Monday, 4 June 2012

Unemployment, the Capitalist weapon against the working class

Unemployment is the modern weapon the rich and powerful use against the working class to exploit them.

It used to be that brutal violence was the weapon the ruling class used against the peasants, serfs and slaves to keep them down, but in the last 1,000 years this has changed.  In this time, all over Europe, there has been many peasant uprising, most of which were brutally put down.  The two largest was the Wat Tyler's Rebellion of 1381 in England that nearly succeeded and the German Peasant's war of 1524–1525.

The first successful rebellion against the ruling class was the English civil war of 1642–1651, which resulted in the King Charles 1 being beheaded.  Unfortunately his place was taken by a brutal dictator called Oliver Cromwell who although was a brilliant general, was also a despotic ruler.  He ruled the country so badly that after he died, the son of King Charles 1, Charles 2 was invited back to rule Britain.  But he wasn't allowed to rule as an absolute monarch like his father and parliament has since became more and more powerful.

The next two successful revolutions was the American War of Independence, 1775–83 and the French Revolution of 1789–1799.  In the French Revolution not only did they behead their King, they also executed a very large number of the elite ruling class as well.  What these revolutions established, was that the ruling elite could no longer depend on violence and intimation to keep the people down.  This was because the people realised that successful revolution against the ruling elite was possible. Because of this, in the 19th and 20th centuries there have been many revolutions all over the world.  So the ruling elite have had to use other methods like propaganda and high unemployment, to keep the workers down.

The use of high unemployment was successfully used in the 1930s, where a financial crash was engineered in 1929, causing a world wide depression.  As the media is controlled by rich and powerful men, they sold to the people the story that the depression had nothing to do with the ruling elite, it was caused by an unforeseen stock market crash.  And the people didn't question this, because no-one in the media was saying anything different.

Unemployment is a very powerful tool to use against the working class and even the middle class.  This is because, in times of full employment, workers have a choice about whom they can work for.  So if a boss is not paying very high wages or is treating his workers badly, they are free to leave and work for someone else who pays better wages and treats his workers better.  As the result, full employment gives workers more power, resulting in better wages and conditions.

The opposite is true in times of high unemployment.  In these times, if a worker is dissatisfied with his wages or they don't like the way his boss is treating him, then it is more difficult for him to leave, as it is far harder for him to find another job.  The result is that full employment gives the workers far more power but high unemployment gives the bosses all the advantages.

So the depression of the 1930s was a good time for bosses as they could drive down wages and exploit their workers but this was to have unforeseen consequences.  Russia had a communist revolution in 1917 and was now looking to export their revolution to other countries.  So any country where there were disgruntled workers was a fertile place to have another communist revolution.  One of these places was Germany.

After the defeat of Germany in the 1914-18 war, the Allies try to make Germany pay for cost of the war to them.  This bankrupted Germany and so when the depression started the German workers suffered more than most other countries.  This resulted in the communist party in Germany becoming very powerful.  To prevent a communist revolution in German, very wealthy people in USA, financed a national socialist party which we now call the Nazis.  As the result they just managed to win an election and once its leader, Adopt Hitler, got into power he ruled as a dictator.  Unfortunately the Nazis wanted to settle old scores and set about conquering Europe, which resulted in the Second World War.   The capitalist countries soon recognized that the Nazis were a greater threat than the communist.  As a result, found themselves allied to communist USSR in defeating Nazi Germany.

The communist USSR done well out of the Second World War and was able to take over countries like Poland, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Hungry, Romania and Bulgaria.  What is more, in 1949, China had a communist revolution and like Russia was keen to export communism to the rest of the world.  This was to result in the Korean war and later the Vietnam war, as the USA tried to prevent more countries becoming communist.

