Why do we kill our weakest citizens to control this deficit thing?

Poverty_in_ukWhat is this deficit we hear about continuously?  Why are we driving the weakest people in our society to suicide in order to reduce this deficit?  When was the last time someone explained to you exactly what this word and the number it represents means?  When did your MP tell you why we’re going to kill the vulnerable just to make the number smaller?

Essentially what all the plonkers on TV and in your newspaper are talking about is the gap between what’s coming into the government in taxes and receipts versus what’s being spent. Now considering that the government can simply create money out of thin air and distribute it via the banks it does seem rather bizarre that anyone gives a flier about deficit, but anyway let’s play along.  If we agree there are only two variables:

  1. Money coming in
  2. Money going out

And the difference is either the deficit or surplus, then it means there has been more money going out than going in.  If you think of your own household it effectively means you’ve run up debt.  To pay back your debt you can either spend less or earn more.  For the government it means they can either spend less or get more tax.  Spending less means cutting back on things like health, education, welfare, maintenance, infrastructure, weapons, quangos, etc.  Getting more tax means increasing income tax, VAT, company tax or closing down tax avoidance loopholes.

Austerity allows richer people to maintain their lifestyle at the expense of the poor in the face of an unsustainable trade deficit.

Naturally given that wealthy people mostly call the shots they are not keen on higher income tax, company tax or closing loopholes.  Surprisingly they are not all that keen on spending less either on things like giant infrastructure projects such as high speed railways, management consultants, tax breaks, private prisons, private hospitals, nuclear power and weapons – these right-wing Neoliberals are more socialist than Karl Marx when it comes to these kind of uses of tax.  No, better cut back on the stuff poor people need.

flags-8220_640But this still does not answer why we should care about a number.  One reason is that letting the deficit get out of hand can lead to runaway inflation.  That is true if money is misappropriated and poorly used.  But a more important reason is that European and world level banks tell us we need to target a certain value.  And if we do not?  Well then our credit rating will drop.  So?  Well then we need to pay more for borrowing.  Pay who?  Actually this is where we come to the crux.  In the end the only deficit of any importance is the balance of trade.  That is the difference between what you import and export.  If you import more than export you’re going to need to borrow “international” money if you want to keep buying German machinery and gadgets from China.  International money is essentially what your currency is worth compared to other currencies and is therefore a kind of barometer for comparing economies and their outlooks.

Why does the domestic deficit not matter when looked at independently of balance of trade?  It’s rather simple and my recent article on the DIY Austerity Experiment reveals all.  Basically I show that the amount of work you undertake in your own household (=country) is limited only by the efforts expended by the family members (=citizens).  As soon as you need something substantial that you can’t make yourself (=computer) from a neighbour or local shop (=foreign country) then you better have something of similar value you can exchange it for (=balance of trade).

In a nutshell:

  1. UK imports more than it exports.  Blame Thatcher, unions, class system, UK doesn’t like making things.
  2. Germany and China want paid (how unreasonable!).
  3. UK needs to borrow to pay this.
  4. The interest rate is set according to numbers such as the deficit.
  5. Increasing tax might make rich people cry and threaten to move somewhere else so instead we cut spending (on things that don’t upset rich people).
  6. Deficit looks good so interest rate stays low.
  7. Keep buying more on loan from abroad as UK’s manufacturing and exports sink further due to cuts in spending.
  8. Rinse and repeat until society breaks down completely.
  9. Civil or international war resets system.
Posted in Business, Economics, Politics, United Kingdom | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Yes Voters Were Actually Rather Brave

After the initial massive disappointment last September I began to think a little more about what was actually achieved by the Scottish independence movement.  Recently I’ve begun connecting with people on Twitter again and discussing the General Election in May.  And surprisingly I began to realize that the people who voted Yes last September were actually rather brave.  Although it may appear to be completely logical that the Scots would want to leave the United Kingdom, the fact that there was so much fear mongering and threats made the result still impressive.

History-9

It takes bravery and single-mindedness to vote for independence when:

 

Posted in Independence, United Kingdom | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Mysteries of the World: Jim Murphy (or rather those who support him)

psychopathic-coverWill Black’s brilliant book Psychopathic Cultures and Toxic Empires is absolutely essential reading if you want to stop being shocked every day some Establishment figure or powerful organization does something disgusting.  Of course they do terrible things – they are psychopaths.  It’s their job.  Do you condemn every time you see a lion kill an antelope?

If a small number of people will always be at the psychopath or sociopath range of the spectrum then the important consideration is why do the rest of us permit their like to access positions of power from which they can inflict more damage?  Why was Jimmy Savile able to indulge unhindered in his sick, predatory behaviour for a period of 60 years?  There is little chance that the many at the BBC, charities, police and Westminster who actually knew about his crimes would condone what he did?  I am relatively certain most would have been quite sickened.  But they did not seek to stop him either.  Why?

