The Troubling USian Economic Modus Operandi


By Richard John Stapleton

A man with white hair and plaid shirt standing in front of brick wall.

The USian govt finds budget deficit spending money necessary to pay for things not covered by yearly tax revenues extracted from USian taxpayers–cash money to pay bills for USian on-going programs and systems, such as military ops, to pay bills from USian corporations that manufacture USian military hardware and to meet the payroll of military workers, about 1.3 million of them–that inexorably increases the USian federal debt, now amounting to about $33 trillion, that exceeded the USian GDP, gross domestric product, the total nominal value of goods and services produced by the USian economy in 2022, $25,464,500 million, about $25.5 trillion–by selling treasury bills and notes to individuals, pension funds, and other countries, and, if all else fails, telling the USian Federal Reserve System golden goose money machine to create more funny money from thin air, by simply punching digits into Federal Reserve System computers and calling the resulting numbers money, to buy USian govt treasury bills and notes.

For how much longer can this process proceed before it collapses? Japan has been using a similar process longer than the US suggesting the USian process can last a while yet, perhaps a decade or more. Japan’s debt to GDP ratio is now about 250 percent; but the process, a natural recurrence in a system such as Japan’s and the USian republic-capitalist system, has, throughout Earthian economic history, always eventually collapsed. In the past Earthian humans in such situations have always been able to rise from their ashes after such collapses, after much suffering, and eventually go on to new higher levels of productivity, if not economic satisfaction and justice . The risk this time around however is the possibility that there will be no more rising from the ashes, thanks to GWCC and MNWP, global warming and climate change and militarization and nuclear weapons proliferation.

This boom-and-bust capitalistic process is fundamentally caused by the Earthian human population rising faster than the capacity of Earthian economic systems to produce the necessities of life for all Earthian humans (food, clothing, and shelter), causing chronic unsatisfied wants and needs of individuals and groups. In the USian capitalistic economic system this boom-and-bust process has been accentuated and enhanced by the USian republic form of representational government. Rather than choose direct democracy the founders of the USian government chose to make the US a republic rather than a democracy. Ordinary citizens would be represented in halls of government by individuals they democratically voted for, but they themselves would not be able to discuss and choose how the country would be run.

Needy and greedy individuals and groups having no say-so in how to create a fair and effective economic system for getting their legitimate needs met had to vote for “representatives” to argue their cases in halls of government. This led to corruption caused by a competitive struggle that naturally erupted among voters to get their “representatives” to advocate and vote for things in halls of government that would help them get their wants and needs met, rather than the wants and needs of others.

This led to bribing representatives in the form of campaign contributions, which led to the creation of a class of politicians that did nothing but politic, who made their livings politicking, who often enriched themselves one way or the other by extracting money from their constituents in quid pro quo side deals, made possible by the power their positions gave them.

The contributions of individuals were corrupting enough, but the contributions of large corporations, defined as people with free speech with the right to contribute unlimited amounts of money to politicians to express their speech, by a republican supreme court, increased the corruption by many magnitudes. Whose needs and greed would be satisfied? It was up to the highest bidder. Meanwhile the price tags of programs and acts required to satisfy the needs, wants, and greed of constituents kept getting larger and larger, leading to the perilous predicament now facing Earthain humans in the US and elsewhere, anywhere around Spaceship Earth where you find republic governments conjoined with capitalistic economic systems.

One of the biggest cash cows of the USian republic-capitalistic political-economic process in Washington for politicians turned out to be taking contributions for lowering the taxes of large corporations and the elite rich and to increase the funding of the USian military-industrial complex, causing most of the USian yearly budget deficits, and the now-existing pile of USian treasury debt, that hangs over the heads of all Earthian humans like a cloud of doom.

Regardless, let us grieve that Earthian humans will be able to rise from their ashes one more time.

About the Author

A man sitting at a table in front of a computer.

Richard John Stapleton, PhD, CTA 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 case writers at Georgia Southern, Harvard, Stanford, and the University of Alabama.

This process insured that everyone would be relatively Game-free transacting in class discussions. They all agreed to a learning contract at the outset of the course that they would read assigned cases and would be graded on the quantity and quality of ideas sold in the class market. Anyone caught obviously unprepared by the spinning De-Gamer would lose a whole letter grade from the course grade. No one could feel or think that s/he was being persecuted or rescued if selected to start the class discussion of the day by the Classroom De-Gamer™. The psychological Game roles of Persecutor, Rescuer, and Victim were largely banished from the course learning process.

Grades 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.

Stapleton 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 was a Harvard Case Method professor who never went to Harvard, having 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.

He solicited anonymous 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 tests, such as 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 system 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 . 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.

“Optimizing the Fairness of Student Evaluations” has by now (February 24, 2023) been cited as a reference in 84 refereed journal articles concerned about the ethics of student evaluations in several academic disciplines, including nine new citations since April 2021.

His courses were designed to teach managers rather than employees, management rather than employment.

He retired as a university professor at Georgia Southern in June 2005, as the senior professor of the university for the 2004-2005 academic year, after thirty-five years of service.

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 see “RJS Academic Vita,” at