The Real Horror of Britain’s Horror Story

None of us is perfect. Even the greatest people make mistakes. On November 11th, as most of the nation’s media wallowed in misty-eyed war-fever, someone at Channel Four Television made a huge mistake. He or she allowed a pseudo-documentary by one Martin Durkin to be broadcast to the nation. The programme, titled ‘Britain’s Trillion Pound Horror Story’, has to be one of the very worst things that otherwise fairly good TV station has ever done.

Apart from one point, which was quite well made, and to which I shall return later, the rest of Durkin’s work was, at best, trite rubbish, and at worst just completely wrong. I assume he sincerely believes the nonsense he was spouting, so I won’t call him a liar; but that makes him either seriously misguided or a cynical fascist. In either case, Channel Four made a big mistake in giving him ninety minutes of unchallenged airtime. If he had to be screened at all it would have been far more appropriate to give him the same three minutes that is allotted to other far less dangerous people in their Three Minute Wonder strand.

Spelling out what exactly was wrong with Durkin’s dross isn’t easy – not because of any difficulty identifying it, but because there was just so much that was wrong you don’t know where to start.

His central thesis is that Britain has a national debt of £4.8 trillion. He spent quite a long time ranting on about this number, showing how various members of the public struggle to get their heads around the size of it (not unreasonably). He also produced various members of parliament who clearly had absolutely no idea about the size of the nation’s debt, nor the difference between that and the budget deficit. Interspersed with these various talking heads who seem to have been carefully selected for their ignorance of the subject were surreal clips of small children who were either expounding knowingly on the subject, or supposedly protesting for fiscal reform, or being ‘entertained’ on a dismal beach by a Punch an Judy show about fiscal reform. For all this concentration of effort on his core premise not one second of the programme was given over to how exactly Mr Durkin arrived at his figure of £4.8 trillion. For all we know, it was simply a number he plucked out of thin air. This simple trick – not proving his core premise – meant of course that he would not have to defend a position that is basically untenable.

I don’t doubt that some ‘eminent expert’ somewhere did a bit of number crunching for him, as a considerable number of these ‘experts’ were lined up to reinforce Durkin’s position, which I shall come to shortly. We saw at least three Tory grandees who had served as Chancellor of the Exchequer. We saw various ‘leaders of The City’, assorted economists and writers who are so right wing they’re almost re-emerging on the left. To provide ‘balance’ we were shown a total of about five minutes of the ex-Labour Chancellor Alistair Darling, and head of the TUC Brendan Barber. (One wonders if Mr Barber is possibly more interested in a comfortable retirement in the House of Lords, where he might rub shoulders with one or two ex-union traitors, than actually fighting for the worker.) In any event, Mr Barber did himself, and more importantly justice, no favours at all by playing the stooge for Mr Durkin.

Moving on to some of Durkin’s more ridiculous views and claims.

Without any doubt, Milton Friedman would have been proud of Channel Four’s film maker, as most of the ninety minutes was pure ‘Chicago School’ economics. All the nation’s problems are of course the direct fault of taxation and public spending. Durkin tells us:

“Public spending will stimulate growth is the biggest myth of the twentieth century, and is the cause of Britain’s economic decline.”

In one of the many patronising and banal statements he made throughout the programme he opines that if public spending could stimulate growth…

“Why doesn’t the government go and hire more social workers and lollipop ladies?”

In an effort to try to prove his claim that the nation’s woes are the direct result of taxation and government spending, and perhaps to try to attach a degree of academic rigour to his Thatcherite nonsense, Durkin cites two cases from history – Britain’s Industrial Revolution and Hong Kong. Like almost everything else in his film, it is a carefully selected montage of, at best, half truths.

Durkin tells us he is from the North East, but sounds as much like a Geordie as Tony Bliar. Wandering around some of that industrial wasteland with one of the numerous right wing extremists that ‘inform’ his film, Durkin waxes nostalgically for the golden years of the Industrial Revolution, when…

“High wages drew people from far and wide to work here.”

And…

“The standard of living from the beginning of the nineteenth century to the beginning of the twentieth century improved hugely.”

The truth of course, was very different.

