Maybe Bart Simpson was Wrong

cowtapult

Fetchez la vache!

Maybe you should have a cow.  Or at least, maybe someone else should have one at your expense.

Today marks a departure for the ‘crawl:  its very first Guest Blogger.  You should check out what he has to say; it might just help delay that inevitable moment when the angry underclass rise up to kill you.  The cause seems innovative and even workable, assuming that the cowees can actually maintain their animal long enough to benefit from its renewables, instead of being forced by necessity to eat it the week after it arrives. (Of course, if things are that desperate, the whole enlightened-self-interest angle is probably moot.)

Anyhow, without further ado:  here’s Steve.

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My name is Steven Saus; I’m an author and publisher. I run Alliteration Ink, where I both publish original work and also provide publishing services. This year, I’ve taken up the mantle of running Spec The Halls from Abra Staffin-Wiebe. There’s both a writing contest and a charity fundraiser. Right now, I’m doing a bit of a blog tour to support the fundraiser; each entry talks about something different, so you’ll want to stop by them all. You can see a full linklist of the guest posts at specthehalls.tumblr.com and read more about the whole project (and get the charity eBook) at specthehalls.com.

I know, tough room to pitch for a charity, right? I mean, this is the very ‘crawl where Peter dissed altruism as kin-selection or get-laid strategies. So what the hell was I thinking when I asked Peter if I could write a guest blog about my charitable fundraiser eBook?

Well, I’m a sociologist (among other things) who likes the idea of keeping experimental rigor in my research, so, yeah. I’m nuts.

Spec The Halls – aside from being a writing contest with cash prizes – is also a charity fundraiser. Proceeds of the eBook go to Heifer International, which is pretty awesome. As far as charities go, Heifer International are a pretty smart bunch. Their whole thing is based on the idea of sustainable aid. Instead of giving someone a bag of food, they give regionally appropriate livestock, along with training on caring for the animal. The animal – through something like the sale of wool, offspring, or milk – becomes a revenue creator and not just a handout. They have consistently gotten good reviews by watchdog groups and awards for their service. They’re worth donating to, and the eBook is worth reading, so it’s a win-win situation.

And for the regulars who are just waiting for the rifters to show up, let me spin you a nice, cynical reason why you want to donate to Heifer International:

Political instability and violence tend to erupt in a society not (just) when there’s a significant disparity between the rich and poor. Instead, it seems to correlate with rapid changes in the socioeconomic status of that society’s citizens. With the continuing devaluing of simple labor, thanks to the merging of the worldwide labor pool, the divide between haves and have-nots has been growing larger and faster in recent years, with little sign of slowing.

This is worrisome enough, except that there’s a new variable in play: worldwide communication. The advent of worldwide video broadcast has brought status anxiety to millions, if not billions of people. One must not only keep up with the “Joneses”, but with every sitcom family. The projected socioeconomic “norm” is (at lowest) an upper-middle class family by the standards of the United States. The citizenry of the world is now comparing its socioeconomic class not to their physical neighbors, but to a virtual ideal.

Which makes their own economic instability seem even worse in comparison.

Don’t think of it as a donation, or even a cow. Think of it as an investment in global stability that is a hell of a lot cheaper than a fence, a gate, or a war. Think of it as rational self-interest. Or think of it as helping someone in need. Either way, you’ll be doing some good in the world.

This year’s edition of Spec The Halls is only available for a limited time, so act quickly to get your copy!

This entry was written by Peter Watts , posted on Sunday November 27 2011at 09:11 am , filed under Uncategorized . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

2 Responses to “Maybe Bart Simpson was Wrong”

  1. We’ve donated to Heifer before, and this ebook is a nice bonus. Thanks, Steven (and Peter, for the post!)

  2. just going to punt this over here: http://boingboing.net/2011/11/30/expressive-octopus-with-lanter.html