Free Trade: Nothing for Nothing. (Blindland 10)

 

Many governments under the umbrella of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and a large body of economists view free trade as a boon for the world economy. The governments of the USA, UK and the nations comprising the EU support the concept of free trade but do they practice what they preach? Several economists suggest that free trade would boost the world economy and by doing so benefit the poorest countries. Those in the opposing camp are of the opinion that it’s all about securing markets for profit and little to do with the poor. The opposition to free trade also suggest that such trade has no moral compass.

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) is busy trying to dismantle as many barriers to trade as it can negotiate. They envisage a free world market in which governments place no restrictions on exports or imports. In effect, “…free trade enables foreign companies to trade just as efficiently, easily, and effectively as domestic producers”. It would seem clear to me that the big boys have a head start as their business is already up and running and highly organised.

www.wisegeek.com/what-is-free-trade.htm

The first free trade agreement (FTA) was between America and Israel in 1985. This was followed by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994 between the USA, Canada and Mexico. FTA’s were not simply to be about trade but to encapsulate a moral imperative.

“The net effect of the new FTAs on other countries involved should also be beneficial but much more significant than the effects on the United States because of the much smaller size of these countries”. Bruce Arnold, US Congressional Budget Office, July 2003.

www.policyalmanac.org/economic/archivefree_trade_agreements.shtml

However, in practice the policy does not seem to have worked to the benefit of the smaller economic state. In 2002 it was recorded that trade between Israel, Canada, Mexico and Jordan and the USA was: the others received 37.2% of American exports but supplied 31% of US imports. That is a significant disparity. We have to assume, Mr Arnold had not seen the figures before his speech. Twenty years later and the Economist (January 2014) suggest that Mexico has benefitted greatly because of inward investment and a developed manufacturing base. However, it hasn’t slowed the immigration from Mexico or the number below the poverty line.

www.economist.com/news/leaders/2159261

Moreover, Denise H. Froning writing in 2000 pointed out that trade is the bedrock of American prosperity. She is fond of the adjective ‘stellar’ in describing the benefits of free trade to the American economy between 1990/2000, she found that during the period the US economy grew by 23% and added $2.1 trillion to its coffers. She also managed to throw a carrot to America’s partners, “Free trade helps to spread the value of freedom, reinforce the rule of law, foster economic development in poor countries”. Well, I suppose the poor should be grateful for some titbits. Or was she hinting they should adopt American culture?

www.heritage.org/research/reports/2000/08/

What has become clear is the impact of NAFTA on America’s partners:

  • Family run farms in Mexico are fast disappearing.
  • Increased dependency of Mexico on imported food.
  • USA and Canadian companies could dump their waste products in Mexico bypassing their own national laws.

www.debate.yukozimo.com/pros-and-cons-of-free-trade/

It has been argued that over one (1) million Mexican farmers have lost their jobs since the introduction of NAFTA. Texas, on the other hand has benefitted from the import/export flow of trade as has America as a whole. A major consequence has been the doubling of immigration into America in that period.(pee man)

www.smallbusiness.chron.com/north-american-trade-agreement

An eminent economist, Ha-Jong Chang, ranked among the world’s top thinkers in 2013 has stated clearly, “The free market does not exist”. He can be bold in his statement, without contradiction, because nearly every country operates some form of tariff, tax or subsidy to protect a specific industry. From, 23 Things You Didn’t Know About Capitalism (2011) cited by www.truth-out.org/news/item/

Read about Ha-Jong Chang at: www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ha-Jong-Chang

th9A01CFI4Chang’s argument is that the developed nations have had a long period of gestation, and with the extensive use of protective tariffs, taxes and subsidy to build their economies. A further point raised by Chang is the productivity gap between the thCAF0PORYdeveloped and developing world is still quite wide. The technology available to the big boys far outstrips anything the locals can muster.

In today’s world of multinationals and with internal markets satiated the need for expansion is obvious. What better way and with competitive advantage to forward the concept of free trade? “…competitive advantage is a key determinant of superior performance and it will ensure survival and prominent placing in the market”. Multinational companies have substantial resources and can badger and bully when occasion arises. The big boys can bring economies of scale and can undercut any competitor until they have secured the market.

th5DOBCQG5

www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Competitive_advantagethRAQAJJJT

 

 

 

For a detailed economic explanation see: www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparative_advantage

We have the story in the UK whereby, Google, Starbucks, Amazon etc. operate openly making ££billions but have their offices sited elsewhere to avoid the payment of tax. Wringing the last drop of blood from the stone is obviously their motto, as this serves to boost the top dog’s bonus. Could the government of the UK tell them to politely leave, perhaps, but the President of the USA would be on the phone so quick and his roar so deafeningly loud, it would initiate a swift change of direction.

However, Steven E. Landsburg suggests, “Free trade creates winners and losers, but theory and empirical evidence show that the size of the winnings from free trade are larger than the losses”. The statement has a semblance of truth to it, but who are the winners and losers and how much is ‘theory’ and how much ‘empirical’. If we look again at the consequences of NAFTA, the small family farmers were definite losers and the big agricultural companies of America the beneficiaries.

www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_trade

To overcome the perceived difficulties of whoever wins and who loses some economists have come forward with a scheme whereby developing nations should look to specializing, to focus on one or two crops or particular raw material. The problem with that scenario is that dependency on single elements of trade can be a hindrance, as the country would need to import all other requirements. A crop can fail and extraction of raw materials may have to be given over to a multinational company who have the means but who would set the scale of return. Any such scheme creates too big a dependency gamble.

The multinationals have the power to set up anywhere, use local labour, including child labour to maximize their return (profit).They easily circumvent the moral aspect by outsourcing to sweatshops and thus are one step removed from the work and pay conditions. If they were to follow labour law implicit in their home country that would make a substantial difference to the local population, as hinted at by Bruce Arnold. However, there would be no point in them being there!

thCASYM14SAlas the name of the game is to grab what you can while you can – tomorrow’s another day. On news reports we can see kids wearing T shirts in war zones advertising US brands even if the conflict is anti-American. There is no moral or ethical code in the capitalist handbook, so there is little purpose in reading the book to find a hidden grain of empathy.

Meanwhile, major supermarket chains are clambering over each other to distance themselves from the horror story of shrimp/prawn fishing in Thailand. A report by Annie Kelly 30th July 2014 for the Guardian has highlighted a story of the slavery of fishermen, “who are bought and sold like cattle and kept on ships for years”. The blind eye syndrome has worked until the hell was exposed. The chain stores are cancelling contracts with CP Foods fast as the consequence could be the loss of custom through bad publicity. People power! Will it improve the lives of the fishermen; only as long as the spotlight remains beamed on the situation!

www.theguardian.com/uk-news/

While the big boys are having a ‘jolly’ abroad, back home thousands may have been sacked and been forced onto welfare. The cost is borne by those still in work through their taxes, and not counting the social cost of divorce, separation, repossession etc. Many will be forced to work zero hour contracts, not knowing if they are getting a full wage and able to pay their weekly bills.

