Saturday, October 7, 2017


Here today.
Gone tomorrow.

This axiom harbours some truth.

The tomato I grew in my garden today, is gone tomorrow.
Eat it now, or the black mold will get at the fruit, along with the slugs.

The cash I have, spent today, is gone tomorrow.

These transactions of mine, however, write code into two kinds of memory.

1)  in the tomato transaction the other party will always return something of the event... whether I eat or not, wherein if I do not the slugs do, in either case a compostable product is produced and this can be returned to the soil from whence the starting tomato first grew - the relationship is the fact, amorphous in time

2) a bank record -  statement - relationship removed from fact, fixed in time

In both cases:

Here today.
Remembered tomorrow.

In the tomato transaction, you will always be forgiven, rewarded, and denied with a complete absence of moral judgement, regardless of the outcome.  You are the arbiter and actor, your choice will raise you up, or bring you down, in your relationship with the Other.

In all cases of the $ monetary transaction, you will live with the associated consequence, marked by a moral imperative, until the day you dissolve your soul and return to dust and ashes.  Others will raise you up or bring you down.

Choose Your Economic Value: Eat 1 Pay 2

jp melville gardening economics
In this tomatoe transaction, over the Other I have no direct controls.  This is an ecological market, in which I have full opportunity to participate. The outcome is up to me and the tomato. My participation is described in relationships.

jp melville economics
In this cash transaction, I only deal with others who, my part being one of billions, determine the economic and moral imperatives of the transaction.  This is a free market economy, in which I am defined as labour.  My participation is described in competition with others.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Economic Union - Marriage or Politics

I suspect that a few North American filmmakers continue producing the notion that conjugal unions or marriage found themselves in romance - happily ever after 1+1=2=whole.

No matter how feminist your sexual soul may be, irregardless of gender, the disney catholic capitalist model of functional love... probably has a heart tug hold on your heart...

It starts with each one of us:

"A person's a person, no matter how small."

(which I do not dispute)

And ends with two:

"The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament."

(which I do not dispute, in its gender free rightness)



 Go figure.

I see it kind of this way.
And the message is:

Do not stress the romantic, love, sexual, 1+1 union.... 

Emphasize the plethora ( an excess of florid possibility) ...

It looks like kind of maybe like this:

All you have to do is go with the flow!

There is money to be made in there (same arrow flows).... do not burn your bridges before you cross them!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Invest Today - Stocks Are Rising

Witch doctors have a great job.
They have all the information.
Which makes them monopolists on truth.
What is true in their domain of knowledge.
Being the sole caretakers of what is true, it is a bit difficult for the rest of us to fact check the doctors' cures, predictions, logic... really it all a mystery tied up in their brains.
Having all the knowledge, the docs run the show.

Witch doctors need a tribe.
Without a tribe, their is noone over whom they can assert their authority.
If the witch doctor is not part of my tribe, then I hand over no authority.
I am quite suspicious of those other folk with other truths.

Because we trust our witch doctors with truth, we question little, if at all.
This goes on for generations.
Over time, the separation between our experience and the doctors' truth makes it a little difficult to see what goes on inside those brains.

Here is the funny thing.

Witch doctors look back on their predictions and say this or that about how we behave.

What the doctors do not do is test their hypotheses on future predictions and grade their success on the links between their hypotheses and outcomes.

Like which way the Euro-American economy went in the year 2008.  Or Black Tuesday 1929.

Like why the murderer who stormed the mosque and shot a whole bunch of people up in Quebec City, January 2017.

No expert saw these events coming.  Pundits galore after the fact.

Predictions, to be of any use, have to be based on some pattern of consistent outcomes.

However, as members of a tribe, we go along with what we are told, because we have not pursued  other knowledge or have not found recourse to other arguments.

In JP Melville Economics 101, investing is your (my) responsibility.

These are pics of stuff in which I choose to invest.

Learning About Dishwashers

Taking Photographs for Client

Owning Your Own Computer Tools
Curing Your Own Tobacco

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Television - Any Flat Screen, Really

Fellow Consumers.

The idea of televisions watching you has been in the vanguard from the inception of their invention.
No commercial television was broadcast, ever, without some kind of market survey having been previously executed.
We were watched then.

It all may seem a bit big brother-ish, 1984, Brave New World sort of thing.
No souls being captured here, though.
Or did Lenin imagine that cameras captured souls, similar to concerns of the Mennonites and other religious orders.

Really, this concern over digital spying is a question of religion.
Many people believe their lives are improved by owning a device that delivers entertainment media to their eyeballs and brains.
That belief is marked by the attitude, perhaps, “well, it is just what you do”.
Or marked by the simple “shock and awe” of the dazzling screen.

