Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Unemployment is a recruiting sergeant for Daesh

Earlier this year, a defector from Daesh (ISIS) produced a database of Daesh recruits in the year 2013-4.

Typically, they are young (mean age 27), single, relatively well-educated, with average understanding of Islam - and *unemployed*. 19% had significant experience of unemployment, and in Arab countries, no employment means no prospects - and therefore no wife. To be unemployed is to be without hope, and therefore it is a fairly easy step from there to joining Daesh, with its promise of a different life as a soldier of the victorious Caliphate.

Also, Daesh is having a recruitment drive in Bosnia, where unemployment is high.

This is not saying that unemployment causes terrorism. But it looks as if it is one factor in people's decision to join Daesh, and therefore politicians should look again at unemployment, not just as an unfortunate side effect of the market economy, but as a dangerous and unacceptable insult to all people of working age,HVDC especially young people. Politicians should understand that there is much good work to be done, and find ways of making sure that unemployed people are helped to do that work. The task in the Middle East must be to capture solar energy and turn it into usable electricity, erect HVDC lines to distribute the energy, to harvest every drop of rain that falls on a roof, to grow food and recycle waste. And that's just for starters.

Green Wage Subsidy is a simple way of turning unemployment into good work.

Unemployment is bad for people, bad for communities, bad for peace and bad for the planet.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

13 reasons that the Brexit vote is not the Democratic Will of the People

Yesterday Sterling fell to a 168-year low as Parliament was trying to discuss Brexit.
Brexiters repeat their mantra: it is the Democratic Will of the People.
Brexit is not the Will of the People; it is just a deeply flawed advisory referendum.
Here are the flaws:

  1. The referendum result was designed to be based on a simple majority. If 17,000,001 had voted for Brexit, and 16,999,999 had voted to Remain, Theresa May would still be running round in circles shouting "Brexit means Brexit".

    The fact is that to change the constitution of the local tennis club or any other group, it is normal to demand a supermajority, as for instance, 67% against 33%.
  2. 17.4 million voted for Brexit, but 16.1 million voted to Remain. The majority was therefore 1.3 million votes. 1,269,501 to be exact, out of an electorate of 46,499,537. That is 2.7% of the electorate. 2.7% is hardly the Will of the People. It is more like the Will of 2.7% of the People.
  3. Before the election, Farage said that a 48/52 result would be "unfinished business" in his view. Not one broadcaster or journalists has raised this with him after the election.
  4. The Brexit vote was won on the basis of lies such as "£350 million a week for the NHS". These lies set a precedent for undermining the accuracy of information in future elections, which in itself undermines democracy. Promises about freedom of movement and fish quotas by the Leave campaign were also abandoned after the referendum
  5. In the 2015 General election, the Green Party of England and Wales got 1,157,613 votes - pretty much the same as the Referendum majority.
    The 1m Green voters were rewarded with 1 (one) MP.
    The 1m Leave voters were rewarded with the biggest plunge into constitutional and economic unknowns in UK history.
    All votes are equal, but some votes are more equal than others, it seems.
  6. 1.2 million Brits living in the EU were denied a chance to vote in the Referendum. If they had been given a voice, the chances are that the margin would have been even more slender, because many of them are dismayed by the result.
  7. 1.5 million 16-17 year olds were denied a vote, unlike the Scottish Referendum
  8. The terms of the Brexit deal were not known. We have a right to vote on the terms
  9. Strict spending limits were spent on campaigning groups, but none on the 5 anti-EU billionaires who own 3/4 of the news readership, who were able to benefit for £millions of free advertorial space
  10. 40% of voters knew nothing about EU democracy
  11. Revisions of referendum decisions when the results and implication are known have a long series of precedents going back to ancient Greece
  12. The referendum was stated to be advisory, but is now being treated as mandatory by Brexiters
  13. 6% of Leave voters now regret their decision to vote Leave. (Scroll down to th eheading Regrets? we've had a few)

[points 7-12 are sourced from the excellent Donnachad McCarthy's equally excellent book]

Still, never mind - it may never happen:

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Green Wage Subsidy - Turning a dead dole into a stimulus for the green economy

One of the weaknesses of free-market capitalism is its tendency to undergo periodic downswings, recessions and depressions, which cause widespread hardship through unemployment and poverty, together with the risks of political instability and war. In a recession, and also in a normally functioning economy, we must ensure that the economy is restarted in a green way. We can create a healthy and beneficial demand in the economy by addressing ecological needs (that is, the needs of environment and society) meaningfully, and at the same time prepare the ground for an introduction of Citizen’s Income by turning unemployment benefits into a Green Wage Subsidy (GWS) as set out below.

