Protecting Mr Trump.

Protecting the United States’ low productivity and outdated industries fly in the face of common sense.   In my earlier blogs, I talked about the economic street, with the rich at the top and the poor at the bottom (of the street).  It is inevitable that the rich nations will as a matter of their economic evolution transfer the dirtier and low skilled jobs down the street.

There are a few exceptions to this rule. The principals are as follows: if we can enhance vital but dirty industries by the application of advancing technology and in so doing either make those industries or commodities cleaner or more competitive. Achieving these goals has the obvious advantage of improving competitiveness and improving both product and environmental standards as well as preserving jobs.

However, simply putting up a tariff wall, will only preserve the unpreservable, since both economic and quality demands are not sustainable.  I.e. poorer quality and lower competition will degrade both market prospects and financial viability.

Trump, for all his off the wall creativity, is it seems to me, is economically illiterate.  The only thing he is likely to achieve is slowing demand for American finished goods, serious retaliation from the USA’s hitherto trading partners, a lack of capital for R & D, a poorer environment, and of course the hastening of a world recession. It’s perhaps worth adding that he’ll secure the rust belt vote which will sustain his Presidency to another term. He’s just protecting Mr. Trump, he’s not protecting America.

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Making the best of this transient life.

This morning I lost a friend.  I hadn’t known him long, he was a client of a charity with which I am associated.  In the short time that I have spent with my new friend, he was never able to speak, at least not clearly. Yet he was a lovely man with a twinkle in his eye, a man who knew that death was imminent, and yet we spent a few hours together and the smile in his eyes never faded.

I grieve, I am greatly saddened because this small but lovely light has gone out.  This tiny dynamo of humanity is no more and we are all the poorer for it.

I have no right to grieve, I hardly knew the man. Yet, in that family home, there is and will remain a simple truth and it is this; none of us can love too much.  Here, in a place unfamiliar to me, is grace and kindness of unbelievable power.  It has been a privilege to be touched by the selfless giving and patient kindness of this family.

My short relationship is regretted only in that it was so short, but the example of the living and my now departed friend will be with me forever.

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Capitalism or Socialism or something else? Looking outside the box!

I can’t help thinking that we are going to have another almighty crash.  Things are changing so fast, our systems of communication, markets and public services cannot possibly keep up. The information age is upon us and is outstripping our ability to manage the consequences

At the same time, the financial well being of a whole generation is being squeezed whilst a few of the very wealthy get wealthier by the day. This seems a recipe for disaster. The stock markets are booming, debt is at an all-time high despite the dismal pay packets for the servants of the economy.

Politicians are beginning to wake up to these massive threats, but sadly tend to look back not forward for solutions.  In U.K. the socialists are talking about renationalization whilst the right wing wobbles over the Brexit debate and is in danger of taking its eye off the ball of the impending crash.

In the U.S.A. the POTUS, unpredictable as he is, seems to be turning to protectionism.  However, as I predicted last year, Trump’s unstructured and unpredictable behavior may shed light on new ideas. So far we’ve seen some astonishing moves on the Korean Peninsular scene, who knows if Trump may wittingly or otherwise make moves to improve world trade and to discipline the information giants.

This is particularly important in the management of the information revolution which is changing the world on a daily basis.  These companies mainly of American origin too big to control and too big to fail,  are creating change at an unbelievable rate. From shopping to robotics, information technology is destined to radically change the employment profile of the civilized world and no one it seems can tame these agents of change, or even look honestly into the inevitable chaos that these changes will bring.

Everyone seems concerned about aspects such as personal privacy, just what you would expect.  True, the manipulation of millions of pieces of information is truly dangerous and threatens the old order, even the idea of ‘Truth’.  But this huge threat is only one aspect of the challenges we face.

Whilst the box is ever bigger, looking outside it is more imperative than ever.

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Listen to the crying child.

 

Listen, can you hear the children cry?

From earthquake street or Yemen’s misery

Do you hear the mother’s scream of pain?

As Aung Sang Suu Kyi lies, staring blindly on.

Do you hear the whimpers of the dying child?

As drugs so needed rush too late to their breathless side.

Do you hear the mother’s tears that soak the ground?

In tortured villages that ISIS found.

Do you hear the cries of empty bellies?

