Monday, 28 March 2011

Money circulation

With the big March against cuts last Saturday in London, I have been looking at people's arguments against cuts. It's surprising how there's a blind spot about jobs. Yes, we need to address human need, and the cuts are making that harder to do (at least that's what's argued), but people also argue that if you cut jobs, you lose tax income. The thing is that jobs in the public sector are funded out of tax income, so some of the tax spent providing public services comes back as tax paid by employees, in a weird cash back scheme. But never mind, because this all creates jobs for people to administer the tax, and most crucially of all keeps the money moving. It must not sit still because if it did we would see how fundamentally useless it is.

If all money magically disappeared, would we reinvent it, or we would we look at what we have to sustain us and work out how we can most efficiently use it (ie with the least amount of human effort)?

Killing gadgets

I like gadgets and programmes about gadgets, but this week's Gadget Show on Channel 5 featured remote controlled weapons. Ok this was only for paint balling, but just because the payload is a paint ball it doesn't mean the technology isn't based on real weaponry. In fact the presenter already pointed out how much money is invested in developing remote control killing machines.

Yes, the finest technology, and the finest minds are being put towards killing members of our own species. We are fighting over scarces resources, but we are wasting resources doing the fighting, thereby creating (or increasing at least) the reason to fight by the actual fighting itself.

And let's not forget that this is all good, because it's making work for people to do -and we must have more work, so that we can earn the money to get the resources that we've decided we must pay for with money because we've made them scarce so that people have to pay for them or because we've wasted them on fighting, or making things that don't last because we have to sell more of them to get more money to buy more of them.


Good old earthquakes and tsunamis

Sorry to be flippant about such natural disasters, but I have been provoked. Sean O'Grady has pointed out, in The Independent newspaper, that "the longer-term boost to spending from reconstruction and development can even help an economy". It's true, GDP will be helped, but an ounce of common sense show this up for how warped and stupid this claim that natural disasters have advantages is.

Are we so blinded by the need to increase GDP, that we cannot see that this paradox does not have to exist? The destruction of property is not a good thing and in no way should it be mistaken for growth in any positive way. OK, with it being a natural disaster, we could sustain an argument that the damage should be excluded from GDP/growth calculations, but if it were counted, in the negative direction, then all the warning systems, earth quake and tsunami proofing and general avoidance of destruction would limit the negative effect of the natural disasters on our sane GDP calculation.

Sunday, 27 March 2011


Mervyn King, Governor of the Bank of England wants to split banks into "casino" investment arms and retail businesses. He is surprised the British public isn't angrier about the way the banks are "squashing ordinary British Citizens".

We keep hearing how we must retain our "banking talent", etc, and this justifies printing more money to give to the banks to pay off their - and this is all they are - gambling debts. One commentator in the Daily Telegraph opined that if the banks left our shores, we'd have to "fill the yawning gap in employment and wealth they'll leave behind".

This is an absurd rationalisation. Banks don't create anything except money, which is worthless in itself - it is only useful for buying (useful) things and it is a rule of the monetary system that everything (so far as is possible) must be only obtainable with money. Having made this rule, we then build a complex financial system on top of it and argue that it must exist because it does exist - the argument reduces to this.

It doesn't make any difference how much money we've got in total. It only matters what actual life giving / conserving resources we have in total, and we can't make any more of them, only conserve them and use them as efficiently as possible when we do. The amount of money is constantly increasing (never mind the deficit, feel the debt) and because it is only lent at interest, those who have money to spare get proportionately more of it because they are paid interest, whilst those who don't get proportionately less of it, because they pay interest.

The financial system creates jobs? Absolutely - it creates its own need to support itself. It is the ultimate example of jobs for jobs sake. It creates precisely nothing other than stuff to do to keep it going and empty tokens that represent nothing.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

It doesn't matter who we are, or think we are fighting, nor why

I've been watching more internet material on the 7/7/2005 London bombings and the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes. There are enough oddities, holes in the story and alternative explanations to make me think that this was a false flag event, and there's no reason why it shouldn't have been - it wouldn't have been the first and it won't have been the last.

Such attacks have to be part of a bigger picture. A common explanation is that they unite us against a common enemy (terrorism), and provide greater justification for state monitoring that is put there officially to help the state protect us from enemy attacks. The alternative explanation is that the state, or some other power structure, wants to control us for its own ends.

