Naomi Klein V Trump 3

Politics is riven across the globe just like between Klein and Trump which makes things jolly-dee for the elite. Therefore, The Economist must make good reading when it writes that America is divided. It suggests a political gridlock and economic inequality. A huge disturbance for the ‘left’ is the New York Times report that 53% of white female voters put their mark for Trump and, 30% of Hispanics did likewise. There doesn’t seem to be a clear road ahead.

www.economist.com/news/21723797-the-future-of-america

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/22/us/after-success-of-womens-march-a-question-remains-whats-next.html?

Any unifying organisation has the problem from the contentious question of how many suitcases each individual organisation should bring with them. Therefore, the argument that ‘Indigenous peoples rights are sacrosanct’ (242) and individual movements must be ‘protected’ (243) and ‘identity politics’ (91) must be supported and ‘reparations for slavery’ (125) is a weakness. Ms Klein commits the crime of playing to the gallery.

“… to have hope of changing the world, we’re going to have to be willing to change ourselves.” (261)

If the movement for change is to take us to a better society for all, then we must – start as one- not as a host each with baggage; because somewhere down the line factions will peel off. They still might!

The Big Q. Do I stand for all or do I stand for me?

The driving force must be equality of opportunity; from there we work out what is needed to make it a reality: better welfare system, free education, medical care and nursery places for all etc.

Ha-Joon Chang, 23 Things They Don’t Tell You about Capitalism – Thing 20 (210-220)

We cannot right the wrongs of the past no matter how heinous. The best that can be offered is to come along and help decide. That’s democracy! There are some on the ‘left’ that want the frog-march as the compulsory dance. I prefer, slow, slow, quick, quick slow waltz. It’s more fun.

Thanks…
for my world

Unfortunately, there will be no ‘leap’ on climate change, though it is necessary. In an article for the UN April 2016, How to Finance Global Reflation, Andrew Sheng wrote, “An estimated $6 trillion in infrastructure investment will be needed annually over the next 15 years just to address global warming.”

James Rickards, The Road to Ruin (87)

Ms Klein has looked at this question of finance and come up with some figures (247). However, the guardian newspaper suggests that subsidies for the fossil fuel industry were around $5.3 trillion in 2015. The problem is how to get that money used for renewables? We can’t just slice it off, though that would be nice. It would have to be weaned off as thousands of jobs are tied up with the money. The argument for a waltz is really powerful.

www.theguardian.com/world/2017/apr/01/

Nonetheless, some problems are more pressing and require immediate attention. “We are, it bears repeating, out of time.” (235) But ‘superhuman speed’ might not be possible. (69-70)Paul Mason Postcapitalism (250) using the IEA data that suggests we must cut CO2 emissions by 50% by the year 2050 and that is only possible if we arrest it by 2020. A very tall order! The game is afoot. Mason (262) makes this point:

“So we need to inject into the environment and social justice movements things that have for twenty-five years seemed the sole property of the right: willpower, confidence and design.”

People around the world are already aware of climate issues but there needs to be a concerted effort, a ‘superhuman’ push to bring coordination to a campaign. It’s called marketing; the wherewithal is out there it just needs wakening. There is no shortage of evidence:

Europe –

  • UK – London pollution levels breached for 79 days 2016 even though it has a charge £.
  • France – Paris is to introduce stickers for cars based on the age of the vehicle at €3.50 each
  • Germany – Stuttgart worse pollution in the country. Citizen groups taking the state to court. City to introduce ‘fine dust’ days.

America – A mountain of evidence! www.uk.reuters.com  June 2017 reports thousands of extra deaths annually. A study by Harvard School of Public Health states, “…this is not just a health issue, but a social equality issue as well.” Study by Qian Di et al. Other sites include cbsnews.com/news and Health.com and many more.

Drivers are prosecuted while the real criminals go free. The injustice of it all!

The material is available it comes down to focus, presentation and access. What is needed is a sponsor: an organisation, a newspaper, a charity or all three. Reaching out to the wealth of talent that is out there and a multitude of possible approaches can be taken.

 

Banksy

I’m always amazed looking out of the train window at the effort and sheer class of some of the graffiti. It needs to be harnessed. Likewise, the creative expertise of video makers utilizing their skills to get a positive message across. Add the array of other talent within social media working on a campaign. Of course there will be trolls and hackers out to mess it up. Some probably paid by the big boys to do exactly that.

Is it possible? Willpower! One possible script would be a competition of graffiti artists to submit their design by photograph having done their art on a 6 x 4 canvass. Not Trump Tower! The designs would be collated by the sponsor and the artists themselves would choose the winner. It would take a few months to complete but that’s exactly what is needed. It could generate a great deal of interest. A similar exercise can be employed for video makers. It’s about releasing the creative juices.

  1. Slogan writers; who knows what talent is out there. People might get involved just for the hell of it. Creating some weird and wonderful crap but they’re participating and having fun doing it.
  2. Pollution masks with the tag – end fossil fuel subsidies. People can make their own, groups, organisations etc. use an old scarf; put it on a pinny (apron). Have a fun time on social media. Have a facemask day, mask party, mask rally, fashion show, international day. It’s a policy of keeping the momentum. It’s about generating wider public awareness.
  3. Have a talent show of the worse and best song about pollution. Viewed online!
  4. Produce a cartoon or comic strip of 5 plates.
  5. Its E-Mail Day every 3 months send an email to your politician: end fossil fuel subsidies – make it happen or GO.

To local rags /national rags – Government are paying hitmen to bump us off –                   end fossil fuel subsidies.

The winners of graffiti, video caption, and slogan, can have their entry made into an email postcard that can be downloaded and sent to…..

  1. Recycling, already up and running but still a good avenue to increase awareness. ALL packaging must be recyclable!!!

Release the juices, let the vats flow! Be ambitious, be confident and release the creative powers of the people.

Generate the scale of numbers, and politicians will cause a rush on toilet paper! Let the ‘powers that be’ try to spoil the party.

 

Dark – Darker – Darkness

human_evolution_article_big3[1]How far are we humans along the road of evolution? Some will point to our technological advances to suggest we are well north of phenomenal. They will point to developments in science generally and to medicine, travel and communication in particular and pronounce that the world is growing smaller and more beneficial for all.

A minority report may argue vociferously that the world has grown worse. This report would point to trafficking of people, drugs, and weapons, in effect anything illegal that generates cash. Money is the oil which keeps the wheels of the economic system working. This ‘black economy’ is perhaps the real economy.

