March 11, 2014
Read this in the Guardian just now.
Currently about 400 tonnes of groundwater is streaming into the reactor basements from the hills behind the plant each day. The plant has accumulated about 300,000 tonnes of contaminated water, which is being stored in 1,200 tanks occupying a large swath of the Fukushima Daiichi site.
Eventually Tepco hopes to have enough space to store 800,000 tonnes, but fears are rising that it will run out of space sometime next year because it can’t keep up with the flow of toxic water.
They think it would be safer to pour contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean. The trouble with the Nuclear Power industry is that it has no real solutions the problems imposed by meltdowns. How much will nuclear safety have cost us 100 years from now? If Nuclear Energy is costed honestly it must incorporate premiums for accidents that can be bought back by safety record. It only takes one disaster to bankrupt a power company.
A better solution is to make all homes self sufficient using renewable energy. Power is still required for industry, but it is a politically achievable and meaningful result that has a positive effect on everyones’ life.
August 13, 2013
The nature of the ground underneath us is that it is not the singularly solid mass we perceive. Our point of view is relatively spec like tiny and the size even of a country is hard to encompass as a personal experience. There is a lot of ground underneath us and drilling out ancient residues and making big empty caves may result in a few ground sinks but what are the effects of explosions followed by mass removal of part of the ground that we live upon?
To pretend there is definite scientific evidence that there are absolutely no risks of earthquake or ground damage is the stance of the Prime Minister. His advisors clearly are very pro-fracking and have said that there are documents that show there are minimal risks. I am sure that someone has studied them properly.
Now. it would only take a fairly minor earthquake – about 6 on the Richter scale – and thousands would be killed. The underground could be affected, it could be wrecked. Overnight London would cease to function. It may happen anyway, but fracking means letting off explosives underground and removal of solid matter that supports us. It probably will not cause earthquakes but the fear in the average person may turn to fury if something does go wrong.
There simply needs to be published proof that fracking poses no threat and not lurch into an industrial scale venture that many are convinced that may destroy entire communities,
The Prime Minister has a responsibility to do more than promote this as economic miracle – he needs to convince the electorate that the economic plans of multi national companies do nothing that endangers the lives of any citizens of the land.
If you search for the wonderful headline Quake Britain: UK overdue a massive tremor that could kill scores of people at any moment, warn experts you will find an article all about it.
February 17, 2013
Adam Smith wrote the seminal work about capitalism – The Wealth of Nations. Growth was then based on nations competing in the most extreme act of international piracy in history, colonialism.
These days we talk of “bubbles” as though these modern gold rushes were a certain financial rhythm. We developed a science to predict and thus invest as a business. The most successful have been investing madly and hiding it from tax authorities. Capital is continually extracted from the wealth of nations and poured into tax havens in a sort of reverse colonialism – only to find its way back into the economy funding more Government debt via bonds.
The only way that the Government can reduce these debts is to have a money supply from tax revenue exceeding expenditure, or to devalue the currency. Western economies continue to need to spend more than they take. What has happened to the Wealth of Nations?
July 14, 2012
Over 300 flood defence schemes were subject to budget cuts and not proceded with, and hundreds of millions of pounds in insurance claims and the cost of the suffering and interruptions in people’s lives that could have been avoided by not abandoning the relatively trivial cost in net human experience quality of life vs how much exactly in tax savings? What if it happens, again, next year?
The role of Government is to apply wisdom to prevent disasters rather than throw the cards into the air hoping to catch a few as they tumble down. The abandonment of not just progress, but the safety of residents – we tax payers invested in some planning for there to be 300 flood defence schemes, so lets go ahead and make the necessary investment. It is hardly a luxury but the ruthless abandonment of Governmental responsibility for our investment in the work of civil servants which would have to be redone at another date if we are not to relocate families from 300 or more locations affected by the failure to actually employ valid work. It is more than supplying a demand, it is an act of massive criminal cruelty to the lives of many, many people.
Austerity is a tightening of the belt of economic safety and keeping the lid on things that actually have an impact on the economy. What the Osborne regime is doing however increasingly appears to be a failure in the strategic intelligence department. The investment in flood barriers was not as great as the cost of the damage. Far less than the bank bailouts. Far less than Trident. We waste 83 billion on a system while isolating Iran for trying to emulate it.
A failure to apprehend that climate change meant strategy change is only now becoming relevant to Government now that 98% of the scientific community are indicating that the extreme weather we are having may well be a bit of a sign of things to come. The others deny this and that is their right. But Government should not be banking on the unconventional view here. If we are going to build houses on flood prone ground, then we had better build protection. As this had already been researched, and understood, abandoning necessary planning is worse than criminal negligence on a scale. It is politically motivated cruelty. Protecting the bankers while stomping on the need to look after each other.
