Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Why do we need Brain Wave Activity ?

So brain waves are the net measure of the highest electrical activity of those many millions of neurons that can be detected outside the cranium: it is not the activity of all neurons, but since it is scientific fact that the cortex and especially the frontal lobes are involved in intelligent thought, social interaction, learning and personality then the measure of brain waves is quite likely a proxy of the most important activity in the brain. Pretty lucky that it can be measured without drilling through the skull!

Why does the brain have wave like rhythms  and combinations of longer wave Hz with short burst type activity such as in beta waves ? Why do conversely the dominant wave form detectable in sleep and relaxed thought have a higher amplitude ie signal strength while slower Hz ?  What also does the Gamma relatively high Hz wave pattern tell us when it can be seen as associated to enlightenment experiences and “deep wisdom” ?

Fundamentally then the brain can be seen to work in a non chaotic way: there is both an underlying pattern in the main amplitude long waves, with a periodicity parameter, and then the shorter waves which appear more random but are still "Up and down" and change when the major wave changes amplitude and frequency.

Why does the “measurable and important brain” create waves and why do we actually need wave patterns?

Well as a mol biologist, it is known that neurons require time to carry out various “recharging” functions and also biochemical summations at their synapses, followed by a degree of clearing out receptors by breaking down molecules so that new signals or summations can be made at the synapses.

Even silicon wafers have their physical limits of how many circuits per micron and how many of opening-closing each logic gate can facilitate per millisecond. Chips also get hot the denser the circuits are packed and the more calculations required per second.

So there is quite another fundamental issue arises quite a lot more fundamental than recharging complex biochemical pathways: heat - the brain is dense and uses and fluid heat exchange system to dissipate heat: These are not an ideal combination within a solid spherical enclosure! A common way in nature that biological systems cool themselves is by cycling the activity. This applies to many things, from bombardier beetles boiling defence spray to the way lizards move in the dessert.

However I feel from my first delve into this whole topic for over 25 years, that these two bio-physiological requirements are not the be-all-and-end-all of brain waves: they are not the reason for higher thought being associated to brain waves: rather the whole wave activity is likely to have evolved into a meta system from this basal need to dissipate heat and regenerate biochemical entities.

In other words these two characteristics of multicellular neuron systems, brains and spinal cords, actually became a meta operating system in its own right : it became a system above the biochemical processes that then actually began to feedback and influence the biochemistry in order to perform higher and higher neural functions ie mental activities such as motor, reasoning, feeling, considering, summating, calculating, evaluating risk, and interacting socially.

In a way brain waves may be the like the winding of the earliest computers: these calculation engines are wound by hand- this is a good analogy- there is a good deal of set up of the system by adjusting wheels or pins and then the system calculates at a higher hertz, or rather literally RPM!  Without the set up and the fast running the two cannot function on their own. On the one side we would be locked into a pondering coma like status, always loading up for the reasoning but never releasing the number crunching mechanisms to come to a resolution in time. Or alternatively, the whole high hertz system running without any pre-programming, just chaotically, producing nothing of any sense or repeating eternally a single programme.

Well being can be in fact defined by the reasonable ability or habituation to changing gears, especially out of the demanding Beta ( and perhaps for some, the loading from the theta wave periods in day dreaming, loose reasoning and REM associated sleep). We need to shift gears in order to have well being. We cannot be happy or relaxed with two much beta and we cannot be motivated and fulfilled without these periods of intense medium high frequency beta waves.

Another analogy is to look again at the modern computer: it has in fact several layers of operating system- the hard cored logic on the chip, like the physical, biochemical and neurological structures in the brain, then the binary commands recognised by these hard circutis and operating them in to different parameters and tasks, on top of this again, then the machine code software feeding into this and then the assembly language or higher programmer language being compiled to the lower level software, and on top of this then the operating system like Windows tm. That is what you just need to turn on and be able to start to think about carrying out a meaningful function. 

 Unlike the brain though, computers have a maximum Hz for logic gate calculations while all activities relating to functioning can be considered directly related to demand if not actually linear in relation to programmes running. Unlike the brain then, computers dont need to work in waves above the required or available hertz capacity. The limiting factor is also heat. Perhaps computers would benefit from working in more controlled -ccyclic ways, and perhaps they do now!

Finally to bring in another set of ideas based on the computer " onion skins" of layers of operating systems for actually getting stuff donw:  In the brain wave system we have by in large only measured EEG from outside the brain and this tends not to detect deeper sources of signals or the gamma wave activity when it is sublimated from recordings by the higher amplitude waves from the cortex. Perhaps there is another meta system which uses gamma waves to disseminate learning experiences  for example ? Or do the low amplitude, yet intense gamma wave activity stimulate higher activities, awaking them or signaling the need for gear shift from sleep to beta ? Perhaps the longer waves carry more fundamental calculations or summations rather than serving merely a heat and biochemistry care-taker function, and wash forward the summations of the more hectic activity through different neural pathways or by being a meta signal within the current pathways, thus exploiting more from the system being carried like an FM signal ? 

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Time Travel In Your Own Life Time

Aldous Huxley once said that to travel is to discover that everyone is wrong. Travelling in your own life you often find out that you were always wrong despite it feeling so right at the time. That is experience, to metaphrase the saying that it is the quality you acquire at the exact moment AFTER  you most needed it: you could always do better with hindsight, you are always chasing your own tail, always something you aspire to but never achieve; experience leads to achievement once those experiences are beyond those of the average person.

In truth experience never really prepares you for the unexpected, nor does it prepare you for all the different type of people and counter-motivations you will endure and interact with in life. What experience does instantly equip you with is to handle that very situation you have gone through in a new, informed way. Encompassed by this then are all the related subordinate possibilities: the less challenging situations relating to  the experience should be covered by the learning.

To make some conclusion then: mediocre experiences which expose you to little risk and excitement engender you with mediocre capacity to be successful in life. Have rich experiences, seek out the new, push your boundaries, face your fears and in so doing be more fulfilled in life.....

Thursday, 15 November 2012

The Imporance of Being Ernestly Dishonest

"The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you've got it made." Groucho Marx

It seems with the sub prime bubble and a general mantra in banking, politics and tax accounting in particular makes this joker's words ring true.

We live in a period where George Orwell would recognise the double-think. People find some truth, like creative services can be exported, or a go between company can make margin on a commodity, and then they go and apply it in a double-think lie to themselves and everyone else- the marketing budget for starbucks suddenly becomes a cost transfer, exporting profits.

The sub prime is the same: this is crap, but wonderful stuffing crap where everyone wins because we all believe in this stuffing crap. The same with some chinese companies, the material certificates and quality control internally are not worth the paper and breath used to make them.

Given the loss of real return from real companies, the banking sector had turned to a house of cards of lies upon lies, surrounded by mischieve and wrapped in subterfuge.

I think with the win of Barack Obama and the turning of several economies, then there can be hope again that the world can turn its face away from lie-to-win and bring back in standards and strong governance.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Starbucks Vanishing Gross Margin ...Explained Away ?

Starbucks and Amazon amongst others have found what seems to be legal loopholes in how to organise their European taxes and flow margin out of countries they operate in.

They had a rather clumsy back door PR, one of those new breed of rottweiler public lobby firms who pruport to be independent and expert, comaring their brand offering to a film bought from Hollywood.

However there seems to be a business principle to be established here, because it gives multinational firms a wholly unfair competitive advantage with national and local level firms.

The analogy to a hollywood film falls down in several ways: firstly the main value addition to a film is conducted in the greate LA area. A coffee shop adds most value by product and location. Brand, including "atmosphere" is not what is the main value addition but it does allow the firm to maintain a consistent image across outlets and of course to invest in something which is both pleasing to their target consumers and cost effectiveIn contrast, the delivery location of the film is not the essential value creation- usually an anonymous big steel shed on the outskirts of town.

Secondly to some extent at least, a film or a patented product for that matter, is not tied to it's own verticle delivery chain. Therefore there is an element of disconnection making the sale and purchase chain tax transparent and as a market, it should therefore work to benefit the end user in a trade off between the higher value created elsewhere and how it is delivered. The marketing and branding of product and location are to the largest extent separated.

Not only do starbucks and other companies treat their marketing costs as a saleable "royalty" to the most tax effective land, but also they sell themselves their own raw materials at a higher price than the open market: Starbucks from Switzerla. In these two ways they shift a lot of gross margin around on paper while still actually adding the most value at the point of sale, and accordingly the highest income at point of sale.

Amazon use Ireland due to the low tax, while their sellers create "export and import" deals in other countries for sellers and buyers.

So these are the issues being debated in the UK parliaments select committee and no doubt in Whitehall and Brussels.  But with the vote in the USA away from oligarchical power, where corporates and the super rich can make policy and influence it's interpretation and implementation, the public and even the Conservative governments in EU lands smell blood and will not have US corporates shuffling paper money around while national and even cross EU firms cannot compete and expand strategically because of their honest approach to reporting margin and paying taz on profits.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Greece: Demos, Kratos, and the Misadventures of the Keiser and Adolf Hitler

Currently we have yet another democratically elected German Chancellor imposing their will on poorer countries. Angela Merkel follows in the shoes of Adolf Hitler in imposing poverty upon other countries, in particular Greece.

