SPACESHIP EARTH AND THE US ARE IN SAD SHAPE

By RICHARD JOHN STAPLETON

On the one hand, about fifty percent of all USian voters, mostly Repugs, seem to think if only the Repugs can replace Senator Warnock with Hershey Walker everything in the US will be just hunky dory.

On the other hand, how much longer can this charade go on?

The USian Federal Reserve System can create funny money by punching digits into its computer system to produce numbers it calls real money. They use this “money” to buy USian debt instruments, treasury bills, notes, etc., and private debt and asset instruments.

The US govt uses this funny money and tax money to stimulate the private sector and to pay for its yearly military and other expenses, including loan payments to the Social Security System Trust Fund to pay back real money the Federal govt borrowed from the Social Security System.

The private sector borrows funny money at low interest from the Federal Reserve System to advance its own interests, including the buying back of stock of corporations to enrich stockholders and executive cronies owning the stock.

The total federal debt keeps growing and growing through time. As of 2:57 pm September 12, 2022, the total US federal debt, accumulated throughout its history, according to US Debt Clock.org, was about $30,884,777,487,108, almost thirty-one trillion dollars.

So far in fiscal year 2022, total USian federal spending has been about $5,952,558,908,352, about six trillion dollars; and total tax revenue has been about $4,459,634,257,768; resulting in a deficit of about $1,492,922,523,176, about one and one-half trillion dollars, to be covered with more Fed funny money and money spent by other purchasers of USian federal debt.

The US Federal Reserve System now owns about 11.2 percent of the total USian Federal debt, about 2.5 trillion dollars worth. About 50 percent of the Federal debt is owned by foreign countries, China, Japan, and others. About 48 percent of the USian debt is owned by USian private citizens and other purchasers in the US.

The Federal Reserve is now worried about inflation, so it has been jacking up the interest rate charged everyone in the USian banking system. This causes recession in the real economy.

How bad will the incipient recession have to get before the Fed starts lowering interest rates again to cure the recession they had to cause to lower inflation by raising interest rates?

Since 1980 or so the losers in this process have been middle and lower income USians who have received increasingly tenuous jobs and little or no increases in their real incomes while the real incomes of elite rich USians have exponentially increased.

It appears middle and lower income level USians in the private sector will again pay a high price for another roller-coaster ride in the undependable USian economy, getting stuck again with tenuous or no employment and lower real incomes after all is said and done coping with this swing of the business cycle, as the USian Federal Reserve System as usual creates funny money and lowers and raises interest rates causing and curing recoveries and recessions as the USian federal debt continues to exponentially explode.

How do Earthian humans responsible for creating and managing this undependable diabolical Earthian capitalistic system sleep at night?

About the Author

Richard John Stapleton, PhD, CTA, a professor emeritus of management at Georgia Southern University, retiring in 2005, would spin the spinner of his Classroom De-Gamer in his classes to randomly select a student at the beginning of each class session to lead a discussion of the case assigned for the day, a case taken from a planned or operating business prepared by casewriters at Georgia Southern, Harvard, Stanford, and the University of Alabama.

This Game-Free I’m OK—You’re OK Adult-Adult fully democratic system is described fully in his 2022 novel AS THE ROOSTER CROWS EARTHIAN OKness INCREASES. The novel metaphorically demonstrates how this democracy teaching and learning system could be applied in small groups in democracy chapters established all around Spaceship Earth.

Grades in his classes were based eighty percent on class participation in dialectical discussions about what to do about problems and opportunities found in cases; the rest of the final grade was based on two case write-ups. One write-up was about what the student observed, researched, analyzed, and wrote about an existing business in the local environment or a business plan the student created. The other write-up was an analysis of a case researched and written by professors about a business assigned as the final exam. Cases used in his courses contained processes, problems, opportunities, and data occurring in all functional areas of business such as entrepreneurship, finance, marketing, operations management, control, management information systems, and business policy and strategy.

He has published refereed journal articles and books explaining how his democratic Game-free Adult-Adult I’m OK—You’re OK case method system works, by banishing Persecutors, Rescuers, and Victims playing psychological Games from the teaching and learning process, first documented in an article titled “The Classroom De-Gamer” he published in 1978 in the Transactional Analysis Journal. He has published seven books and over one hundred articles in various media containing cases, research data, and essays on teaching and learning and management policies and practices.

He learned and trained using transactional analysis with Martin Groder, MD; Graham Barnes, PhD; Vann Joines, PhD; and many others at the Southeast Institute at Chapel Hill, North Carolina (1975-1978).

He learned how the case method works teaching with Bernard Bienvenu, DBA and Rexford Hauser, DBA (Harvard Business School doctorates) at the University of Louisiana– Lafayette in 1969-70.

