Blog 2016

2016-12-23 Gefira

Whoever they are behind this organisation, it is bent on dividing Europeans.  It wants to retrograde to individual nation-states, limit the circulation of people and goods, and thereby let large blocks like the US, China and Russia control what happens in our region.  They seem to be against anything that would build a more rational and prosperous Europe.

They sent me an unsolicited message, probably because I have a mailbox in the .eu domain.


Marine Le Pen just declared no free schooling for foreign children.

These are the children of “immigrants”:  they are exactly the people to whom you need to give free and secular education!

How wrong can the right be?

2016-12-05 An unsolvable problem?

So the situation is this:  groups of people (call them nations or cultures or ethnicities if you like) produce by-products in their everyday lives.  These may be buildings, agricultural land where forests were, refuse, discarded products, pollution, more offspring than necessary for replacement, road systems, infrastructures, …; the characteristic of these by-products is that they are not directly related to the two primary needs of food and procreation.

These groups of people also make invisible by-products:  structures created by working together and organising their societies.

Discoveries in science and technology gradually change the nature of these visible and invisible by-products.

Our brains get used to dealing with them, but at some point the by-products create problems:  depletion of resources, overcrowding, social tensions.  Different policies are needed, and, at least temporarily, very different behaviour.

Old-style politicians do not know how to reconcile the need for unpopular measures with established, expected policies.  The people get restless,  populist figures take control, promising quick and painless fixes.

But it's the people who put them in power.  Disasters follow as the directions taken by the populists are contrary to what should be done.  The people don’t want to swallow the necessary pills, and the result is chaos, destruction, killing.

There seems to be no way out of this, short of a lot of education and communication.

2016-12-05 Italian constitutional vote

Another one gone.  I have not followed what M. Renzi did or did not do, but one thing is clear:  people sense that the world needs a radically different approach to its problems.  So far so good for the people’s instincts.  But then they start applying their brains, and that’s where they go fatally wrong:  they think that our problems can be solved by returning to antiquated modes of operation.  The “establishment-politics” of today are certainly not good:  they have not provided much-needed change.  But returning to the politics and economics of before is worse.  We will not get solutions from re-establishing frontiers, going again for individual currencies that can be devalued at will, racist anit-immigration policies etc.

We will advance only by trying out novel approaches:  guaranteed incomes, renewable energies, world-wide taxing systems, very-long-term policies, controlled financial markets, much more education, equality among citizens, more technological research to find solutions to energy, pollution, medical problems, etc.

That will require a change in attitudes and above all a lot of belt-tightening.  It will mean changing professions, prohibiting some old ones, inventing new ones.

All of that is hugely unpopular because it means hard work, especially mental hard work.

A situation where the people expect quick and easy fixes but don’t want to invest the mental energy, is a breeding ground for dangerous extreme politics.  The situation is already being exploited.  Will we humans go down, blaming each other instead of ourselves?

2016-12-03 War with China!

Well, not that far yet, the Chinese being a bit more diplomatic than Trump.

Yet once again we have this terrible dichotomy:  on the one hand there are agreed rules between the US and China for dealing with Taiwan, on the other hand there is indeed hypocrisy in the US militarily supporting Taiwan while pretending to have no direct relations.

I can’t repeat this often enough:  some of Trump’s statements are wrong, some are right.  The people attach a single value to all:  all he says is right or all he says is wrong.  Very dangerous.

2016-12-02 Hard Brexit

Sarah Olney wins a by-election and she says this is a people’s message against a “hard Brexit”.

Perhaps, but who decides on the rules? It’s not at all for the British public to decide what the relationship with the EU will be after they have left.

2016-12-02 On Fidel Castro

So he is now dead.  Funny photo on the media, with Fidel in a track suit with an “ADIDAS” logo prominent.  Rampant Capitalism?

Perhaps inconsistent, and why did no-one in Cuba notice this?

But there is much worse:  our dear friend Donald Trump has apparently called Castro a “brutal dictator” (I cite the media who cite him; I have not heard him say it).  All along Castro’s reign, if I had been forced to choose between living under his regime in Cuba or living across the strait in Haiti, I know what I would have gone for.  The Canadian president’s words were closer to the truth than Trump’s.

And we will yet have to see how Trump will handle his dissidents.