Part II of a Three Part Series

"We have met the enemy and he [or she] is us."

In Part I of the September issue of the Highlands Voice, Joe Dominguez defines his terms. Here he proceeds to his discussion of current economics (Pogonomics was initially published in In Context journal, #26. This three-part series is being printed with the permission of the Road Map Foundation)

by Joe Dominguez

What makes life work - for one person, and for all people? Joe Dominguez has focused on that question throughout his life, as a paper boy in his native Harlem, as a market analyst on Wall Street in the 1960s, and during his 20 years of financial self-sufficiency and voluntary service to humanity.

Joe has always been a sharp - some might say cutting - observer of how "economics" functions in both the individual’s life and in society as a whole. His radical thesis, "Pogonomics," tells it like it so often is, and suggests an alternative course.

Pogonomics, Part II

[note: italicized words are those that were given special definitions by Joe in Part I]


Our employment greatly depends upon converting some aspect of Earth into resources. This is obvious in farming, logging, mining, cocaine-and-cigarette-making and tract house and shopping center developments. Since most of these resources are not really needed, many other forms of employment exist whose sole purpose is to convince people that consuming resources is a way toward greater happiness: e. g. employment in advertising, sales, higher education, television. Then there are the employments that deal with the results of the previous two forms, among them being psychiatrists, hernia specialists, divorce lawyers, day-care operators, police officers and morticians. Another interesting observation: The term of conscription for killing each other with permission is generally two to four years; for killing each other without permission it is generally 20 years; for employment it is generally 45 years.

All these employments are for the purpose of acquiring money. A common cultural taboo insists on using circumspect language to obscure this simple fact. One does not say "I’m acquiring money" but instead says, "I’m Making a Living" – though it is obvious that the individual speaking returns home from employment much less alive that when he or she left! Also, one would never ask "How much money do you acquire?", but rather, "What do you do?" (In certain sub-cultural groupings one might, however, ask "Are you Following Your Bliss?" or, "Have you found your Right Livelihood?").

The purpose of money is to consume resources. Any time that you spend money, you are consuming resources. Since you have traded a piece of your life to get that money (through your employment), you are also consuming your own resource (your life energy) when you spend money. The new resource you bought with the money now belongs to you – it is not available to others. It is now your right to use it up, to prevent others from getting it, to hide it from other people in your closet, to make other people feel bad because they don’t have it.

When you want to consume more resources than you can get with the money you got by selling your own resource (your life energy) through your employment, you can sell your future and your children’s future. This is called "trading futures," or debt. You have to use up even more resources when you are consuming via debt – the extra amount being called, interestingly enough, "interest on consumer debt." This is a very efficient way to "use up, devour, destroy, waste and squander."

While you are in employment, acquiring money and debt, and consuming, you are creating the environment. All along the way, from when that resource was taken from the Earth to the time you have consumed as much of it as you want and then thrown it "away," it has been creating environment. The mining equipment that got to the resource had to create environment by removing trees and topsoil that were in the way, had to burn (consume) fuels that created a different recipe for the air environment, had to run a lot of water to take the used-up chemicals into the river environment. Then the resource had to be transported to the refiner, creating a lot of environment along the way, and the refiner created more environment, and then the manufacturer created still more environment, and then the shipper had to create lots more environment to package the resources so that it would appeal to the consumer, who would pay the money that it cost for all that environment (and employment and resource). The consumer often uses the new resource to create more environment as well, and then throws it "away" – creating even more environment.


If the environment is not to our liking, it is because of our employment, our consumption, our debt, our focus on money. It is us – as individuals – who are the enemy.


What sort of demand?

Bigger house. Remodelled kitchen. Full employment. Boat. Mountain Bike. Second car. Vacation cabin. Job security. Motor home. Four wheeler. Satellite dish. Microwave. Laptop. Riding mower. Silk blouse. Bigger paycheck. Second income.

Why this demand?

Because we have come to believe, or act as if we believe, that:

In Part 3, Joe Dominguez will wrap up his treatise on Pogonomics with Eco-economics, the Ecology of Values.