Doing business abroad is all about finances. The average wage in China is around 10% of the US. In India it’s a mere 2% of the American wage. I would love to believe in the altruism of the big boys but it looks like their wallets are telling a different story. Capital and Moral will never be lovers!

What they are doing is spreading Western culture. Japan is unrecognisable from the period before the Second World War. We can see the same departure taking place in China through the distribution of wealth. There are thousands of shabby factories throughout China employing millions of cheap or virtual slave labour.

An example of conditions faced by the workers in China was brought about by an explosion at a factory close to Shanghai, which polished wheel hubs for the likes of General Motors. Seventy –five died and 185 were injured. An examination of the factory found: safety facilities were poor, the working environment was terrible and production methods were illegal. Reuters, 4th August 2014 Contrast that with the emergence of a new super rich class and all the bling money can buy. Why is a so called Communist country allowing free reign to a gang of nihilists who oppose the regime? This is a first, a welcome mat for colonialists!

In December 2013 the WTO met in Bali, Malaysia, this was a continuation of the Doha Development Round initiated in 2001, with the aim to spread the uptake of free trade agreements. Twelve years and still no firm decisions would suggest that not everyone is in favour of free trade. At the meeting several delegates sought a reduction of subsidies in operation in the developed countries. India demanded to keep their subsidy which America opposed. A number of South American states demanded that the USA should end its embargo of Cuba. The USA is viewed as the architect of free trade, but acts contrary when the policy interferes with the nation’s political stance.

www.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Trade_Organisation

The case of India’s subsidy was left in abeyance and will be discussed and clarified within the next four (4) years. India mirrors China in its dichotomy of wealth distribution and with the use of cheap and slave labour. They are merely doing what Europe and America did while building their economies.thCA6S7RJL

If we add the situation of Europe’s Common Agriculture Programme (CAP) which is heavily subsidized to that of India’s subsidy we end up with quite a distorted picture of free trade. If free trade is so wonderful why are countries not in a stampede to join the get rich quick game? Politics will determine the fate of free trade and that’s how the people can have an influence. Use your vote but use it wisely!

th60L2SFC9The notion that free trade helps poor countries is hogwash. Free trade was conceived by business for business to gain an automatic entry ticket into countries that might otherwise have blocked them or placed severe restrictions on their products or intentions. Business is all about competitive advantage and the maximizing of returns.

Free trade amounts to the multinationals coming and taking over whatever industry that exists be it technological or agricultural. Also, the big boys have wares to sell and they can sell more than anyone at a price that their competitors can’t match. In that way the big boys sap the energy, the ingenuity, initiative and thus the motivation out of a country.

It is not about the law of supply and demand as demand can be created artificially; that’s what advertisements help with. Find a product that gives a sense of individuality and you have a winner e.g. smart phones, cars, fashion and bank cards none of these are essential items but don’t tell the baa,baas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Social Dmocracy:Blind Man’s Buff (Blindland 9)

Social democracy (SD) the harbinger of change was planned to transform society for the good, to the betterment of all. As society progressed through the social democratic vision the poor would gather the greatest harvest. In general terms the whole of societythBHNITY72 nationally and internationally would accrue a massive uplifting. Oops, the bubble burst! All the thinking, all the slogging, all the good intentions to make the world a better place thwarted by a little pinprick of a gene called self.

The promise of a better world, dating back to the late 19th century, has been left by the roadside. The thoughts of Lassalle, of Marx and Engels among a host of thinking people who tried to give a scientific rationale to accomplishing socialism, gather dust.

From the start there was contradiction on the best way forward, revolution, proposed by Marx or evolution which was to win the day. Marx (1878) would eventually accept that parliamentary democracy could secure better conditions for the workers and social democracy became the main vehicle to drive the whole of society forward.

It was in Germany with Ferdinand Lassalle followed by August Babel and Wilhelm Liebknecht (1869) that the Social Democratic Party (SPD) would be founded. Latterly, Eduard Bernstein would add his considerable intellect to the debate and it is he who is generally viewed as the main proponent of the social democratic ethic: “… a better society can be achieved by working within the existing political order”. www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/551073/social-democracy

In the UK the voices of the Fabian Society and the Independent Labour Party (ILP) gave their weight to the peaceful route. Only where no democracy existed did revolution occur, Russia 1917 and China 1948. As the franchise was extended it was the obvious hope that the majority, the lower classes, would hold the balance of power and the Social Democrats would have all the power necessary to implement the changes to benefit all.

The stimulus for these pioneers to put themselves at the vanguard of revolutionary change was more than self-interest. Their altruism was fed I’m sure by the horror of everyday life which they witnessed unfold before them; the abject poverty of the many as opposed to the spectacular opulence of the few. These thinkers were not looking for recognition to enhance their financial state, they genuinely believed in the betterment of mankind.

Over the years some significant changes did materialize in the UK, the vote for women 1918/ 1928. The rise of the Labour Party as a credible opposition and Party of power which would lead to the seismic shift in 1945/51 with the nationalisation of many industries and the setting up of the National Health Service (NHS). The welfare state has without doubt saved many, many people from fear and anxiety and saved many lives.

Defining social democracy also has its contradictions:

  • Political ideology that advocates a peaceful, evolutionary transition of society from capitalism to socialism using established political processes.   Britannica Concise Encyclopaedia
  • Social democracy is a general term for political doctrines that claim an important role for the State and the community in shaping and directing a society’s economic and social life. www.sociologyindex.com/social_democracy.htm

Note the omission of ‘from capitalism to socialism’. The Times they are a changin’ Bob Dylan

Major changes were afoot in 1959 when the German Social Democratic Party (SPD) dropped its Marxist programme which it had held since the days of Babel and Liebknecht in 1869. In that same year 1959, Hugh Gaitskell the leader of the Labour Party (UK) tried to do the same but was outvoted. A portend for the future, Margaret Thatcher became an MP. It seems that being electable became the prime focus. Being elected is fine, if the politicians, once elected provide some legislative muscle to the benefit of the people. Instead the politicians recognised the growing global economy and didn’t know how to deal with it.

Entrenchment and a narrowing of outlook dominated the thinking of the hard core socialists. The Left held on like bindweed but with little hope of choking the life out of capitalism. A few concessions here and there maintained the Left’s belief but politics was no longer about the big picture of socialism; the massaging of capitalism was the new vade mecum. The other problem for the Left was that the electorate were on the move too and the old tired message of socialism had lost its impetus.

thBZNBAEI3Unfortunately, socialism came to conjure up a picture of the little Red Book of Mao Zedong, of everyone dressing the same, of repression and monotony. The Cold War of Gulags and the Berlin Wall allowed the Gibbers of the media to exercise their wit and their propaganda sang like a bird on the wire. For some, socialism was devoid of emotional input and of exhalation. Individualism had become the key to self-fulfilment, the condition manufactured and satiated by the multinationals. The thinkers had gone to make a career for themselves in TV etc. And the fast buck became the essential buck.

