Maintaining and mending the street.

Earth street has a slope which means that it is difficult to move up the street. remember all the dirty jobs go down the hill and those who are rich import cheaper goods and add more value than those who are poorer. The Earth street is changing and although we tend to look at the large game changers like China Street and India Street there are many streets on the move.
The issues that dictate the move are mainly (not solely) income per capita, health and educational advance. Countries like Costa Rica which are usually off the screen are investing heavily in education which is moving that street up the hill.
Moving up the gradient we could call social improvement index, and there is no question that the majority of the units in Earth Street are moving and all getting better with a few exceptions which are torn apart by conflict (Afghanistan, Syria for example).
One interesting point is that countries governed well either with a left wing socialist agenda or a more centrist right agenda are all improving their social improvement index.
There remain the issues of human rights in the race to the top. There remain immense differences between the top of the street who have already attained a high social improvement index than those aspiring to better things. Is it the end or the means? that counts?
This is a huge issue where the leaders who have absolute rule claim to know what’s best for their communities, as opposed to the so called democracies who in the last century have caused the majority of conflicts world wide. Democracies it seems are anything but democratic when defending their own values.

See the millennium goals set by the UN = how amazingly successful Earth Street has been:

Unprecedented efforts have resulted in profound achievements Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger Extreme poverty rate in developing countries 1990 47% 2015 14% 19901,926 million 19991,751 million 2015836 million Global number of extreme poor 1990 47% 2015 14% 19901,926 million 19991,751 million 2015836 million • Extreme poverty has declined significantly over the last two decades. In 1990, nearly half of the population in the developing world lived on less than $1.25 a day; that proportion dropped to 14 per cent in 2015. • Globally, the number of people living in extreme poverty has declined by more than half, falling from 1.9 billion in 1990 to 836 million in 2015. Most progress has occurred since 2000. • The number of people in the working middle class—living on more than $4 a day—has almost tripled between 1991 and 2015. This group now makes up half the workforce in the developing regions, up from just 18 per cent in 1991. • The proportion of undernourished people in the developing regions has fallen by almost half since 1990, from 23.3 per cent in 1990–1992 to 12.9 per cent in 2014–2016. Goal 2: Achieve universal primary education Global out-of-school children of primary school age 2000 2015 100 million 57 million 0 20% 40% 60% 80% 52% 1990 60% 2000 80% 2015 Primary school net enrolment rate in sub-Saharan Africa 2000 2015 100 million 57 million 0 20% 40% 60% 80% 52% 1990 60% 2000 80% 2015 • The primary school net enrolment rate in the developing regions has reached 91 per cent in 2015, up from 83 per cent in 2000. • The number of out-of-school children of primary school age worldwide has fallen by almost half, to an estimated 57 million in 2015, down from 100 million in 2000. • Sub-Saharan Africa has had the best record of improvement in primary education of any region since the MDGs were established. The region achieved a 20 percentage point increase in the net enrolment rate from 2000 to 2015, compared to a gain of 8 percentage points between 1990 and 2000. • The literacy rate among youth aged 15 to 24 has increased globally from 83 per cent to 91 per cent between 1990 and 2015. The gap between women and men has narrowed. Overview | 5 Goal 3: Promote gender equality and empower women Primary school enrolment ratio in Southern Asia 1990 100 74 103 100 2015 90% of countries have more women in parliament since 1995 1990 100 74 103 100 2015 • Many more girls are now in school compared to 15 years ago. The developing regions as a whole have achieved the target to eliminate gender disparity in primary, secondary and tertiary education. • In Southern Asia, only 74 girls were enrolled in primary school for every 100 boys in 1990. Today, 103 girls are enrolled for every 100 boys. • Women now make up 41 per cent of paid workers outside the agricultural sector, an increase from 35 per cent in 1990. • Between 1991 and 2015, the proportion of women in vulnerable employment as a share of total female employment has declined 13 percentage points. In contrast, vulnerable employment among men fell by 9 percentage points. • Women have gained ground in parliamentary representation in nearly 90 per cent of the 174 countries with data over the past 20 years. The average proportion of women in parliament has nearly doubled during the same period. Yet still only one in five members are women. Goal 4: Reduce child mortality Global number of deaths of children under five 1990 12.7 million 6 million 2015 0 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% 73% 2000 84% 2013 Global measles vaccine coverage 1990 12.7 million 6 million 2015 0 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% 73% 2000 84% 2013 • The global under-five mortality rate has declined by more than half, dropping from 90 to 43 deaths per 1,000 live births between 1990 and 2015. • Despite population growth in the developing regions, the number of deaths of children under five has declined from 12.7 million in 1990 to almost 6 million in 2015 globally. • Since the early 1990s, the rate of reduction of under-five mortality has more than tripled globally. • In sub-Saharan Africa, the annual rate of reduction of under-five mortality was over five times faster during 2005–2013 than it was during 1990–1995. • Measles vaccination helped prevent nearly 15.6 million deaths between 2000 and 2013. The number of globally reported measles cases declined by 67 per cent for the same period. • About 84 per cent of children worldwide received at least one dose of measlescontaining vaccine in 2013, up from 73 per cent in 2000. 