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MAY 19

H O T
June 19 >>
 

So at LAST the public are waking-up to Climate Change!

 

 

▼ FuturePolitics ▼

 

▼ Personal Angle ▼

THE MOST POLITICAL ISSUE

OF ALL

As always in the past, BIG corp continues to regard the environment as its dumping ground. They don't want to think about (let alone fork-out for dealing with) their waste-products. And BIG corp controls govt: whatever BIG corp wants, govt facilitates. As noted elsewhere: renowned philosopher, psychologist and educational reformer John Dewey long ago observed: "Government is the shadow cast on society by BIG business."

This morning, 10th May 2019, it was announced on radio that a team of climate scientists was being set-up in Cambridge UK to examine methods of reducing Global Warming.... methods such as: creating more cloud over polar regions to deflect sunlight. Other equally bizarre techniques were mentioned, but reflecting on THIS little event back in 2010: I thought: "That is precisely the kind of response I'd expect from a bunch of inmates of a lunatic asylum."

No mention of stopping ALL unnecessary flights, or restraints on other polluters... not even of examining these options; though later, on another current-affairs programme, someone said: "If my football team was playing against Barcelona at 'home', then thousands of supporters would take a flight there which would pump several million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere."

Back in the 50s, all around the UK rivers and urban streams that ran past industrial units were often dead and stinking from oils or some kind of chemical waste. By the mid 60s this contamination had become so intense that in many places it was seeping into the water table.

If BIG corp had had its way, the situation would have continued unaddressed. But authorities were forced to take action, and eventually shelled-out to deal with the problem. In the teeth of opposition from industry, govt decided then to finally make indiscriminate dumping illegal - hence rivers and streams are now much cleaner. Pollution continues illegally, but BIG corp mostly conforms... for fear of prosecution... and these days with social media and a more vociferous public, the risk of popular outcry and boycotts are a deterrent.

But atmospheric pollution was not so obvious. This is vastly more problematic than contaminated drinking water. Just as people in their unthinking ignorance had assumed rain would wash away the chemicals, they assumed wind would blow away the fumes. This less-visible pollution, and the dangers it poses, was actually known about at least half a century ago: back in the early 70s MIT instigated a global study to assess the impact of all kinds of pollution. Taking results from surveys by recognised scientists around the world, they compiled the findings and recommendations into a single report: S.C.E.P. (Study of Critical Environmental Problems). It was now indisputably evident for the first time that Earth's atmosphere and oceans were being significantly adversely affected by human (ie, BIG corp) activity.

The findings were so severe that the estimated cost of implementing recommendations to prevent a future 'catastrophe' exceeded the US defence budget. Yet politicians everywhere ignored this... the 'future' for them was a mere 4-years beyond the next election: and the public wasn't complaining as they had over contaminated water.

Now, 50-years on, as predicted (though much sooner), the consequences are becoming increasingly palpable and concerning - ie, coastal areas flooding, more violent storms due to increased ocean temperatures, deserts forming where once was savannah, extinction of numerous animal species, extensive melting of Polar ice... etc.

Atmospheric pollution behind these ominous developments remains legal, and BIG corp is in no hurry to change that... as ever, they continue to 'lobby' (control) govt and keep pollution laws at a minimum.... hardly to consider related issues like 'fracking', expanding Heathrow, cutting renewable energy budgets in favour of non-renewables that are more lucrative, etc.

Remember, the whole basis of unregulated capitalism is that anyone is free to create and market a product or service regardless - and if such an enterprise sells shares then it's first obligation is to maximise profits.

We all know what Keynes observed back in the 1930s: the kind of individuals, above all, who will always exploit this situation to the limit.

"Capitalism is the extraordinary belief that the nastiest of men for the nastiest of reasons will somehow work for the benefit of all."

John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946)

 

But even if the nicest of men (or women) were recruited to run capitalism, it would remain toxic. It's not so much the people, as the system that's inherently psychopathic - ie, exclusively self serving (sly and deceitful too, if necessary, into the bargain).

Capitalism, with its principal focus on profit, enables - mandates, even - the dominant to exploit the compliant. This results in great wealth for the few, and - on a very non-linear sliding scale - abject poverty for the many. That's the essence of capitalism. The toxicity can be moderated with regulation, but the system remains essentially toxic.

In fact.... and this will, I'm certain, become increasingly recognised: capitalism is synonymous with rape - and not just with regard to people, but more crucially the environment, for sustainability of the planet.