Power and its offshoots – privilege –prestige – influence (there are more) are the motivators. It’s a truism that money speaks and money buys, whether you are a CEO of a major company or a head-honcho of a major drug cartel. If you are truly ambitious and have enough dosh personally and in support you can become the President of the USA, numero uno of the world’s politicians.thKGW4YVRM

“It is now painfully clear that elections depend substantially on money, and elected officials have to spend too much time raising money and respond disproportionately to the preferences of donors.” US Supreme Court cited Reuters 2015/01/19

www.blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2015/01/19/

In my previous post: Morality: Did it Ever Exist I mentioned that slavery is now more prevalent than ever and sad to say but the same is true of child abuse. The statistics are a tale of human depravity.

Figures such as, forty million kids below the age of 15 are subjected to abuse, WHO 2001. Most suffer from physical abuse. Emotional abuse can devastate for a lifetime. thBHNITY72Sexual abuse is estimated to affect 36% of girls and 29% of boys. In 2005 UNICEF suggested that an astonishing 100 – 140 million girls are subjected to genital mutilation. The ILO (2006) say that around 250 million kids between the ages of five (5) and fourteen (14) are used as forced labour. Also that one million kids have been trafficked for the sex trade.

Check the dates, they are from years ago but nothing has improved. Up to date statistics can be found at:

My attention was redrawn to this heinous crime by the events in Kasur Pakistan. Here child abuse was run like a family business.

Around 270 kids from the age of 12 were forced into sexual acts which were videoed. The child and family would then be blackmailed or the video sold. The depravity has been going on for years. We may never know the true number of kids abused in this way. Telegraph 2015/08/10 + uk.reuters.com

Another attention grabber was in Bedford England where a man was jailed for 16 months for having 20,000 images of child abuse on his computer. Some 3,300 were Category A – the most obscene. Personally, I would lock the cell door and toss the key! www.bedfordtoday.co.uk

The picture in the UK generally is not good, the NSPCC report that 62,000 children phoned Childline in 2014 of these over 18,000 referred to sexual abuse. Of 23,000 sexual offences against kids some 5,500 were under the age of eleven (11). The number of cases continues to rise.

Meanwhile across Europe 250,000 kids go missing. Almost half are runaways – from what? Of the rest; will we ever know? There is a European hotline 116000 but the funds to operate it run out at the end of the year. Do many know of its existence?          Euronews.

I was bemused to read that in western countries preventing abuse was “a high priority”, among politicians.  Read the coverage at this site.      www.en.m.wikipedia.org/childabuse

The situation in America is dire. The website childhelp.org suggests that 3 million child abuse cases are reported annually which is categorized as the worse of the industrial nations. In addition five (5) kids a day die from abuse and neglect.

Furthermore, compassion.com suggests that 20% of women and between 5 -10% of men say they were sexually abused as kids. That worldwide nearly two (2) million children are exploited in the commercial sex trade and, that sexual abuse is the second largest criminal industry and growing.

There is a slither of good news Google (developer) Facebook and Twitter are to block “hash lists” of child abuse. This is good news indeed by these companies but hiding it will not prevent it. Our politicians must do more.

What of the “high priority” pledge by politicians. Is it a pretence that something is happening when in fact it is not. We should demand a ten or twenty point plan with a timeline agreed to at a G20 summit.

At the 2014 UN General Assembly meeting – the 69th session –  seven (7) summits were organised for the week: indigenous people, climate change, counter-terrorism, Ebola, education and a Global compact – businessmen meeting. www.ipnews.net

Have you noticed any significant change in these areas? Ebola, but that in reality was a marketing exercise by the West. (Call me cynical) It was an easy fix in global terms. More people die in Africa from poor water supply and malaria. Let’s eradicate them!!

Another UN meeting in August 2015 the Sustainable Development Agenda was accepted with the aim to end poverty by 2030. The cost will be in the region of $3 – 5 trillion per year. Can you see it happening? Cynical!! One interesting point came from the discussions:

“Women and girls everywhere have much to gain from the SDGs. But to make it a reality we have to keep pressure on governments to follow through in their commitments”. Shannon Kowalski

Note the ‘But’! That’s a big ‘if’ factor as success depends on national politicians. Note also that everything is geared to sustained business development as the only hope of achieving the goals. However, centuries of capitalism has not ameliorated poverty, slavery or child abuse.

Capitalism is not the best-fit option for humanity. It stimulates our base instincts like greed and pride. When stress enters our lives some go dark, the greater the stress the darker they go. In times of great upheaval we enter the darkness, ethnic cleansing etc.

The world cannot grow until men learn how to!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

War: Shit Street!

 

 

  • Refugee camp

Is there shelter from the storm? Most people know that war is hell; others have been desensitized by movies and war games. However, there is no fiction in reality. Those who have witnessed it know it is no fantasy. In recent years war has come to affect people in every country in one way or another.

An article in the www.nyt.com/2015/20/06 taking its information from the UN (UNHCR) tells us that there are around 60 million refugees in the world. The Economist uses the same figure but gives it a concrete context by linking it to the population of Italy; that’s a lot of people. Side Bar:

  • The new term for refugees is ‘displaced persons’. Displaced is a nice word but does not give sufficient gravity to the situation. Running from hell is not exactly being displaced; it’s fleeing for your life. We are not talking of a set of keys that you know will turn up.

There is no shortage of war zones. Middle East: Syria, Yemen and Iraq with the spread of Islamic revolution by ISIS. Sub-Sahara Africa with: Somalia, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria, with another Islamic group Boko Haram. The surprise area for some will be Columbia in South America.

Why is there such a fire burning around the globe? A main reason is political power as in Syria where the dictatorial Assad regime is in conflict with groups seeking more democratic rights. The consequences are that nearly 50% of the population has been forced to flee their homes. Many have simply fled within the country but some 4 million have scattered abroad.

Neighbours, Egypt, Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and war torn Iraq have taken many Syrians in. The NYT suggest Egypt has 138,000; the Economist says Turkey has 1.7 million. It’s important to get the numbers right as aid being sent to the accommodating nations requires solid numbers to meet the need.

  • ISIS has driven an approximate 2.6 million Iraqis from their homes.

The civil war in Syria has affected 5 / 6 of its neighbours directly. However, the ramifications go much further. Thousands have made a dash for Europe or America. For Europe they have travelled to Libya, which itself is in turmoil, to find passage across the Mediterranean Sea. There is not a warm welcome in Europe because in their travels they meet up with other refugees from various parts of the world who are also escaping hell.

It is understandable that they want to flee the hell of their home nations to find the perceived stability elsewhere. The problem is that America is trying on a daily basis to stem the flood of migrants from South America. Europe, in a period of austerity, and a history over the last 20 years of conflict in the Balkans and presently in Ukraine, is panicked by the flow.