In Bangladesh’s soaking drowning fields

Can you hear the buzzing bombs?

That flatten towns and schools.

Listen! Listen! – Will you reply?

To quiet the cries of that child of ours.

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We believe but do we listen?

Our beliefs are largely conditioned by our upbringing, it is as if we are born to follow our parents/family and indeed most of us do.  Political persuasion, for example, more often than not, runs in the family, once a Republican believer,  seldom a Democrat convert. Some belief systems are capable of change others run a good deal deeper, particularly religions.

Belief systems dictate the thinking and practice of lifestyle, and to a large extent define our prejudices. What is true in one belief system is not necessarily so in another. The idea of the non-believer is the epitome of conflict. It is here that the intolerance of ignorance, the refusal to listen to another viewpoint is inevitably entrenched.

The good news is that virtually all belief systems including religions are centrally tolerant, it is only the extremist who sees the non-believer as a threat. Those that see the alternative belief system as simply that, are those who the world needs.

There is,, of course, the view that beliefs if they are worth anything,  must be shared with those others outside the circle of belief.  The record of missionary exploits is not good and history shows that the extremists seem always to get the upper hand. History is littered with examples wildly extreme acts of desecration of human life and values. All in the pursuit of spreading beliefs of one sort or another.

How then are we to fight against the extremes? The answer is to learn, to listen and to tolerate those other belief systems, not necessarily to accept them. To be aware that they have a place in our world despite the prejudices of our own history.

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Dysfunctional Government

The UK prides itself on being the original model for parliamentary democracy. We have much to be proud of. However, we have shown ourselves to be hugely incompetent in managing the fruits of our no doubt well-intentioned labor.

The Windrush scandal is the results of manifestly racist and careless culture which has treated the whole of the rest of the world as ‘others.’ The British civil service and their political masters of whatever hue have relegated the issue of border control as a necessary evil which can be manipulated in any number of ways, convenient for the ruling establishment.

Hence the Windrush generation of mainly working-class citizens was consigned to the paper shredders of Whitehall whilst bent money launderers can without much inconvenience lodge their ill-gotten gains in the UK without so much as a cursory examination.

Many will argue that the twisted economics of the London property market and the disdain of my West Indian friends is the result of incompetence. Others, including me, see it as the result of endemic racism. I am ashamed.

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No wonder I’m confused!

The years go by and things change at an amazing rate. (I hate the word amazing used too much). But in this case, amazing means what it has been, mind-boggling, confusing, and dazzling.

Everything from politics to gender definition,  privacy, communication, you name it, things have changed.  What was once great, say The British Empire, is now held in contempt for the evils that were perpetrated along the way.  Slavery being the principal wrong. There were many others, institutions, and empires, where progress was defined in ways that would not be tolerated today.

The Church as I knew it has all but vanished, and the ascendency of other religions usually in the extreme form now grab all the attention and cause mayhem in the complexity of Middle East and throughout the world.

Capitalism has its fair share of detractors, and though I never believed it possible we see liberalism highjacked by the luny fringes leading to what amounts to an attack on the basic freedom of speech. Extreme liberalism is anything but, extremists use social media to shout down alternative viewpoints. Hence the birth of fake news and growing polarisation away from the consensual center ground

The history of many cultures is being re-examined in the light of modern (some say) thinking. Nothing is sacred anymore.

Yet the world still has enormous diversity not only climatic and racial, but cultural and political. I guess in the West we still cling to the idea of liberal capitalism but the EU is manifestly failing to sustain the great experiment, trying vainly to aggregate the views of Poland, Hungary, and Austria versus France, Germany and the bemused and bankrupt southern European states.  Populism, as exemplified by PORTUS Trump knows no apparent moral or legal code. Authoritarianism reigns unbridled in Russia and China, Corruption still reigns supreme in the developing world.  In short, the world is in a mess.

How are we to define progress?  What is progress?  A safer, cleaner kinder world would be a reasonable proposal. However, with such distrust and deviance of rational thinking, we are a long way from a move toward these noble aims. The UN remains hamstrung and useless because of the Paranoia of Putin, the indiscipline of Trump, the greed of many of the developing world leaders and the bemusement of the old guard. Still, a talking shop is better than no talking shop and it’s all that have.

No wonder I’m confused.

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