Archive for the ‘Poverty’ Category

An exploration of our pervasive culture of consumption.

I noted the following well made points illustrated in this piece;

• The materialist dream is not practically possible for all humanity, therefore this will always necessitate leaving large parts of the world behind, keeping them poor and chasing an impossible reality. This level of inequality is inbuilt, and intentional. It is the modus operandi of consumerism

• Violence and warfare are integral aspects of this cult. In order to secure power, competitive advantage and gain access to markets for supply and demand components, an active military is fundamental

• When attempting to find linkage between different facts and truths in order to uncover the greater truths, one part of this documentary was particularly appealing. View from 34:16;

“Wasteful inefficiency, broken social system, toxic pollution, drug addiction, perpetual violence, misery….”


MoneyWeek always does a good job in joining together different strands of the reality surrounding debt and putting it all into perspective.

This piece is another example of such work, I found the following points worth noting;

• The effect cheap debt has on corporate behaviour, which in turn translates into market moves/signals

• Statistics in the shape of national debt being measured against GDP which is not entirely genuine due to the whole economy not being ‘owned’ by government . However this leads me to ponder that although government debt is initated by the State, it is all tax paying citizens that will ultimately bear its burden, hence comparing it to GDP does equate to it being the nations debt, but of course not all GDP belongs to all citizens

• How much debt is responsible for living standards. This is particularly worth contemplating, many look at material wealth and standards of living as a barometer for social advancement however if this is heavily influenced by credit and in some cases unaffordable credit, is it simply an illusion? Another house of cards, which others are vying endlessly to win a share of?

The profound concept of what value is and what value society should try to attain is explored in this worthy documentary.

I would like to highlight a number of the take home messages which I found to be praiseworthy and challenging of conventional wisdom;

  • ‘Not all profits are created equal’ implying certain gains could potentially be more worthy than others, the simple metric that something is profitable should not be an absolutist criterion. Profit should be based on sustainability not success
  • The components of the Value Chain should be continually assessed not for whether they are profitable but for what real value they provide the wider society, what positive aspects do they contribute?
  • Price, a key market signal, does not reflect the true cost to society or the environment, therefore how ‘profitable’ are certain activities
  • Our environment governs our behaviour therefore is there is any such thing as free choice, do we even have the freedom to make a choice?
  • The rewards we have currently have in a market economy incentivise us to make potentially harmful choices, not the beneficial choices
  • Contrast the theory that markets allows us to allocate resources adequately with the knowledge that this allocation may be to detrimental activities
  • Some say society at large has never been more prosperous nor peaceful, but the point of how fractured it is bears contemplating
  • The final scene where the following advice was given had much resonance with me, ‘…it’s time. Serve’ This could also be interpreted as in order to serve (society/the natural world order, and therefore establish justice to ourselves and others) we must SUBMIT…the basis of the concept of Islam

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?



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



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.