Ask the wrong questions, get irrelevant answers…

October 15, 2013

Its a simple fact of life that answers to questions, right or wrong are of not meaningful if they are irrelevant to the problem they purport to dissect and resolve. In this case the problem Cruddas and Labour via their policy review are trying to solve is: how can we build a society that provides economic justice and security to all of its citizens? 

In attempting to solve this problem Jon Cruddas’ recent announcement that Labour “got it wrong” in 2010 is hardly earth shaking news. Nor is it surprising to hear that he believes there is a “powerful sense of grievance and dispossession”. However, it would appear as though these hardly revelatory insights are the only answers the Labour Policy review offers before posing and answering questions that fail to address the problem they aim to solve. Cruddas and the “Blue Labour” sages have zeroed in on two questions they believe lie at the heart of the problem:

  1. How can we manage immigration differently?

  2. How can we support working families?

They have quite legitimately arrived at these questions after listening to the concerns of voters (not in itself a bad or insensible thing), who have complained of the problems caused by immigration and the pressures they face balancing work and family. Sadly there has been no inclination to dig deeper to understand what manifests these concerns and the locate “relevant” questions. The effects of pursuing the path identified in answering these “irrelevant” questions causes two problems. First of all leaving the “relevant” questions and their answers (right or wrong) out in the cold leaves the underlying problem untouched and uncared for. Second the answers identified re-enforce the existing right-wing media agenda that vilifies immigrants and the amplifies the pseudo-crisis of family values further obscuring the real problem, but more of that later.

It would be easy to attribute the reasons for this failure to ask “relevant” questions to a fear of challenging business interests and the right-wing media but this doesn’t fit with what we’ve seen from Ed Milliband to date. For the first time in more than a generation a British politician (Milliband) has challenged rather than courted and cow-towed to the right-wing media, and in proposing a cap on energy bills he has directly challenging a powerful corporate sector. So it would appear the problem is simply a failure to consider whether the concerns voters have identified have antecedents.

Cruddas’ review spends time looking at one of the core institutions in society, namely the family and the pressures it faces for both men and women but in doing so he in one stroke ignores a large section of society who are feeling similar pressures but are not members of familial groups that he would recognise when he refers to the “family”. But more profoundly he has failed to recognise that the pressures this ancient institution faces are being applied by an altogether newer and more malevolent one: the corporation. Let us not forget that corporations are owned and controlled by the very richest in society and as such are essentially used to further their interests.

For it is the corporation in the shape of the right-wing media that has presented the agendas pressing the case for cessation of immigration and the preservation of the family. And like it or not we are all more or less susceptible to the promptings of the media baseless or no.

Moreover the very real concerns expressed by voters when they feel short of time and money to spend with their families is not something that can be addressed by looking at their families and society’s views on the roles of its respective members. But by challenging their employers to make a more equitable settlement in terms of both time and money.

 So the relevant question becomes how can we repurpose the corporate institution for the 21st century? I’ll stop short of offering answer but if we start with a right question we can at least hope to have a “relevant” answer.


The Power of Inequality…

August 9, 2011

So many questions arise when considering the riots that have engulfed Britain over the last four days… Who’s to blame? Why are they happening? What can be done? When will they stop?

I’ve witnessed a multitude of responses to these questions in the press, social media, conversations with friends, family and colleagues. One of the most common has centred around the condemnation of the rioters, who in the eyes of many are clearly the ones to blame. While on the face it this would seem like a common sense answer I would contend that this is an all to lazy response that ignores anything other than the immediate reality on the ground. And if we want to find answers to the questions about how to make sure this doesn’t happen again we need to look at the events in a broader context…

One of the features of modern Britain is our embrace of individualism, it pervades all elements of our culture. It centres around the idea of personal responsibility and self reliance within an environment that offers individual freedom. It extols the virtue of free choice and light touch regulation, it lies at the core of consumerism (the right to choose what we want to consume and how we want to consume it). Yet it is this pursuit of this agenda that lies at the very heart of the breakdown in society that has led to the riots.