The influx of migrants has caused a political storm in Europe, which has seen a rise in radical parties. Politicians can’t ignore this trend. Hungary, is debating whether to construct a 100 mile fence to stop migrants crossing over from Serbia as numbers have increased from 30,000 to 100,000 in the past year. There is a huge cost in both political and financial terms in trying to cope with increasing numbers.

There are many poor people in the UK; some estimates suggest upward of 2.7 million families are affected. A large influx of economic migrants can have a direct impact on the poor by forcing wages down, putting pressure on housing and waiting lists for doctors, dentists etc. Thus little surprise that most poor people will not welcome migrants.

th67LNBAFYIn sub-Sahara Africa an estimated 15 million refugees have been forced from their homes. Ethiopia, houses an approximate 665,000 mainly from Somalia and South Sudan. An interesting point made by the NYT report was that most African refugees stay in Africa. Another point raised by the Economist is that 85% of refugees have sought shelter in developing countries.

It may appear cruel on those fleeing hell but developing nations often don’t have the resources to cope with an influx of refugees. Ethiopia is such a case. This country is still a recipient of foreign aid of over £200 million just to sustain their own population.

Unfortunately, those fleeing horror face further danger of exploitation. Even if they manage to reach the UK or USA they are used as cheap labour or forced into the sex trade. When it comes to humans there is no depth to their barbarity. The continued struggle in Columbia has caused the uprooting of around 6 million, 136,000 in 2014 alone. A further 360,000 have fled abroad to adjoining nations or perhaps trying to reach the USA.

If only there was an easy solution but being tied to politics, fear and cost there is no straightforward option. It is at a time like this that we witness the selfish gene come to the fore and this gene can be very erratic, and cruel.

Scottish Independence

th[6]It would be very refreshing to have an open debate about the social and economic consequences of Scotland becoming an independent nation. Alas, I fear that pride will raise its ugly th3RCPL0FMhead and logic and reason will leave the room before the debate begins. Nothing is achieved by pride; it twists logic to its own shape.

Pride is a blinding emotion that overrides the attributes of an intelligent mind. It blinkers the thought processes, inhibits thinking and thus reasoning. Unfortunately, pride will stop many people from examining the pros and cons in a systematic and rationale manner.

O wad some Pow’r the giftie gie us

To see oursels as others see us                 Burns

From what I have read the overwhelming majority of the economic indicators point to the Union as being more beneficial to the Scottish economy. In response the Scottish National Party (SNP) leave too many questions unanswered or partially so.

  • Ken Macleod, president of the UK Chamber of Shipping asks the question about the future of shipping and the funding it will receive. The SNP reply was, “funded by existing arrangements”. That means by the UK tax payer. Not very likely – not very independent!
  • On energy the SNP say that the UK subsidies to the industry should be maintained as a UK wide energy market. Not very likely – not very independent!
  • The most damning and damaging kick in the teeth comes from the SNP insistence on keeping the pound sterling (£). The answer to that has been made abundantly clear. The Treasury at Westminster would insist on holding the purse strings.

In response the SNP claim that it would be more costly to have ‘transaction costs’ across borders. However, Simon Walker, director general of the Institute of Directors while accepting business would not welcome such costs; they would ‘pale in comparison’ with that of an unstable currency.

In addition, Alan Savage head of Orion Group (oil) is quoted in the Huffington Post. He complains that Alex Salmond’s refusal to come up with a currency plan B as a ‘nightmare’ for him to resolve. Therefore we may assume the same will be true for many other businessmen.

Currency unions are fraught with pitfalls. In 1993 money flow from Slovakia (the weaker partner) caused the collapse of the Czech – Slovak currency union in just 33 days. As everyone is now aware the Euro (€) has had € billions spent to save the currency and several countries are still not over the worst of it yet. Meanwhile Professor John Curtice of Strathclyde University has warned that many in the ‘Yes’ camp are sceptic about a shared currency. Something needs a good cleaning!

Why would a party adamant about independence insist on maintaining the auld enemy’s currency; unless of course the alternative was not worth contemplating!

A similar problem exists with the question of joining the EU. According to BBC Scotland Politics, four top judges looked at the possibilities and three said that the Scots would have to apply for membership.

P Layden QC of the Scottish Law Commission suggested that because the UN accepted Russia as a successor state that the EU could accept the break- up of the UK similarly. You will have to excuse me but I think that is pride talking or a solid dose of politicking at work.

  • The UN is a completely different body with a completely different outlook on the world.
  • Russia remained as one State. It lost its empire!
  • Russia was and still is a world power and its voice can still be critical in shaping world events.
  • By recognising Russia the UN was accepting that outside of the scope of the UN, Russia could be a highly dangerous rogue state. It’s the old maxim – ‘keep your friends close but your enemies closer’. In terms of world cohesion Russia can play a pivotal role.

The EU in contrast is a very different political empire. When the States of Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia broke up the new nations had to apply independently. Why should Scotland be any different?

Nonetheless, the SNP claim they can negotiate a ‘seamless transition’ into the EU 18 months after a ‘Yes’ vote. (op cit) However, Professor Armstrong of Cambridge University describes it otherwise,“legally implausible and incredibly politically risky”. And of course more recently we have Jose Manuel Barroso who more pointedly states that it would be, “extremely difficult if not impossible” for Scotland to join the EU. (Andrew Marr BBC) If we go back about a year the Economist stated, “Scotland joining the Euro without an existing separate currency cannot fulfil entry conditions”. (Economist.com/blogs)  That is what some may term a double whammy!

Some arguments have me confused. Mr Lockhead suggests that Scottish farmers could benefit considerably, to the tune of €1bn between 2014 / 2020 as part of the EU. The UK Government point out that the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) budget has already been set. Therefore it does not envisage any member states agreeing to such a settlement.

Moreover, the SNP plan for a ‘seamless’ reintegration suggest a time line of 18 months after independence, that would bring Mr Lockhead’s  farming time line more towards mid 2016 before discussions begin.  It seems they are out of kilter on this one. Who’s right?

The oil debate is a crucial one for many of the separatist camp. But… there’s always a but! Professor John Paterson suggests that decisions on the oil have to be made via international law. The estimates of reserves are also a bone of contention; it all depends on how you read the small print. The most recent report by Sir Ian Wood suggests there could be up to £200bn to be made, with the right investment and if the major companies play ball together. We could see 4bn extra barrels if his plan works. Unfortunately this is a Plan of ‘IFS’ and ‘BUTS’; it relies on too many variables. In the tax year 2012/2013 revenue was £4.7bn but this was down 40% on the previous year. Coping with such volatility when the cost of social welfare is so high could cause a big problem.

