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IOLO

primitivism

File:Homo floresiensis cave.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

The world is becoming primitive again. Our advances in thinking and learning and understanding are collapsing.

There is little doubt that some corners of our learning (the standard model for physics, or many political models) are hugely flawed.

But all over the world, in so many contexts, we are returning to beliefs that have been proven bad, divisive or just wrong.

The main problem is Faith. That is the belief in something that cannot be proven.

If you believe in something that cannot be proven, you can believe in anything. This is the essence of cults such as religions and social media platforms.

This is not revisionism or countenance. This is the belief in polemic ideas.

You can spend a lifetime studying the cruelty of nature from the haven of ‘civilisation’ and ‘humanity’. Yet humans, by their sheer dominance and inability to realise that their massive over-production have broken the imbalance of our earth.

Once more we are tribal and filial beyond any rationality.

Animals need no excuse to tear each other apart. Humans need football, or ethnicity or any other made up pretext.

I will, from now on, label these people – those who believe in the ludicrous concept of Faith or the pretext of political belief, as primitivists. They need to be left behind. Or we can shortly count the cost.

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IOLO

lynchbanksy

My town used to be a recently decent backwater with drug problems but not a lot of crime.

Then came a Banksy on the old prison walls and lockdown and every single wall and fence in our town is now graffiti ridden.

Apparently there is a difference between taggers and stencillers.

But the well documented problem with this isbthat it results in rivalries, often violent ones, based on affiliations or gangs.

Stabbings are now weekly affairs in my town. The police are never present, having moved to a block several miles from the town centre.

So, a blank wall, an empty fence, or the excretions of a youth without consequences.

I prefer the possibilities of a blank canvas. so, Banksy need to be jailed for vandalism.


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IOLO

clickharvesting

Media has always depended on audiences and the greater the audience the greater, usually, its success.

Now many, if not most, journalists have click profiles hard coded into their contracts.

In other words, the get paid on how many clicks they generate.

Hence bizarre scenarios such as the UK’s ultra right wing Daily Express endlessly speculating about when the volcano under Yellowstone will explode. I kid you not.

Of course, in the UK it’s the weather. In the US it’s the endless lies around Hilary Clinton promoted by Donald Trump and Rupert Murdoch.

The manipulation of people to sell clicks is perhaps the most insidious aspect of modern life. it has made lying mainstream and acceptable.

Why should truth get in the way of the American Dream, which is utterly predelicted by the ability of an individual to climb over the truth and the dead cold bodies of anyone to het to money.

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immigrantanarchists

So, the Germany immigrant Pieter Thiel is funding all kinds of fascist and anarchistic organisations, whilst his erstwhile colleague from Paypal days, Elon Musk is interfering with any sector that interests him on the day.

But, together they are two of the wealthiest men on earth. The American Dream (for them).

They talk about the American dream and this is it – a German immigrant and a South African immigrant who have made it ultra big.

After all, Donald Trump’s mum was an immigrant, as were his wives, and his father’s father. He’s hardly American. Unless you define Americans as immigrants.

America has a neo Nazi and an apartheider as their most successful role models and a wannabe KKK leader as their wannabe President (again).

It just gets more and more terrifying.

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IOLO

pointlessness

All I can say today, after all that has happened recently, is that I am so glad that I don’t have children. How sad is that ? When we defeated apartheid and got rid of Thatcher I was so proud and hopeful. I guess we are animals after all.

Dogma has, literally, Trumped truth and rationality.

My wife recently stayed in the Vegas mansion of a colleague (a senior exec of one of the world’s largest conpanies) and alarmingly told me how she kept an ’escape bag’. You see, she’s black and American.

Today, I feel that every woman and child, as well as anyone from any ethnic background should have an escape bag in the USA.

That’s around 68% of Americans. So how come they can be subjugated and terrorised by a minority of entitled white men ?

Religion, gerrymandering and utter aggressiveness are the answer.

Cortez, a stupid white diego, took the whole of Mexico with two hundred like minded colonists.

Nothing has changed.

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IOLO

moneydoesntwork

As I write this, inflation in the UK is nearly 10% yet interest rates are 1%. It’s clear that economics are broken: they are where the Standard Model is in physics. Clever theories won Nobel Prizes but have helped little in the real world. Monetarist or Keynsian, money itself is broken.

On one hand we have ‘full’ employment and lack of manpower all around with the ’supply chain’ broken in so many places. On the other, we have food banks feeding a large proportion of the UK.

Surely this suggests just one thing ? Wages are far too low.

Worse still, the pandemic has seen many older and better off people withdraw from the job market totally. With money worth nearly nothing and its utility also fast diminishing (how many Deliveroos can you order in a day ?), there is little motivation to work or even get richer.

Ideas, free time and personal agendas are the features of the 2020s.

For decades, salaries have barely risen in the UK for most people, whereas wealth for the top 1% has exploded. There’s something viciously Victorian about this scenario, an era that our current Eton and Oxford educated Tories hanker after (as, it has to be admitted, do many of their serfish Brexiteer followers).

So, Johnny foreigner has to be kept out, the workers need to be kept in their place and Britain can be great again.

Except money is broken. The dollar is hanging on in there against competition from the ludicrous, polluting Bitcoin (which deserves a carbon tax). But money isn’t worth anything.

The last refuge for Brits was property. So many of us own second homes and ’buy-to-lets’: my property investments have consistently outstripped everything I have ever done or invested in.