It wasn’t high wages that drew people to the hell-on-earth of Britain’s factories and mines, it was starvation that forced them there. And although the standard of living did indeed improve in the nineteenth century, it simply couldn’t have got any worse, as any authentic history of the Industrial Revolution would quickly verify. Also excluded from Mr Durkin’s history lesson were the facts that people became slaves in all but name because their life-sustaining land had been stolen from under their feet through the iniquitous enclosure laws; and that standards of living had improved not because of wonderful employment opportunities, but because of England’s imperial exploitation of India and Africa, and because social revolutions throughout Europe were giving Britain’s aristocrats real and justified cause for concern.

Much of Durkin’s film came from Hong Kong, whose well-heeled rich clearly impressed him. Hong Kong’s success, we’re led to believe is directly attributable to a John Cowperthwaite, a British civil servant whose main claim to fame appears to be that he did absolutely nothing to improve the lives of ordinary Chinese workers, whilst doing everything he could to ensure that British ‘interests’ were well and truly catered for. Once again Durkin’s use of history is carefully selective. He completely forgot to mention the fact that Hong Kong was wholly founded on the British opium trade, a trade it forced a very unwilling China to comply with by the frequent use of its considerable warships (possibly made by some of Durkin’s ‘well-paid’ North Easterners). The more recent economic successes of the island were not much more creditable, with Hong Kong being one of the more secure havens for the rapacious pirates of off-shore banking scams. Whilst Durkin gazed in wide-eyed wonder at the island’s gleaming underground stations and billionaire media executives, he didn’t waste a single second at the homes of those who have to maintain the subways in their spotlessness, or who keep house for Hong Kong’s version of Rupert Murdoch.

Then there were the parts of Durkin’s film where he used ‘humour’ to try to discredit the principle of public spending. He did this by using children, and cartoon-like examples of whatever point he was making. I’ve already mentioned the ridiculous Punch and Judy scenes, but there was another little piece of children’s theatre which opened with the taxman visiting a restaurant owner. The restaurant owner opens his till and gives fifty pounds to the taxman, who returns to his office and hands the money over to ‘a bureaucrat’, who then spends it at the restaurant. The triviality of this example of how the system works is exceeded only by the fact that the example is these days largely wrong.

The core principle of Chicago school economics, of which Durkin is clearly a leading exponent, is that all public sector spending is wrong, and that all private sector ‘enterprise’ is wonderful. It is a model that has failed the people wherever it has been imposed, from South America to Russia. It provides quick profits for banks and corporations of course, which is why it is so beloved by these institutions, but as for the people who must live in the ruins created by the snatch and run merchants… who cares?

These days, thanks to the wonderful Private Finance Initiatives, a far more accurate example of the children’s restaurant sketch would have had the taxman handing over the fifty pounds to some well pampered billionaire, who would not take it back to the restaurant to spend (where the money would at least stay in the country’s economy), but who would lock it up in his own private vault in some offshore tax haven. Alternatively he could have shown the taxman handing over the fifty pounds to some be-ribboned general who would then happily spend the money buying shiny jets or drones to go bomb defenceless peasants somewhere.

Chicago school economics sells itself as opposing taxation and supporting abolition of government. It ‘reasons’ that this provides the right environment for private enterprise to flourish, which creates wealth by providing full employment. It’s absolute rubbish, and something that the real sharks of ‘private enterprise’, the ruthless psychopaths who run the international banking system and ‘globalised economy’, themselves violently oppose – in deed if not in word.

Although he didn’t say so, Durkin’s passionate hatred of the public sector would not extend to those public services that protect the captains of industry he so admires. For example, presumably he would not object to those public officials who make it almost impossible for workers to go on strike, or for those good policemen who beat up G20 demonstrators and other social activists. I assume he would have no objections to the continued use of armies to wreck other people’s countries for his wonderful bankers and industrialists to plunder; and of course he could not possibly mind the countless no-bid juicy government contracts that are handed over to corporate sponsors of election campaigns. He would have no objection to the public servants who administer ‘justice’ in our courts by contriving and interpreting laws that favour ‘The City’ and Wall St., whilst brutalising poor people. He would not possibly oppose those public servants who help facilitate the multi-billion pound tax-avoidance scams in offshore banking; and of course he would have no objection to the taxpayer gifting hundreds of billions of pounds to failed banks, on terms that no self-respecting bank would ever offer to any taxpayer seeking a loan – or if he does have any such objections they didn’t feature much in his film. It’s fairly clear to see that Durkin and his like do not really object to public spending at all, the only real objection they have is when taxpayers’ money is used in a way that actually benefits the taxpayer, rather than some gangster masquerading as a corporate executive.

