Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Cycling is the future......

Cycling is fast , fun and good for health and environment. Making cycleways segregated and most importantly without obstructions of crossings , traffic lights etc is essential to make the transition from cars to cycles as a form of transport rather than just for fun and leisure as most in Lycra and mountain bikes do.
Easy access and parking at shops and facilities need to be also a high priority in planners and architects designs along with charging points.
Planning Rules are a big obstacle for cyclists in the future as their is still lots of plans granted next to highways that will future development of segregated cycleways.
Surely when any plans are drawn up the first consideration now must be easy shortcut cycleways to enable everyone to access facilities easily on a bike.
Every planner, transport and building have to really address the problem and even change existing plans to accommodate cycleways.
It is just not good enough to have painted lines and hope that is it, many do not use them as they are dangerous, slow and a hazard to everyone, So they do not get used unless they are in a particularly dangerous place or they take a short cut, but jumping on and off the highways to join many of these painted lanes are so so dangerous in their own right.
If cyclist were to obey every rule of the road and use them it would mean many would stop due to lengthy journey times , danger fo having to stop start and on and off bike losing balance etc etc
I urge all planners to take to their unsuitable bikes from home to schools to shops and to work of course. Just find out how bumpy potholed drain ridden your ride is and just how unsafe you are making our roads by your designs, maintenance and layout of most cycleways.
I urge government to make all manufacturers and suppliers of bike to ensure they are safe for the road by insisting they are sold with mudguards, lights and a carrier like most on the continent, and that users of public highways do have legal bikes on the road.
Times are changing and we have to change fast to meet the challenge. of stress, over crowding, health, and of course the planets ecosystems .

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Electric cars are not the future?

May a ask why no mention is ever discussed or thought about when discussing future Transportation, on the subject of a real value being put on all Natural resources according to the actual and potential damage they cause to all ecosystems .
George Monbiot asks , "Electric cars address only a small part of the problem – we need to rethink the whole crazy transport system."
I could not agree with you more , however if we are basing all out future assumptions on the existing values we put on all Natural resources we are surely going to just repeat the same problem we have now , but in another form!
As with your rewilding and many of the issues you raise with very credible arguments, it seems that without a true value of damage caused by these natural resources we will achieve little.
I am not asking for any more taxes than we have now , in fact with more efficient collection , less fraud and evasion , the overall tax burden could be far less than at present, but perhaps not if we need to bring down the debt and convert to a more green and sustainable future.
Its just how  we collect the taxes and what emphasis this has on the minds of the consumers, designers and manufacturers. This new emphasis on valuing nature and natural resources, is fundamental to our very existence, so the quicker we make every individual realise their impact by hitting them in their pocket for the damage they do through the goods and services they consume, the quicker the better.

Further If we are to real go electric we have to generate a lot of the electricity locally and that means with solar or hydrogen , the former is well advanced although battery technology is lagging but not far away from being sustainable , but Hydrogen  converted by solar is a distant dream for local production, but together they would provide all the heating, cooking and transportation needs of everyone, Although transportation may change into a vastly different forms in future.  with cycle tunnels, to keep cyclists dry and warm  and even wind assisted! with public buses remotely controlled according to passenger needs etc ...

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Grenfell before and after

Grenfell  before and after........

The fire at Grenfell Tower is shameful but inevitable, due to the poor communications over decades , caused by a system of government that refuses to discuss and compromise  and arrive at pragmatic solutions to problems.
Governments of all shades within the UK are guilty of maintaining First Past the Post elections which only allows for one winner, that winner takes all and assumes everything they have proposed in their manifesto is the only solution, this makes them almost a dictatorship for that parliament and impose their policies even though they may not be fully subscribed by both the party  or the voters.
It is when we have events of tragedy like Grenfell Towers that it brings this to the fore at an individual level and we ask questions on how this could ever happen, but it will as we did not learn from past fires.

It is difficult for the opposition to maintain sustained debate and questioning , and often results in the subject being thrown into the long grass and not seen again , until another disaster looms.