Here there are two lessons to be learnt from History, but over all it is ironic that this comes from the leadership of  a country  which made such huge political mistakes in the 1930s and which did not repay WWII reparations in any shade of proportionality to the dammage they caused.

The first lesson for Merkel is here: In fact western germany received rationed food and industrial expertise which restarted many of the great industries we know today, VW, BMW, Siemens, and pushed them to their higher successes in peaceful times. A country which had made huge political mistakes was helped out from a base of destruction across Europe. Also the entire recovery in Europe was based on what is now termed as "outdated socialist" intervention, planning, protectionism and subsidisation- Keynsian economics is proven to work in times of economic crises.

The next lesson dates back to WWI and the other-side of the coin: then Germany was forced to pay huge reparations which lead to a negative spiral in the economy and the rise of extremism. Extremism in Europe can be catalysed from small and even democratically elected sources, and align itself as a pact.
It is fundamentally hypocritical and against the lessons of history in forcing Greece into high interest loans to cover a risk which is due to the anarchy and willful lawlessness in global banking while partly due to political mistakes and corruption, allowed to continue by international banking authorities in the good times.

Instead of national socialism being the dogma applied to control of a federal Europe by a different democratically elected chancellor, it is the new belief in the market to solve all our problems and a pandering to worship the banking infrastructure which has delivered oligarchy through the mechanisms of anarchy- the free market with too much freedom. The same as the Nazi party with a mandate to rule. Dangerous dogmatic approaches to a Federalised europe.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Quaternary Economies ....The BS West

We in the UK and US, have now long since passed being a predominantly tertiary economy. A large proportion of many western economies have drifted into being quaternary economies.

What do I mean? Quaternary? "Tertiary is as far as you can go" right? No, we have passed basing our economic principle on services and intellectual property to being an economy based on a different set of principles than what is still hard, honest work you find in services and IPR. We now base much of our value creation on belief, opportunism and misrepresentation.

In other words we all bull shit each other about value in order to create and maintain value. The sub prime was a symptom of this, not the cause of the sickness. But like in leprosy, the disease eats slowly at your nervous system but you die from the infections to the injuries you do don't pay attention to. That is what the banking crash has been about.

Republicans in the USA accuse Obama of being a Socialist, while it is they themselves who have placed their bets on non democratic communist commanded economics. From production of iPads to maintaining oil over $100 usd / barrel, the owners of US big business have been dancing with their devil for two decades: State ownership, state intervention, protectionism, price-maintainance, imperialism, anti-western-sentiment, five-year-plans.

The Chinese have surpassed just making stuff to western design and quality commands. They now lead for example in Windows oriented PC and laptops. In fact we sent a paradoxial trojan horse into China with all  our technologies thinking they were just automatons, forgetting this was a nation which still sneaks around after our Trident submarines. Now they have a fifth of many technology markets, soon to be a quarter. Now they "own" low cost, high qaulity production, they can call the tune for the whole global market in making a product for Eastern Asia.

Like I say on some tech' gadget forums when US and EU citizens bemoan the stupidity of some flippant features, or loss of well loved widgets: " it is not just our production companies who are leaving behind now, it is our suppliers as well"

Friday, 9 November 2012

Socialism - a reserve of the Rich in the USA

The biggie whopper the republicans can't avoid is that there has been socialism for the rich in the USA for many years: defence, space, private health bankrolled by public sector employees, making south Iraq part of Texas and then bailing the casino out after sub prime turned out to be a bit of a fib. Also a good deal of protectionism.

And all the time apart from the minumum wage jobs Mitt Romney rationalised when he was less of a nut, Republicans are more than happy to support resellers of Chinese products with helping their corporate taxes out to a global 2 %.

China was also voting this week, u8nlike the USA, it was party delegates weilding votes which are probably decided like super PAC blocks. All with the  the hammer and sickle flying high over "command capitalism" and variouos economic activities which have little to do with the western academic view of what free markets are about.

If they and their billionaire backers had used the 3 to 5 Bn usd on giving every black voter $200 - a rough equivalent spend - then they may have got further.         

Is Obama a Radical Leftist ?

Well ask this too, is the British or Norwegian Labour Party a fundamentalist capatilist organisation?

It is the same type of accusation.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Economy Stoophid?

I don't think Obama won on the economy but certainly a few positive figures vindicated the stimulus package advocated and negotiated by him and his team. The double cliff fall lies ahead which a Romney win would have secured and probably enlarged.

However, to paraphrase a native American tribal saying, an economist is a person who travels through life facing backwards, with history completely visible back to a far ago horizon. They are though blind to the future, with their eyes facing the wrong way.  To the tribe, this was the only truth, the past. You used your experience not to predict the future, but to react in an educated way to it.

Sure there are pundits who saw the 2007-8 crash, sure some saw the stimulus package working, and others in the EU see austerity as the only cure. Well some of them have been right and some of them are going to be right, but excluding a catastrophe like an asteroid strike, we know that things can only go so low as a notionable liquidatable value, or actually as low as the government then really does take over a free-fall economy. On the other hand, we know that over valuation is likely not to be as extreme as in the late "naughties" and public spending and lending will be pegged back for many years to come if not a new golden rule is struck now in GDP to spend to borrowing ratios.

I see that what we have infront of us now as being like the philosophical oxymoron: when the unstoppable force meets the imovable object, the force stops and the object moves. The "house" is going to move and Obama-ism is going to be tethered back: in other words, the double cliff fall is going to be attenuated and a combination of say pay roll ( employer's national insurance) relief, training relief and other tax breaks on investment in productivity will go ahead. Also Afganistan will be racked down and several near redundant defence technologies will be either mothballed pending retirement or sent for scrap, with their support crews being demobilised from the military.

Taking the Huff....Even the Right media Say it Was Obvious.

Even Huffington Say Romney was an Obvious Fail

Imagine being a billionaire waking up today and knowing the Democratic party had out smarted your dumb dollars?


Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Socialism for America Now? Methinks not

Several prominent republicans and internet organs, state that Obama leadership is an ism, and that Obamaism =socialism.

Firstly you have to point to the hypocrisy of this because so much of the US economy has been dependent on China, a post communist, quasi command economy. Apple are the largest listed valued company in the world now, and this is based on production in China and brains in the USA.

Furthermore it is not just the consumer industries which are on the breast of mother China:  100 USD plus per barrel crude oil is a phenomenon of the demand in China. Otherwise deep sea in the Gulf, oil shale/sand extraction, and oil well rejuvination would not be economic at perhaps 80 USD and certainly 50 USD.

Also the US in the term of the last two Presidents has seen the two largest catastophic storms hitting major metropolitan centres, which basically require cross state, federal intervention and planning for the future. This includes a realistic evaluation of the scenarios, conservative as they probably are now, for global warming and how the US can lead and benefit from reduced carbon emission technologies and life styles. Wall Street has finally had a taste of climate change on its doorstep quite literally.

Further hipocrisy comes from the bail out plan, basically state intervention and a socialist related policy dating back to the 1930 great depression. Yes there are some free market fundamentalists who say "let them fail" but they would have been rounded up and shot by all the other free market fundamentalists who knew knew the irony was that to uphold the free market as they know it, it needed saving from its own blindness. Post great depression there was the war, and that was the biggest and most successful exercise in state planning for the US and indeed the UK. In the latter it lead to the labour landslide and a slow economic recovery, while in the US it lead to the implementation of new technologies and a consumer revolution.

So trying to stick a clumsy, big old label on things can end with you getting it stuck on your own fingers when you first peel it off.


Personally I do not see the US moving to anything like a socialist state, while I do see the state being more of a referee in the organisation of  some provision such as more of the parallel primary health care provision, environment and transport and of course education.

America is the largest entrepreneurial state in the world, but it also has the largest education and research national budget in the world. It is a mix of the spirit of succeeding if you work, and also government that wants to succeed in implementation of programmes. The Tea Party and even now the soft end of the republican party seem to have lost touch with the level of comfortableness the voters have with government which achieves things for them;: despite congress (ie the house) being able to frustrate and fillibuster ANY movement of government to be able to plan and implement. The nation has voted, the nation has moved, the socio-demographics are starting to stack up against the republicans and voters DO remember that it was the rich banking elite and their white russians who caused the economic catastrophe and not the Democratic Party.  More poison is not the cure.

Government in the US is very aware and in touch with the entrepreneur but for too long now it has been influenced by hidden corporate interests which are actually quite detached from the general economic well being of say, Ohio.

Further into the new soul of america, both aspirational and liberal in attitudes, I see that the hispanic communities are going to be the new "hand worker man-soccer mum-lawyer and doctor offspring" ie both being entrepreneurial and hard working while also benefiting from greater access to education. ( whether current day doctors and lawyers are a net benefit to the US economy is probably debateable, i should have said engineer).

 The battle grounds have for Romney been about preaching to the converted who are a declining socio-demographic. What good are tax cuts and spending cuts to bankrupted small business people?  Successful gay and open minded people are turned off by the Tea Party. "yeah all the perverts and the niggas voted for Obama" I saw a tweet earlier. Well if that is the swing vote then it doesnt pay to be a white, socially backwards looking orginisation.

