Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Sustainable public services

Helping create sustainable public services
Regarding a new booklet: 

   'The tragedy of the private, the potential of the public'

Publication Date: 
14 March, 2014

Hilary Wainwright for
Public Services International (PSI) *

This booklet presents anti-privatisation campaigns by PSI affiliates around the world. From South Africa to Brazil, from Italy to the US, in Uruguay, Greece, Norway, the UK and in many other countries, municipal councils are taking services back under their control.

*Public Services International brings together more than 20 million workers, represented by 650 unions in 148 countries and territories. We are a global trade union federation dedicated to promoting quality public services in every part of the world. Our members, two-thirds of whom are women, work in social services, health care, municipal and community services, central government, and public utilities such as water and electricity.


Regarding this booklet, John Courtneidge offers: 

I've briefly looked at this booklet and can offer three thoughts - all of which flow from the possibility of Co-operative Socialism (for which, please see the papers' section at www.interestfreemoney.org.uk - a work in progress.


1) Finance - our work in the UK Parliament to provide capital for public services is gathered at our sister site, www.forumforstablecurrencies.org.uk - you will see the support that it gained from those MPs who are democratic socialists.  The lead worker on this is Sabine McNeill.

2) Asset lock - to sustainably - permanently - deprofitise public services needs asset locks that cannot be undone.  In organisational terms, please consider the community co-operative model in the plan for Co-operative Socialism.  These have parallels, to some degree (see below) in the 'Crown Corporations' in Canada.

3) Finally, even within asset-protected structures dysfunction emerges (it's the 'Corporate Degeneration' thesis: things become conservative as they age).  The health of any organisation depends on its income distribution (see 'The Spirit Level' and associated web-site www.equalitytrust.org.uk - Michael Marmot's Whitehall Study is an early example of this as it relates to the public service).

Our work at the Bromley Income Equality Group - in association with My Fair London and The Equality Trust - introduces a randomocracy variant of the Fairness Commission - which leads to a Fair Pay policy determination by the effective employers - the elector data-base.

Please contact me if any of this appeals/needs clarification.

For all- the best! - equally!


John Courtneidge

R-evolution - to Capitalism, Transfromed

R-evolution - to Capitalism, Transfromed

18 March 2014
John Courtneidge

It seems that, judgiing from the publication of the book, photographed below, that our friends in the USA might be ready to consider the Co-operative Socialism variant.  

If so, I hope that the following short writing encourages them to find the essays on Co-operative Socialism in the papers' section at www.interestfreemoney.org.uk and  . . .


Last week my friend, Jim, spoke of his preference for "Regulated Capitalism":
   "I just had a quick look at "interestfree..." I don't have the time to investigate this idea fully. However, I think back to the times I lent money to people and the troubles I had. (The most I was ever owed was $400.) Now, if anybody asks to borrow cash, I laugh uproariously in their face. If they persist, I get very angry. . . I know my experiences are small scale and I know that in our complex society, we need some way of funding people with good ideas however . . . My ideas about a new economic model, I call 'Regulated Capitalism." This would not require a revolution. . . My way of talking about economics is geared at changing the minds of young economics students and also debating with the people who are the problem now. . . Are you familiar with the way the US reformed it's economy beginning in 1938-9? Their purpose, of course, was to fight WWII, but it gives an example of what is possible in economics." 


I replied to ask:

 - that he consider a change to an active adjective - so developing "Regulated Capitalism"  to 'Transforming Capitalism' - ie to 'Transforming Beyond Capitalism' .

Like Jim, I'm no fan of revolutions - they have always ended up a) with violence and b) with a new set of bosses replacing the old set of bosses, then there's a counter-revolution and the children of the old set of bosses replace the new set of bosses . . . think City of London/England.

Now, the transformation - r-evolution - involves first of all a mind-set change from 'What can I get?' to 'What can I give?'.  This seems to go through a 'What can I share?' first of all.

Next, we need a paradigm inversion (for 'How Rigid is Your Paradigm', please see that essay in the papers' section at www.interestfreemoney.org - it seems to be one of the two 'entry-level' essays into this - the Needs on is the other).