With the world wide threat of communism, it became clear that Western countries couldn't afford to have disgruntled workers, if they didn't want to have any more communist revolutions.  As the result, they had to engineer the economy so there was full employment.  This gave the workers far more power then they ever had before.  During the time of the cold war in the 1950s, 60s and 70s the gap between rich and poor was steadily decreasing, as the worker were able to demand better and better wages and working conditions.  The rich off course didn't like this, but put up with this, as they still feared communism.  But then in the 1970s it became clear that the USSR was losing the cold war.  While with the death of the Chinese dictator Mao Tse tung in 1976, the new Chinese communist leaders began to accept capitalist ideas.

Even though the Soviet Union spending half of its resources on military spending, it was still losing the technology battle and could no longer keep up with the west in producing new sophisticated weapon systems.  So with the communist no longer seen as a threat, the ruling elite could engineer a new depression. Though it wasn't so bad as the depression in the 1930s and they called it a recession instead.  As the result in the 1980s we had high unemployment, which destroyed the power of the unions and working class people.  Then because of this, the gap between rich and poor has been growing ever since.  The result was that all the benefits of new technology like commuters and robotics didn't go to the working class, but to the rich and powerful.

In spite of all the benefits gained for the rich by years of high unemployment the rich still don't think they have a sufficient amount.  After all, perhaps being a billionaire is not enough, why not become a multibillionaire instead?  So in 2008 another financial crises was engineered, so the rich could raid the worker's pension funds and cut social security and drive down wages even more.  After all, unemployment pay, and social security has always been seen as a problem to many rich people.  It would be better if all these things were done away with, so if a person loses his or her job, they would stave to death in the streets.  Like what used to happen in the 'good old days' in the 19th century.  This would give the bosses enormous power over the workers.

Nowadays there is nothing to stop the rich and powerful doing this.  There is no longer a communist threat, and rich people control the media, so they believe there is little chance of revolution.  Unfortunately the rich will keep on trying to exploit the poor until the workers and perhaps the middle class can organize themselves to start a new revolution.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Robin Hood Economics

In 2009 the British Prime Minister David Cameron made a speech about "the Age of Austerity".  This speech is the justification for governments all over the world, to cut public spending and impose high unemployment and hardship onto the people.  Everyone in politics seem to be singing from the same hymn sheet, claiming that austerity is needed, but a economist from the past, John Maynard Keynes, would strongly disagree with the present economic policies of our world.

I was taught Keynesian economics at school in the 1950s, and we were told it was by far, the best economic system ever devised. Even as late as the 1970s President Nixon famously said, "we are all Keynesians now". Yet in a few years Keynesian economics was done away with and every Western country adopted Monetarist economics, claiming it was the new economics. (There is nothing new about Monetarism it is the economics of the 1920s that brought about a worldwide depression). Today Keynesian economics is no longer taught in schools and Universities and if you go on the internet you will not find anyone having a good word about it, unless you find a very heavy academic web site that most people won't bother to read.

So what is the problem with Keynesian economics? The problem is that it gives too many advantages to the working class and undermines the power of the rich.  In the time of the Depression of the 1930s, Keynesian pointed out that countries can come out of the Depression by artificially creating full employment. If everyone is employed and has money in their pockets, they will spend it in shops. This will create demand, and factories that make these goods will suddenly find they have a bigger market and have to employ more people to meet this demand. The result will be a larger manufacturing output, which will boost the whole economy.

It was Keynesian economics that created worldwide growth from the end of WW2 and the late 1970s. So if this economics system was so successful why get rid of it? The reason is that Keynesian economics demand that the government keeps full employment, and full employment give all the advantages to unions and the working class. The reason for this, is that if a employee doesn't like the pay he is receiving or likes the way the boss treats him, he is free to go and get another job. So if employers want to keep their workers, they have to pay them well and not upset them. So under this pressure, the gap between rich and poor greatly decrease in the 1950s,60s and 70s because of Keynesian economics.

Then in the 1980s Monetarism was adopted in all Western Countries, this is the economics of high unemployment, where governments take money out of the economy to ensure unemployment remains high. Unemployment is a very powerful weapon to use against the working class. This is because if a worker doesn't like the pay or doesn't like the way his boss treats him, in a time of high unemployment, he cannot easy find another job. So the choice he has, is to accept low pay and the way the boss treats him, or be unemployed. So under this pressure the gap between rich and poor greatly increased.

