martenson.  The recording is called The Crash Course and is structured as twenty chapters.  You can view all of them at no cost at his Web site.  Consider this a recommendation.

Can Nostalgia Morph Into Preparedness?

A few nights ago, I attended a presentation in the high school auditorium regarding a series of past disasters in Woburn.  I arrived a few minutes after it began and could not park in any of the school lots.  It was, therefore, no surprise to find the auditorium full of people.  The empty seats were few and far between.  I sat on the steps to rows of seats in the upper section of the hall.

I had been in that fine space only twice before, both times for events related to the city's mayoral leadership (a debate and an inauguration).  Of the three, this was the biggest turnout I've seen.  I was amazed and curious, and jealous of the guy who held everyone's attention with projected images of and stories about losses that happened a while back.

I am, as you know, concerned about conceivable disasters looming over our days, which would not be so isolated as fires, explosions and tornado touch-points.  Only huge storms had overall effects comparable to what threatens all of us now:  fuels too expensive to use in the manner to which we are accustomed, stores unable to restock their shelves with products from afar and weather events and swings interfering more and more with our awkward improvisations.

What Will We Think Of Next?

When I was a boy, the question What will they think of next? was in the air, water and food.  I cannot recall a time I wasn't aware that clever people out there were busy preparing newness for us.  My family and its relatives, friends and acquaintances all anticipated next things, certain that innovation and invention behind commerce were to be continuous and endless.  Cheap fossil fuels were making so much possible, and it was fun to live as an almost care-free, autonomous sampler of developments.  It was freedom's new form, achieved through the climb out of the Depression and the victories over fascist imperialism.  At once students and fans of The Beatles, we looked forward to doing our part, which we would discover along the way.  Opportunities, of which the space program was symbolic, seemed unlimited for us, though not yet for all, as the civil rights and antiwar movements, in parallel, made plain.

Diverse Minds, Unrestricted And Engaged

During the campaign and in his inaugural speech, Mayor Galvin professed a faith in technology that is common, reasonable and thought restrictive.  As such, it is acceptable to a diffused majority not conscious of itself, not of one mind and content to leave some matters to city government.  As such, his faith in technology gets our community only so far.  To go the distance, Woburn needs its diverse minds unrestricted and engaged.  If he hopes to be mayor for several terms or more, Scott Galvin should shift his faith steadily toward community.  No one can prescribe the perfect stride, pace and percentage; I suspect that a genuine, and thus evident, intention will serve him well.  It’s important to note that I am not advocating going from one extreme to another.  For a beginning, I’m advocating discovery of balance.

That said, I must say more about the technology-community continuum and about going the distance.

For The New Mayor

I heard Mayor Scott Galvin address a crowd in the spectacular WMHS auditorium Monday evening after he took the oath of office.  I wish him well and hope that circumstances beyond the city limits don't force him to make many detours from his plans.  Highly cognizant of Woburn's advantages, he's made his plans commendably optimistic and ambitious.  The Daily Times Chronicle reported that he said "living in Woburn will become the absolute best value in the Commonwealth."

What's Growing in Woburn?

The scene outside is white with the powdery snow that seemed to fall and drift forever.  Today, the times of sunrise and sunset are the same as yesterday's times.  Very soon, the days will lengthen at both ends, that process continuing well into June.  That's a kind of growth we can welcome and enjoy, even though we didn't bring it about and don't control it.

Are you involved in encouraging and/or controlling some kind(s) of growth?  Are you planning a garden of some kind?  When will you start your plants?

We'd love to hear from you.

Two Huge Successes Call for a Third

Altogether, humankind is way out on a limb that is severely stressed by the mass and activity of humankind.  The mass (in terms of population) is increasing (nearly 3x in my lifetime) and the activity is both overpowered and increasingly abstract.  By abstract I mean that intellect and spirit are not in balance with body and heart; we do not live and love according to the comprehensive design of our home.  In that, also known as the web of life, we are beings interdependent with all other beings.  We are different, but not so exceptional that we can go it alone.  We’re needy and needed.

What Do We Absolutely Need? [eighth in a series]

Here's a new online discussion that's brought a remarkable array of basic, yet significant, issues to light:


I hope you'll give it some attention and perhaps look around that Web site, too.  It's one of my haunts, as you will see.

Genius Is With Us. Let's Get With It.

"All too often genius is abandoned because it doesn't make us enough money." -- Matthew Kelly, The Rhythm of Life

Where Are We? [first of a series]

The question that is my title has only three words, and seems quite simple, but multiple answers are possible.  Beginning a complete answer is my project this time.

