One Wild Kiwi is being rebooted. I will post information relevant to the future of my grandchildren and yours. The main topics will be climate change, inequality, economic illiteracy, and political bankruptcy.
Millions of people have watched an old guy talking about arithmetic on Youtube. What’s the big deal?
If you believe that science and technology will fix the ills of the world, that we can burn oil and coal to our hearts’ content, and that California’s water is inexhaustible, you need to watch this. It’s not speculation, it’s hard facts based upon fundamental arithmetic.
If everyone understood the easily grasped principles of exponential growth and its consequences we’d have a world in which politicians and corporations would be held to account. Particularly disturbing in Professor Bartlett’s talk are the asinine views of influential people who believe that the laws of physics aren’t applicable on their patch.
Professor Albert Bartlett:
“The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function.”
It will help you to understand compound interest too.
Sadly, Dr Albert Bartlett died on September 7, 2013
How economic inequality harms societies
This remarkable TED talk by Richard Wilkinson should be required watching for every person on the planet, it needs to be shown in schools, it should be understood by every voter and particularly by every politician and economist.
Inequality is one of the most important causes of the woes of the 21st century. Henry Ford understood that in order for his business to flourish he had to pay his workers at a level that allowed them to buy the goods they produced. The capitalists of the 21st Century have forgotten that and at some point it will cost them dearly. Capitalism cannot work if it has no customers and over the last 30 years or so, the 0.1% have been destroying the purchasing power of the middle class.
In the developed world, the most unequal societies are English-speaking countries and the most equal and contented are in Scandinavia.
Last rites for democracy
The media accused British pollsters of getting their election predictions spectacularly wrong. Pre-election polling suggested a photo finish between Conservatives and Labour, but in the poll that mattered the Tories won by a country mile.
Pollsters didn’t it wrong. The difference between the predictions and the actuality is a difference in motivation. Conservative supporters went to the polling booths. Labour supporters pledged support to the pollsters but stayed at home and watched football.
It didn’t matter anyway
No one got what they wanted. Astonishingly, most people didn’t even vote for what they wanted.
The website Vote for Policies survey hundreds of thousands of potential voters. The punters are asked to select their preferred policies on a wide range of issues. The catch is, the poll is blind and those surveyed aren’t told which party promotes which policy.
Here’s the result. Potential voters preferred Green Party policies by a convincing margin. The election winning Conservatives were fourth.
It gets worse
On individual policies, the Greens were first choice in 5 out of 9, and second choice in another 4. Only in policy on Europe did they drop to 4th. On the three ‘E’s; Education, Economy, and Environment, arguably the most important issues we all face, they wiped the board.
And how did they vote on election day I hear you cry?
Here it is:
Think about this. It’s a stunning revelation. How do voters make their choices? How can we make meaningful change when the majority of people have no idea what they’re voting for?
My father was a Labour man. Even when the New Zealand Labour Party lurched slightly to the Right of Atilla the Hun in the 1980s he kept on voting for them.
Unless we figure out ways to get people to understand the issues, then act on that understanding, basically we’re buggered.
I’ve seen later results which showed the Labour Party leading Vote for Policy’s poll, but at no point did the Conservatives gain majority support in any area.
You can help
You can find the Vote for Policies people at this link. They’re volunteers. If you’re a British voter please consider supporting them.
Outstanding journalist George Monbiot has a relevant article called The Lamps Are Coming On All Over Europe.