We see this with the referendum and the last General Election , where the real subject we were all voting for was not rationally debated , with the result of lies , misinformation, and often going off piste with subjects nothing to do with the project in hand.
We are about to enter talks on Brexit without any real discussion or debate, no specialised committees to find ways through the minefield of regulation, laws and obligation we have entered into, instead we have soundbites like "Brexit means Brexit". which means absolutely nothing, unless you really want the hardest Brexit of all, which a few have shouted about. Its interesting to note that today the UK government have conceded to follow the EU agenda on the talks, As if they had any option, they had not done any homework to really influence any other way. The idea of having talks all mixed up is so they would be able to delay and not really confront the various issues with skill and judgement necessary for a successful outcome.

Where we go from here?

Where we go from here?

Fundamental changes in how society works, behaves and lives is dependant upon the fiscal, family and environmental environment we live within.

To have any 100% or 500% change in the way we move forward quickly to resolve any of the climate and ecosystem disasters awaiting us , we have also as a civilization be swift on our feet to change fundamentally what we have always assumed were the right ways to progress forward, indeed , mankind has moved forward only at the expense  of sacrificing his own kind, but also that of all ecosystems, life and natural resources of the planet.

If we are to move as quickly as you suggest we must, we must change the fundamental priciples of how we value life and resources.

Fundamental change of how we value money and what it is, is the main area of change that must be addressed. In the past money was attached to gold, before that it was for Land and stock.

We have now to return from the present heady days of money can be printed and has no integral value, and return to attaching it back to the basics of life.

A Natural Resource Tax, on all natural resources to replace ALL existing taxes, This then would place a value on them to reflect the damaging effects their use has upon the planet.

Alongside this it would also fund a Universal Basic Income  which would replace almost all welfare . health, and pension schemes .

Finally a Death tax might also apply to prevent excessive wealth being transferred between generations as proposed by Warren Buffett and Bill Gates Snr.

This could be sold to all sides of the political divide, by keeping the benefits of capitalism with its incentives to do well, but also restrained enough to share the wealth to everyone.

Indeed it is the wealth sharing and the transparency of such a scheme that would provide the natural security each individual needs for their prosperity.

This also would empower businesses and individual all to do the right thing , through their power of being a consumer, The more money spent would mean the higher the environmental footprint of that transaction, Indeed it empowers people as individuals and employees to really ensure that the resources they use are minimised and made best effective use of. This of course would also need a fundamental change of heart in the way Patents and copyrights are hoarded and abused.

This a whole mindset change for all and really does challenge the norm of today and resets where we go from now on

Thursday, 25 May 2017

3 thoughts on “What TRUMP Can and Should Do About Climate Change”

3 thoughts on “What Trump Can and Should Do About Climate Change

  1. Dear Mr TRUMP and the rest of the world.
    Introduce a Replacement Natural Resource Tax has to provide long term benefits and changes the mindset of all individuals, governments, businesses alike. In fact we are in this all together and this involves us all at all levels and educates us all into protection of and best use of all resources, not just carbon based fuels.
    – Creates a labour driven economy with more labour requirement.
    -Everybody pays no labour,capital,corporation and in fact nearly all other taxes except perhaps a death tax to redistribute wealth.
    -Provide incentives for all in society equally and fairly -To make best use of all resources not just fossil fuels.
    -The consumer pays through their consumption for all the damage and pollution done to the environment.
    -Reduced overall tax take therefore reduced taxation saving up to 50%, subject to models and studies to be completed.
    -Simpler and easy to understand taxation for all except direct natural resource users.
    -Re-invigorated business sector with better understanding of the true value of the resources they use.
    -Consumers have direct control over resource damage by what and how they purchase toe goods and services they desire.
    -Complete change in the mindset of everyone in society
    -Encapsulates all the best of a carbon tax, Ex tax,Land tax, as well as providing a bonus for all of less tax , less resource use and maximize reuse and recycling whilst employing more labour and the reduce the wastage of excessive tax collection costs,and high tax accountants and stopping almost all tax fraud, avoidance and tax evasion as there will be fewer paying tax directly.
    – Remain within a capitalist system to maintain the vigor and technological advances that we change the way we all live.
    The cons
    -Is the the will power there to change?
    -Many are greedy and only want more, rather than willing to share more equally and fairly all resources.
    -The lack of willingness to accept that the rich will have have less and share despite having supposedly of high moral and ethical values of all religions.
    -downright stubbornness for any change.
    As all your commentators suggest, change has to occur if we are to have a society we can all live and prosper in for the future,The question is what to and how quickly, my answer is now and within 1 term of office to change to a fundamental framework as described above.
    QUESTION >>>
    Why is their no or little research on modeling fiscal systems away from the present ones, A fresh look, Out of the box thinking in economics, putting the planet and environment first not the greed of individuals and man?