Anyway, that inversion is to see that ownership is wrong rather than right.  That way, the consequential 'unearned incomes' that flow from ownership (rent, interest, profit, higher-than-average-incomes-from-paid work ie RIP-Up in the TRIP-Up acronym, T = Theft = Ownership of economic resources) evaporate.

Now, unless we are led back, to become hunter/gatherers in the Garden of Eden, we will need to work to sustain ourselves.

And work is that opportunity to give; work is, as my friend Peter Challen says, love made manifest (which work, at present for 99+% of the population - even for the Queens, bond traders and other thieves - it's not!).

So, we'll need access to those economic resources - and that where the concept of careship rather than ownership and co-operative careship rather than ersatz careship = stewardship - comes from.

But, enough, for now.

So, thanks again, Jim - and for your vignette on lent money - what a piece of work debt, usury, rent, etc are!

For all - the best! - equally!



Friday, March 14, 2014

The Right Chemistry: Life, love and chemistry

First Draft Hertford August 2003
John Courtneidge
Net-published 14 March 2014
To interweave a collection of commentaries about life, love and community, along with an introduction to, and development of contemporary issues in, chemistry.  With bangs!

Poetry, popular music (Beatles?), locations, history and personalities. Chemistry as experience. Home experiments?

Programme Theme Outlines
Programme 1: ‘What’s It All About Alfie? Life, love and chemistry
Atoms, air, fire.
Atoms, molecules, marriage, human relationships, co-operation, love.
Melting/freezing/change types
The Greek atomists and John Dalton. Lavoisier, Davy, and their wife. Greece, Manchester, London and Paris

Programme 2: ‘Out of Darkness, Light’: Planets, Water and Fire
Fish, clouds, emergence, evolution and paradigm. Volcanoes
Sulphur, sulphuric acid. Limestone, acid rain.

Programme 3: ‘You, me, we, us’: Community, life, co-operation
Boiling eggs, building people, proteins, DNA, hydrogen bonds, subtlety, music.

Programme 4: ‘Family, community’: The Periodic Table
Order out of chaos, entropy, Free Energy, predictability. Revolution and paradigm.
Gibbs, Bolzmann, Mendeleef

Programme 5: ‘Growing Up, Growing Wiser’
Change, complexity, truth and order. Reaction rates, equilibrium.
Bond breaking and making – growing up together, breaking up is hard to do.
The 18th Hole at St Andrews.

Programme 6: ‘Violence, War, Peace’: The Enlightenment
Electricity, atom Bombs, solar power
Faraday, Fredrick Soddy, Pliny
Metals, Atomic structure, ionic bonding, theft, money and profit.
Oil, coal, gas, cars, trams, WWI
Quantum mechanics, Rutherford, Heisenburg, Los Alamos, Hiroshima

Programme 7: ‘The Enlightenment Part II’: Awareness, Consciousness, Gaia
Silicon, communication, internets, swarming, co-operation, immanence, poetry, love.

Programme 8: ‘And let There Be Light’: Wholosophy and connectedness
Light/energy/matter equivalence Einstein’s equation. Max Plank, the Mystics.
Wave particle duality. One in all/all in one.
Photochemistry, helium and the sun. Fireflies. Organic peroxides, fire, human heeds. The planet’s needs. Food, photosynthesis, life, future.

"Affluent, effluent . . ." - Money, Chemisrty, Life - What next?

John Courtneidge

14 March 2014

In a Facebook thread at the Green Left page, I used the phrase "affluent, effluent . . ."

Actually, there's a non-demonising point here and I apologise is I offend anyone with the "affluent, effluent . . ." pairing. 

Effluent (pollution) is the necessary co-production to wealth production: it’s a Laws of Chemistry (including the Laws of Thermodynamics) thing: the Second Law of Thermodynamics and the First Law of Chemistry thing( 'Everything gotta go somewhere' is a popular encapsulation of the latter ('Matter is neither created nor destroyed in a chemical reaction, simply changed from one set of relationships to another') while 'Shit happens' is a way of expressing the Second Law of Thermodynamics: That in *any* change any-where, the overall entropy (dis-order) of the universe increases.

