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(Seven-minute read)

Despite the dire state of the world today here is some good false news.Résultat de recherche d'images pour "fake news images"

Let’s start with an issue that has not received enough attention in the media and popular understanding.

The Earth is finite and this fact will have real-world physical, economic, social, and political implications.

Thus, we are using an economic theory that is simply incapable and inapplicable for informing an unprecedented transformation of the economy by technology.

We need a discussion as to what political leaders, business leaders, and citizens think is an appropriate distribution of wealth across the entire population of the world. This focuses on the real question (how many people have what, independent of the size of the economy, though the two are linked) instead of discussing how to shape policies and taxes to achieve an unspecified growth target independent of wealth distribution.

Trump, Brexit, and Le Pen are representations that people understand growth only for the elite in the West are no longer tenable. Neoclassical economics ignores this obvious fact, yet it is used to guide most policy (eg, economic projections and scenarios), including that for climate change mitigation.

Perhaps a summary is that the human enterprise has outgrown the long-ability of the planet’s renewable resources to support us at our current numbers and our current rates of consumption and waste generation.

Climate change is just one piece of evidence of this fact.

By 2050, over 7 billion people will live in cities (80% of the world), and cities will be responsible for 75% of global carbon emissions. The battle for sustainable development will be won or lost in cities.

Urban planning needs to incorporate total populations, not simply the rich and middle classes; this is the only way that the economic potential of the majority can be harnessed for the national good.

The reality is that any activity that is not sustainable HAS TO STOP.

So far, non-renewable resources are what is primarily driving our economic engine. But by definition, non-renewables are being depleted and for the most part, will stop being economically available in this century. So we must plan rapidly for the day when humanity can live using just renewable resources while maintaining the biodiversity that makes the planet habitable.

In truth, sustainability is the ultimate environmental issue, the ultimate health issue, and the ultimate human rights issue.

The days when scientists could not care about the impact of their work on cultural, values and society are over. If they ever existed, which they didn’t, but that’s water over the dam.

Data-driven technologies are increasingly being integrated into many different parts of society, from judicial decision-making processes to automated vehicles to the dissemination of news.

Each of these implementations raises serious questions about what values are being implemented and to whom these implementations are accountable.

There is an increasing desire by regulators, civil society, and social theorists to see these technologies be “fair” and “ethical,” but these concepts are fuzzy at best.

As we are developing more and more ways to let computers take over reasoning through adaptive learning, we are faced with an existential question: What is it – long term – that makes us human?

AI, although very useful, will never approach human intelligence until it is embodied.

My #1 issue is not the future of democracy. The future is a complicated subject.  Now more than ever, it’s fast-moving, complicated, increasingly immediate. We can’t keep thinking about the future as a far-off intangible. Today, things move so quickly, that the future already is happening, and already affecting us. And in many ways, we’re struggling to adapt quickly enough.

That’s only the beginning of the genetics, robotics, information and nano revolutions – which are advancing on a curve.

Meanwhile, we humans are trying to process this exponential change with our good old v. 1.0 brains. With precious little help at all from those creating this upheaval.

Algorithms by their very nature reason probabilistically and as uncertainty increases in the world, uncertainty increases in an algorithm’s ability to successfully and safely come to a solution.

Presently we have no commonly-accepted approaches and without an industry standard for testing such stochastic systems, it is difficult for these technologies to be widely implemented.

As technological developments increasingly drive social change, how can democratic societies empower ordinary people to have a say in the decisions that shape the technological trajectories that will, in turn, determine what the future looks like?

How can the public have meaningful input into the character of the algorithms that will increasingly determine both the nature of their relationships with other people on social media and their access to various important social goods?

How can we prevent an underwater arms race involving autonomous submersibles over the coming decades?

How can we ensure that questions about meaning and values, and not just calculations of risks and benefits, are addressed in decisions about human genome editing?

If there are people who are willing to blatantly refuse to believe that something is a lie, no matter how hard you try, they won’t listen. I’m not sure what amount of evidence is needed in this new paradigm of journalism to get newsreaders out of their new bubbles.

Human psychology is the main obstacle, unwillingness to bend one’s mind around facts that don’t agree with one’s own viewpoint.

The fundamental challenge we now face is how to handle a setting where anybody can get their views disseminated without intermediaries to prevent the distribution.

Somehow there still has to be some process of collectively coming to some agreement of what we are going to believe and what we think are consensual facts.

Instead, we have the golden age of the algorithm surveillance, automation, virtual reality, gene editing, the widening gap between wealthy and impoverished people, the worldwide questions of immigration, social media inserting a new level of governance in society, rapid urban growth isolating us from nature, smartphones isolating us from each other.

The challenge now is to make sure everyone benefits from this technology. It’s important that machine learning is researched openly, and spread via open publications and open source code, so we can all share in the rewards.

Our major challenge is related to our new capability of digitizing human beings.

The scale of popular social networks has democratized publishing, which effectively lets anyone – regardless of their intentions or qualifications – produce content that can appear journalistic.

Rather than waiting for politicians to make decisions and then we all argue over whether what they say reflects reality, we could have tools that engage people much earlier in the process so they can be involved in formulating ideas and drafting legislation.

As we begin in 2019 we have only 48.8% worried by Climate change/destruction of nature, 29.2% of us worried by Poverty, 22.7% worried by Government accountability and transparency/corruption, with only 18.2% worried by Food and water security.

Water is a social issue, a political issue, an energy issue, even a gender issue

– and how clean water scarcity triggers a host of problems, from disease

outbreaks to government feuds.

So the challenge before us is to begin to construct a truth signalling layer into the fabric of facts, particularly online. Even if we have structures that impose constraints on people in power and we put pressure on powerful people to be honest with us, in a sense, all of that is being circumvented by social media.

We need to turn social media upside down by changing the algorithms in Facebook or on Google to nudge people into sharing or consuming news that is slightly outside their normal comfort zone. We have to have a setting where we trust other people.

Fix it. Get out of your silo. If you can’t figure out the societal and cultural

implications of what you’re doing, start seeking out people who might.

A major issue most people face, without knowing it, is the bubble they live in.

Our world is far too beautiful to allow Social Media and profit-seeking algorithms to rip it apart.  Happy New year.