Politically individualism is embodied by the Conservatives and it enshrined in two key principles they pursue relentlessly, both of which drive inequality:

  • Free-markets – though “free” is used under advisement this principle centres around the idea of minimising regulation of the mechanisms employed to facilitate the sale and purchase of commodities. The idea being that this provides the most efficient way of allocating available resources. However, another key feature of this arrangement is the concentration of wealth in the hands of the few; as the old saying goes, money makes money… And the more you have the more you’ll make. The bi-product of someone making loads of money is that it is at someone else’s expense.
  • Low flat rate taxes – low taxes mean a smaller government, this is desirable in the eyes of conservatives as it believes the individual is better placed to figure out how best to spend the money they have available. However, this ignores the fact that some services governments provide are there to level the playing field (e.g. social housing, healthcare, education, etc…). Flat rate taxes are supposedly fair as they apply the same level of taxation to all. However, if we reflect on the inherent unfairness of free-markets flat rate taxes only exacerbate the gap between the haves and have nots.

We can choose to reject either one or both of these ideas at the core of individualism, but if we continue to accept both the level of inequality will only continue to rise. And it is inequality that lies at the heart of the matter.

What evidence is available to support the view that inequality lies at the heart of the riots? Looking specifically at the prominence of rioting itself we can look to other developed nations and their position in terms of inequality there is startling evidence to support the contention that the riots should be expected in countries such as Britain. Take the USA (the most unequal country in the developed world) do you think this could happen there? Well, there are 10 riots recorded in the US in the last decade alone! What about Japan (one of the most equal societies in the developed world)? The last riot in Japan was in 1970 (ironically it was in protest at the US military presence and was put down by US military forces). More generally the impacts of inequality in society are set out pretty definitively in The Spirit Level (by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett), it shows the impact of inequality on society (NB Britain is one of the most unequal societies), as well analysing the underlying behaviours that inequality creates.

Accepting that the riots are a result of the gross inequality in Britain, there is still a question about whether or not the riots actually represent a form of protest. Many hold the view that the riots are simply a result of opportunism and group-think, refusing to countenance the possibility that there is any political basis for the rioting. If we look back to the 1980s to find the last time there were riots of a similar nature in Britain in Toxteth and Brixton many people including the media recognised they were at least in part political protest. So what differentiates these riots in the eyes of the world?

Clearly the nature of the riots is different, looting is wide spread, and there is little or no dialogue with the rioters. However, there are good reasons the mode of rioting is different, the participants in the Brixton and Toxteth riots were drawn from a much heterogeneous set who were able to articulate their grievances about unemployment and heavy handed police tactics. Today’s rioters do not seem willing or able to articulate a similar message, but should we therefore assume there is no reason for their actions beyond opportunism and thuggery? After all their reality is rather different. Remember most of the community in Toxteth had been skilled manual labourers from the docks and manufacturing who were part of an established community; whereas today’s rioters are the product of generations of long-term unemployed, living in atomised communities with only minimal education. As a result they are unable to articulate their anger other than the wanton destruction of property and conflict with the police. But despite the justifiable objection of wider society to the rioters means we must recognise their anger is authentic and justified.

So what is to be done?

If we are to follow the individualist’s agenda we find a dearth of solutions. Perhaps we could lock them all up as they refuse to follow societies norms? This doesn’t sound like a particularly practical or effective solution. It doesn’t address the underlying causes and the idea of prison as a deterrent doesn’t seem particularly credible given our ever increasing prison population. Other solutions available to individualists seem few and far between, although I’d be happy to hear from any readers with any ideas of this particular oeuvre.

The alternative… We could consider targeting deprived communities, providing funding for eduction and training, provide financial support community based groups (remember funding has been cut by more than 50% for most of these organisations). More radical solutions might include:

  • Government sponsored set-up of new green industries in former industrial town and districts, creating jobs and a hub for communities to gravitate to; or
  • A social housing programme to address the chronic shortage of housing for the disadvantaged (currently 16,053 households are on council house waiting lists in Haringey with only 740 new lettings becoming available per year).

 

But what of the cost? Well its a pretty simple equation, you can spend the money and avoid having your property damaged and enjoy feeling safer and more secure, or you can choose not to spend it and face an increasingly uncertain and insecure future. Perhaps the time has come to recognise that even our own interests are best served by some compassion and altruism for other?

I’ll leave you with a quote from someone who understood what’s happening better than most and a couple of recommendations for some reading on inequality…

 

‘When you cut facilities, slash jobs, abuse power, discriminate, drive people into deeper poverty and shoot people dead whilst refusing to provide answers or justice, the people will rise up and express their anger and frustration if you refuse to hear their cries. A riot is the language of the unheard.’

- Martin Luther King Jr.

 

Recommended reading…

Injustice: Why Social Inequality Persists – Daniel Dorling

Chavs – The Demonisation of the Working Class – Owen Jones


The News… You’re Screwed!