Romney has show a huge amount of grace in losing this campaign, and he is really intelligent economically expert guy: however he has been "shifty" on things like health care and the whole 47% debacle showed his economic side rather than an actual cynicism as it was easy to interpret. Obama has already seen that Romney should be the leader figure in the forthcoming negotiations, and in fact he should probably be on the board of consultants to the president and congress. Romneycare is by no means a million miles away from Obamacare, really Obama care has quite a few veryprofit  handcuffing clauses which do not please the immense health corporate lobby.

I actually see Romney and other right-ist adivsors being able to help Obama balance the books, and to accept various compromises;: defence cuts, obama-esque care, some tax rises for the rich and the higher earning waged middle classes, some environmental taxes, cut backs in some road infrastructure, and on the other hand stimulation for business and long term investment- what they want

Also on this subject of what they want, business now will be able to see that the socio demographic is shifted and the Tea Party are not the new, future america, but an echo of a 1950s Hampton's and Country Club past. Social conservatives are in dramatic decline as voters, and the race card is now a whole hand being played on the table. So business thinks with it's wallet, not with a sunday morning at church heart, and will come to have to understand how to tame the democratic party and engage in change in society away from the older values. Like in the EU, business has to understand the benefits of more public provision in the economy when it relates to more than infrastructural planning and back door, dressed up subsidies.

America is probably the most entrepreneurial and aspirational society in the world, but it has also the largest liberal population in the world.  For the Republicans and corporates, they had better wake up tommorrow once the hang over is gone, and have a long hard think about that.

Gracious Vanquished, Lets Hope the House of Republicans are Also

In the latter stages of the USA presidential campaign, I must say that Mitt Romney showed his intellect and fairness and in eventually his suprising loss, he was magnificantly gracious and
gave a speech which raised him in my eyes to be of presidential calibre, just not this time Mitt.

One thing I do like about him is his committment to freedom, however those people who do not have access to decent healthcare do not share the freedoms of the super rich elite in the USA.

Big Government or Big Corporate Big Morals

Today the USA has taken the second step away from big, intrusive, obstructive and opportunistic involvement of corporates in private life, and as a force which thinks it can buy out all democratic vehicles.

Government will now inch forward towards helping initiate and regulate health care for millions of Americans, currently reliant on the fortuities of public and charity health care. Provision will however be largely private, with opportunities for more "social enterprises" and mutual insurance / health companies, owned by private capital, the employees and mutually by the cusomter.

So what if the USA moves towards a model like Canada for this and is it not good that veterans who lost limbs, comrades in arms and some their minds, get government support after they are retired out the forces?

Does this dampen the entrepreneurial spirit or the will of the enourmously wealthy to invest on Wall Street ? Are 45 million private health beneficiaries suddenly locked in cells or waiting years for operations ?

The vision of trickle down and pandering ever more to the rich, and allowing coporates to influence every day life more intrusively, as embodified in Mitt Romney has been rejected by the USA.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012


If public-private organisation of health care, government money for injured veterans and stimulus investment is communism, then call me Lenin. It is not and now the "house" has to bend with the wind.

Romney may have been able to persuade some "swingers" but when he was caught on camera " we don't care about that 47%" then that sealed the black vote and probably a lot of the public sector worker vote for Obama.

What has the New Left left to Do?

What is there again now for the new left which is left for them to do?

Well the days of trying to tax the rich are pretty much over: in the UK and the USA they have bought enough of congress, senate and the U/L houses to be able to sway governance away from grabbing much if any money from them. Apple and Starbucks have become fully tax efficient- sorry evasive effective.

The left should as I have said before address two areas: family values and infrastructural planning and investment.

Family values, by legistlating for choice and fairness at work centred around quality of life with the family and extended family, and local community as we get our heads out of the ass of economic dreaming and debt slavery. Family values by providing health and education which is adequate if not with frills and certainly not  without rationing.

Infrastructural planning meets family in providing housing: 20 Bn a year on housing benefit would be better spent on building housing assocition and local authority social housing rather than subsidising Rachmans.

Also in education, planning once again schools with life times of 30 years which meet the digital age and the age of getting out of the arm chair. Specialist provision for  sports, special needs and gifted children in both cities and at school and class room level. Rewarding performance in school with streaming and high acheiver routes internally.

When I went to a large comprehensive, there was not a mediocre performance dragged down to the lowest common denominator.  My year and the years around all outperformed the private school average in terms of % university entrance.  Mediocrity only came due to the Thatcher and Major cut backs and dissaffection of teachers with the ironically "large government" beaurocracy emposed by them on schools. On the other side, far left socialists wanted to remove streaming and exclusion from intimidating subjects for the less able to focus on the three Rs and PE, seen then as a right wing approach.

Transport is the other big area, where we should both be pragmatic: that is in pandering neither to business and sprawling industrial parks, nor to the environmental lobby completely. Making public transport and electric cars an attractive option.

The thing to avoid is the wrath of the oligarchs, but also the seeping of everything to slavery and delivery of public money to them.

So this is what is left: a line in the sand to stop the errosion of a meritocracy over a bourgiose qausi oligarchy.

The New Left's Liberal Economic Strategy!

Well that title seems like a contradiction in terms: how the new left should embrace liberal economics ? Well it already has, it is just that there has to be a further realigment of attitudes to social policy in respect of the economy: who benefits and who pays ?

As I have said before, the new, newer left have to stop punititive taxation. What they should be doing however is firmly moving the taxation burden up the scale while at the same time, winning over more affluent middle class voters.

Currently the Conservative have levelled a high tax burden on the poorest in society by raising VAT. This is a perverted-robin-hood trick Thatcher also played: we seem to have  more money in our paypacket, but it is taken back from those who can least afford it. The wealthy and the corporates seem to not only be able to pay ever less a proportion of their income and capital in tax, while actually attracting more back door subsidies in the aftermouth of the "failed sub prime casino"  front door bail outs. Now there is talk of growth stimulation, which just a couple of years ago would be medling, nanny state keynsian economics.

Back to Liberalisation;: Firstly, once again aim to reduce burden on employers for social costs and rather than subsidising slavery ( "envelope opening apprentices" this week) with grants, they should reward investment in people and training on a level playing field, such that it becomes the business standard rather than the exception, to take the risk to train people balanced by the attractiveness of tax rewards. Secondly they should infact raise the limit for higher rates of tax: this will attract high wage, middle class employee voters and engage them more with qaulity-of-life politics of the left. Also it injects money at the right level of liberal trickle down: much of this money is actually public, as these are doctors, civil servants, and lawyers (bank rolled often on legal aid) and it will inject it back into local economies. These are the section most likely to invest in home improvements for example.

Why stop there, why not say carry on from a top rate applied at 60K pounds ? ( what I am suggesting to reward many of the top performers in public and private administration and "technical delivery")  Why not do what they do in eastern europe, 25% flat? Well the super rich are an international bunch and trickle down is as much trickle out. Effectively they never pay top rate anyway, so there should be other tax efficient mechanisms to recirculate their money in the real, national and local scale economy.

On an important point, really what new labour tried in part, leave business alone - by in large. Pick your battles while otherwise charming them with strict budgets in line with GDP and debt leverage targets. The battles to pick are then with the overly inflationary former utilities, who are reigned in over the majority of europe to being chained tigers rather than the uncaged sharks of the UK. Competition and some level of efficiency and quality of management, tethered to below inflation price rises, more social pricing and directly comparable tariffs.

The Soul of Europe...

The soul of the UK has been under an apparent change, but this is actually a lot of smoke and mirrors: the far right oligarchical conservative movement have temporarily hijacked the agenda of the media. Don't trust the media, and the inevitability of the message that the Uk will drift inevitably to more and more control by big business and the bourgoiese.

The soul of many european countries is that we trust government to deliver and we don't trust privatised services to do any more than rip us off if not restrained by good governance. We trust government with health and education: there are inefficiencies, but when you look at high inflation in many privatised monopolies and services like electricity, rail travel, water, gas then it makes many of us wonder why we went down the private root.

This type of inflation is of course a heavy form of hidden taxation, which burdens below average income families most : they do not qualify for capping while as a proportion of income energy and travel are higher, while their disposable incomes do not increase at the rate if inflation that these privatised utilities present.

There is inherent inefficiency in constructing and maintaining a somewhat artificial market for a commodity which favours the computer literate. There is the cost of marketing and the cost of administrating customers over to new systems. Then there is the cost of interest based on smaller more diffuse loans negotiated on a regional, or at least divided basis and not national basis often. Lastly there is the demands for dividends to the stock markets, which is short sighted of course. Coupled to this there is the inefficiencies of several beaurocracies reporting financially, and the hidden organisational strain of providing dividends in years when money would be better used internally to the company, on training staff for example, or directly upon making infrastructure more efficient in delivering power.

