(Thirty-minute lockdown read ) My previous post asked the question of what skills will be needed to rebuild …
Artificial Intelligence., Business and Economy, Capitalism, CORONA VIRUS., Coronavirus (COVID-19), Distribution of wealth, Extinction, Global warming, Globalization, Inequility, Technology, The Future of Mankind, Visions of the future.
( An essential twenty-minute read)
It all depends on how governments and society respond to coronavirus and its economic aftermath.
As we know COVID-19 is highlighting serious deficiencies in our existing system.
Hopefully, we will use this crisis to rebuild, produce something better and more humane. But we may slide into something worse.
My focuses on this post are on the fundamentals of the modern economy: global supply chains, wages, and productivity.
I argue that we will need a very different kind of economics if we are to build socially just and ecologically sound futures.
In the face of COVID-19, this has never been more obvious.
The COVID-19 pandemic is simply the amplification of the dynamic that drives other social and ecological crises: The prioritisation of one type of value over others.
From an economic perspective, there are four possible futures:
Descent into barbarism, robust state capitalism, radical state socialism, and a transformation into a big society built on mutual aid.
Coronavirus, like climate change, is partly a problem of our economic structure. Although both appear to be “environmental” or “natural” problems, they are socially driven.
Yes, climate change is caused by certain gases absorbing heat. But that’s a very shallow explanation. To really understand climate change, we need to understand the social reasons that keep us emitting greenhouse gases.
Likewise with COVID-19. Yes, the direct cause is the virus. But managing its effects requires us to understand human behaviour and its wider economic context.
Tackling both COVID-19 and climate change is much easier if you reduce nonessential economic activity.
The epidemiology of COVID-19 is rapidly evolving. But the core logic is similarly simple. People mix together and spread infections.
We can see from Wuhan that social distancing and lockdown measures like this are effective.
Political economy is useful in helping us understand why they weren’t introduced earlier in European countries and the US.
We are now facing a serious recession and we are living with an economic system that will threaten collapse at the next sign of pandemic.
The economics of collapse is fairly straightforward.
Businesses exist to make a profit.
If they can’t produce, they can’t sell things. This means they won’t make profits, which means they are less able to employ you.
Businesses can and do (over short time periods) hold on to workers that they don’t need immediately: They want to be able to meet demand when the economy picks back up again. But, if things start to look really bad, then they won’t. So, more people lose their jobs or fear to lose their jobs. So they buy less. And the whole cycle starts again, and we spiral into an economic depression.
In a normal crisis, the prescription for solving this is simple.
The government spends, and it spends until people start consuming and working again.
This pressure has led some world leaders to call for an easing of lockdown measures.
But normal interventions won’t work here because we don’t want the economy to recover (at least, not immediately). The whole point of the lockdown is to stop people going to work, where they spread the disease.
If we want to be more resilient to pandemics in the future (and to avoid the worst of climate change) we need a system capable of scaling back production in a way that doesn’t mean loss of livelihood.
At its core, the economy is the way we take our resources and turn them into the things we need to live.
Looked at this way, we can start to see more opportunities for living differently that allow us to produce less stuff without increasing misery.
So how do you reduce the amount of stuff you make while keeping people in work?
You have to reduce people’s dependence on a wage to be able to live.
Currently, the primary aim of the global economy is to facilitate exchanges of money. The dominant idea of the current system we live in is that exchange value is the same thing as use-value.
This is why markets are seen as the best way to run society. They allow you to adapt, and are flexible enough to match up productive capacity with use-value.
What COVID-19 is throwing into sharp relief is just how false our beliefs about markets are.
There are lots of contributing factors to this. But let’s take two.
First, it is quite hard to make money from many of the most essential societal services-key workers low-paid employee. This is in part because a major driver of profits is labour productivity growth: doing more with fewer people – automation.
Second, jobs in many critical services aren’t those that tend to be highest valued in society. Many of the best-paid jobs only exist to facilitate exchanges; to make money.
People are compelled to work pointless jobs (they serve no wider purpose to society: ie. consultants, huge advertising industry and a massive financial sector) because, in a society where exchange value is the guiding principle of the economy, the basic goods of life are mainly available through markets.
This means you have to buy them, and to buy them you need an income, which comes from a job.
Meanwhile, we have a crisis in health and social care, where people are often forced out of useful jobs they enjoy because these jobs don’t pay them enough to live.
While state-capitalist society continues to pursue exchange value as the guiding light of the economy. It also enacts a massive Keynesian stimulus by extending credit and making direct payments to businesses.
The expectation here is that this is will be for a short period.
Could this be a successful scenario?
Possibly, but only if COVID-19 proves controllable over a short period.
Limited state intervention will become increasingly hard to maintain if death tolls rise.
Increased illness and death will provoke unrest and deepen economic impacts, forcing the state to take more and more radical actions to try to maintain market functioning.
Barbarism is the future if we continue to rely on exchange value as our guiding principle and yet refuse to extend support to those who get locked out of markets by illness or unemployment. It describes a situation that we have not yet seen.
Could this happen?
The concern is that either it could happen by mistake during the pandemic, or by intention after the pandemic peaks.
Potentially just as consequential is the possibility of massive austerity after the pandemic has peaked and governments seek to return to “normal”.
This would be disastrous. The subsequent failure of the economy and society would trigger political and stable unrest, leading to a failed state and the collapse of both state and community welfare systems.
Then there is the possibility that we could see with a cultural shift that places a different kind of value at the heart of the economy.