6 | The Millennium Development Goals Report 2015 Goal 5: Improve maternal HEALTH Global maternal mortality ratio (deaths per 100,000 live births) 50% 60% 70% 80% 1990 2015 59% 71% 1990 380 2000 330 2013 210 Global births attended by skilled health personnel 50% 60% 70% 80% 1990 2014 59% 71% 1990 380 2000 330 2013 210 • Since 1990, the maternal mortality ratio has declined by 45 per cent worldwide, and most of the reduction has occurred since 2000. • In Southern Asia, the maternal mortality ratio declined by 64 per cent between 1990 and 2013, and in sub-Saharan Africa it fell by 49 per cent. • More than 71 per cent of births were assisted by skilled health personnel globally in 2014, an increase from 59 per cent in 1990. • In Northern Africa, the proportion of pregnant women who received four or more antenatal visits increased from 50 per cent to 89 percent between 1990 and 2014. • Contraceptive prevalence among women aged 15 to 49, married or in a union, increased from 55 per cent in 1990 worldwide to 64 per cent in 2015. Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases Global antiretroviral therapy treatment 0.8 million 2003 ART 13.6 million 2014 ART 900 million Number of insecticidetreated mosquito nets delivered in sub-Saharan Africa, 2004–2014 0.8 million 2003 ART 13.6 million 2014 ART 900 million • New HIV infections fell by approximately 40 per cent between 2000 and 2013, from an estimated 3.5 million cases to 2.1 million. • By June 2014, 13.6 million people living with HIV were receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART) globally, an immense increase from just 800,000 in 2003. ART averted 7.6 million deaths from AIDS between 1995 and 2013. • Over 6.2 million malaria deaths have been averted between 2000 and 2015, primarily of children under five years of age in sub-Saharan Africa. The global malaria incidence rate has fallen by an estimated 37 per cent and the mortality rate by 58 per cent. • More than 900 million insecticide-treated mosquito nets were delivered to malaria-endemic countries in sub-Saharan Africa between 2004 and 2014. • Between 2000 and 2013, tuberculosis prevention, diagnosis and treatment interventions saved an estimated 37 million lives. The tuberculosis mortality rate fell by 45 per cent and the prevalence rate by 41 per cent between 1990 and 2013. Overview | 7 Goal 7: Ensure environmental sustainability 1.9 billion people have gained access to piped drinking water since 1990 2.3 billion 4.2 billion 1990 2015 98% of ozone-depleting substances eliminated since 1990 2.3 billion 4.2 billion 1990 2015 • Ozone-depleting substances have been virtually eliminated since 1990, and the ozone layer is expected to recover by the middle of this century. • Terrestrial and marine protected areas in many regions have increased substantially since 1990. In Latin America and the Caribbean, coverage of terrestrial protected areas rose from 8.8 per cent to 23.4 per cent between 1990 and 2014. • In 2015, 91 per cent of the global population is using an improved drinking water source, compared to 76 per cent in 1990. • Of the 2.6 billion people who have gained access to improved drinking water since 1990, 1.9 billion gained access to piped drinking water on premises. Over half of the global population (58 per cent) now enjoys this higher level of service. • Globally, 147 countries have met the drinking water target, 95 countries have met the sanitation target and 77 countries have met both. • Worldwide, 2.1 billion people have gained access to improved sanitation. The proportion of people practicing open defecation has fallen almost by half since 1990. • The proportion of urban population living in slums in the developing regions fell from approximately 39.4 per cent in 2000 to 29.7 per cent in 2014. Goal 8: Develop a global partnership for development Official development assistance $81 billion 2000 $ $135 billion 2014 $ 2000 6% 2015 43% Global Internet penetration $81 billion 1990 $ $135 billion 2014 $ 2000 6% 2015 43% • Official development assistance from developed countries increased by 66 per cent in real terms between 2000 and 2014, reaching $135.2 billion. • In 2014, Denmark, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom continued to exceed the United Nations official development assistance target of 0.7 per cent of gross national income. • In 2014, 79 per cent of imports from developing to developed countries were admitted duty free, up from 65 per cent in 2000. • The proportion of external debt service to export revenue in developing countries fell from 12 per cent in 2000 to 3 per cent in 2013. • As of 2015, 95 per cent of the world’s population is covered by a mobile-cellular signal. • The number of mobile-cellular subscriptions has grown almost tenfold in the last 15 years, from 738 million in 2000 to over 7 billion in 2015. • Internet penetration has grown from just over 6 per cent of the world’s population in 2000 to 43 per cent in 2015. As a result, 3.2 billion people are linked to a global network of content and applications. 