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The Hell You Say

Your life expectancy has roughly doubled since , your indentured hell lasts lasts twice as long. And all this clean damned water, piped to your home, hot and cold, how awful to have to wash daily. The coal mines you work in are a fair bit taller now; you can sit or stand in the heated air filtered cab of the huge machine you labour to steer with two fingers. The house you are in is bonded to power, water, sewerage and internet that monitors your every move, thought, siphons away your bowel motions and subjects them to forensic political analysis.

The room you are in at this very moment, is a monument to the bitter tears of slaves everywhere, every scrap of timber, drop of paint, nail, chair, table, the metals scrapped from the womb of mother nature, the fabrics torn from her modesty … oh the pain! It must end. The streets are prisons, narrow slots that permit you only to rattle pointlessly from the slave factory to the slave dormitory in the suburb.

The fine seal, lighting and signs are all an illusion, hiding a deep ugliness underneath; all those hidden worm-like pipes and cables, snaking and slithering their controlling tentacles. And with no lawyers, we can finish off the judges, the old oppressive laws made to suit the capitalist masters can be heaped up and torched.

You can write up a whole bunch of new ones to suit yourself. Good point, RL. However, the world has not improved under capitalism for most people.

The rich are indeed getting richer and the poor poorer. And we would have brought the majority with us. The relative improvement in the lives of the minority under capitalism is only possible by keeping the majority impoverished. The really frustrating thing is that capitalism has led us to the brink of destruction and we westerners seem to think more capitalism is the answer.


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The big one that we should not miss is how very rapidly absolute poverty is being reduced around the world, much of it reliably documented here:. Personally what changed my view has been the past five years spent working in many different countries in the world, most recently in Latin America. While at the same time it has paradoxically increased relative poverty. This is why I keep coming back to the idea of gross inequality as the core issue we now face. Capitalism combined with the industrial and tech revolutions has solved the poverty problem or at least is well on the way to doing so , but in the process has presented us with new ones that appear extremely intractable to conventional politics.

By any reasonable measure the proportion of the world population living in extreme poverty has never been lower. Your table shows that the majority of our fellow humans still live in abject poverty. Yay Team! Capitalism is entirely focussed on the enrichment of the minority. Any minor benefits to the rest can best be described as unintentional. Richard You throw bullshit rather freely.

There's no such thing as free speech, and it's a good thing, too

Here is some back. How extreme is that! Glass half-full some ways we look at it, half-empty from other perspectives. Hundreds of millions in diverse countries have indeed been lifted out of poverty. Trickle-down is minimal to non-existent in the experience of many of us. Sort of like the old controversy: is the electron a particle or a wave?

A teachable moment — shows us that reality depends on our perception. In fact many, especially those who were formerly small farmers and trades in third world countries are considerably worse off. As with the Industrial Revolution in Europe, the mass transition of economies from small scale rural enterprises certainly displaced people and brought about some awful disruption. Victorian era England was not a pretty place for most people. Everyone has mobile phones, ordinary looking homes have a satellite dish and two cars parked in the grass. Power, water and elementary medical services are spreading everywhere.

Small banks and shops at every stop, everyone you see looks fed and watered. There is no mass starvation and deprivation, albeit there will still be many living right on the margins. This is typical of the developing world everywhere, except nations like Nigeria and the DRC been there too; crazy unsafe place where utterly incompetent and corrupt governance, combined with gross over-population are stalling progress.

NZ figures are not that bad probably. But domestic violence, and criminality with intent to cause grievous harm are becoming more common. You can be poor and if living in a supportive community with enjoyment in life then you are rich. NZ is poor in soul and kindness to others. The stories that have come out from social welfare agencies for decades chill the heart of anyone who can lift their eyes from their own affairs and wish others a good life.

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This may have been due to their better diet and higher standard of living. Also, settlements were dispersed around the country, so infections were less likely to spread. She lives in an uninsulated cottage with an outdoors toilet. She has no internet. But she does have the running water thank you engineers and plumbers under whatever system that was implemented , she is reliant on cellphone cards because capitalism made a landline too expensive, and the electricity that a government a development project produced way back when.

Sorry to hear about your sister. There is nothing political that should be said about that for the moment. Yes the benefits of capitalism fall to the capitalists and many others are left to fend for themselves in the most disgusting way. This is not unusual these days. It does seem to me that a pot of money is being transferred around the world among the poor and while there is less absolute poverty there is more poverty overall. While the people running the show get an ever growing share of the growing supply of money. This is quite a good summary of the issue from The Economist May, , I thought.

Sounds like a recipe for a good social-democrat government. Yes … insert one more word there is more relative poverty overall and that would be spot on. But as Mark Knoffler riffs It is what it is now. It is what we have to work with. And there is a real hunger in the world to progress this, much of the instability and danger we face is the direct consequence of the left failing to find a path through this conundrum.

Absolute poverty is best framed as a material problem, one that we solved with science, technology, engineering and economics. Relative poverty seems to lie in a different domain, one that is more psychological and ethical.

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Throughout that war, both government forces and their allies and armed opposition groups have been accused of war crimes and human rights violations. According to some estimates, more than 11 million people have fled their homes, finding refuge outside of the country or ending up internally displaced within its borders.


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  • More than a million Syrians have received or requested asylum in Europe, where rising far-right parties and populist groups have regularly rallied against their presence. These Western fascists who openly support the genocide being committed in Syria by the Assad regime, also attack defenceless civilians fleeing the genocide they support. Conservative Canadian activist Lauren Southern, who tweets hate speech she does endorse by the likes of U.

    It did not. From the outset, it was a jihadist uprising. This has been reported on by journos who were actually there. Syrians have fled the conflict, either displaced within Syria itself, or to other countries. Moreover, probably the majority going to Europe have seized the opportunity for economic reasons. Nothing wrong with that, of course, except for the fact that the numbers are overwhelming Euro countries, and many European citizens are unhappy about it, understandably.

    This is fiction. There is no genocide being committed by the Assad government, nor has there been. The Syrian government, with the assistance of Iran, Hezbollah and Russia, has defeated ISIS and associated jihadist terrorist groups; those in Deraa have just surrendered. Note that the US has been funding terrorist groups, notably Al Qaeda.

    Though no doubt others have benefited from US largesse. If it ever is. Try Robert Fisk and Vanessa Beeley. Of course free speech exists…and always will…for those who are not cowed…or concerned by consequences of speaking freely…or the cowardice of those who would seek to degrade the innate human capacity of thought and communication….

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    Deeply Fascinating

    I agree — they can think whatever they like, but to spread their bile in our public spaces? Is that really worth defending do hard? Great to read TRP. He is very free with his speech and has also continued outside parliament there. I get the feeling Trotter must have pushed some right buttons, if he pissed off the hard authoritarian left this much.

    I guess it will happen to all of us. There comes a day, usually sometime in your fifties, when we pass into irrelevance. The trick is to know when the torch was passed, to trust the adults who look like children to you, and — as Chris Trotter has just illustrated — to shut up and start worrying about next years seedlings in the greenhouse.

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    The thing is, this transition is a sort of male power menopause, and it is as ever bit as hard to do as any other aging process. Funny the blind spots we tend to have. Fortunately one of the defining characteristics of maturity is that you tend to care much less about what other people think of you; I doubt Mr Trotter will be polishing off his spud spade anytime soon.