Another criticism of Keynesism is that it creates high inflation, and people today tell you how bad this is. But I can remember living with high inflation in the 1950s, 60s and 70s and it wasn't a real problem as our living standard was always rising. Keynesism causes high inflation because the bosses are forced to give in to the wage demands of the workers. When governments today say, "We have to squeeze inflation out of the economy", what they mean is they are going to increase unemployment.

So by using the weapon of high unemployment against the working class, the rich can ensure that the poor get poorer and the rich get richer. The fact that by pursuing a policy of high unemployment will create a large underclass of people with no hope of every being employed doesn't seem to be a problem to the rich men who pursue these policies.

So why did the rich allow Keynesian economics to be used in the years after WW2 up until the end of the 1970s?  The reason is because of the cold war.  Capitalists greatly fear Communism. We can see this in the 1930s.

Because of the Versailles Treaty after the First World War, Germany was made to pay 24 billion pounds to the Allies.  Keynes resigned this position in the British Treasury, over this, pointing out that German wouldn’t be able to pay this sum, as it would ruin them.  Then because of the widespread poverty this caused in Germany, people began to support extremist political parties.  The biggest was the Communist, and it looked as though Germany would become a Communist state.  So wealthy men in the USA like Henry Ford, supported another extremist party, the Nazis, to prevent a communist takeover of Germany.  With their financial backing the Nazis managed to get voted into power, where they were able to crush the Communists.  The Nazis also fixed their economy using Keynesian economics, though one of the ways they brought about full employment was by greatly increasing arms manufacturing.

The support of the Nazis backfired as Hitler decided to settle old scores and conquered Europe before he attacked the USSR.  This made the Nazis a greater enemy than the Communists and the Capitalist ended up fighting with the Communists against Hitler.  The result was that at the end of WW2 the Communist were stronger than before the war.  This was made worse when China also had a Communist revolution.  The Communist block then began to try and export Communism to the rest of the world by supporting Communists guerrillas in places like in Vietnam, Malaysia, and South America.

In the USA they attacked their homegrown Communists through McCarthyism, but the Capitalists knew they had to do more than this, to stave off a Communist revolution.  They also had to win the hearts and minds of the common person and they could only do this while the working class were better off living in a Capitalist system than under Communism.  So they were forced to adopt Keynesian economics and keep unemployment low.

From the time of the end of WW2 in 1946, to end of the 1970s, the gap between rich and poor in all Western countries greatly decreased.  As Harold Macmillan, the British Prime Minster in the 1950s was to say to the voters, “you never had it so good”.  With full employment the workers were free to leave their jobs to look for better pay, and employers dare not upset their workforce, because they could quickly lose their workforce.  The unions exploited this situation and in many cases abused their position of power.

But it wasn’t to last, in the 1970s it became clear the Soviet Union was failing.  To match the arms race with the West in the Cold War, they were spending 50% of their GNP on the military.  They just couldn’t keep this up and was falling behind in the arms race with the USA.  Also in 1976 the Communist leader of China, Mao Tse-Tung died and those who followed him were a lot less interested in promoting Communism to the rest of the world.

So with Communism failing, the road was clear to ditch Keynesian economics and engineer high unemployment.  This very quickly destroyed the power of the unions in the 1980s and ever since the gap between rich and poor has greatly increased.  Without no competition from Communism, the rich and powerful are now free to design the economy so they keep their positions of power and keep the working class poor and powerless. For instance, in the recent banking crises where governments were forced to bail out banks to prevent them from failing.  The burden of doing this fell to the ordinary person in the street, but the bankers who caused the crises in first place, continued to receive their million dollar bonuses every year.

Unfortunately the rich have control over all mainstream political parties, so it doesn’t matter whom the ordinary person vote for, the politicians will always do the bidding of their paymasters.  The rich also control the media and this is why they are able to censor all references to Keynesian economics.  They only way things can change is through the internet where people can access information not completely controlled by the rich and powerful.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Increase in breast-feeding could save lives and billions of dollars,0,2405524.story

Chicago— The lives of nearly 900 babies would be saved each year, along with billions of dollars, if 90% of U.S. mothers breast-fed their babies for the first six months of life, a cost analysis says.