One of the few concessions made came in 1976 when the Germans spread the notion of workers participation via Co-determination, first introduced in 1951. Naturally, the new law was bitterly opposed by the employers. A year later the Bullock Report commissioned by Harold Wilson of the Labour Party proposed the introduction of Co-determination in the UK but it never happened. A few years later the EU tried to introduce the Fifth Directive which would have granted workers’ rights similar to the German model but it was allowed to drift beyond the clouds.

www.eurofound.europa.eu/emire/GERMANY/CODETERMINATION-DE.htm

The spiral downwards speeded up during the seventies and the eighties. Crippling inflation of 25%+ in the UK saw the Labour government introduce wage restraint, it worked, and inflation gradually fell. However, the cost was borne by the workers’ as wages did not keep pace with the cost of living. James Callaghan who had taken over from Harold Wilson in 1976 kept wages in check. In 1978 when Callaghan had an opportunity to go to the polls he forwent the chance and continued the policy of wage restraint.

www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labour_Party_(UK)

Disaster struck in the form of the Winter of Discontent when union members came out in droves. The scale of the strikes and the nature of them, dead not buried, meant the Gibbers in the media created stories of hell. People were disgusted by the actions of some unionists and come the next election (1979) Margaret Thatcher was elected the new Conservative Prime Minister.

Between 1980 & 1993 there were six major pieces of legislation that boxed the unions in. The miners’ strike of 1984/5, which Thatcher had prepared for and won, allowed her a free hand to bind the unions more thoroughly than ever. Union membership has fallen since; from 13m in the 1980s to just over 7m in 2000 and below 6m by 2012. www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trade_unions_in_the_United_Kingdom

During her period in power Margaret Thatcher was to batter at and bring down the ramparts of old Labour. Under privatization of Water, Electricity, British Gas and BT and several others the self-gene was let loose and people rushed to buy shares. Share ownership rose from 7% to 25%. The sale of council houses likewise brought its own stampede with over one million being sold. The gold rush was on and all the Left could do was watch.

The final blow to any pretence that social democracy still held a glimpse of a socialist future came from the Trojan Horse of New Labour. “These days, many social democrats are largely indistinguishable from their Conservative opponents, as a result of both types of parties converging around the centre of the political spectrum”. www.rationalwiki.org/wiki/social_democracy

And so it proved when Tony Blair became leader of Labour. He set the warning flare in 1994 with an article in the Fabian magazine and in a special Easter conference in 1995 sealed the fate of Clause 1V. (Sydney Webb 1917) However, the game had long been up for the social democrats since the Bad Godesberg conference in 1959. It was clear that the leadership both in Germany and the UK where seeing the world from a different perspective than the traditionalist. When the mind has wondered off course it is easy to get lost, or find what you have been looking for.

www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clause_1V

Leszek Kolakowski in 1982 pointed out that social democrats merely offer, “…an obstinate will to erode by inches the conditions which produce avoidable suffering, oppression, hunger, wars, racial and national hatred, insatiable greed and vindictive envy.” Quoted from Ben Jackson

www.academia.edu/1763736/Social_Democracy

By ‘inches’ will take a very long time and the idea of socialism will have disappeared into the fog of history. For example, the social democrats control the EU but have failed to utilise that power. The EU is essentially an economic club to assist the nations of Europe to fare better in the global market. Therefore workers’ rights are not a priority and if challenged the EU leadership will bring out their present stock answer; if the workers fail to let them control the vagaries of capitalism there will be no treats. And there you have it children, capitalism is the one true master. Overlords rule, ok!

In the UK the outlook is cloudy, e.g. Anthony Giddens in his book: Beyond Left and Right: The Future of Radical Politics writes, “Socialism is the pursuit of ideas of social cooperation, universal welfare, and equality-ideas brought together by the condemnation of the evils and injustices of capitalism. It is based on the critique of individualism and depends on a belief in group action and ‘participation’, and collective responsibility for social welfare”. Has it not always been so? Giddens has his detractors and so the squabble goes on. www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_democracy

Meanwhile, the Labour Party leaders of the past walk hand in hand with their partners along a secluded beach: the Kinnock’s walk away to make their millions (£), the Blair’s do likewise, and the Miliband’s will likely continue the trend. Where’s Robin Hood when you need him, alas, he’s just a fictional character! Obviously they have never read, William Blake:

I will not cease from Mental Fight,

Nor shall my Sword sleep in my hand

Till we have built Jerusalem

In England’s green & pleasant Land.

The Oxford Library of English Poetry Vol: 2 edited by John Wain

th171YMN79The Left have long been lost and have lost the prospect of galvanizing the people even with essentials like human rights. They have turned the issue into a peepshow by advocating the rights of individuals to have a sex change and legal assistance for illegal

Human Rights at a glance

Human Rights at a glance

immigrants. They were batted off the field when the Conservatives pushed through same sex marriage in church. Thus a trivial tit-for-tat plays out while the need for real human rights continues unabated: slavery, child labour, mass sexual exploitation of women and children, et cetera. Human Rights have become a money spinning industry, in need of a soul.

Environmental issues are also a graveyard for the Left as they try to cherry pick specific areas such as fracking. The opponents of fracking probably turn up in their cars and use their smart phones to implore others to join them; meanwhile, taking pics of police brutality. And not a moment’s thought about their personal carbon footprint. No thought either for the slave labour used to manufacture the phones or the carbon cost of the car. Phones and cars are a tangible experience of individualism and are viewed as essential items; being such they have become divorced from conscious thought about others misery and global warming. Dah!

 

Multiculturalism: Dam to Progress. (Blindland 8)

Multiculturalism is the great hope of the Liberal elite and the offspring the politically

Utopia?

Utopia?

correct (PC) claque. For them the concept is self-explanatory; we all live in the one nation and we must therefore be tolerant towards all other sections of society no matter their religion, ethnic origin or culture. That this policy has been adopted by the government is a cause for celebration for the advocates of multiculturalism. This is after all a great pluralist experiment which illustrates how we can all live in a cohesive, cross pollinating vibrant way. An alternative view would suggest that multiculturalism is not a panacea for the new world but a barrier to change.

It is an ideal world where everyone is different but can understand and accept the ways of others. Where there is no conflict of ideas or of methods of doing things. No one culture dominates. We are equals but own our separate identities. Is such a society any less utopian than Christianity, than Communism? What happens when one or more cultures decide not to accept further change, want to remain steadfast to the ancient ways. Are the leaders of those cultures entitled to force their community to adhere to that diktat? Would each group/community have their own schools to teach their perspective on life or would all schools be forced to teach an all embracing curriculum?

There is a powerful tendency for new migrants to band together in close-knit communities where they feel more relaxed, more likely to receive a welcome and initial help. However, these same communities tend to consolidate in that area. Few venture beyond its confines into the wider society. They become insular, they shop at ethnic stores and the store owners buy from ethnic cash and carry establishments. In that sense they become entombed in the culture they left behind, which is contrary to integration. In their area the old culture dominates and its archaic customs prevail.