All human comments appreciated/ All abuse and like clicks and false news chucked in the bin.













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While we are all distracted by Brexit which has several possible outcomes in March 2019, all given a certain probability by market analysts:
– No-deal
– Canada-style trade deal
– Chequers plan
– EFTA/Norway agreement.
– Suspension of Article 50
– Reversal of Article 50.

Each is given a probability in terms of its likelihood but I would pay little attention to those probabilities as market analysts are not political insiders and in general, a lot of experts have misjudged the EU, as its rule-based way of operating has caught many out, not least the British negotiation team.

No matter how you look at the European Union it is a market run by rules which Independent Countries join to trade in a currency called Euros.Résultat de recherche d'images pour "pictures of the euro currency"

Although the creation of the euro, in particular, was deemed to be a key component helping to move the EU to an “ever closer union,” riding the continent of centuries of historic enmities, in reality, it has and is doing the opposite.

The monetary union and the austerity-linked conditions governing membership in the eurozone continue to create conditions ripe for extreme nationalist movements in Italy, France, Hungary, Poland and elsewhere.

The two principal goals of prosperity and political integration … are now more distant than they were before the creation of the eurozone.

The euro crisis was always likely to have a second act, and the stage was always likely to be Italy. (The only member yet to come to terms with the single currency. To do that, Italian democracy must be allowed to rise to the challenge.)

Were a further divorce to happen within the Union it would create a tremendous financial fallout for the rest of us, and likely mean the end of the euro itself.

The Euro to date has been both the glue and dissolvent of the European market.

Since the financial crisis of 2007-09, after dealing with Greece and the potential for defaults that led to a bailout of the EU member just a few short years ago, Italy is now on the list.

As such, these “states” are or were subject to solvency risk, because they themselves cannot create the euros to fund their debt.

With Brexit, it will become clear that we shouldn’t wait for the next crisis.

The next one could be very harmful, if not destroy the euro altogether.

A construction like the eurozone only partly rests on rules, technical procedures, institutions, etc. It relies on the fact that governments can trust each other at a minimum level. Take that away, and the whole edifice suddenly becomes much more fragile and the willingness to reform shrinks.

In these terms, a sustainable European currency requires either the export of the foundations of German economic strength to the periphery or Germany’s willingness to relinquish its obsession with ordo-liberalism and achieving a large current account trade surplus.

To date, its willingness to act to save the euro has not in fact been put to the test.

Far from involving domestic sacrifices imposed to save the euro, Germany’s handling of the eurozone crisis thus far has been, first and foremost, an opportunity for Germany to ‘Europeanise’ the burdens of its banks.

Germany may, therefore, end up with total dominance over something that doesn’t work, and holding the creditor bag on a currency that eventually may not exist.

Barring a wholesale shift in ideology, any short-term stitch-up will just set the stage for a bigger problem down the road, likely provoking more nationalist backlashes against the EU, which continues to play with fire, backed by Berlin.

So can the euro survive an Italian Bank/Country collapse?

Italy’s GDP has shrunk by a massive 10%, regressing to levels last seen over a decade ago. In terms of per capita GDP, the situation is even more shocking: According to this measure, Italy has regressed back to levels of 20 years ago, before the country became a founding member of the single currency.

As a result, around 20% of Italy’s industrial capacity has been destroyed, and 30% of the country’s firms have defaulted.

Its competitiveness can only be restored, therefore, via an “internal devaluation,” which in essence means crushing the living standards of the Italian people, so that they can compete in the global export market, rather than using fiscal policy to enhance the country’s domestic economy.

Understandably, the current coalition government in Rome doesn’t want to play along.

Its component parties were elected to defend the interests of the Italian people and deliver a different sort of economic program, which doesn’t consign the electorate to another decade of declining living standards. And Italy’s voters remain supportive if the most recent polls are anything to go by.

Hence the coalition’s resistance to Brussels/Berlin–imposed spending limits.

Europe’s central bank was (and is) the only institution that could credibly backstop the debt without limit because it is the sole issuer of the euro. However, the ECG has recently decided to put a stop to Quantitive Easing.

(Quantitative easing is a modern version of the printing press. It consists of the central bank creating money to buy government or private bonds held by investors on the market. The goal is for the latter to reinject the cash they get back into the economy by lending to households and businesses, which in turn must stimulate growth and inflation.)

As it concerns nineteen countries using the same currency, the ECB’s purchasing program is more framed than that of the US Federal Reserve, the Bank of England or the Bank of Japan.

It may have taken Trump, Brexit and the threat of a global trade war, but the markets in Europe are finally waking up to what the end of QE will look like.

The markets are finally facing up to a reality where fundamentals actually matter and are no longer being swept away by ‘QE infinity’.

That should be a relief, given the huge distortions that QE has created in the global economy, most notably in asset price inflation and a consequent widening of inequality throughout the developed world.

The political implications are obvious and are still continuing. But how quickly and safely central banks can be weaned off this great monetary experiment remains to be seen.

If QE is no longer an active policy instrument what will replace it?

Quantitative easing is – and always has been – a dangerous monetary experiment and these are not the times to experiment. Especially not in Europe, where the political gap between north and south has widened in a disturbing way and interdependencies grow bigger and bigger.

What if Germany, France and the Netherlands continue to grow, and Italy, Greece and Portugal don’t?

Then the gap between the higher income rates they have to pay and their lack of growth becomes even bigger.

The political and economic instability of the southern European democracies is eroding the political basis of the euro – and therefore its stability. Because of this everyone suffers.


That could prove economically calamitous, exposing the country’s international creditors (including other eurozone nations, such as Germany and France) to literally trillions in liabilities. To be repaid in what? Euros?

A reconstituted, and possibly heavily devalued, lira?

What happens to the pension funds? What about capital flight? Runs on the banks?

The point is that Italy does have leverage, but deploying the leverage will be costly for all concerned.

Considering the political turbulence in Italy which wants to raise its budget deficit by 2.4% in 2019, ( Its current debt is more than 2billion euros 131% of its GDP.)

Driving Italy out of the euro makes no sense at all. Italy is facing not just a financial but a democratic reckoning.

