New Deal Money

There is a crisis in capitalism.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that slogan from some Marxist posturing with no clue why.  We can be pretty sure we know what the problem is now.  It’s about debt rising about 4% faster than GDP since the 1960’s and a service burden of debt in our economies of above 12% – this is all worse than in previous depressions.  This has been happening whatever shade of government we’ve had, across all OECD nations.  France may be an exception, but I’m looking into that.

What we have been resisting is letting crooked banks and speculators take the hits and forming a democratic alternative to casino capitalism.  Strangely, the very system we once thought could save us from the road to serfdom is trying to force us down it now.  The rich have accumulated nearly all the money and now want to buy up our public sectors on the cheap in fire-sales as economies crash. In trying to do this, they have replaced the Politburo as public enemy number one, though we are too dumb to see this yet.

What we should do is let the banks fail and start over with a new system of economics and a new world currency replacing the USD.  This would be a big change and bring about the end of American military supremacy, so it would require some thinking through.  The most obvious thing we need is to promote a more innovative economy and stop believing that is all about vast riches and super-brains.  It’s really much more ordinary.

My own belief is the crisis is ideological in the sense we can cure it if we change our thinking.  We can grow food, find new energy sources, find ways to stop bandits and mad, religious people doing terrorism, build decent housing and get on with fairly idle lives and stop ourselves breeding too much.  Only ignorance prevents us now.  So how can we get round to believing this?  You don’t need much brainpower to work it out.

What many of us have not worked out has little to do with advanced economics theories.  It’s to do with how little work has to be done to provide the things many of us struggled to “achieve” – a roof over our head, food, clean water and a family.  I’m guessing, but I’m pretty convinced 10 -20% of the work we do between 20 and 50 is needed to provide that for all in the absence of corruption. It’s amazing we don’t know this, assuming it is true.

My contention is first that we don’t know.  I’ve asked a lot of people and no one can tell me just how much work would provide a good basic standard for all. On reflection most people can tell me that much of the time they have spent at work has not been very productive.  We do not develop facts on these matters, let alone teach them.  Agriculture, which is basically what we live on is 4% of world GDP.  What we soak up is ideology.

We are told hard work leads to rewards and somewhere down the line this turns to justification of sports star wages and bankster bonuses as an inevitable part of meritocracy.  It’s more likely they are part of the widespread prevention of democracies that can turn capital on where it is needed.

We have been lied to wholesale.  Much of the rhetoric continues – the need to get highly skilled as a worker in the new knowledge economy sounds convincing, but we have poured money into education only for students not to do science and maths and “qualify” in equine management.  The education industry burgeoned yet employers sound the same now as they did 30 years ago when moaning about the skills kids leaving schools and universities don’t have.

I would still recruit for management on the basis of fairly simple maths and English tests rather than on ‘graduate status’ and the size of that pool has not increased because intelligence hasn’t.  Many people need to be in work to learn, not classrooms – and in education we gave up on non-bookish teaching because it was too expensive in our business model and many teachers and lecturers couldn’t hack other methods.  People we teach after work experience are way ahead of most leaving school – because work and growing up has taught them.  They may well find people teaching them from books that make no sense after work experience, full of drivel written 60 years ago on personal development, excellence, kwality and human resource management that all failed in practice.  They have all been written in new colours, but smell exactly the same.  These lecturers completely discount mature students’ experience and often don’t know the ‘excellence’ they teach was discounted 30 years ago, within 6 months of the publication of ‘In Search of Excellence’.

Courses are now organised to provide as little class contact as possible and assessments are entirely dubious.  An HNC from 20 years back is probably worth more than a degree now.  We have a serious problem because so many of our organisations are now run by hierarchies that learned to lie about what was going on.  The model is widespread and based on false-accounting that gives CEOs fat salaries and bonuses throughout the system.  Often the false-accounting provides well-paid work for armies of bureaucrats from the ratings agencies grading junk at AAA+, through the performance management teams creating beacon councils, drops in crime, increases in schooling excellence, favourable audits of Enrons and banks hiding massive losses and the rest.