So, logically, the government line that they are protecting us from terrorism or some high order threat could be true, but also, logically, this could all be a massive deceit carried out by Freemasons, Jewish bankers, The Illiuminati, or any real or imagined, sinister and/or powerful group intent on consolidating its position.

Outside a resource based economy there will be power struggles and it doesn't make any real difference whether this is in the form of terrorist attacks usually but not always foiled by police/security services, or a massive deception by a powerful/shady body/organisation.

In an RBE, there would be no pressure to create jobs and economic growth, so no desire to sell weapons for an income or to justify (falsely or not) the need for more police and national security. If the planet's resources were managed efficiently and shared fairly, we wouldn't need to fight each other to get them or keep them. There may be some residual desire to attack each other on ideological/religious grounds, but i suspect these would fade if human need were put first.

So even if the loss of life on 7/7/05 (and at other such events) could be justified as it achieved higher ends, that would still be in the framework of the monetary "free" market economy which is the cause of the divisions - whatever divisions - that lead to the need for the protection / fighting.

Interview with Peter Joseph

TV cahnnel Russi Today showed a short interview with PJ in which he gets across some of the main ideas of the resource based economy. The starting premise here is getting rid of money.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Introduction to a resource based economy

A good 18:50 presentation from Peter Joseph to introduce the idea of the RBE. Well worth sparing the time to understand.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Seeing like a state

An opponent of TZM with a video on youtube (buffalofetus) has challenged people to reject the thesis of this book, which although it does not mention TZM/TVP specifically, does look at high level plans in history. Buffalofetus says you are not allowed to argue with him unless you have read the book, but he seems to assert the thesis of the book without supporting it from the book itself, and my attempts to debate have met with stereotyping, and accusations of wilful ignorance.

One of the chapters of the book that I have read focus on Le Corbusier, and his high level ideas. There is a particular focus on Brasilia. I think it is fair to sum up the criticism that the author presents as being that the city lacks the human scale, intimacy, character that the unplanned, or less planned older cities that have evolved over time exhibit or exude.

Yes, modernism can have a coldness about it, and "science" has that analytical, rather flat and de-humanised overtone to it, but:

  • What is the imperative? Saving the planet and the human race, or achieving certain aesthetic standards in the design of RBE cities? We can't have human scale cities without humans.
  • I don't disagree that Le Corbusir didn't get things exactly right. FDoes this mean that he couldn't have, or no-one else should try?
  • There's an element of nostalgia in the reactions of Brazilians to Brasilia. People are used to certain norms and find change difficult. I am not mocking them, and I like old, quirky, human scale things, but I also like technology. I've just read extracts from this book on line, and within a short space of time been able to blog on it.. This is different but it isn't wrong to be able to achieve that kind of speed.
I hope those who design cities in an RBE learn from mistakes Le Corbusier made. Jacque Fresco and Peter Joseph open claim not to have all the answers, but this is not an argument for doing nothing, and I don't think either of them want dehumanised cities, subject to thenm actually being sustainable within available resources.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

People who don't want to live in an RBE

This personal choice argument comes up a lot. People set up the spectre that they would be forced to participate using violence. PJ is more positive than this, and I agree with him.

Let's look at the person in my last post who didn't want to give away (share) his car. In an RBE, we'd be saying his car was an underused resource, so we'd be looking to persuade him to let it be used when he wasn't using it. In an environment of scarcity he'd be given money, with which he could get his hands on scarce things, but if we've reduced or eradicated scarcity, what would we give him in exchange for us using something that he's not using but doesn't want us to use? We couldn't give him anything that's abundant, unless we chose to keep it from him in the first place - ie create scarcity for him.

So - we would have to collude to create scarcity for him in order to coerce him into parting with the excess of abundance he has. He can't argue against it. He's saying what's mine is mine, and so are we, except that we are pooling our resources. This is the thing. If I own things, I have to stop other people using them, but they will reciprocate, so I don't benefit from the pooled resources, only from what I own.

If people don't want to live in an RBE because they don't want to share their stuff, I hope we RBE-ers would still be generous enough to share our stuff anyway, and eventually win over the non sharers.

What is ownership?

One critic of TZM/TVP on You Tube starts from a premise about handing over the keys of his car to someone else, even though he has worked to own it but this premise is an artifice of the monetary system, which is in the business of getting you to want something and making you work to be able to get it, which requires someone else to pay for the fruits of your labours.

