In the Penal Colony.

Goodreads Review.

 

Short enough to quickly read on the train, the narrative flows linearly. A simple twist at the end, one I failed to anticipate, despite ruminating on it during the train change. Mr. Kafka anticipates & predates the Saw film franchise, the Hostel film franchise.

The author, & this work particularly, seem to have acquired some respect, although precisely how this impression came to me, I do not know. However others attach metaphors, whatever it demonstrates about absolute commitment to justice, it is torture porn in literature format.

A Call For Violence, or, Mercy Killing.

A Call For Violence, or, Mercy Killing.
True justice being an eye for an eye, tooth for tooth, cruelty is more and mercy is less.

Mr. Sepp Blatter accepted a bribe, and because of that choice between yes / no, people (Bangladeshis & Pakistanis) have died. His own death, being singular, would be merciful.

His wealth, and the bribes more specifically, should be distributed between the wage-slaves he created. Without his ‘yes’, they wouldn’t be building the FIFA stadium in Qatar. Don’t get me started on the Qataris who funded the offer or corrupt officials who enabled the crooked process.

Slavery is an apt description, the Pakistani & Bangladeshi labourers do not have freedom of movement, some are beaten, some are killed. The wage they are paid is reduced by their overseers, without freedom of movement they must buy food at inflated costs, like how the Tuckshop used to be in Scottish Highlands.

If Mr. Blatter had said, ‘no’, they total suffering in Qatar would be lesser. His single death would be merciful, because his ‘yes’ lead to much more than one death.

All this leads should lead the Pakistani’s and Bangladeshi’s quite reasonable to resentment or hatred for ‘The West’.

Do you consent or dissent to this call?

P.S. Yes I do realise this is some years late.

Banana Republics & the CIA, or Why Communism Made Sense.

The phrase Banana Republic comes from a time and place (Latin America late 1800’s – mid 1900’s) where the banana company (United Fruit Company) was more powerful than the government.
 
The United Fruit Company board of directors included the head of the USA CIA. UFC tried to pay $2 500 000 to the president of Honduras, this corruption was exposed by a section of the US government separate from the CIA (when the left hand did not know what the right hand was doing the little man wins, isn’t big government nice?)
 
Other powers of the UFC included;
running the Costa Rican postal service,
preventing specific national governments (Guatemala) from distributing banana plantations to peasants to share in the lucrative international banana trade,
building an entire nations railway network and then destroying it when ceasing operations in the nation (Guatemala again),
inducing government to kill 100’s, perhaps more, of striking workers (Colombia).
 
This is why communism makes sense. To be honest, it is also why certain laissez-faire capitalism makes sense (assuming it fragments monopolisation). The truck system of early English capitalism (from the Franch troquer, perhaps linguistic origin of tucker and tuckshop) illustrates a similar communal-structural failing to that above, but on an entirely different scale.

To relate this to the contemporary ‘centre of the world’, Mr. Trump may reduce ties with the international business community, primarily by reneging on the preliminaries of the TIPP and other major trade deals. This will allow time for mundane individuals and organisations to scrutinise, to plan and to propose meaningful alternatives & developments. It seems unlikely that Mr. Trump will pursue significant actions against the major accounting firms which are the major players in the Panama Paper crimes.

What may also occur is world leaders, specifically Mr. Putin, outwitting Mr. Trump. I anticipate that within his presidency of the United States of America, a serious symbolic diplomatic accord with Russia is reached, but one which materially benefits Russia more than the USA. This is due to the greater cooperation between big business and government in Russia,see: Gazprom, although this is not entirely restricted to Russia as shown above or shown here. This accord could be the renegotiation of trade law or infrastructure across the Bering Straits.

Community Supports Cash.

*The quote above is precisely my impression of Ayn Rand’s approach to economics, that wealth is to be torn from the context, the community, which generated it and proper context would refute calls for generic free-market reforms from that school of thought.
Money works because the society it exists within guarantees the practically worthless banknote is figuratively valued. This community guarantee entails an expectation of community circulation, mainly but not exclusively in the form of taxation. Since the earliest times, when farmhands were paid in tokens representing a share in the final harvest, an trade-able tokens of abstract value have been consistently produced in various epochs and areas.

Theoretical economic systems understate the role of the community in the creation, circulation and valuation of currency. Ayn Randism, or Objectivism, as well as other schools of thought, reject an obligation between a currency and the community in which it circulates. Sweat off the brow is represented by the value token, and any coercive attempt at seizure is unjust. A fairer approach than that taken by Russian communism, where everything belongs to the community but nothing belongs to the individual, or an aristocracy, where everything is a gift from the Divine via the royalty. Nonetheless, there has got to be a better way.

