Sunday, December 25, 2016
Friday, December 23, 2016
Thursday, December 22, 2016
It was almost inevitable that Weekly Worker would eventually draw to a close my exchanges with Phil Sharpe but sadly they gave Phil the final word and chose not to publish my last reply (no hard feelings, they have been extremely generous with their space).
So here it is, just for the record.
So here it is, just for the record.
Phil (WW 15 Dec) repeats his mis-labeling of capitalism as socialism with the assertion that the allocation of resources requires a prices system and that value continues in his “socialism”, as does production for profit, although the standard socialist view is that the law of value will be abolished and production for profit replaced by production for use.
According to Paresh Chattopadhyay: "The problem of rationally allocating productive resources in an economy is common to all human societies at least as long as these resources remain relatively limited compared to needs. However, there is no need to assume that this allocation could be effected rationally (if at all) only through the exchange of resources taking the value (price) form."
As Engels originally explained: “The useful effects of the various articles of consumption, compared with one another and with the quantities of labour required for their production, will, in the end, determine the plan. People will be able to manage everything very simply, without the intervention of much-vaunted "value"… As long ago as 1844 I stated that the above-mentioned balancing of useful effects and expenditure of labour on making decisions concerning production was all that would be left, in a communist society, of the politico-economic concept of value.”
Phil confuses the rational allocation of resources as such with the allocation of resources unique to the price system. The allocation through the value form of the products of human labour is only "a particular social manner of counting labour employed in the production of an object.” (Marx)
As for Phil’s “industrial democracy”, workers still have to go out into the market-place in search for a slice of the profit pie, and that slice will have to be extracted from other workers. Social ownership is not about competing enterprises where every worker is vying with all the others.
Phil says my "moralistic reference to conspicuous consumption seems to suggest that distribution could occur in authoritarian terms in his future socialist society.”
What I wrote was, “much of what we falsely consider to be essential to our well-being - the pursuit of status via conspicuous consumption - will be rendered totally meaningless. In socialism, the only way to gain the respect of your fellows is through your contribution to society and not what you take out of it.”
Capitalism drives us to consume and it has created an entire advertising industry devoted to the psychological manipulation of our desires. But Phil turns it topsy-turvy by insisting freeing ourselves from such mass techniques of emotional blackmail is an authoritarian act. How Phil can reach his conclusion is beyond me. In a voluntary society such as socialism, there would be no group which will possess the political leverage of the control over the necessities of life by which to dominate others, which has been the feature of all private-property, class-based societies, because there will exist free access to goods and services which denies that power of exclusion over others.
There is no reason to correct the assessment that Phil is no socialist. His defence that he simply revising Marx possesses no merit, for he is rejecting the core fundamentals of Marxism yet still holding on to a spurious entitlement of being called a Marxist and that is being unprincipled, in my opinion.
Tuesday, December 20, 2016
Monday, December 19, 2016
Sunday, December 18, 2016
Tuesday, December 13, 2016
“Liberalisation and restructuring have created a conflict between a world of public service, where the postman saw himself as a representative of the state and was committed to values of fairness and equality and a world of money where the only thing that counts is getting a sale. It’s really important that we don’t treat suicides as a kind of barometer for workplace conditions.” - Philippe Charry from the postal workers union, Force Ouvrière
“We can no longer accept a position where management continuously increases a person’s workload, as jobs are cut. It is ordinary workers who are bearing the brunt of the economic and financial pressures facing the company” - Régis Blanchot from the trade union SUD-PTT, another of the postal workers' unions.
All deja vu for this retired Royal Mail employee.
“We can no longer accept a position where management continuously increases a person’s workload, as jobs are cut. It is ordinary workers who are bearing the brunt of the economic and financial pressures facing the company” - Régis Blanchot from the trade union SUD-PTT, another of the postal workers' unions.
All deja vu for this retired Royal Mail employee.
Monday, December 12, 2016
Friday, December 09, 2016
The United States freely admitted it committed a war crime yet there has been little outcry.
US Central Command (Centcom) said it launched a “precision strike” on a building within the al-Salem hospital complex from which Isis fighters had for more than a day launched “heavy” machine gun and rocket-propelled grenade fire on Iraqi forces. The coalition did not say if any patients or civilians were present at the scene of the airstrike on the “building on the hospital complex” nor did it answer a question about any noncombatants being killed or wounded.
Human rights groups have warned that the increase in attacks on hospitals threatens to deal a durable blow to the recognized concept of sanctuaries in war.
Wednesday, December 07, 2016
Saturday, November 12, 2016
Monday, November 07, 2016
Saturday, November 05, 2016
The Paris 2015 climate agreement is now officially in force. The stated goal of the agreement is to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) or ideally 1.5 degrees Celsius. In order to limit global warming to a maximum of 2 degrees, coal, oil and gas must be mostly phased out as energy sources by 2050 - to achieve the 1.5 degree target, this would need to happen even earlier.
In order to limit global warming to 1.5 or 2 degrees, according to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), countries' reduction targets submitted to date are not sufficient.
Even if all targets were achieved, according to calculations by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), the Earth temperature would probably rise by 2.4 to 2.7 degrees by the end of this century.
A temperature increase of 1.5 degrees Celsius and sea levels would probably rise by "only" 40 centimeters by 2100. But a temperature increase of 2 degrees could mean by 2100 sea levels would be about 50 centimeters higher than today, and through ongoing ice melt from 1.5 to 4 meters higher by 2300. This would have devastating consequences for coastal regions around the world. The Netherlands, Bangladesh, Venice, New York, Tokyo, Sydney, Mumbai and London would all be hard hit.
Droughts, extreme storms and crop failure are further consequences.