8 | The Millennium Development Goals Report 2015 Despite many successes, the poorest and most vulnerable people are being left behind Although significant achievements have been made on many of the MDG targets worldwide, progress has been uneven across regions and countries, leaving significant gaps. Millions of people are being left behind, especially the poorest and those disadvantaged because of their sex, age, disability, ethnicity or geographic location. Targeted efforts will be needed to reach the most vulnerable people. X Gender inequality persists Women continue to face discrimination in access to work, economic assets and participation in private and public decision-making. Women are also more likely to live in poverty than men. In Latin America and the Caribbean, the ratio of women to men in poor households increased from 108 women for every 100 men in 1997 to 117 women for every 100 men in 2012, despite declining poverty rates for the whole region. Women remain at a disadvantage in the labour market. Globally, about three quarters of working-age men participate in the labour force, compared to only half of working-age women. Women earn 24 per cent less than men globally. In 85 per cent of the 92 countries with data on unemployment rates by level of education for the years 2012–2013, women with advanced education have higher rates of unemployment than men with similar levels of education. Despite continuous progress, today the world still has far to go towards equal gender representation in private and public decision-making. X Big gaps exist between the poorest and richest households, and between rural and urban areas In the developing regions, children from the poorest 20 per cent of households are more than twice as likely to be stunted as those from the wealthiest 20 per cent. Children in the poorest households are four times as likely to be out of school as those in the richest households. Under-five mortality rates are almost twice as high for children in the poorest households as for children in the richest. In rural areas, only 56 per cent of births are attended by skilled health personnel, compared with 87 per cent in urban areas. About 16 per cent of the rural population do not use improved drinking water sources, compared to 4 per cent of the urban population. About 50 per cent of people living in rural areas lack improved sanitation facilities, compared to only 18 per cent of people in urban areas. X Climate change and environmental degradation undermine progress achieved, and poor people suffer the most Global emissions of carbon dioxide have increased by over 50 per cent since 1990. Addressing the unabated rise in greenhouse gas emissions and the resulting likely impacts of climate change, such as altered ecosystems, weather extremes and risks to society, remains an urgent, critical challenge for the global community. An estimated 5.2 million hectares of forest were lost in 2010, an area about the size of Costa Rica. Overexploitation of marine fish stocks led to declines in the percentage of stocks within safe biological limits, down from 90 per cent in 1974 to 71 per cent in 2011. Species are declining overall in numbers and distribution. This means they are increasingly threatened with extinction. Water scarcity affects 40 per cent of people in the world and is projected to increase. Poor people’s livelihoods are more directly tied to natural resources, and as they often live in the most vulnerable areas, they suffer the most from environmental degradation. X Conflicts remain the biggest threat to human development By the end of 2014, conflicts had forced almost 60 million people to abandon their homes—the highest level recorded since the Second World War. If these people were a nation, they would make up the twentyfourth largest country in the world. Every day, 42,000 people on average are forcibly displaced and compelled to seek protection due to conflicts, almost four times the 2010 number of 11,000. Children accounted for half of the global refugee population under the responsibility of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in 2014. In countries affected by conflict, the proportion of out-of-school children increased from 30 per cent in 1999 to 36 per cent in 2012. Fragile and conflict-affected countries typically have the highest poverty rates. X Millions of poor people still live in poverty and hunger, without access to basic services Despite enormous progress, even today, about 800 million people still live in extreme poverty and suffer from hunger. Over 160 million children under age five have inadequate height for their age due to insufficient food. Currently, 57 million children of primary school age are not in school. Almost half of global workers are still working in vulnerable conditions, rarely enjoying the benefits associated with decent work. About 16,000 children die each day before celebrating their Overview | 9 fifth birthday, mostly from preventable causes. The maternal mortality ratio in the developing regions is 14 times higher than in the developed regions. Just half of pregnant women in the developing regions receive the recommended minimum of four antenatal care visits. Only an estimated 36 per cent of the 31.5 million people living with HIV in the developing regions were receiving ART in 2013. In 2015, one in three people (2.4 billion) still use unimproved sanitation facilities, including 946 million people who still practise open defecation. Today over 880 million people are estimated to be living in slum-like conditions in the developing world’s cities. With global action, these numbers can be turned around. The successes of the MDG agenda prove that global action works. It is the only path to ensure that the new development agenda leaves no one behind The global community stands at a historic crossroads in 2015. As the MDGs are coming to their deadline, the world has the opportunity to build on their successes and momentum, while also embracing new ambitions for the future we want. A bold new agenda is emerging to transform the world to better meet human needs and the requirements of economic transformation, while protecting the environment, ensuring peace and realizing human rights. At the core of this agenda is sustainable development, which must become a living reality for every person on the planet. This is the final MDG report. It documents the 15-year effort to achieve the aspirational goals set out in the Millennium Declaration and highlights the many successes across the globe, but acknowledges the gaps that remain. The experience of the MDGs offers numerous lessons, and they will serve as the springboard for our next steps. Leaders and stakeholders in every nation will work together, redoubling efforts to achieve a truly universal and transformative agenda. This is the only way to ensure a sustainable future and a dig


