January 8, 2013

Non Essential, Desirable and Damaging

“I don’t have a problem with anger, I have a problem with the things that make me angry, and I think the main problem I have is that most people – society in general – are not sufficiently angry about those things that upset me. That in itself makes me angry – a sort of latter-day angry young man.” Roger Deakin

There are times when a shared sentiment flies off the page. Reading ‘Notes from Walnut Tree Farm’ today this passage distiled what I’ve been feeling for such a long time. My own excitement of moving onto our smallholding, Harewood, has helped to keep the black moods at bay but never far from the Internet I am saddened by the continued obscene set of priorities of government and the propaganda dressed as news from a media that often seems to collude rather than challenge.

Simple truths that threaten to destroy us all hardly get a mention, a favourite slogan from the Occupy Movement goes ‘those who maintain that continued economic growth on a finite planet are either mad or an economist!’ As the obvious signs of depletion continue to become apparent our governments continue to maintain growth as priority over all else. And what is ‘all else’? It’s the engagement in the destruction of the last wilderness, the oceans and it’s coral wonders, forests, fish stocks, diversity and rare and wonderful people. If life on earth is possible without these things which I doubt, it won’t be life as we know it.

For instance in West Papua Indigenous people are subject to genocide, the eco-system is being decimated and most of that destruction is directly linked to the demand for the resources required to feed our behemoth consumer habit.

Watch this short film and tell me that you’d allow this in your name for growth, because this is what growth looks like. It may be happening a long way away but we’re up to our elbows in the blood.  Look into the eyes of Guru Jemaat Steve Su and tell me that 400,000 lives are worth the pursuit of growth; meat for hamburgers, nickel for cheap electronics, palm oil for bio fuels and the destruction of the forests and everything that lives in it..

Researching her film The Story of Stuff, Annie Leonard discovered that of the materials flowing through the consumer economy, only 1% remain in use six months after sale. Even the goods we might have expected to hold onto are soon condemned to destruction through either planned obsolescence (breaking quickly) or perceived obsolescence (becoming unfashionable).

Infact most of what we buy fits into a neat acronym NEDD, items the Tory MP Alec Shelbrooke say’s stands for  ‘non essential, desirable and damaging.’ Yesterday he introduced the Welfare Cash Card Bill to the commons to restrict the consumption of this stuff. Well actually not, its just another Tory government headline stealer. ‘No Booze and Sky for Shirkers!’ Designed once more to keep the focus on those who actually consume relatively little and whose footprint is tiny. I have no doubt that it will keep the middle England media enthralled while ‘the Strivers’  a group this government loves to bounce on it’s knee like a fat little baby will continue to strive for even more, whatever the consequences.

So am I wrong to be angry that our leaders don’t make it a daily duty to tell us there is a problem with our consumptive lifestyle in much the same way that they tell us at every turn that the Welfare State must be reformed? Am I wrong to be angry that millions have and will continue to die because of our economic model? Am I wrong to be angry that the very planet is at risk for the sake of stuff that will be discarded within days or months? Am I wrong to be angry that tomorrow’s headlines will be about shirkers?

You tell me.

Ken Finn

As a Postscript … The UK Guardian Newspaper published a telling graphic on how little of the current UK deficit is down to those un-employed and recieving Benefit… It’s a tiny percentage… Well, well at least one paper is telling it like it truly is. Check it Out

March 7, 2011

Taking Peston to pieces on tax

Filed under: Debt,Economic Growth,Politics — ken finn @ 6:44 pm

Taking Peston to pieces on tax.

George Monbiot reported on a tax heist by this government which was dissed by the BBC’s Robert Peston… The above is a good rebuttal

The original by George, ‘A Corporate Coup Detat’ is a compelling read – Read it Here

October 2, 2008

Bring on the Loonies!

Filed under: Economic Growth — ken finn @ 12:53 pm

Out to Lunch Thinking

For many years having been of the school of loonies…of the Lunatic Left, the Loony Enviro Faction or just the plain Misguided and Unrealistic the last few weeks have been quietly satisfying.

Not because I take any pleasure in observing the turmoil striking the financial community but because perhaps right now ‘the system’ that is based on continued growth looks … well, unrealistic.

I even have some sympathy for the traders who are at this time the focus for so much anger. The market just does what it does and the germ of this particular crash was in the crash of the twin towers. It was then that with the global economy on the brink following 9-11 that the US government pumped in heaps of cash and said to a shocked America ‘go shopping!’

