October 12, 2010: change the system, not the climate!

I guess the name speaks for its self.

Re: October 12, 2010: change the system, not the climate!

Postby Andrea on Fri Oct 15, 2010 4:27 pm

Teiana wrote:But why should i not get free volunteer help to sort it out? Why on earth should i have to pay a gardener if other people can get help for free?


I know you're playing devil's advocate, but you're sounding like the worst kind of neoliberal troll that I've ever come across.

The wonderful thing about volunteering is that it removes economics from the equation. In the past, the majority of transactions between people were not "paid for" -- they were based on strong personal relationships and considered as favours or bartering took place. As a result, lots of people could engage in extremely useful activities without necessarily having a paid job, but at the same time, able to make a decent living.

Take for example the community allotment that I am currently supporting. We all volunteer our time and energy to grow vegetables during the year. The produce is shared out within the community. Last week, I gave an old lady that lives down the road a whole bag of fresh potatoes. She in turn was more than happy to babysit my kids one evening. No money was exchanged. I guess that in your eyes this would be a terrible thing: she should have paid for the potatoes and I should have paid for the babysitting and maybe it should have all been done through megacorporations such as Tescos and a CRB checked/insured babysitting agency. Yet, I love that little old lady down my street and she loves my kids :-). There is no money in the world that could buy that...
esse sequitur operari
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Re: October 12, 2010: change the system, not the climate!

Postby Teiana on Fri Oct 15, 2010 5:10 pm

i actually love the whole idea of bartering systems. But the trouble is it clashes with other philosophical issues. There's one reason our main system ISN'T bartering but money. It's easier to tax. It's possible to tax bartering systems, but difficult. If everyone resorts to bartering instead of paying for things, they are deliberately avoiding paying taxes. Now that's nice in the short term, for those concerned, but then, if nobody pays taxes, where do we get money from to help the poor and elderly and sick, and create public roads and schools and hospitals and police forces and generally make sure everything happens?

I want there to be money available to pay for these things and the only way i can see to raise it is through taxation and therefore i can't support the idea of bartering since it's mostly advocated by people who think only in a very small system of 'how to get something in exchange for something i didn't really need anyway' and not by people who are thinking about a giant economic picture. Can you see a way we can use bartering and still raise public money through taxes to make sure the elderly, the sick, children, etc etc are all taken care of?
H.R.H. 8-)
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Re: October 12, 2010: change the system, not the climate!

Postby Andrea on Mon Oct 18, 2010 10:31 am

I've been thinking recently about different ways you can organise communities and how some forms of organisation negate certain options which then reinforce that particular form. For example, when open access communal land is sold off for private development (like what has happened to many urban allotments), then the only option that many communities have is to buy their vegetables from private shops, further reinforcing the power of the private sector. The same can be said about taxes which one could argue displace responsibility for redressing local issues away from communities and instead gives tremendous power to centralised government (which, incidentally, seems to favour building aircraft carriers and nuclear warheads rather than helping the most marginalised). One could argue that taxing people on low incomes (through, for example, VAT), which has a disproportional impact on the poorest compared to the richest sectors of society, is further eroding poor people's capacity to help themselves.

If you destroy the capacity of communities to help themselves, then the only way that marginalised people can be supported is through handouts from the state or through low paid work. Unfortunately, the state system is totally bankrupt. Politicians are implementing vicious cuts in all areas except defence in order to reduce the annual deficit. to note that cutting the deficit will still mean that gross national debt Will increase! So we can forget about the option of state handouts in the near future. Oh, you also have to remember that private enterprise is shedding thousands of jobs so as to improve their profit margins. We will be in a position where whole communities will be both abandoned by the state (by not providing support) and by private enterprise (by not providing employment). Where will that leave us?
esse sequitur operari
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Re: October 12, 2010: change the system, not the climate!

Postby Neill on Mon Oct 18, 2010 7:19 pm

Hello Andrea,
Not surprisingly I disagree that taxes have to be evil.
I see taxes as being very positively as long as they are redistributed at the lowest level possible.