Setting aside the abstract advantages (created by marketing people) of owning something, what is it that this car owner is trying to protect? Assuming he does not use his car 100% of the time, I assume if it were practical he would happy for someone else to use it if they paid him (I know this suits some people). This is efficiency at work - the resource that is the car is providing more utility by being used more of the time. This way we need fewer cars for the same amount of utility (transport). But in this model some people are called upon to own the cars so that others can hire them. Even if the incentive of making money in this way were enough to persuade people, the system still only needs enough cars to provide the required transport, so how would it be decided?

In a free market, these car hire enterprises would compete against each other, but this would mean there being more cars in total than were necessary, or the firms collaborating so that there were no more cars in total than were necessary. This collaborating would take the form of building a complete picture of what car transport is needed, which is precisely the kind of thing that a planned economy does.

Sorry, back to ownership. It is an outgrowth of scarcity. There is no need to own anything that is not scarce, but to achieve this we (a) need to know what is scarce and (b) not deliberately make things scarce that aren't actually.

We know that there are far more cars than are needed (so many are parked), the advertisers are forced to create the idea of a more emotional kind of scarcity, using young, free, attractive people in cars to promote the idea of leisure transport only possible if there's a car always ready for you even if you decide to go out on a whim. This must be in fact a minuscule portion of most of most people's journeys, which are for practical reasons.

Being against a planned economy

Dismissing a planned economy by labelling it as Marxist, or something, is not good enough. Anyone can label something and we can set that a side as a rhetorical technique, rather than a systemic criticism of an RBE. Critics of the RBE say they don't want a planned economy, but go on to suggest they will be forced to have one, and/or that as they have failed before, they will fail again. One critic even tries to demand that everyone read the book "Seeing like a state" which shows why (he argues) the RBE will fail, because it is like (he argues) the examples in the book that failed.

"If at first you don't succeed, try, try again" is a maxim I was brought up on, and I really don't see why an RBE should fail just because previous planned economies have failed. We should learn from our mistakes, but giving up is not necessarily the outcome.

I think the objection to a planned economy in practice is a cypher for the planned economy in principle - but this brings us back to the labelling argument. A planned economy comes from an ideological framework to which I don't subscribe (ie it is Marxist, Communist) and this makes it wrong.

Economy is from the Greek oikonomos - meaning something like the rules/strategy/plans of running a household. We see, with households, small scale 'planned economies' in which resources and work are shared, resources conserved, work minimised (efficiency maximised) and so on. Is this household level "economising" scaleable to a planetary level, and do we want to apply it at a planetary level?

Well, TVP/TZM argue that using technology we can technically scale up to a planetary level and start to quantify what we have in our global fridge and larder, so to speak. We would all know what resources we have and where they are, courtesy of (in essence) the internet. I don't think anyone can really argue that knowing what we have in total is wrong in itself, nor that it is not useful. The problem seems to be that the infrastructure that enables this knowledge to be managed and shared could be usurped by an elite who wish to control it for ends other than the fair sharing of the resources we're aiming for.

But this controlling elite is what we already have, though it currently operates through the monetary system. The amount of money in this system is constantly increasing over time (give or take some minor blips) basically because of interest (paying back more than you borrowed), but we know that resources are not increasing over time, so therefore the amount of money per unit of resource is constantly increasing. Inflation. But having money is still linked to access to resources by the system as designed. Those who have enough money to lend can accrue more money because of interest. Those who need to borrow money have to work to pay it back - another design feature of the system.

Because money is the key to accessing resources, people seek to get more of it, and through the price mechanism something that is scarce has a higher price. Therefore scarcity is good in this system. Where it exists it is good, and where it doesn't exist it should logically be created.

Let's come back to the household scale and examine this system to see if its faults show up more clearly. The head of this household says to the members that in order to have an allocation of the households resources they must have access to some tokens that s/he has created and controls. S/he lends you some of these tokens, but you have to pay back more than you lent, but you can only get the tokens from one source, and s/he therefore has to create more tokens to lend to you, to pay back the interest with, but these themselves also attract interest.

To get these tokens to pay back you have to work, and so do the others in the household, apart from the head. If there's no work to do there's no tokens, so work is artificially created. I could go on.

In a real life house, labour saving devices are welcomed, because they mean less work. A well managed household knows what resources it has, and conserves them. Now subsitute "planet" for "house[hold]" and see if you can understand why it should be any different.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Speck sized computer

"A computer as large as a speck of dust has been created, according to researchers at the University of Michigan. It's the prototype of a millimeter-sized computing system that can hold up to a week's worth of data and can be implanted in an area as small as the human eye.