Those results, to be published online Monday in the journal Pediatrics, are only an estimate. But several experts who reviewed the analysis said the methods and conclusions seemed sound.

"The healthcare system has got to be aware that breast-feeding makes a profound difference," said Dr. Ruth Lawrence, who heads the American Academy of Pediatrics' breast-feeding section.

The findings suggest that there are hundreds of deaths and many more costly illnesses each year from health problems that breast-feeding could help prevent. These include stomach viruses, ear infections, asthma, juvenile diabetes, sudden infant death syndrome and childhood leukemia.

The magnitude of health benefits linked to breast-feeding is vastly underappreciated, said lead author Dr. Melissa Bartick, an internist and instructor at Harvard Medical School. Breast-feeding is sometimes considered a lifestyle choice, but Bartick calls it a public health issue.

Among the benefits: Breast milk contains antibodies that help babies fight infections; it also can affect insulin levels in the blood, which may mean breast-fed babies are less likely to develop diabetes and obesity.

The analysis studied the prevalence of 10 common childhood illnesses, costs of treating those diseases, including hospitalization, and the level of disease protection other studies have linked with breast-feeding.

About $13 billion in losses from the current breast-feeding rate includes a calculation by economists based partly on lost potential lifetime wages -- $10.56 million for each death.

The methods were similar to a widely cited 2001 government report that said $3.6 billion could be saved each year if 50% of mothers breast-fed their babies for six months. Medical costs have climbed since then, and breast-feeding rates have increased only slightly.

About 43% of U.S. mothers do at least some breast-feeding for six months, but only 12% follow government guidelines recommending that babies receive only breast milk for six months.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Demand Side Economics

There is an economics that works, that rescued the nation from the depths of the Great Depression, that organized the mobilization of World War II, that executed a successful transition from war to peace and prosperity, that explained the instability and decline, and that predicted the Great Financial Crisis. That economics points a way out of the current stagnation and embraces the challenges of world poverty and global climate change.

That economics was abandoned for the benefit of a corporate oligarchy and a casino capitalism. Demand Side Economics draws the history and explores the evidence of this school through the work of nine of its advocates, from the 1930's and John Maynard Keynes to the 2010's and Nouriel Roubini.

Economists included are John Maynard Keynes, Leon Keyserling, John Kenneth Galbraith, Hyman Minsky, Joseph Stiglitz, James K. Galbraith, George Soros, Steve Keen and Nouriel Roubini.

This is a cogent treatment of complex events and concepts that will lead the reader to an understanding of what has happened and why.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Sheila's Planet

My matriarchal Science Fiction book about, three young men and a girl find themselves in a desperate situation when their aircraft crash lands in an Australian desert.  They are rescued by a woman in a flying saucer, who takes them to live on spaceship where women are the rulers.  The earthmen are then trained to obey women, but one earthman rebels and try to escape back to Earth.

The book compares the patriarchal world of Earth with a matriarchal planet.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Is sugar the cause of the obesity epidemic?

According to the World Health Organization, we are facing a obesity epidemic, with a billion overweight people and a large increase in diseases like, diabetes, hypertension, stokes, heart disease and cancer. This is nothing new as obesity has been growing since the 1970s.

Experts tell us that the reason why we have obesity is because people eat too much fat and sugars and fat people have too little will power to resist these foods. As the result obese people are not only suffering bad health they are also told it is their own fault they are fat. But it also might be that the advice given to the public is completely wrong.