The holding on to one’s culture is in contrast to the view of Will Kymlicka a strong advocate of multiculturalism, “Immigrants chose to relinquish access to their native culture by migrating”. www.plato.stanford.edu/entries/multicultualism/

Multiculturalism thus builds its own barriers, “Diversity can and has meant the creation of religious ghettoes with little traffic between or among them”. Diana L. Eck, Pluralism project at Harvard University. In such circumstances as ghettoes it is little wonder that the old ways predominate. In some communities we have the emergence of ‘patriarchal cultures’ and internal discrimination against residents of those communities.

In the recent past we have had stories highlighted on news bulletins about; vote rigging in Council elections (UK) and the more barbaric female genital mutilation (FGM). Of course such practices are widely condemned by the government and have been given due prominence in the national media. The Independent, 03/07/2014 reported that

children never win

children never win

some 170,000 women and girls living in Britain have suffered FGM and a further 65,000 girls under 13 years are at risk. The paper cites the government’s Home Affairs Select Committee as denouncing the practice of FGM as an “extreme form of child abuse”. The practice has been illegal since 1985 but obviously continues. An estimated 125 million females have suffered FGM worldwide.

Another cultural custom is that of ‘arranged marriages’ whereby young women/girls are taken from their country of birth (UK) to be married in some Asian nation. As with FGM, arranged marriages are illegal in the UK but the law is ignored. The numbers of those females affected clearly point to widespread abuse and thP5JCL2I0a total disregard for the rule of law in the UK. The practices are an anachronism in today’s society and anathema to equality. “Like it or not-and many from Plato to Marx have disliked it-law is the central concept in human society; without it, indeed, there would be no society”. Quoted from Lloyd’s The Idea of Law 1966 www.jstor.org/discovery/10.2307/

The young people who follow the jihadist trail to Syria would suggest that some communities are lost to UK society when grouped with FGM, ballot rigging and forced marriage. The gulf between us seems unbridgeable, “Mere diversity without real encounter and relationship will yield increasing tensions in our societies”. The isolation of some groups maybe the result of intimidation, indoctrination, fear or belief; nonetheless, if a majority think contrary to the practices mentioned but remain silent, the wider public are left to assume whatever they wish. www.plualism.org/pages/pluralism/what_is_pluralism

Moreover, those who promote multiculturalism and representation of minorities on various political bodies are in fact saying that democracy is inefficient to meet their particular mindset. However, to deny the principle of democracy is to deny the ‘rights’ of the majority population. It is the notion of democratic rights that maintains consensus which allows society to continue on a peaceful course. To undermine the democratic principle would be to undermine one of the main tenets of our society. But as with the pluralists, the liberal elite and the claque seem to have little regard for democracy and the “stolid mass”. Michael Young

A considerable number of the websites visited about this subject matter stress the point of no one culture being dominant. If no culture is to dominate does that include language? Would everyone in the country need to become multilingual? In his book, Bowling Alone, Robert Putnam highlighted a poignant observation; while the folks he studied did not display any overt racism, “Rather, inhabitants of diverse communities tend to withdraw from collective life, to distrust their neighbours”.

It also raises a very pertinent question about democracy and the place of the majority population. Under a democratic framework the majority vote holds sway and therefore it is anticipated that the majority culture will likewise take precedence. To undermine democracy is to let the dogs out and the consequences could be severe.

I would assume that the Liberal elite and their PC claque are not advocating a duality of rights and a duality of law in the country. And hopefully they would not countenance turning a blind eye towards inequality. Nonetheless, it is the Liberal elite and their claque that have demonised the ordinary Joe for not being tolerant. In its strictest sense, “Tolerance is a necessary public virtue, but does not require Christians and Muslims, Hindus, Jews, and ardent secularists to know anything about each other”. Pluralism .org (ibid) A duality of approach would be a seed for the most pernicious weed.

Furthermore, a tolerant society is not one which fails to challenge inequities of any nature. A tolerant society is one that insists that all are treated equally, has a transparency of objectives, with an expectation that all will abide by. However, ‘all’ does not mean ‘all’ to the liberal elite, the claque and their pluralist soul mates. Therein lies the base hypocrisy of this elitist brigade. They talk boldly about equality but massage its definition.

There are two key issues that sum up an equal society, the place of women and the rights of children. For me a woman’s right is quite straightforward: any woman must be able to walk down any street at any time with any one of her choice and have that choice accepted as normal.

As for children they must have the right to grow and be educated without any form of indoctrination. Decisions on religion etc. can be taken by the individual once they have reached an age of maturity, at present 18 years. This may accelerate change in ways we can’t quite grasp at this time but that is the nature of some change. We can jockey with equality through the smokescreen of our politics until the concept becomes meaningless or step back from our biases and truly put children first.

Multiculturalism as noted has not achieved the desired result and we now have communities stuck in their narrow outlook. This creates a polarization on all sides. Diversity thus becomes a drag on building a better society. It condemns many within some groups from experiencing the full rigour of the culture of the wider society and vice versa. It becomes a system of enclosures that allows better control by the Overlords. Multiculturalism is therefore an anchor on progress.

Moreover, culture is a transient phenomenon, look no further than gay rights and our more open society. How different is today’s world from that of the 1950s? This was not a forced change but a gradual transition from the 1945 election, the Teddy Boys, and the Hippie period of the early 1960s. The advent of mass media, its exploitation and the growth of multinational companies, all brought new ideas in a whirlwind. Thus culture is a temporary chain, a chain made from rope which will eventually rot. If culture is a chain made of titanium then we must ready ourselves for many wars ahead.

Note the sentiment of E. Adamson Hoebel, “Hoebel describes culture as an integrated system of learned behaviour patterns which are characteristic of members of a society and which are not a result of biological inheritance”. www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Culture

We can all learn new behaviours!

 

Blindland (7) A Cockoo in the Nest?

There are many theories out there about how human kind can progress to a more equitable society. One such is the concept of Meritocracy (mer-i-toc-ra-cy). Some enthusiasts link it to Plato’s Republic; whilst others are adamant it is not. The term was coined in the 1950’s by sociologist Michael Young in his paper The Rise of the Meritocracy. www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meritocracy It has subsequently been adopted into a political philosophy by those in search of a hanger for their winter coat.

So what’s it all about:

According to the Oxford dictionary:

  • it’s a society in which power is held by people with the greatest ability.

The Chambers dictionary suggests:

  • a social system based on leadership by people of great talent or intelligence, rather than wealth or noble birth.

You may see only similarities and some positives in the two definitions but for me, I see only doubt. It is based on the original plan of the Han Dynasty whereby civil servants sat exams to illustrate their ability and to prevent nepotism.

Michael Young gives a critical analysis:

th6BQ93LU3“merit is equated with intelligence-plus –effort, its possessors are identified at an early age and selected for appropriate intensive education, and there is an obsession with qualification, test-scoring, and qualification”.

It is reminiscent of the 11+ in the British education system which determined the school a child would attend, and in all likelihood, the future that child could experience. The whole process was heavily influenced by the wealth of the parents. Today it is basically the same, no progress at all.