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Reforming Britain’s Tax System Rory Meakin

Reforming Britain’s Tax System

6 JANUARY 2017
Most of us believe that some tax is required to fund government spending and some taxes are better than others. Given this starting point, how might economists weigh up whether a tax system is a ‘good’ system or a ‘bad’ system? In this article we look at the principles which underlie a good tax system, what taxes emerge from those principles (and which existing taxes would not), and what implications the implementation of such a system would have across income groups.


The principles on which a tax system should be based were laid out by Adam Smith in 1776 and have largely stood the test of time. They are: certainty, proportionality, convenience and efficiency. In summary, taxes should be known in advance, levied in proportion to ability to pay, payable in a convenient manner and inexpensive to administer.

These principles are sound, but further insight has been gained subsequently by economists including Gregory Mankiw and Sir James Mirrlees. Using their ideas, we can propose reformulating Smith’s lessons as follows:

Taxes should be as transparent as possible, a core component of which is certainty.

Taxes should be as neutral as possible, thus applying the same tax at the same rate to different activities wherever possible.

Marginal tax rates should be as low as possible, except for taxes designed to ensure people pay for ‘externalities’ caused by their behaviour.

Simplifying the UK tax system

How would applying these principles change the UK’s current tax system? Firstly, it would be radically simplified to maximise transparency and neutrality. So there would only be a single income tax, at a single rate, on all income types, however received. Corporation tax, national insurance and capital gains tax are all, fundamentally, variations of income tax and should all be abolished. Distributed profits (such as dividends) should be taxed like any other income. National insurance is effectively a duplicate income tax has no useful distinct function. And capital gains often arise from investors anticipating increases in the income an asset will produce and that will be taxed in the future – therefore capital gains tax is normally a double tax and should also be abolished.

Inheritances can be viewed as a transfer of income from one person to another. However, the income that is transferred has already been subject to income tax and should not be taxed again.

Transaction taxes such as stamp duty on shares and property depress values, gum up markets and lead to assets and houses being not being held by those who value them most. They should be abolished, along with business rates, which arbitrarily pushes business into unnecessarily cramped use of property.

So-called ‘Pigouvian taxes’, whereby we try to tax activities that lead to social costs that are higher than private costs or ‘externalities’ generally fail to stand up to the scrutiny – certainly if we consider those taxes which actually exist in the UK system such as taxes on alcohol and tobacco. Even in the context of socialised healthcare financing, the costs incurred by others associated with alcohol and tobacco are too weakly correlated to individual consumption to be useful. As a result, the relevant duties effectively operate as arbitrary and distortive ‘sin taxes’, reducing welfare and falling disproportionately on the poor. They should be abolished entirely.

Because wealth is normally so mobile, wealth taxes are particularly damaging. They should be avoided. An exception is a tax on the value of land which is attributable to solely to its location – a location value land tax. A property’s location value is the amount it would be worth if the land were found in a state of wilderness but the state of all other properties remained as they were. Taxing this value alone ought not to disincentivise landowners from improving land by clearing it or building structures and it has long been promoted by economists. A good tax system should therefore introduce such a tax in a phased manner, to account for the unfairness imposed on those who have previously bought land in good faith. This should replace a range of other taxes including council tax.[1] There should also be some further reforms to property taxes. These are discussed in part three of Tax, Government Spending and Economic Growth, published by the Institute of Economic Affairs.