The state steps in to protect the parts of the economy that are essential to life: so that the basic provisions of life are no longer at the whim of the market. The state nationalises hospitals and makes housing freely available. Finally, it provides all citizens with a means of accessing various goods – both basics and any consumer goods we are able to produce with a reduced workforce.
Citizens no longer rely on employers as intermediaries between them and the basic materials of life.
Payments are made to everyone directly and are not related to the exchange value they create.
Instead, payments are the same to all (on the basis that we deserve to be able to live, simply because we are alive), or they are based on the usefulness of the work.
A Basic Universal Income.
Supermarket workers, delivery drivers, warehouse stackers, nurses, teachers, and doctors are the new CEOs.
If deep recessions happen and there is a disruption in supply chains such that demand cannot be rescued by the kind of standard Keynesian policies we are seeing now (printing money, making loans easier to get and so on), the state may take overproduction.
There are risks to this approach – we must be careful to avoid authoritarianism. But done well, this may be our best hope against an extreme COVID-19 outbreak.
Mutual aid is the second future in which we adopt the protection of life as the guiding principle of our economy. But, in this scenario, the state does not take a defining role. Rather, individuals and small groups begin to organise support and care within their communities.
The most ambitious form of this future sees new democratic structures arise. Groupings of communities that are able to mobilise substantial resources with relative speed. People coming together to plan regional responses to stop disease spread and (if they have the skills) to treat patients.
This kind of scenario could emerge from any of the others.
What hopefully is clear is that all these scenarios leave some grounds for fear, but also some for hope.
The upside of this is the possibility that we build a more humane system that leaves us more resilient in the face of future pandemics and other impending crises like climate change.
A key task for us all is demanding that emerging social forms come from an ethic that values care, life, and democracy.
The central political task in this time of crisis is living and (virtually) organising around those values.
Not low-paid workers or National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage because their work is so vital.
Successive governments had failed to reduce inequality between rich and poor despite two decades of interventions.
We must now with an uncertain future focus more on the journey, rather than the ultimate destination.
But be no doubt that we are at a crossroad where the low pay culture that has trapped people in poorly jobs is coming to an end.
Capitalism Inequality can not be allowed to continue.
All human comments appreciated. All like clicks chucked in the bin.
AS IF WE DID NOT KNOW it is posing that fundamental profound question once more.
Are we going to care of the Earth so it can care for us?
It is impossible to say which way the disease will go however there is no doubt that it is creating the biggest restriction of civil liberties “in peacetime”.
We know that we all tracked by Google. Behind all the restrictions governments will adopt powers that they will loath to relinquish when the crises are over.
There is every like hood that the pandemic will strengthen the state and reinforce nationalism. What won’t change is the inequality and greed, rather it will create a less open, less prosperous and less free world.
Of course, it did not have to be like this but it will be the straw that brakes the camel’s back of globalization and it will probably result in uncontrolled Co2 emissions.
In the short term, with decoupling and rivalry coming to the forefront driven by a cascading sense of vulnerability there will be a race to return to full production.
However the Pandemic is proof of our interdependence but we are not or are we heading for a poorer, meaner, and smaller world.
If the Pandemic shocks us into recognizing our real interests in cooperating multilaterally on the big global issues facing us all it will have served a useful purpose.
We all know that it is not enough to think of one nation’s power over another when it comes to climate change. The key is learning the importance that we have all to act together and Covid -19 is going to show that we are failing to adjust our strategy on many fronts to this new world.
Either way, this crisis will reshuffle the international power structure in the way we can only begin to imagine.
If we don’t support each other the result will be instability and widespread conflict within and across nations.
We know that there is a dramatic new stage in global capitalism on the horizon with supply chains be brought closer to home. We are going to see failed states with billions of economic refugees on the move.
We are going to see the USA no longer as an international leader.
To date, international collaboration has been woefully insufficient.
What is needed it targeted assistance that provides hope that men and woman can prevail in response to this extraordinary challenge.
If it gets Airborne the white full personal-protection suits that presently strike fear into the hearts of us all will be worthless.
AS IF EARTH DOES NOT HAVE ENOUGH PROBLEMS THE NEXT NASA PROJECT TO MARS IS SCHEDULED TO LAUNCH IN JULY.
NASA’s 2020 Mars rover.
The rover will collect and cache promising samples for eventual return to Earth.
The first pristine pieces of Mars won’t be coming down to Earth for at least another decade, but the time to start preparing society for the epic arrival is now.
This is an extremely grave point.
On the one hand, we can argue that Martian organisms cannot cause any serious problems to terrestrial organisms, because there has been no biological contact for 4.5 billion years between Martian and terrestrial organisms. On the other hand, we can argue equally well that terrestrial organisms have evolved no defences against potential Martian pathogens, precisely because there has been no such contact for 4.5 billion years. The chance of such an infection may be very small, but the hazards, if it occurs, are certainly very high.
Martian rock that has already arrived on earth contained structures resembled the fossilized remains of bacteria-like lifeforms.
What if such samples turned out to be dangerous, and contagiously so?
Are there some Mars-oriented lessons to be learned from COVID-19.
Here on earth, it is gruelling and potentially lethal work to identify a virus never mind virus from other planets.
It is estimated that there are 1.6 million unknown viruses in birds and mammals. Of these, it is thought between 600,000 and 800,000 are zoonotic, meaning they have the potential to jump from animals to people.