July 7, 2011

News International‘s damage limitation exercise kicked in with a vengeance this afternoon as James Murdoch announced that Sunday’s edition of News of the World would be its last. On the face of it this sort of decisive action may appear to be an act of contrition that shows just just how seriously News International (read Rupert Murdoch) takes the string of phone hacking revelations that have shocked us all. However, we must stop and realise that the motivation for this move is governed not by any sense of moral duty but the overriding priority for Murdoch to maintain his vast wealth and influence.

Before I say much more about Murdoch’s motives lets begin by making it absolutely clear who’s responsible, ergo who should be held to account. The extent of the phone-hacking operations was so wide spread we can be absolutely certain it was not just the work of a couple of “rogue operatives” but a mode of operation that was deeply engrained in the culture of News of the World. Rather than being a damning inditement of the rank and file this suggests: at worst senior management (i.e. Rebecca Brooks, Murdock snr and jr and the other News International apparatchiks) actively encouraged such behaviour and colluded to cover it up; and at best demonstrated gross negligence through their complete failure of oversight and the absence of sufficient internal controls. In either event both must be considered completely unacceptable and grounds for senior management’s immediate dismissal and most probably criminal charges.

So if we are to assume that the closure of The News of the World draws a line under this whole sorry affair what amens does it bring? From what I can discern there will be very little. First and foremost lets remember that the closure means that 168 employees, few of whom worked during the period of Hacking-gate worked at the paper, their redundancy doesn’t seem to provide any sort of solution. It would seem that a phoenix will soon emerge from the flames (given reports that the domain name for sunonsunday.com was purchased two days ago) as a new Sunday paper arrivea on the market filling the same space in the marketplace with the very same culpable leadership in control. So far so little to protect the public from those responsible or bring them to account.

Lets now consider Rupert Murdoch’s motives for the move and what he might gain from the closure of The News of The World… As I’ve already mentioned the objective of the closure is to draw a line under events, if successful this would mean:

  • The take-over of BSkyB would proceed, providing even more control of our daily media intake and even greater means to influence the public and control the agenda to Murdoch’s will
  • Avoidance of a full public enquiry chaired by a judge where any lies or cover-ups would be punishable with the full force of the law (there can be no doubt none of the board of News International have any appetite to face a custodial sentence)
  • Limit the reputational damage to other News International businesses as a result of a long drawn out scandal

All of which mean Murdoch is able to fulfil his overriding objective to maximise return to shareholders (remember this is the primary objective of any publicly listed company). This objective throws up problems in the eyes of many for all corporations, as shareholder interest takes precedence to all of its other stakeholders, be they employees or customers. And to some extent is a justification of Murdoch’s behaviour. Therefore we must consider whether this widely accepted mode of behaviour can be tolerated any longer. Particularly, in the case of the media which unlike other business has a duty to not only deliver its product to the market place to satisfy customers needs but to hold government, business and wider society to account. Clearly if the media is owned by very few players, for whom the priority is to maximise their returns a conflict exists. For who will hold them to account, if it is not in their own interests to do so. For this reason we must fundamentally reconsider who media is owned and regulated, placing its role as the 4th estate at its heart.

Despite these facts we cannot lay this solely at the door of the capricious owners of News International and the working culture they fostered at News of the World and the wider stable of News International publications. The wider public who embrace the journalistic agenda of these publications must think twice about what it seeks from the media, and recall its most important role in society as the 4th estate. In this age of intrusion, the public’s seemingly insatiable appetite for the intimate details of celebrities and other notable figures (whether they be victims of murder, rape or other heinous crimes, soldiers) we are guilty

Lets follow Liverpool’s example following the hideous lies the very same News International Group printed about the Hillsborough disaster and vote with our wallets, boycott all News International publications, drop your Sky satellite subscription, write to your MP demanding a public enquiry presided by a judge and ask for the proposed take-over of BSkyB to be blocked. We cannot stand idly by any longer and let Rupert Murdoch poison the fabric of British society, we can and must say no more. And if you think this all sounds a bit harsh on poor old Rupert, remember he’s is and will remain a very rich man.

For more insight into the ills of the printed media look no further than Noam Chomsky who’s written extensively on the subject, you can check out his website which will provide an eloquent and damning analysis (http://www.chomsky.info/).


Is there no alternative?

