We had the singularity quite some time ago

Not everyone noticed. It wasn’t the rapture of the nerds with weakly god like artificial intelligence being created and then boosting itself even higher. It wasn’t the creation of true artificial brains or the internet becoming self aware or anything geeky like that.

It happened when corporations became single legal entities. A corporation answers only to itself if it is sufficiently large. It can stick a finger up at mere national governments and even international bodies. It only has its own best interests at heart. Or as it would put it maximising profits for its shareholders. 

The thing is a corporation will do anything to maximise those profits. Sell arms or cancer causing chemicals, bribe elected lawmakers and enforcers, degrade the rights of its staff and the public, all not a problem just as long as you protect those dividends. This means that corporations are the biggest psychopaths on the planet. They don’t give a fuck about humans, we are just like rats in a maze pressing the button for the happy pills.

Yes humans are part of corporations. But humans who work for corporations make decisions for corporations not for other humans. How else would a company persuade /bribe the government of Brazil to license seed with rights management build into its DNA. The farmer buys the seed, sows it and harvests it like normal. But if he keeps some of the crop back for seed for the next year it is infertile and won’t grow. The farmer has to buy more seed each year.

No human in their right minds would think that is a good idea. But a corporation would. It maximises its profits. It turns farmers into the equivalent of junkies and the corporation is the dealer.

Government globally is a sham. Weak men and women do the bidding of corporations and put a PR spin on it. Governments are little more than the marketing department of corporations. If this is late stage capitalism I don’t think the next stage is socialism or communism or even anarchy. Its going to be a massive fascist dictatorship of corporations. It already is to some extent and its getting worse by the day.

Imagine shopping forever. That is the future Winston.

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Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela

Nelson Mandela was one of the greatest men of our time and any other. Yes he had flaws, everyone does. What he had more than anyone else was integrity, compassion and an unwavering to do the right thing for his people and country.

Greatness sums it up. There have been many men and women given the title of ‘the Great’ down the centuries. If anyone deserves it now it is Mandela. 

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Nimby greens

EDF are planning to build a wind farm not that far from where I live. I am not opposed to wind farms as such. They are a low carbon energy source thats relatively cheap. Yes they don’t alway generate electric when its needed but if there is a choice between fossil fuels and a few wind turbines I will take the wind turbines thanks.

To be honest EDF have done a fairly good job. They have picked just about the most low population density bit of north Hampshire, its prime arable land with not a lot of woodland etc nearby. Its also where 3 local authority areas meet but thats by the by really. EDF have promised to look after any local dormice and other touchy feely stuff as well.

I just went to a meeting where the “Keep Hampshire Green” spokeswoman was in attendance. I had to leave before I lost my temper with her. Basically her objections to the turbines came down to “Think of the effect on local property prices”. All she talked about was the visual impact. She tried to rubbish the mock ups that EDF had brought along showing how the turbines would look from different locations by saying that the turbines were hundreds of feet taller than the trees in the pictures. The turbines would be miles away from the trees and behind them. To quote Father Ted. “These are small and those are far away”.

She asked me if I was concerned about the value of my house. I told her that I rent my house from a housing association. That was the end of the conversation as far as she was concerned. You could see her think “Council House” and the shutters came down. Thanks a lot Daily Mail.

I told her that actually I count myself as very environmentally minded but obviously not in the same way as she does and walked out. Shame… I was going to pick on the EDF suits next.

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Permanent Austerity

Or as its otherwise known “I am all right Jack, so fuck you”.

That evil, lying, cunt Cameron has stood up at the Lord Mayors dinner in his white tie after a nice big meal and announced that the government won’t roll back austerity when the good times come back. Instead they like austerity so much they are going to keep it. No longer for recessions austerity is for life.

Lets be clear what austerity is here. Its cutting welfare and healthcare budgets to the bone while the rich get richer through tax avoidance and evasion and through the fruits of the labour of the poor. Need someone to stack shelves in your supermarket. Lets set up a forced labour scheme for people out of work because we took away their jobs. You get virtual slaves to stack your shelves. They can’t apply for jobs when they are stacking shelves all day so we can take away their benefits because they are not strivers.