Although the food experts are willing to admit that sugars play a role in obesity, they emphasize the role of eating fat as being the main cause of being overweight. The problem is that they have also discovered that some fats are good for you and so they talk about good fats and bad fats, which only confuses the public. Another problem is that one of the most successful diets around, The Atkins Diet, is full of fat, and the wrong sort of fat as well, yet people successfully lose weight using this diet. So could it be that all the experts are wrong? This has to be true, because if people have been following the advice of the diet experts since the 1970s and the rates of obesity has been growing all the time, then it strongly suggests that the advice from these food experts is not correct. It is not fat people’s lack of will power that is the problem, but the foods they are encouraged to eat and the bad advice they get from the media.

I have to admit I have been having problems with weight most of my adult life, and have mostly tried to overcome it by exercise. This does work, but if at any time I stopped doing exercises then the weight quickly returned. Though, I have known for a long time that sugars puts on weight as I had proof of this back in the early 1980s. At the time I was having three teaspoons of sugar in my tea, and didn’t see that as a problem. Then some women I knew began to nag me about this, and told me that sugar was bad. I didn’t believe this, but to stop the nagging I began to slowly cut down on sugar until I was able to drink tea without it. Then to my surprise I lost a stone in weight, (14 pounds, 6 kilo). At the time I thought it a bit of a joke, but I began to take sugar more seriously, but even so, I still had the attitude that the odd chocolate bar, ice cream or cake wasn’t going to hurt me. This is also the attitude of most people I know, and as the result I still had problems keeping my weight down.

More recently I noticed some people I knew, who had dramatic weight loss, were people with diabetes and they had been put on a no-sugar diet by their doctor. So I did begin to wonder about the role of sugar in putting on weight. I then done some research on the internet and found a video called. “Sugar: The Bitter Truth” which was lecture by Robert H. Lustig, MD, UCSF Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology This video is over an hour long, and is a bit scientific, which may put off some people watching it, but what he said, was a revelation.

One of the first things that caught my attention was Robert Lustig’s explanation of why the Atkin’s diet works. Atkin himself claimed that it was because it was high protein diet and other food experts agreed with him. But what Lustig pointed out was that the Atkin’s diet was also a non-sugar diet. He also made the point that it is only the diets without sugar that work. For instance, some diet experts, like Dr Atkins, claim that it is carbohydrates that are the problem, but Lustig points out that it is only simple carbohydrates like sugar, alcohol and white flour that cause weight gain. So a diet of complex carbohydrates, like fruit and vegetables is also very effective in losing weight. Some people will point out there is a lot of sugar in all fruits and vegetables. So their idea of a sugar free diet is to eliminate these things. What Lustig says about this, is that sugar is a poison and the fibre in plants is the antidote to this. So eating sugar in plants is all right, providing you also have fibre with it. Unfortunately the more food is processed the more the fibre is taken out of it, so processed food is mostly high in sugar and very low in fibre. Cooking or juicing can also cut down on the fibre in fruit and vegetables, so eating raw food is the quickest way to lose weight. Though it can still be done, more slowly, with cooked vegetables.

The fact that sugar is the main cause of obesity has been known for a long time. Lustig points out that back in the 1970s there was a big scientific debate whether it was the eating of sugar or fat that was the cause of obesity. At the time it seems that the fat camp won this debate and in the 1980s, food manufacturers were told to produce low-fat food. This only increase the case of obesity in the population, so why was this? When the food manufacturers tried to reduce fat in their food, they ended up with food tasting like cardboard, so to overcome this problem they simply increased the amount of sugar in the food, to give taste to it. As the result, nearly all low fat food is also high in sugar. To make matters worse, food manufacturers have ended up having a sugar war. What they have discovered is that if they make their products sweeter, than the products of their competitors, they will sell more of them. So to gain a bigger market share, food manufacturers need to keep their products the sweetest on the market. As the result, the amount of sugar in processed food has been increasing over the years.