Virulence, contacts and the length of time for which people are infectious are the three factors that determine what is called ‘the basic reproductive rate’ – how far and fast the epidemic will spread.
As with historical infectious disease epidemics, the coronavirus that’s spreading currently is another example of why it’s so important to understand the consequences of interacting with environments humans rarely contact and then distributing widely whatever [they] picked up.
If one looks at the outbreak in Africa, of Ebola and the HIV/Aids pandemic – which to date has killed 35 million and infected 70 million – started about a century ago in Cameroon when a chimpanzee virus was transmitted to a human who almost certainly killed, butchered or consumed it.
Markets were closed during both outbreak, but they are now once more doing a roaring trade selling tropical game including monkeys, chimpanzees, cane rats, bats and snakes. Bushmeat is entrenched in local culture and is often a vital form of subsistence, hence why the authorities are unwilling or unable to announce an outright ban.
Last, with or without artificial intelligence we continue at our collective peril to make imbalance’s in the ecosystem.
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Five minute read.
With all aspects of our life made into a form of viewing entertainment. We live in a world that has become desensitized.
The result is that most if not all of us pay little attention to the state of Earth.
The drawn-out nature of many crises now facing us all underscores the importance of coming together to urgently resolve the root causes of a humanitarian crisis.
It is unlikely the situation will improve.
Where do you even start? Which issues are the most urgent?
So this post is not intended to be an exhaustive list. Rather, it serves as an overview of some of the major issues all global citizens should be aware of.
Sometimes it can seem as though there are too many – from climate change to inequality around the world, too many people living without access to medical care its not worth knowing.
But just in case here is why we are in such a mess.
12.9% of the world is undernourished, about 30% of the adult population is overweight.
Conflict continues to drive displacement and food insecurity but communicable diseases are still responsible for 71% of deaths.
The international community, and in particular wealthy nations, are failing to meaningfully share the responsibility for protecting people who have fled their homes in search of safety.
- 25.9 million refugees globally — the highest level ever recorded
- Half of the world’s refugees are children
- A third of refugees — 6.7 million people — is hosted by the world’s poorest countries
Driven by nearly two decades of conflict and political instability; 9.4 million Afghans (25 per cent of the population) need humanitarian assistance. There are almost 2.5 million registered Afghan refugees living outside the country.
4.6 million Venezuelans have fled the country as of November 2019.
There are over 2 million displaced Nigerians.
Eleven million Syrians (65 per cent of the population) are in need of humanitarian assistance.
The Democratic Republic of Congo 15.9 million people require humanitarian assistance.
Over 24 million Yemenis (80 per cent of the population) are in need of humanitarian assistance,
South Sudan 7.5 million people need humanitarian assistance.
600 million children are not mastering basic mathematics and literacy while at school.
Forests are key to producing the air we breathe, yet these are being depleted at a rate of 26 million hectares every year.
Extinctions are happening at what scientists estimate to be about 1,000 times the normal pace. Not only are we losing flora and fauna, but we are also damaging our ecosystems, and throwing them out of balance
Our oceans are under threat.
Sand and gravel are now the most-extracted materials in the world, exceeding fossil fuels and biomass.
Climate change is another issue.
There is actually not enough fresh water for each person currently living on the planet.
Population growth. The number of people on the planet is set to rise to 9.7 billion in 2050 with 2 billion aged over 60.
More than 61 million jobs have been lost since the start of the global economic crisis in 2008, leaving more than 200 million people unemployed globally.
With 43% of the world’s population connected to the internet, regulatory frameworks are unable to keep up.
In this complex moment in history, in which so many are suffering and the Earth itself is in peril
The cloud of nuclear destruction hangs over each of our days.
But the question remains what kind of society do we want to have?
The reasons behind current trends are many and complex.
The detail of the information that we are beginning to capture about our world is mind-blowing. The granularity of the data we are beginning to collect through advances in technology. While improving our lives through cleaner energy sources, personalized nanomedicine and nano-engineered materials.
In all of these areas, progress will undoubtedly lead to a reduction in conventional jobs and inequality on a global scale not seen before.
But technology alone can not break the self-reinforcing mechanism that causes poverty to persist.
As highly innovative products emerging will, however, promote inequality if only a few have access to this new technology and the knowledge to master it.
Education is probably the single most important tool for turning technology into an engine for opportunities for all.
Public policies, which are currently mainly focused on fostering economic growth, should focus on providing further opportunities, less inequality and a more sustainable economic, social and environmental future.
Technology is not the solution but it is, for sure, a powerful tool towards achieving this ambitious objective.
Whether it’s turning promises on climate change into action, rebuilding trust in the financial system, or connecting the world to the internet there is an overall lack of long-term investment, which has serious implications for global growth.
But the most astonishing canvas is right in front of us if only we would listen with our ear to the earth we might see the light we cannot see.
In short, the world urgently needs a new, global plan based on genuine international cooperation and a meaningful and fair sharing of responsibilities.
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Twenty-five minute read.
If humanity stopped fighting and competing against one another; if we bound together in a common cause, we could accomplish spectacular things.
We would basically become mindless drones of no culture because it’d all just be one culture with no distinct forms.
If this were to become a reality, Ummm how would govern it.
China’s premier Wen Jiabao put forward the following equation in a speech: “Internet + Internet of Things = Wisdom of the Earth.”
How wrong he was, however, by 2025 there will be 1 trillion networked devices worldwide in the consumer and industrial sectors combined.
He should have said, “Internet + Internet of Things = Becoming what we do not think? Because people are truly not that intelligent.