It's been dubbed the Phoenix chip and is one cubic millimeter in size. It was originally designed to measure eye pressure in glaucoma patients. Within the computer is a low-power microprocessor, a pressure sensor, memory, a thin-film battery, a solar cell and wireless radio with an antenna to transmit data to an external reader device held near the eye.

Communism and uniformity / absorbing variation

Another similarity between an RBE and communism could be the pressure for uniformity. This does not seem to be so clear cut. At yesterday's series of talks for Z-day and the Friends' Meeing House in Euston, London, Peter Joseph seemed to emphasise the point that aesthetic or personal preference attributes need to take a back seat to sustainability.

The speaker from the design team spoke of the need for standardisation, as it is efficient, and mentioned the fact that in an RBE, with no money, no need to work and no  ownership, people would just go where they wished and live where they wish when they wish. This is workable with enough standardisation, but the speaker from the design team (echoing Jacque Fresco) said that people's individual tastes / requirements could be accommodated into the designs of their homes, which seems to undermine the standardisation imperative, and re-introduce the idea of ownership insofar as if something is personalised for me how can someone else use it it ad hoc - this would deprive me of its use.

So how can we absorb the variation that individuality calls for, whilst eschewing the idea of ownership and accruing the benefits of standardisation

I think technology would absorb a lot of the required variation. I presume when we enter residential accommodation in an RBE, we will somehow be identified to the tech that runs the house. Our music tastes (say) would be accessible by the playlists associated with our identity, and whatever a bed had become would be adjusted to achieve the equivalent of our preferred mattress firmness and body shape (a la memory foam). That said, currently we seem to be able to tolerate a hotel room without being able to completely personalise it, but I suppose if we are moving around a lot, our personal taste may need accommodating "on the fly".

The example given by the speaker was of someone who liked cooking and entertaining guests with the food. He seemed to suggest that one's house could be designed with that in mind, but how then can that house be communal?

I would suggest that the dining room and associated kitchen would not be part of a particular home for exclusive use, but available communally just like pretty much everything else. The host would reserve use of the facilities for the duration of his dinner party, but at other times it would be available for others to use for the same or similar ventures.

Work - a systems approach

In my previous post I cited the defence that someone who has worked hard to get something should not have it taken from them. On the face of it, that seems fair, but let's analyse a bit further.

If we could enumerate all work on a standard scale of standard units, we could perhaps consider a system in which the reward was commensurate with the work. Even if we could work out a single scale for all work, there are problems with this arrangement. Would we want people competing to do more and more work for more and more reward? Or would we say that reward would be commensurate with the proportion of work done.

To know what proportion of work someone has done, we need to know what the total work done is, but either way, we have to face the question of what work we want done. You don't want someone to break your window so that it needs to be fixed. These two pieces of work cancel out, ideally. We seem to have no problem with this concept in our homes, where we work together and conserve our resources, or in our organisations, so why is it different at a planetary level? Perhaps it was because we couldn't organise ourselves on a planetary level, but with the internet this is clearly becoming something we can do, if it has not actually become so.

Returning to our homes and the broken window analogy, we would presumably want a society where no-one had an incentive to break your window deliberately, and your window would be designed and constructed in such a way that the possibility of it being accidentally broken was minimised. That makes perfect sense at the level of your home, but of you are a glazier you might quite like the idea that windows get broken as it's work for you.

So, again, logic seems to dictate that we should minimise the total amount of work that needs doing, at a planetary level and this requires co-operation in not deliberately making work for ourselves or others. The reward being commensurate with the proportion of work done seems workable and fair - so far.

A big problem seems to be that at the moment we reward more work, in most cases. More windows fixed = more money to the glazier. How are we going to reward people according to the proportion of work that they do? Is this as impractical as having a unified scale of work so that it can be all be equated? What if we arranged it so that no work needed doing? What if there were people who couldn't do any of the work that needed doing either ever, or at a particular period of their life (too young or too old)? Rather than deal with these complexities, why not just let people have at least the means to survival without the need for them to have "banked" (or to have the potential to bank) any work?

Communism with robots

One pithy criticism of the RBE is that it's communism with robots. Here we're supposed to take communism to be wrong/bad, and because the RBE shares one or more attributes with communism, it must also be wrong/bad.  I hope you can already see what a cheap shot it is just to stick a label on something and assume that can take the place of a proper logical critique of it.