The UK, especially England, stands at a turning point where it may slip from being a social democracy where state once provided a perfectly adequate level of education, transport and health care, into being far more like an american state where the class divide is cemented for ever. Education and health may start to slip into being a second class public provision with entry to tertiary education becoming more exclusive (partly i believe it should be, but based on merit and not coming from an affluent family). This is a status that the bourgoiese and the rich are very happy about: they want to be able to lock society into unfullfilable aspirations ( as in the "american dream" ) by removal of the earlier and as I remember, fully adequate comprehensive provision.

What I have seen in my life time in England in particular, is the rise of the bourgoise as the new middle class, and the decline of the adminstrative middle class to being the new working class. For the first time, a significant section of society will start to live a lower material standard of living than their parents, and this is university graduate level. They will live in smaller, more expensive houses, spend more time at work and have less discretionary income and holiday entitltement. They have less job security, less rights in the work place and lower pay rises than their parents enjoyed.

Basically the rich pay very handsomely for the message to be controlled and dominant that "business rules, government is inately inefficient and largely incapable". BBC world news on the TV went more and more business oriented- the importance of international business, and okay maybe their audience is a lot of business travellers and foriegn business men. This has however crept over into Radio 4 which seems to have far more of its agenda taken up with how important business is to our daily lives. How much we should worship and feed business, even when it does go to the casino and loose and need socialist bail outs.

Fighting for the Soul of America ?

What is the nature of America? Is this presidential election really a fight between vastly opposing values?

The presidential candidates seem to represent the two side: the college scholarship, self made, lean tall man of mixed race and a broken home. On the other side , born  super priviledged while it must be said, successful in his own right, from a family whose history represents flight from governance, the shiney smiling hamptons socialite and city slicker.

Barack Obama represents a move towards the USA becoming a social democracy, but just ever so slighty. His health insurance plans, once endorsed by many republicans before they picked up the hate-of-ObamaCare as a drum, keep provision largely private while perhaps introducing a deal of rationing. In effect what happens in the charity sector. And also spreads the payments: private health care in the US is economically floated by state employee contributions. In effect, like car insurance, it gives more people access to less health care per head, while also injecting a huge amount of money into that sector. From us in the "other" west, Canada, Europe, Australia, with our national insurance ( and in the picture part private plans the wealthier can afford, and the private supply to our public side), the fact that less than 20% of the USA's population have access to the type of services we take for granted and pay maybe 5% tax for, seems alien and unfair.

On education too, we still enjoy a high degree of social mobility, although this is very much under threat from the far right control in many lands now. I couldnt think of anything worse than my children having to go through the american system watching the over-priviledged swan around while they worked fast food and late night customer service to pay their way through an education compromised by lack of time to study.

But is the USA too inextricably linked to it's history and the type of chance taking, hard working optimists who took the boat there in the 19th C and before?  Well as Tom Wolfe puts it as a republican voter, you are as well to vote Romney to try and at least slow the train of inevitable governance and federalisation.

With rights to vote and a somewhat partisan race card being played, it is somewhat inevitable that capitalist countries which are democracies, drift towards social democracy because the ordinary, average person and the dispossessed can vote and capitalism inevitably makes their lives poorer by moving value up into capital. The borgiouse do well on republicans, and the super rich do well. Everyone else has the dream but for many their dream is to work in public service and qualify for private health care.

What the UK Tax Payers Alliance Should really focus on

The UK tax payers alliance, a "non partisan" body with links to the daily mail and other right wing establishment bodies, have sighted the investment the UK makes in industrial relations as being money wasted which should be funded purely by trade union subscriptions. The tax payer must bend over backwards to fork out £113 M per annum, which is actually less than the budget for the administration of the tender process for rail franchises over the last three years. Of course under the Tories, workers rights are  worthless in the face of the god of "wealth creation at all costs".

However the UK Tax payers alliance like to only mention the £17-19 Bn  Housing Benefit bill in terms of "beenfit cheats" and not actually the real cheats who are the private property owners receiving an index linked income. Basically skewing the entire property market and writing a blank cheque of subsidy to do so.

A common thread through out their web site is that they AVOID anything which is to do with public money being missused in the Private sector, and they have deleted many entries with "trident" which is proposed not for early withdrawal as a strategic white elephant, but in fact for like-for-like replacement at a cost over 100 billion. It deters North Korea and keeps the UKs (not very) independent ICBM flag waving for old duffers from a past-sell-by-date "great" Britain.

I think they should spend more time on housing benefit and the possibility of LIMITING what is payed (far from Russian Roulette) to private and public landlords, the waste of money Trident is and a new ICBM system will be, poor value for money in the "apprenticeships" schemes( fast becoming the YOPpers scheme for cheap subsidised low quality labour) and the PFI value for money

We should pay high interest rates to private industry for "efficiencies" over direct public funding and capital ownership, while this on their very partisan web site is glossed over in favour for comparing the GDP / Interest payments of the UK, a tertiary economy, with the two primary resource fuelled economies of Austrailia and Canada.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Growth? But Not-In-My-Back-Yard in dear England ??

Now the Uk government has come up with a rather good little wheeze for stimulating or rather you could say untapping a latent source of growth: big government takes over from stodgey local interests in planning persmission.

This is aimed largely at greenfield sites, while mysteriously at industry and social housing, which would seem to be what would really get the Shires of Tory voting NIMBY's up in arms. However, with a bung here and a PR campaign there, luxury estates for the decanted semi wealthy will start to pop up amongst the cowslips and daffodils, along with health spas and holiday activity centres no doubt.

Brown field sites are abundant, but can be more expensive to redevelope and are often in industrial lepper colonies, cut off from modern infrastructure or rather many are encircled by it. Basically, they dont have village pubs and they dont move more tory voters into the shire, they move more labour votes into the  city constituencies they are often on the periphery of.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Over Consumption And Value

We over consume in a way which dammages the world - our environment. We also over consume in ways which dammage our personal well being.

In future we will need to be prepared to pay more for our food and probably more for our housing. This is an inevitability in most countries where wealth is not evenly distributed and the population have to pay more due to finite resources, restrictions on utilisations, barriers to entry and price parity or ouright collusion on pricing.

An interesting article discusses why so much emphasis is placed upon the economic consequences of under consumption yet not on over-consumption.

In consuming less we will have to pay more per unit of that we consumer, if we all- the market- consume less by price and reasoning. However if that which we consume is of higher value to us, and we create less waste, then that price is then worth more to everyone: us as individuals have our needs met more satisfactorily with a higher quality, more personalised product or experience; companies earn more margin per sale due to this and the trend to cheap commoditisation is reversed ; our environment benefits from less waste and less green house gases: products by being smaller, lighter, organic, recylcable, and most of all fully consumed and valued over other alternative activities in that period of consumption,  will so  have a lower carbon footprint.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Pico Blog : Market Education 2

further to my Pico not very tiny blog on headukayshun, It is amazing to find that it is not that we need more engineers in the UK, but rather there are
so few who give a damn about continuing in the career!!!
According to the Torygraph, there are less than 6% of graduates in relevant technical and engineering services going into
the manufacturing sector who need them most. The figures also show that other areas of industry where you presume they would
apply their skills to, are also shunned. So the country is spending millions and the 94% of graduates are loaning millions to support less than a very small town
worth of productive graduates: under 4000.
The market has to then stop being at "price parity" on what on-costs and training they will offer graduates or be even more proactive and
offer apprenticeships. It is actually the SME and medium-large, anonymous workplaces which are lacking recruits. High profile companies like Landrover, Williams, BAE,
Dyson etc have a flood of applicatants and are many times over subscribed with willing, relevantly qualified engineering and technical graduates.
You do have to ask on the one side, what range of graduates are pooled into this and if it excludes colleges and vocational training with a degree equivalent qualification. On the other hand
you then have to ask though, why the hell there are only 3700 odd punters rolling out into manufacturing when there is a need for many more.

What puts them off, especially women ?

The Divide between Left and Right

There is a rather fundamental divide between conservatives and liberal, tory and left wing.
From my own unrepresentative but fully valid sampling called a life in business post education, I can summate it prettty simply:

the left are people who think about individuals and other social strata with interest, often either  empathy or a genuine concern and interest for their lives and culture. They are interested in helping them and protecting their interests.

The right are of course also interested in protecting other people's interests, but only those who are like themselves and only when they benefit directly themselves.

Conservatives do not want to understand new cultures or understand different life styles from the wasp-nuclear family.

They tend to either wonder why everyone can't bne like them: inhereting some capital by in large and being able to run or start a viable business; or the reverse if they have started for themselves, self-made, they are interested in how they stand over other people and exploit them.
So there is a fundamental egotistical, selfishness difference and life view point which is called by some the "reptilian sub brain predominance".

Education should be exposed to market forces AND planning

It is my contention that the UK and many other countries' education system has become only obtusely responsive to the employment market.  Tertiary education,  and indeed life-long-learning should be both exposed to more market forces and planning for the type of educations which add value to the individual and country's wealth and well being.

In saying that graduates are merely obtusely qualified for the job market,   I mean that perhaps the majority of graduates in the UK are delivered to the work market as nothing more than young people with debts to pay off, eager to work, rather than actually having the right skills for the market and the future. The tax payer pays less per head per year for more places, but ends up subsidising the payment holidays and low long term interest on loans, when in fact it is employers who gain by having debt slaves to employ with little training.