July 2, 2012
The harder things are, the better few are found? “Look at how great Britain was after the war.” The 80s drive defined by greed resulted in inflated property prices funded by an unrestrained banking sector. The economy inflated, however due to the nature of compound interest the banker made disproportionately more than the average person.
Because the economy appeared to be “growing”, things were improving as people basically borrowed themselves into bankruptcy. The property bubble does not deflate quickly. It is a great unwinding that could spread over generations. As long as there is a pressure of demand over supply, prices will hold. But if housing falls behind the increases in population, and we achieve precisely what the Right objects to most. The modular commodification of our “experience”.
Liken it to the taught crisp sail in the wind and you see the objective of economics. To harness a drag that equates to a sense of process – the hooking up of economic life-rafts to “individuals” instead of to a society – individuals empowered outside the grip of traditions. This is the new Right.
It is trivial when compared to the inherent massive inflation of the modern curse, rampant securitisation. How will a graduate saddled with near permanent debt pay a mortgage and have children? What has created that level of social indebtedness? Is it as deliberate as the libor scam?
Linear thinking about economics pervade. If it is not black, it must be white! If you said Communism was a failure, then what shall we call Capitalism? Well, both are roaring successes for the very richest and instead of serving the population, is is they, whom Governments compete with each other over.
This economy does not deliver to increasingly large swathes of smart people, unless they take risks. When the risk is abject failure the youthful drive will compete with those struggling to stay in the work force. Those who become a slave of the state are a cost to the state. Now we can add those who become victims of the margin spreading as the middle class is consumed by a creeping puddle of poverty. If you suck too much toward the centre, the edges fray but society is no two dimensional circle or even a three dimensional sphere. It is a multifaceted multidimensional and fluid organism with a huge skin and tiny skeleton that adjusts its balance according to a rule book we used to have. Our economic existence had meaning in terms of some correlation between what we did, and what we have.
Then suddenly, we were set on an economic course that allowed disproportionate capital growth. It was as though someone turned up gravity – the banks added the potential for endless fuel and this has caused a collapse of energy into the centre. As the banks made debt almost obligatory and definitely a trap for continuous pouring of human effort into a hole, as they caused a massive inflation in the value of property by lending capital back, setting us up for endless payment, Governments have gotten in on the act, and started to charge our children for their education. What is next, buying a licence to have grandchildren?
June 28, 2012
A generation or two of high unemployment and low wages is considered a price worth paying to bring down the deficit. This makes little sense economically (no jobs means less tax revenue, hence Osborne’s frantic borrowing)
If the Government believes that it is good to take from the majority because they a) either live in low circumstances and thus electorates that will never vote Tory anyway, or, b) they are young and are not enfranchised into the democratic system as they have no independence of mind or body. The “Baby Boomer” generation is defined by indulgence and when this is given to children in the fashion of top education good nutrition and a sense of moral value well and good, but a vast number of children these days get past the age of 25 due to zero economic options.
It is a cynical and unlawful party that recommends scrap heaping a section of its population that may never be able to vote against them. A bullying tactic or just a natural consequence of being a Tory toff who had his bread buttered for him from the start and now can not conceptualise that the economy is like a living animal, when you run it too hungry it gets tired quickly. The methods of the “financial stimulus” that the Brown government did was to buy into RBOS and NatWest – now the most badly managed banks because they outsourced too much responsibility to one failed cog that cost them a week of downtime and millions of customer headaches. And now Barclays has been fleecing interest. After the PPI scandal you would think that the banks would be a little more careful when it came to customer base fairness. A run on a bank is always down to perception. Dishonest bankers must be rooted out and sacked or confidence in the financial system suffers manifold.
This lenience on the wealthy and brutal treatment of the vulnerable while pricing education so that students are forever in debt is a master stroke of enslavement and duress upon an undeserving generation.
The Lib Dem balls up on Proportional Representation was a tragic day for those young disenfranchised voters. All voices should be heard equally or your democracy is unavailable.
Austerity is failing our children as it makes it impossible for them to assert their independence, so they do not define themselves in terms of their roots being well placed. They start life late, feckless and unremarkable. Our instincts shelter our young so they can lord it over their own isolated game console addiction the default pacifier of the teenager. Better than having them run wild in the streets.
Today’s government is a little like a medical team locking themselves in the cafeteria in case they catch something. The evolution of progress is forming an ugly mess of a future. That is what is wrong with this austerity. It is the isolation of social spending as a target for funding wealthy arrogance.