There is a need for massive investment either through tax concessions to the big players or direct from the government. Either way you have to pay! A problem for business investment is the currency they deal in; hence Alan Savage’s comment. Research shows that Maritime services generate around £1.2bn for the Scottish economy and support some 75,000 jobs; this includes North Sea oil & gas shipping. After independence will these jobs be open to competition and at what cost to the individual and industry?

Another telling blow to the ‘Yes’ campaign comes from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS) who savage the SNP White Paper on the basis that it, “failed to address fundamental issues about state, public sector and personal pension plans”. Furthermore there was, “no clear plan” to deal with EU regulations that require cross-border companies, charities and universities to pump £billions into their pension schemes. The ICAS also point out that there are fewer tax payers for each OAP in Scotland; so the question must be asked as to who picks up that tab.

The economic reality for the whole of the UK is that the South East is dominant. The Labour party only recently announced it was planning to build four (4) new cities around London to cope with the population surge. This coupled with the job prospects tells us that situation will continue for the foreseeable future. Most jobs created in the last two years have been in the South east. Somewhere in the region of one million Scots live and work in the rUK; simply because that’s where the work is, or abroad. I’m afraid that is the economic reality.

There seems a high degree of reliance on the UK in the SNP planning. So why are the SNP embarking on this venture? Is it because they envisage a Scotland awash with riches? An act of nature seized upon as a raison d’etre for separation. But by how much will the ordinary punter benefit? After independence will there still be hundreds of thousands of people on the dole/broo? Will there still be slum housing? Will older people (OAP) still suffer the indignity of deep poverty? Will children suffer likewise and face a poor education system? These questions and many others could fill pages. The question is, can they be answered honestly and with some surety for the future?

Don’t worry about the rich or politicians, they have the ‘me’ gene and will look after themselves. Look around the pub and ask yourself how many punters will be financially better off! When you walk past a school have a look and think to yourself how many weans (children) will be taking the high road and the low road out of Scotland to find a future elsewhere? Who really has the welfare of, jean & jimmy close to their heart and a cup of more than pride to share?thE0VF3GN7

I came across a sentiment that I found very apt. It was a comment on a Scotsman article by someone with the non de plume ‘Ancient Wisdom’:

“What price freedom when you’ve just moved into a different jail”? Scotsman.com 14/2/2014

Are Scots really being offered independence by the SNP or is the whole exercise one of manoeuvring for more devolved power? That is why pride must be examined; for leaders down the centuries have used nationalism to secure their armies. Pride is a brilliant and well used manipulative tool that has sent millions to their death. Little wonder that the ancients characterized pride as a deadly sin. Pride in the context of nationalism is a killing word.

Take a moment to consider the words of Richard Aldington (English) after his experiences in World War 1:

“Nationalism is a silly cock crowing on his own dunghill”.

www.famouspoetsandpoems.com/poets/

Take a look at Ireland and the IRA, years of killing and massive disruption. What difference did it make to the lives of ordinary people? ……NONE! But the leaders all got good jobs! Say nae mer Jimmy!

Thinking sometimes gives people a headache but better a sore head than a migraine!

 

People Trafficking:Slavery down your back Alley!

 

thCAXBWG7XWe talk at great length of being civilized, of having laws, of respecting each other, of human rights and the talk goes on. Words are carefully crafted, statements painstakingly drafted, teeth especially whitened and politicians suitably dressed pontificate at great length their desire for a better world. We have organisations: United Nations (UN), World Bank (WB), International Monetary Fund (IMF) and a host of charities all barracking us to support them to end poverty, prevent illness, aid victims of drought and famine and so on. Television adverts by the score, using emotional blackmail, implore us to show empathy with the plight of others. Yet I don’t see much obvious content on slavery, in fact not very much of anything.

There are many reasons for the lack of candour about people trafficking. Perhaps it is not a vote catcher or it may upset friends in high places or a country you hope to influence on other matters. Perhaps, it’s not a headline grabber, so few column inches appear in the press. I don’t know the number of column inches that same-sex marriage or the need to maintain and enhance foreign aid provoked in the UK but it was substantial. Politicians were motivated to push the issues through parliament, irrespective of the popular view. They dictated to the people.

Note that none of the issues mentioned are about every day being a nightmare for millions of people. Some may argue that ‘aid’ is about suffering. I would contend that ‘aid’ is more about winning friends and influencing leaders in emerging countries. The poor rarely see much of the donated aid.

Is slavery a – too hot to handle- topic? Are politicians afraid to bring to the fore an issue they know is difficult to solve? If the issue became current they may have to do thCA6S7RJLsomething about it and that may mean challenging leaders of nations where the evil practice is most prevalent. Not many Trade Deals to be had with leaders embarrassed into taking action on slavery. Money, it has a peculiar affect on some people.

The same is true of the press; they may have campaigns on sensitive issues but nothing that compares to the horror of slavery. It has been suggested that newspapers do not have the resources to fund the investigative journalism required over an extended period that would bring justice to a flagrantly unjust situation. Is it not possible on such an issue that a joint fund could be arranged, with a shared authorship of the material generated? What of funding: from charities, foreign aid, trade unions, (workers of the world unite) a media mogul, the lottery fund or even public subscriptions.

Raise awareness by having a small weekly column looking at websites that deal with slavery. If nothing else it will encourage more people to become aware. It builds momentum.

thCAXR63SGLet precedence go to hell, break with the norm, enquire of Houdini how to get out of the straightjacket! Are there no Wilberforce’s anymore? Investigative journalism could prove the key to further action and it is vital that collected data comes from an independent source. Unfortunately, Wilberforce has been dead for a long time, nowadays we have ‘the art of the possible’ politician, with the built-in excuse, ‘it wasn’t possible,’ who always use words like: but, if, maybe. We live in the time of the wishy-washy, lame-duck Liberal and these guys like to talk. Lots!

Memo: “It always seems impossible until it’s done”. Nelson Mandela

Meanwhile:

“There are more human slaves in the world today than ever before.” www.randomhistory.com

It is difficult to verify the claim above because the collation of data is bedevilled by problems:

“Because of its hidden nature, it is difficult to get accurate statistics on the numbers affected”. www.antislavery.org

The UN reckons that around 2.5 million people are trafficked each year, half of them are children. The international Labour Organisation (ILO) 2010 estimates that around the globe there are 21m ‘forced labourers, of these 4.5m are also sexually exploited’. It is a difficult number to get your head around as it constitutes more people than some countries have as a population. Twenty-one million people and their screams are overshadowed by the ‘art of the possible’.

