Friday, 24 April 2020

note to Earth Regenerators

foundations of economics has to be based on the natural world, we have lost that connection when thr gold standard was cut as a based for all cuurancies , and I believe this is when both money and all the eco damage it causes really took off...
Surley if we are to have any stability in the natural world we have to be in harmony with it, I mean we must have a direct link in all we do, use, consume with Nature and its demise.
At present we spend willy nilly without any care to the natural worlds sustainability, even organic farmers and vegans are not more holy than most of us , Its just they see everthing fom a different view point.
Money is only a store of energy to spend and release that energy in all the goods and services we all enjoy, so it must be right to make money direct accountable to ecodamage..
Any changes have to be understood and accepted by everyone, we made the worst change of all by removing the gold standard and releasing huge amounts of money, "ENERGY", into the economy and even with all the so called renewables hitting the market, there is no downturn of the ecodamages being done, as we have not still made any right decisions. 
We need SMART economics where we can spend less, "ENERY", and still get more in results , but the results are differnet to what we have been used to. better health, mind and body,  rather than the lockdowns of ill health!!!!
Man finds it difficult to change his mind about anything , its probably due to security and living with what you Know. but fundament cahnge has to happen quickly and there are very few ways that will achieve the desired out come. to achieve we must change and quickly with the people behind us. that why I advocate a carrot and stick approach, at present we just have more taxes, more regulations etc etc  AAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
Yes but thats what we are doing, we must find ways of fundamental change that empowers the indervidual to choose, thay can have a Tesla, or yaght. but they have to pay dearly for the privalidge of the damage they are doing to the planets ecosysytems. At presnt they are rewarded for their greed and over consumption by tax breaks for the industries that make the products  and distortion around the globe in labour and resource costs  not just in finacial terms but in real ecodamge to the planet.
 I have a couple of things i always like 
1 Money =Energy +waste. but in the end all is waste!
2 Scrap all existing taxes and replace with a single Natural Resource Tax collected at source and based on the Eco Damage caused by their use and consumption plus UBI and a wealth tax.
3 All money must be directly linked to nature like gold was , perhaps it could be linked to availabilty of wild forest area? farmland . or even go back to gold???
Thanks for reading this rant 
It seems so simple a solution  Its just Money Stupid , 

Thursday, 13 February 2020

Time is passing


Time is Passing ........

Time has passed since we last wrote, and now with little action on Climate change that is having any real effect despite all the words and shouting from all directions is it not time to awake from our comfortable chairs and lifestyles and realize it is the money in our pockets that is the root cause of the problem, we have to much and we can always borrow more and more without any due regard to the effects its spending has upon Nature.

Money is key along with the population numbers, but the west has so much Money which controls so much of the worlds resources, and it is this linkage between money and Nature that has to be established.
It was partially there when money was linked to gold, at least gold availability was restricted and this then made money restricted and along with the then fiscal measures of the day.

Now we have money coming out of anyone who wants it, nearly 0% interest in fact in some places you get paid to borrow, along with crypto currencies which make money so cheap and easy to obtain and SPEND.

We SPEND, SPEND,  SPEND, at will with no thought at all of Nature,

When you buy a shirt, coffee or house, do you think what damage its doing by buying such items?

Few of us do...

Perhaps now is the wake up time  to attach a Value to all of Natures goods through the way we tax everything.
At present we tax labour and assets but nothing for pollution or damage to the environment. This has to change, and we all must be made directly aware of the consequences of our actions upon the planet.

To achieve this I have suggested for a number of years now, to link money to nature  directly through fundamental tax changes

Scrap all existing taxes and replace with a single Natural Resource Tax collected at source and based on the Eco Damage caused by their use and consumption plus UBI and a wealth tax.

This has to create a mind set change in all our behaviors.


I suggest this  change despite what ever technologies come up with, they will fail due to their failure to have any linkage directly with Nature during their design, production, lifespan , decommissioning, and recycling.
The circular economy will fail without a direct link to nature through EVERYTHING we do .

I do hope that 2020 will be the time when we realize that Money is our Savior and enemy.

