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* BFU Weekly Journal *
documenting creation of a
Visionaries Learning Center

Bastiat Free University offers internationally accessible and actionable student-directed learning to visionaries and entrepreneurs.
Your BFU resources are now available without cost.

Start Today
Rediscover the pleasures found in self directed learning.

BFUniv, BFU college, self-directed e-learning, Bastiat Free University


Tuesday, August 30, 2005

6 question Investor Quiz

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All investment is speculation.


Even burying your money in the ground has risk of inflation loss and memory decay.

entrusting your money to another is a greater risk, you always care more about your money then someone else. Since life is risk, you need to learn how to use and enjoy risk, not avoid it.

THE QUESTIONS

1) Do you lie to yourself successfully?
?) Do you set your watch 10 minutes ahead so you think you are running late?

2) Do you have blind spots you refuse to acknowledge?
?) Do you fully agree with anyone or any human institution?

3) Do you rely on third or fourth hand information?
?) My teacher said a book said that ------- believed....

4) Do you believe statistics and published reports on performance and trends?
?) Figures don't lie, but liars sure can figure.

5) Do you refuse to ask directions, are you slow to admit when you are wrong?
?) Do you have a hard time laughing at your errors, and moving on?

These 5 questions point out personal growth areas needed for success in investments. The truth is there are thousands of ways to make money in the markets. None of the ways are easy to find, and to profit you have to know yourself. This last question is for you if you were able to say 'no' to a few of the above questions.

6) Have you had investment success before?
?) At what level did it stop? Did you lose everything when the losses started?

Everyone gets what they really want out of investments. If you are sabotaging yourself, do some research on yourself before your market research. Develop a flexible long term view of yourself and the world.

At BFU try out a few classes from different disciplines, get balanced, know yourself.



Best to ya,

Allan

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Saturday, August 27, 2005

ESL, EFL, ESOL, English as a second or foreign language

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English as a second language

English as a foreign language

English for speakers of other languages

And a whole bunch more confusing alphabet soup.

We have just set up a page at Bastiat Free University about ESL. While some of the free information at BFU is appropriate for ESL, most will require an advanced EFL student. If you are an EFL student, you can register at BFU for free, go take a look.

What we will do is to set up a list of online, EFL, beginning resources that fit into our colleges; Business, Human Interaction, Liberty, Theology. If there is already a good source we will just link to it. There are no plans for a full directory yet, just something helpful to ESL students.

This is a bit ahead of schedule, our time line has it starting about the middle of next year. As time allows I will expand that ESL page anyway.

If you have some ideas, just leave them in the comments area or email me directly.

Thanks,

Allan

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Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Better distance learning comparison

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I have moved that last post onto the Bastiat Free University site and improved it a bit. After a few more revisions it may be ready for submission as an article, or not.

I usually try to write about subjects that I have thought about and discussed with peers. This new page, Distance Learning versus Brick and Mortar, is an exception. There has been discussion and thought on why current educational methods are so out of step with present reality. There has been a time of discovery as we researched a way to return education to relevancy. We have even tried some guesses on how to make learning a pleasure. But very little has been said on comparing current methods. Perhaps this page removes some of that blind spot.

Our emphases will remain on how to prepare students for the future, not for the past. BFU will continue to offer guidance about trends in society and how that will effect your life. BFU wants to be relevant to the future in which we will all live.

Allan

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Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Distance Learning vs. Brick and Mortar

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Well, not yet.

Just have an idea playing through my head, I'll put it down rough and short here, build it into an essay for the Bastiat Free University site later.

The approach is distance learning versus brick and mortar education.


Right now brick and mortar (B&M) is ahead.

  • History- B&M
  • Flexibility- distance learning
  • Respect earned by grads- B&M
  • Ease of learning- distance learning
  • Honor amongst peers- B&M
  • Established and accepted training format- B&M
  • Cost- distance learning
  • Diploma as an aid in job search- B&M.

"Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great." - Mark Twain


This is a static view. One factor that influences the balance against distance learning is the effort by distance learning schools to try to copy the B&M educational model. Distance learning by its nature must accomplish the primary task using other methods. B&M will always be better at being B&M.


I have known many students that took the easy path at B&M schools; find the easiest teachers, in the easiest courses, in the simplest discipline. I have known students at both B&M and distance learning schools that had others do required work for them.