There are a plethora of laws. The UN, the main body that collates information is to the forefront of issuing directives. In 1990, the Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and their Families was adopted. It suggested the promotion of regular and managed migration as a means of defeating people trafficking. To me ‘managed migration’ would entail the granting of rights and a proper wage for the workers. However, the guys who employ the migrants just want cheap labour that they can: use, abuse and sack on a whim; a law will not prevent that situation.

Furthermore, The Convention against Transnational Organised Crime was adopted by the UN in November 2000 but did not come into force until September 2003. Why did it take 3 years for an agreement to become official?

To add to their list the UN adopted 3 Protocols:

  • Against trafficking in people-December 2003 (117 signatories of 193 members –March 2013)
  • Smuggling of migrants – January 2004
  • Against the manufacture and trafficking of firearms – July 2005

I am staggered that it took so long for the UN and the representatives of all nations to do such a little thing about people trafficking. Perhaps the rationale lies in the fact that it is now a major criminal activity and not so much about people suffering.

Q. What do they propose to do now they have the directives in place?

Nothing! Decisions are taken at individual nation level therefore the UN has no power to force countries to adhere to the ‘Protocols’. It is a political sham to make people think they are actually doing something. Why?

“This, unfortunately, is one of the most flourishing and profitable criminal industries of the world”. www.buzzle.com

According to the respected, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) trafficking is in the top three (3) for money making alongside drugs and firearms. Law enforcement does not have a good record in combatting the latter two, what hope for people trafficking? The ILO estimates that it generates around $32 billion annually. A massive block to remedying the situation is that it is known in several countries that some policemen and judges are complicit in this heinous crime. buzzle.com

Q. What’s the betting that a politician or two have their greedy little fingers deep in the proverbial pie?

 

“Trafficking in human beings is a multi-billion-dollar form of international organised crime, constituting modern day slavery”.  www.Interpol.int/Crime-areas/

The reason why the crime is thriving according to Interpol is not only the huge profits but “…benefitting from weak legislation and the relatively low risk of detection, prosecution and arrest compared to other activities of transnational organised crime”. Even the UN admits a waning of endeavour in detection and prosecution across Europe.

India is infamous for its use of ‘bonded labour’ which is the: “…most widely used method of enslaving people”. Wikipedia (see India: An Indictment) Pakistan and the whole of Asia seem passive towards it. Don’t assume a change in the law would help; the laws are systematically ignored. Much like the UN itself as all of the nations are members of the UN. Saudi Arabia has an estimated 9 million migrant workers many of whom are badly treated. The USA has recently, June 2013, criticized both Russia and China as failing to combat forced labour and sex trafficking. These are members of the G8 the most powerful nations in the world.

People trafficking appears endemic in Asia but the horror is spread to some extent throughout the world. Of the 2.5 m trafficked each year the UN breaks it down thus:

  • 1.4m – Asia & Pacific = 56%
  • 250,000 – Latin America & Caribbean = 10%
  • 230,000 – Middle East & North Africa = 9.2%
  • 130,000 – sub-Sahara Africa = 5.2%
  • 270,000 – industrialised countries = 10.8%

The UN contends, that it “…affects every continent and every type of economy”. www.unglobalcompact.org

Will anything change? Not without you and your voice. Peoples’ interest varies as much as plants in the rainforest. Certain issues become ‘must do’, for example the politicians seem possessed by same-sex marriage and homosexual belief generally. In the UK, Prime Minister, David Cameron championed the cause of same-sex marriage and foreign aid. Same-sex marriage has been promoted on a world scale; it has generated substantial column inches in the press and wide coverage on television. How many will it affect? In the UK, anywhere up to a hundred individuals, worldwide, one/two thousand. Slavery an estimated 27 million souls with no say, no choice, no hope.

The furore over Russia and its stated position on homosexuality nearly went thermonuclear. The apoplexy of the PC brigade broke the sound barrier. Twitter went twits-up, famous homosexuals demanded retribution. Calls to ban the Winter Olympics and ban Russians, just ban, ban, ban! Their hypocrisy is matched only by their dictatorial traits. Where are these paragons of human rights of political correctness? Those who consider themselves the embodiment of a civilized society; you should wear a badge of shame!

Let me make it abundantly clear that I am not opposed to homosexuals but given the choice of freeing slaves or same-sex marriage to me is a no-brainer. I wish their passion was directed to save the millions and not unnecessary choice to a few.

Will anything change? Bob Dylan: Long Ago, Far Away – first 2 verses.

To preach of peace and brotherhood,

Oh, what might be the cost!

A man he did it long ago

And they hung him on a cross.

Long ago, far away;

These things don’t happen

No more, nowadays.

The chains of slaves

They dragged the ground

With heads and hearts hung low.

But it was during Lincoln’s time

And it was long ago.

Long ago, far away;

Things like that don’t happen

No more, nowadays.

thCA5VNJ7W“You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know”. William Wilberforce. Read a short bio:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/wilberforce_william.shtml

Will anything change?

“Unfortunately, despite its prevalence and the innate seriousness of the crime, trafficking is currently not viewed as a priority by government or law enforcement agencies”.  He goes on to tell us that we have the ability and capability to tackle human trafficking. Peter Ship: www.guardian.com

“Longitudinal research following villages from slavery to freedom has shown significant freedom dividend”. Nick Grono.  www.walkfree.org/modern-slavery/learn/#  . Short video have a look.

Will anything change?

A liberal is as a communist is as a fascist. Adherence to a political outlook is as a panoramic vista to a blind person. Their dictum is; agenda, agenda, agenda. Progress is slow in such a small world.

Will anything change?

“As of January 2012 over 27 million people are believed to be working as personal and sex slaves all over the world”. buzzle.com People trafficking is going to need a lot of opposition to end its savagery.

 

 

 

World Poverty: Shotdown by Greed & Co.

One would have thought that the Great Recession 2008 to the present, would have sobered the World Bank and partners up after a heavy lunch and dinner, but no, they still plug the same innocent tale of eradicating or severely reducing world poverty by 2030. People with bad hangovers do work in mysterious ways.

The Banking Crisis that engulfed the World in 2008 did not have to be, a bit of foresight, a similar curb on greed and jealousy and the flood of the poor house may have been avoided. Those who pointed out the dangers were screaming into a deluge but a finger could not hold the dam.