Wednesday, October 26, 2016
The United Nations must no longer tolerate the scandal of secrecy jurisdictions that facilitate tax evasion, corruption and money-laundering,” said the UN Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order Alfred de Zayas to the General Assembly. Secrecy jurisdictions are also known as tax havens.
De Zayas particularly pointed to the human costs of such actions, noting that trillions of dollars kept offshore to escape taxation take away necessary resources to combat extreme poverty and address climate change. “Corruption, bribery, tax fraud and tax evasion have such grave effects on human dignity, human rights and human welfare that they shock the conscience of mankind. They should be prosecuted nationally and internationally,” he stated.
He described this “systematic looting of society” in a new report presented to the General Assembly where he found that up to $32 trillion USD is held in offshore secrecy jurisdictions around the world.
According to the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), this costs developing countries more than $100 billion USD per year. In 2011 alone, developing nations lost almost $950 billion USD due to illicit financial flows, including tax evasion. According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), this was seven times more than the official development assistance, the official term for aid, provided that year and substantially higher than the estimated costs of achieving the Millennium Development Goals.
Monday, October 24, 2016
In Europe, 24 percent of the people are 60 and over, and no country has a birthrate sufficient to maintain current population sizes. Who but immigrants can work and fund Europe’s welfare states for its graying publics?
The United Nations’ World Population Prospects says that only 10 percent of global population is in Europe, which is projected to have fewer people in 2050 than today. Just 16 percent of the world’s population is in Africa, but “more than half of global population growth between now and 2050 is expected to occur” there. It will have the world’s highest growth rate, and 41 percent of its people currently are under 15.
Friday, October 14, 2016
Soybean oil is used as a table oil and, increasingly, as a biofuel. Aside from that, it is a major part of our diet. Humans directly consume only a relatively small proportion of the protein-packed foodstuff in the form of products such as tofu and soy milk. But we do eat a lot of it indirectly. Some 75 percent of soybeans are used for poultry, pork and other animal feed. China is by far the largest consumer. China's soybean imports will hit a record 86 million tons for the year 2016-17. An average European consumes 18.6 kilograms of chicken and 214 eggs in one year, which altogether takes 27.8 kilograms of soy to produce.
In 2012, the world produced around 270 million tons of soy. This will nearly double to 514 million tons by 2050. And that means more land for growing soy - and possibly more deforestation. Ten years ago, environmental group Greenpeace drew global attention to the destruction of vast swaths of the Amazon forest in Brazil from a seemingly unlikely source - soybean plantations. From 2001 to 2006, soybean plantations expanded by 1 million hectares in the Brazilian Amazon, leading to record deforestation rates. The ensuing outcry pushed Brazil to introduce a moratorium, which has drastically cut forest clearance for soybean production over the past 10 years, studies say.
But environmental groups such as WWF say soy plantations are still causing deforestation in Brazil and other Latin American countries. This is threatening wildlife, the global climate, water reserves, soil quality and people, and is causing social unrest. In Paraguay, for instance, small-scale farmers are struggling to uphold their traditional lifestyles in the face of increasing soy monocultures and deforestation. Some 3.5 million hectares of soy fields now stretch across the country.
Thursday, October 13, 2016
Wednesday, October 12, 2016
Meat-eating is a human rights issue, but also a sustainability issue
The most efficient meat is chicken, and it requires nine calories in the form of wheat or soy or whatever other crop you're feeding to the chicken to get one calorie back out. When we produce and eat chicken, we're effectively throwing away 800 percent of the food that's produced, because it takes nine calories in the form of bean crops to get one calorie back out. For pork, it's 15 calories in for one calorie back out. For beef it's 23 to 25 calories in for one calorie back out. This is an insane inefficient and wasteful system of food production.
800 million people living in nutritional deficit, which is a euphemism — they're starving. And a former UN special envoy on food, Jean Ziegler, said that the diversion of corn and wheat to bio-fuels is a human rights crime.
If you're taking that corn and wheat and turning it into bio-fuels, that creates a demand for corn and wheat and it drives up the price. The result is that people are priced out. We’re creating competition for that corn and wheat between people who are starving and our gas tanks. And yet we continue to use vast amounts of wheat and corn to feed chickens, pigs, and other farm animals. And of course we haven’t even mentioned soy, where more than 80 percent of the global soy crop is fed to farm animals. Rainforests are being decimated in order to graze animals and grow soy for export to be fed to farm animals.
It's a scientific impossibility that the 170 plus governments that have signed the Paris Agreement, which pledged to keep climate change to under 2 degrees Celsius by 2050, will meet that goal, unless animal product consumption goes down. Animal agriculture was found to be responsible for about 18 percent of global climate change, which is roughly 40 percent more than all of the airplanes, cars, trucks, and other forms of transport combined.
Tuesday, October 11, 2016
Monday, October 10, 2016
The film deals with the recent struggles of precarious migrant workers from rural areas in the export-processing zones of Faridabad and Gurgaon, including the Hindi workers' newspaper project associated with the Kamunist Kranti group
Sunday, October 09, 2016
The Amazon is home to the world's highest levels of biodiversity, with more than 430 mammal species, 1,300 bird species, 56,000 plant and tree species, 5,600 fish species, 1,000 amphibian species, and 2.5 million insect species. Just one hectare of Yasuní National Park in the Ecuadorian Amazon contains 655 endemic tree species, more than all of the tree species in the United States and Canada combined. Oil-driven deforestation gravely threatens this complex web of biodiversity, with recent studies linking major, exponential extinctions to forest loss.
U.S. crude imports are in overall decline, the report notes. But imports from the Amazon are on the rise, so much so that the U.S. is now importing more crude oil from the Amazon than from any single foreign country.