Lift them up for godsakes.
June 26, 2012
So, the government bails out a bank that sailed too close to the wind with their wild investment arms flailing about enthusiastically until it all went wrong. And Stephen Hester goes in to save the day and even though the bank continues to make losses there is “progress”. Huge bonuses attract much media attention.
Are cost cutting and mismanagement behind their IT systems failure? It is easy to blame it on cheaper outsourced employees.
It is a illustrative example of how wrong footed and illogical austerity is as a solution to the economic problems caused by the banks deregulated enthusiasm for gambling assets. Deconstruct society by making education out of reach and watch the corrosion at the margins eat away at your assumed wealth.
May 14, 2012
How the head of JP Morgan got bit by the derivatives market and what this says about financial regulation when it comes to taking risks with our pension funds.
December 11, 2011
When taxpayers paid hundreds of billions to bail out banks, we were never told in reality what we were investing in. The scale of the problem created by securitisation could mean problems for decades if we do not revise basic principals of what is economically efficient and what is fantasy.
Would it be correct to say that the 1% have the world’s capital reserves locked up in tax shelters? How long before former world powers wake up to this? And what will the consequences be?
October 8, 2011
The value of pension funds is bleeding away in the UK and across America protesters decry Wall Street’s corrupt practices and greed. We were told (by politicians, most likely) that freedom in the markets would free things up and maybe it did. What we were not told and did not realise until it was far too late, is that continued freedom for the market to create new instruments that multiply values without any effect on the other side of the ledger, well that is not the creation of growth. It is mediation by greed. It is irresponsible government and it is pointless.
The world system is a board where each member represents badly controlled feudal entities, each of which is an experiment. Some return value funds can be directed there, others do not get a look in. For years the bleeding empires and the super consumer states appeared to be the best bets, followed by those who had a point to prove or to recover from. We have a system of systems, each of which potentially returns differential values to investors.
It works when the members have control of their entities – for stability and continuity it is reasonable that more strict regulations should apply to state controlled enterprise. When you put the power generation into the hands of a private monopoly there is nothing to stop societal extortion. By inventing methods to fit more water into the same pool, the investment banking sector has very slowly and carefully increased the money supply. The effect is to create mathematical fountains which they in turn invested in new pools, ad infinitum. It is great to create these self perpetuating multipliers of wealth but there comes a point, if the water evaporates before it hits the ground that the whole system becomes a liability, deflated by the absence of pressure and unable to restart the infernal machine as it requires more dynamics exist to feed into its frenzy.
So the pool masters, realising the one way nature of this effect dipped their cup into and extracted what they needed as they then fell from the self induced elevation of their wealth and into, hopefully, obscurity in a country mansion.
And the executive board that runs the world hope for excessive rain to refill those myriad of pools. At first they pump all the water from the foundation pools into the top pools hoping to restart the fountains. Out come more cups draining the network before any can trickle down. And the new pools are starting to rust.
It is inevitable as Governments wind down their public sector and invest heavily in rescuing “capital” from itself, that pensions are going to universally drop. The solution is to demolish the structures that feed on tax payers to rescue pensions. The other solution is to nationalise core banks and protect national sovereignty.
The theory is that the Bilderberg Group of the hyper wealthy that seem to sit above democracy want to eradicate governments at a national level, and replace it with their own, the guiding hand of the benevolent dictatorship, the grandest lords of them all. The ones that own everything.
In 2001, Denis Healey, a Bilderberg group founder and, for 30 years, a steering committee member, said: “To say we were striving for a one-world government is exaggerated, but not wholly unfair. Those of us in Bilderberg felt we couldn’t go on forever fighting one another for nothing and killing people and rendering millions homeless. So we felt that a single community throughout the world would be a good thing.”
See also Telegraph article on decline of pension funds.
September 24, 2011
While the G20 worship the generation of false wealth we are forced to accept Governments that defer the costs of progress in favour of far more false wealth as a solution. The holy grail of a system that has cheated itself to the Nth degree is becoming a groaning machine capable of blowing gargantuan bubbles to solve the crises of accumulating need of the many to sponsor the largess of the very few.
These huge mountains of debt – what did they buy exactly? Where are the assets? Consumption is not an asset but it is seen as the path to salvation. Growth is not growth when it is only capital expansion in the face of long term poverty. It is the system itself that is out of control, the way in which the steam valves we call markets are manipulated and political decisions that flow from the rationale of a committee of naked emperors.