Read the story of the boy and the dam.

http://www.pantheon.org/articles/l/little_dutch_boy.html

Angelo Mozilo, in an email pointed out that the subprime loan was, “… the most dangerous product in existence…” and the most toxic (Spring 2006). All the Devils Are Here.  McLean & Nocera p.219 He was a leading light in Countrywide Financial and would later agree to pay $67.5m fine. Go back a few years to Dick Pratt’s earlier warning “… the mortgage is the neutron bomb of financial products…”  He was the former Chairman of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board. Prof Nouriel Roubini began to warn that the bubble will burst in 2004. Chasing Goldman Sachs, Suzanne McGee p.218/9.  Some economists such as Paul Krugman were warning the bubble may burst as early as 2002.  Steve Eisman – hedge fund manager, “…witnessed the subprime market blow up in 1990s and was convinced the same would happen again.” www.economist.com/node/15716869  Michael Burry       “ …was convinced the housing market was going to crack…” 2005 McLean & Nocera.

th[3]Printiss Cox – Minnesota ’05 “This whole thing is going to collapse…” At a meeting of a group of Attorney Generals’ Cox pointed out that it was not in anyone’s interest to give loans that people couldn’t pay back. That as far back as 2002 they had seen the problem develop. However, they were looking at it from a consumers point of view whereas the ‘big boys’ saw only the $ sign.  “Greed has taken over”   David Rubinstein, cited in McGee p177

There was money to be made and they cared little for the consequences.

 ‘“They’d cut your ear off for a nickel, rip your throat out for a quarter, sell your grandmother for a penny, and sell two grandmothers for two pennies”’

quoted in  McLean & Nocera p.153 an opinion of Goldman Sachs.

If that was not shocking enough, Suzanne McGee, writes,

“Compensation policies across the Street rewarded bankers and traders for turning a blind eye to the needs of the money grid; regulators – agencies charged with ensuring that utilities operate in the public interest – ended up catering to Wall Street rather than trying to rein in its worst excesses”.

These two quotes are the essence of what happened in Wall St. that pushed the world into recession. Some parts of the world are still reeling from the impact and recovery will take some years yet. The banking crisis also opened a festering sore called the European Union (EU) that had been covered with a hospital load of plasters. Now it seems that the EU is significantly weak and may require emergency surgery.

 

We have had recessions before but this one exposed the extent of greed across the globe and therefore affected the long term development of several nations. Some economists, notably the Dallas Federal Reserve think the banking collapse may have left ‘permanent’ damage in its wake.

Millions more have been shovelled into poverty and with the prospects of recovery less than bright those millions will remain in dire straights. This fact alone spells the death knell of the World Bank’s desire to reduce the numbers in poverty to 3% or below. Yet, the WB purports to be able to achieve its goal. It reminds me of an old adage “Whom the gods would destroy, they first drive mad” Euripides (484 BC – 406 BC)

In 17 years the WB will perform a miracle or is it far more devilish than that? Their thCAF3KI0Vadherence to a $1.25 a day threshold is nothing more than a cheap gimmick, a conjurers trick; now you see it, now you don’t; a deceiving card trick. By keeping the threshold artificially low they ensure that most people over a set period will, by the aegis of economics, earn more. It is a cruel methodology to apply, every bit as callous as the bankers of Wall Street.

Without significant change in thinking and thus culture the future is every bit as bleak as the present. Yes, more people have more material goods and millions have a television that ensures their passivity. Nonetheless, poverty has not diminished, if anything the scale of it has increased. Poverty walks in many guises and inflicts pain in various degrees. It infects the poor with a pernicious virus that eats at the soul by ravaging their self-esteem and then pisses on their dignity.

In over 2000 years we have not progressed very far:

“Men decide far more problems by hate, love lust, rage, sorrow, joy, hope, fear, illusion or some other inward emotion, than by reality, authority, any legal standard, judicial precedent or statue”

Cicero (106 BC-43 BC). The Leaders Guide to Influence. Mike Brent and Fiona Dent.

We are the true cancer and we seem powerless to find a cure. We have witnessed greed abandon all moral ceremony in pursuit of the ‘fast buck’. As exemplified by the big guys of Wall Street.

“… there was no evidence that any of the institutions felt the slightest bit of remorse or any need for increased supervision or regulation”. McLean & Nocera

In March 2007, Fabrice Tourre the only ‘one’ charged and prosecuted for fraud sent an thCASYM14Semail that suggested the subprime bubble was about to burst:

“According to Sparks that business is totally dead, and the poor little subprime borrowers will not last long”. He went on to predict, “…the complete explosion of the industry” McLean & Nocera p.281. He worked for Goldman Sacks who were fined $550m  in 2010 but no guilt clause was attached to the verdict.

Goldman Sachs were the most criticized for selling their clients down the river. They were not alone in allowing clients to flounder in the rapids without a paddle; Merrill Lynch sold a package known as Norma, in early 2007. All three ‘rating’ agencies gave 75% Norma’s tranches a triple A rating. Before the deals were done, Norma had lost 20% and was worthless by December 2007. McLean & Nocera Therefore the ‘rating’ agencies are as much to blame as any one for their lack of supervision.

 How cheerfully he seems to grin,

How neatly spreads his claws,

And Welcomes little fishes in,

With gently smiling jaws.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland ch: 2

They were all at it, a guy named, John Paulson, at the time a little known hedge fund manager in January 2007 was to make $4bn gambling that the market would collapse. Magnetar, a company based in Chicago played a similar game. These guys made mega bucks predicting people’s misery.

A year after the bubble burst Goldman Sachs, “…reported the largest quarterly profit in its history in the summer of 2009…”.  Only weeks earlier they had paid back $10bn received in a Government bailout. By the third quarter of 2009 both, Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan Chase had posted profits of $8billion.

In 2010, Jamie Dimon of J.P. Morgan was paid $20m in wages and told people to get off his case. Meanwhile, Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs told a reporter of the Times in London that he was “doing God’s work”.  (McGee) In another case, Stan O’Neal, CEO of Merrill Lynch, walked away with a golden handshake of $161.5m only to get a job the following year at the Bank of America. Guardian .co.uk 2012

The government of America spent in excess of $700bn to bail out the banks. This was titled the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). They certainly threw a tarpaulin over that fire. Unsurprisingly there was nothing for the poor, nothing for those facing foreclosure.

Since the banking bubble burst some 3 million families have suffered foreclosure; communities have been devastated, such as Jamaica New York. A local lawyer, Elizabeth Lynch suggests:  “These neighborhoods won’t come back for decades.” McLean & Nocera These people will take the pain for the lack of thought and foresight of the bankers; not forgetting the compulsive greed that fuelled their fire. Unemployment in the USA remains very high. In pre-crisis 2008 unemployment stood at 5%, in March 2013 it’s almost 8% or 12 million and 5.5 m added to the disability roll.