In a capitalist society airlines, for instance, actually don't exist to carry people around - they exist to make profit. If there was no profit, they'd fold. If the correct charge was made to merely break-even then hardly anyone could afford to fly... the pollution per passenger is vastly disproportionate for flying compared with other activities, and because of the colossal cost of problems arising (not to consider future disruption) from Climate Change, then you could probably multiply the current charge for an air-ticket by several hundred, perhaps thousands?

Even right-wing govts have been forced, with reluctance, to introduce regulations that moderate the activities of the most wayward BIG corp outfits. But these regulations, surprise surprise, are not only insignificant but are full of holes.... See one example GOING ON RIGHT NOW of the capitalists focussing on their next 'killing': privatising the UK's NHS in this 2mins-20secs video:

YOUTUBE

Future Politics

I've no idea how many people realise that politics above all is what determines how agreeable our lives are, and how MASSIVELY improved most people's lives could be in so many ways if certain 'little' changes were made....

We really don't need to wait for total-automation or some other technological leap. None of that will free us if those in control choose to keep us enslaved as we now are.... forced to keep working (millions for the minimum wage) in order to pay an extortionate rent or mortgage so landlords and bankers can wallow in untold wealth, or under threat of starvation to pay inflated grocery bills so market shareholders can likewise stuff their pockets.

Universal Income is increasingly cited these days as a way of operating society when automation takes over and renders most jobs obsolete. This could be instigated tomorrow and would work fine, but can't happen until the billionaire spivs and sharks that run BIG corp (and govt) can be removed from their current stranglehold.

Several countries have already held referendums on whether to introduce universal income. Each time it has been defeated. Probable reasons are that those countries already have a fairly efficient welfare system, that the poorest and least astute are bamboozled by BIG corp propaganda, and because of a disproportionately large affluent population who selfishly opposed the prospect of underpaid lower-classes (those who do the REAL work) enjoying an improved lifestyle akin to theirs - or of receiving fair pay.

With a universal income, ALL jobs would command fair payment - otherwise few would choose to do them.

Imagine: if everyone currently on the breadline were suddenly given a decent income and were able to enjoy a reasonable standard of living, including to continue working to supplement that income if they choose in order to afford certain 'luxuries'... and as long as regulation was introduced to prevent landlords and retailers from hyping their prices to cash-in on this new consumer spending power... then business would gain even so in supplying goods and services to many more people than otherwise. Everyone gains....

Those few who prefer to remain idle on a generous subsistence of, say, the equivalent of ~£1K/month in 2019, can do so. Why not?

Incentivise business (as well as regulate) to prevent pollution, and disfavour those that fail to play along, then some headway will be made.

The current and previous UK govts have overseen increases in poverty, decreases in services, and for the poor a general drop in standard of living. For the very poor it's been complete destitution and even homelessness... but for what? What has been gained?

They call it 'austerity' - for the poor ONLY, while banks and the City continue to announce £bns in profits - 'austerity' was supposedly introduced to bail-out the banks when they gambled our savings and lost (to several 'unidentified' highly astute spivs). Anyone might feel impelled to ask: why doesn't the govt 'windfall-tax' those new £bns the banks are now raking-in to get the money back? But it's a stupid question when seen beside John Dewey's famous quote at the top of this article.

It strikes me that 'austerity', starvation wages, extortionate rents, reduced services, delayed benefits, etc., is all a ploy to crush the poorest in society, to put them (back) 'in-their-place' of compliance, acquiescence, enslavement... and at the same time further enrich and empower BIG corp: a handful of billionaires.... (I wonder, are there ANY members of Mrs May's cabinet who are NOT multimillionaires?) because that, and nothing else I'm aware of, is what's transpired as a result of govt policies.

What we have as a Tory cabinet is a bunch of politicians (ie, undercover City 'investors') supported by their friends who run various 'propaganda' media, representing other friends in the City - at least, this is what it's looked like over the past few decades. This isn't progress, it's regress... to a pre-WW2 economy.

First, in recent times, through the treachery of Blair, Brown, Mandelson and a bunch of other undercover Tories, BIG corp skilfully out-witted and divided the lower classes rendering them powerless and innocuous. Thatcher and Major had smashed the unions. And since the govt ignored the 2-million-strong protest against invading Iraq the public adopted, so it seems, the impression that protest achieves little or nothing.

In the current climate for those on minimum wage to organise some kind of general strike would only bring greater poverty and suffering. Even with social media to organise such a comprehensive and effective response to many people's deprived conditions, BIG corp, in its great wealth, would ride-out the 'storm' as Thatcher had during the 80s miner's-strike when hauliers and other groups struck in sympathy: they just recruited new staff from willing 'mercenaries' among the even more deprived unemployed.