At present we are moving in reverse towards more diversity in provision and more private schooling. In consequence, the bulk of our children are left to a hit or miss outcome. How did Lenin phrase it? ‘One step forward, two steps back’! In the name of political correctness, multiculturalism and Conservative dogma we are subjecting our children to a vision of blind spots on every corner instead of an open landscape and parity of opportunity.

More than often, if not always, a child’s future will be enabled or disabled by their upbringing. Love, care and attention with the addition of experiences are a substantial leg-up for anyone. Key to this is the emotional input and the interpretation placed on that by the child. However, there are as many nuances of interpretation as there are neurons in the brain. Hence, in part, the emergence of different personalities in the one family.

Moreover, education as a tool is a bad judge of character. The ability to pass exams does not mean that that person has the empathy, nor the wherewithal to sustain growth in themselves never mind the populace at large. Nonetheless, education is a key component but where is the starting line? Do we view education through the eyes of Howard Gardner and the premise of ‘multiple intelligences’? We must also recognise the power of emotion and determine how much credence we give to emotional development in any scheme. Emotion is a fundamental platform of the human brain, and try as some would like us to, we cannot divorce ourselves from its input into our decision making.

In the USA the government departments were run along a similar line to the original Han Dynasty with exams to determine ability and thus progression up the ladder. That system of exams has fallen by the wayside and lead to severe criticism. Chris Hayes, in his book, Twilight of the Elites, decries the loss of the old system and lambasts the present set-up.

“the consequence is that we’re ‘”led”’ by a grasping, status-obsessed elite class that’s increasingly socially and economically distant and prone to rigging the game for its own benefit, the public good be damned”. (Wikipedia)

Chris Hayes has in common parlance (patois) hit the nail on the head and in so doing identified a current that most of the electorate worldwide can identify with.

So where and how do we find the Princes/Princesses of altruism? Plato might suggest a canny band of philosophers but their opinions are as diverse as their understanding. History is littered by well-intentioned thinkers (too many to mention) that have sought to bridge the gap socially and economically between the classes. Plato himself was one such advocate with his writing on the Aristocracy which was dependent on the altruism of an elite.

A similar condemnation can be made against John Stuart Mill with his Considerations on Representative Government and his concept of ‘plural voting’ which prescribed more votes for the educated man. Such thinkers look down from their heady heights and whilst a slither of them may want to march with the workers, they are restrained by their elitism. Thinkers are no guarantee of voices for parity.

More recently Karl Marx and Fredrick Engels brought us communism and most of the twentieth century was blighted by its infusion. From the outset committees of the elitethII1V3PKP took control, a process known as Democratic Centralism and the dictatorship of the proletariat became the dictatorship of the hierarchy. That is what elites do; they self-serve, take a positive and bend it and shape it to their will. So it has been with all religions, communism and democracy. All efforts of enlightenment have been corrupted by man. On the other hand, Capitalism does not have to be moulded, it has inequality built in as a prerequisite; how else do the labouring jobs get done!

What is highlighted by the pursuit of equality is the persistent illusion that paradise is possible, and possibly just around the corner. Even the belief in hope is used as a control mechanism by the Overlords. One such example is the lottery, as millions worldwide join in the search for El Dorado. As long as there is hope the weight of life is slightly easier to bear, and hope keeps the mind distracted. We are all caught in the dazzle of gold as our selfishness gnaws at us from within.

Let the voice of Carl Jung pervade our daydreaming, “Unfortunately, there can be no doubt that man is, on the whole, less good than he imagines himself or wants to be”. The truth will out! It appears that Jung has us pigeonholed far more succinctly than we ourselves understand, when he states, “man turns a blind eye to the shadow-side of human nature”. On the Psychology of the Unconscious 1912 Sourced Wikipedia

th7MMVEAGZFew would deny that we have a dark side, that our psychology is fragile and easily thrown out of kilter. If we can accept that Jung has a credible point then we must recognise that our ‘dark side’ must be dealt with as an initial step. But herein lies the Grand National of hurdles and whether we have the ability to overcome them. The positive side is that Jung believes we can become stronger if we mesh our conscious mind with our ‘shadow’.

It is critically important that we come to terms with our ‘shadow’. Perhaps, it should form a compulsory study for all school and university courses. However, do we have the mental capacity to openly discuss our dark side in classrooms, on TV and radio?

Scenario:

Morning folks and a fine morning it is. There are no celebs on the programme today but we do have a thrilling discussion about our dark side. Do you recognise your shadow? A piece of music first, let’s see, ah yes, Rachmaninov in D Major. Then we’ll hear from our experts before taking calls. Should be a blast!

Looking back at Chris Hayes statement about the greed and selfishness of the American elite we can glean an understanding of Jung’s assertion about the ‘shadow’. A question arises, is this something we have known about for millennia and ritually dismissed? Is the ‘shadow’ the seven deadly sins? Is the conflict with our ‘shadow’ too much for us to bear and that is why we turn a ‘blind eye’ to its perniciousness?

We have come a long way but it appears we have a much longer and a more difficult road ahead. And what of meritocracy, will it survive into the Future World? To the dustbin of history!

“The hideous thing about meritocracy is it tells you that if you’ve given life your all and haven’t got to the top you’re thick or stupid. Previously, at least, you could always blame the class system”. Laurie Taylor, sociologist who criticizes Meritocracy as a myth used to justify the status quo. It is akin to the Peter Principle of Laurence J. Peter, “every employee rises to their level of incompetence”.

A further nail in the coffin comes from Khen Lampert, Meritocratic Education and Social Worthlessness. Dec: 2012

“By definition, the principle of Meritocracy could not be effective in a non-competitive society or environment”.

Ah, well, back to capitalism and the drawing board!

 

 

Blindland (6) Connecting the Dots.

People who live in a democratic country assume that they have participatory rights, unfortunately they are hoodwinked. Several instances whereby the electorate have not been engaged in decision making include: multiculturalism, political correctness, immigration, human rights and Europe (new laws) and the amount to be spent on foreign aid. What’s the difference between Nazi, Communist and Liberal brainwashing – methodology! Even our food is under attack: food waste, genetically modified (GM) crops and sludge lead to a chemical blitz on our dietary system.

Those who dare to raise a voice in opposition are stigmatized: little Englanders, racists, Neanderthals and Nimbys (not in my back yard). But it’s not the political or business class who have to live with the direct consequence of government decision making. Politicians may talk of transparency as a key word when trying to placate the voter or win support, but they rarely implement transparency as a prerequisite.

Keeping people in the dark helps them to expedite their business. They also hold the notion that insufficient numbers of voters care about issues and therefore they as representatives can implement whatever, whenever. In effect the electorate are disenfranchised. The State operates as would a dictatorship!