Many go through years of semiskilled office jobs before either gaining enough experience and training in work to move on to provide more value in the market place, or they take further education.  In the past acccess to valuable training for unemployed has actually meant that some graduates, jaded with their debut into drudgery infront of a PC, have sat unemployed long enough to access these courses.

Rather, young people should be presented with the possibility to become tax payers earlier, and employers should receive tax credits for national vocational support in basics of IT and other skills such as presentation, communication, conflict handeling which are far more use than medieval history or modern art appreciation. This is happening over time, but my contention is that full time University study should be for an elite top 20% maximum, with other school leavers being more mature in choosing to enter the work market.

An example of planning is the "value retention cycle" approach: this would mean that for instance in the current environment, we cut back new places on courses which have over supplied the market many fold, such as law studies and teacher training.

Education is an area where the means of wealth creation fail countries and Government must play the dominant role in providing value to society. Otherwise we end up increasingly in a situation like the USA with ghettos where only the tiniest minority become "socially mobile" which is a key value creating return of public investment in any society. As in major projects for infrastructure and strategic defence, government must plan strategically for more than one term of governance. However there needs to be within that a provision for more t

Hitting the Highs and Lows in the Recession....

Telegraph Link- All time High Employment

This is an amazing fact and really a result of the changes in the economy brought about first by the Thatcher years and later by the successive Labour governments.

It is a testament both to the enterprise economy, the investment environment and the strong publically owned service sector in the UK. Also this fact confirms that both enterprise mechanisms are working healthily and that Keynsian cyclical money is holding value in the country. BBC Article about competitive firms finding growth areas

What is not happening is growth, but what is happening is that people are starting small businesses and being flexible in what they choose to do. There are less vacancies, especially for inexperienced people, but vacancies are filled by people with motivation to earn a crust.

Another factor is the post war baby boomers are starting to retire en masse, many of whom have had "with profits" and index linked pensions which are fuelling a keynsian bouyancy in the economy.

So this all confirms that a yin and yang economic system of public provision and free enterprise actually makes for a good deal of stability, wealth creation and improvement in standard of living. But we on the left who are also business people knew this all along!

Monday, 22 October 2012

Housing Benefit in the UK: A subsidy for the rich and inflation disturbance in the free market

In the midst of austerity for the majority, it seems that the majority in the UK and other countries, will continue unabaited to support the minority.

BBC article on Subsidised Poverty Wages

This is of course the massive and growing housing benefit cost. Time for a hair-cut.
Housing is not a free market in the UK: there is a fundamental and coercisive, clandestine restriction in the availability of land for development and the
type of housing which is made on that land. The beaurocracy of local council planning authorities is merely a smoke screen of innefficiencies for the underlying
issue that supply not only does not meet demand, it does not cater for demand. Supply makes to what investors expect- maximum profit rabbit hutches or the new type of semi fortress luxury villas
stuffed in like 1960s council estates in a bizzarre noveau-riche ironic visual oxymoronic collectivism.
Just like financial measures do need to be taken to bring public spending and PSBR into a reasonable short to mid term proportion of GDP, so is the time ripe for legislation which will cap the amount that landlords can
earn from publically funded tennancies.
This will lead to homelessness you say ? What it will lead to is either that the more wealthy in the country who live well from these capital assets, take a hair cut. Alterntaively r if they decided to evict tennants, then they know that most of them will be cutting not only their income resources
but also their access to investment and expansion : in the current leverage environment. In effect any government in this sitaution can play russian roulette with property owners in the chair and five bullets in the chambers. The time to act is very much now, because inflation in the housing market must not be fuelled
by housing benefit.
It is not until families in employment are on living on the street in the UK, that wealth will be shamed enough into doing something and we can return to a society where a mixture of paternalism and socialism reigns as checks and balances to ensure social inequality does not reach the levels where revolution becomes an inevitability.

There are two inevitabilities of a total free market with small, weak government. One is populace violent revolution and the other is fascism.
The first has developed throughout history because by its nature the free market centres wealth with those who already own the capital means of production and the means of supply of
daily necessities, especially housing and food. In an ideological paradise, then supply would be unlimited and all people would be born with no wealth and thus be required to make wealth by economic activity. This is not the situation of course because the rich "elite" in most lands have at some point stolen their wealth by violence in their murky pasts. For every Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, there are 100 heirs to old wealth in the USA. The situation in the UK is worse, because we actively attract oligarchs to invest in property and land without any net benefit to the general economy. To the contrary, foriegn oligarchs have no paternal interest in the population in the UK and no entreprenerual vested interest in developing provision to anyone more than their own type. This is the danger that not only does wealth disconnect from creating new wealth in the economy, but also it becomes more subsidised by governments through the housing benefit bill.
 Any market becomes open to abuse as the power becomes concentrated in the wealthy and even with a monopolies police mechanism, price parity is established in order to maintain shareholder return on investment in positive growth.
Such was life in the 19th century: large sections of the population starving while a total free market built a two sided Britain. The effect of the uneven distribution of wealth in the UK has lead to a permanent situation of poverty.
We must stop subsidising wealth, we must win back family values and freedoms for families and individuals. We must win back the right to set fair laws- speed limits on the excesses and anarchic, unorganised nature of capitalism

The New, Newer Left

We must stop subsidising wealth, we must win back family values and freedoms for families and individuals. We must win back the right to set fair laws- speed limits on the excesses and anarchic, unorganised nature of capitalism.

We must reduce the amount of tax payer's money which goes out of the value in the on the ground, street you live on value and into the hands of ownership.

Conversely we must stop punitative taxation on employment and capital.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

David Cameron's Admission on the Failure of The Market in Domestic Power

David Cameron's Open Admission That the Gas and Electricity Free Market has Not Benefited the Consumer.

This was actually quite a suprise because you would have thought that going anywhere near the purses of one of the tory party's biggest group of paymasters would be tantamount to that which Dennis Healy did to the Unions in 1978. Now they are one step away from further control under a Lab-Lib coalition in 2015.

They have admitted that it is difficult for fairly average consumers to understand which was the best tariff for them neither is it easy in comparability between suppliers.

This is of course by design: marketing professionals are trained to reduce comparability and increase pricing based on branding and high margin service frills. That is their job after all!

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

De growth is in harmony with market mechanisms

Why is degrowth actually in harmony with market mechanisms?

There are two reasons: we are free to choose and market mechanisms are going to make increasing globalisation too expensive sooner and later -  Sooner in food stuffs.

As we see with local population lead initiatives like the Bristol Pound, individuals are seeking aware of the natural human sense of community. This is actually the first condition necessary for a market- trust and cooperation to make a physical market or a cyber market.

I often used to say that spending money in your local community is the greatest act of charity because it keeps people employed and locks margin locally. Usually market mechanisms enable local communities to reach a balance point of income and affordability. To some extent national economies like Britain which outside the City of London, the satellite financial centres and Aberdeen Oil, is largely based on service industry which locks some margin of the value creation locally at a provincial city, town, village and parish .

Also the concept of reduction, recylcing and replacement means displacing wasteful and destructive global supply chains. A key issue now is that international capital is not flowing into investment in local or national industries: it is flowing to property and global businesses. In future also, the ability to raise cash on the stock market and expand into new local communities will be erroded by this lack of cash supply and that remote delivery will more and more happen on a centralised internet basis rather than the ineffecient "out of town" shopping complex. People will spend more of their income on food and more of their income in local services- dining, entertainment and acts of supporting the local value retention consciously.  Investment in local businesses will be more local and involve more people. Banks and credit unions which accept a higher level of risk in small business loans will find higher rewards. However the local investment cycle is somewhat self regulating- if enough people are active in starting businesses and choosing to work for less take home, then the local market becomes both competitive and of a slow capital growth.

We go back to a pre-stock market series of pico economies which however continue to interact with regional food supply, national goods and global wares and services via the internet. Supermarkets will still be a major place of spending in metropolitan areas, but will be in semi rural areas forced by economic factors to take short-travelled food and b y demand for favourite local produce.

Sustainability and Humanism along side truly free markets

I have colleagues, friends and internet adversories who all consider de-growth and de-globalisation as laughable hippy notions.

However there are obvious parallels to be drawn: the rise of Christianity and Modern Islam to reform conservative and morally corrupt churches before; the actual reformation lead by Martin Luther; the american and french revolutions; the 19th century rural and industrial uprisings and establishment of modern trade unions; the foundation of the democratic labout movements; keynsism post depression; the labour landslide post war; the civil rights movement in the USA; the second rise of union power in the 1970s; the revival of social democracy on both sides of the atlantic in the 1990s.

We stand at a point which is like the latter half of the 19th C coupled to both the great previous depression, and the rise of the hippy and green movements. In all this there is no coincidence and the outcome will not be more capitalism in the medium term. In the short term we will be offered at the alter of the faith of capitalism: Romney will win and austerity measures in the EU will come to place. But there are few markets left to liberalise, little left to privatise, and little economic growth to be gained from rewarding the rich with more tax breaks.