The euro debacle has tested the democratic integrity of the weakest eurozone member states to a breaking point. In Ireland, Spain and Portugal – the other countries affected by the single currency’s woes – democracy not only survived the test but flourished after it.

In 2019 we are going to see Italy’s political class discredited, its economy exposed as a sham, and it can only be rescued with other people’s money on other people’s terms.

It has now brought Italy to the brink of another failure of state as dangerous as the one that occurred during the confrontation with the Mafia in the early 1990s.

One of the major challenges for members of the euro area has always been not simply to rectify external imbalances, but to do so at reasonably high levels of employment. The fact that failures to meet this challenge are encountering political difficulties in Italy and elsewhere is hardly surprising.

So to stabilize the euro area and foster the financial integration across countries, we need to end the vicious circle of youth unemployment in the Southern countries of Europe and not penalise breached of budgetary Rules.

The euro is neither the problem nor the solution.

Italy’s profound problems lie at home — especially in central and southern Italy — and need to be addressed at home.

Both Europes and Italy’s problems arise out of acute regional imbalance.

You can not look at Italy as one economy, but two or perhaps three: North, Centre, South which is reflected in the whole of Europe’s problem.

Take the hyper-competitiveness of Germany.

Its massive current account surplus (8% of GDP) combined with its virtually full employment implies unambiguously that for Germany the euro is significantly undervalued, just as for Italy the evidence suggests that it is overvalued.

So we have an interesting, but risky, game of chicken developing.

Even though virtually every country within the eurozone, including fiscally virtuous Germany, has routinely breached budget limits, these rules do matter because, under Maastricht Treaty terms, countries can be punished by European institutions and also by markets, as has happened to Greece and now is increasingly happening to Italy.

Its debt load is the third-largest in the world and will eventually become unsustainable if the country is unable to revive economic growth.

What can Europe do – that is not already being done – to get its millions of jobless young people into work?

Things cannot be implemented overnight and will never be unless there is a willingness to move on with euro area reforms.

On top of all our problems is the Automation of the job market.



Boosting productivity is essential to resolve both problems.

So here is a suggestion.

Why not make the two most Southern Countries of Europe where the sun does shine – Italy Spain – the new green energy hobs of Europe – implementing a huge investment into solar power to supplement the energy requirements of the Northern member states.

All human comments appreciated. All abuse and like clicks chucked in the bin.













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( Twenty-minute read)

This post has many contradictions, as I am delving into an area with so many unknowns that are developing as we read.

You could say that there many more pressing problems in the world than technological development which will always be far beyond our ability to respond to it in any democratic manner.    Résultat de recherche d'images pour "pictures of losing your head"

If we are to place our trust in artificial intelligence, it is going to require a high degree of transparency.

As citizens, we must know how and in which context our data is used, and we must feel confident that data storage is carried out in a safe and secure manner.

We should also have insight into the basis on which artificial intelligence acts, so that we may better understand the implications and dilemmas we will have to relate to in the future. Here, it is crucial that we handle the ethical dilemmas jointly – and contribute to the creation of the common framework for a world not owned by Apple. Microsoft etc.

But how do we create a wide interest in contributing?

How do we ensure that it is not just the technologically initiated who create the framework on behalf of society as a whole?

The next century beginning on January 1, 2101.

It might seem miles away and most if not all of us will have departed this world, long before it arrives, however if we want Liberal democracy to survive or for that matter, the earth itself we need to put aside our smartphones and start defending our common values.

To do this it is important to remember the past and to keep it in mind so that as individuals and as a society we can grow and flourish.

As Emersons said:

“Society is a joint stock company in which the members agree for the better securing of his bread to each shareholder to surrender the liberty and culture of the eater. ”

The current age with its AI technology is far from achieving this rather with Machine learning and Data mining and algorithms it is just the beginning of undermining our own social foundation.

The problem is the opacity of the power of the algorithms, which means that it isn’t easy to determine when algorithmic governance stops serving the common good and instead becomes the servant of the powers that are creating a parallel form of governing alongside the more familiar tools of legislation and policy- setting.

In the coming years, vast fields of human life will be governed by digital code both invisible and unintelligible to human beings with significant political power placed beyond individual resistance and legal challenge.

Soon it will not be easy to determine when algorithmic governance stops serving the common good and instead becomes the servant of greed and inequality.

Once we all have digital ID numbers, it will become impossible to challenge one’s designation.

We are starting to see the use algorithms not only in the assisting of the election of idiots like D Trump but we are allowing Social media platforms to rip apart the institutions that are supposed to stabilise our political volatile world.

Why is this happing?  Because our current democratic world is not working.

It seems unwilling to deal with the problems facing earth while its citizens are being gerrymandered by technology into populist short-term thinking.

As we watch the decline of mainstream parties the role of money in politics that once shaped government is no longer effective. For the last few decades, we see countries driven by growth at all costs with parties and governments responsive primarily to elites or narrow groups of voters rather than broad cross-sections of the population.

If we stopped and properly analyzed that past we would realize that our economy was strongest not when untethered free market capitalism was free to reign but when our government had pushed for massive social reforms which “artificially” (as some would say) supported the lower and middle class.

It was this, not the free market which allowed for Capitalism for profit to reign supreme in the past and if we are to ignore that then we can never hope to move forwards for we will forever be stuck solving the problems of the past not to mention the future.

The result is that citizens feel disregarded and disempowered with little or no respect for politicians that show a tumbling and marked deterioration in their capacity to inspire or the power they can exert in a shrinking sphere of influence due to social media.

I say: by ignoring the past we pass up valuable opportunities to learn more about what should be done to solve problems now.

This is the basis for historic achievements such as human rights and the rule of law, however, we on the threshold of not be able to reconcile these rights with the revolution promised by the fourth Industrial revolution.

Due to lack of access to data and any world regulations as to what can be done with data, there is a high probability that data collection collected on one pretext will be used entirely for a different purpose.

Take Denmark which is now distributing benefits by using algorithms that are undermining its democracy. They don’t fully appreciate the risks involved in enhancing the welfare state through AI applications.

Liberalism is the premise of the belief that coercive powers of public authorities should use in service of individuals freedom and that they should be constrained by laws controlling their scope, limits, and discretion.

The best way to predict the future is to invent it.