In our houses cars and factories, we’re surrounded by tiny, intelligent devices that capture data about how we live and what we do. Now they are beginning to talk to one another. Soon we’ll be able to choreograph them to respond to our needs, solve our problems, even save our lives.
Intelligent things all around us, coordinating their activities.
Coffee pots that talk to alarm clocks. Thermostats that talk to motion sensors. Factory machines that talk to the power grid and to boxes of raw material.
We might be seeing the dawn of an era when the most mundane items in our lives can talk wirelessly among themselves, performing tasks on command, giving us data we’ve never had before? This intelligence once locked in our devices will flow into the universe of physical objects.
We are already struggling to name this emerging phenomenon.
Some have called it the Internet of Things or the Internet of Everything or the Industrial Internet—despite the fact that most of these devices aren’t actually on the Internet directly but instead communicate through simple wireless protocols.
Others are calling it the Sensor Revolution.
I call it the Programmable Profitable in a World of profit-seeking algorithms.
It’s the fact that once we get enough of these objects onto our networks, they’re no longer one-off novelties or data sources but instead become a coherent system, a vast ensemble that can be choreographed, a body that can dance in the era of the cloud and apps and the walled garden— of Google, Apple, etc, which connotes a peer-to-peer system in which each node will not be equally empowered.
These connected objects will act more like a swarm of drones, a distributed legion of bots, far-flung and sometimes even hidden from view but nevertheless coordinated as if they were a single giant machine, relying on one another, coordinating their actions to carry out simple tasks without any human intervention.
So the world will act as one. Or will it?
Once we get there, that system will transform the world of everyday objects into a designable environment, a playground for coders and engineers.
It will change the whole way we think about the division between the virtual and the physical putting intelligence from the cloud into everything we touch.
Call it “smart exploration.”
The rises of the smartphone have supplied us with a natural way to communicate with those smart objects. So far they include watches, heart rate monitors, and even some new Nike shoes. Smartphone making payments to merchants wirelessly instead of swiping a card, and some billboards are using the protocol to beam content to passersby who ask for it. As a way to sell more products and services—particularly Big Data–style analysis—to their large corporate customers.
The yoking together of two or more smart objects—is the trickiest, because it represents the vertiginous shift from analysis, the mere harvesting of helpful data, to real automation.
In my view no matter how thoroughly we might use data to fine-tune our lives and businesses, it’s scary to take any decisions out of human hands.
It can be hard to imagine the automation you might someday want or even need, in your daily life. There are all sorts of adjustments you make over the course of any given day that is reducible to simple if-then relationships.
Facebook, which has famously described the underlying data it owns as a social graph—the knowledge of who is connected to whom and how.
Would you want to automate all of these relationships?
A world where every one of us would have a sensor on us. “Presence” tags—low-energy radio IDs that sit on our keychains or belt loops and announce our location, verify our identity.
This is the principle behind Square Wallet and a number of other nascent payment systems, including ones from PayPal and Google. (When you walk into a participating store today, Square can let the cashier know you’re there; you pay simply by giving your name.)
A tracking tool that monitors not just your pet’s movements, but your movements.
GPS reliably know our location within 100 feet, give or take, and that knowledge has and is transforming our lives immeasurably: turn-by-turn driving directions, local restaurant recommendations, location-based dating apps, and so on.
With presence technology, Google has already the potential to know our location absolutely, down to a foot or even a few inches. That means knowing not merely which bar your friend is at but which couch she’s sitting on if you walk through the door.
It means receiving a coupon for a grocery item on the endcap at the moment you walk by.
Think about a liquor cabinet that auto-populated your shopping list based on the levels in the bottles—but also locked automatically if your stock portfolio dropped more than 3 per cent.
Think about a home medical monitoring system that didn’t just feedback data from diabetic patients but adjusted the treatment regimen as the data demanded.
Think about how much more intelligent your sprinklers could be if they responded to the weather report as well as to historical patterns of soil moisture and rainfall.
It does not stop just there think about applications on top of these connected objects.
This means not just tying together the behaviour of two or more objects—like the sprinkler and the moisture sensor—but creating complex interrelationships that also tie in outside data sources and analytics.
Plugged into that information, your system wouldn’t just know how much water is in the soil it could predict how much there will be, based on whether it’s going to rain or the sun will be baking hot that day.
It means walking through an art museum and having your phone interpret the paintings as you pause in front of them.
This simple link—between a tag on us and a tag in the world—stands to become the culmination of the location revolution, delivering on all the promises it hasn’t quite fulfilled yet. A simple link—between a tag on us and a tag in the world—will complete the location revolution.
The treasure that it digs up could be considerable.
This is obviously true for retailers:
It’s a future where the intelligence once locked in our devices will now flow into the universe of physical objects. Users and developers can share their simple if-then apps and, in the case of more complex relationships, make money off of apps, just like in the mobile marketplaces.
Processing it all in the cloud in a language unheard of.
On Google Maps, you can now navigate inside certain airports and stores, with Wi-Fi triangulation helping out your GPS.
And according to a mobile couponing firm called Koupon Media, some 80 per cent of customers who buy gas at one major convenience-store chain never walk inside the store, so presence-based coupons could make a huge impact on the bottom line.
But it’s also true for our everyday lives. Have you ever lost an object in your house and dreamed that you could just type a search for it, as you would for a wayward document on your hard drive? With location stickers, that seemingly impossible desire has become a reality:
A startup called StickNFind Technologies already sells these quarter-sized devices for $25 apiece.