Its how we use and consume all goods and services that money provides along with their provenance with Nature that critical to all our futures

Get real

All the efforts of the past have had no effect on the scale needed, Money and the way its taxed and spent will change the planet for good or bad , recent change have speeded up the destruction process without any of us knowing it

Change will happen , Its weather we will be in control or not?

Wednesday, 8 January 2020

What counts as a basic standard of living? Can basic services meet the same needs as a basic income? Looking at how we define poverty helps clarify both the problem and its solution, argues Autonomy director @w_stronge

What counts as basic? A new angle on the services / cash transfers debate
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By Will Stronge
January 2020

UBS: updating our services

This post is aimed at contributing to the ongoing debate around the future of welfare that we’re having here in the UK – specifically this unfortunate opposition between services and income that some have been setting up: see here, and here, and here. You can find forceful responses to these from people such as Guy Standing here, Stewart Lansley here and a helpful conciliatory approach from Andrew Pendleton here.

UBS is the commonly used title (riffing off the ‘UBI’ name) for a set of basic services – free at point of use – that were proposed by the IGP two years ago as an alternative or compliment to a basic income (or unconditional cash transfers). These seven services include: healthcare, education, legal services, shelter (housing), food, transport and internet. In truth, as others have pointed out, many of these services are not in fact proposed as universal in that report. Housing is to be allocated to the most in need first (amounting to a (commendable) proposal simply to build more houses and provide free utilities). ‘Free transport’ is really just an extension of free bus passes. UBFood has little detail in the way of logistics: will we really be giving food to people via an expanded network of food banks and soup kitchens? And so on.

In the Labour Party’s more recent paper that picks up the UBS idea, these services are even more limited, only including health and social care, education, free buses (only for retirees and people aged 25 and below), free school meals and free public spaces such as parks and libraries (this final proposal appears to be more defensive, or recuperative, than positive).

This summary of the precise limits of UBS proposals is not to say that the idea of expanding public services is a bad thing – quite the contrary. I’m just pouring some water on the excitement with which people take up the idea of free ‘universal’ services, given the contents of what is actually being proposed. UBS is not the radical ‘new deal’ that people often have in mind when they use the initialism, but is rather, in my view, merely a counter to decades of cuts to public services with some nice, but nascent plans for new services.

My purpose in this blog post however is to underline a more fundamental reason why services – even an expanded set of services – fall far short of providing the necessities of everyday life. I.e. so-called ‘UBS’ cannot live up to the name of providing a ‘basic’ standard of living by themselves. And insofar as they can’t cover all of the basics, we return to the question of how best to meet these needs.

Future welfare policy needs to understand what 'basic' is

What do we count as ‘necessary’ (or ‘basic’) when we counter-pose free services to guaranteed income as mechanisms of ensuring welfare? By proposing seven services (even if these services were optimised beyond what is currently put forward) instead of cash transfers, there is an implicit (sometimes explicit) assumption that these services are sufficient replacements for – or like for like equivalents of – cash transfers when it comes to meeting people’s basic or necessary requirements.[1]

But does this assumption stand up to scrutiny?

The public are relativists

When looking at what people’s basic requirements are, we enter a debate about criteria and definition: what do we use to measure basic needs and how are these needs decided and defined exactly This debate also pertains to the question as to what exactly constitutes deprivation/poverty should a basic standard of living not be met.

The definition of poverty and deprivation has always been a controversial and ever-changing one. Over the years however, we have generally moved from ‘absolute’ definitions of poverty (the lack of shelter and food, etc.) to ‘relative’ definitions based on the needs of a particular society at a certain point in history.[2]  This idea has had strong support in the history of economics:

  • On the ‘necessities of daily life’ Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations reads: ‘By necessities I understand not only the commodities which are indispensably necessary for the support of life, but whatever the customs of the country renders it indecent for creditable people, even the lowest order, to be without.’

  • Writing in 1849, Karl Marx also observed that: ‘our needs and enjoyments spring from society; we measure them therefore by society.’

  • Equally, J.K. Galbraith wrote in The Affluent Society that ‘People are poverty-stricken when their income, even if adequate for survival, falls markedly behind that of their community’.