Now, in a wealth-creating process, order is created locally, which means that disorder (either disordered low-temperature energy and/or disordered materials) in the rest of the universe results.

So a high-consuming individual/family or society is stacking up lots of ordered 'goods' - even short-lived ordered materials (like plastic water bottles, say) but at the expense of creating, in the wealth-creation phase (to say nothing of any later 'throw away’s) lots of pollution - effluent.

Thus the poetic pairing, 'affluent, effluent . . .' (an older, even more offending, but true pairing was due to the process of unearned incomes being distributed to the 'wealthy' in increments: 'the excrement living in increment'.  This demonisiation of the 'rich' - like the anti-fox-hunting slogan 'The unspeakable in pursuit of the inedible': no wonder that the politics of name calling gets out of hand!

Anyway, the not-human world operates according to those same Laws of Chemistry (including the Laws of Thermodynamics).  So, for example, photosynthetic life-forms (plants, blue-green algae - I'm no botanist, but am a chemist)  create local order (a tree for example) out of less-ordered materials (freely moving carbon dioxide molecules in the air, less freely-moving liquid water in the ground and, to a small extent, somewhat ordered minerals dissolved in the water.

Now, the overall process is, simplified, as:

Carbon dioxide + water + light (energy) -> carbohydrates (the tree) + oxygen  (read the arrow as 'Goes to give')

(BTW – my suspicion is that photosynthesis produces heat as well as another by-product, but whether that’s been shown to be true or not I don’t know.)

Now, the oxygen is a pollutant as far as the tree is concerned (and a dangerous one - oxygen is poisonous to living things - something that oxygen-metabolising things - like you and me - have to carefully control.  As does the tree: due to the following unwanted (as far as the tree is concerned reaction (for carbohydrate combustion: 'forest fires'):

Carbohydrates (the tree) + oxygen  ->  Carbon dioxide + water + heat and light.

Now, in a balanced eco-system, the sequestration (converting into 'tied-up' molecules like water - oxygen atoms tied onto/bonded with hydrogen atoms - and carbon dioxide: again a triatomic molecule of one carbon atom and two oxygen atoms) keeps an oxygen balance of about 21% of the atmosphere: enough for animals to breath and control, so that carbohydrates can be metabolised into energy (warmth and movement - and, I hope, sometimes a little metaphoric light: wisdom).

Now, all that is going on well in the Garden of Eden and, then, to cut a long story (about 15,000 years: which in global terms and even life-history terms is not a long time) we invented the super explosive, money.

Now, I'll shorten the description of explosives to say that they combine - often even in the same molecule, the fuel (like the carbohydrates of the tree) with the oxidising agent (the oxygen in the forest fire - or fire in the forest when controlled - as above).

Likewise now with money: money nowadays (and probably almost as soon as it was invented) not only lives a static life, lubricating human activities - wealth creation - but, once debt and interest had been invented, became a 'life'-form in its own right: demanding to be fed raw materials, energy - and human lives - to re-produce itself.

Now money has no limits, if we let it be so and so the wealth-creating process (as above) runs reckless - making the maximum effluent in the minimum possible time - the machine in the Garden goes wild, consuming everything - and everybody - in sight.

Such that earth's mechanisms - Gaia - can't cope and catastrophic change results - anti-wealth production (like war, for example).

So, why am I writing this?

Well, first, you will by now have appreciated that 'if we don't control money it will control us' - an old phrase that causes some of us to take the unsustainable route to managed capitalism (social democracy/fascism/Marxism) away from unmanaged capitalism (Anarchism/Neoliberalism/Libertarianism). Or to take the more-sustainable route - to replace capitalism with horizontalist, equalitarian, eco-integrated Co-operative Socialism (co-operating together as humans and co-operating with the rest o9f the creation as kindly as we can).

But, more so, I'm stumped.