"Existing and proposed oil and gas blocks in the Amazon cover 283,172 square miles, an area larger than the state of Texas," per the report. "Oil is presently being extracted from only 7% of these blocks, yet national governments aim to exploit an additional 40%, including those slated for pristine, mega-diverse forests such as Ecuador's Yasuní National Park, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve."
Tuesday, October 04, 2016
Monday, October 03, 2016
Imagine a world without money? No food, no houses, no markets, no job, no medication for people who are sick. There will be no survival unless people will start becoming cannibals or start eating raw animal meat but then people become sick because there might be a disease and can’t be cured because there’s no medicine. There will be no schools then no education that means there won’t be doctors, lawyers, vets or builders and that means no money to survive. We can’t make homes or make food. People will have a very short life. If the humans are lucky they will find water which they can only live on for 1 week then they will be dead. The only two living things on this earth will be animals and plants because animals and plants live on water and animals can eat their own kind. On the other hand if there is no money issues there will be no crime, no destruction but people won’t know what the meaning of trust, honesty and love is. Humans will have to start discovering things like they did 5000 years ago and work towards how it is today. They will learn how to reproduce and the generations will grow. People will learn how to make fires and cook their food. The people will start making homes and have an education and become somebody, they will start making money. They will be able to make medicine to cure the unhealthy. People will have long healthy lives although most plants will be cut down and most animals will be extinct. The people will build factories, motorize vehicles and that will mean pollution. Wars and battles will start. Weapons will be made. Killing machines will be invented. People will be getting greedy because of money. Evil will prevail money is the root of all evil. Humans will fight for as much money. Why do we have lotteries? So they can lots of money when they already have lots of money. Example the Apple company. Haven’t they already sold lots of i-phones, i-pods and i-pads and got lots of money but they still continue to sell lots of products. Why do they sell their products because they want more money. Money has taken over. Some humans have chosen money over love. Now there is some humans that don’t have money because of those humans that are to greedy to come them some then those humans who don’t have money of food will become thieves and then the crime rate will go higher. What I have wrote is that there are two sides which is having money and having no money. Some of it is good but most of it is bad. We all know that we need money to survive , buy food and keep healthy but money is mostly the root of evil. The trade exchange between countries cannot happen without money. This will cause a downfall of the economy of the country. Money is not all but you need it enough to survive.
Saturday, October 01, 2016
In order to prove that Jesus Christ existed, one must have basic historical facts that can be agreed upon in official records. Though it doesn't necessarily make Jesus a historic figure to assign him a birthplace or a birthday, it's a good start. Unfortunately, neither the bible nor church documents can sustain the claim that Jesus was born on the twenty-fifth of December (a date assigned to most of the saviours of the ancient world, including: Adonis, Attis, Pan, Bacchus, Osiris and Dionysus among countless others). Even the Bible cannot agree with itself, in Luke (1.199), Jesus is said to have been born during the time of Quirinus, making his birth a fourteen-year difference from the time of Matthew (1.199).
So the day and year aren't known exactly; so what! That doesn't mean anything. Unless one realises that his most intimate friends supposedly wrote the gospels during the lifetimes of his mother and siblings Understanding that Jesus' birth is not verifiable through any written document is essential to knowing that he wasn't a real person and only a Universal sun myth (consider this: Jesus' death was accompanied by the darkening of the sun, his resurrection happens to be the date of the vernal equinox, and that this date has progressively shifted from the 25th December to the 6th January). (3.272).
What about the events surrounding his birth? Are they real? No, and they can easily be refuted with a little knowledge of world mysticism and language. In the Gospels, the word for stable is Katalemna, but this word’s actual meaning is a temporary shelter or cave (1.32). Among the babies born in a cave is Pan, Mithras, and Zeus (again...there are many more). The birth of Mithras was said to have been witnessed by three shepherds, equivalent to Jesus’ three wise men (1.33). Even the presents offered unto Jesus were those offered to Adonis, whose sacred incense was myrrh.
The town of Bethlehem was the supposed birthplace of this supposed saviour. The name Bethlehem means ‘house of bread’. Adonis was the god of corn and the god of bread. The star that the three wise men had followed to the birth of Jesus was, in Egypt, a yearly omen of the flooding of the Nile. The flooding of the Nile is associated with the ‘world renewing power of Osiris,’ so it is obvious that this star symbolised in the ancient world the ‘coming of the lord’ (1.33).
What of the miraculous virgin birth? It seems that this too is simply an appropriation of mythology. Throughout most of the ancient religions it is extremely common to have a god impregnate a virgin woman (3.275). From China to Siam and even Mexico to Palestine, all gods chose the method of impregnating virgin women to come into this world. Jesus was born to Mary, Buddha to Maia (as well as Hermes), Agni to Maya, Adonis to Myrrha, Bacchus to Myrrha, and so on (2.301). Most, if not all of these women, ascended to heaven and each were known as ‘Queen of Heaven’.
What about the surrounding situation of this god-man’s death? Well, ‘Good Friday falls not before the spring equinox, but as soon after the spring equinox as the full moon allows, thus making the calculation depend upon the position of the sun in the zodiac and the phases of the moon.’ (3.273). What did that mean? It meant that the festival originally designed to celebrate the Pagan goddess of fertility, Oestera, has become what the Christians now call Easter.
Needless to say, the eggs and rabbits are symbols of fertility and NOT Jesus’ crucifixion.
This calls into question whether or not Jesus was in fact crucified. Cross has a general meaning of stake in the New Testament. Jews used to display the bodies of those they had stoned to death on stakes. In the Acts of the Apostles, Peter says that Jesus was “hung on a tree”, and so does St Paul in his letter to the Galatians. Attis and Adonis were both hung on a tree as well, the latter being known as “He on the tree.”