Your Street and My Street.

Earth Street, UK street, Euro Street, My Street they all have something, no, not something, they have a lot in common. Up and down these streets neighbourhoods, streets, counties and countries there are richer and poorer. Those who are employed and those who are not, those who are gifted and those who are not, those who are well and those who are not.
To ease the gradient between the haves and have nots has been the holy grail of social attainment and so far no nation or even a street has attained a balanced equilibrium. The Human situation still evolves. Slavery was a main driver of European advancement not that long ago. What was then an accomplished business acumen is now widely acknowledged to be evil. Yet the exploitation of the poorest continues, slavery although not prevalent in the ‘West’ is not by any means a thing of the past. There remain millions of slaves still, in places from London to Lima, Toronto to Tanzania.
The abuse of our fellow human beings is, it seems part of human nature. Slavery is perhaps the most selfish of all human frailties.
Yet those human tendencies of self interest still pervade the streets at all levels. Respecting all levels on the street still evades us. Rich countries still interfere with poorer ones, rich people still enslave the poor. Politics and political ideologies polarise between socialism and capitalism, both systems with abounding merit but never practised anywhere close to their ideal.
It seems that the human race is unable to balance self interest with the common good.
To urge us along this path of righteousness the religions of the world resound with moral and ethical advice, sadly though much of those teachings have great merit, the teachings themselves have led to the extremism even of the most modest interpretations.
The consequence of all this is more division between not only the rich and the poor but the believers and the pragmatics.
The common good is so easily spoken but so incredibly difficult to define. It is easy to see the common good with neighbours from the middle of your street, but it is beyond most of us to see the common good with someone who lives on a street far away with different beliefs and different perspectives of what is their ideal environment.
Both the excesses of the rich and the extreme are evil. The Earth street community struggles with both, let us hope that mankind evolves in a way that enables it to live with and ameliorate these sad faults which if allowed to continue to grow will be the end of us all.