With the wholesale cost of money cheap and bundles of it sloshing around the markets just looked for innovative ways to sell it. While the gravy train rolled along Bush, Blair, Brown and the rest were happy to look like masters of the Universe.  Now that the inevitable bubble has burst their solution is offer the same remedy; to pump more borrowed money into the system. To perpetuate the notion that business as usual is sustainable or even possible.

Now for some time many of us have maintained that continued growth in the global economy is just not possible. The environmental constraints that having only one planet places upon the system makes a bigger crunch inevitable. Economies like the US, Britain and the developed world consume the potential of 3 planets to sustain their lifestyles so we’re already in deep debt to the world’s poor and the ecosystem as whole. As the competition for the earth’s resources like oil, timber, fish and even water and soil becomes focused on diminishing returns then the holes in the free market system will become un-pluggable with more monetary debt. There is no buy back on extinction.

In the coming weeks much will be talked about the economy and much less about the environment. In fact there is something of a trend to say that in these times of troubled finances we can less afford to make the environment a priority. We ignore the signs of an imminent collapse in the ability of the earth to support our way of life with peril. And the signs are writ large.

It’s time to ask, just who is running the asylum!

May 1, 2006

The Mahatma – King Consultancy to Advise the Tories

Filed under: Economic Growth — ken finn @ 12:27 am

No sell out

In what can only be described as the PR coup of the day Peace and Justice heavyweights Gandhi and Luther-King have agreed to help the Conservatives develop an election winning ‘feel good’ strategy. “We’re confident that with Mat and L.K. on the team we can deliver a social justice package that supports our plans for continued economic growth.” said a beaming David Cameron. “Thanks to the generous help from our major donors they’ll be joining Sir Bob Geldof and Zac Goldsmith in creating the dream green ticket.”

Last night Labour were said to be in talks with Bono but a spokesman said, “as Mr Blair has God as his council we can afford to be choosy.”

I jest but if Martin Luther King were alive would he be ‘advising’ a right wing political party on civil rights? I don’t think so. Ghandi wouldn’t recognise this Labour government as having a socialist heart either.

Sadly today’s heroes have been reduced to consultants to help sell the ‘Green Wash’ of political parties and we can only look on with cynical acceptance as the corporations snap up the ethical brands we once thought were beyond their reach.

When President Bush announced following 9/11,”you’re either with us or agin us” I thought how crass and simplistic? Yet as icons like Anita Roddick roll over I’m beginning to wonder just who is on our side?

Ecologist Editor, Zac Goldsmith joins Conservatives

Cadbury buy Green & Blacks

Body Shop sells out to Loreal

Geldof Advises Conservatives


October 22, 2005

Time slaves of the new prosperity

Filed under: Economic Growth,Poverty — Administrator @ 1:07 pm

Dream On!

If Thatcherite policies were flattening our manufacturing industry a new saviour was on the horizon, the Leisure Industry.

Slick business analysts predicted a boom in free time and that the new business opportunity was in ‘Leisure’. At that moment most of us were desperately trying to keep afloat as the arse fell out of the only economy we knew but we were assured that that this was just a short painful readjustment. In 1980 we were at the dawn of a new era.
Making stuff was a task for the third world and our service industries would soon take up more than the slack. Once the economic conversion was done the workers of our modern economy would have far greater wealth and more importantly increasing time to spend it. Retirement ages would steadily fall, as would the working week, 50 would be a good age to plan for retirement and a life of healthy pursuits and leisure. Those still working could expect a 30 hour week.

Prepare for Leisure!

In 1980 a start on the property ladder, a two bed terraced in central Reading, Berks would set you back circa£11,000 a new well appointed hatchback car c£3,000. A minimum 40-hour week was still a norm and a mortgage no greater than two and half times your annual wage.

25 years later the same property costs c£160,000 and the hatchback c£8,000. In practice the 40-hour week has increased considerably with many skilled and unskilled people citing 50 hours now being a norm. It’s now also probable that you will borrow four times you annual salary to get on the property ladder.

The corporations have squeezed the last penny from the cost of production from often poor developing world producers to make commodities from clothes to cars and food cheaper in real terms than ever before. While these cheap trinkets create an illusion of wealth rocketing property prices have made slaves of us all.

The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Money Trick credit Socialist View