Before the crucifixion, both Jesus and Dionysus wore purple robes, crowns - the former of thorns, the latter of ivy – and both were given wine to drink. Jesus dies next to two thieves. One goes up to heaven with him and the other goes to hell. Eleusis, as well as Dionysus and Mithras, have on their side two torch-bearers, one pointing the torch upwards and the other pointing the torch downwards (symbolising the ascent to heaven and the descent to hell) (1.51). The story originates with the Greek brothers Castor and Pollux, which on alternate days are given the name “The Sons of Thunder,” which in the gospel of Mark are what Jesus calls James and John.
Aside from this immense amount of evidence showing that Christians merely thieved the ideas from their predecessors, there is much more found in other religions. In fact there are fifteen crucified saviours, inclusive of Krishna, Odin, Hesus (not Jesus), Quetzalcoatl, Criti, Baili, and Indra (2.352). Therefore, the crucifixion is an appropriation of Pagan symbolism (the cross originally symbolising spirit in the centre of the four elements). Early Christians and Buddhists wore the swastika because it was a good luck sign meaning “it is well” in Sanskrit. As the Church grew in power they wanted to instil a sense of guilt and therefore changed their symbol into a slaughtered lamb, and then a crucified saviour paying for the sins of the world.
The Jesus story cannot even stand up to the criticism of a rational and fairly knowledgeable person, so how can the rest of the beliefs contained within the bible be true? Well, even though the literary works written down during the time of Jesus’ supposed birth to a century after can fill libraries, it is interesting to know that neither Jesus nor the twelve disciples are mentioned - and Christianity only get a few paragraphs at the most (1.133). So how is it that Christians can ascertain that there were twelve disciples? Because there have been few god-saviours who did not have twelve apostles or messengers.
Numbers were very important to ancient mythological stories, especially the numbers 12, 7, 3 and 40. For instance, Jacob had twelve sons, there were 12 tribes of Israel, twelve months in the year, 12 gates or pillars of heaven and the Jews were in the wilderness for 40 years. Jesus fasted for 40 days; from the resurrection to the ascension were forty days. Moses was on the mountain with God for 40 days. Noah and Hercules were swallowed by a whale, at exactly the same place – Jappo – and were inside the whale for 3 days, the same number of days between the crucifixion and the resurrection of Jesus. The feeding of the five thousand – a miracle interestingly also performed by Elisha in 2 Kings 43-44 – happened with 2 fish and five loaves of bread, equalling seven. In Mark 18:17-21 Jesus is trying to make his disciples understand that his stories are meant to be taken as complex allegories involving numbers. Jesus says: ”To you it is given to know the Mysteries of the Kingdom of God. But to the rest of them it is only given in allegories.” In Luke 8:1, Jesus admits to speaking in riddles and parables yet only the literal world has been spoken for centuries. Perhaps the message has been “misrepresented” by religious authorities on purpose.
Early Church fathers Origen and Clement tried to establish Christianity amongst Pagans by using the argument that it would be absurd to believe in Paganism and not Christianity. Why would it be absurd? Because of the extreme similarities that they themselves acknowledged (3.273). As a result of the likeness between Pagan religions and Christianity, the latter continued to grow. Alterations of biblical documents, addition of forgeries, and addition of previously held heretical books and the omission of parts of the Bible became a norm in the Church.
Eventually fanatics came up with the idea known as Diabolical Mimicry to refute the Pagan claim that they were using their ideas to gain power (1.26). Diabolic Mimicry holds that the devil knew the Jesus story thousands of years before and so had created religions similar to Christianity in order to keep people astray from the one true saviour. Unfortunately, for the masses, Christian dogma had won favour with the Roman politicians and this idea was forced onto the people through heresy hunting (the killing of anyone who held different ideas to the Church) mass slaughters (of Pagan followers, “witches”, and other freethinkers), war and repression (1.244-6). All Pagan books were ordered to be burned. Pope Gregory VII burned the Apollo Library. Emperor Theodosius burned 27,000 ancient scrolls. Ptolemy Philadelphius burned 270,000 ancient documents and after 1233 more than 25,000 were burned (even some in the new world). The tragedy is that most of the works burned had nothing to do with Paganism – they were scientific documents seized by illiterate peasants.
So what is the true legacy of the Church after two thousand years? A Church built upon the ruins of an old Pagan temple that symbolises racism, sexism, homophobia, sexual repression guilt, organised crime and HATE!
1. The Jesus Mysteries by Timothy Freke and Peter Ghandi.
2. Deceptions and Myths of the Bible by Loyd M Graham.
3. The Truth About Jesus by M.M Mangasarian, found in You Are being Lied To, edited by Russ Kick
A number of African countries have banned China from buying their donkeys, saying demand for the four-legged creatures has become unsustainable. Niger announced a ban on the export of donkeys this month after trade of the animals increased by three times in the last year, mainly to Asian countries. A Niger government official, told the BBC that around 80,000 donkeys had been exported from the landlocked African country this year compared to 27,000 last year. And Burkina Faso has also put a stop to the export of donkey skins. The country’s public health director Adama Maiga aid exports in hides had soared from 1,000 in the first quarter of 2015 to more than 18,000 in the last quarter. Now all slaughter would have to be done in “officially recognised” abattoirs. Two Chinese nationals have set up a donkey slaughterhouse in west Kenya. The government approved the new abattoir, where around 100 donkeys could be killed a day and exported to China.
Increased demand for imported donkey skins follows a dramatic drop in China’s donkey population as the country has industrialised. The number of donkeys in China has fallen from 11 million to six million since the 1990s. Ejiao is a popular ingredient in China that people may self-prescribe. Donkey skins are boiled to produce gelatin, a key ingredient in the traditional Chinese remedy ejiao – believed to improve blood circulation and cure conditions including dizziness, irregular menstruation and insomnia. Chinese medicine expert Mazin Al-Khafaji told The Independent. “But there is a shortage, and there are fakes around as it’s very expensive. It’s what we call a blood tonic, so it stops bleeding and strengthens the blood. It’s used for anemia or low blood cell count. It’s a hard gel, made from donkey hide, which is then dissolved in hot water or alcohol. It’s also used topically in a cream, for leg ulcers for instance.”