Therefore, new systemic set-ups are required that can support the agility needed in a digital age.

The fourth industrial revolution does not stop just because we are not ready
to support it.

We must instead get ready. Get ready for a time of driverless cars and artificial intelligence that complements us as human beings, and augmented reality that connects the digital world with our physical one.

But actual legislation is difficult to imagine at the present time because we
simply cannot regulate something of which we do not know the extent… The fear is that we are doing something wrong because the market is so volatile and immature.

So for the moment instead of legislation, we should be putting in place policy frameworks and certifications as a means of regulating the area:

Accountability is a basic aspect when working on new technology of which we do not yet know the extent, the consequences or the full potential.

Accountability for technological development implies that we discuss solutions,
opportunities and engage in the conflicts and disagreements that will naturally follow in the aftermath – even if we do not know the destination of our train.

Others emphasize the fact that the accountability consists of people having control of the technology, and technology acts on the data fed to it. In other words, people are very much responsible for data being of the right quality to avoid so-called bias (distortions) in data and, thus, in the recommendations that artificial intelligence may contribute in what potentials may be released and of what challenges we should be aware of.

Thus, the goal has not been to identify a final result or a single truth that everyone may rally around.

Because the truth is that there are many attitudes toward artificial intelligence.

From how the area should be anchored politically to how to ensure that everyone enjoys the benefits of the technological development and what barriers may exist to this development.

From how the savings arising from increased automation and increased use of artificial intelligence are used to create value for the citizens:

From how to quickly decide on specific projects and ensuring rapid implementation?

Although EU legislation may be relevant, technology is a cross-border issue so international guidelines are equally important as many global companies are located in the US and China.

Finally, we have the problem of engagement.

None of us like our forefathers and all that came before them have any idea what the world is going to be like in the future but addictive technologies that have captured the attention and mind space of the youngest generation will formulate its foundations. 

The long-term effects of children growing up with screen time are not well understood but early signs are not encouraging: poor attention spans, anxiety, depression and lack of in-person social connections are some of the correlations already seen, as well as the small number of teens who become addicts and non-functioning adults.

All in all, digital life is now threatening our psychological, economic and political well-being. People’s cognitive capabilities will be challenged in multiple ways, including their capacity for analytical thinking, memory, creativity, reflection, and mental resilience.

The digital divide will become worse, and many will be unable to pay for all the conveniences. Convenience will be chosen over freedom. Perhaps.

The more the culture equates knowledge with data and social life with social media, the less time is spent on the path of wisdom, a path that always requires a good quotient of self-awareness.

We’ve reached a phase in which men (always men) believe that technology can solve all of our social problems. Increasingly social media is continuing to reduce people’s real communication skills and working knowledge. Major industries – energy, religion, environment, etc., are rotting from lack of new leadership.

Some of these technologies are already operating without a person’s knowledge or consent. People cannot opt out, advocate for themselves, or fix errors about themselves in proprietary algorithms.

So the platforms will necessarily compromise humanity, democracy and other essential values. The larger the companies grow, the more desperate and extractive they will have to become to grow still further. Facebook and Twitter have become heavily ingrained in the process of democracy their digital footprint is not limited to a readership or viewing area.

We will see a reduction of engagement with and caring for the environment as a result of increased interaction with online and digital devices.

The society-wide effects of ‘continuous partial attention’ and the tracking, analysis and corruption of the use of data trails are only beginning to be realized. Without tenacity, self-control and some modicum of intelligence about the agenda of social media, the interruption generation will miss out on the greatness that could be theirs.

Digital life will take people’s privacy and influence their opinions. People will be fed news and targeted information that they will believe since they will not access the information needed to make up their own minds.

Out of convenience, people will accept limitations of privacy and narrowed information resources. Countries or political entities will be the influencers of certain groups of people. People will become more divided, more paranoid as they eventually understand that they have no privacy and need to be careful of what they say, even in their own homes.

Understanding well-being in terms of human flourishing – which includes among other things the exercise of autonomous agency and the quality of human relationships – it seems to clear to me that the ongoing structuring of our lives by digital technologies will only continue to harm human well-being.

This is a psychological claim, as well as a moral one. Unless we are able to regulate our digital environments politically and personally, it is likely that our mental and moral health will be harmed by the agency-undermining, disempowering, individuality-threatening and exploitative effects of the late-capitalistic system marked by the attention-extracting global digital communication firms.

You see it everywhere. People with their heads down, more comfortable engaging with a miniature world-in-a-box than with the people around them.

At the same time, increasingly sophisticated technology for emotion and response manipulation is being developed. This includes devices such as Alexa and other virtual assistants designed to be seen as friends and confidants. Alexa is an Amazon interface – owned and controlled by a giant retailer: she’s designed, ultimately, to encourage you to shop, not to enhance your sense of well-being.

It remains to be seen whether any of the promises made by digital technology companies will be beneficial to mankind other than profit for profit sake. The ethics of software development and the idea that technology should be designed to enhance people’s well-being are both principles that should be stressed as part of any education in software design.

Proponents of an elusive work-life balance may argue that you can always switch off digital technology, the reality is that it is not being switched off – not because it cannot, but there is now a socio-cultural expectation to be always available and responding in real-time.

What we are seeing now becoming reality are the risks and uncertainties that we have allowed to emerge at the fringes of innovation.

The technological path we’re on and how to evaluate techno-social engineering of humans has to be challenged NOW not in the future.

Technology will be needed if we are to develop beyond a one plant species.

Conditions of modern life could be driving changes in the makeup of our genes. Our bodies and our brains may not be the same as those of our descendants.

Technology may well put an end to the brutal logic of natural selection with evolution becoming purely cultural.

This gives us good grounds for thinking that evolution (whether biological, memetic or technological) will continue to lead in desirable directions.

There is no genetic or evolutionary reason that we could not still be around to watch the sun die. Unlike ageing, extinction does not appear to be genetically programmed into any species.

Meanwhile there is gradual progress in neuroscience and artificial intelligence, and eventually, it will become possible to isolate individual cognitive modules and connect them up to modules from other uploaded minds…

Modules that conform to a common standard would be better able to communicate and cooperate with other modules and would, therefore, be economically more productive, creating pressure for standardization…

I think the next decade will be one of retrenchment and adjustment, while society sorts out how to deal with our perhaps over-optimistic construction of the digital experience.