The point about many of us in this movement is that it is about reduction, recycling and replacement.

Globalisation is nothing new, it has been happening since homo sapiens followed their forerunners out of Africa and populated the earth. The species was going to be dominant and going to affect the climate, the flora and the fauna.

However the effects of globalisation now reveal the unwanted aspects of linking all our lives to a global economy which is driven by things far from anything to do with notions of the free market:

Things like OPEC, a cartel which still dominates world oil production. China - a country with strange protectionism, public subsidy, manipulation of markets internationally and most of all command-capitalism. Defence: a massive global industry funded by taxes and exploitation.

So the point is that powerful orginisations are in control on a massive scale affecting literally billions;: in fact the political decisions made by OPEC, the Chinese and Indian governments, the World Bank and splinter nuclei from the Davos group affect us all.

We are told to swallow that politicians achieve very little for our lifestyle and well being. In effect we are being communicated into a post-democratic world where politicians become increasingly remote puppets for the powerful organisations.  But this is not something we need to casually accept because if we do then we will have our standard of living errroded in favour of those who own not just the "means of production" but the material of supply for our daily needs.

Systems of individual greed become inevitably corrupt and implode. It may take another round of "raw capitalism" to allow this to be fully uncovered to enough people in the west for them to rise and rebell in a democratic way.

What marks out human beings from most other animals is the ability not just to cooperate, but to do so in a way which changes the environment to enable society to grow and exploit new biozones : in future in effect we have to rethink the biozone as  zones of sustainable food and energy supply and population.

 How much land and energy is needed to sustain a population determines the biozone based upon renewability- energy resources are replenishable, food chains are climate neutral and also conversely the volatilities of the 2050-2150 AD climate has a near neutral effect on food supply: we already have a viable alternative to oil - electricity from renewable sources and in particular ever lasting geothermal power. We also have the ability to make plastics from plant materials - again - by chemical engineering and most western countries have a rational economic supply of recyclable oil derived plastics. However biofuels and bio-source petrochemicals interfere with the food supply price and range of crops chosen by farmers.

The market will not decide and guide us, and in any case, it is not free market economics which are making the strategic changes in the world now as I state above. Market economics can and will deliver however a plentiful supply of food at least to the west and second world but in terms of energy this is questionable in the mid term when we reach a point where oil, coal and woodland supplies are of enough value for non burning ends that they become uneconomic. Climate change is remember a conservative and backwards looking science so far: we are seeing the effects already- more extreme weather events and in other areas, more severe weather events; marked warming and damage of eco systems which have taken millions of years to evolve. Life itself will survive climate change, and even a full nuclear war, but the human race will not.

Privatisations Questionable Detromentary Effect on PSBR and Inflation

Where is all the evidence that privatisation of public services and monopoly utilities have benefited western economies ?

Well., a good point to start at is to look at the big picture. The summation of this is then actually macro economics on a national / cross member state basis.

Post the paradigm shift in the late 70s and 80s, and the economic growth created by data technology and liberalisation of markets. Reversing the power balance against the unions also helped enormously with reducing inflation.

However for most western countries public spending and PSBR have gone up as a proportion of GDP. When the crash of credibility happened in 2008, then it was governance who were left carrying the can for a money supply and wealth exagerration machine which went fiscally and morally bankrupt.

The other macro economic indicators are that inflation in utilities, transport and the privatised public sector provision has run above the consumer price index.

Also there has been a need to spend money exactly where the free-market dogmatists say it shouldn't be_: on highly costly civil servants and on the private side, consultants and a wage hungry echelon of middle and upper management. In the UK this lead quickly to the situation under Thatcher that there were more managers than beds. With watch-dogs for private utilities and transport, and the european beaurocracy emposed on top and as a standardised top down approach to managing
the systems for managing private contractors there are more layers of public spending on hot air instead of delivery of quality services.

The private sector of course has always had and will always have an important part to play in provision paid for from the public purse.

However it is not a panacea: PFI initiatives and shifting renewal of utilities to high prices and stock market vageries from being planned and paid for by central resources within limits to spend and price inflation to consumers.

One thing which is then very questionable is how privatisation managed to arrest inflation if it has actually not done the reverse on aggregate and contributed to the now unsustainable  level of public spending requirment and inflation in semi-monopolistic, price parity, high inflation utilities and transport.

The Best Countries to Live in Will Not Be So For Long

It should come as a suprise to those who purport the free-market, rich-run-the-place-is-best dogma that the very best countries to live in on a global basis are all social democracies.

However those oligarchical fascists have these countries in their sights:

Canada, Norway, Switzerland, Austria, Australia, Finland, Denmark, W.Germany...

All the ones which top the list of quality of life and highest average standard of living.

Terrible shocking inefficiencies like permanent contracts and a fair wage are to be swept away in the next raft of privatisation and de-unionisation. Basically, there is a margin opportunity to be taken by private suppliers, who can then lock governments and consumers into private supply with above inflation price increases to offer higher stock market performance.

The Uk went a long time ago, Sweden and the Netherlands are creeping into being rich-poor societies run by an oligarchical lead beaurocracy who continue to tell everyone how good a total free market system will be, and how many more jobs can be created by taking away fair wages and permanent contracts. For now enough people have been able to use their tax breaks and new managerment positions to buy their chique appartments and BMW, but soon they too will start to be pressured into 12 hour days as for USA wage slaves and start to wonder what they have been fooled into.

Errosion of labour rights and de-unionisation is some how supposed to improve qaulity of provision and create more jobs. On average this is a lie: the economies described above all have high value labour laws and a prominence of cooperative trade unions.

Set some how we are all going to be so much better off with "flexible " labour laws and lower pay.

Most people sell their labour, and most people are soon to realise that the personal and societal costs of NOT having fair laabour laws are just another way that capitalism subsidises itself by use of government policy and subsidies.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

What does De-Growth Mean for You and Me?

You and I are ordinary wage takers.

What does De Growth mean for us? Dropping out?

No: it does mean dropping off the expectation curve though.

The core to sustainability and human centred life style is the mantra of the enviornmental lobby too. This should be no surprise. What we do to the environment is linked inextricably from value creation.

But de-growth is not about the destruction of value creation, all economic systems or societal structures.

The key mantra is :


 1) Reduction.

We should reduce what we consume : we should do this in clever ways. This may mean investing more in our material goods such that they last longer. This is an issue you can see with HTC mobile telephone handsets: they are so good that they cover our desires and exceed them in fact, and also they last and people do not swap them out often enough. We should have infact, paid more for our quality phones.

Also reduction will be a necessity: by market forces. Prices of food and fuel/power are set to increase dramatically. This will mean in particular that meat and long-travelled-foods will become more expensive, while local-short-travelled "farmers market" foods will become more attractive. In order to have some degree of spending power above the necessities of life, we will adjust our consumerist trinket spend first downwards, while food spend goes upwards. As consumers we will become more involved with food and its quality and nutrition value per Euro/Dollar/pound.

Reduction is also a more fundamental view point in de-growth. Resizing your economic and materialistic aspirations. Less people will be able to afford the premium high price, high margin products the west has depended on for growth. Less people will see them as desirable because values of family and community become stronger.

Reduction in travel and relocation: the internet and home office, or local business incubator / office will become more and more attractive as the cyber generation begin to demand this option from employers. We will continue to interact with global employers, but the old structures and percieved necessity for presentieism will evapourate. Far more of us will turn temporary contract employment into opportunity for self employment and more self determination, using the time we wasted in meaningless adminstration and ineffective meetings to hunt for new customers and more local opportunities. City property will remain over valued for some time to come and may collapse in some areas of cities.

Reduction will mean that the numbers of corporate clones and people who compromise family for money will reduce. Already the income-balance of life equation is skewed for many and people are either marginalised in where they stand and will stand on income versus life, or find if they are better off, that they re becoming marginalised by the fluctuations in the economy which they cannot react to.

Reduction is then also a reduction in our economic activity which is directed towards value flowing up into the international capital system. It will mean many more of us are more conscious of life-work trade offs: working less hours to spend more time with our family and working to help people in our communities.  So the final point on reduction is that it is a reduction in economic expectations and aspirations to right-size our lives to our values.

2) Replacement

I have touched of course on this above with replacing our out-dated corporate office cultures with new work-life-style paradigms. We will reduce relocation and travel accordingly.

We will go much further than this.

We will also replace our ideas about what the market mechanism of the economy means to us. We will there after adjust ourselves to new perceptions of life values. We will replace our old work-oriented life styles with more focus on family and community.

We will also replace our pay-back perceptions of what work gives us: an increasing part of the population will no longer seek status symbols. They will seek personal fulfillment. This means for many like me, reducing their expectations but replacing their perception of happiness with one which is more satisfying than materialism.

It means replacement of the nuclear family life with parents working for ever more money but spending less time with their children and grand patents with the concepts of not needing to consume and not needing to conspicuously consume especially.

Down Sizing will be a net summation from the two above. It does not mean that people drop out of the economic system, it is just that they will move to other work styles, other skills and other values which are based more on the local community and family. It means for example down sizing key capital possessions: selling a house to down size and free up money to pay for other restructuring or life goals. Many houses and higher value possessions will probably never be worth more than they are now in the west. It is time to accept they will grow no more and cash in chips if they have  been made already.