Nevertheless, I want to examine what the RBE does have in common with communism and see what if anything is wrong with that / those attribute(s).  The RBE says that the planet's resources should be declared the common heritage of all humans living on the planet (or words to that effect). Everything belongs to everybody. This doesn't sit well with the argument that someone has worked hard etc, to get what they've got and why should they give it away.

First, does everyone get a share of the planet's resources based on how hard they work? I think the answer is obviously not. Let's compare:

(a) a super rich person who has everything s/he needs and probably everything s/he wants (such that money can buy). S/he may be highly skilled at gambling his/her spare money in the financial markets and coming out with more money.

(b) Someone in a third world country working in a sweat shop for not enough money to acquire the basics of life, or perhaps someone who has to walk miles each day just to get water.

Whilst there maybe a correlation between how hard someone has worked and what they've got, it is plain that there is not a single baseline from which everyone started. If there were, maybe the work more, have more model would stand up.

For an extreme example, let's also look at a burglar. S/he 'works' nights (unsocial hours), and is highly skilled in a stress filled "job". So, s/he's worked hard to get what s/he's got, and why should s/he give it away?

We have to examine what the work that's being done is. The work in example (a) is not socially constructive. The extra money that (a) gets must either be taken from someone else, or created out of thin air. In example (b) we see work that is technically unnecessary. Clearly it is technically possible to pipe water to all otherwise habitable places and the use of sweat shops reduces humans to below the rank of machines. They have to do the work more cheaply than it can be done by a machine, otherwise it would be done by a machine.

What work is the burglar doing? He (let's assume it's he), is presumably forcing entry into someone's home, causing damage that will need repairing. He may well make a mess looking for valuables, creating work tidying it up. He also creates work for the police investigating the burglary, and for the insurance company who will pay out to reimburse the burgled householder. Here we see how the notion of private ownership creates work for the people who secure it (locks, alarms, etc), those who insure it, those who try to acquire it (burglars) and those who try to stop them (police). In short there is a whole industry around getting and hanging onto stuff.

In my ramblings, I haven't yet made any ethical point about innate equality or birthright to a fair share of the planet's resources.

What benefit does someone directly derive from ownership of something to the exclusion of others? It is clear what disbenefits it has - they must secure it, insure it, and pay taxes to have a police force to enforce the ownership system. If someone steals your car, the most immediate problem for you is that you lose the utility that the car brings, but if someone steals your jewellery, what have you actually lost? There's no real utility in it. OK you've lost the money you spent on it, but that money is only as good as the utility it brings you.

The underlying psychology in possessing things is the mentality of scarcity - there isn't enough to go round so I have to grab what I want and stop other people from getting it. But let's look at cars again. At any one time, most of them are parked, bringing no utility to anyone. Some of them are not yet owned by anyone. There plainly is no scarcity of cars (in the developed world) - in fact the opposite is true in many places, in that owners have to pay money to park their cars.

Thus we have a whole industry of traffic wardens, parking tickets, appeals tribunals, parking meters, car alarms, car repairs, garages, garage alarms, car insurance, and so on, all to achieve the aim of a car owner having exclusive rights to using a car that for most of the time s/he doesn't need or want to use.

So here we have something that's not scarce, but that is treated as though it is, and that generates work managing the "scarcity". What is going on? Why are we pretending something is scarce when it isn't? In worse cases, we make something actually scarce even though it doesn't have to be - for example paying farmers not to grow food (set aside). Do we have some deep-seated desire to have something that someone else does not have, even to the extent that we will actually make an effort to ensure there isn't enough to go round, or is this a genuine fear of scarcity, an over-developed survival instinct?

It's undeniably true that the planet's resources are finite, and therefore it is logically true that there could be some things that are genuinely scarce. Surely this must be where our attention should be focussed, and not on creating scarcity, or pretending there's scarcity where there isn't? Isn't this just logic rather than communism?

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Q&A with Peter Joseph

An excellent Q&A session with Peter Joseph, director (etc) of Zeitgeist Moving Forward and founder of The Zeitgeist Movement. Peter nearly always manages to squeeze an answer out of practically any question, but always says if he doesn't have an answer - a rare occurrence. Each answer is always a mini talk, and I don't think those who didn't get to ask a question would have been disappointed.