The addictive nature of social media means the dis-benefits could be profound.

There is a reason the iPhone was initially called a ‘crack-phone.

There might be no niche for mental architectures of humankind.

Résultat de recherche d'images pour "pictures of losing your head"

All human comments appreciated. All abuse and like clicks chucked in the bin.











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(Ten-minute read)

We need to get smart about improving our institutional defects.


Because it is becoming more and more difficult to discuss political opinions openly without being slandered as a racist or a sexist.

Because if we don’t we are looking at a form of unregulated direct democracy run by social media popularism with no long-term thinking.

You might think this is trivial compared to other world problems but if we are to have any chance to address climate change, immigration, inequality, and the like we need stable leadership now more than ever.

It is no wonder if you live in a country where you are mired in poverty and constant violence you could not be blamed for thinking that’s what democracy is.

You wouldn’t want it eighter.Résultat de recherche d'images pour "pictures of democracy"

In 2018 saw many elections worldwide where voters vote did not matter- Hungary, Russia, Venezuela. Poland the USA.

More voting does, not = freedom. If you are in any doubt just look at where Venezuela or Hungary are.

So can Democracy be restored or has too much damage been done?

Its worldwide acceptance today that Democracy is the best of imperfect options for managing society.

However, as people realize that democracy can go hand in hand with populism, isolationism, and even racism it strives to balance individual liberty with public order.

What we are witnessing is more and more begging on our TV screens for funds to save everything from whales to homeless people.

While Social Media is encouraging individual self-interest, non-corporation between countries, profit for profit sake, confusion, and downright madness. It is facilitating both pro-democracy and anti-protest, spreading false news and information to bye pass the gatekeeps giving rise to nationalist-populists who don’t seem inclined to prioritize strengthening democracy, their constituencies must at least appreciate having had the democratic opportunity to put them in power.

But have the very widespread democratic aspirations of people around the world declined?

I suspect not, but I am concerned that the structures and processes that enable fulfilment of those aspirations may be eroding and that there is a lack of international leadership in countering that erosion.

The inability in many countries to deliver broadly shared prosperity, the increased distance of the political class from everyday citizens and rampant corruption in many nations will be crucial as democratic and authoritarian leaders alike decide their trajectories.

There are, however, people on the streets yelling for increased equality in income, opportunity, and government efficacy.

These are the concepts at the very heart of well-functioning democracies.


It’s a decidedly wimpy and unexciting word and it often inspires derision as a kind of pallid purgatory for those afraid to take bold action or propound creative political ideas.

Centrists are the least supportive of democracy, the least committed to its institutions and the most supportive of authoritarianism.

Humans are not infinitely flexible or perfectible. They cannot use reason to transcend fully their basic impulses and prejudices.

Centrism, then, is defined by a number of assumptions and tendencies; it is not defined by policy dogmas.

Civilization is a brilliant achievement, and the centrist wishes to celebrate it. But such a celebration doesn’t require ignoring its flaws or discouraging innovations.

Societies and polities are incredibly complicated and our understanding of the way social systems and human nature interact is excruciatingly limited.

Ideas that require significant harm today to bring about a better tomorrow are particularly pernicious. Uncertainty about the future requires humility and a commitment to order and well-being in the here and now.

Although science cannot solve all social problems, it is the best instrument we have for measuring the success or failure of particular policies.

It is important, therefore, to protect vigilantly free speech and free inquiry so that the best ideas are rigorously debated in the public forum.

Political ideologies tend to blind people to the best policies.

One should not seek a “conservative” answer to poverty or a “liberal” answer to immigration.

Because humans are naturally tribal, factionalism is easy to create and dangerous for a broader cooperative union among dissimilar peoples.

It is useful to be sceptical of human nature in the broad sense but to be charitable to individuals, especially in the domain of public discourse. This charity encourages free and pleasant public debate and discourse; and, all things equal, free debate leads to the best solutions to complicated social problems.Résultat de recherche d'images pour "pictures of democracy"

2019 will see an election in the European Union and it is highly unlikely that any political party has a monopoly on truth.

However, Europe must seek the best answer.  to balance the will of the majority with the rights of the minority, so that the powerful many, cannot trample the few.

Why ?

Because warning signs are flashing red – Democracy is under threat.

THERE MUST BE REFORM NOT PROMISES in order to allow citizens to change previously made decisions.

Perhaps today’s problem resides in the erosion of the power democracies have to comply with this norm or promises. Yet this is a problem connected to the power of the sovereign state, rather than democracy.

The EU must prove to citizens that it can deliver tangible dividends in a consistent, transparent manner.

Democracy derives its attractiveness from its ability to absorb a wide variety of hopes, desires, and fears, which can include the desire to put strong men in power – Hilter

It’s reassuring to think authoritarian governments depart with their leaders.

It’s also wrong.

That government within the EU  are “social contract” between people and their rulers, which can be dissolved if rulers fail to promote the people’s welfare.

It will be its ability or inability to deliver both economically and politically, which will be fueling populism.

It’s not too long ago that the nations of Europe were led by monarchs, who exercised the divine right of kings and owed little or no consideration to the will of their subjects.

Democracy surely never had much appeal for “strongmen” who seem ascendant in various parts of the world.

History is on the side of the oppressed, not their oppressors.

Rising political polarization and populism signal dissatisfaction and if not addressed will divide the public into intolerant communities.

To counter all of this the EU should issue guaranteed peoples Bonds to allow its citizen member to invest in its future.

These bonds would allow its, citizens and businesses, to connect directly with rewards for doing so.

The Funds could be granted by an Independent, total transparent elected EU Citizens Organisation, independent from the EU budget, Commission or Parlement at a fixed rate of repayment into projects that encouraged sustainability, promoting environmental improvements, infrastructure, health, reduced cost of energy etc.

We cannot turn a blind eye to what I call Algorithms Democracy giving political power to the uninformed.

The larger point is either we are capable of self-rule or we are not.

The democratizing and decentralizing of information of the last few decades should improve our ability to engage in political discourse more effectively by loosening controls over who produces or provide information.

If it doesn’t, the fault will lie with ourselves.