3) recylcing:
This means that you fix things, buy second hand and give or gain some economic value in their next useage when you are finished with them rather than land-fill or often burning.

But it also means that you recycle values to make them more relevant: what you enjoyed doing when you were young and poor, when your kids were small, when you spent more time with your extended family. You recylce all the energy you put into one job, into several economic opportunities or ventures, into time with your family, into time doing things for yourself instead of hiring expensive trades people,  and into your involvement with the community around you.

It means recycling your knowledge into the community for both structural gains in social welfare and charitable organisation, but also into helping new businesses establish themselves locally and grow to become significant local employment sources.

Further to this you recycle your skills and economic activities: you find new ways of utilising skills you used which match a more local economic activity set, or are of value to cyber community and remote working. You take people skills and move them into new sectors. You take skills from work into your volunteer work in your local community. Conversly you take abilities, acchievments and skills from your home and hobby life out into society for economic or community value activities.

The "correction" is yet to happen: Global Economic Crisis will Worsten

In effect we have not seen the "correction" in market values of western corporates, banks and property. So far it is floating on the brink bouyed up only by public money. In the EU and US capitalism is about to bite itself in  it's own neck by demanding lower tax intake and they will try the faith in free-marketism to revive the economies by removing more of the safety net for banks and investors.

Western Capitalism as we know it, started to collapse sometime before the crisis came: the crisis is only a symptom of the sickdom: the sickdom is that western societies cannot create enough net value- greed and the need to have more growth found basically a morally bankrupt route in basically lying to itself and breaking not only laws, but the trust of investors and in their own system. They moved from freedom to anarchy.

This is the end of the faith: it holds to the alter, but basically this is a far more serious situation than we have experience over the last four years to date because the medicine from 1982 cannot work on the patient of 2012. The correction then is set to happen as a further crash in the global economy as public spending is strangled, and China slows down. Coupled to western city property prices remaining too high relative to the number of new buyers then the correction will be far harder than we have seen in the last four years.

The trouble for western economies is that outside the barrel-dollar-oil-economy,  and the subsidised health care and defence economies, there is not enough fundamental value creation, there is too much reliance on property prices and capital markets. This is what lead to the sub prime fueled crisis.

Endlessly moving fundamental value creation jobs to low wage, weak governed countries does not lead to a net growth in the technocracy and intellectual value creation employment in the west outside the oil (OPEC non free market) economy and the defence economy. The private service economy has shown itself to be more dependent on public spending than believed.


Dangers in Oligarchy Sweeping In...

( As a follow on from the last Midi-blogg)

As I write before the deep roots of a new paradigm in our economic human culture are being forged in social media and communities in Spain, Greece, Ireland and the USA.

What we think will happen next is two fold:

1) Western capital will enter a negative spiral as the collapse in value of what they own continues.

2) Due to point one: Market economics and human reasoning will create a decoupling of human activity from international capital in large enough sections of the western populations as to further errode the value capital can extract from corporates and property.

This is where the danger lies in the USA, a federal Europe and the rise of fascism in the former communist eastern block countries.

National political parties and national traditional media will start to loose the attention of the "floating voter". Politics will either become more polarised as it is in the USA, or more of a technocracy from Central compromise and consensus in the EU.

In effect the spread of the new counter culture to a significant volume of the previously corporate working class and the educated middle class ( a line blurred now) will become a threat to the right wing oligarch oriented governance and parties.

As in Iran 30 years ago and  in the middle east now, this means that extremist right wing organisation can sweep in to capture the power vacuum and take more control. This has happened in Russia and the former republics of the soviet union. However it can happen in Europe and be accelerated in the USA.

In the now almost post democratic western countries we live in, I beleive the first shift in power will be exercised in two crucial parts of economic supply: power and housing. The oligarchs will attempt to manipulate these markets to create an artificial inflation by restricting supply and coercisive anti competitive agreements amongst oligarchs. Planning on the one side for the ordinary person or small builder, will become more beaurocratic and the beaurocracies will be slowed down to make building new houses to market demand far more difficult than even today.

Power companies will be freed from inflation controls and their boards of management will be given the green light to extract more money from the populace with price cooperation across competitors and price parity being the new status quo with high inflation. This has happened in the UK.  Goverments will be coerced into strangling local power delivery companies and sustainable personal home power by introducing new technocracy which will render these largely uneconomic, or as in Norway, force them to connect physically and fiscally to the national grids and capitalist quasi market.

More people will then be marginalised and in particular more people will no longer have a net economic outcome predictable by moving to the cities.  Thus  cities will become less attractive to live in, as people find the low wages and lower house prices in the smaller previously marginalised towns and villages create a better net economic effect and allow more for a life style where conspicous lack of consumer trinkets is more socially acceptable.

The rise of the right wing parties and extremism within them that the Oligarchs require, as we see in the increasingly right loony UK Conservative party, will lead to more stringent controls on immigration. This will be a counter productive policy: there will be less freedom of movement of labour which will result in a loss of supply of bottom level, illegal and subsidised labour.

These two phenomena of marginalisation and exclusion by economics and borders, will lead to a collapse in several levels of net value generation in the property market. The capital gains "wage" so many city dwellers benefited from in several up cycles is about to collapse now, and will later enter a stagnation and further risk of devaluation after an initial revival in revaluation created purely faith, will evapourate because there will not be enough money in the supply side.

The Internet as a De-Globalising Medium

Capitalism as we know it,  is near to being in free fall collapse. Already the banks have had socialist bail outs, and the cure is not more anarchy and concentration of value with the rich. Neither is it a shift to oligarchy in the USA and a federal equivalent in the EU and China a solution as proposed by the "free" market leaders.

Instead a new paradigm economy, based on a synthesis between marketism and humanism, will develop and this will have some suprising characteristics I summate from many other sources and hypothesise further here:

1) Food, Electricity/heating and Transport will become a lot more expensive. We must get used to paying more for food, using less electricity and travelling less. This is a good thing and we will explore why in my points below:

2)  Wages are not going to increase for the vast majority: the contrary- capitalism will try to make us work longer hours for the same money or less.  Discretionary income is going to decline more rapidly as capital takes more control of property and planning processes for new housing.

3) The two forces above will lead to a negative spiral in the global capitalist system. Not a destruction of it, but as in the 1970s communism, a stagnation as it fails. It is biting it's own tail because it no longer  beleives that investing in western companies is profitable enough. While the western markets for eastern goods decline as a result of higher unemployment and lower value creation in the west. We are seeing the prediction for lower growth in China. sub 5% growth in China constitutes stagnation because ROI will decline more rapidly due to fulcrum effects on turn over, profit and capital value.

4) we stand then at a time for Reformation of the whole economic principle systems we live within,  and how market economics and democracy are freed increasingly from international capital.

5) The above forces and the reformation of marketism will be mediated on a personal level, not by presidential leaders. It will circumvent the traditional political parties by utilising the internet.

6) thus the internet, once feared as the fuel for globalisation, will facilitate pico economic systems: local, sustainable and stable businesses and exchange of values at an extended family, geographic and cyber community level

7) Because food will be more expensive, locally produced and organic, shorter travelled food will become more economic to buy. We will use more of our income on food and less on trinkets of materialism.

8) More value will be retained in local communities: this means national or international currency will be locked more into pico economies. Also alternative forms of currency and tax circumventing barter will become more prevalent. It means more importantly that more people will realise the value of their time and choose to use less time on conspicuos-consumerist oriented economic activities.

9) the old capitalist system will have to exist along side this new paradigm.

10 ) as the new paradigm, the novel evolving pattern, will develop as an attractive alternative to international captialism and working for corporates.

11) Faced with the poverty created by the finance catastrophe (2008-2020 ?) governments will be forced to examine where money flows and to cooperate more with the new paradigm of social enterprise in delivering public services rather than those privatised into

11) people need not "drop out" completely - a large section of those marginalised by poverty or virtual property-poverty will spend more of their time on human value activities and move to areas with cheaper housing. They will sell and engage their skills through the internet and develop new skills and activities which are utilised in the local geographic community and niche cyber communities.

12) the means of production of intellectual value will move from corporates to individuals, owner-owned companies and social enterprises.

13) People who are in need of social services will find themselves as in the USA, increasingly reliant on charities. However, healthy people will engage more in charity activity on a local level and develop skills for value  gain, and personal fulfilment, without being bound to expecting a monetary reward. Whole families will engage in this, and the extended family will become more important.

14) Centrally to this whole movement is the humanistic view that human oriented activities are more rewarding than economic, inpersonal activities with material outcome expectations. Time is our greatest thing to contribute. The protestant view of the nuclear family will start to evapourate as we are required by market forces to care for our own elderly more to increase their quality of life beyond public and charitable delivery, and we start to care more about those less fortunate than ourselves in our communities. More people in western countries will decide to evaluate their time investment and wage-time payoff and also re-examine their consumerist views.


De-growth is a growing movement! A counter culture of slow food, family values and alternative pico economic systems.