Outside of ethics, there are at least two factors that made this a viable strategy for a student. First, jobs acquired after graduation had little to do with what they supposedly studied. They were hired for their degree and grades, and expected training to prepare them for their new job. Second, the reason they went to school was to get a good job, actual learning had little to do with their goal for receiving an education.


There are of course many entries on the other side of the ledger, There are large numbers of students at B&M and distance learning schools that study very hard, do their own work, and apply diligence toward their education. But for most of them it is the same goal that drives them, they want a good job upon graduation. Education, a degree, and a good job have become synonymous. Few students would risk harming their grade point average to take a class just to learn something.



Seeking knowledge, learning new and useful things, is at best secondary in the modern educational equation. A diploma has mainly become a representation that a graduate stuck with a difficult mission until completion. The capstone of a degree's significance is the diploma holder completed their undertaking within a bureaucratic system. Tenacity at a vain pursuit is a perceived as valuable to huge institutions seeking employees.



At this progression; education, degree, good job, the B&M schools are without equal. Distance learning is a dubious second place, and has lesser value because of its lack of ability to compete directly on B&M turf. Traditional brick and mortar colleges graduate employees dedicated to an employer's objectives rather than their own.



Just 30 years ago the plan was simple. Get a degree, get a job at IBM or equivalent, never leave and never be laid off. An employee would be well paid, forced to travel and move, and worked toward retirement after 40 years. That model no longer works. Current Graduates are frequently forced to put government in place of IBM. They are not very well paid, they will work in a painfully degrading bureaucracy, but they can still anticipate a reliable job with a decent retirement. The old choice, joining a large corporation, is an invitation to be laid off as the company shrinks and out sources.


The next 10 to 30 years and beyond are going to be very tough on the newer model. The entire world is likely to go through a series of deep recessions and maybe a greater depression. Government is going to down size and privatize, they will have to. B&M and distance learning schools are therefore graduating workers looking for jobs that are disappearing.


Now that you are depressed, let me cheer you up with some good news.



At Bastiat Free University you can try a third option. Determine for yourself what you will learn. Learning will become an all life experience, and it will be a pleasure. The same technologies that are dismantling bloated industrial age institutions will liberate work. You can start your own business very cheaply, you can re-train frequently for ever better opportunities. The liberating influence of renaissance education will become the new, new thing.

If you pursue your passions, learning is a by product, not a short term goal. You will not spend time, money, and lost opportunity jumping through bureaucratic hoops to get a degree. Take this chance to rediscover the pleasure of self directed learning. You will learn as you pursue your passion, this is the model of the new renaissance education. You will research what you want to know, seek out what is of value to you, and you can use knowledge acquired to create wealth.

"If a man empties his purse into his head, no man can take it away from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest." - Benjamin Franklin



Your best investment in a wonderful personal future will be an investment in yourself.



If you work at what you love, what you are passionate about, you will never experience a dull job.This is why BFU exists. Liberate yourself from constrictions of the fading industrial age; seek out and discover where meaningful action based on your passion is rewarded. You don't even need Bastiat Free University, we are but one source of many for the knowledge you seek.


"There is no scarcity of opportunity to make a living at what you love; there's only a scarcity of resolve to make it happen." - Dr. Wayne Dyer



Bastiat Free University is a resource in your life's passion quest. Look around our campus and find educational materials that will cause you to succeed. Register now (no-cost) and relearn to enjoy learning; learn about what you love. Renaissance learning is a pleasure because you get to discover what is important to you, and act on it.



Go to school, do it for yourself this time.

Allan
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Saturday, August 20, 2005

Start Today

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We have said that Bastiat Free University may be decades too soon; that it may be decades before the value of renaissance education becomes apparent.

The reason it will become apparent is that graduates of schools like BFU will be creating new businesses that employ the graduates of the industrial age schools.

You can wait, and have your children or grandchildren enter Bastiat Free University, or you can enter yourself today. If you register at BFU now (for free), you will be the one pursuing your goals.

Think about it right now.

What is your passion?

What one idea related to your passion has the potential to create a flourishing business? What goal fulfilled will give meaning to you life?

Start working toward the business or occupation that encompasses your desire, start now.

Dedicate yourself to achieving that idea, your goal.

One of the elements of success will be knowledge. You can get that from good books. The more books you read, the more enjoyable it becomes to read; and the more you will learn.

Another element of your success will be adaptability. You can get that by studying subjects related to your passion. Dig in and research anything and everything related to your idea.