July 4, 2011

More and more often I find myself asking why so many people are attached to the orthodoxy of believing there is to alternative to the market-based capitalist model we find in Britain and the USA today (and to a lesser extent the rest of Europe)? After all, the facts that support the case against such a model are well documented. And even those who doggedly insist there is no alternative would acknowledge there are many ills as a result of this system that touch their lives right now. Whether it be high levels of personal debt, rising prices, job security, or limited access to healthcare and other vital elements of social welfare. They would also find little argument in the assertion that more significant existential threats lie in wait as we face the prospect of global warming and the depletion of the earth’s natural resources.

So why given they accept these problems do people cling to the current mode of government and its economic model? I would contend this can be considered by answering two questions:

  1. Is there reason to believe the current model can succeed in providing solutions to the problems we face today and tomorrow?
  2. If we can agree that capitalism doesn’t possess these answers, why do so many people feel this is the only option?

To answer the first question we must spell out the issues that must be addressed and consider how the markets based capitalist system can respond. These issues are manifold, but let us assume that we must answer the most significant of them if we are to succeed in our objective. I’ve already referenced two of the biggest:

  • The threat to our environment as a result of global warming; and
  • The depletion of the earth’s natural resources.

As with the issues themselves there are many reasons the current market-based capitalist model is unable to respond, this includes but is not limited to the following:

  • Market-based Capitalism is dependent on commoditisation. For a market to function it must have a commodity to trade, whether it be a apples, computers or coal. Without resources to create commodities (something that is inevitable if we exhaust all of the world’s resources) market-based Capitalism cannot function. As we see more and more consumers come on-line around the world (something that Capitalism embraces as more consumers means more buyers; thereby increasing the volume and prices of commodities that are sold) the rate at which the available resources is exhausted inevitably increased. Market-based Capitalism has no mechanism to control this process.Market based Capitalism’s promotion of low levels of regulation and objection to public services.
  • The vested interest of Big Oil companies in maintaining their grip on the energy market means there is little opportunity for investment in renewable resources to thrive.
  • The short-termism of elected governments who have a 4/5 year time horizon, precluding any appetite for governments to make significant investments (e.g. renewable energy projects or green transport) that will see no return in the life of their parliamentary term.

Let us now consider the second questions I posed, why do people feel market-based capitalism (given its inability to provide solutions to the issues I’ve outlined above) is the only option available. Two of the key reasons for this view are:

  • The capitalist controlled mass-media’s promotion of market-based Capitalist orthodoxy and non-existent coverage of alternatives
  • Two party politics, that is only differentiated by very little in terms of their key economic policy. (Remember the Labour Party was and still is pro-city (i.e. deregulation of Financial services), accepts the need for cuts to public services to address the national debt, and proposes a tax regime that is very similar to the Tories.)

So how are we of the political persuasion that doesn’t fall into the narrow spectrum of two party politics to advance the cause for a more just and equal world that is able to face up to the problems effecting our lives today? Three options that I can discern that are available right now are:

  1. Use social media to spread the word to your peers, circumventing the capitalist controlled mass-media. The number of active users of social media sites offers a platform that can reach as many people as the capitalist controlled mediums. Spread personal testimony about how your own life and those around you have been effected by the current system, and promote alternative solutions whether local or global.
  2. Bring together the a broad based coalition of anti-capitalism and environmental groups under a single banner. Building a political party with a big enough membership / voting base to secure national media attention and financial resources. I would contend the Green Party is the most appropriate place to build from, as it embraces both environmental and anti-capitalist agenda, without the dogma that longstanding parties of the left still cling to. In Germany the Green Party is now competing with the two leading parties!
  3. Internationalise these issues. The globalised nature of the threats we face as well as the mechanisms of market-based capitalism dictate that we need to build coalitions that reach beyond national boundaries. Get involved in Anti-globalisation forums and groups that span nations (see http://www.thezeitgeistmovementuk.com/ or http://www.oneworldgroup.org/).

Its in your hands… Blog / tweet / status update; join the Green party, reach out and make friends with people from outside your own community.

If you’d like to read more detailed analysis of some of the issues I’ve covered in this article I’d recommend the following books (I accept that I’ve provided slim evidence for some of my assertions but brevity is the name of the blog game)…

Heat – George Monbiot (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Heat-How-Stop-Planet-Burning/dp/0141026626/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1309731297&sr=1-4)

The Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone – Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett (http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0241954290/ref=oss_product+)

23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism – Ha-Joon Chang (http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1846143284/ref=oss_product)

Prosperity without Growth: Economics for a Finite Planet – Tim Jackson (http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1849713235/ref=oss_product)


Lip Service

June 17, 2011

I’ll begin with  an assumption… Ed Miliband is right, we need more responsible behaviour from the boards of directors of companies in Britain. But its all very well for Ed to call for more responsible behaviour in the boardroom but this call is only lip serivce. For as anyone with even the most cursory knowledge of how public companies operate knows, two objectives override all else:

  • The board (aided by their chief executive officer) must ensure they maximise return for shareholders;

  • The baord will seek to maximise their own remuneration (a remarkably simple task in comparison to the same goal for ordinary workers as they are responsible for agreeing their own renumeration).