Personal Angle

I was never more than marginally involved with politics, not even now, nor did I take much notice of it before I was about 30 when my sister gave a me copy of that famous old book: The Ragged-Trousered Philanthropists (The whole story takes place in Hastings about 120-years ago). I guess due to ineptitude, narrow focus or perhaps the comfortable - though in no way affluent - lifestyle I enjoyed at the time, together with an interest and involvement in science both at work and college, and otherwise reading only sci-fi, the political angle passed me by... even though politics was all around me. That S.C.E.P. report alone should have been enough to wake me up... I did after all read it with great interest. How blinkered can a person be? Somehow the problems seemed distant and of no real significance to me.

Yet, even as a kid aged in single digits I was always on the left in my thinking, though politics was never overtly mentioned at home, nor did I hear it from anywhere else until I was well into my teens.

Before that, when I was about 12, our neighbour threw out a stack of old ‘Practical Wireless’ magazines. I’d always been curious of how the radio worked so began reading them and was intrigued by an article on transformers. Later, I called at the local TV shop to see if they had any chuck-outs, so then with my dad’s wheelbarrow I ended up with several old TVs in our shed which I dismantled, removed the transformers and made gadgets that using a small battery would give a ‘delightful’ electric shock. I’d mount the little transformers on a piece of board with battery clips, etc., and one day took one to school. Another kid offered me half-a-crown for it, which was a lot in those days, around 1962, so not wanting to take his money I gave it to him. It hadn’t cost me anything, after all, plus I had more transformers. Then there was a demand so I made and gave away a few more till a kid tried it on a teacher and the headmaster was informed so I was in trouble - and that was the end of that.

I guess, at least nowadays, had I sold my gadgets instead of giving them away, I’d have been praised for my entrepreneurial spirit. But I never had an ‘entrepreneurial’ spirit. Maybe if I’d assessed the value of my time, the cost of the board and so on, and charged accordingly, then I’d be fine with that – otherwise I’d have felt I was committing a kind-of theft or fraud. But that example demonstrates the way I thought, and still do think basically about any kind of trading or business.

Then back in the early 80s I learned that Tony Benn carried several copies of The Ragged-Trousered Philanthropists’ in his briefcase to give away. That’s when I began taking some notice of politics, especially of politicians who seemed to share the same perspective as I had on the way society should operate: I think Benn’s favourite phrase was, I am my brother’s keeper.

Although I was brought-up with religion, it wasn't drummed into me - and much of it was pretty ludicrous anyway, so never stuck and I remain an atheist. But some of those old bible observations and standpoints, like Benn's quote, made very good sense to me.

For instance, who wants to live in a society where you're continually stepping over unwashed ill-looking street-beggars and their junk every time you go into town... or your neighbour is silently suffering from an untreated illness or from desperate poverty?

And what's the sense in millions of hard-working people struggling on the breadline with low wages and high rents, while their millionaire employers and landlords (and idle billionaire investors) legally pocket most of these workers' earnings, live in untold opulence with their mansions and luxury yachts etc? And occasionally the richest of them give-away their £bns to some obscure charity.

Back in the 70s I noticed Tony Benn’s close colleague Jeremy Corbyn too, how they both took controversial positions on issues like the appalling and ongoing plight of Palestinians trapped in a huge kind-of overcrowded prison, deprived of so much, constantly under threat, frequent deaths, mostly of kids, at the hands of Israeli soldiers, and even occasional massacres. And still half-a-century later nothing’s changed and the UK (BIG corp) media continues to condemn and discredit people like Benn and Corbyn. I believe of the approx 200-countries in the world only the UK and US support Israel. This is why Israeli-supporting Jews like JLM (Jewish Labour movement) are, together with anyone else who supports Israel, determined to destroy Corbyn’s credibility. But other Jews (Jewish Voice for labour, for instance) who don’t support Israel or Zionism, are reacting against accusations that Corbyn is anti-Semitic. As noted elsewhere on this site, former ambassador Craig Murray has described on his website how the Israeli government has been bribing predisposed (Blairite) Labour MPs to oppose Corbyn, who has the good sense and composure not to try and fight it yet at the same time remains steadfast and unflustered - like a Zen master...

I used to wonder how Israelis would respond if they were trapped like the Palestinians…. assuming they were as resourceful and ingenious as they’re reputed to be, then I imagine the force they’d react with would well exceed anything the Palestinians are able to muster (esp with the UK and US solidly behind their oppressors).