So if sugar is the main cause of obesity why are the diet experts not saying this? Probably because, most of them are employed or sponsored by the food industry. What food manufacturers want for their food is a long shelf life. This is because, if the food spoils too quickly, then there is a lot of wastage if the food is not sold quickly enough. For this reason preservatives are put into food, and in spite of modern food technology, the two main preservatives are still sugar and salt. The reason being that both are good to taste, and therefore food manufacturers can put a lot into food. So sugar is the ideal product for food manufacturers, it is good to taste, it preservatives food and is cheap. For this reason they would resist any attempt to cut down or ban sugar in food. Salt could partly replace sugar but doctors have said that too much salt is bad for us, so the amount of salt in processed food is being reduced. Though it is questionable whether salt is worse for our health than sugar. (Table salt is dug out of the ground and has a lot of sand in it, some doctors are saying that it is the sand in table salt is the problem for our health and sea-salt is better for us because it hasn’t got sand in it.)

The problem is that media like TV, newspapers and magazines depend on advertisers for their revenue, and one of the main advertisers is the food industry. So the media is not going to upset their clients by promoting anyone who says that sugar is the main cause of obesity. For this reason the only way you can find out about this, would be to read scientific papers or to find it on the internet. As the mainstream media will only state, whatever their food manufacturer clients want them to say.

One of the shocking things about this, is childhood obesity. The reason for this, is that food manufacturers put high levels of sugar into baby food and milk. Legally they are not allowed to put sugar into formula milk for breast feeding babies, but they get around it by putting in other types of sugar like, lactose, fructose, glucose and maltodextrose in it. To make matters worse, according to Lustig fructose is worse for our health than normal sugar. They then also do the same with baby food, which again is full of different types of sugars. So it is no wonder that we now have babies and small children who are obese. Mothers are not told about the dangers of these formula milks and baby foods by the mainstream media, and even more educated mothers can be fooled by the labelling. Food manufacturers are very clever in calling sugars by many other different names, so a mother looking at the ingredients of baby food may not even see sugar on it, but this is because the sugars has been called many different names that people are not unaware off.

Then as the child grows up it is bombarded by adverts on TV, in children programes, all promoting high sugar drinks and food. The mother may also buy ready made meals from the supermarket and again all these will contain a lot of sugar in them. The irony of this, is that if she is a health conscious mother she may buy low fat foods, not knowing that these foods are very high in sugar. Some people are beginning to notice that if they stop eating low fat meals, they actually lose weight.

This is what has happened to me. After watching Robert Lustig’s lecture I became strict about not eating any sugars, but I found this difficult as I had to find out about the hidden sugars in manufactured foods. I had to read the labels of processed food more carefully as I learnt more about the tricks food manufacturers use in calling sugars by very many different names. I found that it is very hard to find any processed food that is not full of sugar. The only processed food I found that didn’t have sugar in it was shredded wheat, porrage oats and some natural yogurts. So it became difficult not to eat sugar, after all if you go somewhere and you are offered cake or some processed food it is not polite to refuse. Yet in spite of this, I have found that by cutting down on the sugar I consume, I am losing weight easily. Another bonus, is that Lustig claims that sugar can actually make us feel even more hungry, and this is what I have discovered. I find that if I can eat a meal without any sugar in it, it will easy satisfy my hunger. As the result I am now finding I am eating less without any effort.

People have told me I must have a lot of will power to lose weight the way I am, but I say it is not will power, but only the fact I try to not eat sugar as much as I used to. Other people claim they cannot do as I am doing because they are addicted to sugar. It is true that when eating high levels of sugar, you get use to the taste and anything without sugar seems to be too bitter. But it is possible to re-educate your taste buds by gradually eating less and less sugar and keeping clear of high sugar foods. If you are willing to do this over weeks or months, you can slowly learn to enjoy food that is not oversweet. Lustig also points out that alcohol is simply fermented sugar and has the same effect on our bodies. Unfortunately, alcohol can be addicted, so that is going to be harder to give up than sugar.

Some people try to use artificial sweeteners which are so sweet that far less of it is needed to sweeten food. Unfortunately although they have been around for some time they have failed to stop the obesity epidemic. The reason for this, is probably that they get people’s taste buds use to very sweet foods. So they find ordinary food without a lot of sugar in it, too bland or bitter. So it is better to re-educate your taste buds not to want highly sweetened food or drink.