Which house do you live in?

The world is just a street.  Unfortunately it’s on a hill.  At the top of the hill live the rich folks at the bottom live the poorest.  Everything flows downhill, everything from effluent to goodwill.  There may be other slopes too, liberalism,  totalitarianism not forgetting dictatorship and degrees of corruption.

No matter how liberal we think we are, virtually everyone aspires to live at the top of the hill, no one aspires to live at the bottom, though many live there, not by choice of course.

The idealist would like to see the hill flattened out whilst the very structure of capitalism dictates the gradient must remain.  Most would agree though the steepness of the gradient is the key question.

In my life time the gradient has got steeper both in local and global terms. There are variations in the overall picture.  Take China for example where human rights are not what Europeans would call liberal, far from it, but there is no question that the government in China are in their own way trying to slacken the gradient.  To create a middle class, to facilitate and large number of their citizens to move up their national street. In other countries like Venezuela there has been a large shift to the left, which set out to achieve the redistribution of resources and thus flatten the national gradient.  Sadly, as often happens the radical reform in this case left has become unstuck because of incompetence, corruption and lack of leadership.

The stunning fact remains that 97% of the world’s wealth is controlled by a very small 3% of the population. So the world street is indeed a very steep hill

Which Street do you live in? (2)

UK street has much the same profile as Earth street. The rich live at the top and generally have big homes in nice places. These rich people are easily mobile and can move if they feel their part of the street is threatened in any way.
By contrast those living at the bottom of UK Street are less mobile, they have little discretionary capital, they have low incomes, and generally little security.
The head of UK Street is democratically elected in a first past the post system and most of those who vote vote for modest change, either mildly left or right.
UK Street is highly developed socially and there prevails here a sense of fair play. Here the folk at the top of the street are concious that there are lots of people worse off but they are nevertheless uncomfortable with the idea of sharing wealth and paying high taxes.
Those at the bottom of the street are jealous of those at the top. They see it as impossible to move from their bottom of the street address. They see themselves as victims of the Bankers, land owners, and toffs who live at the top.
Many of the poorer people in UK Street believe that the decline in manufacturing and well paid jobs is not their fault and that the land owners and bankers have sold them down the river.
In fact street UK has passed on the dirty jobs down Earth Street to people in China and India Houses.
UK Street has been dragged into interfering down the street in other houses with fairly devastating consequences. The head of UK Street wants to maintain his house at the top and finds it difficult to afford. The blend of social conciousness and self esteem is impossibly expensive to maintain.
To live within its budget UK Street must either sacrifice its influence or its welfare responsibilities. By and large the Rich want to maintain influence on Earth Street whilst the poorer seek the comfort of the welfare state at home.
In the middle of UK street is a very large ‘middle class’ who are not so much passive as malleable. They are property owners in the main and many are of an older generation who lived and worked in an economy driven by manufacturing where they accrued substantial benefits. They are naturally jealous of their rights to pensions. The leaders of the street are very concious of this quiet majority who are fickle when it comes to voting.
The problem of UK street is that it is becoming progressively more difficult to move up the street. The rich are getting richer, the middle class is getting older, and the poorer and getting more detached from the mainstream because of the decline in manufacturing jobs, muddled education, and impossible polarisation of property ownership.
Whereas in the manufacturing era jobs were long term and well paid millions of jobs are now short term and poorly paid. The misguided subsidies supporting a low wage economy is home to roost, increasing minimum wage and decreasing subsidies aims at higher wages and lower welfare but without meaningful added value employment this seems a cosmetic and doubtful premise.