EC735 Every local authority will be required to set up Tribunals empowered to judge, systematically according to set criteria, whether the processes and product of public services or private enterprise who come before them are of net benefit to society and/or environment. 

Applicants would typically be operating in the following fields: 

1. energy conservation

2. renewable energy technologies

3. energy efficient goods manufacture 

4. pollution control technology

5. waste minimisation

6. repair 

7. recycling

8. water management

9. sustainable agriculture

10. forestry and timber use

11. countryside management

12. housing - new building and refurbishment

13. improvements to visual environment

14. public transport

15. education and training

16. counselling, caring and healing

17. community work

18. leisure and tourism

19. innovation, research and development

20. in some high unemployment areas, any ethical business which passes a certain threshold in its environmental audit.

EC736. Businesses and public enterprises who think they might qualify may go to the Tribunals seeking "Green Accreditation”. Any economic grouping may apply: public services including local authorities, co-operatives, and private enterprises. The sole criterion for acceptance is that the outcome of their work is to the benefit of society and environment. If successful, they may take on new workers (i.e. in addition to their present establishment) from Job Centres. New workers taken on under this scheme will be allowed to keep their unemployment benefit in their new job. This can be seen as an extension of the present “Earnings Disregard”. In this way, “Job Seekers’ Allowance” and other forms of unemployment benefit change from being a “dead dole” into a Green Wage Subsidy (GWS) which stimulates the green sector of the local economy.

An appeal process will be provided.

EC737 The new employees will retain their benefit payments on entering their new work, and the employer will  bring their remuneration up to the normal rate of pay for the job they are now doing.  The result is that the worker has work and a better income as a result of taking on work, and the employer has a bigger workforce for a smaller outlay than would normally be the case, as his payroll is now subsidised by the benefits agency.
There is no time limit for this arrangement, so that in this regard it behaves in the same way as a Citizen’s Income (CI). 

EC738 It will be illegal for employers to replace previous establishment with GWS workers, and if workers believe that they have been so replaced they can make a complaint to the Tribunals, who would have powers to reinstate the worker or, in the case of repeated offences, to revoke the offending company’s accreditation. Participation in the scheme will be entirely voluntary on the part of both employees and employers. The scheme will be outwith of any existent rules which provide sanctions for claimants who refuse work, and in the event of a claimant refusing work offered by accredited employers, there will not be any withdrawal of benefit.

EC739 In order to avoid unfair competition between established companies and putative start-up companies, those companies applying for accreditation must have been in existence for a five years. In special local circumstances, this rule may be adjusted by the tribunal.

EC740 The GWS money would otherwise have been given to unemployed people on condition that they do nothing, which is the present status of Unemployment Benefit, and is the cause of the present notorious unemployment and poverty traps. Therefore, in the short term there would be no cost to public sector finances, since the money would have been paid out in any case, as unemployment benefit. Some of the GWS money would come back to Government in the form of increased tax revenues, and yet more would come back to society in qualitative improvements such as improved services, diminished inequality and improved morals. Because the GWS is permanent (as opposed to being time limited, which is the case with similar benefits at present) there would be a long term cost analogous to that of CI. These costs are consonant with Keynesian doctrine of the state stimulating work in times of economic depression.

Monday, October 03, 2016

Liam Fox suffering from cognitive dissonance

In his Conservative Party Conference speech Liam Fox said : "Globalisation represents an acceleration of the trend in which the world is increasingly compressed economically, culturally and politically. We cannot insulate ourselves from instability in far-flung parts of global economy".

But on the other hand Fox believes that we can insulate ourselves from the EU, which is on our doorstep. This kind of cognitive dissonance issues from the mouth of politicians when they face no effective opposition, neither in Parliament nor in the media. It is the kind of thinking that leads to irrationality, a separation from reality, and, in the end, disaster.


Andrea Leadsom
Got up and said some
Fine words about Brexit, 
And people believed her. Next it
Turns out that she's up for PM
Along with, not Boris, but Govey and Liam, 
But they got knocked out.
Some called into doubt
Her political clout
So she pulls out, 
Turns retreat into rout.

But at least we all got to read some

Diverting facts about Andrea Leadsom