Friday, March 27, 2015

ISIS - Russia - Dark Clouds Are Forming

Should we "Extend and Expand" the mission, people chat like we have influence here, the mission is expanding with or without us, with us we direct the future, without us the future directs us. If we are complacent in dealing with this matter, many of your and my grandchildren are likely to die in conflict here on Canadian soil in the generation to come. Please look at what is taking hold as rage and orthodoxy forges governance ISIS style - set politics aside - think long term. We have to be there and we have to WIN - AND THEN DO THE RIGHT THING.

Short sighted, prone to repeated error, propagating the sins of our fathers AND worse letting one human tragedy after another unfold before us – would be a generous assessment of the west’s actions in our interface with Islam. I am so very tired of watching election cycles and the political short-termism steal a stable future from the Middle East; I am terrified how, what is in some cases a justifiable rage, will find expression on the fate of my grandchildren. Every error has been made since the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the path we've taken is there in plain view to reflect upon, the path that has resulted in people so desperate that strapping explosives to themselves and blowing themselves and others up is a viable option for a way forward. We are going to reap what we sow unless we learn from history, unless we maintain resolve in force, and most importantly, unless we are generous on our way forward.

Islam is a mighty entity and even more complex in its factions than Christendom – It is comprised of in excess of 2.4 billion people. The West was locked in a struggle like this with the former Soviet Union, we adopted the “Containment Strategy”, put up a more or less unified front and persevered for 50 years to prevail - we won the Cold war and then gave up all the hard earned ground by failing to do as Winston Churchill counseled us to do, to be humble in victory, which left Russia unstable and in effect abandoned – generating the circumstance we are now in with Russia’s desire to reclaim a little of her former glory and in conflict with the “West”.  The take away from the Cold War is this, with a consistent long term strategy we will prevail in conflict, in peace however, we need to be more generous and attentive – as “we” were with Japan and Germany post WW2.

The twist an turns of events now have to some degree merged two challenges, perhaps in an opportune way, and in a manner that supports the “coalition of active states (the West)” and the Canadian government in expanding the mission to include Syria. One of the inhibiting factors in being more aggressive in Syria during the Arab Spring was that Russia’s long time association with Syria compelled Russia to resist western activity there, that resistance is partially responsible for the emergence of a very unstable circumstance now, a circumstance that, it must be stated, has resulted in a massive human tragedy. The fact that ISIS is able to take and hold territory inside Syria to the extent they are able to a degree base operations there indicates two things, firstly, the Assad RSegime is no longer viable (it never was “legitimate” by our standards) and secondly, the “Old” Syrian territory is within the “theater” of war.  By declaring the “Old” Syrian territory part of the mission, the Coalition gains access to ISIS in a manner that is necessary to execute the mission and Mr. Putin gets a very important message, he now understands that by ignoring us in the Ukraine consideration for Russia’s past interests Syria are no longer a concern for the West.

The management horizon for the challenges the “secular west” has with Islam is generations. It took 50 years to bring some resolve to the Cold War with only political differences between us, in the case of Islam we have jealous gods at play and 1500 years of conflict – with that as a back drop – how could we have left Afghanistan in just 10 years. It is going to take 50 or a 100 years to effect the solution. The solution lies in Education – enlightenment to the fact that coexistence is the only option, to the administration of force to maintain order and prevent human tragedy and to provision of parity in living to the Middle East in general.      

The West has had success in interface with Islam – Turkey as an example – we need to build on that model. There needs to be concerted, long term strategy put in place that is developed on the tree pillars mentioned above and with the understanding this is at the very least a generational challenge, maybe longer. Unless we behave better and more consistently with Islam, one day an ISIS like entity will gain critical mass, the nascent dark cloud we see over the Middle East now will grow. The combined threats of Islam and the seemingly random multi polarity that is in view at the moment worldwide is eerily reminiscent of the pre WW1 era. Short-termism, weak kneed foreign policy, complacency, arrogance and interstate discombobulation have cost dearly in the past, we need to be working now prevent them from taking our children’s future.  

More Thoughts on the Subject
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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Generosity Works - Capitalism Works - Markets Work

Generosity Works - Capitalism Works - Markets Work

Is the Capitalist system perfect, no, are there things that we can do better to move to a populous based free market, yes – the key point to remember, despite its faults, Anglo Capitalism has effected the highest generalized state of being in history. Is there a group of people who have accumulated a large amount of wealth and influence, yes; this is a reality inherent in any human endeavour, influence pools. Please do be reminded that at the height of the Soviet Empire, about 250,000 elites held sway over the whole thing – a completely different kind of 1%, a 1% with police and military.

There are, embedded in our institutions – from Universities to Banks – Trotskys that spring to the surface whenever things go wrong. They are there to try and grab hold of every down cycle and scream from the roof tops about the instability the Capitalist system and its inequities. They make this noise from the feather bed they want to expand – a large mass of largess from Byzantine structures that tend to breed more Byzantine structures.  