It won’t matter if Labour get in next time. Or anyone else. Politicians are all the same now. They are simply mouth pieces for inhuman big companies. There is no one to represent the man on the Clapham Omnibus and there hasn’t been since the 1970s if not earlier. There is certainly no one to represent the slaves stacking shelves in poundland for nothing.

So what does that leave us. The unions had their balls cut off years ago. The days of union barons sitting down in number 10 to thrash out a deal are long gone. Its virtually impossible to strike anyway. There are plenty of little campaigning groups. UK uncut and the like. They are generally single issue groups and while they can have some success in limited areas especially locally there is no fucking way Vodafone are going to pay their taxes because some people on twitter said they should. What else. Anonymous… come on. A bunch of geeks. Yes they can hurt a business in their wallet by taking their site down for a while. But any big company can defend itself properly. Wikileaks. Good idea shame about Julian Assange, the Morrisey of activism. After he hung Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden out to dry no one is going to rush to him with a big story.

So what does that leave us. Grass roots activism is stifled, spied on and oppressed. Try anything more radical than waving a banner or typing a blog and you are likely to have a one way ticket to one of her majesties prisons or worse. 

Whats left of the Occupy movement had a brilliant idea. They bought up a load of toxic bad debt and just wrote it off. You can still buy chavs mortgage repayment debt real cheap. About 40,00 USD gets you half a million of debt. In theory if the chavs ever did pay off their debt you are rich. Thats what caused the 2008 crash. People tried turning debt into assets you could sell. Debt is debt.

I liked Eric Cantona’s idea back in 2008. Just have a little to do with the whole system as possible. Take all your money out of the bank, if you have no debts perfect, live on cash. Shop local, don’t buy big brands, take the bus, Tune in, drop out and smash the system by ignoring it until it goes away. Create your own economy at a sensible scale. Sort of like what the Transition movement is doing with local currency etc. Its the old hippie thing I know but if enough people joined in it might just work

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The New Working Class

Not that long ago most people working in Britain made things. They hit things with hammers, bolted stuff together, wove and machined stuff. As most of the work was on a production line it was hard, repetitive and meaningless. The thing came down the line you did you little bit like a robot and the line brought you the next thing and you kept repeating your little task until you clocked off.

At the least you could see you had done something at the end of the day. There would be a pile of stuff you had helped to make or even made single handed. Muck, blood and sweat were a big part of the job. You knew you had done a days work, you would be tired, sweaty and probably filthy dirty too.

Those jobs have more or less gone from Britain. They have been replaced by robots or shipped abroad to countries with cheap labour and lax working practices. Economists predicted this would happen years ago. Keynes was a big fan of the idea. He also predicted that as manual labour dried up we would end up living a life of leisure working around 15 hours a week and taking the rest of the time off.

That part never happened. There is a new production line in place for a new economy. Now all we do is sell “services” to one another. Not bits of wood or steel or cloth, not stuff just nonsense. It turns out that producing these services takes just about the same number of people that were needed to produce real stuff though. So instead of a life of leisure we have hordes of people sitting in front of screens sending one another emails or going to meetings and talking bollocks. Eventually someone says that the “team” has produced something worthwhile they sell it to someone else and that’s that.

The problem is you can’t look at a well crafted “service” at the end of the day with the satisfaction of a job well done. It doesn’t really exist for a start. Its just some numbers on a spreadsheet or a bit of code or a slightly different form of insurance policy. Little blobs of magnetism on a hard disk ultimately. You can’t look at a warehouse full of “services” with a sense of pride and achievement. 