The question is, how do we measure these relative living standards? Many have tried – Booth, Rowntree being the most famous early pioneers in the late 19th century. In the late 1960s Prof. Peter Townsend drew up a list of indicators of living standards – ranging from diet and clothing to home amenities and recreation – and devised a ‘deprivation index’ of 12 items that constituted a ‘poverty line’. If people required these items but could have afford them, then they were, on this definition, in poverty. The crucial problem was that this list was essentially arbitrary: why these 12 items and not others? Townsend and his colleagues had used their own judgements.
I will be drawing on the Breadline Britain methodology, as utilised in surveys from 1983 and 1990, as well as in the 1999 and 2012 Poverty and Social Exclusion (PSE) studies. These studies are used by Lansley and Mack’s book on the topic (2015) as well as by the Child Poverty Action Group, in their assessments of poverty and exclusion.

Instead of arbitrarily determining what items should be on the deprivation index, the Breadline Britain study and its successors asked the public which items it considered essential and then which of the list they could or could not afford  (thus determining the criteria and the extent of deprivation). Some of the lists from 1983, 1999 and 2012 are given below. As we’re interested in understanding what counts as ‘basic’ (and less interested, in this blog post, in merely discovering the rates of poverty) I have listed items that 50% or more of respondents considered to be essential for everyday life in the different decades.
Although informative for a whole range of debates,[3] these findings are also of particular interest to the debate around ‘basic’ needs (and how to best meet them). Some of the things that people have considered to be basic necessities have changed over the decades – meaning that the definition of ‘basic’ needs and requirements has shifted too.

In 1983, the majority of those surveyed thought that a roast joint of meat (or equivalent) was necessary once a week; this was no longer the case in 2012, with only 36% of people deeming this to be a basic need. In 1983 only 43% of the public thought it was necessary to have a telephone – this number crept steadily up to 77% by 2012. In 1999 only 11% of the people thought that it was necessary to have a computer and only 6% considered access to the internet to be necessary. By contrast, in 2012 66% of the public thought that having a computer and internet access was necessary (for children’s homework). Lets not forget that it is now 2020: some of the items on the 2012 survey are no doubt, in turn, moving steadily down the list of essentials (e.g. a television).

But there are also continuities in how we define ‘basic’ necessity. For example, in 1983, 1999 and 2012, 85 – 97% public believed it necessary to have a warm winter coat, to have a damp free home, to have two meals a day, to have a washing machine, to have celebrations on special occasions, and to have two pairs of all-weather shoes.

In summary, as Lansley and Mack put it:

“While there is a core group of items and activities considered necessities across all the surveys, a process of revision, deletion, substitution and addition has taken place with some items being replaced by others as tastes and fashions change and as perceptions evolve. As societies get richer, yesterday’s luxuries – from telephones to washing machines – enjoyed first by the few, come to be enjoyed by the many.”

Not all basic needs can be reasonably met with a service

Beyond expanding our understanding of poverty levels in the UK today, these studies should directly inform our debates about the sufficiency of services versus cash transfers in meeting people’s ‘basic’ needs.

With regards to some basic needs such as non-prescription medicines, local bus or rail fares, or access to the internet, free-at-the-point-of-use services could evidently do the trick. Indeed, some of the basic activities that we require to be able to engage in society could also be greatly facilitated by free services: family outings, for example, would be made much cheaper should there be free transport and free public leisure facilities.

With regards to others however, services are clearly not appropriate: adequate nightwear, clothing for all members of the family, (personal) leisure equipment, a mobile phone, toys, celebrating special occasions, and so on. These basic needs constitute most of the list in fact. If we extend our remit from ‘necessary’ items/activities to things socially perceived as ‘desirable’ we include computers, microwaves, a DVD player, enough space to read, write or listen to music, a small sum of money to spend on self occasionally, a garden, and so on. Again, some of these desirable goods/activities can be achieved to a large extent via basic services such as housing and the provision of common, public space; in many cases though, it is simply not feasible.