Ideally I pay my taxes to the town council who supply me with everything I need - roads, schools, hospitals, etc.
The towns pass some of the income on up to the next level (state) who supply motorways, universities, etc.
And the state passes a bit right up to the top (nation) for defense, embassies and so on.

That was how Germany was meant to work but unfortunately those at the top decide who gets to keep how much so it is less than perfect.
Although the towns still have much more power than in the UK which I consider "a good thing".

Neill
Neill Hogarth
Life is not a practice [www.hogarth.de]
T307-10
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Re: October 12, 2010: change the system, not the climate!

Postby Andrea on Thu Oct 21, 2010 2:24 pm

I totally agree with you, Neill, that a bottom-up approach to deciding how public funds should be used, is the system that should be adopted. However, the current system in the UK is certainly not "bottom-up", quite the opposite. A small group of decision-makers can radically change how much money, and where, it is spent. What makes the situation worse is that this small group is disproportionately influenced by certain well funded lobby groups, such as the defence industry and the super wealthy (who incidentally, are very clever at minimising the amount of taxes that they actually pay).

I don't like hierarchical decision-making at the best of times. In this situation, the last thing I want to do is pay my taxes in order to support such a corrupt and dysfunctional system! I would prefer to channel my income into a system that I think would be able to promote peace, equity and sustainability for current, and future, generations.
:)
esse sequitur operari
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Re: October 12, 2010: change the system, not the climate!

Postby Andrea on Fri Oct 22, 2010 11:19 am

To give people an example of the "academic rationale" for my argument, below is an extract from a project proposal that I'm currently developing. I'm sure that you won't be surprised by seeing some familiar references that I have already cited in Systemsplace. I think one problem that academia has is their inability to communicate in an accessible way. That's why I'm so grateful for being able to participate in Systemsplace, in that it gives me the opportunity to practice discussing things in what I hope will eventually be slightly less academic :mrgreen:

Natural resource management and governance across the developing world is facing an increasingly unpredictable and dynamic future, with challenges coming from within society (e.g. the fragmentation and unrest amongst stakeholders along ethnic, institutional and socio-economic lines), from national and international development policy (exemplified by the explosion in conflicting objectives amongst development finance, from climate change mitigation and adaptation financing, to narcotics/terrorism security to direct investment in extractive industries) and rapid change in the natural environment itself (e.g. escalating non-linear abrupt climate disruption such as extreme flood and drought events and sudden natural resource depletions leading to spikes in key commodity prices).

At the heart of our project is the recognition that complexity, uncertainty and change is inherent in the management of natural resources and many problems emerging from these situations could therefore be described as 'wicked’ (Rittel and Webber, 1973). Wicked problems seem intractable and often involve the convergence of multiple crises: unpredictable and dynamic development financing; food insecurity; unplanned urbanisation; climate change; escalating organised crime; biodiversity extinction; unemployment; life-threatening pandemics such as AIDS and avian flu etc. Roberts (2005) identifies three distinct approaches to managing wicked problems: authoritarian; market-led; and collaborative. The authoritarian approach has the appearance of rapid implementation. However, the limited number of people involved in the decision-making process runs the risk of missing out crucial issues, and prescriptive implementation can be derailed by a range of disenfranchised stakeholders. The market led approach can generate a range of creative and innovative solutions, but frequently runs the risk of allowing the most financially successful approach to dominate rather than the approach that best addresses wider issues of social justice and ecological sustainability. The majority of scholars researching the management of wicked problems have instead encouraged a clear shift towards the adoption of a holistic, adaptive, transdisciplinary and participatory approach to problem-solving which is led and owned by local communities.
esse sequitur operari
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Re: October 12, 2010: change the system, not the climate!

Postby Teiana on Fri Oct 22, 2010 1:04 pm

<hands Andrea a box of full-stops>

there's one of those starting sentences that just goes on and on and on and on again...106 words?

mind i put it in this readability thing and it seems to think it's 5 sentences, must be the brackets perhaps that confound it.

http://www.addedbytes.com/code/readability-score/
H.R.H. 8-)
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