Friday, September 30, 2016
The “Land of the Four Corners,”
Capitalism is a buying and selling society in which the human ability to work is bought and sold and results in the capitalist firms that employ them appropriating a surplus from their work, a surplus which takes a monetary form and most of which is re-invested as more capital. A society which exploited the producers but where the surplus extracted from them did not take this form would still be an exploitative class society but not capitalism.
it is possible to have a moneyless class society with a state. The Inca Empire is one such example. Yet they were one of the biggest and most powerful military empire in South America. The Incas were master builders and land planners, capable of extremely sophisticated mountain agriculture - and building cities to match. Incan society was so rich that it could afford to have hundreds of people who specialized in planning the agricultural uses of newly-conquered areas. They built terraced farms on the mountainsides whose crops - from potatoes and maize to peanuts and squash - were carefully chosen to thrive in the average temperatures for different altitudes. They also farmed trees to keep the thin topsoil in good condition. Incan architects were equally talented, designing and raising enormous pyramids, irrigating with sophisticated waterworks such as those found at Tipon, and creating enormous temples like Pachacamac along with mountain retreats like Machu Picchu. In terms of square miles, we're probably talking something like 300,000 sq miles (775,000 sq km),” he said, with a population as high as 12 million people. To support this empire, a system of roads stretched for almost 25,000 miles (roughly 40,000 km), about three times the diameter of the Earth. The road and aqueduct systems the Spanish encountered in the Andes were superior to those in Europe. Inca cities were as large as those of Europe, but more orderly and by all accounts much cleaner and more pleasant places in which to live.
And yet, despite all their productivity, the Incas managed without money or marketplaces.
The Inca Empire did trade with outside cultures to a limited extent, but internally they didn't have any trade and no currency at all. With only a few exceptions found in coastal polities incorporated into the empire, there was no trading class in Inca society, and the development of individual wealth acquired through commerce was not possible . . . A few products deemed essential by the Incas could not be produced locally and had to be imported. In these cases several strategies were employed, such as establishing colonies in specific production zones for particular commodities and permitting long-distance trade. People "paid" taxes in labor and got "paid" in return with food, clothing, etc. The caste system was not to be questioned; fact was fact – the Incan, an incarnation of the sun was leader and no one could bat an eye at their air-tight rationale. The nobility were at the top of the social totem pole, marked by constantly-enlarged ear holes filled with gold, jewels,
The production, distribution, and use of commodities were centrally controlled by the Inca government. Each citizen of the empire was issued the necessities of life out of the state storehouses, including food, tools, raw materials, and clothing, and needed to purchase nothing. With no shops or markets, there was no need for a standard currency or money, and there was nowhere to spend money or purchase or trade for necessities.
The Incas had a centrally planned economy, perhaps the most successful ever seen. Its success was in the efficient management of labor and the administration of resources they collected as tribute. Collective labor was the base for economic productivity and for the creation of social wealth in the Inca society. By working together people in the ayllu created such wealth that the Spanish were astonished with what they encountered. Every citizen was required to contribute with his labor and refusal or laziness was punishable with the death penalty. Labor was divided according to region, agriculture would be centralized in the most productive regions, ceramic production, road building, textile and other skills according to ayllus. The government collected all the surplus after local needs were met and distributed it where it was needed. In exchange for their work citizens had free clothing, food, health care and education. The Incas did not use money, in fact they did not need it. Their economy was so efficiently planned that every citizen had their basic needs met
The Inca economy was not based on a money system, and it did not have commerce (the buying and selling of goods, especially on a large scale) or free trade. The government made sure that everyone had enough land or goods to survive, and it managed the exchange of goods between faraway regions. There were no merchants acting on their own behalf. The government promised to take care of the old and the sick, using the large supply of surplus goods produced by mit'a labor. In times of famine, the government storehouses were opened to the public so that no one would starve. Instead of money, the Incas invested mit'a labor: They directed terracing and irrigation projects that enabled peasants to grow more food. Once surplus food was stored away, some of the people were able to quit farming and pursue other activities.
The “most unusual aspect of the Inca economy was the lack of a market system and money,” writes McEwan, with only a few exceptions there were no traders in the Inca Empire. “Each citizen of the empire was issued the necessities of life out of the state storehouses, including food, tools, raw materials, and clothing, and needed to purchase nothing.” There were no shops or markets, McEwan notes and, as such, “there was no need for a standard currency or money, and there was nowhere to spend money or purchase or trade for necessities.”
Read More here
The government possesses a dedicated arms export department called the Defence and Security Organisation (DSO). Within the new Department for International Trade it has more staff than all other sector-specific teams combined.
Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) spokesman, Andrew Smith said it is “effectively a voice for arms companies at the heart of power.”
Thursday, September 29, 2016
To see which areas of the world have physical conditions that could theoretically accommodate an extra billion people sustainably, we overlaid maps of seven variables from The Atlas of Global Conservation7. We ruled out regions with extreme or high water stress; other arid areas; tundra and ice; centres with species unique to a region; and regions with population densities that exceed 100 people per square kilometre, namely much of Europe, the Middle East, India and China and the western United States.
That leaves large areas of South America; parts of southern Canada and the northern and eastern United States; south-central Africa; parts of Asia north of the Himalayas and from the Black Sea to north China; and scattered parts of Oceania (see 'Habitable zones'). Some moist tropical areas could support crops such as cacao, coffee, oil palm, rice and maize (corn). But development should be prohibited in biodiversity hotspots such as Borneo, northern Queensland in Australia and parts of the Amazon basin.