Some basic needs require choice

What is obvious here is that many basic requirements for contemporary life require individual choices to a significant degree – whether that is for pragmatic reasons or simply because it is desirable. We can probably map a spectrum where this holds more or less true. People probably care less about what bus comes to collect them than they do about the clothes they buy or their particular, daily diet. People would probably have no qualms with having one choice of internet service as long as it performs well, whereas they would experience the external prescription of family holidays, nightwear or specific treats/toys for children very differently (and possibly antagonistically). Even if a UBS programme could issue the entire set of basic items and cater to all the basic activities – which none of the current proposals come close to – it would simply not be desirable.

As ‘progressive’ as it sounds (in the face of dysfunctional neoliberal provision), we simply can’t – and shouldn’t – cater to every need with a state or locally-run service.

Cash is a universal equivalent and lets individuals and households meet their needs as they see fit

If services are an ill fit for meeting many of the basic needs of modern life in UK society (while at the same time being perfect for meeting some of these needs), a basic income by contrast would be much more dynamic. It might be obvious to state this, but money is a universal equivalent, meaning that it can be exchanged for anything, giving its owner access to whatever they need, depending on the price tag. If this money was not given in exchange for labour, but was given as a right, not conditional upon anything (save for residency), then what you have is a secure, flexible resource that you can allocate to whatever items or activities you (and no one else) define as basic. And in the examples used above, being able to deploy your own resources on the goods or activities of your choice is essential.

This relates to social exclusion and participation as well as material deprivation. A pensioner from Bristol responded to the 2012 survey, noting the necessity of having some disposable cash:

“If a person hasn’t got a vast or sufficient income then they can’t participate in activities. They’re excluded from communities if you like. They’re frightened to get involved with neighbours in case the neighbours say well let’s go down the pub tonight, and then they’ve got to open up and say sorry I can’t, I can’t afford it. So they’re excluded.”

These statements from a single parent from Belfast and an owner-occupier in Cardiff are even more telling in this regard:

“There’s the psychological, emotional wellbeing thing…You may be covering your basic needs, but there’s this underlying sense of low self-esteem, you know, guilt”

“If you were on the breadline and you were invited to a wedding or a christening, you wouldn’t be able to go, because you wouldn’t be able to afford an outfit for yourself, your children and presents…Birthday parties, if the children were invited to birthday parties they wouldn’t be able to go”

These experiences point to the need to be able to participate in societal activities that require spending cash – no matter how trivial the amount. Having your transport, education, health and internet requirements met simply does not address this issue (and nor could they). In this regard, not only would a basic income relieve poverty in the sense of taking a significant amount of people above the income-determined ‘poverty line’ – as has been demonstrated by Compass – it would also allow for people to meet their basic needs as defined by the people themselves.

Basic services and basic income are each very good at meeting different needs: services make more sense for commonly used, necessary infrastructures such as transport and health, whilst an income floor would allow people to acquire the basic items of everyday life in the 21st century and participate in socially-recognised activities. In these ways, they are not equivalent. However, deployed together they would be an incredibly powerful mechanism for eliminating poverty and taking people out of a scarcity lifestyle (with all of the material and psychological consequences of this).

Endnotes

(For a more detailed breakdown of these survey results and the participant quotations I’ve used above, see Stewart Lansley and Joanna Mack Breadline Britain: the Rise of Mass Poverty (2015))

[1]  (If this is not assumed, and it is accepted that we need cash transfers of some sort, then the question is begged: what kind of cash transfers should we have, if not unconditional? Those conditional on the ‘claimant’ ‘actively seeking work’ perhaps? A toned down form of Universal Credit? These uncomfortable topics are never broached, in my experience, by those rejecting basic income in favour of basic services).