Europe is just as bad with unemployment reaching record levels in 2012. It fell for the first time in two years in June 2013 but: “…is still at a record high” Jonathan Loynes Capital Economics.  The economist, Wei Yao opines a slight upturn in the Eurozone but suggests that it: “…is still far too modest to suggest a clear upward trend”.  www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics

Therefore there is little light at the end of the tunnel. People in the developed nations are stuck in the darkness of that tunnel. Meanwhile governments’ have introduced austerity measures to curb their spending. In such a situation there is little hope that those in the developing economies will receive much business and thus unemployment and hardship will continue for them too.

To add to the misery, several commentators are predicting another recession quite soon. Nouriel Roubini, who warned about the subprime debacle in 2004, is now advancing a theory of a ‘global storm’ in 2013/2014. Jim Jubak at money.msn.com is also seeing a deep crisis around the corner. Economist, Martin Wolf tells us that the present austerity measures can lead to a recession and Paul Krugman shares that outlook.

Suzanne McGee, in her book warns that now the banks see the crash as behind them, “…the odds that another crisis will rock the financial system to its core are creeping higher again”. Her analysis is given credence by, Leo Tilman, a risk management specialist when he suggests that: ‘“Déjà vu is just around the corner”’.

The brokers sucked in the little guys by offering them mortgages they couldn’t afford. These ‘Ninja’ deals, in sector parlance mean: no job, no income applicants, hooked people in with wild promises and assurances that they could pay. The rationale was based on an interest rate of 1% and that house prices would continue to rise. When it all went belly up interest was 4%, while incomes started to decrease dramatically. House prices fell 30% and remain at that level. Folks couldn’t sell; trapped, they had to accept foreclosure.

According to the Dallas Federal Reserve the crisis could cost $14 trillion and continue to affect the economy for years. www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/30/financial  Government attempts to control the situation have been characterized as: pathetic, fundamentally flawed, terrible, and already watered down. Only one prosecution yet there is evidence that, “…prove bankers knew they were selling their clients garbage”. Stephen Grandel at www.finance.fortune.cnn.com/2013/08/02

Ordinary people are left with the dilemma of who they can rely on:

“Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships”.

The Speed of Trust, Stephen M.R. Covey cited in, The Leaders Guide to Influence by Mike Brent & Elsa Dent. Who can we rely upon?

I believe it is clear that the World Bank and cronies cannot achieve their target of reducing or eradicating ‘extreme’ world poverty by 2030. The world economy is as fragile as a new born; it requires good succour and realistic parental guidance. However, as long as Wall Street adheres to the principle: “…me first, me foremost, and only me”.  McGee p354 Then we are all in for a double-edged white water rafting experience whether we like it or not. Can we rely on the politicians? Ha, ha, ha.

World Poverty: Too Little Too Late.

A trinity (not the Holy) of influential bodies:  the World Bank (WB), United Nations (UN) thCAO34NGVand the International Monetary Fund (IMF), aided by an army of bureaucrats have set a goal of seriously denting the sheer number living in ‘extreme’ poverty by 2030. Ending world poverty is an admiral aim which deserves acclamation and thoughtful support.

A High Level Panel of the UN met recently, April 2013, to look back at the achievements of the Millennium Development Goals, (MDG’s) set in 2000. According to the blurb, “…the panel met with a sense of optimism and deep respect for the Millennium Development Goals.” They applauded:

  • The fastest reduction in poverty in human history. (China & India)
  • 0.5bn fewer living below the $1.25 threshold.
  • Child deaths down 30%

The panel set a new challenge, “Central to this is eradicating extreme poverty from the face of the earth by 2030.” Quite a task they have set themselves. Good luck.

During the course of the meeting they acknowledged the work of the MDG’s and the guiding ‘spirit’ of the organisation. Nonetheless, their objective is to go beyond the previous ‘goals’. In doing so they brought to our attention a few omissions of the previous cohort:

  • They did not focus enough on the poorest.
  • Were silent on conflict and its consequences.
  • Were quiet on good governance – (see later).

“Most seriously the MDG’s fell short by not integrating the economic, social and environmental aspects of sustainable development…” www.pdfownersguide.net  I would call that game, set and match to the new guys. The old guys have probably been pensioned off with a nice golden handshake.

David Hulme, had already savaged the thinking behind the MDG’s when he pointed out that while China and India were hailed for reducing ‘extreme’ poverty they, “…pretty much ignore[d] the MDG’s”. Moreover, the implementation was top-down and in need of better targeting. They may have taken notice of Hulme’s observations.  cpd.org.bd/Post/MDG/OPseries/SVOP2.pdf

Professor Rehman Sobhan was equally blunt when he suggests that the MDG’s,              “…address the symptoms not the causes of poverty”. post2015.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/sv-op/   Thus it would seem that the WB and its partners have pretty much wasted thirteen years!

If we examine the WB’s analysis of the situation June 2013, their target is to reduce ‘extreme’ poverty to 3% or below by 2030. They acknowledge that there are still 1bn people living in ‘deep’ poverty, while inequality was rising in developing countries. Certain restraints are also recognised vis-à-vis the need for ‘rapid economic growth’ and long term ‘structural changes’ and these must be sustainable for their targets to be achieved.

A number of points can be raised here: over the 13 years of MDG’s those in ‘extreme’ poverty declined by 0.5bn. Now the WB are accepting that 1bn people are still in ‘extreme’ poverty, so how many years will it take to ‘eradicate’ that number? There are only 17 years left till target day. Meanwhile ‘inequality is still rising’ in developing countries! The other puzzle is that while the UN wants to ‘eradicate’ extreme poverty, the WB is happy to reduce it to 3% or fewer. Is one being too ambitious or the other too cautious? Alternatively both may be flying as high as a kite!

Achieving their stated aim immediately comes under scrutiny when reminded that Oxfam warned that 100m more people face poverty because of price rises. Incredibly thCAJPIQU2the WB threshold of $1.25 does not include increases in fuel and food in its calculations, according to the charity. Mindboggling! It was such price rises that caused the food riots of 2007/2008. A report by the International Food Policy Research Institute (2011) found that the riots were similar to those of 1972/74 and warned that we can expect more. The causes were identified as: fuel hikes, bad weather, lack of investment and speculation. On that basis I would concur that more food crises will happen.