Religion has never been a one-way street.
If you allow yourself to believe, you give up your soul to the institution.
What you want and what you desire in life, what you imagine to be true, is all pre-defined by the administrative structure of the organization.
Of course, they watch you and keep tabs on you.

In our modern world, this process is called marketing.
Marketing is one of those funny words from the lexicon of our modern day priests, the economists.
Spying and marketing are synonymous, no?

The day the first human went into a store to purchase a product, was the day the economists figured out they could sell us all a bill of goods.  Of course, there were not a lot of economists around in the early days of capitalism and the subsequent rise of communism.  But the economists folk quickly figured out that there was a golden opportunity to administer power.  So came a new language of religion, with fancy words like markets, consumers, gross national product, and even jobs.

Anyway, since it is a free country, you are allowed to allow yourself to be spied upon.
And buy whatever is sold to you.
No harm there.

If you don’t want to be spied upon, then you have to turn the device off and put it on the street for some lucky recycler to pick up and put it to good use.

If you choose the latter, you then would have to have the courage to pay attention to and be responsible toward the immediate world around you.

Fancy actually taking notice of the world we live in…..  and you get to keep your soul in the bargain.

Fun Things to Do Without Television - Mali 2004

Saturday, February 18, 2017


Bread Recipe

Ground grain (flour) (classically from wheat)
+ water
+ yeast
+ labour
+ heat (energy)

There are few if any real rules after the basic recipe.

Mix the yeast with some water, add flour, blend whip knead as you wish, bake or fry.

Everything else, in every bread recipe and every marketing story in the world, is hyperbole.
Which means that what you "like" in bread... is a cultural or, more likely, commercial  impression.

Bread is the staff of life.
Or rice or maize or other grains... where the principle of "staff of life" remains the same.

Please try to hold ownership over the staff of life.

I've made my own bread for years, now.  Here are some pics.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Lesson One

Car Repair

You can repair and rebuild a car to suit your own style.
This is art.
And an economic statement of some kind.
Wag your finger at new car styles, marketing, that kind of stuff.
New stuff is mostly just marketed product, with little if any added utility.

In the end, pretty much all cars just have four wheels, steering, accelerators, and brakes.
They all basically get us from A 2 B.
Value used / recycled / reinvented.
Or walk!

My Car in Mali in 2004 - Peugeot 309

Not sure how much any of us will be able to "self express" with self driving cars.
There will probably be a lot of rules about messing around with them.
In the end, though, they are just machines.
So you will be able to take them apart and remake them in your own image.
Given all the rules (inevitable), you take the law in your own hands.

Which is what economic rebels do.

Hello Again With a Long Winded Explanation of JP Economics 101

Hello Again with a Deep Explanation of The Blog:  JP Economics 101 !

Or :

An Investment Manual for Ordinary People Who Want to Take Control of Their Situation and Live Life to Its Fullest in a Family Satisfying and Personally Rewarding Manner or Not if They Do Not Wish To.

So think of this is as a how-to reference and survival guide for homo-economicus.  That’s us human beings who are, most of us anyway, ordinary folks eking out a living in an extra-ordinary world.

Actually, some people think we are hardly economic creatures at all, that being economic is just an invention.  It is a bit like believing that Jesus Christ died for our sins, just because the Pope said so.  Economists want us to believe that we are naturally economic, full of wants and desires and driven to exchange stuff like there is no tomorrow.  If we did not all believe that, or at least most of us, economists would not have jobs.

I mean, we are homo-economicus about as much as we are homo-getyourwinkyweticus, or homo-compassionicus, or homo-articus, or homo-biologicalicus, or homo-sinnericus etc.  We are a lot of things, really.  Being naturally economic creatures is just the fad of the day.

But arguing about whether or not we are economic critters or not is not the point of this story book.  For the sake of discussion, I am simply exploring the economic point of view. I put aside any argument and just assume that for now we all understand that most of us are stuck in an economic world and that, for all practical purposes for the time being, we live around money and jobs and banks and trade.

So be it for now… homo-economicus will be the theme.

An here are some of my premises.

Here is my faith statement:
we can all choose to lead a life of investment.

My choice statement:
we can be more than mere consumers.

This is my easy to understand statement:
a life of investment means that what you buy brings you something more than you think you would expect in the future.

Complicated consumer situation:
a consumer choice brings you something now, then with a flick of a switch it is gone, and to get anything out of it you have to either go buy it again or, likely, it is gone and you have to buy an alternative that with the flick of a switch itself is gone, and there you are back at the beginning again.

It’s a kind of golden goose story.  You buy the goose, you get eggs for a while.  You also have some capital, you can negotiate capital.  If you buy just the egg, you get the egg.  You eat the egg. You put it on the shelf. You turn it into a cultural celebration. Maybe you re-sell the egg.  Everybody’s got an egg.  They would like to sell you one, too.  Hard to re-sell an egg.  Easy to consume it.  If it doesn’t crack first.