Producing exponential movements in capital exchange is seen as a solution. UBS recently learned the hard way the equation that for every winner there is going to be many losers can be reversed. What sucked Lehman dry was bad mathematics and a total disregard for consequences, an aggressive form of global gambling is simply not going to solve the actual dilemma the markets face. What we are measuring is not real economic growth, it is a deferment of responsibility.
As the markets fall capital moves away from reality and into assets that are deemed safe. The market mechanism is a great tool that has been badly abused by greed to the power of political expedience.
July 27, 2011
Legislation of a debt ceiling does not absolve the US from its obligations.
UPDATE: The 14th Amendment of the Constitution clearly states that Congress must not default on its obligations.
While the USA frantically tried to save the world with a nuclear arsenal they could never use and military overspending on wars that did no good, we see the East’s rise to financial domination by engaging huge numbers of lowly paid workers to export in a way that nobody was able to compete with. If you want something manufactured, get it done in China has been the wisdom of the past 60 years. Market forces!
The agenda of the lever pullers seems to be to froce the USA to default and evade repayment. By making it effectively illegal for the USA to meet its obligations, the USA will have to default. The net effect of the USA not borrowing any more is being described in philosophic terms – what would the result be?
I think the answer to that not yet knowable. But certainly creditor nations will invest elsewhere and perhaps it will be the final straw that breaks US economic hegemony. Time for a new deal?
If Obama was to be effective, he needed the Democratic support in his first two years. Sad that they fiddled while the midterm elections were lost. Back to American isolations, anyone?
July 10, 2011
Is this a refreshing change in tactic – is Australia leading the world in creating a future that it is reasonable to invest in, the crumbling economy based on oil will ultimately fall over. Oil will get more and more expensive in political and economic relationships. It will undo China as it has undone many Western economies. It has been a growth industry and will continue to be until it starts to become more expensive to drill it than other methods – and if those other methods are non-polluting, that is a distinct advantage. If they are free of excessive cost, or have no operating costs (an efficient means of collecting solar energy) beyond capital costs (interest) and maintenance, it means that power is a flexible commodity like much open source software that oils the wheels of business and life in a general sense improving life for all.
July 5, 2011
Greece and Portugal can sell their gold reserves, the price is very high and that fuels speculation. By putting their gold onto the market gradually, they can keep up with loan repayments. Government spending is necessary during a recession or businesses could change their behaviour. Like paying taxes. Like buying gold reserves and opening offices in countries like Greece.
The rise of the global corporate has enabled cross border legal theft of taxes from the economies of many countries. Is this a pressure from the one-world-government Bilderberg conference confirming years of conjecture by “conspiracy theorists”? Or is the intent to create corporations that exist outside the rule of law? What will stop them becoming feral when even under the auspices of the US government, we had rife corporate misdealings such as Enron and MCI who falsified accounting information to keep share prices suspended higher than they should have been, attracting investment they basically ended up wasting. Or Lehman Brothers who made very irrational decisions with bound to fail one day securitization deals. Corporate theft by Bernie Maddoff happening right under the collective noses of law enforcement, the Inland Revenue Service, the banks and Wall Street.
What if a multi trillion global corporation falls into the hands of corruption? How will that damage every nation states’ progress and growth? Or is that already happening – for example who is motivated to write thousands of computer viruses? Corporate criminals would have the skills. The Mafia probably do not. The West (and Google) point fingers at the Chinese Government. Corporations are more likely to gain from harming their competitors. Is there a war between China and the West? Not really, no. No evidence of that, but are there corporations who have proven they are not to be trusted? Lots.
So instead of regulating the high flyers to merely protect the public from expedential uninsurable risk they pose, why not regulate corporations at the international level to make them more responsible to trade balances and the well being of all?
Why not give the very largest corporations humanitarian projects and social responsibility?
America can get out of debt tomorrow. How? By selling its corporations.
February 27, 2009
All this focus on the economy may mean we take our attention off the real issue. All the focus on sectional interests and pressure groups that drive the climate change agenda, instead of actual planning to change things that must change is distracting humanity from its mission, its meaning and its life.
Real progress follows talking about it, only if plans are made real without all the political watering down of meaning that occurs.
January 23, 2009
The last great empire builders – the UK and the USA appear to be on the brink disaster due to the collapse of debt financing.
Due to the mountain of debt compared to productivity mainly in the private sector, the banking crisis looks like it inevitably will move to the next stage despite the extraordinary generousity by Governments of tax payer reserves into the banking sector.
It seems that our addiction to capital is an addiction to “productivity free” capital – in other words the acceleration of capital growth over the past thirty years has been a belief system based on attributed value rather than real value. Notice how your house got more and more valueable?
Continued in End of Empire on DisturbingTrends: predicting future politics