So the new working classes are even more downtrodden than the old working classes. At least a man or woman could take pride in their work back in the day. Who can take pride in sending emails and going to meetings for a living? You don’t break into a sweat, you don’t get your hands dirty, you don’t come home tired but feeling you have accomplished anything. Now you sit on your backside getting a back back, RSI from typing and type 2 diabetes from the crap you eat and lack of exercise, spouting gibberish about collecting the low hanging fruit in a vertical market sector going forward. At the end of the working day you can’t even really remember what the hell you did let alone look at it. You go home confused, exasperated and frustrated. As well as all the physical illnesses your job is giving you add anxiety, stress and depression.

This is now the bedrock of the economy. Millions of people basically wasting oxygen trying to find slightly different ways of getting people to part with their cash for something they can’t even hold in their hand. We are all fucked. It’s not just that this kind of economy is a shit storm waiting to happen. Its driving us all round the bend and making us physically ill too.

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The difference between European greens and American greens

It seems to me that green movements in Europe and America broadly speaking have the same ideals but have one core difference. Americans still have the concept of the frontier, something which hasn’t existed in Europe for a thousand years or more.

When you read American green material it tends to be more focused on preserving wilderness and getting back to nature. By contrast European greens focus more on new technologies and recycling old materials. Americans have the frontier / consumer mindset so firmly entrenched that they seem to find it hard to come to terms with the concept of limited resources.

Another very American aspect of the green movement is that it tends to be focused on the individual rather than the community. The fraud of “green consumerism” is a lot bigger in the states. Greenwashing by corporations and individuals paying for “artisan made” goods and products because they somehow think this validates them. (As a brief aside I fucking loathe hipster artisans)

European greens look towards communities. The transition movement could not have started in the States. In the US you retreat to your compound in the wide open spaces of the Rockies or such like with your rifle, shotgun and family to live off the land. In Europe you live in with friends and neighbours in a communal fashion, sharing time and resources. (as another aside has anyone who lives in a compound not died a bloody, violent death)

Although there is some romantic idealism that appeals in the living off the land in the wilderness its not possible in Europe apart from possibly in the remotest areas and certainly not in overcrowded Britain. There is a lot more human warmth and kindness in an group of people working together on allotments in any British city than one guy living in a cabin in Montana though. I know which I prefer

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“Sustainability” and “Green” business

Today I was reading the Guardian whilst enjoying a sausage sandwich in the local cafe with my wife as I normally do on a Saturday morning. Amongst the usual sections was a cunningly disguised advertising section called “Ethical and Green Innovations”. To be fair to the Guardian they didn’t actually produce it just distribute it. Its pure advertising fluff pretending to be journalism, actually most of it was just adverts.

There were plenty of nice middle class adverts for ethical products. Solar panels, fancy boilers and cookers, vegan footware, fair trade clothing all the usual suspects. In addition to that there were lots of “sustainable” investment opportunities like Scottish Forestry, Wine (no really, I think they meant vineyards not bottles of vintage claret) and believe it or fucking not palm oil plantations.

Not one of these struck me as actually helping communities or the natural world. How is tearing up scottish moorlands to plant monocultures of quick growing non native tree species going to help the ecology of Scotland and the communities that live in the areas selected to be radically changed. How is pulling down yet another patch of rainforest in the tropics to make a palm oil plantation fucking sustainable in any way. You might as well make palm oil out of squished baby orang utans. There was a fucking advert for the “ethical” aspects of the newly merged LaFarge and Tarmac companies for fuck sakes. 

There is only one way to create a sustainable and green business. Start with local communities. Find out what they already do and help them. If an area is know for a particular local craft skill or something similar help the people who live there exploit their skills. DONT exploit them or tear up their environment to make a quick buck and greenwash your company. 

At the same time it seems to me that 99% of “social entrepreneurs” are in it for cheap labour sources and government hand out grants. So basically if you want to invest in green business fuck off. Let people decide themselves what is best for their area. They have far more knowledge about what they and the surrounding landscape are capable of. People don’t need “social entrepreneurs” to show them what to do. They need support and help to get going yes but they are perfectly capable of organising themselves in cooperatives that are non-exploitative. Thats real sustainable business. Business that doesn’t put profits first but puts the welfare of people and the planet first.

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