Think about a thermostat app pulling in readings from any other device on that platform—motion sensors that might say which room you’re in, presence tags that identify individual family members (with different temperature preferences)—as well as outside data sources like weather or variable power price.
An even more natural category for apps is security. It locks itself up, shuts down the lights and thermostat, and activates an alarm system complete with siren, flashing lights, and auto-notifications, and notifications with an on-call platoon of off-duty cops all coordinated through the SmartThings.
This, finally, is the Programmable World, the point at which the full power of developers, entrepreneurs, and venture capitalists are brought to bear on the realm of physical objects—improving it, customizing it, and groping toward new business plans for it that we haven’t dreamed of yet. Indeed, it will marshal all the forces that made the Internet so transformational and put them to work on virtually everything around us.
However, there are obviously some pitfalls lurking in this future of connected objects.
As a sanity check.
Our fears about malicious hackers preying on our email and bank accounts via the cloud might pale in comparison to how we’ll feel about those same miscreants pwning our garage doors and bathroom light fixtures.
The mysterious Stuxnet and Flame exploits have raised the issue of industrial security in the era of connected devices.
Vanity Fair recently detailed nightmare scenarios in which hackers could hit connected objects, from our high tech cars (university researchers have figured out how to exploit an OnStar-type system to cause havoc in a vehicle) to our utility “smart meters” (which collect patterns of energy use that can reveal a great deal about our activities at home) to even our pacemakers.
The idea of animating the inanimate, of compelling the physical world to do our bidding, has been a staple of science fiction for half a century or more.
No, the main existential threat to the Programmable World is the considerably more mundane issue of power. Every sensor still needs a power source, which in most cases right now means a battery; low-energy protocols allow those batteries to last a long time, even a few years, but eventually, they’ll need to be replaced.
Just as with social networking, the privacy concerns of a sensor-connected world will be fast outweighed by the strange pleasures of residing in a hyperconnected world.
A bigger concern, perhaps, is simple privacy. Just because we’ve finally warmed up to oversharing in the virtual world doesn’t mean we’ll be comfortable doing the same in the physical world, as all our interactions with objects capture more and more data about where we are and what we’re doing.
What’s coming is ubiquitous connectivity that will accelerate how people collaborate, share, learn, gather, do business, and exchange knowledge.
It stinks on more than one front.
Connectivity is only a smokescreen for state aid in breach of EU regulations.
The chancellor, Sajid Javid, said: “The reviews we are announcing will help level up our economy. They will ensure that regional connections not only continue but flourish in the years to come – so that every nation and region can fulfil its potential.
The aviation sector has got away for years with increasing its carbon footprint. The last thing we need is another incentive for them to pollute more.
A possible government deal to cut the cost of flights to save regional airline Flybe is “the exact opposite” of what is needed to tackle climate change.
Connect Airways, paid just £2.2million for Flybe’s assets but pledged to pump tens of millions of pounds into the loss-making airline to turn it around.
Of course, this never happened if it did it would not now be looking to defer a few million for three years.
Cyrus Capital Partners is based out of New York it is a large advisory firm with 33 clients and discretionary assets under management (AUM) of $4,897,199,827 they owned the largest share of a newly formed company called Connect Airways, with 40%, while the other partners owned 30% each.
The regional airline did come close to outright collapse a year ago amid an acrimonious takeover battle that left shareholders fuming that their equity had been left worthless.
The Uk government cannot claim to be a global leader on tackling the climate emergency one day, then making the most carbon-intensive kind of travel cheaper the next.
APD generates billions for the Treasury each year, with the fee expected to be worth £3.7bn in 2019/20. It was introduced in 1994 as a tax to pay for the environmental costs of air travel. However, if you’re just changing flights in the UK en route to somewhere else – as long as the time between flights is less than 24 hours you don’t pay APD.
Children aged two years old without a seat booking are exempt from APD.
The idea was that the tax makes passengers think twice before flying.
Unfortunately, taxpayers money pumped into this company will only line the pockets of the shareholders, its bankers
The national debt attributable to every man, woman and child in the U is in the region of £24,900 each.
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( Seven-minute read)
Economics is not an unbiased academic discipline, it’s an ideology. Furthermore, economics is based on the false premise that perpetual growth is achievable.
Can economic growth be sustainably achieved?
Finite resources make perpetual growth theoretically impossible. No amount of technological breakthrough or creative accounting can counter that physical fact.
Is economic growth desirable?
The short answer appears to be no.
Exponential growth will eventually take you to impossible places.
Unfortunately, we live in a world of capitalists that thrive on the great Myth of Perpetual Growth, endless growth, ad infinitum, forever, till the end of time.
It seems as though we are damned if we grow and damned if we don’t.
We’ve now with Algorithms for profit sake got to a position where there’s nothing to keep us in check – so we have to do it ourselves.
It’s a waiting game now – to see if we can learn to behave differently to bacteria in a petri dish before it’s too late and we kill our host.
It’s not worth the risk.
Ecology and economics have to be intertwined, or we’re in serious trouble.
It’s time we all get our head out of the smartphone and become smart.
We can have debates about what we’re going to do about this and that, but if you can’t see the reason in the core of what I am saying, we’ll be having two very different conversations.
There is little point in arguing any longer whether Neoliberalism is to blame for damaging ecology beyond its ability to support us. It has lead to the inevitable collision between an insatiable economic model and a finite planet whose resources are stretched to the hilt.