On top of the egg and golden goose story, there is another story.  Happening to all of us every breath we take.

This is a common, extra-ordinary story, shared by all of us:

Seven billion people and counting.
Fossil fuel dependency and peak oil this or peak whatever resource that.
Unprecedented life expectancy of 80 years + and dropping infant mortality rates.
Internet, of course.
Technologies sprouting like weeds and displacing jobs left right and centre.
Let's throw in global warming for good measure.
Other apocalyptic concerns abound.
All in the time space of just a few hundred years.

We all know what the population curve looks like.  It looks like this:

That’s an awful lot of change in a darn short period of time.  In effect, we have no history, no traditions, no time tested literature that teach us how to live with the concurrent, extra-ordinary denominators I describe just above.

But each of us remains ordinary.  We get hungry.  We go to work or look for work.  We fall in or out of love.  Some of us get rich.  We worry about our friends.  We get lonely.  Many of us will wonder if life has meaning.  Have kids or maybe not.  On the best of ordinary days we have to think about how much money we have, figure out how to fix our car, maybe unplug the long hair stuck in the shower drain.  We sip on and enjoy a good cup of coffee.

How do you survive all this ordinariness in such an extra-ordinary world?  In the past, the old folks who begat who begat who got written up in a bible.  In the past, it took at least three or four centuries for an empire to begin destroying a eco-zone or two.  Suffering from an ethnic purging, scape-goating, or plain old lost the war? Back then in the good old days, with some luck, you could migrate to somewhere else.

Consuming stuff, though, was not too easy.  All that labour, even with slaves if you were lucky, things still came along slowly.  With ever so few pennies on hand, best to be careful where they go.  In fact, it was so hard to buy anything that most stuff was plain made by hand.  Itchy hand knit woollen underwear.  Doors.  Purchasing would have felt intrinsically like an investment.

Now with fossil fuels, we are racing toward an apocalyptic ending of the entire planet in just a couple of hundred years. By dumping an incredible volume of caloric energy into machines, we make stuff like there is no tomorrow.  Cars, little plastic squeezable pigs, business cards, you name it.  All this stuff filling our spaces while there is nowhere to go, clutter, though some think they might go to Mars.

Here on earth, somebody else already lives pretty much wherever you might go (and owns the land complete with legal papers to prove it).  What with social media, by the time you blink with a great idea, somebody else has already posted your thought.  It went viral and made them millions.  With the left over profits they put their name on a charity saving hungry kids in Tegucigalpa.  Bummer.  Could have been me and my gadget.

The made a million types, really, are just a few.  Mostly, we survive by being ordinary.  Like me and just about everybody I know.  You learn some practical skills.  You philosophize from time to time to make sense of the madness and hyper pace of change.  You share yourself with your family and friends.  Sometimes you even go public, maybe have the courage to press for a better world.  Even if it was just once that you held a protest sign, made a speech in high school, or called into a radio station to comment on the day's news.  Rockin’ the boat, so to speak, that feels like the riskiest we every might get.

When the real risk to ourselves is the everyday unconscious consuming of stuff that has no goose-like qualities.  We do it pretty much every day.  Flick on a light switch or drop into the cafĂ© for a coffee.  We buy and consume.  And have to go buy again.  That’s living on the edge.  Hardly assuming, maybe not thinking it at all, well, tomorrow is just going to come along and be the same as it was today and yesterday.  That light switch will flick on and the coffee around the corner will be there.

Maybe, except that change, surprise, and all the unknown unknowns are normal.  Trusting that life is going to stay the same is like believing the weather report is accurate more than 24 hours out.  Change is dealt with by having assets and geese in many baskets.

Why do so many of us just buy the eggs?

Because you can’t buy the chicken?
Because you are not allowed to buy the chicken?
Because you don’t know how to buy a chicken?

I think mostly the last, we don’t know how to buy the chicken.

And like a lot of chickens that have the ‘chicken stuff’ bred right out of them, we have had investment bred out of us.  Well, not taught to us, which is, in the social gene code way of seeing the world, the same thing as breeding.  So it is not that there are no chickens to buy, it’s just that we cannot much see the world anymore with investment eyeballs and brains.

We can’t see the gooses for the eggs.

Which is why I am writing this investment manual for ordinary people, to spark up the investment capacity in all of us, hidden inside our social gene code.  Maybe even our hard wired gene code.

This investment manual for homo-economicus is a foot forward towards change.  Something that mostly anyone can put their hands on and put to use.  Call it household management.  Be radical: let’s say that it is treatise in favour of home economics versus global finance.  A survival guide for the 21st century.


JP Melville
28 December 2016