Another element toward accomplishment of your goal will be action. Write down what you will achieve and when you will achieve it. Put that written goal somewhere you will see and read it often, your mirror or the refrigerator door, or both.

Get started. Expect to get stopped. Start again. Do not accept defeat, keep working toward your goal. A seed dies and is planted before it grows. Keep every end of the dream as part of the process, just a planting of your goal before it sprouts.

That idea is yours, don't let it die and not sprout. Feed it, water it, protect it, expand it.

You have an idea that will work. Work your idea.

Success will come when you determine not to fail.

time and time again.

Allan
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Monday, August 15, 2005

Tipping Point

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The tipping point is the straw that broke the camels back, or "that dramatic moment when something unique becomes common."

I've also heard it described as that one piece of sand on a hill that starts the avalanche. Where it pertains to us is when will distance learning, and Bastiat Free University separately and in particular, hit the tipping point?

In marketing there is frequently talk of product stages; introduction, early adaptors, leaders, and sometimes acceptance by the masses. Of course each guru has their own terms and divisions, but the concept remains the same. Some like to try what others have never heard of, they show off and other brave consumers try it, more people come on board and then suddenly it is normal. Of course sometimes it happens in an area where people have no fixed opinions, and everyone jumps on board because everyone else seems to think it is cool. The current fad in poker is a case in point or other fads from Elmo to Pogs, I'm sure you have watched raise and fall.

Ford gets it. Their SVT program is formulated to sell factory prepared specialty cars to those early adapters that love cars. The buyers will talk about their new toys and others will buy Ford because they heard a gear head praise his. Ford probably loses money on the SVT program itself, and makes a bunch more back in referrals from influential early adaptors. The SVT program is a bundle of straw they throw at the camel, they hope one of the straws will help the Mustang "tip."

Back to BFU, we hope to eventually be noticed. Even a fad would be nice, people still trade baseball cards, long after the fad passed. Right now a few brave students have started the classes, and more are discovering us each week. At some point Bastiat Free University may tip.

Register now (free), if we tip you can say you knew it all along.

Allan

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Sunday, August 14, 2005

Where do you belong

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Alright it is quick, sloppy, and inaccurate; maybe.

This quiz is just a few questions, but it may bring forth some valuable thought.

Think about what you enjoy and what you believe. If it is a problem where you live, move. There are probably places in the world where your favorite vice is normal, or even a virtue. If you like to drive fast, don't live where they will confiscate your car for racing; go to Germany, or a similar place. If you are a pot head, go to Amsterdam rather than live in a place where a half smoked joint gives you life in jail.

There are exceptions, you may feel a need to teach the poor, or preach to the lost, or some other personal choice of sacrifice. If you have a choice, pick a place in a climate and country you enjoy. There are poor and the lost all over the world. Seek wisdom before you commit.

Root in people, not things or places.

God is only taking one thing out of this world.

People.

We have descended from wandering tribes, only the agricultural age nailed down our feet and used our toes as roots. Guess what, that was ages ago. We are now leaving the industrial age and entering the information age, 2 ages at least. It will keep getting easier to move.

You can attend Bastiat Free University from almost anywhere.

Time to look around and decide which direction you want to explore.

Take the quiz and think about it.

Then Dream.

Then act.

Allan (Spain)

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Thursday, August 11, 2005

Bastiat

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We have added a couple of pages to the Bastiat Free University introduction.

The first new page is about C. F. Bastiat himself. There is a bit of information about Claude Frédéric Bastiat's nineteenth century world, and a bunch of quotes. A warning on the quotes, these were borrowed from other sites, but they read like what I remember. I have put some links in to those sites, I will cross check the quotes as I re-read Bastiat's works. Of course I read in English, and the original is in French, so there may be some variance due to translation anyway. Let me know if you spot an error.

The second "new" page is really just the second half of the BFU index page, I've split it into more manageable chunks. A pretty web site for BFUniv may be sometime in the future, but we will keep trying to make it an easier read now.

If you have not had a chance to look at it, read the piece on renaissance education, it does put forth some interesting "learning mixed with action" ideas.

And a final piece of great news, the graduate course by top selling author Doug Casey is now open and available. Go in and take a look, there is some very good information, you owe yourself this one. Doug is a great fan of liberty. Doug is also the one that started me thinking on how this new era requires a renaissance approach to education. Thanks again Doug.