Society must think globally, plan regionally, then act locally.
A study looking ahead to 2070 found that climate change was occurring thousands of times faster than the ability of crops to adapt.
Wheat, rice, maize, rye, barley, and sorghum are all edible grasses that yield nutritious grains. In many parts of the world and throughout history, wheat or rice famines have led to widespread starvation.
The research, published in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters, looked at the ability of 236 grass species to adapt to new climatic niches — the local environments on which they depend for survival.
Faced with rapid climate change, species wedded to a particular niche can survive if they move to another region where conditions are more suitable, or evolve to fit in with their altered surroundings.
The scientists found that the predicted rate of climate change was typically 5,000 times faster than the estimated speed at which grasses could adapt to new niches. Moving to more favourable geographical locations was not an option for a lot of grass species because of the limits to their seed dispersal and obstacles such as mountain ranges or human settlements.
While the research cannot predict what might happen to world food supplies as a result, the authors warn of “troubling implications”.
In Eastern Europe, modern ghettos are the legacy of both “communism” and capitalism predominantly populated by Roma. Anti-Roma prejudice, however, is even more endemic in the region than racism in the United States.
In May the European Commission announced that it will be launching an infringement procedure against Hungary for on-going discrimination against Roma children in schools. The European Commission decision is designed help break generations of injustice in the country once and for all, said a coalition of human rights organisations today. The European Roma Rights Centre and Amnesty International, provided extensive evidence of how Romani children face persistent discrimination and segregation in the Hungarian education system.
In Slovakia, school districts are gerrymandered to keep Roma children separate, and where that’s been impossible, administrators separate out Roma by floor within schools.
In Romania and Bulgaria, many Roma children don’t receive any education at all. The crisis is severe in Bulgaria, and it is even more severe for the Roma community, because the Roma have no land, no property. A lot of them are not educated and lack qualifications. They can’t start up their own businesses. They’re not competitive in the labour market.
Monday, September 26, 2016
Saturday, September 24, 2016
God save the workman's right
From Mammon's sordid might,
And Birth's pretence.
Confound the tricky rule,
Of foreign courtly tool,
Give us from Freedom's School
The men of sense.
Forced as a boon to ask
For labour's daily task
From purse-proud knaves;
Not ours the land we till,
Not ours the stores we fill
Living and dying still
Beggars and slaves.
We toil at loam and spade,
And still the more we made,
The less we gain;
For you the profits keep,
And you the surplus heap,
Till all our age can reap,
Is want and pain.
Our poverty's your wealth,
Our sickness is your health,
Our death your life;
Your shops in poison deal,
Banks forge, and statesmen steal,
And rots the commonweal,
With bloodstain'd despots' shame,
You link our country's name,
And aid their crime;
God! hear thy people pray,
If there's no other way,
Give us one Glorious day
Of Cromwell's time.
But if the Lord of Life
Will turn you hearts from strife,
To clasp our hand,
And bid oppression cease;
The brotherhood and peace,
In Freedom's safe increase,
Shall bless our land.
Ernest Jones, Chartist
Wednesday, September 21, 2016
Monday, September 19, 2016
Thursday, September 15, 2016
1. The United States is home to the most billionaires in the world, and they acquired their wealth in a nearly even split on the spectrum. As it stands, 32.1 % of the prosperous are company founders, 28.9 % inherited the cash, and 26.8 % are involved in the financial sector. The exceptions are the executives (8.4%) and those who are connected through political resources (3.8%). According to HowMuch, this is probably due to the U.S. gov’s hands-off strategy when it comes to business.
2. Europe is fairly diverse, too. A huge number of billionaires in Germany came into their wealth through inheritance (64.7 %), but about a quarter of them are company founders. It’s similar in France, with 51.2 % having inherited their goods, while 37.2 % run businesses.
3. China’s billionaires are mainly self-made. In the world’s second-largest economy, the map indicates there’s a serious opportunity for growth in business. Almost half of the billionaires are company founders, while 25% are executives. Furthermore, the number of Chinese billionaires has increased quickly.
4. Many South American billionaires are heirs to the fortune. Nearly half of Brazil’s billionaires inherited their money, and that trend prevails in Chile, Argentina, and Venezuela too.
5. Not one billionaire in Russia inherited his or her fortune. On the other hand, Russian billionaires mainly came into their cash mainly by means of political and resource-related ventures (64%).
Wednesday, September 14, 2016
ARE YOU A CHRISTIAN?
1. You actually know a lot less than many Atheists and Agnostics do about the bible, Christianity and church history, but still call yourself a Christian.
2. You define 0.001% a high sucess rate, when it comes to answering prayers. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works, and you think that the remaining 99.99% failure was simply the will of God.
3. While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some idiot rolling around the floor, "speaking in tongues," may be all the evidence you need.
4. You believe that the entire population of this planet, with the exception of those who share your belief (though, excluding those in rival sects) will spend eternity in an infinite hell of suffering. Yet you consider your religion, the most tolerant and loving.
5. You are willing to spend your life looking for loopholes in the scientifically established age of the Earth (4.55 billion years), but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by pre-historic tribesmen sitting in their tents and suggesting that the Earth is a few generations old.
6. You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about Gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who came to give birth to a man-god, who got killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky.
7. Your face turns purple when you hear the atrocities attributed to Allah, but you don't even flinch, when hearing about God/Jehovah, slaughtering all the babies in Egypt, in "Exodus" and ordering the elimination of entire ethnic groups in "Joshua" including women, children, and animals.
8. You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in a Trinity god.
9. You feel insulted and dehumanised when scientists say that people evolved from lesser life forms, but you have no problem believing we were created from dirt.