All this is the ‘reason’ we have no money to create the jobs that people need to grow as far as they can as workers.  It’s so endemic I doubt we can get to a cure unless there is public disorder.  The people who need to listen to the real arguments are the ones with the interests in not admitting what has been going on.  These are the ‘Screwtape bureaucrats’ in an England gone to the Devil.

The answer is political and therefore impossible in England.  It’s to go ‘New Deal’ on money by cancelling debt, returning to primitive banking and bringing in modern National-International Service across the EU funded by a transaction tax and new taxes across society with an understanding we are building a new social contract.

This won’t happen, so my guess is this is a good time to re-brand yourself if you are a cop or invest in protective gear if your force won’t and prepare for overtime and more riots.  The good news is that European peasantry has more often been quiescent than revolutionary, but the bad is that it is more aware on the Continent of what has been happening to it than here – this news may start to spread.

We grew up not wanting to be consumed by the Sino-Soviet experiments and it’s weird that capitalism is what has sold us down a river not far from that.  The Chinese have been very astute in the deals that took our money into its enterprise zones, gave it manufacturing capacity and techniques, and leaves us with austerity and an underclass.  The debt is not of money we took and pissed up the wall, but of a speculative system that allowed big time looting.  That we have not set our criminal justice system into punishing these looters may seep through to our ‘lower orders’ and make them restless again.  Would that they march on Parliament instead of JD Sports!

Leftbanker’s alternative to the current economic clowning is:

A collective agreement by global governments on a debt default programme that minimises the damage done to the financial and economic system; Rather than own the banks but not control them and give them vast amounts of money to cover losses and lend to speculators (quantitative easing), take control of them and make direct investment through them to finance huge social projects that would benefit the public and private sectors creating jobs;Taxing the world’s wealthy who have seen a huge transfer of wealth to them over the last 30 years from the bottom 50% of society; and Collectively as society provide for people’s retirement instated of letting public pension funds and individuals bear the risk and cost of failing stock markets. This is the rationale alternative to the boom, bust, crash and burn that currently lies in store for all of us.

I think we have to do more on the behavioural side too and find ways to be more transparent in our organisational dealings.  Our Screwtapes are as bad as the nomenclatura in the Warsaw Pact countries and we need to do something to undo the damage they have caused and will continue to inflict.  We somehow need to leave them behind.  It’s not for nothing that Bratton insisted on getting rid of the whole NYPD hierarchy when he took over.

We hear much on Greece, Ireland, Spain and Portugal – but in terms of overall debt Japan and the UK are first and second at more than 460% of GDP.  Russia is very low in comparison at 71%.  Sleep tight!

Education, education, education – one word, three repeated lies

I first heard ‘education, education, education’ in East Germany (DDR) at some dreadful conference.  The academic was droning on and referring to a speech by a DDR politburo minister in the 1950s.  At dinner, a long way from prying ears, she apologised and told a very different story to the one for public consumption.  I didn’t see Blair in the DDR audience, but had the same reaction hearing him bleating out the same , though thankfully shorter speech years later.  There was no dinner for him to roll his eyes at me either, though he did that to us all at the drop of a hat.  The key element in Nulabour education planning concerned bullshit performance management, something they clearly did with crime figures and everything else.  To do this you create a well-paid nomenclature and make its well-paid interests match those of government targets.  ACPO is the paradigm case, but documentaries have revealed the same in health, care, schools and pretty much all sectors.

Against international standards, our schools are failing (OECD reports).  Yet we have been told they were improving.  More and more kids get qualifications, yet are really falling behind international standards on literacy and numeracy.  Crime is forever falling, yet no one really believes this.  No one really believes the educational bull either, with 8% of kids privately educated and loads more got into the right schools through house-buying and other dodges.