It is as much up to us to use that freedom and resource carefully and responsibly, as it was up to the Athenian citizen to listen warily to the smooth-talking orators.

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(Four-minute read)

Dear Reader,

As if you didn’t know in a few days we in this part of the world will be celebrating the greatest consumer holiday of the year Christmas. A fourth Industrial Revolution Christmas that will take more than a generation to move our collective consciousness away from growth at all costs.

Résultat de recherche d'images pour "pictures of gdp"

Social change if it happens is at snail pace

Unfortunately, when we look at our world, our best chance for change is Climate Change that might remind us that our very existence is tied up with the existence of all living things.

On this point, we have a lot to learn from people on the periphery of the world system, the ones our governments have ignored and have referred to underdeveloped.

Instead of the western model of development which is driven more and more by technology (that remains unregulated) creating a deep conceptual distinction between subject and object, self and other, humanity and the natural world we need to reject linear thinking that lies at the heart of development and think more relationally.

The ecosystem must have inalienable rights to survive and flourish.

To do this we need to develop a new Socio-ecological revolution marked by direct democracy with gender equality.

Of course, there are trillions of written words, conferences, and signs on Social Media that this is already happing, but in reality, it is not likely, that degrowth will happen as quickly as is needed.

For all initiatives purposes, the battle against Capitalism which itself appears to be in conflict with the pressing need to stave off a planetary meltdown will continue until we realise too late that world conflicts are over fresh water, air, and food supplies.


The US, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait joined forces to prevent the conference fully embracing the IPCC’s findings, watering down a statement to a weak commendation of the timing of the scientists’ report. Australia joined with the US in a celebration of coal, and Brazil signalled its climate scepticism by withdrawing its offer to host next year’s talks.

The truth is that the world has little more than a decade to bring emissions under control and halve them, but like everything Climate is a commodity.

How are countries to abide by rules to curb carbon emissions when the very idea of green taxes and regulations are stigmatised as socialist or totalitarian?

As a result, countries cannot invest in building a zero-carbon infrastructure, when they are subject to Growth at all cost to pay the National debts.

When almost everything is privatised, operating in a free market run by algorithms for profit while poor countries cannot collect enough taxes due to trade liberalisation to meet spending on social services and reduce poverty never mind the climate.

Basically, we are all including most countries a sub-prime market for loan pushers like the World Bank, IMF. If we truly want to achieve change we must let Capitalism pick up the bill not create it.

Scrap all outstanding national debts, remove inequitable trade rules, move away from commodifying human life, democratise our major institutions of global governance, acknowledge that colonialism was a humanitarian disaster, get rid of begging on our airway and streets, curtail advertising, and replace GDP with gross national happiness as a measure of social progress.

GDP is that we’re measuring things at market prices. What people actually pay for things.

Yet we know very well that this is not the price at which people actually value something.

Just ask your self what is the value of two homeless people dying per night on the streets of London against Manchester United Manager on £18 million a year who is to be paid £23 billion to say goodbye. (Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham, clubs all owned by investors based overseas.)

We must, therefore, remember not only that GDP is a proxy for what we really want to know but also that it’s becoming an ever less reliable one.

We must understand that the Fourth Industrial Revolutions with the Internet often has an ‘everywhere but nowhere’ feel and this is why and where GDP is disappearing.

You only have to look at the Brexit mess that is rendering the Uk incapable of meeting the most serious challenge of the 21st century to understand that the economic systems that we have put in place for the last decades are in need of radical reform.

So we are beginning to be asked the question of how we’re going to live together in societies of tolerance and inclusion.

Too often, in our current world organisation that’s seen as a separate issue — not part of what development is about.

Of course, nothing can be achieved without trillions. (See the previous post on a world aid commission)

Happy Christmas to one and all.

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(Three-minute read)

Watching Britain trying to find a way out of its current constitutional crisis this week devolution to England is firmly back on the political agenda.Search results for "pictures of devolution"

History tells us that political leaders are often taken over by events.

With growing disquiet about the way the current set-up works, among both the public and MPs themselves Brexit, is turning into a Constitutional

The politics of English administration is becoming sharply polarised between the traditionalist instincts of the Conservative Party and the devolutionary demands of the Labour heartlands not mention Scotland and Northern Ireland or Wales all three facing funding implications.

The social and political turmoil of the 1980s saw the invention of a new and unofficial English boundary – the North-South divide which is now manifesting itself in Brexit.

What is revealed in all of this is an important facet of the English personality.

After 2,000 years of administrators trying to bully the population into neatly defined blocks, England has developed a natural distrust of straight lines on a map. They prefer the quirkiness of a complicated back-story, they like things to be irregular and idiosyncratic, revel in the fact that Americans cannot pronounce, never mind spell, Worcestershire.

In 1970 the Tories introduced the Local Government Bill. It was debated for months with MPs arguing over boundaries, place names, geography and history. The result was an act of parliament that, in attempting to satisfy everyone, infuriated millions.


The big question is what would be on the ballot paper: it could be a three-way referendum, with voters choosing between May’s deal, a harder Brexit/no deal, or Remain.

Northern England is increasingly resentful at the London-based government.

Scotland is on the verge of another referendum for independence.

Northern Ireland Assembly is disassembling.

Wales is ignored.


All of the above could be avoided, of course, if England stayed in the EU.

Instead, we are in a stalemate. The EU is unlikely to want to reopen talks until the vote has actually taken place on the withdrawal agreement which has a legal Backstop re the Irish border.

If there is no backstop, there will be no divorce deal and no transition period. In other words, there would be a disorderly Brexit and the UK would crash out of the EU in March 2019.

Brexit IS NOW a topic so complex and confused that I sensed every twinge of political pain in the reforms.

A mock customs post set up by anti-Brexit campaigners at Ravensdale, Co Louth, in April. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Perhaps, with the forthcoming European Elections with England still in the EU, a European vote on whether England should stay or leave might resolve the question that England can not.

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(Seven-minute read)

Facebook is more powerful than a nation-state.

Facebook is in the business of exploiting your data.Résultat de recherche d'images pour "pictures of the erosion of democracy"

Platforms like Facebook enable people’s data to be used in ways that take power away from voters and give it to data-analyzing campaigners.