Because the foregoing chemistry account should be the meat and drink (literally) of everyone: if we don't know how it works, how can we become responsible members of earth's com-m-unity?  Given our genetic ability to do so many bad! things?

And, yet, as much as I tried to promote a TV series termed 'The Right Chemistry' and as many TV series of toffs jetting around the world shows, the affluent creating (by necessity of their effluent lifestyles) amounts of effluent that Gaia can't cope with, dominate the Third Wave of Alvin Toffler's age of information.


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

How Can We Help Make Progress?

John Courtneidge 

11 Mrach 2014


In the articles in the CCPA 'Readings on Co-operative Socialism' (see http://www.interestfreemoney.org/papers/), I offer some thoughts on action: local as well as national/global.

Here I'd like to talk about a twin-track approach to political party politics.

The point is that a political party is set up to acheive what its supporters want - in large part, then, what its pay-masters want.

To take a case in point:

The Co-operative Party (of which I'm an active member in the UK, as well as being an active meber of The Labour Party - true Labour, that is, not the New Labour hijackers of Toney Blair, Peter Mandelson etc) was set up and funded by the Co-operative movement during the First World War - because the, then, 'National' government ( a coalition of the two capitalist parties, the Conservatives and the Liberals) were actively harming the Co-operative Movement.

So, back to Canada, just as in the UK, there is an effective a coalition of the two capitalist parties, the Conservatives and the Liberals - sure thay strut and blow but their objective (what their backers pay for) is the continuation of capitalism.

You might have seen Tommy Douglas's great speech on You Tube, 'Mouseland'.

Which brings me to the point:

The CCF was set up, initially, by poor(er) people, to advance the cause of poor people.

It largely adopted the democratic socialist approach of the Fabian Society - based in the London School of Economics in London, UK - which was to have a mixed economy of capitalism and government-owned monopolies (with a sprinkling of co-ops in the margins).

As it has turned out, this 'middle-of-the-road' approach meant - and means - that you end up as road-kill: clobbered bfrom both directions.

The CCF was attacked from both the bully left (the Marxist communists) and from all of the pro-capitalists (the Liberals, the Conservatives and their extreme wings, the Libertarians and the Social Crediters respectively - BTW the Social Crediters are an interesting story but that for another time).

And so the CCF fell away, to be rescued by the Unions as 'The New Party' - the NDP-NPD.

Now, as I understand it, there was one voice - that of a prominent co-operator - who spoke out and voted against the Fabian CCF plan.

For rme, Fabian-directed (and so-called democratic) socialism has run its course - we ended up being run by a new set of bosses and poverty and unemployment still existed in the 1950's, 1960's and onward - in the Fabian-inspired dream: the so-called Golden Age of Left-liberal John Maynard Keynes's economics (ie borrow don't tax) and Left-liberal William Beveridge's welfare state (or, more accurately, paid middle-class bullying of the poor - too strong for some? Ask kids who were caned at school, and families whose children were removed to residential/prison homes, etc).

So, here we are - with two choices - to either get our Labour/Co-operative/NDP-NPD parties back on the right (ie, left) side of the road - going in the true progressive direction - largely experiential, definitely horizontalist: producing income equality for all. Or, set up a Co-operative Socialist Party of our own to do these things.

Now, I'm much more for a variation/development of these: a twin track of pressing on the existing truely progressive parties from within (eg getting a Federal Riding association of the NDP-NPD to adopt a motion for Co-operative Socialism - as per the CCPA Readings document at http://www.interestfreemoney.org/papers/ - along with a single-focussed community-based political campiagn group outside, pressing for income equality - which, I guess, is essentially what NCAP is.

So, the work here - to build up NCAP numbers is so vital - and a focus:

= that focus being, perhaps, on presing the NDP-NPD or ?new party? to adopt (greater and permanaent) income equality as its main objective - with it committed to implementing a Living Income for Everybody as a base income and an income maximum, socially-determined annually, as the income more than which no-one should take/receive).

Sorry - it turned into a long reply!

Hope it helps.

Best - equally! - for all!