Various other fiddly, opaque or distortionary taxes should also be abolished, such as air passenger duty, the television licence and the climate change levy.

Some taxes to be reformed

Consumption should be taxed with a broad consumption tax, probably a value added tax (VAT), as at present. VAT should apply universally to all consumption with no exemptions or reduced rates unlike currently where there are wide-ranging exemptions.

Although it has been suggested that existing Pigouvian taxes should be removed, there is one area where they could be retained but at a lower level – that is in the case of externalities caused by carbon emissions and other pollutants. Here, a single carbon tax would be the best way to ensure emitters cover the costs to others of their emissions. In addition, limited local fuel duties could be used to cover the cost to others of congestion, the impact on the local environment of car use and the cost of road building and maintenance. Current fuel duty rates are set at least twice as high as a reasonable estimate of the level necessary to deal with the externalities caused by cars (including reasonable estimates for the social cost of carbon emissions) and the rate should fall accordingly. Vehicle excise duty performs no useful function in most cases and should be restricted to particularly heavy vehicles which damage roads disproportionately compared with their fuel usage.

Impact of a reformed tax system

Reform of tax systems is often avoided on the ground that it creates winners and losers and the losers scream more loudly than the winners. Of course, if the overall tax burden is reduced, the discussion then becomes one of who wins the most – in other words, what are the distributional consequences of the change? It is often assumed that any reduction in taxes must disproportionately benefit the better off. However, a change of the kind of tax proposed has been modelled and this is found not to be the case.

It was assumed that there would be a 15 per cent single income tax above a personal allowance of £10,000; a 12.5 per cent VAT, including on both residential rental property and the rental value of owner-occupied property, and a location value tax aimed at capturing 75 per cent of the location value of land.

The impact on households would be largely progressive due to the substantial cuts in highly regressive sin taxes and the reform of property tax. The biggest winners would be households in the bottom three income deciles, gaining tax cuts worth 26, 19 and 17 per cent of gross household income, continuing to fall to 7 per cent at the fourth richest decile. The richest two deciles would enjoy tax cuts worth 13 per cent of gross income.


Tax need not be nearly as complex and incoherent as the UK system currently is. There are some sound economic principles that have, in recent years, been forgotten by politicians. Also, the poor pay more taxes than they think and a reduction in the tax burden in the context of a reformed system may well help the poor more than the rich.

My comment ---

Congratulations on establishing that taxation and revenue raising needs a complete overhaul, its failure in so many areas:-
Fairly apportion tax raising from all sectors of society in afair and equitable means
Raise taxes from environmentally damaging activities and resource use
Promote economic activity across all sections of society
Promote empowerment to all social groups through their purchasing power

You also say that most areas of taxation needs to be overhauled and pick out a carbon tax as the one Pigouvian tax that should remain, but really carbon is not the only polluter or damaging agent on the planet , it is the over and misuse of all Natural Resources and indeed I suggest that the whole taxation should be based on this alone  with the scrapping of all other taxes as Meakin almost suggests.

This new Natural Resource Tax ,NRT, whereby all Natural resources are taxed according to the damage their use causes the planets ecosystems from minerals , fossil fuels, land  water and air should all come under the same umbrella thereby simplifying the whole process and removing the personal income taxes and making everyone without exception equally responsible for the actual and potential damage of all their purchases of goods and services throughout the whole economic chain of industrial activity.

This should also be combined with a overhaul of all welfare services from health, pensions and benefits, with the addition of a Universal Basic Income, UBI, which would help fund the services, and make individuals more accountable for their own wellbeing.