10. You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of your god.
Tuesday, September 13, 2016
Saturday, September 10, 2016
The “new poor” tend to live in households where there is someone in work. Only a third of children below the government’s absolute poverty line now live in a workless household – two thirds of those classified as poor are poor despite the fact that at least one of their parents is in work.
In key respects middle income families with children now more closely resemble poor families than in the past. Half are now renters rather than owner occupiers and, while poorer families have become less reliant on benefits as employment has risen, middle- income households with children now get 30% of their income from benefits and tax credits, up from 22% 20 years ago. Mothers’ earnings are increasingly important for households with children. For middle-income children the fraction of household income coming from women’s earnings rose from less than a fifth in 1994–95 to more than a quarter in 2014–15; and it doubled from 7% to 15% for the poorest fifth.
Europe is sinking into a protracted period of deepening poverty, mass unemployment, social exclusion, greater inequality, and collective despair as a result of austerity policies adopted in response to the debt and currency crisis of the past four years, according to an extensive study from the Red Cross. Mass unemployment – especially among the young, 120 million Europeans living in or at risk of poverty – increased waves of illegal immigration clashing with rising xenophobia in the host countries, growing risks of social unrest and political instability estimated to be two to three times higher than most other parts of the world, greater levels of insecurity among the traditional middle classes – all combine to make a European future more uncertain than at any time in the postwar era. "Many from the middle class have spiralled down to poverty…” it said. European Union official figures report that 24% of its non-poor population (122m citizens) are currently at risk of descending into poverty or social exclusion. This means that they were either at risk of income poverty (their disposable income was below their national at-risk-of-poverty threshold), severely materially deprived and/or living in households with low work rates.
A study by the German Institute for Economic Research in 2013 found that 40 percent of income inequality in Germany could be explained by family background.
Tuesday, September 06, 2016
Most Scottish fishermen voted in favor of Brexit arguing it would give them greater control over fishing rights. However, that may have been all wishful thinking.
Europe's largest white fish market is in Peterhead. Last year sales in Peterhead totalled some £180 million (215 million euros, $240 million). 2016 is on course to be even busier. Nevertheless, fishing here has been in decline for decades. An estimated 450 vessels fished out of the tight, granite-hewn port when the UK joined the EU in 1975, now that figure is around 100. Many in Peterhead blame the European Union for their industry's decline. Most Scottish fishermen supported Brexit. After decades of EU rule, they want much greater control over fishing. Trawlerman Jimmy Buchan has spent more than four decades fishing from Peterhead. During that time, he says, the Common Fisheries Policy has given foreign fleets unfettered access to Scottish waters, decimating the local fishing industry. For Buchan, Brexit "is a great opportunity we have long waited for."
But this will come at a price. Since 2007, Scotland's fishing industry has received £77 million from the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund. Later this year, a £49 million redevelopment of Peterhead port will begin, partly funded by the European Union.
Monday, September 05, 2016
Sunday, September 04, 2016
Saturday, September 03, 2016
With future generations facing ecological catastrophe within decades, some believe that the best thing they can do for their offspring is not to have them at all. In Ireland one in five women, either by choice or circumstance, will never become mothers. Birthrates have plummeted in Greece. Marked declines in fertility rates have been measured since 2009 across most of Europe, the US and Australia.
Children born in 2016 will still be in their early 30s by midcentury and likely by then to be facing their own decisions about parenthood. For those paying attention to environmental science 2050 has a deeply ominous ring. Carbon-dioxide levels will by then have more than doubled since preindustrial times, on current trends, locking in dangerous climate change for millenniums. And acidification, pollution and overfishing are on track to have rendered much of the world’s oceans almost lifeless in the same timeframe.
America’s cheese surplus had reached a 30-year high while dairy producers’ revenue had declined by 35 percent in the last two years.
To reduce milk supply in 1985, the government paid farmers $1.5 billion to slaughter their cows. In 2016 the U.S. Department of Agriculture moved to help dairy farmers once again by spending $20 million to get 11 million pounds of excess cheese off the market, sending it to food banks.
Wednesday, August 31, 2016
“There is no outside existential threat to Israel, the only real existential threat is internal division. Internal division…can lead us to civil war.” explained Tamir Pardo, former Mossad chief. The former head of the national Israeli intelligence agency warned that soon Israelis could cross a “certain line in its division and hatred” that could spill over into “a phenomenon like a civil war.”
Saturday, August 27, 2016
Biofuels are no better for the environment than petroleum-based fuel, says Joe DeCicco, research professor at the University of Michigan Energy Institute. DeCicco authored a new study on the viability of ethanol-producing crops. There is carbon in ethanol, he says, which means that carbon dioxide will still be emitted from the car despite the fuel substitution. Coupled with the emissions from increased crop production to produce the fuel itself, biofuels actually make matters worse, says DeCicco.
“Biofuels are a false solution,” says DeCicco, ”but we need to reduce those emissions.”
There are other options, DeCicco says, such as growing more trees, which pull carbon out of the environment naturally, or electric cars, which do less environmental damage even when adjusted for the effect of power plants. Hydrogen fuel is being explored.
“There’s a lot of energy that goes into growing corn, but then the output that you get isn’t that great,” says Nick Schroeck, Director of the Transnational Environmental Law Clinic and Assistant Clinical Professor at Wayne State University.
The industrialized food system, studies have shown, is linked to greenhouse gas emissions, algal blooms, pesticide pollution, soil erosion and biodiversity loss, to name a few ecological troubles. Add to this a long list of social ills, from escalating rates of obesity to the demise of the family farmer and deadening of rural landscapes and rural economies across much of the U.S.
