Posts Tagged ‘Economic Development’

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….”


Please find enclosed a copy of Benedikt Koehler’s text on the application of market based principles extensively throughout out the early and later eras of Islam.

I hope to write more about this enlightening piece in a later post, but meanwhile, please do download a copy and read all about the history you never knew

Early Islam and the Birth of Capitalism – Benedikt Koehler

Also view the following presentation delivered in the City of London at the Legatum Institute, which includes a Q&A

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

It has been oft repeated that in our democratic, liberal societies, the few have greater power over the many

Is it the top 1% that owns a greater share of the capital and wealth than the remaining 99%? It is interesting to think of how many of these ‘many verses few’ statistics genuinely exist when analysing our reality

Given the freedom to own property and generate capital, which can indeed be a positive thing, to what extent is this so open to abuse that the rules of the game were never really meant to create fairness and a degree of equality? Is human nature, which is left unchecked, too prone to avarice that such freedoms will always result in a small elite hungry to capture ever more resources than required?

This is not another post looking to promote controlled economies,  however its purpose is to illustrate that, with the best of intensions, will some freedoms, when applied to a population shaped and conformed to behave in a certain manner, always result in a pyramidical structure taking shape where these conditions exist? Is this shape the overriding effect of all the freedoms at our disposal? Consider the following;

Top Asset Management firms by total value of assets under management

Think about what this data is actually telling us; when asset managers acquire equity, or interest in another business enterprise, they take a degree of ownership in that firm. Thereby, over time and because of the funds that flow to these giant institutions, the few in combination, have ended up in a position of ‘owning’ in part or in full, the many corporations that they have a share in – allowing them to ascend to the top of the pyramid; the few owning much greater proportion combined than the many. It also follows that this leads to a common source of control and influence across an economy/region given this limited pool of effective ownership.

Another perspective on this could be that much of this capital originates from the mass population who are the ultimate owners, through their long term savings and pension provisions invested with these providers. Therefore, is this an attempt to invert the structure, allowing the many to benefit? I would argue not, the masses, when considered individually, on average, do not financially benefit as much as the managers who take material cuts from the pool of funds at their disposal. Often their reward incentives are not adequately aligned with the retail investors at large, allowing the elite to become disproportionally better off than the investors who are searching for gains. The small investor is also not the party which excercises the controlling power.

In addition to this asset ownership, consider more generally, how much land the few own in comparison to the larger population, the size of GDP of the few regions compared to the many, the distribution of resources, the access to what is classed as the best quality of education, the trend continues and the structure that we can continually see forming is that of a top down, hierarchical pyramid – it should be clear from such insights what the ultimate power structure of the contemporary world is and what the fruits of everybody’s efforts are really delivering.



For anyone not familiar with the work of Ann Pettifor – one of the few to correctly call the coming of the financial crisis a number of years prior to it arriving, and one of the main proponents of the Jubilee 2000 campaign which cancelled a portion of third world debt – please search for her various articles, lectures and opinions online.

Associated with Keynesian economics and the Labour party, her views may be dismissed by some, however upon closer inspection, I was interested in her view on the creation of money, and what this meant for resolving the debt and economic problems facing the developing world.

She is principally part of the PRIME think tank/research group, which has a number of papers on its site proving an alternative voice on economic issues

The above lecture at the LSE discusses her latest book, ‘The Production of Money: How to Break the Power of Bankers’, and gives an insight into her theories.

What I wish to highlight, are the following;

  • The issue of commodity money, and how scarce resources should not be used as a basis of any monetary system
  • The recognition that a fiat monetary system, can and should be used for the benefit of the population – outside the control of private banks, but in the knowledge that an entirely man-made system should be used to achieve a level of prosperity in all societies
  • There are certainly many socialist aspects to these beliefs, such as exerting capital controls and spending money into existence in terms of health, education and social expenditure thus increasing national debt, however interest ideally should not be necessary when such a system is implemented
  • There are some similarities with what Positive Money are advocating, but it seems there are specific differences, as this discussion points out…



By following the money trail it is possible to  discover how intertwined British Imperialism was with its emergence as an economic power and the prosperity created for the nation.

Please read the following eight short pieces by James Walvin, on the monuments and show pieces across Britain and the people behind them, all connected to various trades directly linked to Slavery.

I will continue to explore this topic in a number of posts in future under a similar title

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?