The Bristol pound is just a perfect example of this : stop international capital sucking out the value from local communities, and it is possible and indeed most practical on a regional city basis.

Really it is time for it to be cool again to "turn on, tune in, and drop out" while having an aim far removed from smoking pot in Goa. The new aims are to have a good, normal life with materialism and consumerism deconstructed to allow family values to prevail over 12 hour days as a wage-slave with the trinkets of materialism as shallow status symbols.

This coolness is going to happen amongst sections of the community and the message is going exponential through social media. The De-growth concept and other values around spending more time on qaulity personal value creating activities with family, personal creativity and the community is going to have the power of many consumerist brands thrown together.

The impetus for this comes from that capitalism has stopped keeping most of the people happy most of the time. Capitalism has sold consumerism as the route to happiness, when it is just a cheap substute to throw 12 hours a day as a wage slave into the capitalist system. Less demand for property and international high value brands means less value floods upwards to capital.

 Capitalism as a system has shown it's hollow promise and marginalised a large enough section of most western societies and enslaved enough of the eastern tiger populations into the slave chain that the time is ripe for de-globalisation as an organic growth movement.

Economics are a cultural activity and capitalism and socialism are faiths, not activities in them selves. They both spawn wastefulness in activity: they in fact demand that you personnaly waste your life on the belief that something other than that which is to be found in your family, your friends, your local community and your own creativity is better. A promise of a life after life in effect- one day you will keep up with the jones, one day you will have a large villa, one day you will have a BMW.

Stumbled Upon..:Again ..The Church of Stop Shopping is Still Growing

The oligarchs have bought the traditional media and the politicians : they own their messages now, diluting parliamentary and TV democracy down to being a wimpering sycophant to the inevitability that the poor will become poorer, value creation is the concentration of wealth to the few, the planet does not need any care taking, and that we should all work longer hours to buy stuff instead of spending more time with our families.

The Church of Stop Shopping was a welcome breath of counter-culture fresh air, spread by daring quirky journalists and on the internet. It was derailed by going down a different route, but it was just the tip of the iceberg.

Oligarchs like Putin and the Republicans may own the traditional media but do not yet own the message on the internet. I remember James Burke nattaring on about how the silicon chip would change our lives dramatically in a networked democracy. I frankly did not believe him: I saw data machines as individualistic. This did not change a lot: the internet was a novelty and brochure-ad site for many in the 90s, but its very roots lie in social networks.

The genie is out of the bottle. They cannot own the message here without being obviously oligarchic and basically fascist. Then the vaneer of democracy that they nurture will collapse, as it is in Europe now anyway for other reasons.

The whole de-growth and local LETS/ pico currency/ barter counter global capatilist is breathing and growing exponentially on social media.

Already  however, we are seeing that Facebook is making it more obtuse to block out messages and  is allowing more spam space as "things you may like". It is getting us ready for full push media and ownership of the most prominent messages by this. However it will still remain a base for the spreading of democratic thought freed from "free" market dogma and a meeting place for the sharing of ideas about alternative life view points, micro economics and life-styles.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

The Family as The Core Focus for The Next New Left Revival

Thatcher was right when she identified the family unit as the key to the modern, western economy. Confuscious had also seen this interaction between state and family, even a mirroring in that the state is run on micro economic ideology and practice.

If you can win the family unit away from the unions and labour movement by offering a better family economy and more importantly, selling the dream of a wealthier life in front of them, then you could win elections.

The Next New Left must also embrace the family as the core focus.  They must seek policies and challenge the economy to offer higher qaulity of life for families in order to regain moral and ideological ground from the exhuasted free-market 80's mind set of the now old right wing.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Irony of Keynes

It is an irony that the very ideas of state planning and opportunity for the majority which the New Right have fought so hard to ridicule and eliminate from the media agenda, are the inevitable consequence of the anarchic capitalism and new imperialism which they have brought upon the world.

Over Experienced ?

" I used to be over-qualified, yet lacking in experience. Now I find myself overly experienced while being under qualified"

That is all.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Pander to the Rich no More David Cameron!

For too long now politicians in the Uk and many countries have been pandering to the rich. The time has come to tax them more, they have done immensely well out of public spending and now they and their pals in the sub prime fiasco, can basically pay more of their incomes to help our countries.

Tories object to the idea of luxury VAT because it would perhaps lead to less employment in local western companies providing luxury goods and services, while they write the cheque each year for a massive housing benefit bill and massive legal aid bill which ends up in the hands of the wealthy and well to do.

Monday, 8 October 2012

New Model For Social Democracy

As stated above, social democracy has both drifted to the right in Europe and to the centre stage with Obama politics over the pond.

But it is in need og a major over haul to actually acheive anything against the war mongering, poverty broking oligarchs who stand against democracy on both sides of the Atlantic and over the former iron curtain.

Taxation is always the key. Or rather the trick in getting a strong economy which employs people and so further to this can create enough taxation to have a strong public sector which empowers people to be healthy, educated and proud of their country.

As an irony the thatcher years  was that public spending ran wild and the GDP / Public Spend decline only really succeeded due to liberalisation of risk: on a personal level, credit cards and lax control of property loans while on the "markets" side in the "city" a pretty rightful easing of stuffy beaurocracy for the computer age. In fact you could argue that digital telephony did more for the UK economy than Thatcher -which is an oxymoron of sorts.

Thatcher raised more tax in real terms in the late 80s than any government before and this is another irony but lesson that social democratic politicians and followers should learn from - again .

Make Cuts in some types taxes and some types of beaurocracy and you get more NET money flowing in the private economy.

And this is one of the watersheds which we reach now; there is little left to effectively liberalise or cut which could actually stimulate the economy in this type of flow.

Romney doesnt reprsent just 53.6%, he represents even fewer  Giving the rich families and corporates more money wont make the American economy that much stronger. It will just concentrate some more power in those who benefit most and can then buy the most politians for further tax cuts. It is a small elite who will benefit most versus the threats of Obama to actually take away their fleets of private  jets and super yachts. The super rich are a wasteful bunch who also sit rather precariously on the property bubble which still exists in western lands. That bubble may get bigger as the small minority try to lock cash into bricks and mortar while it is only they who can affor it. The pension institutions may get priced out and get cold feet on property. Then again the super rich can pay them off and encourage criminality in the markets as happened in the sub prime fiasco. The super rich in effect have no plan beyond their next tax cut.

 Romney will probably woo and buy over enough on the mid ground of semi taxed proffessionals in safte public money linked jobs (like the entire health sector in the USA, bed rocked by subsidious high costs paid by the state) He will promptly go to war with Iran though and the socialist public spend on weapons and personnel will be enormous for a while to be followed by more oil revenues.

Thatcher ran a bizarre socialist spending plan, perverted of course: for example into making education into a trotskyite continual revolution and the NHS into a megalythic management ivory tower with more non health delivery managers than there are beds. Also increasing the university educational budget, which I benefited from, while starving state schools of funds for materials to teach basic reading and writing. That and of course the great double-think of that era- instead of paying subsidies to industries or employing a higher head count in public service than maybe necessary, the thatcher goverment paid more and more in their first two terms to pay people to do nothing but wait until their dole ran out and they had to get a low paid job..,,.,.,.and get subsidies in terms of benefits and wages supports or "work fair" so that employers could make profit out of nothing very much of any value for anybody else.

Anyway, Thatcher's perversities aside: Social Democracy has had billions and billions of the rich's money bet against it, while in the up-times Corporates are actually rather in love with such governance. There is a hidden keynsism in the Clinton and Blair administrations. On all sides everyone thought this was a heck of a party so the public sector did nicely and the liberalised money markets, sorry the anarchy in the flow of money in loans to high risk candidates eventually bit us all in the arse.

Social democracy has to court corporates once more. Some see their top line being more erroded by lower public spending but hope for a stronger private lead epoch to arrive. Four years into the western recession and there are no signs of it, but there is a qeue of super conservatives ready to bet that cutting spending will mysteriously kick start the major economies. Cuts will start to balance the books against a forecasted growth in 2017 but that is just a fairy tale. The cuts will maybe end up being right sized for yesterdays economy while tommorrows economy will be smaller and generate less taxation again making the PSBR, balance of payments and other key indicators look even bleaker. Cameron and Romney do not have markets left to liberalise and have little left to privatise. Quite the reverse, they have some private services becoming socialistic non govermental charities while others run self destructive inflation cycles with ever more defaulters and less demand for their utilities and services due to higher costs and lower employment.

So back to this wooing of business: one thing Social Democats and Democratic Socialist must do is fall in love with corporates! They must stop penalising them with social-on-costs : job creation and training should be tax breaks! Head count per se should not have a social on cost (employers contributions) which renders them uncompetitive on price or reluctant to grow in numbers. They must  stop taxing employers for employment and get a balance based on the will and ease of companies to grow. This a policy which must reach  from the one man band who employs his wife because it is worth it, through the partnership who want an administrator, the successful plumber who moves his black market labour legit',  and all the way up to the corporate division who want to right-skill and right-size for a new market opportunity.

There the last paragraph was my nano pico rant, the rest was just ranting.