Some questioners were tempted into giving their own little talks, but the MC would direct them to ask a question. Inevitably the questions tended to be asking PJ to do things, or if he was going to do things. "I am doing my best!" was his amenable answer. The other question that is always asked is (in various guises) "how are we going to get from where we are now to a Resource Based Economy?" The proverbial million dollar question

Nature is a dictatorship; cooperation

I hope you won't think it glib or distasteful for me to comment that the devastating earthquake in Japan and the resultant terrifying tsunamis in the region show us above all else how powerless we are in the face of nature. Politics is useless in that you can't vote against an earthquake and so is money insofar as you can't buy or sell an earthquake.

Money will be needed to clear up the mess, and paradoxically this counts as economic growth, but the other thing that the aftermath of disasters (natural or man made) shows up is how we tend to co-operate at such times. The question is why do we revert to competing during more settled times?

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Protests against cuts ... and job losses?

Working in the public sector I share the anxiety that services are not (or not just) being made more efficient, but are being reduced. I don't share all the protesters' values though.

I want services to be more efficient. I don't want to create jobs, I want less work for humans. This was the big promise of technology, and we could do it.

What needs doing? How can we do it most efficiently now, and more efficiently in the future (answer: technology in the majority of cases)? There may be work left over for humans to do, but as little as possible, preferably.

Those in futile, pointless, socially destructive jobs, and jobs that can be done by technology are basically being paid for doing something that doesn't need doing by a human, or shouldn't be done at all, so they can get money to access the means to survive. Why not just arrange for everyone to have the means to survive directly, instead of creating pointless work (or worse still destructive work). Then people are freed from shackles and excel at what they are good at, benefitting humanity and themselves. Nothing else will do.


I'm not having a go at this trade in particular - plumbers are victims of the monetary system. It's just that my boiler is playing up and I was thinking about the call out cost of plumbers (perhaps heating engineers) - the money you pay them before they actually start fixing anything. In our current system making a boiler that doesn't play up would be impossible, because most people would not have or be prepared to part with enough money to buy one, and they would have to cost a lot of money because there would be no need for servicing / repair, and that's money and jobs.

And the job of plumber / heating engineer is so specialised and its practitioners so scarce they can proverbially "charge what they like".

We'd be one step nearer sanity if we knew the lifetime costs of  things - in this example all the parts and labour expense (plus of course fuel and water) as well as the up front cost of buying and installing the system. But total sanity only comes when we systems think. The boiler should be built to last. The home should be built to conserve heat, so that it needs a smaller boiler, if any.

In our homes we don't want to pay the plumber and we don't want to create work in the home for us or anyone else. Why do we want to do this at country and planetary level?


The word profit has been largely appropriated to mean financial / monetary profit. Even Jacque Fresco normally uses it in that sense, but a look at the excellent dictionary dot com's entry shows that the words origins are not exclusively to do with money, and even today it can mean advantage, benefit or gain (meaning 3) in any sense, not just the money one.

TZM/TVP argue that putting profit (sc: financial profit) before human need is wrong, and we can see countless examples of this.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011


"A heating engineer from Devon has won almost £1.5m on an accumulator after placing a bet of just £2 at Exeter Racecourse on Tuesday. But despite his win Steve Whiteley, 61, still went out to work".

BBC video here but I heard him say on the radio that he had to do something - keep himself occupied. As a heating engineer he is doing something useful, and he seems to be motivated by that, and not by money, of which he now has plenty.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

War brings jobs

Former Prime Minister Sir John Major, interviewed on The Today Programme this morning - - justified (at the end of his interview - 13:00 approx - weapons spending by saying that it creates jobs. Let's just be clear about this - more wars/fighting equals more weapons equals more jobs, so good - ?

So the stigma attached to not having a job is so great that even taking part in warmongering is better? This has got to be the nadir of the problem of coupling work to survival through the access to essential services. Recently, a commentator on the BBC expressed relief that British supplied tear gas hadn't been used against protesters in (I think) Bahrain. When we sell the tear gas, what is it we think they're going to do with it?

There are some jobs that society does regard with disdain. Drug dealing, for example. It is illegal and not generally classed as a job - society has expressed its highest disapproval.

Until we de-couple work from survival we are going to face this problem. How low will people stoop in doing futile or destructive jobs to win society's approbation and more crucially access to the essentials of life? Until as a planet we work out what we need as a planet to survive and thrive sustainably, work out how to do it most efficiently (ie by mechanising/computerising)  and then see what's left that only humans can do, we are on a oath to destruction.

(I am not trying to argue that forceful intervention is always wrong. I know some people believe that, and I respect the view, but my point is that if more war =  more jobs / money, it will always be in the interest of the arms trade to have more war - they can sell weapons to both sides.