[2] Those who dismiss universal income floors in favour of universal services sometimes miss this fundamental fact (about the relativity of needs as well as wants). Consider Anna Coote and Andrew Percy’s statement in their forthcoming Universal Basic Services (Polity, 2020):
‘Needs are not like wants. Wants vary infinitely and can multiply exponentially. If you don’t get what you want, you won’t die or cease to be part of human society, but that could happen if you don’t get what you need…There comes a point where sufficiency is reached in the process of meeting needs. By contrast, there will never come a time when we all have everything we want.’
While Coote and Percy recognise that ‘politics and culture shape the specific ways in which needs are satisfied’, historical conditions are merely the shaping ‘form’ in their account,  implying a fairly rigid idea as to what constitutes ‘need’ and therefore what counts as basic. Do we have ever truly reach that ‘point’ of sufficiency of meeting needs if – as we’ve established – they always developing (even if gradually)? And it is clear – from the deprivation surveys above – that there are many things that Coote and Percy might consider to be mere, ephemeral ‘wants’ that, in their absence, do in fact deprive people of engaging in the human society that they find themselves in. Things like computers, televisions and being able to take a holiday are good examples: these are quite obviously basic necessities for us, but are not transhistorical and we would expect some of them to drop off the list with time (e.g. televisions).

[3] Here are just two striking findings:
  1. In 2012, the number of people falling below the minimum standards of the day had doubled since 1983
  2. More children lead impoverished and restricted lives in 2012 than in 1999
In short, we have been moving backwards in terms of living standards.

Thursday, 13 June 2019

Drought, heatwave, food scarcity, water and politics

Just when cattle start dying, or killed early due to food shortage  do politicians and media begin to listen to the real problems that Climate Change is presenting to us as a country and peoples.

A little has changed since the 1976 drought, when we had similar problems  mainly due to lack of stored water which is to some extent the same today, it was mainly arable farmers who stored water from winter and rivers, but the hills and highlands did not take the same action  and now are regretting it.

Winter storage on the small rivers streams and springs would have made a huge difference now for the irrigation of the hills but also to prevent flooding downstream by delaying the water on its rush to the sea.

Now we must awake from our simplistic view of farming as its been done for the last few hundred years and we have to really rethink what we are doing and whether it is sustainable for the local area and the wider national and global picture.

Rewilding is a part of any picture , but its the whole way farming has taken overthe land and denuded it  so we have to rethink and reestablish much of what has been destroyed by our behaviour of the past and present.

Surely when the landscape was once of forest and now it it is rolling hills full of sheep and cattle , Are we not guilty of this change ?
reforestation is key and must take over vast swaths of countryside as quickly as possible,  If landowners fail they should have their land stripped from them an put into state  assets.

Land ownership is only a form of lease on the land  for set purposes, and if it is abused   It should be returned to its most natural state as soon as possible at the cost of the previous owner if there are any assets to be had.

Climate Crisis cannot have a single silver bullet solution

The request by PM May to bring down zero CO2 emission to zero is one that should be applauded.
However how to do this is vexed with huge decisions, that will influence the prosperity of all of us.
As a young in mind and spirit ex farmer, I have been trying to resolve this very problem for over 10 years, and thought through many option of carbon taxes and banning polluting products, these may well have to be done, but it is on which basis they should be implemented.
For me,I think the decisions of how we live should remain in the form of a responsible capitalist, where incentives are rewarded for responsible sustainable consumption and development
It is the controls and regulations of how capitalism used and acted upon that is at the center of the debate.
A few years ago, credit was given free reign, and now markets around the world slosh with money,  at every level of society with no reference to anything, not even gold, as it used to be. 

This huge excess has to stop.

Money is Energy waiting to be unleashed, and when spent, it unleashes this energy in the market place from want,through manufacturing to consumption and waste. 
Everything almost ends in waste as pollution in one form or another.

Some call for cyclic consumption, and this is probably part of the solution, but central to this discussion which has so far been avoided by nearly all economists and politicians, is that to maintain a sustainable future everything we do should be based on what's good for nature and all ecosystems.

So I have now arrived at the situation of advocating a simple holistic method of maintaining the advantages of capitalism, with the protections needed for human development and all ecosystems.

This like any radical change from the status quo, will not be an easy deal for anyone to call.

I propose...

Scrap all existing taxes and replace with a single natural resources at source and based on the Eco damage caused by their use and consumption.

This is a carrot and stick method of transferring responsibility directly to consumers and everyone in the chain of supply will soon have change their old ways to make new methods and technologies  bear fruit far quicker and without further eco destruction along the way.