Unfortunately, it seems that none of us sees this. We don’t hold media technology firms accountable for degrading our public conversations.

With only months to go before Britain exits the European Union, the English government is in meltdown oblivious to what is happening in the world beyond and how it connects to Britain

All eyes are transfixed on the EU exit sign.

Critically, both for the EU and England it’s what happened on Social media platforms like Twitter or Facebook that will remain the biggest question of all after Brexit.

Both Twitter and Facebook have become a giant funnel not just for dark ads, but for dark money that evades election finance laws and the control of money spent during elections is the very basis of our electoral laws.

If we are now failing to recognise the above we are failing to appreciate how social media is breaking our democracy.Résultat de recherche d'images pour "pictures of the erosion of democracy"

While we all are all burying our heads in the sand of smartphone it is obvious that Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter are the perfect cover for something far more chilling controlling the expression of public opinion in the political debate.

Although Twitter and Facebook are categorised as social networking services, in fact, they are as different as chalk and cheese. And, of the two, Twitter is more important in one respect: its impact on the arena in which societies discuss their political issues.

Twitter also has the capacity to turn “ordinary” people into broadcasters, a development whose implications we are only just beginning to digest. Yellow Jackets, Brixiters who form the conclusion are perhaps three hundred miles distant from those who hear the arguments?

Technologies such as Twitter, which offer real-time tracking of public opinion, are the visible foundations of the Arab Spring, Donald Trump’s election, Brexit and the Yellowjackets.

Democracy and the rule of law are been subverted in plain sight.

If you look at the USA Twitter is the de facto newswire for the planet, which means that a company that can regulate expressions of opinion might be very powerful indeed.

And that should make us nervous.

So is there anything that can be done?

No much unless we pass laws regulating these platforms and make them responsible for what is posted on their platforms.

One of the most striking aspects of the epoch-making Brexit is (as with the Syrian War the Iraq, and Yemen war) is the way many MPs cited the emailed opposition of their constituents to armed intervention as a reason for voting against the proposed action.

Thus, it is evident that we are all increasingly embracing the importance of social media and its value in modern human communication.

However, this trend can only be assumed as the beginning of an envisioned well connected and digital adept world.

So recent history has evidenced that Social Media is a potent tool with transformational abilities to shape and influence the way in which people communicate and share information.

One of the qualities that define Social Media is its ability to transcend beyond borders, without observing spatial distance that exists between and amongst the geographies.

In addition, social media connects individuals on a semi-personal level, while allowing instantaneous feedback and dialogue.

But, this does not rule out the possible abuse of such innocent yet powerful platforms of communications.

Different sectors ranging from government to business also embeds and encourages the embracement of social media platforms into their processes in order to enhance organisational efficiency.

We might be gradually realising the significance of social media for democratic benefits that it is seen as an agent of public discourse and a driver of public participation and freedom of speech amid political and democratic uncertainty.

It might be rising the political and democratic consciousness but the power of social media in the political and democratic dispensation cannot be underestimated.

Is social media damaging democracy? Yes, but we can also use social media to save democracy.

We have to stop governments from colluding with an omniscient surveillance superpower but use it as their eyes to see the inequalities we all live in.


Just as there is nothing inevitable about democratic survival, neither is the demise of democracy guaranteed.

These changes are especially likely to go unnoticed when popularly elected leaders twist laws to their advantage or frame attacks on checks and balances as populist reforms limiting the power of elites.

Civil society must reclaim its rightful place by demanding genuine participation in governance, including decisions on peace initiatives, environmental protection and trade and investment agreements.

A large part of humanity still doesn’t have it. Résultat de recherche d'images pour "pictures of the erosion of democracy"

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(Five-minute read)

As the Brexit ‘meaningful vote’ in Parliament is delayed what, exactly, will

MPs vote on? and what will be left of a burning Britain?

Under the Bill of Rights of 1689, it is for parliament and parliament alone to

govern its own proceedings, which includes interpreting the consequences of

it’s motions.Résultat de recherche d'images pour "pictures a meaningful vote"

So it follows that in order to have a meaning or purposes with an assigned function the people’s meaningfully vote must be a General Election.


Because without a written constitution the Crown has the final say, not forgetting that it is the EU that has the right to withhold its consent on the final deal.

God only knows these days what is meaningful.

Think about things that are meaningful to you, words of wisdom, people that inspire you, or even a piece of art that speaks to you!

We had meaningful dialogue with Donald Trump.

When it comes Brexit there is no doubting that lies made a meaningful contribution to the referendum prior to people voting out.

In a mechanical sense, Brexit would now be disturbing the workings and the structure of the European Union more but for the spirit and future perspective and meaningfulness of the European Union.

By meaningfulness, one has to ask which has the quality of having great value or significance, England or the Europen Union.

We are left with pondering just what is a stake.

Is Brexit communicating something that is not directly possible to expressed like big, consequential, earth-shattering, earthshaking, eventful, historic, important, major, material, momentous, monumental, much, significant, substantial, tectonic, weighty?

Or is it just a storm in a teacup.

As in many Brexit end-game scenarios, however, there could still be a mismatch between British and European law:

The UK parliament can do nothing to bind the rest of the EU into continuing to treat the UK as a member state.

Unless something changes, however, the UK’s membership really will—under international law, and more specifically the Article 50 procedure of the Treaty of Lisbon—simply cease on 29th March at 11pm GMT, potentially with no deal.

There is no automatic way for England to force Brussels to pay attention and interrupt the Article 50 process:

In other words, if parliament wants to stop Brexit or give time to adjust the approach, it must either use brute political pressure to change the government’s mind or otherwise change the government.

“Press Pause”

The most fundamental ground rule of the British constitution remains the same as it ever has been: The crown in parliament is law. When the crown, which in effect means the government of the day, forgets about the parliament bit, its power will not long endure.

The “traditional” means of forcing a government out—through an election after a no-confidence vote—has certainly become harder to accomplish under the Fixed-term Parliaments Act;



Ignoring the point that votes are supposed to have equal value, wherever you live.

Come election time, most constituencies have no prospect of changing hands. This means that the few marginal seats and the small number of swing voters, who live in them decide the government.