A classic example of the total contempt the ‘top boys’ have for the ordinary Joes’ is made explicit by the revelation that we are all being forced to eat halal meat. Rather than take on the additional cost of serving a minority preference, business and politicians took the cheaper route by forcing everyone to eat halal meat. It doesn’t matter what one thinks of halal meat, it should not be forced on people! The only motivation behind such a move is profit.

thQZ4H6Q5LMany areas remain under the radar until they become too big to keep submerged e.g. food waste, GM crops and sludge. I have dealt with food waste in some detail but the political significance of the topic has a major impact on the debate about GM crops and the use of sludge (human waste). These all have a link to poverty, foreign aid, human rights and the general wellbeing and democratic rights of the people. Groups of activists fight their specific corner on these issues and in doing so dissipate so much energy and ingenuity that otherwise could be a force for good.

Some very telling facts from the Director of United Nations Environmental Programme, Achim Steiner:

  • Research shows that the world produces more food than is actually needed; food that is lost along the food chain or wasted due to poor consumption decisions.
  • 1.3bn tonnes of food produced is wasted which has used up 1.4bn hectares of land.
  • It is estimated that there will be 10bn people by 2050 – If current population and consumption trends continue, humanity will need the equivalent of two Earth’s to support its self by 2030.
  • Both USA and sub-Saharan Africa food loss is estimated at around 40%

To these facts we could add many more. Here is a short sample:

www.foodwastestats.com/ Food wasted in developed countries = 670m tonnes – in developing countries = 630m tonnes.

www.cbc.ca/news/world/food-waste-overeating An approximate 870m people world-wide do not have access to enough food to be healthy.

www.nrdc.org/food/files/wasted-food-IP.pdf Reducing food waste by 15% could feed 25m Americans.

www.cbc.ca/strombo/social-issues/ Food waste costs the global economy $750bn.

“Over half the food produced today is lost, wasted discarded as a result of inefficiency in the human managed food chain. There is evidence in the report, (The Environmental thCAICQCNOFood Crisis: Environment’s role in averting future food crisis) that the world could feed the entire projected population growth alone by becoming more efficient while ensuring the survival of wild animals, birds and fish on this planet”. Achim Steiner

The real gem of such an understanding of food waste is that we don’t need GM crops to feed the world; we have the technology to achieve that now. All the propaganda aimed at our heart strings about the importance of GM crops is such balderdash. It’s all about money! The big pharmaceutical companies have poured their dosh into research and now want it back with a hefty profit margin. Profit at the peoples’ expense is the key ingredient here. Come back, Robin Hood!

At present most soybeans, canola and maize produced is GM crop and widely used in animal feed. Studies of animal digestive tract suggest there is no build-up of toxins, but there is serious disagreement. While some work has been carried out on the eco system of areas used to grow GM crops a more thorough longitudinal study must be done. How long was it before they accepted that DDT pesticide was a disaster?

Did You Know? Mosquitos became tolerant to DDT! “Science cannot declare any technology completely risk free”. www.greenfacts.com (8.2)

Those who advocate GM crops point out that many plants are grown outside their natural habitat and therefore don’t cause transfer to wild relatives. However, over a period of time GM crops will create their own wild relatives and we need to know how that will affect the host environment and the eco system generally.

In future, genetically modified plants may be equipped with mechanisms designed to prevent gene flow to other plants”. Is this an admittance that ‘gene flow’ is already prevalent and host ecosystems are being destroyed? One substance used in the process is Bacillus Thuringiensis (B.t.) “Unfortunately, B.t. toxins kill many species of insect larvae indiscriminately; it is not possible to design a B.t. toxin that would kill only crop- damaging pests and remain harmless to all other insects”. www.csa.com/discoveryguides/gmfood/ April 2000. This statement is supported by a study in March 2012 by the Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich. www.naturalnews.com/GM_crops

thOE0QVMS2A further study found GM enzymes in bread, cheese, soda and beer. www.pbs.org/wgbh/harvest/exist   .What exactly is being force fed into our bodies?

Over the past century our bodies have been subjected to a bombardment of chemical change and in consequence we have witnessed a steady increase in cancers and allergies. Animal welfare activists campaign vigorously and, at times, violently against the use of animals in experiments. But is it the truth that we the people are the true lab-rats, used in experiments, without our knowledge, in the name of science and profit?

Moreover, the new government of India are presently discussing whether to introduce GM science more widely. However, India is guilty of much waste; 33% of fresh crops are wasted because of poor storage and distribution. Also only 44% of India’s 140m hectares of arable land are irrigated. Perhaps a little more concentration on irrigation is required and a little less on the ‘big boy’ profit margin.

Nonetheless, scientists in general are adamant that GM crops are safe. Such anthV7F3OIT0 attitude leaves too many doors unopened and thus has no foundation in scientific exploration or in an intellectual mind. For all the bluster of scientists, they have failed to convince the public. In the USA, Maine, Vermont and Connecticut have all passed a GMO labelling law. Fear is thus a factor with GM crops and while fear exists change will prove erratic and increasingly difficult.

Another chemical attack on our food comes from the use of sludge (human waste). Allth[7] the rot that goes down the toilet has to go somewhere! A few telling facts:

  • While there is no documented scientific evidence that sewage sludge regulations have failed to protect public health, there is persistent uncertainty on possible adverse health effects. National Research Council July 2002.
  • The EPA cannot assure the public that current land application practices are protective of human health and the environment. Environment Protection Agency 2002.

N.B. budgets to carry out research in these areas have since 2008, been slashed!

  • Since 1991 it has been illegal to dump sludge into waterways or in to the ocean.
  • 60% of sludge goes on farm land in UK & USA www.euwfd.com
  • Sludge tends to be dumped, “where poverty is high and economic prosperity and opportunity is low”. www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sludge

Concern with the use of sludge comes from the metal content. Some metals are regulated and some are not. However, a study over 20 years in Arizona concluded that the use of biosolids (sludge) was ok. Other studies drew different conclusions suggesting that plant life uptakes the heavy metals and toxic pollutants in the biosolids which is then consumed by humans.

An intriguing case comes from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA):

For foods labelled ‘organic’ sludge can be used as a growing medium, but, “For produce to be USDA certified organic, sludge (biosolids) cannot be used”.

Sludge (raw sewage) can be injected into land but it should be registered and monitored. It’s a similar story with sludge Class B; this contains some raw sewage but can be spread if the guidelines are followed.

thABKKZDBB“Land application of raw or treated sewage sludge can reduce significantly the sludge disposal cost component of sewage treatment as well as providing a large part of the nitrogen and phosphorus requirements of many crops”. www.fao.org/T0551E/t0551e 08.htm

Three points can be raised here:

  • Nevertheless, in the case of certain crops, limitations on planting, grazing and harvesting are necessary.
  • Contains traces of many pollutants used in modern society.
  • Can reduce significantly the sludge disposal costs.
  • The metals found in wheat, potato, lettuce, red beet cabbage and rye grass were: cadmium (cd) Nickel (ni) Copper (cu), and Zinc (zn).

Furthermore, pathogens need serious consideration when dealing with sludge. Pathogens are, “bacteria which causes disease in other organisms”. www.wisegeek.com .There are two sure ways of dealing with pathogens.