In 2010, the National Academies of Science updated its seminal 1989 publication “Alternative Agriculture” with a fresh look at the state of food and farming in America. Its expert panel concluded, “Growing awareness of unintended impacts associated with some agricultural production practices has led to heightened societal expectations for improved environmental, community, labor, and animal welfare standards in agriculture.”
Yet that growing awareness and those heightened expectations haven’t led to alternative agricultural systems becoming the norm. Organic farming has made some headway, but many organic growers have been forced to imitate industrial farming: grow bigger, resort to monocultures instead of truly diversified fields, and sell to large supermarkets — forgoing many of the benefits alternative agricultural systems offer, such as natural pest control, pollination from native bees, and a smaller production scale conducive to family farmers and local food economies. How can more wholesome food production methods such as agroecology become conventional instead of alternative? The good news is, agroecology is already beginning to make headway.
Agroecology is already a thriving science. Universities with agroecology departments and training programs, journals dedicated to agroecology research and international societies such as the Latin American Scientific Society of Agroecologyshow that agroecology science is increasingly accepted around the world, at least within research communities. Still, a criticism sometimes levied at agroecologists is that their science is more ideological than empirical, more aspirational than applicable.
Agroecologists can bolster the empirical basis of their science. A long-running criticism of agroecological farming is that it cannot possibly “feed the world.” However, research is still only beginning to establish “agroecological yield.” University of California, Berkeley scientists are showing that organic systems can lag behind conventional systems by just 19 percent when it comes to productivity, and just 8 or 9 percent when farmers alternate crops year-to-year or grow several crops together in their fields. In other words, adding more agroecological practices results in yields that are significantly better than “bare-bones” organic. And this is the case even though organic and agroecological research has been systematically underfunded. With further research into agroecology on tap, industrial food supporters will find it harder to refute evidence that agroecology is yield competitive.
Olivier De Schutter, former U.N. special rapporteur on the right to food, says that agroecology is an essential part of achieving the right to food globally. Agroecology can enable societies around the world to make rapid progress in meeting the needs of many vulnerable peoples while maintaining the ecological and social foundations of food systems. Many governments are now beginning to introduce anti-poverty programs aimed at those without sufficient food, such as Brazil’s Zero Hunger policy, which connects family farms with schools in some regions.
Meanwhile, La Via Campesina, a global peasant coalition, is demonstrating the practical, civic and political legitimacy of a new moral moment for agroecology. Formed in 1993 in response to free trade and globalization, LVC has grown into the largest social movement on the planet with an estimated 250 million smallholder farmers, pastoralists, fishers and indigenous peoples in 164 organizations from 73 countries. Agroecology has become an important tenet of the LVC movement, which says, “Agroecology is the answer to how to transform and repair our material reality in a food system and rural world that has been devastated by industrial food production and its so-called Green and Blue Revolutions. We see agroecology as a key form of resistance to an economic system that puts profit before life.”
Most Americans still accept industrial food practices as credible and authoritative, and in doing so consent to the use and existence of such practices. But movements are underway to change that. With a focus on what’s right about agroecology, not just what’s wrong with industrial agriculture, we can turn the alternative into the everyday and the undervalued into the legitimate — and give agroecology the credibility and authority it well deserves.
Friday, August 26, 2016
Germany is home to 83 million people. But that isn't the country's total population: It's also home to about 27 million pigs, 12.6 million cattle, and nearly 40 million egg-producing hens. Their lives are very hard. Many of these animals live their lives densely crammed together in industrial-scale agri-production facilities, under conditions that cause chronic distress to the animals - and would likely cause distress to many a meat- and egg-eater if they knew more about how factory-farmed food animals live out their lives.
The economics of meat, milk and egg production provide incentives for factory farms to grow to enormous sizes, with as many animals packed into as small a space as possible. In addition to causing endless distress to the animals, factory farms also produce a great stink, and they're a source of mountains of excrement that can pollute nearby waters, depending on how they're disposed of.
Thursday, August 25, 2016
40% OF Filipinos are “trapped in a vicious cycle” of slipping in and out of poverty whenever they are affected by external shocks, despite the fact that the Philippines has been enjoying a strong, sustained economic growth over the past several years.
A study by the Asian Institute of Management Rizalino S. Navarro Policy Center for Competitiveness explained “At present, the benefits of recent economic successes are yet to be broadly felt, especially among the poor and disenfranchised in society.”
Socialists have often shown that capitalism causes an immense waste of resources. An article in the shipping industry newspaper Freighting World, illustrates the point. Captain F. L. Cox points out that because airline passengers can buy cheap alcohol, most aeroplanes are priced to carry a much greater weight than is desirable. A Boeing 747, for instance, could have over 500 bottles of spirits in the passenger compartment. Captain Cox points out that this extra weight causes the following problems:
1. Fire hazard. Most spirits would be classified under IATA rules as combustible liquids, some as flammable liquids. Fire would spread more readily after an accident.
2. Deceleration hazard. Violent deceleration can result in bottle missiles flying through the cabin. In one accident, where the aircraft was a total loss, all passengers were safe except for one whose death was thought to have been caused by a flying bottle.
3. Rescue hazard. Broken glass in the cabin is dangerous to both the passengers and rescue personnel after an accident.
4. Security risk. A hijacker has tried to use a broken bottle as a weapon.
5. Passenger comfort. A) congestion of packages in the cabin; B) extra risk of intoxication and disorderly conduct.
6. Fuel wastage. Extra fuel has to be used in carrying duty-free goods. While only a small proportion of the total fuel load, it is still an unnecessary waste. More travellers return with the type of spirit popular in their own homeland: and it was probably manufactured there in the first place. (our emphasis)
So it can clearly be seen that one minor feature of the present insecure system—the urge to buy cheap booze as an advantage of overseas travel—is responsible for serious social difficulties which could be eradicated tomorrow if the workers woke up to the idea of a society without buying and selling.