Monopolies naturally occur, and laissez-faire economics do not address the problems monopolies cause, such as unfair prices and unequal competition. The Objectivist conception of the heroic person pursuing their own productive, noble agenda under the auspice of reason is better fulfilled by a system which lessens difficulties of competition. Putting aside serious discussion of how to correctly dispense taxation, I reckon that the Objectivist conception of the meaning of life is better supported by a State with purview beyond the prevention of coercion.

This is my current perspective on the economic system, founded on the concept of an abstract, trade-able value token or object. Communal recognition of the token is an essential feature. Precisely what is then entailed is in constant flux as theory and reality shift with time. Community is an essential aspect of currency.

Wages Contained.

This has been written about before, very succinctly with more technical data, and no doubt will again. But I do hope I do a better job than the wiki.

Laissez-faire capitalism has no link between people. Communism has no distinction between people. To apply the Buddhist principle of the middle path, the best economic system will not regard all people as identical nor as infinitely different in value. By the logic outlined above, I found an economic perspective.

Job droughts, mechanisation, computerisation, distribution of responsibility or wealth hidden by international organisations and other factors are of great concern to anyone with both a social conscience and an economic interest. These processes tend to percolate profit to the peak of the company. If a job can be automated or outsourced cheaply, it is done, then the profit is pocketed by those able to do so. It’s financially sensible, and it produces inequality in the global & domestic communities. Some discussion of this dynamic tends to reductio ad absurdum (no that’s not a spell from Hogwarts), the dynamic it is real and it does matter.

Global industry is the new norm, the cotton to garment production line is illustrative here. Perhaps picked in the land between the Middle East, Asia, Russia & Europe (Turkmenistan / Uzbekistan), shipped to Bangladesh for processing into garments, from there sent to the sale point, before finally being purchased by a consumer, who’s payment is the ultimate justification of the whole process. The fundamental underpinning of the global production & distribution process is the almighty dollary-doo (in various national representations), which shows the truth the old adage, ‘money makes the world go round’.

Upper management of the cotton industry is not united in organisation of the process, but it is the upper management who link the meta-process together. They do contribute value by this organisation. However, if one imagines removing various classes of worker from the cotton industry; picker, weaver, shipper, sales, CEO, etcetera, the removal of the uppermost management would see the organisation stagnate and make no changes, and many companies would ultimately fail, although would McDonalds fail without a CEO? The removal of other roles from the industry, from sewing or sales, would see no cotton clothing produced and no final sale. By this logic it is unreasonable that the profits are focussed upwards when considered from a perspective of functional worth.

A link between the wages of each class of worker in a single organisation, industry or nation, would act to restrict this dynamic. A CEO and the board of executives, in search of higher wages for themselves, couldn’t vote on it, but would be forced to improve the business as a whole. Large corporations naturally produce greater wage inequality than small business, and so this economic policy is an impediment to the powers of mega-bucks and a small boon to entrepreneurs. The same restriction across an industry would mean each purchase could be made with confidence about the quality of life of the people in the supply chain, by so doing universally distribute the moral value commercialised in such forms as Fair Trade Coffee. CEO & executive board pay should be limited by the dollar a day workers.

Finally the national limit, which is outside the linear processes outlined previously. Necessities come before luxuries, surely those who provide our vaccines, lunch and plumbing are more valuable to, and more relied upon by, the community. So if each dollar represents one value token to be honoured by any sale within that community, then with a national pay limit, the community will know those who provide the bare necessities will earn will even if others earn more despite less socially worthy work. Also, a national limit would see greater consistency in earnings, which in turn immediately leads to the Tax Office seeing a slim increase from each worker, enabling easier budgets and in turn, social projects. It must be stated clearly, that without global change, a nation which pursues this alone also encourages job flight to nations without such measures, and creation of shell companies to secrete any wage paid in excess of the limit. That’s only financial sense after all.

Punitive Bare Necessities.

Imagine a community with a prison system. Should the community guarantee the bare necessities of life within that prison system?

If the community does, it recognises a need for whatever these bare necessities may be. Should they be supplied at a cost (labour, dollars, good behaviour) to the convicted prisoner?

If they are not given freely, it could result in a state of affairs where-by a prison sentence is a death sentence as the convict by choice or circumstance is unable to pay the cost required for the bare necessities. Therefore, one at risk of a prison sentence (not only the guilty), who is unable to pay the cost, can reasonably perceive arrest as the first stage of a slow execution.

A novel method of manipulating the bare necessities for good behaviour arises from the USA. Some prisons supply a certain type of  food (grue) for misbehaviour. Nevertheless, convicts are fed.