Isherwood’s Goodbye to Berlin (see also) explains how Nazi Germany grew into being largely because of the actions of Jews, their ruthless business methods, money lending, and their sense of entitlement. Yet curiously, most Jews - despite their usual superior intelligence (due, I guess, to key traditional elements... programming... in their upbringing) - seem unable to recognise their culpability in the reputation they’ve acquired.

There's no shortage of exceptions, but that reputation rests on harsh experience.

Having always sympathised with the underdog, Benn’s and Corbyn’s (and, of course, many other people’s) stand on issues like Palestine, the IRA, poverty, exploitation and so on, was the only decent and rational position to take - as opposed to the elite 'establishment' BIG corp position - and when they defied the parliamentary whip for such causes then I, for one, was impressed: not that they disobeyed Party policy, but because they were actually defying BIG corp.

AND these are precisely the kind of politicians required to take-on the climate issue... ie, power companies (which should never be in private - shareholders' - hands like non-essential products/services), oil companies, airlines, the motor industry.... etc. Crucially, regarding pollution and the climate, politicians must all break from 'establishment' BIG corp influence (lobbying, bribing, threatening....) so that serving the interests of everyone else comes first - future generations included.

About a decade ago I received a Tory questionnaire with a blank space: what would I like them to do as a priority. I wrote, simply: "Put the interests of your constituents first, NOT business." (the word 'not' underlined several times). I'm still waiting to hear from them again.

To be clear, I'm not anti-business; since most activities are not nationalised, my quality of life depends on various businesses functioning well. In fact, I'd subsidise struggling businesses that were performing a useful function while environmentally sound. But businesses on the share market, especially, should always take second place after ordinary people. Such BIG corp outfits should be taxed to the edge (after investments, etc.), so their activities remain only just worthwhile. Shareholders should be taxed progressively, and dealers that constantly transact should be charged the highest possible transaction tax before their efforts become pointless.

In these circumstances more businesses would flourish, some, as now, would become and remain huge, but billionaire investors would never be able to realise those £bns.... if they 'sell' they'd be taxed progressively up to 99%.... this way there'd be loads more money than now, but crucially it would be spread as well as tied-up in investments. The luxury yacht business would shrink massively, but many other more widely beneficial businesses would spring-up instead. This would be what I'd call: socially 'regulated' capitalism.

The key is: so long as a profit can be made, however small, then a business will attract investment and be worth someone's effort to establish.

To work most effectively this would, of course, have to be adopted by many governments.... either way, a start should be made. The resistance, though... since the dominant hand runs the media with a relentless pro-BIG corp agenda... will probably lead to something like a bloodless civil war. But BIG corp will lose in the end - even if they first in their inexhaustible greed (the unmistakable signature of capitalism) escalate climate change and cause the collapse of the world of higher animals and all of us... for maybe hundreds if not millions of years.

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▼ BIG MONEY ▼

   

£ £ £ £ £ £ £

LUCRE

This item follows naturally from the above on Capitalism, Climate-Change and Poverty. They're kind-of linked - as if supporting one another.

Every year a new rich-list is published that has the richest billionaire at the top, reducing to millionaires or multi-millionaires at the bottom - there's probably too many mere millionaires these days to be worth including. Well-known people like Paul McCartney are always cited - I think he's way down the list now with around £750m. There's a lot more all the time reaching the heights.... ever more billionaires, including in China and Russia, which are not on the UK rich-list but are no more socialist than the UK or the US.

Political labels mean nothing with all the fake-news and double-speak - as Orwell so appropriately called it... like how right-wing politicians euphemistically use the word FREEDOM to mean its opposite, that is: the freedom (if you can outsmart them) to rip-off your neighbour - which BIG corp excels at... how else to maximise profit and footprint? I use the word 'neighbour' here to mean everyone except the investor: ie, employees, customers and anyone else within an outfit's financial reach, which usually stretches a lot further and grabs a lot more than appears at surface.... such as dumping waste for free, outsourcing to countries that pay starvation wages, etc; in fact anyway to increase profit.

But the most curious detail that strikes me here stems from the fact that I, with my ~£10K/annum pension, am financially OK. I can afford to travel anywhere, buy anything I want and everything I need. True, I don't have expensive tastes, have no mortgage or rent (just council-tax), and I guess £100K would be welcome for a few luxuries, or to be REALLY greedy even £1m... now that would be nice!