Jim_Murphy,_April_2009_croppedCould it be that psychopaths with their single-mindedness and drive are actually useful weapons for many of us?  Surely his unique publicity attracting presence boosted careers of many TV and charity managers?  And apparently pedophiles are useful in politics – easy for the party whip to keep in line.  Most people have doubts over their decisions, what actions to take, morality, right from wrong, the meaning of life, whether there is a God.  A psychopath can short circuit much of this: does his current action bring them closer to or further from more power over others or their chosen fetish?  Life for them can be much more black and white, can contain that admired ability to make quick authoritative decisions instead of the infinite shades of grey that the rest of us poor suckers struggle under.  Hence useful psychopaths can assist us in handling our darkest, basest fears and beliefs by doing the donkey work that we can’t stomach.

Lovis_Corinth_006It’s with such thoughts that I look at Jim Murphy, leader of the ailing Scottish Labour Party and politically somewhere to the right of Genghis Thatcher.  I look at him and his festering, oozing, putrid loathing.  I see him chumming up to that Prince of Darkness Tony Blair and I immediately think what would drive any normal, non-psychopath to vote for anything associated with him?

In a similar way to how most of us could not slaughter an animal ourselves but we’re happy to buy a sanitized lump of meat from the supermarket, we move through life using psychopathic politicians and establishment leaders to either do our thinking for us (“I always vote Labour”) or do our dirty work.  Whether it is deporting asylum seekers, cutting benefits to the poorest people, denying climate change or renewing a doomsday weapon system, you’ll find a useful psychopath to do the nasty work for you, leaving you with your basest instincts semi-satisfied.

Posted in Ethics, Philosophy, Politics | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

How to be an MP, part 42. CV Cover Letter

How to be an MP, part 42. Writing a good CV cover letter.

Example:

Dear Sir / Madam,

I would like to propose myself as being the best choice for the ——- Party candidate at the forthcoming ——- election.  My experience and track record marks me out clearly as a natural choice.  Indeed testing at the Department of Psychiatry at University of Oxbridge has verified that I am a certifiable psychopath (see enclosed certificate) and hence  my callousness and lack of conscience is completely natural and hard wired, unlike the less reliable sociopath in which these traits are considered learned and not intrinsic.

Leadership and ingenuity came early to me.  My father was Master Baiter on the Maudwick Estate in rural Bampotshire.  In addition to organizing the annual seal clubbing hunt on the estate (I was responsible for the import of baby seals), we would also organize the popular peasant shoot, an event that our esteemed party leader regularly attends.  When pleb protests threatened the event we quickly mitigated this by disseminating WMDs (weapons of mass distraction): opening the gates to the plebs, singling out foreigners, questioning the legitimacy of those on benefit, providing cheap beer, Sky Sports on the jumbo screen, before finally releasing the hounds at the end of the day.

At university I was captain of the baiting team, played rugger and swam the English Channel.  I wrote my dissertation on Mechanisms for Phlebotomy of Igneous Rock and Social Media as a Tool of Subjugation.  As a summer posting I worked at the Home Office as a Gentleman’s Fluffer.  I also undertook a degree in Theology, my thesis entitled: How to accept Jesus even if he was a socialist hippy rebel.  This work explored techniques for absolution of guilt for loving the son of God while secretly hoping he delays his second coming until after one’s death.

After my stint in politics I intend to exit via the rotating port towards the City, finance being another industry to which my skills and characteristics would be ideally suited.

Blah, blah, blah…

Posted in Business, Politics, United Kingdom | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The DIY Austerity Experiment You Can Do!

Destination_DIY_logoDuring economic recession should a country increase spending or impose austerity?  So who is right in all this?  Economists have been fighting over this for centuries and still we have no answer.  Surely it must be simple?  Do we get out of a recession by cutting spending or increasing spending?  In the post war years Keynes led the way with massive investment programs and there followed the greatest improvement in the lives of working people since mankind was capable of judging such matters.  Friedman and his jolly cohorts then made inroads in the 1970s and Thatcher and Reagan implemented his demented thinking.  The fall of communism in 1990 removed any remaining need for restraint on the part of right-wing zealots and it has been a slippery slide for the 99% ever since.