The perception of the need for perpetual economic growth is a fraud and this assumption creates massive risk when reaching the limits of our natural systems.
With a world population nearly at 7 billion people, the implication for economic growth seems obvious as we cannot assume that the status quo will hold in a changing climatic environment. Reaching the earth’s resource limit is inevitable if it is not already occurring.
However changing our society’s behaviours cannot be achieved through some overseeing organization.
Perpetual growth has been ingrained through exposure to intensive branding and marketing by the very corporations who provide jobs and economic growth, and round and round we go…… Enacting such dramatic change through a highly centralized governing structure that dictates appropriate resource use, population levels, and actively redistributes wealth is a hard sell even in dire times.
As a result, we cannot continue consuming more and more water, spewing out more and more carbon dioxide and burning more and more coal.
In the past 22 years, half of all of the oil ever burned has been burned.
At present, the global population is increasing by 83 million people annually and we are already consuming natural resources as if we have “1.5 Earths.”
If every person used as many resources as the average North American, more than four Earths would be required to sustain the total rate of consumption. Other words if everyone lived like the average American, the Earth could sustain only 1.7 billion people — a quarter of today’s population.
27 billion people will inhabit the planet by the end of the century and hidden in every calorie of food eaten are 10 calories of fossil fuels.
Technology can lead to greater efficiencies, it requires energy — it does not create it.
Water is obviously a key component of human life. It is also vital to energy, industry, agriculture and livestock.
With all of this in mind, it’s time to abandon the perpetual growth economic model and move instead to a model that stresses conservation, efficiency, recycling and renewability. Clearly, the world is on an unsustainable path and, by definition, anything that is unsustainable won’t last.
Above all else, we must redefine the quality of life as something other than just having “more.” The goal should be to simply have enough. Our quality of life should not be measured by “stuff,” but instead by the things that make life rich; our relationships, our hobbies, our work and our passions.
GDP merely measures what people are willing to pay for, which is not necessarily connected to the use of energy, or any other physical resource.
The world will be confronting shortages of hydrocarbons, metals, water and fertilizer, which will dramatically affect global agriculture. The latter is critical.
So why are we unable to change direction.
Because of the threat, transnational organizations have over the nation-state.
Because no one is willing to bear the costs.
Because of the amount of power capital has over labour.
As it stands, nearly half the world’s population — more than 3 billion people — lives on roughly $2 per day.
The solution is to get profit for profit sake to pay:
By introducing a World Aid commission of 0.05% on all High-frequency trading, on all sovereign wealth funds acquisitions on all foreign exchange transaction over $50,000, on all gambling and lottos wins creating a perpetual world aid fund.
By issuing United Nation Green Deal non-trading Bond.
By the introduction of a World Day of non-consumerism Advertising.
By building non atomised Societies that are attached geographical – belonging not defined by competition.
By eating together one a week.
The question is how do we communicate this obvious message, in the face of corporate control of the media, and increasingly academia, science and the political system?
All human comments appreciated. All like clicks and abuse chucked in the bin.
In politics, nothing happens by accident.
These days in the higher ethylene of the political world it seems you must be an accomplished liar and not a far-seeing planner to be successful.
With the advent of social media people’s day-to-day exposure to political discussion and disagreement has increased dramatically.
However what is worrying is that technology in the form of social media, the smartphone is continuing to create a contemporary problem that large sections of the public want ‘democracy’ but without the ‘politics.
As a result, were are seeing fake news driving populist politics that has no longterm objectives.
There is nothing new about fake news it has been prevalent down the ages but the days when a lot of us believe that many of the major world events that are shaping our destinies occur because somebody or somebodies have planned them that way are all but disappeared.
However, with the media making very little effort to explain political decisions, rather than just jumping on any perceived gaffe or conflict ‘democracy’ remains an incredibly positive notion.
With the public no longer thinking about the world within the silos of government departments governments need to engage people in solutions rather than top-down ‘vote for us and we’ll provide the answers.
Younger people don’t just copy their parents’ tribal loyalties. Voting is more like shopping, with preferences changing on a quim of twitter on social media.
Unfortunately, our present-day political system has not yet caught up, it offers limited choice. What happens in between elections is for all attentive purposes driven by the smartphone that are monitored by unregulated algorithms owned by you know who.
What is been ignored is that this digital space in all its diversity represents a huge opportunity with the power to engage people in new ways. Online participation in local decision-making is one possibility. This would involve citizens outside election time-.
So we need to understand all the ways people behave and respond in the digital space and set clear and realistic goals for what they hope to accomplish.
However, people are now becoming slow and slower to engage with the internet due to the lack of security/ privacy/and a source of truth.
Because Capitalism is spending billion on digital marketing each year, and for good reason. Digital media has enormous power to reach and influence people. Over 2 billion people—about one-third of the global population—now access the Internet.
We all know if we are to avoid extinction due to climate change which poses real risks to our collective future we need a green energy transformation.
The problem is that behind a veneer of objectivity, Capitalism as always sees an opportunity to make a profit – Carbon Credits for instance, with more and more consumerism products being promoted as good for the environment
With all the political goodwill the transfer to low carbon emission can only be achieved by offering citizens a means to get involved other than protesting.
How can this be done?
We must allow people to exercise democratic control over their money, finance, working conditions and environment ie De-politicising decision-making by limiting capitalism’s worst failing- profit for profit sake.
To have authentic democracy!