With £1m I could have a mansion with a BIG garden, and a Bentley... what else? What more would I want that money makes possible? But suppose, for whatever reason, I do want more. With £1m I could get a decent broker to invest some to provide more income. Alternatively, I could do some kind of work. Though if that work is unpleasant or in some way disagreeable.... will it be worth spending time at it instead of idling or playing golf, say, when I already have more money than I can spend?

What I'm saying is: no-one (or virtually no-one) with a large bank balance is going to do work they find disagreeable or unpleasant. Only people with a lousy bank-balance are going to end-up doing duff jobs, and then only if they can't get work they like or at least don't mind doing.

Work done by well-off people is a choice. Paul McCartney has, I guess, worked hard composing and performing. Sometimes it's probably unpleasant, but taking everything together he must be enjoying himself (unless he's a masochist - which either way, with his wealth, makes it an option).

Generally, high-income work is pleasant and low-income work unpleasant. How incongruent is that? It should, of course, be the other way around.... except the capitalist system involves a hierarchy that operates against the interests of the poor in favour of the rich.

In fact, it actually shifts wealth up the pyramid from millions of poor to a handful of rich. From where else, I'd like to know, do the rich get their money? This, through low pay, high rents and other inflated prices, ensures a permanently high percentage of poor.

At the top of that rich-list, though, are going to be investors..... so the most idle (if they so choose to be) are the most wealthy.

Then there's the old pop idols and TV celebrities, film stars and youtube performers and other internet scoops from BIG advertising revenues.

And apart from a few slick entrepreneurs, that's probably about it for the rich-list.

Way down off the list is that great mass of people from whom those on the rich-list get their dough: the vast hard-working poor who mostly don't enjoy the work they do in BIG corp's factories and offices and call-centres, etc. Many lap-up the 'establishment' propaganda that says only by working hard and getting promoted will you get rich... or they self-hypnotise to keep sane as implied in Shaw's perceptive observation: 'Make sure you do what you like or you'll end up liking what you do.' Hence, conversely, those who do the toughest or most tedious jobs such as cleaning, labouring, caring, nursing... etc., are the lowest paid. Sometimes these can be rewarding in the non-financial sense, and employers are not slow to take advantage.

It's possible to improve the prospect of more pleasant work by getting qualifications, which can take several years during which one lives on the breadline and accumulates debt... though qualifications won't get you far, maybe just above the lowest rung of the economic ladder. To progress further, one has to show flare, ingratiate oneself or know the right people....

Finally, there's the poorest of all: the underclass. This hapless crowd relies on Social Credit or disability benefits, lives in cramped, sub-standard high-rent accommodation, or worse: on the streets begging because to claim benefit requires an address.

This is the great CAPITALIST system that resembles the jungle we were supposed to have elevated ourselves from several thousand years ago when we started to become 'civilised'... now it has become a liability, a threat not just to a few dropouts or even thousands trapped in refugee camps - but to the survival of the planet as we know it and ultimately our own survival as a species.

And all BIG corp (ie, govt) do in the light of this now universally accepted Climate Change is to instigate (obviously a delaying tactic) a little band of so-called 'climate-scientists' to figure some way to mitigate the damage - inevitably in some insignificantly minuscule way, enough to defer and placate public concern.

Govt (BIG corp) priority: do not interrupt the CAPITALIST machine (as described above), which is what would happen if the vast unnecessary depositing of greenhouse gasses (CO2 and methane) into the atmosphere was solidly outlawed.

Key targets should be meat and aircraft (both mostly unnecessary), then ships, cars and power-plants...

If this happens at all, it will begin as a trickle... then in a few years, when evidence for causes of damage is incontrovertible and lawsuits take-off... it will become a torrent. And the costs will be colossal - a burden that my generation could have tackled for peanuts, but BIG corp greed and suppression prevented.

As I've quoted (paraphrased?) elsewhere from Kurt Vonnegut: "To the next generation: I hope you'll forgive us."

No reason why they should, the issue of blame will be irrelevant since the sums involved will far exceed what anyone will be able to pay.

All my life since solar-panels have existed I've been puzzled why HUGE electrolysis plants haven't been set-up in deserts near the sea, such as in Africa, to convert sea-water into H2 and O2 for powering everything from ships to power-stations anywhere in the world.

Maybe there's some weird technical reason that precludes this solution to the Climate-Change/energy issue. But above all the notion that world population can increase indefinitely is the most obvious absurdity ever, and to do nothing to curb it NOW (instead of letting it increase to extinction levels) is the most perverse policy imaginable - more ludicrous, even, than the response to Climate Change. So much for politicians - they represent the pinnacle of human stupidity.

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