The Nobel Prize for Economics is not one of the original prizes

The Nobel Prize for Economics is not one of the original prizes

austerityIf economists decorated with Nobel prizes and adept at advanced mathematics have failed to figure this out, then you may think you have no chance of doing so.  But I beg to differ. Get ready to make a difference to the history of mankind!  This is what you need to do:

 

  1. Next time you lose your job (say tomorrow) then just go home and stay there.
  2. Instruct the rest of your family to do the same.
  3. While sitting at home don’t do anything other that eat enough crap to survive and follow the instructions below.
  4. Get the Monopoly game box that’s been lying in the attic since cable TV, ADHD and Smart Phones were invented.
  5. Remove all the Monopoly money and discard the box.
  6. Decide that you could use this Monopoly money for splitting up household tasks equally among family members.
  7. Read about Milton Friedman and change your mind.
  8. Do not cook, clean, decorate, wash, or care for your elderly parents or handicapped kid – all this costs money.
  9. If forced by the Job Centre to go for a job interview do not repair or wash your clothes before attending aforesaid interview
  10. If you need food or need transport to travel to an interview that would require real money then borrow this money from the IMF or World or European Bank or other loan shark.
  11. Promise aforementioned banks or loan sharks that you will cut even further back on the use of Monopoly money at home in order to pay them back at some time in the future with the great riches you are sure to reap from your austerity plan.
  12. If great riches are not materializing, cut back further, remove food from aged parents and handicapped kid (they can’t fight back). Tell them we’re all in it together. Rinse and repeat.
  13. Bonus feature: Why not use any excess money you may be lumbered with to start a fight with a random neighbour on the other side of town?  Preferably one with an oil well in his garden.
Posted in Economics, Ethics, Poverty, United Kingdom | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Any Random Therapy – the Ultimate Psychotherapy?

If you bother to take a look at Wikipedia’s list of psychotherapies you will find a rather impressive number of them. More so when you think there’s an even greater number of less official therapies hiding behind the self-improvement and quack banners or under the more esoteric philosophy or psychology labels.  And then you have special diets, exercises, religions, crystals, and anything else you may stumble across.  Let’s list some psychotherapies here to fill space:

  • Abreaction therapy
  • Adventure therapy
  • Attack therapy
  • Brief psychotherapy
  • Contemplative psychotherapy
  • Dance therapy
  • Future-oriented therapy
  • Nude psychotherapy
  • Primal Integration
  • Vegetotherapy
  • Wilderness therapy
682px-Marcus_Aurelius_Louvre_MR561_n01

Marcus Aurelius looking a bit pale

Now you would think that all psychotherapies have the intention of bring balance, peace and contentment to troubled souls, so what does it mean that there are so many psychotherapies all competing with each other for the chance to cure your ails?  Why would you choose one over another?  If I’m feeling run down how can I or a kind GP whether I need to indulge in Dance Therapy or just rip my clothes of and get Nude and talk seriously with another naked person.  Or run off into the Wilderness?  Now I am sure that the majority of these therapies (and self-improvement programs and diets and religions) are well meaning.  Probably the founders have put a great deal of enthusiasm into the development.  But what are they bringing to the table that the others didn’t?  Does anyone really have anything to add to what the Hindu’s knew 3000 years ago, or what Marcus Aurelius jotted down 2000 years ago?

Why is there after all these thousands of years still a steady stream of self-help books and new therapies?  How naive are we to think that after 3000 years the next flavour of the month, buy-one-get-one-free book we pick up while waiting for our flight is going to be the one that changes our lives forever?  The one that will remove those nagging doubts, that sense of apathy, disillusionment and discontent that rise regularly for no apparent reason?

random-therapy

The solution?  I propose the one therapy to rule them all – Any Random Therapy [(C) 2015 – Former Dundee Man].  Any Random Therapy (or A-RanT for short) is an umbrella over every therapy, philosophy and self-improvement guide that ever was and ever will be. Any Random Therapy says there’s some value in every one of these well meaning practices and to be honest it doesn’t really matter one iota which one you choose so long as you do it wholeheartedly and carry a sense of hope into the exercise.  To quote the great philosopher and tunneler Andy Dufresne in The Shawshank Redemption: “Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”  So as you lug that new 500 page tome out of the airport book store, ready to fly it thousands of miles back to a place on the shelf, unread, alongside all the others you bought over the years, remember it’s the hope it temporarily instilled that made the purchase worthwhile (and not forgetting the the latest Stephen King novel you also picked up as part of the buy-one-get-one-free deal).

Any Random Therapy removes the need to study and carefully select a therapy from the multitude of offerings – a process which in itself causes needless stress and worry. Any Random Therapy simply allocates you with a random sub-therapy from the boat loads of existing therapies or a new one that you or your Any Random Therapist just invented.  Once the benefits and novelty of a certain sub-therapy wear off you simply select another.   No need to fret about looking flighty and insecure, hopping from one therapy to another, because you are a loyal follower of one single therapy: Any Random Therapy.  You’ve stuck with the program.  You know it makes sense and you’ve staked your sense of self to it.  A person who lives with purpose and confidence is half way there (don’t ask where there is).

mans-search-for-meaningOf course one will eventually understand that there are so many therapies out there because the creation and nurturing of a new therapy or self-help program is in its self the ultimate form of therapy.  Viktor Frankl’s Logotherapy nails this with its concentration camp inspired “Man’s Search for Meaning” philosophy which essentially boils down to “with a strong enough why we can survive any how”.  So what can be a greater Why than the creation of a new psychotherapy that will finally save mankind from its self and from destroying the planet?