Roberts Lustig’s lecture is probably too long and too scientific for many people, but he is the expert on obesity, and is not being paid by food companies to say something that suits their agenda. So all we need to know is that all the advice given out by “food experts” in the mainstream media is clearly not working, and it is sugar that is the main cause of obesity. This means do your best to cut down on sugar and not buy low-fat foods and try as much as possible to cut down on processed foods and eat whole foods. That is to say, food that comes from farms and not out of factories.

People are fat not because they lack willpower, but because they are brainwashed by advertisers to eat food that is bad for them, and even if they want to do something about it, they are given the wrong advice by the mainstream media.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Do The Oil and Coal Industries Finance The Greens?

 From an ideological point of view the title of this article doesn’t make any sense, but from a financial point of view it good business for both the oil and coal industries, to finance certain green groups.

It is an open secret that fossil fuel industry finance climate change denier groups.  This is off course understandable, as scientists who say we need to eliminate fossil fuels to prevent climate change, threaten the future of both the oil and coal industries.  Now in theory Green activists are also concerned about global warming and so we would assume they would be on the side of the scientists who are predicting climate change and say we should stop burning fossil fuels. But as the old saying goes, “actions speak louder than words”.  So although the Green movement seem to be concerned about global warming, on the whole, their actions tell a completely different story.

It is estimated that about 80% of the world’s energy is produced by oil, coal and gas, all fossil fuels.  The other 20% is mostly produced by nuclear energy and hydro electric, both in which produce far less carbon emissions than either oil or coal. Yet, the green movement will protest against both nuclear energy and hydro electric but hardly ever against coal or oil burning power stations.  This is a bit strange, when you think about it, because the major cause of global warming is the burning of oil and coal for power.

Hydro electric is a very green energy, because once a dam and power station is built, it give off very little carbon emissions. Yet green movements all over the world protest whenever a dam is built.  Now, it is true that governments can be very insensitive in the way they build hydro electric schemes.  As many will build dams with little concern about the villages and towns they flood.  And even when governments try to give compensation to the people, corruption means that they do not receive what is due to them.  The problem is that the green activists seem to be more concern about getting the whole project stopped, than making sure the people who are displaced, are properly compensated.  So even though hydro electric is a green energy, we have the paradoxical situation where green organizations are protesting against it.

Nuclear energy like hydro electric also gives off very little carbon emissions.  Yet it would be fair to say nuclear power seems to be the green movement’s number one target.  Off course what frightens the greens and the general public about nuclear energy is that it give off radiation, but just how dangerous is atom radiation from nuclear power stations?  We can get some idea from this from the 1986 accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine.

This was the worse nuclear accident that ever happened, and it was predicted then, that thousands if not millions of people would die of radiation poisoning.  Yet over 25 years after the accident there is little proof that many people have died through this.  After the accident governments all over the world closed down their nuclear programs but with so few people since dying of radiation from the Chernobyl accident, governments today are having second thoughts about this.  The Chernobyl accident has shown that a nuclear power accident is not as dangerous as once thought. 

Unfortunately, people fear nuclear radiation because of the many people who died of this in the A-bombs attack on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1946.  What tends to be forgotten, is that the levels of radiation coming from a nuclear explosion, is nothing like what comes from a nuclear power plant.  Studies have shown that workers in nuclear power stations, or seamen in nuclear powered submarines or aircraft carriers, do not suffer bad health.  It has to be remembered that the first nuclear submarines and power stations were first developed back in 1950s, this is over 50 years ago.  So it seems that the long term exposure to the radiation that nuclear generators produce, do not have a long term effect on humans.  It seems that workers in coal fired power stations, suffer worse health problems.  Not only that, the pollution given off from a burning coal is far worse, for the general population, than the radiation from nuclear generation.

If that is the case, why are not green activists protesting against coal fired power stations?  After all both coal and oil power stations are burning fossil fuel and are the major contribution to global warming. The answer could be, that it is unprofitable to do this.