Citizens must be afforded the opportunity to get involved not just politically, but financially by creating Green Energy European Bonds that cannot be traded.
These bonds will allow citizens to regain control over unaccountable ‘technocrats’, complicit politicians and shadowy institutions.
They can be sold like lotto tickets. Forging a common agenda.
Emancipating citizens from all levels of government from bureaucratic and corporate power. Allowing direct investment into shared, green prosperity.
Politics has never been popular and never will be:
The more disengaged, the less likely that political parties will deliver.
We’re able to measure things in a way that we’ve never been able to measure them before. So why not measure the wealth of a nation by the financial investment support it gets from its citizen’s. Rather than encompassing every possible thing that can go under the rubric of “green.
I suppose my goal here is to propose something vague enough that no one will object to it.
Have you wondered how you got to where you are today?
Is technology taking control of our lives or our destiny?
Yes. We’ve ditched reality.
The very data on which we measure the economy is disconnected from
the reality, with political leaders using high soaring” words “which often
Communication and leadership are key elements in elections these days
but you can’t sell a bad product, can you?
All human comments appreciated. All like clicks and abuse chucked in the bin.
( Seventeen-minute read)
The world has been so depleted and is being so depleted even at this moment, that the future sustenance and stability for humanity is now imperilled.
Your future and your destiny will not be determined within the next decades. It will be determined now.
It will be determined by humanity’s wisdom or by its ignorance.
The future and fate of humanity will be decided in the years to come, and it will be determined by how humanity responds to the great change that is coming over the horizon in the form of climate change to the world.
No religion nor religious institution as it stands today can prepare humanity for the complexities of life in the universe or what humanity must know to preserve human freedom and sovereignty within this world.
It is what humanity must do to prepare both collectively and individually for climate change and our collective inability to regulate AI.
But because humanity as a whole is dull and ignorant, self-absorbed and unresponsive to a changing world we are still writing ourselves out of the script.
Our universities for years have taught classical/neoclassic/neoliberal economics; like these theories are unmovable divine pillars of reality.
Therefore, while most people see we need a more reasonable and democratic version of our current extreme capitalism, the dominant discourse insists the story not be changed at all. The dominant political narrative of our times is that we must live as individuals crushed between market and state. The relationship between the individual and the state boils down to a zero-sum game where everyone one eventually looses. The state is a pure and simple force.
With the effects of climate change (to come) people are waking up to the deception, let’s hope we can do right, because on all fronts of civilization as we know it time is running out.
We have political failure everywhere leading to the malfunctioning of our altruistic nature.
There is a disconnect between mass (commercial) media, even political science and common sense or popular wisdom.
Sounds to cynical?
Let me oil up my bow.
Present-day political failures are at heart of our problems.
Because there is a failure of imagination when it comes to the societal structure we evolved to live in and that our brains are still programmed for.
Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, etc.
These new organizations are actually not creating a dream environment of maximum social cooperation.
They are instead removing people’s needs to fulfilling each other’s needs!
Gnawing away our collective and individual identity our senses of belonging to a community for the sake of profit.
We need politics of belonging, but the trouble is, it requires a moral, ethical and educated populations which we don’t have and are now with AI are more than likely than ever never going to have.
As we rely on more and more Algorithms to make decisions without a discussion of facts and morals, against a background of pure data narrative can lead society to dark places.
We are unaware of what I call honest pricing that shows the cost of profit for profit sake to the environment.
If we were to charge fees proportional to harmful impacts on the environment, we would create a monetary representation of the value of natural resources.
So overcoming the material world would be the first step to a sustainable world-shifting us into a new reality.
We are left with the ever-present questions.
Do we give a toss and if so what can be done about it?
What roles do religion and our deepest beliefs play in contemporary life?
What lifestyles are we adopting in an increasingly technological world?
What is the balance of power–and the balance of trade?
What is the pattern of war and peace?
What are the issues facing local and regional communities, and what issues must we confront on a global scale?
What do we remember about our collective past, and how do we see the future?
Have the great issues that preoccupied people since the beginning of time taken new, distinctive forms after more than a hundred years of the fastest technological and cultural change in the history of the planet?
What challenges remain intractable?
What emerging solutions seem to offer the greatest promise?
Social media is full of video on the state of the world.
The need for clear-headed prioritisation of resources to tackle real, not imagined problems.
Despite that long record of success, agricultural production is stressed by floods, deforestation, drought, urbanization (land-devouring cities), and a growing appetite for resource-intensive meat.
More than 150 million people worldwide are at risk from rising sea levels and extreme storms that cause coastal flooding.
In the past 50 years, thanks to education and technology, more than 2 billion people joined the middle class, swelling the human footprint of nearly 50 per cent. At the same time, millions of acres of cropland have been devoured by population growth.
Today more than 6 billion people live in cities—about 70 per cent of the world’s population, roughly double the proportion of a half-century ago.
The Arctic may hold 22 per cent of the world’s undiscovered conventional oil and natural gas resources. Melting ice is liberating immense oil and natural gas reserves.
Although mounting worldwide energy demand continues to stress the environment, it has powered large-scale development of renewable energy.
Artificial intelligence will soon dominate the Earth—it could take decades, it could take millennia. At that point, AI will also take control of the Earths process. Refashioning the planet in ways that are optimal for synthetic life but quite possibly deadly for us.
You can’t help but wonder where it will lead. It’s a very dodgy future.
It may be true that the cosmos started with the Big Bang, some 14 billion years ago, but it took an awfully long time for the consequences of the Big Bang to settle down.