Finally a death tax to prevent excessive transference of wealth from generation to generation which distorts social functions of society. and prevents lockup of monies , rather than recycling funds within the economy and reducing the need for QA and ever higher rates of GDP. Smart growth is needed not greedy growth.

Beyond Nudging

Its great to see you recognising that human behaviour changes according to the economic environment people live within, I gained real experience of this by employing migrants on my farm and tried various ways of payments systems to encourage a better work ethic, and found that as long as employees have control in their pay by the effort put in , then there is almost limitless work can be achieved with huge satisfaction on behalf of the employee and greatly reduced management by the employer, so a win win situation, The the employer must however, have no problem on the level of earnings of those with the highest potential, often the high flyers can earn up to 4X the slowest . It also helps when the employees are incentivised with a target of buying a house , getting married , buying a car etc , this sets real ambition and drives individuals to considerable heights. 

To the employer there is also so much to be gained , less supervision , more productivity, reliability of employees turning up for work, better communications  due to understanding job specifications, and achieving time and cost targets. 

So when I read this as an active environmentalist who has been proposing a radical change in the economic and fiscal models , it came apparent that to achieve the desired outcome , any change must incorporate a natural incentive for everyone , and be seen to be fair and equal to all. 

To this end I have been trying to have a far more round holistic approach to the present crisis we see ourselves in, by including all major problem together, not as individual problems

1 Global personal debt problems 
2 Unfair distribution of wealth
3 Gross tax evasion , avoidance and fraud
3 Distorted taxation systems that reward the wealthy dis-proportionally, compared to the salaried and waged.
4 No real payment for the use and consumption of all Natural Resources
5 No recognition of the scale  pollution has on health and on Nature in fiscal terms 
6 Endless growth is non sustainable ?
7 No empowerment of the individual ,businesses to do the right thing naturally 
8 Poor control over endless waste through bad design and poor education , food waste, poor house design , road layouts etc etc 
9 The list goes on ......and on 

All these have had small incremental changes specifically designed for each case but there has been no overall fundamental look and the best ways from an economic and behaviourally aspect for a long time. There has been great advancements in technology and it has been thought this alone would get us out of the problems we are causing by technology. 

I believe we have to create a new system of thing driven by a new economic model , by empowering everyone equally with potential and targets of doing so much better than now. 

Given the tools everyone has far more unleashed potential if only they were given more financial freedom, it should not only be the preserve of the upper class and financially well to have the possibility of exciting creativity, it should be available to all in a fully inclusive society. 
We have the tools for real change, computers, educated people, resources in abundance , What is lacking is the drive by all to one aim, not necessarily direct but indirect through all the goods and services we buy and consume daily. 

It is this subliminal change in how we buy and what we buy, that will be the change that we need to revolutionise the whole way we see ourselves on the planet.  

My aim is to get governments to scrap all existing taxes , as they are often unfair and distorting, and replace with a new Natural Resource Tax , collected as close to source as possible. This NRT would be based on the damage caused to the planets ecosystems and all life on the earth and sufficient funds raised to replace all the revenue required by governments for their expenditure needs. 

Also, a Universal Basic Income wold become and integral part of the fundamental change as also would be a death tax to prevent vast accumulated wealth being hived away from the economy, and so maintain a steady money flow without the need of high GDP growth that is such a problem in today's economy. 

I cant find any modelling that has been done with this combined approach , but combined with real understanding of how human behaviour works  I am sure this could well be the win win model we are looking for. 

Greed as we have at present and a selfishness that often goes alongside   although tempered with a little philanthropy , does nothing to tackle the real problems which could often be solved by individuals collectively at a local level if the financial incentives were there in an on-going process. 
By Taxing the bad resources heavily . it would then send a whole new signal to how we design, manufacture, process, transport, advertise, market and finally consume all goods and services, to everyone equally and indeed it would redirect the consumer in being in charge of what is made, based on the real value all Natural Resources are to mankind  and all of Earths life. 

Katherine , I think what you are exploring is the most important topic of the day , but needs to be linked with a whole new way of valuing life and the planets finite resources.