He has a BS in economics (1962), an MBA in organizational behavior (1966), and a PhD in management science (1969) from Texas Tech University, and an organizational and educational certification in transactional analysis (CTA) from the International Transactional Analysis Association (1978).

He taught his own case method track at the undergraduate level in the management department of the business school at Georgia Southern University offering four or five different elective case method courses each academic year (1970-2005), in which he led, coordinated, and graded about twenty-five or so students each year who took all or most of those case method courses in their junior and senior years, of about two hundred students who signed up for all his courses each year. He used a democratic circle or amphitheater classroom layout in all his classes. He also taught most semesters two sections of a capstone integrative business policy course he added to the business school curriculum in 1970 that was required for all undergraduate business majors that could be elected by any student in any major.  He was the only professor in the business school to use the case method in any course.

His students agreed to a course learning contract that stipulated they would read the facts of the case before class and would lose a whole letter grade from the course final grade if the De-Gamer randomly caught them obviously not having read the case before class, if they had not slipped a note under his office door before class telling him they had not read the case, which they could do twice during the course without penalty.

About ten percent of his students made A’s and about five percent made D’s. Most made C’s, which is about right, since C = Average. There were few F’s in his courses. The main criterion for course grades was the quantity and quality of ideas sold by students in case method discussions. He used peer ratings to give students feedback showing what their fellow students thought about the quantity and quality of their ideas sold in class, having made it clear the final decision about final grades was his. He did not believe in Lake Wobegon grading.

No student was ever forced to take one of his courses to graduate, and the most hardened Game-players in the school did not sign up for his courses after he issued his Edict of 1972 in which he clearly spelled out in his syllabi the penalty for getting caught unprepared. His Classroom De-Gamer™ was roundly discussed by students in bull sessions across campus every year and was labeled various things, such as The Wheel of Fate and The Death Wheel. Most students near the end of his career simply called it The Spinner.

He appreciated Georgia Southern honoring his academic freedom by allowing him control of his teaching methods, classroom layouts, grading procedures, and course books, cases, and materials, some of which he researched, wrote, and published. He was promoted to full professor at age thirty-six, becoming one of the youngest full professors in Georgia Southern history and one of the highest paid ones, becoming the senior professor at Georgia Southern for the 2004-2005 academic year, the year he retired.

He collected longitudinal research data using questionnaires in 1992 showing his case method students during 1972-1982 reported higher yearly incomes in 1992 than students electing the same courses in 1972-1982 taught by professors using the authoritarian lecture method and the militaristic row and column classroom layout, who graded students based on memorizing or calculating  “right answers” for tests, indicating learners learning in Adult—Adult I’m OK—You’re OK Game-free democratic learning processes graded subjectively became more successful in the real world of business than learners lectured to and graded using so-called objective multiple-choice tests.  

Only former students who had worked in the real world ten or more years after graduating from the Georgia Southern business school were included in the study. The data are shown, analyzed, and discussed in full in “Evidence the Case Method Works” in his book Business Voyages: Mental Maps, Scripts, Schemata, and Tools for Discovering and Co-Constructing Your Own Business Worlds, 2008, pg. 475. The data were also used in several refereed articles.

For more information on related classroom management ethical issues see Stapleton, R.J. and Murkison, G. (2001), “Optimizing the fairness of student evaluations: A study of correlations between instructor excellence, study production, learning production, and expected grades,” in the Journal of Management Education, 25(3), 269-292.

Stapleton had one of the lowest student grade point averages among professors in the business school and was one of the lowest-ranked professors as an instructor on computerized campus-wide student evaluations that weighted only instructor excellence scores up to 2000; but he was one of the highest-ranked professors in a computerized student evaluation he designed that generated data also showing and weighting study production, learning production, and expected grades scores for each professor, published in “Optimizing the Fairness of Student Evaluations.”

To read the Optimizing Fairness article in full, go to https://studysites.sagepub.com/holt/articles/Stapleton.pdf . After this research was published, Georgia Southern in 2001 added study production, learning production, and expected grades questions to the student evaluation form used campus-wide. The article points out some of the pernicious ramifications of grade inflation, which is widespread in USian educational and political processes. USian political parties seem to think the less knowledgeable and intellectual the senator or representative the better the political system becomes.

“Optimizing the Fairness of Student Evaluations” has by now (October 24, 2022) been cited as a reference in 83 refereed journal articles concerned about the ethics of student evaluations in several academic disciplines, including eight new citations since April 2021.

As the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein propositioned, “The case is all there is.”

If so, everything else said about Earthian human states of affairs is a rendition of what was or might be.

For more on Stapleton’s cultural, educational, and professional experiences go to https://blog.effectivelearning.net/.  

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