In terms of social and political constructs, we are in or near Woburn, Massachusetts, a small city northwest of Boston, which is a seaport, is the largest city in New England and is old, by USA standards.  Six towns surround Woburn (anywhere you stand in Massachusetts, you’re in a town or city); some are among the most affluent communities in the state.  New England, a six-state, and fairly distinctive, region, is the most eastern part of the northeastern United States of America.  That’s North America, if you're wondering about the continent.  Planet Earth, solar system, etc.

Feelings of Insecurity: Sustained Or Merely Persistent?

I consider security the fundamental aim of human activities; people nearly always want to gain it, lose none.  Desire for it arises from accessible evidence that, as organisms, we are naturally vulnerable and do not know what's coming.  It continues into and through the awesome facts that we can devise and use what we've imagined.  The plot thickens as widespread, diverse and continuous imagining and effort add devices.  Some of them compound, some of them compete.  Coexisting, some become dominant, some have very little influence or impact.  Accumulating, they increase the apparent complexity of the human condition, the so-called real world.

Business Closings in CT Set a Record

Sunday's Boston Globe included an AP item reporting that nearly 7,000 businesses shut down in Connecticut in the first half of the year.  That's a new record and 17% more than closed during the same period of 2008.  It means a substantial reduction in the number of Connecticut employers and in the state's ability to retain and recirculate dollars.  Such closings send disruptive ripples through communities within and outside of a state, adversely affecting health, safety, culture, crime and more.

What Do We Absolutely Need? [seventh in a series]

Because the name of my business is Applied Ecologics, I frequently startle people and activate their curiosity by simply stating it. From my angle, it's apparent they've heard something they were not expecting to hear. I see they sense it's something well-meaning, and likely beneficial, but that they cannot readily grasp. I try to help them understand, with varying results. I realized I need to continuously improve my presentation and explanation! Thus, when I discovered a recent book that bears the title Applied Economics and was written by an esteemed economist (Thomas Sowell), I knew I had to check it out. A key question: What does the word applied do to the name of the discipline it precedes?

Enterprising People Might Influence Local Candidates

Recently in my (snail) mailbox were first appeals for support and votes from mayoral candidates in Woburn.  Their presence and my need to write again prompted me to begin thinking about the parts a mayor and a city council could play in fostering the steady development of a healthy local economy.  Given the roller coaster of the past eighteen months and uncertainties about the next eighteen, this would be a good year to ask candidates about their inclinations, if not their plans, in this regard.  If they have none, they can start getting some now or take their (and our) chances.

By Love For The Good At Hand We'll Dance Into The Future

"All the grand and perfect dreams of the technologists are happening in the future, but nobody is there.
What can turn us from this deserted future, back into the sphere of our own being, the great dance that joins us to our home, to each other and to other creatures, to the dead and the unborn?  I think it is love.  [But] I do not mean any kind of abstract love, which is probably a contradiction in terms, but particular love for particular things, places creatures, and people, requiring stands and acts, showing its successes or failures in practical or tangible effects. And it implies a responsibility just as particular, not grim or merely dutiful, but rising out of generosity.  I think that this sort of love defines the effective range of human intelligence, the range within which its works can be dependably beneficent.  Only the action that is moved by love for the good at hand has the hope of being responsible and generous.

Community Lost as Pretense Sustains Denial of Interdependence

"Because we cannot ever be totally adequate, self-sufficient, independent beings, the ideal of rugged individualism encourages us to fake it.  It teaches us to be utterly ashamed of our limitations.  It drives us to attempt to be superwomen and supermen not only in the eyes of others but also in our own.  It pushes us day in and day out to look as if we had it all together, as if we were without needs and in total control of our lives.  It relentlessly demands that we keep up appearances.  It also relentlessly isolates us from each other.  And it makes genuine community impossible."    - M. Scott Peck, The Different Drum

Live and Let Live

I once read that "civilization consists in frustrating nature."  That means they coexist; the former requires the latter.  For civilization to be sustainable, nature must be frustrated in various ways, including new ones, but not ever eliminated.
Powerful beyond their understanding and effective beyond their horizons, humans are eliminating nature everywhere, faster and faster, as if to make a substitute life support system (aka THE ECONOMY).  It's a dead end at a big nothing.  We must pull back from that activity, probably by choices and commitments made one by one.  We must regulate our powers with our understandings while keeping our effects on our side of the horizon.  It's a way that leads on to ways (thanks Robert Frost!).  It's a different sort of accountability. 
We must let nature be... merely frustrated.

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