As Doug would write:

Best,

Allan
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Monday, August 08, 2005

Inevitable is not the same as immediate: The Miniaturization Age

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Are we at Bastiat Free University decades too soon?

Maybe.

While what we are entering is called the information age, there is much more to the dynamic than just data manipulation. Information alone will not impel this change. We will "soon" see self replicating robots, nano technologies, and processes that are inconceivable to us now; just as jets, radio, and comic books would have been beyond the understanding of the Greek sages.


I expect the transition from industry to information to be much faster than the centuries long change from agriculture to industry. It will not be a surprise if this change only takes decades.


Early in the agricultural age almost everyone was involved in agriculture; they either grew things, or they formed armies to steal what others grew. In industrial nations a few now grow food for the many, the many work as part of a machine, armies now seek factories and resources. The first step of the information age was factory workers becoming service workers and data manipulators.


We instead may call the information age the age of miniaturization. The optimum size required for success of enterprise, technology, and government are all shrinking quite quickly. Of course what historians are likely to call us in a few millennia is "the dark ages."


As miniaturization continues those that create can take their process and rewards with them; they will not have fields or factories to be held hostage by armies and looting governments. We may find a new network society where those governments desiring growth compete for the mobile innovators that create wealth. These creative types have been one of the drivers of everyone's lifestyle improvements. Entrepreneurs may network, share, and compete as part of small fluid organizations.


In this Network Society knowledge and reputation will be very important. What you say about yourself will not matter compared to what you do and how you do it. These entrepreneurs have always been few in number, but were harvested by the many as if there were an inexhaustible supply, the innovators lack of mobility made them easy targets.


Agricultural society was essentially feudal. A local gang would build a fort, or latter a castle, and control the locals as they contested over farm land against other gangs. The economics dictated small spans of control, to simplify: King over Barons over Knights over peasants. This slowly changed as industry and markets grew. All spans of control widened and organizations of all types centralized and focused power in the hands of a few.


With the miniaturization age, span of control will eventually shrink again, possibly back to family or tribal size units, perhaps in many cases to the individual them self. "Eventually" may be a very long way away.


Our huge bureaucracies are doomed, but they will not die easily, they will not cease to exist just because they are no longer relevant. Well after the fall of Rome, I am sure there were those who talked with pride of their Roman citizenship. We place a date in a history book, they lived the reality. Vestiges of Roman thought and government structure long survived Rome.



Schools will become like the new Bastiat Free University in the future. Renaissance education, the mixing of diverse learning and action, will be necessary to develop the next generation of leaders.



The huge obsolete universities of today that resent "popular expression" and enforce ancient form are just barely functional. They will attract students for a very long time, perhaps centuries, based on their tradition as store houses of knowledge; they just no longer create graduates prepared for the emerging reality of the miniaturization age.



Prepare yourself.


Allan


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Friday, August 05, 2005

Quick Note on Bastiat

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I don't play piano.

I tried it when I was young because I really enjoyed listening to piano. I just hated playing it myself. I had to listen to all that noise I inflicted on a beautiful instrument. Ouch.

I write because I have something to say, I hope some people will read it. When I read something like this piece on Bastiat by Sobran I am reminded of what good writing reads like. I can't give up writing, even if you want me too, Bastiat Free University and renaissance education need me, for now.

I will enjoy reads like this one however, and smile at the rendition.

For now you will find many great and well written books in our courses, and some noise from me. ; }

Allan R. Wallace
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Tuesday, August 02, 2005

A turn toward the straight, and the race will be on.

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Research is in the eye of the beholder.

The chicane finished, the cars enter the last curve before the straight. They will be massively accelerating through the last half of the corner. But they are on a small copy of the real track.

Vouchers to allow students to chose between public schools, aid in student performance, but they make politico's heads explode. The real growth in student performance comes with the addition of private schools. The straight away is when mature students can select their own education for their own goals and ambitions. Each time education hits the straight we have a renaissance, although there is frequently some government official waving a flag to slow things down, it seems government schools crash and burn if they can not force students to attend; and officials realize that without the constant propaganda public schools promote, people will (gasp) think for themselves.

Look at this education debate report to see how narrowly defined the argument is now. Consider what will happen if freedom gets loose. If you want to learn effectively, learn for yourself. Bastiat Free University is not the only source of free learning, search and do what you want and need. Just as in the Christian walk you discover that Faith is an act, so you should discover to your benefit that in education Learning is an act.

Enjoy life, but also accomplish something important, start now.

Allan

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