So it follows that any amount of rhetoric about responsibility will fall on deaf ears with no hope of leading to any meaningful change in behaviour. Particularly as the mass media has shown little or no willingness to engage in the debate; why would they when they are companies owned and run by the very same network of privileged individuals who sit on the boards of Britain’s bluechip companies?

What we really need to change behaviours in the board room are new rules that will enforce responsible behaviour. Of course this will be resisted quite simply because it will impinge on the primary objectives I’ve already set out.

Not coincidentally boards of director have an developed and deployed a number of extremely effective mechanisms to combat any efforts to make such a case. These mechanisms (e.g. lobbying ministers (I’m not sure how you or I would go about getting such an audience), media campaigns (it helps when you’re kin are the media owners), and the art of distraction) are used to promote a line of argument that maintains

regulation will seriously inhibit “free enterprise” and “wealth creation”. But these arguments are at best tenuous and at worst down right lies. There is no data available to support the claims of chief executives and their boards that sky high rewards represent effective means of incentivisation that drive performance; nor the contention that if we are to impose too much regulation companies and talented individuals will take their businesses out of the UK. Leading to less innovation, job creation and tax receipts.

This particular scare tactic is particularly dangerous as it appears to hold sway in the public consciousness, however, it is another deceit. If we first of all consider the prospect of talented individuals leaving the country and believe for a moment their departure would be a threat to our shared prosperity we overlook the very nature of competition and capitalism. Yet just as the Hydra in Greek mythology, when you cut off the head another one will inevitably grow back. The skills we’re talking about are not those of a professional footballer who is born with certain set of physical gifts; the skills of business can be taught. And in all of the most competitive environments where rich rewards await be they fame or wealth there is always cast of willing and able understudies waiting in the wings.

With respect to the prospect of entire companies departure, we can sleep easy as the process of moving a company, particularly if its primary market is the country in which it is based, is not only difficult legally and logistically but in most cases uneconomic. There are of course exceptions, primarily finance companies (NB some hedge funds have already taken this course of action), however, these companies employ relatively few employees and the argument that their spending supports other jobs is not clear-cut, as most accumulate their wealth and do not spend it on manufactured goods and services that create jobs for wider society. Instead they spend on investments in property (inflating prices), and other assets.

So what can be done if we are to do something meaningful rather than utter meaningless soundbites? Four complmentary solutions I’d propose:

  • Setting up a high pay commission, that is empowered to make meaningful proposals for limits on rewards that will it the statue books.

  • Limiting the number of directorships a single person can hold. This would prevent the cross pollination that means boards are comprised of a cosy pool of hacks striving for their own selfish ends.

  • Limiting the time someone can sit on a board. This would further re-enforce the previous suggestion.

  • Give shareholders a more meaningful mechanism of engagement in decision making by setting out more frequent and empowered shareholder meetings rather than one well manicured AGM where voting decisions are limited to take it or leave it options.

So come on Ed, don’t just tell us about how you’d like boards to behave, tell us how you’re going to make them behave!


Apathy Rules?

June 2, 2011

There is a real sense among many of the people I meet in my day to day life that there is little point engaging in a discussion about politics and even less in actually voting. This is born out by the figures for general election voter turnout, which from bobbling around between 70% and 80% from 1945 until 1997 have dropped precipitously with only 59.4% turnout in 2001’s election to 65.1% in the most recent election.

This is not new information. All of the main political parties have been talking about how they intend to go about re-engaging with the members of the electorate who chose not to vote. There are undoubtedly a multitude of very specific and often personal reasons why people chose not to vote, however, these specific reasons can be grouped into one of three broad categories:

  1. The party they would have voted for stands no chance of winning in their constituency;
  2. There is no one party that sufficiently represents the views of the voter to merit a vote; or
  3. There is no point in voting as there is no discernible difference between the choices available.