Major green organizations like Greenpeace claim they will never receive donations from corporations.  The problem is, that it is so easy to get around a rule like this. If any corporation wants to fund a green organization, all it has to do is pay individuals, not directly connected to them, to do this for them.  So if a green organization was to protest against a hydro electric scheme, or a nuclear power station, and receive big donations when they do this.  Then they are greatly encouraged to continue to do this. They also find that they also receive a lot of publicity in the media as well.   But, on the other hand, if they was to protest against a coal or oil fired power station and do not get any financial support, or publicity from the media.  Then they will be discouraged from continuing with this. 

It must be remembered that media companies like TV and newspapers depend on advertisers for their finance, for this reason they cannot afford to upset very large clients like the oil or coal industries.  So if the fossil fuel companies want the media to make a big story out of a protest against nuclear energy but not say anything about a protest against a coal or oil burning power station, they will do their best to please their advertiser clients. 

This is how major oil and coal companies, can easy use their financial muscle to manipulate the media and green organizations.  From the point of view of any fossil fuel company, it is good business to help and support any green organization that protests against hydro electric or nuclear power, because they are in direct competition against these forms of power.  If governments all over the world started to replace their coal and oil fired power stations with nuclear and hydro electric power stations, it would be a major blow to oil and coal industries.  It is true that green organizations do also support renewable energy like wind and solar power, but these are not a problem for the coal and oil industries, as they are too inefficient.

At first sight seeing so many wind farms and solar energy panels on roofs suggest that governments are serious about tackling climate change.  What the public is not told is that this is all a cynical public relations trick.

We are told that one windmill can power thousands of homes, but what we are not told is that the majority of the electricity generated by windmills and solar panels do not end up in the power grid.  So why is this?  The reason is that homes and industry want a reliable source of energy, and the electricity generated from the wind and sun is not dependable.

If we had a power grid run totally on wind farms, when the wind stops there will be no electricity, so we would be subjected to frequent power cuts.  So to counter this, the power companies have a back up gas generators that come online when the wind dies.  Unfortunately it takes some time to power up these generators, and so to make sure we don’t have power cuts, they keep these gas generators running all the time.  The result is that as the wind turbines, generate electricity the back up power needed is also burning fossil fuel.  So most of the benefits of wind farms are being lost, in keeping the back up generators going, so they can immediately cut in, when power is lost, so we do not get any power cuts.  The same is also true of solar generation, where again back up power has to be ready if cloud blocks out the sun.  Some green activists have suggested that we should put up with frequent power cuts, but if they did this, people and industry would begin to buy their own motors and generators, because this would be far more reliable than the power grid.  These motors will be using fossil fuels like gas and petrol.

The only way renewable energy can be used, is to store the electricity into gigantic batteries, or use the electricity they produce to turn water into hydrogen and oxygen and then burn that as a fuel.  This then allows renewable energy to be used when it is convenient to the electrical grid it is supplying.  The problem is that no-one seems to be interested in trying to store the power from any renewable source and for this reason it is useless.

So if renewable energy is very inefficient and there is little effort in trying to make it useful by storing it’s energy, why do we have so many wind farms and solar panels?  The reason seems to be that politicians and green activists can claim they are serious about green energy, while at the same time coal and oil fired power stations can continue to churn out greenhouse gases.  This means that renewable energy has become the fig-leaf that fossil fuel companies can hide behind.

This all means that the oil and coal industries can easy use their financial power to control, the media, public opinion, politicians, and green organizations.  So it is, business as usual, as the fossil fuel industry has a free ride to continue pump greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. While green activists, do their bidding and attack hydro electric and nuclear energy and champion ineffective renewable energy, and not look at the pollution given off by fossil fuels.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Colombian Women Zoom Ahead in Politics

Unlike U.S. women, Colombian women have made great strides in the political arena in a short period of time, says Barbara Frechette in the book "Sharing Power." In this excerpt, she compares this progression to the one in the United States.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Meghalaya, India: Where women rule, and men are suffragettes

 In the small hilly Indian state of Meghalaya, a matrilineal system operates with property names and wealth passing from mother to daughter rather than father to son - but some men are campaigning for change.