So, once again, it’s more economical to sit in a home whose price is rising by 10% a year than go to work.

The real currency of the UK is our housing stock, swathes of which is unproductive since it was bought by overseas investors under the nose of the Mayor of London, who is, er, now our Prime Minister as he did nothing to alleviate housing costs for his constituents.

So, you can mine money by sitting at home or using an environment destroying rig, since mining for gold or being an investment banker is pretty difficult.

The question remains: if money isn’t worth anything, how do we measure our values ?

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moneymockery

I spent an early part of my career working in financial marketing and saw all the shenanigans used by ’the City’ to make its ridiculous salaries. From ’arbitrage’ to ’active fund management’ and definitely in ’investment banking’ it was a joke then and is more laughable now.

Over 30 years, I paid between £300-£400 a month into a pension fund. I received forests of documents meant to protect and inform me during this time. But very little information on what the money men were earning and what return they were delivering, let alone the interest of MPs and government ministers in the funds and company I was/am invested in.

Suffice to say that my pension is worth less than the money paid in after 32 years of being passed around from Refuge to others then Royal London then Scottish Widows (who recently sacked the risible vowel-averse and profit averse abrdn as fund managers in favour of Blackrock.

The same pattern is reflected across my ISAs and in my crypto investments.

Only two things have made me money over the past 38 years – my own companies and property (arguably we’ve done well with art and gold as well).

So you really have to ask what the point of these so called ’professional’ money managers is ? abrdn should clearly have its funds sold or reallocated and be closed down since its fund managers under perform what my cat would do with an inkpad and the FT (and Tigger only requires a can of tuna as payment).

I’m sure that there are good money managers out there but I’m damned if they want to deal with those of us with under £10m.

Money, as they say, begets money and all that’s left for us relatively poor plonkers is buy-to-let and the ravages of inflation.

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IOLO

pastpopularity

Once upon a time Boris Johnson was hugely popular. He convinced the Labour and LibDem voters of London to make him mayor and took the glory for Rival Livingstone’s hard work in winning the Olympics for the city.

He then fudged his rather liberal views to oppose the EU and front the successful but ultimately disastrous Brexit project.

It was a continuation of rule by the notorious Oxford Bullingdon Club.

Then there was Partygate, proving that our Tory rulers believe that the laws they create do not apply to them.

The Tory prevaricstion over energy security is, perhaps, what is most unforgivable. The risible David ’husky’ Cameron introduced some great eco policies and then cut them down in the name of a book balancing exercise that seems risible after Covid.

Prioritising profit over security seems to be a particularly Tory trait.

On the verge of WW3, with the economy tanking and many people facing sheer poverty, the clown’s face paint is running, his quips aren’t funny any more.

BoJo the clown is dead.

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IOLO

dollarmonopoly

Monopolies are dangerous and the way that we have adopted capitalism allows far too many of them.

Monopolies are to capitalism as totalitarianism is to democracy: they initially seem effective and even ’better’ but quickly move power to the few.

Take the dollar. no one in a souk of some under-developed country will ask you for euros or pounds. They ask for dollars.

This hegemony has been challenged not by traditional currencies, but by a made up batshit stupid currency called Bitcoin (and its spawn).

Bitcoin has made the world a more equitable place by enabling illegality. All because the Fed and the good people of the US (actually, strike good) are so greedy.

We should have five pegged currencies. Gold remains a contender, but the trouble is the main alternative currencies are drugs and oil, for which bitcoin and the dollar act as proxies.

Time for cowrie shells ?

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IOLO

holidayhoming

Second homes have become an acute problem after the pandemic. During lockdown anyone and everyone with coin headed for the coast and the mountains to buy boltholes and piles where they could isolate splendidly.

This isn’t a new problem, but is acute in areas such as Cornwall and Gwynedd and Anglesey in Wales. These are areas where income is low and house prices are high.

So, what is the solution ? From charging half the rate of council tax a decade ago, local councils are now proposing 400% council tax. Since usually applies to the most expensive properties, you may be talking about £2000 pa becoming £8000.

But it’s easy to get around, just declare your Welsh or Cornish home as your main residence, and there will be no hike on your other (usually English) home. You can redefine in future to make sure you minimise other taxes.

So, what is the answer ? First of all, align voting with residence. A person can only register to vote in one place and this should be their home. Any other home, for all other taxation purposes, is a second home.

Also, do away with using rates for holiday homes, use council tax.

However, taxing people who are spending money locally and, arguably, bringing wealth into these communities, and even driving down property values is the wrong approach.

What needs to happen is that areas for local development are identified and any ’tourism taxes’ are ring fenced for creating communities that cannot be bought into by outsiders. Areas such as Botwnog/Sarn in Gwynedd and Llangefni in Anglesey, for example. Thousands of affordable homes, from container villages to comfortable estates should be built around facilities that must include schools, health, entertainment and shopping provision.

In so many parts of the developing world, housing is illegally provisioned, and this also needs to change (South Africa is an interesting study in this).

The Great Recession was created by the misprovision of housing in an ’open’ market in the US.

Does this create an ’other side of the tracks’, dualist community, and introduce ’trailer park economies’. Yes, it does, but we need to recognise that if we embrace capitalism, that we will always live in an unequal world.

What is required, all over the world, is cheaper ways to enter the property market and the ability to then trade up or securely stay put.