Any Random Therapy’s jewel in the crown is “Therapy Therapy”.  What the hell is that?  It means you enter a therapy program with the intention of creating a new therapy and becoming its chief evangelist.  Therapy Therapy provides all the tools you’ll need:

  • Clothes.  From shiny suit to woolly body warmer, we have it all
  • Persona – overconfident, smug bastard or smirking wise old man, we’ll help you develop your character
  • Dental treatment for that blinding dazzle
  • Buzzword and acronym generator apps for Android and iPhone
  • Automatic website builder
  • Third world sweatshop based ghost book writer
  • Webcam based 6 DVD boxset movie maker software with teleprompter
  • Twitter follower booster
  • Disciple recruitment drive
  • Franchise system – spread your message around the world
  • Legal advice

Don’t know about you, but I am feeling much better all ready!

Posted in Philosophy, Therapy | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Difference between you and our leaders is that they would kill you

A large segment of our noble leaders whether religious, political or business are not like most of us.  That’s why there are relatively few of them compared to the teeming masses.  How does one rise to the highest levels of so-called success in an ultra-competitive, dog eat dog world?  Join me, Former Dundee Man, as I post my first seething but ultimately true rant of 2015.  I was not feeling quite right during the last week.  A blood test revealed that I was becoming toxic and the good Doctor quickly prescribed the writing of a blog post.  “Better out than in,” she said.

mooreSome years ago I chanced upon a video featuring the documentary film maker Michael Moore.  He was being interviewed at a college, I believe, and they had all the time in the world to explore various subjects.  I wish I could locate this video again, because there was one comment in there that has stayed with me ever since.  Over the years a number of right wing politicians and TV personalities have openly said they wished Moore would be executed (reports that he died this month are bollocks).  Now we’re all used to neo-conservative arseholes saying indefensible crap but Moore’s point was that liberals would never say such things.  And that is exactly the point.  The right-wingers that have ultimately taken control of the western world will kill to keep their control and preserve the status quo (is there any significant difference between UK Labour and Conservative, or US Democrat and Republican?).  The balance that democracy supposedly provides by having a left-wing is not really a balance at all because I don’t know many true liberal politicians proposing to murder neo-cons or illegally flatten foreign countries for their oil.

NSAWhen someone has broken into your house naked and carrying a hunting knife, delivering them a rousing speech on the merits of all being nice to each other and sharing the burden is not really going to help.  That’s what the remnants of the left wing are essentially up against.  The neo-conservatives see no issue in implementing a surveillance system to record and monitor the correspondence of every citizen.  If you in the future are deemed a political threat to the right wing ideals then they’ll search back through the decades to locate or plant that one time you  accidentally got a virus on your PC that took you to “Barely Legal Getting Big and Bouncy.com” and hint to you that you would not like this info to be leaked.

thumb-hunter-s-thompson-quotes-crime-society-20731Now the idea of using this kind of dirt on opponents is repulsive to a great many of us normal, average folk.  But to the maniacs that stalk our corridors of power it is no big deal. You need to ask yourself what does it take to employ the services of a call girl, let alone molest a child, but apparently such activities occur regularly among those with wealth and control.  What does it take to do such things on a regular basis?  What kind of a person does that make you become?  Would you still flinch if you needed to bring down the career of an opponent, or turn great swathes of the population against minorities?

How the hell will normal folk who apparently still want some level of equality, sustainability, public ownership and accountability overcome a system that is riddled with the kinds of characters that would not lose sleep if Michael Moore got a bullet through the head?

Happy New Year, readers.

No, wait, I’m not going to sign off like that.  I’m also an engineer and my work involves solving problems.  Where you strip back the vague, pseudosciences of psychology, sociology and economics you are still left with physics.  In the end there is a physical order to the universe even if we have not yet captured it in one large glorious scrawl on a blackboard.  This year I will set myself the task of using science to explore such issues as the effect of economic growth and morality on the world.  Of course the universe does not care what we do, that is what is so great about the universe, but ultimately if we as a species destroy our planet before we manage to vacate it then that has a profound effect.  So I ask what are the final, logical conclusions of unbalanced, extreme human behaviour?  Can I write a computer program (or heaven forbid, an “app”) that demonstrates clearly google-play-app-storethe repercussions of variables such as “steady” growth, surveillance or lowering inheritance tax?  Do I think such an app/computer program will have any discernible effect on world politics?  No.  Do I think it may get me through the days marginally better?  Yes.

 

Posted in Business, Economics, Ethics, Politics | Tagged , , | Leave a comment