To have an optimistic view is the only one worth having.
So may you recognize that you as an individual must make these decisions and not simply rely upon others to make them for you.
All human comments appreciated. All like clicks and abuse chucked in the bin.
The British Empire was the largest in history existing from the sixteenth century into the twentieth century.
Unfortunately, it squandered all that it acquired on a victorian class system.
It killed with famine, sword and fire more people than Genghis Khan, Attila the Hun, Hitler or Stalin.
In the defence of its imperial interests, it precipitated in two World Wars.
Now it is presiding with “Mad cow disease” it’s very own self-destruction.
At stake are fundamental ideas about British sovereignty and whether in a
a progressively globalized world in which some claimed that the individual
the nation-state was becoming unviable with the can sovereignty in its
existing forms remain intact.
Queen Elizabeth II in 1992, referred to the year as the royal family’s “annus horribilis.”
SHE WAS WRONG.
Because along came a five-year austerity plan aimed at reducing the country’s massive deficit, which had been fueled by bank bailouts and stimulus spending in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis and resultant recession which resulted in 52 per cent of voters opting to leave the EU, (making the United Kingdom the first country to ever do so)
Manufactured by Magie Thatcher who turned the market into replacing society as the model of state governance.
Not surprising as worldwide political culture has in fact transformed from one based on class to a new sort of populist, demotic politics, shaped at least as much by the mass media, especially the popular press, as by the politicians.
A sort of firestorm has broken out not just in Brazil but all over the world.
Because the relationship between public culture and consumer capitalism, while the very Earth itself is struggling with climate change has been close, in many ways the one constantly trying to outguess the other.
This game of one-upmanship, marked by ironic knowingness, has been labelled “postmodern, Brexit or Donal Trump trade wars”.
It points to the growing understanding of the relative nature of truth, itself a reaction against the prevailing supposedly “modern” certainties of the 20th century (reason, freedom, humanity, and truth itself), which indeed have often had and are having appalling outcomes.
However, it is a sign of the times that these antifundamentalist currents, themselves critical of much of Western culture, emerged at much the same time as new fundamentalisms emerged in the forms of American neoconservatism and certain strains of radical Islam. The ferment of intellectual and cultural changes involved are inextricable from the massive changes underway in the transition to the novel forms of society made possible by new information technologies.
What the Smartphone and Social Media have and are doing since the 1960s onward for Africa are also unravelling England and the EU with the perception of poor economic performance and calls for the modernization of not just for British society and the British economy but the EU and the world at large.
Both England and the European Union need to reform.
Optimism only carries you so far.
History rhymes rather than repeats are what is required.
A society where elites are widely loathed, where the political parties are polarized by demographic echoes is on the brink of collapse.
Now as then — much more now than then, in fact — there is a pervasive mistrust of institutions, a sense that governments are rotting from the head down.
The abject failure of rulers in improving human values has resulted in a downgrading of human to sub-human levels with a race to expect dishonest money is the net result of the ultimate degradation of society.
How do you trick someone into giving you something they have?
First, you offer them something worthless, while convincing them that actually much better than what they have. Second, you convince them that what they do have is worthless.
This is a typical approach used by both con artists and governments.
These huge scams are just diversions from the ultimate crime Climate change.
Our survival instinct has to quickly override our conditioned naiveté and passivity that has been bred into us. We are not just threatened as countries but as species at the same time.
A twitter/ facebook driven world will be a world of shallow values- unravelling our societies.
The thin veneer of civilization that we all depend upon on a daily basis is disappearing at a staggering pace and its not just the melting of ice.
The question now is.
Do we follow the trodden path where we only find all the grass eaten?
Creativity and imagination are what is needed as we are not getting across the problems of probability.
How we discuss and what we discuss is vital.
We must know the facts. We need a world brain bus.
Who is more likely to embrace the marginalized, to work for the disenfranchised?
Who will work for those of all backgrounds, all races and ethnicities, all religions, sexual preferences, gender identities?
Who will work to promote respect and equality for all people in the World?
Who sends a message that I want our children to believe in?
The rich and the poor, the entitled and the marginalized—they all make up the threads that a country needs to weave a unified society. When not include we weaken the material that fabricates our entire fabric of the world.
There has never been such a thing as an empire only a company called East India Company merchants. The British Empire did not exist in the Middle Ages. In the early Middle Ages, England was part of other empires:
The British Empire was a commercial, not a military or political one.
Originally, holding an empire was about power. Throughout history, kings and queens have invaded territories in order to gain strength and power. With colonies, a country gains space, a larger army, more trade markets and the chance to make money out of whatever resources are on offer in them.
The formation of the empire was thus an unorganized process based on piecemeal acquisition, sometimes with the British government being the least willing partner in the enterprise.
An ‘Empire’ is a group of countries ruled over by a single monarch or ruling power. An empire doesn’t need an ’emperor’. The British Empire comprised of Britain, the ‘mother country’, and the colonies, countries ruled to some degree by and from Britain.
(British Empire, a worldwide system of dependencies—colonies, protectorates, and other territories—that over a span of some three centuries was brought under the sovereignty of the crown of Great Britain and the administration of the British government.)
To this day Britain’s ‘cultural imperialism’, suggesting that it was based on nationalism and racist scorn for other people.
Sorry but Empires have benefited no one nor will any future trade deals that are not attached to sustainability do anything to resolve Climate change.
All human comments appreciated. All like clicks chucked in the bin.