I also further suggest that the taxes raised should be high enough to implement UBI and a final Wealth tax at death. Both of which should aim to make everyone more responsible for their own actions, along with changes to health, benefits, pension and education.

This is a fundamental shift in placing Nature central to all of what we do. Food ,entertainment, housing, infrastructure, transport, and so on.
Everything must change, without this change and by implementing single technical fixes will only lead us all into the abyss we are all trying to avoid.
All efforts so far have failed, unless we place draconian population controls onto society which also leads to demographic problems, no solutions to date have any success, indeed the situation is only getting worse. 

So please think this through carefully and put the question ...
Is this benefiting nature and all ecosystems?
If the answer is No, then we must think again, and again. 
This is not just a British problem but global, and any solution must also be global. 

Whatever we choose to do will hurt us, but we will lead the world in climate and fiscal methodology of solving the biggest threat to mankind. 

Thursday, 2 August 2018

Land tax response to larry Elliott, the Guardian

Land tax should be part of a far wider ranging tax reform , where all Natural Resources are taxed according to the degradation of them from the natural state, so this would not just affect the housing market but should affect all aspects of how we treat land and all resources as a valuable resource to be used by current and future generations.

Land tax by area is critical,  and the worse the eco effects of any development on land away from the original natural state should I believe be taxed according to that divergence.
For example land used for housing would attract a high tax as the land beneath the house is in effect sterile and useless for nature and would be awarded a very high tax rate as would roads and paved areas,  there would NOT be any offsetting for green initiatives directly as with my proposal all Natural resources should be taxed in a similar way and thus all use and consumption of resources would be far more expensive and the worse they are environmentally the the higher the tax would be , so by default everyone will want the most eco friendly way of living.

There has to be a What I call a Natural Resource Tax, NRT, that taxes all land water and air according to how it is used and abused and its effects on all ecosystems

These NRT taxes would I suggest replace all existing taxes and therefore would also stop much tax fraud, evasion , and avoidance as it should be collected as close to source as possible  and based on the eco damage cause by their use and consumption.

Its our place on the planet that is at risk not  that the planet will die , it will live on in a much poorer state.

Land Tax is a part soulution a much wider change that has to occur and if this is a small step then we must do it , but do not fool ourselves it is our money in our pockets and its spending on all consumption that is the problem and this must be addressed as a whole not just to placate a few.

Climate Change is real and as we see this year catastrophic changes are beginning to impinge on everyday  living for everyone globally.

Far more imaginative thinking and actions have to take place if we are to live in a harmonious society we all share in.

Friday, 20 July 2018

Burberry, Capitalism and circular economy

Burberry, Capitalism  and circular economy

I wake this morning listen to the radio and was shocked to hear that Burberry is literally burning ££££ Millions of  good clothing in the name of holding up their brand.

This is utterly devastating for the planet and everyone on  it . This is such an utter waste of energy and resources at all levels  and should be stopped ! BUT HOW ?

The best way of protecting the waste of resources and therefore the subsequent damage to the planet through pollution, and Climate Change  through all the wasted energy that has been expended on these clothes is to -
                               Scrap all existing taxes and replace with a single Natural Resource Tax collected as near to source as possible and calculated based on the actual  ecological damage caused by their use and consumption by all sections of the consumer chain. 

It is not until all natural resources attract a real value of their worth both in terms of the damage they cause all ecosystems  but also their real value in what we can use them for , for the benefit of mankind and the planet.

This maintenance of brand in this way  must stop as it shows just how wasteful capitalism is  and how greedy we are to maintain and elitist lifestyle at all costs, even one that abuses the third world and its cheap labour used in the making of these garments.

The Circular Economy must be brought far more to the fore and with a Taxation system as proposed above, this would certainly achieve this. It is only through the recognition of the true value of all Natural resources, will any long term stability and sustainable living occur,
The polluter must pay and they are the consumer at all levels , whether from design to manufacturer , from farmer to plate, from birth to grave , Everyone must appreciate the true cost of their lifestyle and pay the price as they go.