It is curious to me that from this lot one hears a constant din of verbiage having as its main thrust MORE REGULATION; it is regulation that provisioned the means for financial deepening to occur. One of the largest negative outcomes of the 2008 financial crisis was the collapse of the US real estate market; the collapse was effected in large measure by Freddy and Fanny Mac – government institutions and companion REGULATION, regulation which permitted the creation of financial instruments that isolated lenders from risk. When a Trotsky says MORE REGULATION, they mean another means by which to take more from people actuating themselves in the market. REGULATION IS NEEDED, but regulation that makes transactions transparent and, most importantly, facilitates the markets and the flow of capital.

My Uncle said "bad Conservatism was the birthplace of Marxism" 

Mass attracts, it is the case from atoms to planets, and it is the case with capital - as it is with influence. Carl Marx understood this about capital, his analysis was outstanding, his solutions, however, were disastrous. What is required is a means to have people, by virtue of their participation in the economy be able to capitalize from their efforts over time to a sufficient degree, and on a timely enough basis, they can enter commerce. There needs to be a culture of leadership and investment in the business environment at large to seed growth with generous access to capital.
It is critical that capitalism is popularized in an aggressive way to broaden prosperity – a generalized state of prosperity is the goal.  There are some in the 1% that are seeking control through power and influence, to them I say, release the inclination to control and enjoy the fruits that accrue to all from prosperity; most importantly, remember there is nothing to fear from prosperous and happy people. There is large portion of the 1% that are just good at what they do and have accumulated wealth as a result; they know, that prosperity breeds prosperity – they are eager to seed more of it.  

The joy of Capital working in a healthy market is that resources pool and flow in very rational ways. One can view Capital as an abstract representation of all energies that supply the human enterprise, there needs to be mechanisms that permit it to pool to a sufficient degree to allow for the “energy” to facilitate the massive undertakings that have provisioned our present state of well-being.

There are reforms required to streamline the financial system, to make it transparent and to deal with the current state of sustained financial deepening. It is worth remembering however, that the gestalt that has emerged from the co-existence of a market economy, the financial system and democratic process has been nothing short of miraculous in what it has provisioned us. The Trotskys are letting “distribution” and “sour grapes” fuel their discontent and to spread discontent. Never in history, has a government, formed and actuated with equality as it primary concern, managed to achieve equality or last – a 1% always forms. The focus needs to be on equitable treatment to the populous in general and opportunity to access capital and the market. Equality will never happen here, but prosperity will, prosperity feeds a generous spirit in society as a whole.  

Click An Item of Interest Below - For more thinking on the Subject

Canada - Economic Stagnation Nation?


Saturday, March 7, 2015

No Minimum Wage - We Need Minimum Income

One can judge the quality of a society by the way it treats its poor, the government has a role in extending care to those who are unfortunate – “what you do to the least of my brethren you do to me” someone once said – I love the quote because it personalizes the issue. The challenge, of course, is striking a balance between extending help to the unfortunate and spending.

Whether you're poor because you're unemployed, under employed, retired absent income or disabled – you're poor, you require resources. Presently we have several government departments dispensing funds to the people in need of help, CPP, Employment Insurance, Social Services … the list goes on. Every department has its own administration, set of criteria for helping and complex operations – all of which represent OVERHEAD or add to the transaction cost that is government.

Much of the thrust of the administration of the programs is to ensure that people are only getting what they are entitled to – in large measure these departments assess people against a set criteria and dispense funds accordingly. This is, at its core, a policing function, the challenge that arises from this process is administrative cost, dollars spent running a department instead of helping people. If we are going to spend money helping the poor, we need to ensure that the money we allocate for help – helps.

The simplest way to ensure a base living is to provide everyone a base income. The government would simply distribute cheque to everyone, every two weeks, those who had income exceeding the base amount would have the “base income” “clawed back” (taken back) at tax time.  This is a very elegant solution, we can be more generous, the stigma associated with social service use is gone and a base living is established.

This also is a de facto floor on living generally; minimum wage, for example, would be rendered redundant, given that the marginal advantage of employment would force wages to a living wage. The other advantage here with respect to minimum wage, is that absent the need for a minimum wage for adults, the market could accommodate youth – as it is often the complaint with minimum wages that the youth are affected due to the axis of experience and cost working against them. By way of example, if a $1000 / month minimum income was provided, the marginal benefit of employment would exceed the minimum wage in British Columbia now – at $8.50 / hour the monthly income is $1360 – there would be no advantage of working given the cost of attending work – cloths, transportation etc. This illustrates the “floor” that is formed on human existence with a “minimum income”. 

A minimum income fulfils state obligations to Liberty in Section 7 of the Charter, Life, Liberty and Security of Person. The most coercive element that exists in society is a growling stomach; it is the absence of any secure income that drives people into exploitive circumstance. We can afford to do this, in fact, studies done by the CATO institute in the United States indicate that overall, minimum income is the most efficient way to deliver resources due to a reduction in administrative costs.

The amount and the “Clawback” regime would need to account for marginal tax considerations, marginal employment benefit and the like. I like this solution – it is simple, efficient and generous – it seems a quintessentially Canadian way to go.