Finland has a much better school system than the UK.  There is no private education you can pay for there, everyone gets free school meals and education is genuinely comprehensive until 16.  Teachers are very well trained.  You can see, before we look at what they do in classrooms and getting kids out of them more often, that we have a very different culture.  This is also before we think of how much money we waste in sending so many to university.  Talk of copying the Finns is hapless unless we understand the aims of their education system and what they think society is about.

We now have people across our public sector paid to lie about its ‘success’.  The culture is one of juking statistics.  We have become stupidly millennial on leadership to the point where we will have to pay £200K for every head teacher to ensure standards across the nation.  Our responses look increasingly like the means of producing 10-fold crop yields under Mao – dumping all the fertiliser in one place for a success story whilst ignoring the general famine.  Bung a couple of million into Liverpool to do something about Cash-in-Transit robberies and cut them down to size, whilst they go up in Manchester and Cheshire.

We should be listening much more directly to teachers, cops, pupils and victims to get a proper hang on what the problems are, cutting out these ‘performance managers’ and their costs.  Instead, the only outlet is blogging.  I enjoyed my time in Finland and think their schools better than ours.  Their cops were less insular and more pleasant too.  Yet I’d also likely be dead from alcohol excess by now if I was a male Finn.  International comparisons require a lot of knowledge to be effective.  I should have asked whether many of their secondary schools were full of bullying louts from problem families that neither teachers nor police could deal with, or racial tensions.

We should be finding out what is wrong with our system before looking to Finland or Korea.  Our teachers will know most of it.  They need asking in a direct and confidential manner, not one that will expose them to an Ofsted black mark.  Our inspection culture needs to end, as it now involves one set of bureaucrats providing the ‘information’ another requires.  We see this across varieties of management by objectives systems, appraisals and other clapped-out dross that needs sweeping from our organisations.  It all started long before Nulabour and we have a generation of a hands-off, promoted class with no critical perspective and excellence attitudes that are patronising, arrogant and corrupt.

The aim should be to put our teachers back in charge of our schools, our police on our streets, people in work and recognise that we can tell whether this is all happening or not.  We need an end to fictional politics, even if the Finnish school model is attractive it is fictional to make out it can transfer here, and a distraction from the investigation needed into our own failings.

Police Financial Reserves

Thinblueline http://thinbluelineuk.blogspot.com/ is commenting on a story carried in the Telegraph that there are substantial reserves in police coffers that could be used to prevent job losses over the next few years.  The Telegraph finds £20 million, but Thinblueline – right on many similar matters – believes the real sum may exceed a billion.  The term ‘reserves’ is not simple in accounting, but one usually has them to tide the business through lean periods when little or nothing is coming in.  I doubt police forces are businesses in this sense, or that they need individual reserves for any efficient purpose.

There may be a pot that could be used to protect jobs.  However, it is more likely to be in place for other contingencies, such as increased public unrest, demonstration, violence and disorder.  Britain’s public is very docile, but the cuts are only just beginning to bite.  Soon many will find themselves in severe poverty through benefits cuts (we will find there were no ‘back-room savings’, only a privatisation of the knives and proof that doctors lie on the promise of money) and with nowhere to turn as CABs and the rest no longer get discretionary grants.  I expect (along with the OECD), that Britain will suffer a further recession soon as the private sector cavalry charge into a tar-pit.  We may be looking at massive unemployment increasing benefit bills beyond belief.  There could well be a turn to the streets – only British docility will prevent this.

Tajfun water cannon on Renault Kerax chassis (...

Image via Wikipedia

Police financial reserves may be in place for this contingency.  The Government presumably know they are destroying the country for some future fire-sale to the rich.  They will soon be so bad as to make Nulabour look good!  We need plans to create jobs, even if this has to mean 4 day weeks and pay for those of us in work, until we get everyone on stream and find more work to do.  If we are to be medically fit for work, we should be put into work.  Instead, people are being stuck into worse poverty, will find charities like CABs shut and may turn nasty.  The Tories traditionally use the cops to club down the poor or any dissent.  This may be their way of funding the over-time.  If it is, it may suggest they planned what is coming.