Now, in the new world of online campaigning, and with the ability of companies such as Facebook to produce detailed profiles of its users, first past the post is more vulnerable than ever.

When the world’s most primitive voting system is targeted by the world’s most sophisticated data outfits, democracy doesn’t stand a chance.


With proportional representation, the share of seats each party wins reflects the share of the vote they receive. There are tried-and-tested systems of PR in use across the world – and in the UK’s devolved assemblies – that keep a local constituency link and give voters far more power to decide who will represent them.

Every vote counts with PR, not just the marginal ones, so it takes millions of votes to change the final result.

PR would make elections far more resilient to the rapid evolution of big data and micro-targeting; it would free political parties from a joyless arms race in marginal constituencies, and it would make everyone’s vote matter.

Around 85% of developed countries already use some form of PR.

There you have it, not the I’s to the right nor the I’s to the left but a meaningful vote.

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(Two-minute read)


Such as THE OBSERTITY OF PAYING £150m a year in regard to moving the European Parliament once a month from Brussels to Strasbourg.

But why should the citizens of the EU continue to pay a man who has caused immeasurable harm to the institution itself?

A man who has consistently defied his oath upon becoming an MEP?

MEPs earn €101,808 a year before tax and receive thousands more in expenses for staff, travel and office costs. Farage’s pension is understood to be worth £73,000 a year and he will also be entitled to a transitional allowance worth £117,000 when he steps down as an MEP in 2019, as the UK leaves the EU.

Farage is one of eight Ukip MEPs who was investigated in 2017 for misuse of EU funds.

Farage, who has been an MEP for 18 years, has one of the worst attendance records at the parliament in Brussels and Strasbourg. He is ranked 748 out of 751 MEPs and has taken part in only 37% of votes in the current parliamentary session, according to VoteWatch Europe.

IF THERE IS a DEAL OR  NO DEAL AND THE UK RENEGES ON ITS LEGAL FINANCIAL COMMITMENTS TO THE EU –  Nigel Farage along with former British MEP’S and EU officials should be stripped of their EU Golden Parachute payment and EU Pension.

With their combined pot worth an estimated £10 million a saving of an estimated £500,00 a year in pensions.

Some time ago he was docked half his monthly MEP salary.

The EU European Council are indicating the Brexit bill will include UK budgetary rights and obligations. This will include MEPs pensions. If the UK agree to the EU’s proposals, then Nigel Farage will receive an EU pension.


As for keeping the symbolism of where the EU was started alive if France wants to move the parliament monthly from Brussels to Strasbourg for this purpose let France pay. French police detain a protester during clashes in Paris

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(Three-minute read)

With an uncertain future of increased automation, as we all watch technology make us redundant and social media tearing our society apart one of the big questions is:

Would a Universal Basic Income be a Social Vaccine of the 21st Century or a terrible idea.,


Because there is a colossal shift happing in the world, and especially in the world of work. The gigantic transformation that we call digitalization won’t mean that work disappears, but that the kind of work will change at a speed that has never happened before. Millions will either lose their jobs or invent a new one. To do so we need to be independent of technology that is now just not ruling the stock exchange but recommending what we do hear or say.

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Proponents of UBI say that it reduces poverty and income inequality, encourages employment and skills training, and values normally unpaid roles such as homemakers and caregivers,  it improves the health of recipients and empowers women.

Opponents of UBI say that it does not reduce poverty, that it deprives the poor of needed targeted support, provides a disincentive to work, and weakens the economy. They also say it is unaffordable and less effective than targeted aid and welfare.

So how could it revolutionise our society? How could it backfire?

It could act as a sort of security net for the millions of people who will be left jobless by the tech revolution.

It could make leaving an abusive partner easy and would unleash the potential of countless people trapped by domestic violence.

It could allow care-workers to support themselves, encouraging care work and taking pressure off public services that provide care to the sick and elderly.

It could help balance inequality by bringing everyone’s income above the poverty line.

It could cut a country’s spending by eliminating social welfare benefits, food stamps, subsidised housing.

It could contribute to the economy by recipients starting their own business.

It could if with successful implementation mean improvements in food security, stress, mental health, physical health, housing, education, and employment.

The biggest concern is that UBI would incite millions of workers to stop working. If people aren’t working, there is less taxable income. However, people may choose to stop working for reasons that benefit society as a whole, like getting a better education or caring for an elderly relative.

It raises the question is money a birthright?

Rather than reducing the overall headcount of those in poverty, a BI [basic income] would change the composition of the income-poor population and thus would not prove to be an effective tool for reducing poverty. If people are paid unconditionally, to do nothing… they will do nothing and this leads to a less efficient economy, in order to motivate people there needs to be an element of uncertainty for the future.

Of course, this leads us back to the fact for Capitalism to operate it needs poverty.

Capitalist countries are built on the ideological foundation that money is something we earn – UBI would completely change this.

Some believe that community service should be a requirement for receiving UBI as it does not cure addiction, poor health, lack of skills, or other factors that contribute to poverty.

It would be too expensive.

At a level which can guarantee an acceptable standard of living is “impossibly expensive… Either the level of basic income is unacceptably low, or the cost of providing it is unacceptably high.

These are the best argument against UBI. The cost of living would end uprising and politically there is significant bias against unconditional transfer programs.

However, the simple idea to solve inequality and revolutionise our lives with UBI lies in the power of choice.

Managing the risk of automation obsolescence while also tending to rise poverty remains one of the greatest challenges facing both advanced and developing economies. These problems won’t be solved simply with a guaranteed income nor will they be solved with present programmes that kick in when people have hit rock bottom, rather than trying to prevent them from getting there in the first place.

There are two challenges ahead with UBI.

The first is to spread the basic idea so that it continues to move from fringe to mainstream.

The second is to build it into a workable policy with a political base.

To date despite some bipartisan support, the concept has failed to gain enough traction to pass either challenge.

Surely it would be far cheaper to give people a life of dignity, than a life of desperation.

The purpose of UBI is to give every person the ability to live without being beholden to a capitalist system however without socialist additions it would be almost worthless.

Robots are not here yet to pay tax, but profit-seeking algorithms are.

For me, there is only one way to help the world and us.

(See the previous posts on a World Aid Commission)

All human comments appreciated. All abuse and like clicks chucked in the bin.