In 1981 the threshold was $1; it was not revised until 2005, twenty-four years later, to a paltry $1.25 a-day. Therefore it is obvious that no account is taken of inflation; yet inflation can have an unbearable impact on peoples’ lives. It would seem a callous disregard for the ‘nether’ people. Living standards can be grossly affected by continuous increases on goods. A few examples will suffice to make the point:

Kenya: 10%         Nigeria: 12.1%                   Argentina: 25%                 India: 9%         (all 2012)

The recent riots in Brasil are testament to how hard life can be to make ends meet, just to wake up and find the government wasting vast sums on prestige projects.

Those mandarins that quantify the figures and set the targets seem divorced from the reality of a day to day existence. Their only concern is the target; the people are amorphous. I have mentioned in previous posts on world poverty how they disavow the ‘nether’ people; those in the darklands between the $1.25 a-day and the $2 a-day. No one is sure of the number of ‘nether’ people but it is well over a billion. They should carry out a survey in the Kibera in Kenya or a favela in Brasil to ascertain what difference the 75 cents makes.

“…when the Tendulkar Committee was asked to review India’s poverty line, it recommended raising the line from USD 1 a-day to USD 1.25 a-day. As a result 189 million Indian’s moved below the poverty line. This suggests that moving people above and below a poverty line is a fool’s game that tells you little about the nature and sources of poverty”. Rehman Sobhan

Before greed walked the land in the guise of bankers’, success had come easy for the WB, the UN and the IMF. Both China and India had had an industrial spurt which resulted in millions of menial jobs being created and thus lifted millions beyond the ‘frugal’ threshold. An estimated 680 million alone in China transformed the poverty landscape and brought joy to the ‘trinity’; their panacea had been found. Then the bankers froze their assets!

The recession that began in 2008 may be “…the worst in 100years.” www.telegraph.co.uk/finance   It has lasted five years and may take another 5 years before trading makes a good impact on peoples’ lives. Geoffrey Moore, has documented, 3 depressions, 6 sharp recessions and 5 mild recessions in the period 1920 / 2000. The downturns vary in length from six months to 18 months and longer. www.econlib.org/  Based on these figures and the fact that 17 years remain before the ‘trinity’ target date, I would suggest we will experience a few more recessions by the due date.

While developed countries can cushion the hardship of those affected with their welfare system there is still a huge cost to the nation. “However, the size of today’s welfare state, some economists argue, is hindering recovery by piling state debts higher and preventing the economy from realising its full potential.” Telegraph, op. cit.  citing the National Institute of Economic and Social Research.

We have the ludicrous situation whereby big business is making big profits by farming out jobs abroad. Meanwhile, the state is borrowing money by the bag full to pay for the welfare system and the rest of us have to pay ever more tax to pay the debt off. Why don’t we give our tax to big business and they can keep the jobs at home!

Periods of prolonged unemployment can create a severe impediment to those who seek work or who lose the motivation to get back on the road again. The consequence is the gradual development of an underclass which has considerable cost implications further down the road.

The hopes of the trinity rest on the prerequisite of industrial growth and significant political changes. However, the economy is subject to a number of vagaries:

  • The frequency of recessions.
  • Speculation – see food crises.
  • Greed, the cause of the present depression.
  • Saving and spending habits of the people.
  • The influence of government.
  • The extent of monopoly V competition.
  • The environmental impact of unchecked industrial growth.

There seems to be a lack of coherent economic thinking on the part of the trinity: “It is perfectly possible to have economic growth without the creation of new jobs or improvements in working conditions.” www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-shank/  I have a

They will listen!

They will listen!

noted in World Poverty: America the NY Times of 2006, “…growth alone is an insufficient indicator of national well-being.” Meanwhile, it is hoped that India will be a major contributor to the eradication of extreme poverty; however, “…it will be a mediocre-at-best investment in destination for the next decade.” Proactiveinvestors.com

As the ‘trinity’ do not have the power to dictate the world economy, their scheme is as much at the mercy of the market as are the rest of us. Even with periods of sustained growth, poverty has persisted and will continue to, until the world economy is governed by a more visible ‘income distribution’. This is not simply a case of giving people money; wages will have to rise and profit margins will have to be lower.

A more credible income distribution on a world scale should be the prerequisite that the trinity promote. This can be achieved by an insistence on a minimum wage in each society. I’m sure the UN can pass a resolution of that nature and have enough bureaucrats to monitor the compliance to it. Or is that politically unfeasible?

In terms of political change / structural change required; that could take a whole lot longer than envisaged. We are dealing with base human traits. When selfishness and greed walk hand in hand the rest of us better watch out. Corruption is so embedded in several nations that it will take time and a high degree of sophistication to rid it from the land.

The WB must pay more heed to its own guidelines and drive them home with as much vigour as can be generated:

World Governance Indicators

  • Extent of democracy.
  • Political stability
  • Quality of public services
  • Private sector development
  • Rule of law
  • Control of corruption

These are building blocks to a better future and as such need to be forcibly applied where appropriate. However, the adherence to the principle of free trade is illogical in the interim as local industry needs a head start as it cannot compete with the conglomerates of the developed economies. As this could lead to countries becoming net importers which compounds poverty, does not relieve it or eradicate it.

How feasible is ‘sustainable development’? Can we have every nation working to full capacity making goods for sale? How many more cars, trucks and chimneys spouting out their muck can the environment endure? Is the end to extreme world poverty wishful thinking on a large scale? For 50 years and more the problems of poverty have been fought and there seems no end in sight. All the questions and answers are tied together, like a bunch of flowers, with a pretty ribbon, on which is inscribed, politician.

“Nearly a billion people entered the twenty-first century unable to read a book or sign their name.”             www.globalissues.org/article/26/poverty

Now here is a travesty; it is unconscionable that in the modern era a problem of such magnitude exists. “… now’s the time for your tears.” Bob Dylan: The Lonesome Death of Hattie Caroll. This is a prime cause of poverty and as such should be tackled with the utmost haste.

I came across a shellshock of a fact: “Schoolgirl absenteeism could be cut in half by simply providing free sanitary towels.”  en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poverty#   It is too staggering for words.

We have a problem Houston. A problem identified by Charles Handy: “Group-think is dangerous because like-minded groups have like- minded ideas and find it hard amongst themselves to re-frame any situation.” The Age of Unreason (1989)

Even rock stars are not immune:

“…extreme poverty has been cut in half the last 20 years, and the facts show that we can get it to virtually zero within a generation-but only if we act.” Bono, U2

We have a host of organisations for by the ‘trinity’ who are trapped by the $1.25 a-day threshold and the spiel that accompanies it. Perhaps they need to be reminded:

“Minds are like parachutes. They only function when they are open.”  James Dewar, 1842-1923.

“Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don’t mean to do harm-but the harm does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves.”  T.S.Eliot

World poverty will not taking the high road just yet.