Archive for the ‘Poverty’ Category

Too good not to share….you would think the public at large would notice something that big….guess not

Poor countries don’t need charity. They need justice.

Is this another deception with our perception of ‘The World’?

One of the most comprehensive reports into the real financial transfers into and out of the developing world shows that the extraction of wealth from the third world, much of it former colonies, continues apace.

Rich countries aren’t developing poor countries; poor countries are developing rich ones

How Poor Countries Develop Rich Countries

I find the fact that some $4trillion since 1980 is attributed to debt interest repayments fascinating. The scale of this particular transfer is testament to the continued servitude of many nations states.

When many times more is sent back in exchange for every dollar received in aid, does this not sound like a familiar profit making enterprise at work?

Reading the original report, I find this sentence especially on point…

Much improved statistical compilation and reporting is required in order to have a more adequate picture of global financial flows; a task that urgently needs to be undertaken collaboratively by the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, United Nations, Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, and the Bank for International Settlements.

Is this a list of the usual suspect organisations?

 

Abstain

Posted: June 11, 2016 in Consumerism, Poverty
Tags: ,

The Islamic month of abstention (Ramadhan) began on Monday 6th June 2016

A month when we cease to eat and drink; we cease to consume.

We are no longer consumers, we will not buy what is being sold, yet we will give up of our property to those who need it most.

The economic undertones of this period are worth considering

imran-1

 

I remember some years ago, a British commentator remarked in an off the cuff, ignorant manner, that Islam (and therefore Muslims in general) had not contributed any thing of substance in the last 100 years or so.

Which Islam or Muslims was he referring to? A number of respected intellectuals have made valid contributions to the most profound topics of discourse in contemporary matters, be they governance, enterprise or spirituality. Perhaps this person never made an effort to look beyond his own sphere of understanding in order to identify these contributions

One such example of what the Muslim world has delivered for contemplation of all nations states, is the funding model based on Zakat – financial or non-financial investment for the sake of others, not to gain personally, but to establish a method to fulfill a need which private profiteering cannot.

In the UK, we struggle to foot the cost of basic welfare through taxation. The number of taxes in existence are far too much to understand how far the web stretches and how much they impact our everyday lives, destroying incentives to save or to give.

In a part of the world riddled with abject poverty, injustice and failing state apparatus, a beacon of light is being provided by world class medical institutions such as the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital (SKMH), entirely funded by donations and providing free cancer treatment to the most disadvantaged patients. Across the third world, similar initiatives  do exist, whether they are based on Zakat or not, I highlight this project due to it being based on principles found at the core of the Islamic faith; giving up of ones own property to provide for others, in a way which establishes justice.

At the end of 2015, SKMH opened its second site in Peshawar. The factors which make this institution thrive, are not confined to Islam, however it certainly demonstrates the way in which incentives, resources and an interest to gain from intangible, distant means, not necessarily financial in nature (based on a belief in a power other than that of Man), can be made to work perfectly well for a wider section of the population, independent of state disintegration.

https://www.shaukatkhanum.org.pk/

 

 

 

The above three part documentary (The Foods that Make Billions) is a well worth a view

For me it explores an underlying truth: the business of capitalism is to exploit and manipulate

Nowhere is this better shown than in the first of these episodes on water. How do you sell something that is readily available to people for free – you change (manipulate) people’s perception and convince them that they are better for paying to consume it.

As one commentator in the first part profoundly observes, (and to paraphrase); “The backdrop to this predicament should be clearly understood where one part of humanity can’t get access to any clean water to live, yet another part spends remarkable amounts moving/selling vast quantities of water from those that have to those that already have”

A further example of how insane behaviour can be shaped by the desire to accumulate capital and sell anything for the sake of profits is the following business which was recently seeking to raise investment. An extra-marital affairs website encouraging spouses to cheat, thereby increasing business potentially for divorce lawyers (very expensive), possibly increasing leisure/retail consumption (with the new partner, maybe even another wedding?), perhaps a spill over into the housing market too (new abode, sell old home?), whereas the real cost (and how would you like to measure this exactly) on any offspring from the marriage, on the wider family, the established correlation to crime statistics with those who grow up in broken homes and the consequences for society generally, is completely ignored.

The monetary benefits from such a business venture will readily show up in financial performance, shareholder returns, GDP indicators, but most of us will be left to argue about the drawbacks which no-one will be capturing and therefore any debate can be calmly brushed aside as unsubstantiated moral opinion.

The fact this company specifically targets married couples as a differentiator to other peer-to peer dating websites speaks volumes for the no limit approach to capitalism in the name of liberty and free markets.

I have previously discussed the argument about how the allocation of resources works more ‘efficiently’ under this approach than the alternatives, but it should be noted how severe misallocations of capital can easily occur which the wider community will pick up at the expense of the individual or select few participants.

Clearly, its not only bad tax law that significantly affects human behaviour. The amount of manipulation exacted in the name of profit should be appreciated.

 

 

In a number of posts thus far, I have referred to the way in which our worldview is increasingly shaped by definitions. And who has defined these terms? Certainly politicians over many years have meddled with how to measure social issues, and have then moved the goal posts, sometimes  in their favour in order to ‘solve’ these issues.

I have previously posted articles highlighting the issue of measures such as the official inflation rate – what it includes and even excludes, therefore can it really be an indication of what is happening to general prices in an economy.

The very health of the economy in statistics such as GDP, Quarterly Growth, and National Debt have all been shown to be highly subjective and are more interesting for what they do not capture.

This piece, once again concerns our definition of poverty. In order for the government to tackle this blight, we first need to be clear how we class someone as being poor. It shows that with a few alterations in these parameters, we can potentially get a completely different picture, whilst whatever the reality is, it will not change for the many who are in these conditions.

Hampsterwheel

 

In the cause of self-advancement, we are urged to sacrifice our leisure, our pleasures and our time with partners and children, to climb over the bodies of our rivals and to set ourselves against the common interests of humankind. And then? We discover that we have achieved no greater satisfaction than that with which we began.

An excellent article featured in The Guardian paper was brought to my attention. It captures the very deterioration in contemporary society brought about by our ideas of liberty and free markets, and serves to demonstrate how the very value of our life is being almost ”mis-allocated” if seen as the incentive of gaining ever-increasing wealth