Sunday, December 23, 2012

Bisqueware Economy

It has been a very strange week.

Writing has gone well and we’re finally catching up in the studio. We still have a few things to throw and some more to glaze to fill orders received so far, but it won’t be long and then we can finally get on to experimenting on new patterns and new kinds of pots, mixing new glazes and getting ready for spring. But I’ve had a weird sort of attitude, mostly because of the jury selection, but also because of changing the setting for my novel, which was a setting I had been creating for several years. I miss the old setting, but the novel itself is more important than the setting, and I do also love  the new setting.


Now, about that Bisqueware Economy:

In the pottery process of creating stoneware, we first throw pieces – wetware—and then dry them – greenware – then we fire them the first time, the bisque fire – bisqueware – to a fairly low temperature, as far as ceramic firing goes, and finally we glaze and fire them a few hundred degrees hotter, the glaze fire – glazed ware.

At the bisqueware stage, the pots have sintered enough that they are not so fragile to handle for applying glaze. They’re not stoneware yet  because they haven’t been fired hot enough; and, so, they’re  not as strong as the glazed ware, but they’re absorbent, which helps an adequate amount of the glaze slurry to adhere to the pots.

At this stage of bisqueware if you put water into the pot, it will slowly seep through the walls and bottom of the pot. This process of seepage is what “the trickle-down theory” of our economy is actually like. If you put a bisqueware pot filled with water on a newspaper it will slowly begin to saturate the paper, but will never create a puddle, it doesn’t seep that quickly. If you hang the bisqueware pot filled with water for a long time, you may get an occasional drip from it, and if you lick the bottom of the pot you may soothe the heat of thirst from your tongue, but not really the thirst and certainly not even the heat in your throat.

“The trickle-down theory” has repeatedly been proven not to work as a method of spreading wealth any better than a bisqueware pot filled with water trickles water to the thirsty, but we continually insist that it does work. I guess I shouldn’t say “we” because so many of “we” already know, from extensive experience, that it doesn’t work, but it’s those who benefit financially from “the trickle-down theory” who insist it works. They are the people who accumulate vast amounts of wealth that stays in bank accounts and investments that increase that wealth and doesn’t, for very obvious reasons that create the very foundation of wealth accumulation, spread around.

In reality, our greatest source of wealth, which is also our greatest resource, is human capacity, but unless we dramatically change a wide swath of our entire economic system, we will continue to under-utilize and discard that wealth, and all those people who cannot scramble their way to the top of the heap. I don’t see that happening any time soon on a grand scale.

But if I were, for whatever reason, able to accumulate adequate wealth, I would start up an employee-owned company that would give the profit to the people who work for it, rather than the people who already have vast amounts of wealth and can afford to invest in stocks. I would also use that company as an example of what we can truly achieve in fully utilizing our most valuable resource.

I’ve been reading about employee-owned companies lately and I cannot imagine any better system. These companies invest not only in their own workers, but in their local economy as well. The profit doesn’t go to the already-wealthy, and it also doesn’t go to corporations far, far away; it isn’t sent away from the community wherein that wealth was generated and, so, doesn’t deplete the local cash-flow, doesn’t increase financial drought or make locals more and more dependent on those far, far away corporations for their livelihoods.

In short, an employee-owned company helps create a local economy rather than siphon away its life blood.

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