If we agree that the first point is a symptom of the first past the post system, as there are inevitably a number of “safe” seats where a particular party maintains an unassailable lead (think Beaconsfield where the Tories won 61% of the vote at the last general election, or Bootle where Labour won 66%). It follows that we may assume this would account for a significant proportion of the electorate who chose not to vote in elections predating 2001 when the sharp drop in voter turnout began (we’ve been stuck with first past the post since universal suffrage arrived in the UK). Furthermore, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to assume the voters in the second group, i.e. those who do not feel there is a party that suitable represent their views to merit a vote, are not a new group either. The UK has operated a virtual two party politics since 1945; again this would suggest there is no catalyst for a change in voters in this category (accepting the difference between the main parties is more or less constant, although the overall political position may oscillate (think Heath to the left of Thatcher, or Blair to the right of Foot). On that basis I’ll park both of these groups of non-voters to one side as there seems to be little to suggest these groups of voters are particularly disengaged or changing in composition or number and focus on the final bullet point.

Based on the assumptions made above this final group can be said with a reasonable degree of confidence to account for the increasing numbers of non-voters. This group represents the increasing section of the electorate do not believe government can offer any answers to the challenges they face in their lives. Lets call this group the disengaged voters.

Disengaged voters offer big rewards to political parties of all persuasions, afterall demographics dictate the margins between winning and loosing in the UK are minuet. However, as we’ve already noted it appears as though rather than making the most of this opportunity to win new voters, who do not carry the baggage of affiliation to another party, it is being missed in spectacular fashion. Again we must search to find any common strands that unite these disengaged voters:

  • They do not believe existential threats (e.g. global warming, economic collapse, etc…) are issues that will make a directly impact on their lives.

And even where disengaged voters accept the existence of a threat:

  • They do not believe the issues can be addressed via government.

So what? We no they don’t care because they don’t think it affects them, or if they do care they’re too cynical to entrust government to do anything about it.

Here’s one for you… What if they’re right? Or, at least partially right?

I do not doubt that many of the threats I may perceive can quite fairly be characterised as insignificant to many, particularly when viewed over a short time horizon (e.g. 5 years). Moreover, I do not doubt that the mode of government we have in place today is not in anyway suitable to address the most critical issues we face.

What am I saying? Should we all be moving into the disengaged voters camp? Emphatically NO!

But the common ground those of us with a more radical perspective share with these voters is significant. We do not subscribe to any particular interest in the issues our governments present as key, and we do not believe the current mode of government employed is fit for purpose. So where existing governments find this group unreachable, all we radicals need to do is convince them:

  1. The issues we believe are existential are indeed such; and
  2. We can work towards an alternative mode of government that can address the “real” issues.

Its not a slam-dunk to convert these guys, there is a whole lot of persuasion to be done, but we have science on our side and the immutable truths only it can present will support our cause and re-enforce the message that action is the only option. More and move of this evidence keeps stacking up (e.g. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/may/29/carbon-emissions-nuclearpower), emphasising the urgency with which we must act. And once we have persuaded people of the issues, we can move on to the discussion about how we can tackle the issues via government.

So what are you waiting for, get out there and persuade your friends, colleagues, associates, or whoever that the issues matter, they are a matter of life and death.


Evidence for freewill?

May 18, 2011

The world, all of nature, operates in harmonic symphony. All encompassing,  balancing the needs of mineral, plant or animal ensuring equality of resources and needs. Lovelock‘s Gaia so brilliantly describes this machine I’ll leave you to read his word on the subject (http://www.jameslovelock.org/).

So if we agree the hypothesis of Gaia, how have we come to find the world so unbalanced, stripped of its resources?

The answer, humanity distinguishing feature: free will.

The birth of the individual has led relentlessly to this point. An unforeseen mutation of DNA, it’s wrought destruction versus the rest of DNA’s evolutionary missteps. The consequences of this twist of the helix means not just our own self-destruction. We’re going to bring the whole house down!

This relentless path we tread towards apocalypse runs deep, and is as we’ve seen the rest of nature and its infinite beauty. For evolution’s very nature, its multitude of self replicating machines; the software DNA. Everything owing their uniqueness to the system’s failure to perfectly fashion a carbon copy. But instead an impressionistic self-portrait. The simple introduction of these errors, so random, the microscopic world of DNA’S yin to the yang of its offspring: the precisionate balance of nature, bringing  with it such perfect equilibrium to all varieties of life it creates.

But remember where I started. It’s not as perfect as it might seem. Survival of the fittest is of this randomness‘  very nature. And free will is surely the clearest and most tragically successful manifestation of the fittest?


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