However, if a prison system does supply the bare necessities without cost, a macro-perspective requires that the same standard be supplied outside of the prison system. A person who cannot earn, or otherwise receive, the bare necessities as a freeman will be aware that the prison system supplies them.

Alternatively, one may perceive this persons thought thusly; I can be fed for the rest of my life by the worth of a single, sufficiently criminal, act if, I accept the restrictions of the prison system (visitation, goods, services, etc).

Should any society exist so that a day of murder guarantees the bare necessities of life for longer, and more consistently, than a day of labour?

Sexual Equality & Restriction.

Sex in public, train stations or popular parks is crime. It is so because sex triggers strong opinion, most salient of which is morality. Even sexuality which is consistent with the witnesses own, may still lead to rage, disgust, discomfort or other negative emotion. It is a crime, public sex, because it may imprint upon a youths developing sexuality in a way which is unacceptable to the youth-in-questions family, friends and moral guardians. It is a a crime because it is unhygienic.

Above is an example of legal restriction of sexual expression. Other common restrictions of sexuality include sex as work, paedophilia and homosexuality. These are centres of intense emotion, debate and of arbitrary limitation, such as 18 being consistently appropriate for coming-of-age to adulthood. Public space should be mostly neutral for co-existence between chafing diversities. Sexuality of private individuals & communities are allowed a much greater freedom of sexuality & restriction.

Sexuality has legal boundaries of which transgression incurs penalty. The most basic of these boundaries are held to be universal, and additional boundaries are only relevant to the public space. Restriction of sexuality, should burden all legitimate forms of sexuality equally. Criminalising public sexual intercourse inhibits hetero- & homo- sexual public sex equally. A mild counter example may be a homosexual couple kissing in public who hear pedestrians cast insult, which a heterosexual couple do not. Verbal expression of internal emotional states is valid, however, this hypothetical example demonstrates a move against public equality as a moral ideal.

Value systems which draw their scheme from a belief in a Divine Being, or which otherwise de-value equality are a deeper discussion, which leads into what should be the universal restrictions of sexuality. Hopefully it is agreeable to you that public spaces should be neutral, and to that end you recognise equality as a great boon. Does proper management of public space mean orienting it to suggest movement towards the ideal of the manager – should the government restrict sexuality to suit its own purposes (more families –> more people –> more tax –> greater financial power)?

Selling Addiction – Reality

The state of Australia allows the sale of cigarettes. These are addictive. The reinforcement of cigarettes is mainly chemical, although social reinforcement must be recognised as significant. Cigarettes are sold from certain businesses, with taxation and bureaucratic controls. They must have plain packages, with graphic warnings of health costs. In addition to these controls, there are other efforts. These are advertising of the costs involved, such as abandonment of friends & family by early death.

Cigarettes are purchasable by anyone over the age of 18, this age is the arbitrary point of maturity. At this age the state assumes that the individual is able to make decisions and handle responsibility. There are costs involved with cigarette use which are not entirely covered by the individual. So the increased price of cigarettes contributes towards medical costs directly connected to cigarette use. This is an exchange between individual choice and state support.

This system lacks qualification of decision making maturity, and could be improved by encouraging or ensuring education, perhaps by a civic class in schools. It allows the individual to choose to behave in a way which costs the community, perhaps by early death or medical cost, and an individual bears greater responsibility for this choice in the form of tax. However as the choice is only possible due to state allowance, it is unrealistic to put the complete responsibility upon the individual. The Australian way presents freedom of choice, sharing of burden of choice and can be developed by improved education.

Selling Addiction – Theory

How should a society responsibly manage addictive substances and behaviours?

To briefly define addiction; an addiction is an act which self -reinforces with rewards of conscious values (social, money, kindness) or subconscious values (biological, emotional) and shortens or worsens life.

Assuming freedom of choice is the fundamental building block to a better community for tomorrow. This freedom must be be balanced between individual & group costs. The initial question is positioned as how the group should properly present addiction to the individual. A state supports a citizen until some arbitrary criteria for independence is achieved. The state seeks to maintain itself and its standards. Freedom of choice being the fundamental value, physical & mental maturity as secondary and rewarding physical & mental effort as the tertiary group values.

So my development of this state of affairs to an ideal approach by the state is as follows. The addictive act, should be presented at a time when the body & mind are adequately prepared. This point of maturity will vary from addiction to addiction, mainly on the power to self-reinforce. Assistance to develop qualities which improve both decision making and harm reduction should be publicly supplied, such things as education on chemical & social effects or advertising. The choice is allowed when the individual is arbitrarily mature and the addiction is taxed to compensate the state for increased social support often caused by addiction. The process of earning money should engage a citizen in a more ‘proper’ lifestyle.