Anaerobic Digestion (AD) which works by storing the waste in a large tank (digester) for 12/20 days at a temperature of around 35c. The pathogens break down and the mix generates a gas which is used to heat the tanks and other engines.

Thermal Drying (TD) which converts the sludge into pellets having gone through a heating process. The end result can then be used in farms and public areas such as golf courses and parks. www.euwfd.com/

You may be thinking why these processes are not compulsory – think money – think profit!

Many organisations refuse to source their produce from farms that use biosolids – www.sludgevictims.com/FOODCOMPANIES.pdf

????? Did You Know – aquaculture is a process whereby fish are cultivated using human waste!

There you have it! We are subjected to an avalanche of chemicals without our knowledge; so much for democratic accountability. Transparency is covered in so much crap it is difficult to unearth.

If capitalism is to develop a softer touch, we need people power. A people power that is more expressive than parliamentary government allows. Government generally rides roughshod over the people. It tends to view the voting public as of a narrow outlook. However, judgements can only be made on the information we have before us. The Overlords, politicians and the Gibbers only give the people titbits; no wonder therefore that some views appear narrow.

We can feed the world. We can produce enough medicine to prevent thousands of deaths. The ‘market’ cannot offer a solution; only people can find a way forward. We need thinkers who see beyond self but are truly selfish enough to understand that their life is better served by unity of purpose. However, progress will be slow as long as activists only confront their own dot. The sleepers must awaken!

 

Blindland (5) Democracy: A Delusion

We are, we are told, living in a representative democracy. We have the right to vote inthBWNZL3F9 elections at national and local level to elect our representatives. The question is how represented the ordinary person feels or actually is represented. Are we the subject of just another delusion?

So who rules, the people or THEM? ‘Them’ is a hazy word because democracy is a concept shrouded in haze. There are so many mouths jabbering at us that sometimes we get confused by the confetti of ideas and promises that rain on us. Politicians may promise much but they deliver little. They are brothers in arms with just a hint of a different colour of tie. It doesn’t seem to matter who’s in power the working class get stuffed either because it’s our fault or we brought it on ourselves.

The true masters of the universe are the Overlords as they have the means to bewitch their underlings, politicians and the Gibbers – money, status and a gleam of power. You will not find many ordinary working class people in the halls of power unless one is highly regarded in one’s club, assuming one is allowed to join.

In America you will need a gold mine to be elected and of course the backing of one’s club. Hundreds of $millions are spent by opposing parties to have their man elected. The vast majority of people can’t even afford the club fees never mind the suits you would have to wear. Nor can Joe Bloggs afford the time off work to fly to every state to flaunt his stuff.

Elections in America are all about money; it’s a game by the rich for the rich to stay rich. It’s the same no matter which democratic country you live in. The Overlords don’t have the time to oversee the day to day business so they have managers: we call these guys politicians.

All political parties are formed in a pyramidal system, as is society. At the top is a cabal of leaders who dictate policy. The leadership (UK) can and do impose candidates on constituencies and all female shortlists. Leaders can break the rules – grassroots can’t. Their preoccupation is spelled out clearly by H.L. Mencken, “Under democracy one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule – and both commonly succeed, and are right”.

thKGW4YVRMThe hypocrisy of democracy is evidenced by the scale of lobbying. Note this example of Australia, “Over the past twenty years lobbying in Australia has grown from a small industry of a few hundred employees to a multi-billion dollar per year industry”. www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lobbying Lobbying circumvents the very essence of democracy as industry seeks to gain an advantage their vote could not bring. The businesses that use Lobby companies would not spend the money if it didn’t pay dividends. Lobbying is thus anathema to democracy and should be banned!

The superior position of the Overlords is more glaringly obvious today with the continued growth of multi-national companies. These big boys can dictate government policy by deciding where they will locate a segment of their empire. Such a development has lead Bryan Gould (ex-Labour) to say, “The uncomfortable truth is that democracy and the free markets are incompatible.” Guardian Nov: 26 2008.

History tends to support the view expressed by Gould which therefore suggests that most attempts to reform the system will be negligible. Excited left-wingers can howl at the moon as long as they like. They can bark furiously at the Overlords but no decision on reform will manifest itself without the nod from above. Therein lies the paradox which gives credence to Gould’s assertion.

Can capitalism meet the needs of all? The short answer is no! We cannot all be rich under a capitalist umbrella. Research will show that in any war or recession the cost will be borne by the poor – without exception. It would prove impossible to share the world’s goods equitably. The 20% at the bottom are the scaffold that holds the edifice upright. This is true of individual nations and of the world as a whole.

We can give charity but that approach is a double negative because you can never solve the problem of poverty. For over 60+ years we have poured money into Africa, possibly $2 trillion into the Horn of Africa alone and the problems still persist. Even if Africa could be lifted out of poverty another black spot will emerge elsewhere. We give to charities believing we are making a difference but nothing seems to get better. Unfortunately charity is not a solution; we are being duped (twice) but it does take our mind off the problem temporarily. Charity organisations are now big business like any other business employing thousands. The guys at the top of the charities earn more in one year than ordinary Joe will over 15/20 years.

“Democracy cannot flourish half rich and half poor, any more than it can flourish half free and half slave”. Felix G. Rohatyn, investment banker. www.izquotes.com

The Human Rights Act 1948 (HR) is paraded as the panacea for the future of all. HR thO9KC4HY2was conceived to promote democracy and for the purpose of uplifting the social and economic lives of the general populace. Unfortunately, in the present political climate it seems to have abandoned its raison d’etre. As with earlier Christian, communist and socialist thinkers’ their attempts to create a better world failed because the message was corrupted by man. HR is now viewed as a political tool supporting outlandish individuals, criminals and lawyers pockets, because of this scenario the general public no longer support it and many want it gone.

We cannot all be equal in a system that by its very nature breeds inequality. Capitalism is the perfect fit for the selfish gene.

pissing

pissing

Gibbers, jabber at considerable length telling us what we should know and what we should think. As human beings we can only rationalize with what knowledge we have. Imagination may take us a step forward but it needs to be empirically tested. Media outlets cater for different layers in society; some have generated and then feed a passion for celebrity. Thus they are market oriented, without their niche market and reliance on advertisements from big business they would not survive. They are the Overlords bladder rats!

It is extremely difficult to find any objectivity in any of their presentations. Bias runs through their work like a drip-feed on a patient: we are the patient. “…the public must be barred from managing their own affairs and the means of information must be kept narrow and rigidly controlled”. Noam Chomsky

Can capitalism be ameliorated? Yes, but it cannot give everyone an equitable standard of living. The UK has proven over the past 60+ years with a welfare and health system that all can benefit, though education lags well behind. Ethics are the only bulwark against “…the unpleasant and unacceptable face of capitalism”. Ted Heath Conservative P.M. 1970s

A set of ethics are an essential for any society that aspires to do good. Ethics are the measure of society. Of course ethics are subjective and over time they may need to be amended but ethical guidelines separate us from the Neanderthal. The authors of the Human Rights Act probably thought they had cracked it, alas they did not envisage the selfish gene.