UK Street is sliding down the Earth Street and has moved painlessly (if you can call two world wars painless) so far from No 1 to No. 5 or 6.
Those who lead UK street have moved into an association of other streets in Europe where we have rich and much poorer neighbours. UK Street is not sure if it belongs here. TBC

Which house do you live in? (1)

Imagine the world as a street. The rich live at one end and the poor at the other.
The rich pass all their dirty jobs down the street. The poor envy the rich. The poor work on menial and dirty jobs while the rich generally work as organisers or in knowledge industries. The rich do not by and large like to see poor folks in their area. However the rich often visit the poor end of the street where they acquire goods which are cheaply manufactured because the rich control demand.
There is a head of every house in the street. Some are wise, in fact they all see themselves as wise. Some are well scrutinised whilst others rule their houses with selfish abandon. The further up the street you go, the rich are by and large ruled better than the poor who frequently have dominant or totalitarian heads of house.
A lot of people want to move away from the poor areas with the dirty jobs and poor leaders and they have two ways of doing this 1. packing their bags and leaving their homes and marching up the street or 2. by changing their circumstances at home via education.

Sometimes the head of house has a long term plan striving to move the whole household up the street. To educate and change a whole household to move up the street is very difficult to do. Right now on Earth street the China House is on the move, the India house is on the move and the Russia house is agitating and not quite sure where it wants to move, certainly not down the street but not necessarily up it either.

The whole of Earth Street is managed by a sort of rough consensus based of course at the top of the street in the garden of America house which is No.1 Earth street. The richest five houses have arranged that they will be in charge whatever happens even if other houses move up in relation to the big five.

Some of the houses are small and rich, they have energy resources and so everyone even the rich folk at the top of the street are very keen to keep them friendly even if their behaviour in their own house is, to say the least, strange to old richer houses.

The question arises when the rich folk get uncomfortable with the way their poorer cousins, what do they do?. Being at the top of the street gives them ‘clout’.
No 1 in the fifties and early sixties interfered both covertly and overtly with the houses which they considered neighbours from not quite the right background. That is to say those neighbours did not and do not embrace capitalism with the same enthusiasm of the rich folks, some of them were socialist an extremely dirty word at No 1.

Latterly the rich folks decided that they wanted to change the head of house in a number of houses down the street. In so doing they made a lot of houses and their family heads get very uncomfortable indeed. So uncomfortable that they have never settled down and that area of the street is now a shambles.

In the meantime the very big houses China and India have striven to aspire to a better address up the street. Both houses have or are succeeding in different ways. The rich folks are uncomfortable for these two houses have, especially China has been a major buyer of commodities owned by the top of the street and provided cheap goods for the consuming rich.

The China House has been changed from a huge peasant primitive economy to a more sophisticated manufacturing based system and in so doing has delivered a richer aspiring class of its own citizens. China has done this by rigid state control and has been criticised for being non democratic in the process. Nevertheless a billion people are now out of poverty and are aspiring middle class citizens.

India despite its chronic chaotic and corrupt systems has emerged as a house of massive proportions devouring knowledge and science faster than anywhere else on earth and is bustling its way up the street. It still has a way to go simply because of its weight of numbers and the distribution of its new found wealth to the still huge numbers of poor.