Is there an alternative to capitalism? Not that can be seen on the distant horizon. All attempts to create a better society have proved disastrous: religion and communism stagnated under the sheer weight of their respective dogma. They were far too restrictive to allow expression and became corrupted by the army of self.

If we cannot rely on democracy then we are heading toward a new Dark Age. To forestall such an outcome politicians, the judiciary and those working in the plethora of service organisations have a responsibility beyond the confines of their job. They must ensure objectivity, transparency and honesty to help generate trust so the people can engage with the system.

Is there a way forward? There is always a way forward that is the beauty and the genius of people. No road has a dead end while we share that road with Objectivity and Reason.

Meanwhile we can take inspiration from John Quincy Adams, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader”. Every thinking person should have the statement framed and placed on their mantelpiece.

Take heart: “Reason is immortal all else is mortal”. Pythagoras

Blindland (4) Consumerism: The Con!

 

“When people have lost their authentic personal taste, they lose their personality and become instruments of other people’s will”. Robert GravesthY98TUIFY

While, Graves was referencing food, it nonetheless becomes a powerful political statement about consumerism in general. Consumerism is a method of control over the unsuspecting.

The Overlords want to access your brain to empty your pocket; much like a burglar and your house. They want to keep you on the treadmill and thus devise ways to harness your attention. A bit like Pavlov’s dogs, which were trained to respond to stimuli. Or Skinner’s book Walden Two, written by the psychologist where it was envisaged that the masses would be conditioned to behave appropriately. The last thing the Overlords want is for you to think!

look into my eyes

look into my eyes

It may be a bit like being hypnotized. Look into my eyes – when I click my fingers, tout de suite – you are under my control – you will now do many silly things. Advertisements induce a similar response, they make people buy, buy, buy! Meanwhile the Overlords live in the twilight world of obscene wealth and no doubt some come to believe they are paternalistic deity.

Are we being conned? A quick glance at computers may lead us to Reason. We have a desktop – we need more power – more ram, more hard- disc. Then we need even more and the latest software and the upgrade and we arrive at windows 8.1. Will we stop there? No, no, no! We need a laptop and soon go through the same procedure as with the desk top. Now we need a smart phone an all singing dancing acrobatic smart phone. We need: little kids in primary school need, old grannies in care homes need, suddenly there’s a mountain of need.

Who decided we need? Was it us? Are we in control, making personal decisions about

shop 'till you drop!

shop ’till you drop!

our desires? Another master class in ‘we need’ stems from fashion. We must have this year’s colour – decided for us 18 months in advance. Must have that dress worn by the supermodel or celebrity. How many pairs of shoes does one person need? We are also at the mercy of built in obsolescence whereby manufacturers make goods designed to falter after a period. Type in – built in obsolescence and be staggered by the multitude of examples.

Consumerism is a method of control; people get trapped in a pleasure zone. Each time they buy an item the endorphins race into their head and the buyer gets a kick just like a druggie. They are as lab-rats spinning the treadmill. Why else would companies spend £/$ billions on advertisements if they did not influence. Supermarkets are designed to make you buy more than you intended. We are being conditioned to respond.

Take note of the words of Edward Bernays from his book Propaganda 1928:

“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute the invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country,…We are governed, our minds are moulded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of.”

Bernays claim to fame came from public relations. It was he who made smoking ‘cool’ for women in the 1920s. Who made America believe that bacon & egg was a natural breakfast for the U.S. For Proctor & Gamble, he convinced millions that Ivory soap was the best. Today others have taken over his mantle to convince us that we need, need, and need. www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Bernays

In 2006 a journalist at Der Spiegel carried out an interview with the founder of a PR company Burson-Marstellar: “Bernays thought he could control public opinion. His methodology of course was fundamental. Most of the things we do today were identified by Bernays 80 years ago”. Harold Burson www.sorcewatch.org

Large companies spend £/$ billions to make their product a ‘brand’. The costs of the adverts are added to the cost of the product – therefore you are paying for the company to manipulate your buying habits. How ‘cool’ is that? The Overlords have control!

Many get so caught up in consumerism that they camp overnight to be the first to have the new iPhone; even though millions will have it within a few weeks. Likewise many must have this year’s new car, even though it loses value as soon as it leaves the showroom, and the price will drop in a few months. These are the most powerful free adverts a company can get, thanks to you.

Reason has no defence against being ‘cool’. We spend £/$ billions annually trying to be ‘cool’. Any purchase from the iPhone, coffee maker, and specific brands. Some folks will not leave the house unless they have a ‘brand’ to wear! We generate billions of tonnes of waste trying to be ‘cool’:

 

a valley of barrels

a valley of barrels

“220 billion cans, bottles, plastic cartons and paper cups are thrown away each year in the developed world”. www.verdant.net/society.htm

In the developing world the situation is disastrous. The nations are offered free trade as a panacea for all their ills but does it work for the benefit of the people? Under the arrangement the countries can have all their needs met by the multinational companies, therefore they import a lot. If the country is compliant they can manufacture some goods to be sold in the West.

Thus the nation becomes dependant on imports = balance of payments deficit = need tothCA2OLY29 borrow = debt = IMF/World Bank help = job cuts, wage cuts = poverty = cheap labour + long hours = sweat shop = virtual slave labour = dependant on charity = foreign aid = corruption = poor investment = lack of local business development = dependant on charity = vicious circle = no human rights = cheap gear for the developed world.

Where are all the trendy socialists and liberals now? Let us hear them rage against the dying of the light!

“The market, one has to conclude, is not always the best guarantee of free choice or democracy”. Charles Handy: The Hungry Spirit p123.

Consumerism may bring pleasure to the unsuspecting but it brings with it severe costs. Our environment is under constant attack. Our ability to breathe fresh air diminishes with every new car and truck. China has a potential 150 million cars on the road and the number is set to grow. www.worldwatch.org/node/810 The world’s population is expected to reach 9 billion by 2050. UN Only recently(April 2014) in the UK a report by Professor Frank Kelly, Department of Health has suggested that diesel cars are responsible for smog and a lot of Nitrogen Dioxide and as many as 7000 deaths per annum.

In America transportation accounted for 30% of US energy demand. “In 2005 motor vehicles produced $56 billion in health and other non-climate dangers”. Also “Coal fired plants are the single largest source of greenhouse gases in the U.S.”. National Research Council Oct: 2009.

“ ..the air in our cities has pollution levels that are higher than those recommended by the World Health Organisation”. The natural and the social: uncertainty, risk, change. Steve Hinchcliffe & Kath Woodward (ed:).

The degradation of our environment; is it our fault or the result of the Overlords control over us? Can we excuse ourselves by claiming we were drugged by consumerism? Move away from the herd, follow the path to Logic and escape the Overlords control. Somewhere out there a sleeper has awoken, join them. Help make tomorrow’s world a place to breathe!

“The sobering thought is that individuals and societies are not, in the end, remembered for how they made their money, but for how they spend it”. Charles Handy: The Hungry Spirit p127.