However, I mentioned at the beginning of this piece that not everything about Durkin’s film was absolute rubbish. He actually made one good point, but as this point took up only about one minute of the ninety minute production, it’s fairly safe to say that about 95% of it was indeed absolute rubbish. So let me finish on a high, and mention the 5% of this film that was almost worth watching.

At one point Durkin claimed that about seven million people in Britain are employed by the state. Using another of his childish graphics which was for once quite useful, he showed that only about two million of these people are employed in a fairly useful capacity – like doctors, or teachers, or policemen; leaving the overwhelming majority of public servants doing not very much at all that is of any use to anyone other than themselves. Whilst Durkin didn’t demonstrate it, he could have gone much further and shown how much of this number occupies itself in ‘management’. Management of public services is where there is indeed a huge, obscene, and completely unnecessary overspend. As an ex-public servant I’m speaking from personal experience here.

Channel Four TV does itself no favours by entertaining the likes of Durkin and other right wing fantasists. Whilst I’m all for free speech, even for the likes of Durkin, it’s a principle that requires ‘balance’. So we now need to see Channel Four commissioning a ninety minute film from the likes of Noam Chomsky say or Jo Stiglitz, or Ha-Joon Chang, Naomi Klein or George Monbiot even, together with a studio debate where Durkin and his other plutocrat apologists could be confronted by a few people who not only have a bit of knowledge on the subject but who also have a bit of a passing interest in the rest of humanity.

The real horror story is how the nation’s media, who are the public’s main eyes and ears to the world and by far and away the most important formers of public opinion, have all joined ranks and formed up behind the selfsame forces that have devastated the world economy. The media are solidly united behind the voice of power, and resolutely refuse to see how power is shaping the world to its own benefit, and to the detriment of ninety percent of the Earth’s population, and towards the long term destruction of the planet’s fragile eco-systems.

The psychotic lessons of Chicago school economics, so clearly beloved by Durkin, are exactly the same principles of economics that gangsters use – exploitation of the weak by the strong. They are principles that have only one purpose: enrichment of the strong; everyone else can sink or swim.

John is a writer and political activist based in England. He can be contacted through his website. His main contribution comprises three free-to-use works-in-progress: The People’s Constitution, The School of Kindness, and EnMo Economics . Read other articles by John.

24 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. mary said on November 16th, 2010 at 7:59am #

    A good critique of what was referred to in a MediaLens discussion as ”fact free polemic’. The thread starts here –

    http://members5.boardhost.com/medialens/msg/1289516327.html

    Durkin previously made the Great Global Warming Scandal. Nigel Lawson, one of the three (failed) ex chancellors also shares that belief.

  2. MichaelKenny said on November 16th, 2010 at 8:10am #

    Since nobody American will have seen the programme and nobody British will read this article was there really any point in posting it here? And if Mr Andrews was intelligent enough to realise that there are points of view other than that of the programme maker in question, surely the other people who saw the programme will have realised it too. That is particularly true of Channel Four, which is a fairly “highbrow” channel anyway (which, of course, is why the programme was shown there in the first place!). I really wish authors wouldn’t “talk down” to us as if they were the only ones who had any grey cells between their ears!

  3. George said on November 16th, 2010 at 12:02pm #

    There was very definitely a point in posting this article. I live in Scotland and, although I didn’t see the programme, a rather impressionable fellow worker did. (And I will have plenty to tell her tomorrow!) I didn’t realise that this Martin Durkin was the very one who had cooked up the Great Global Warming Swindle. He has also lied about the supposed safety of silicon breast implants. The guy is a completely conscience free charlatan and a no doubt fully paid up hack of the corporate shit factory.

    As for “that otherwise fairly good TV station” i.e. Channel Four – I’ve always had doubts about it. I remember a C4 news survey saying that 60% of young British male Muslims didn’t trust the government account of the London bombs. This inevitably led onto a piece about the “radicalisation” of such people. Two points – (1) British male Muslims were specifically questioned because clearly someone had decided in advance that it was THEIR specific problem and (2) doubting the government in this case doesn’t qualify you as a “radical” i.e. “bomb carrier”. It just means you are rightfully suspicious of everything this mendacious government says.

  4. bozh said on November 16th, 2010 at 2:25pm #

    i do not think that exposing view one inidividual wld proffer an elucidation of what goes on. on this planet, one bn people have the same or maybe even worse views than durkin.
    unfortunately, they control army, spies, money, industry, schooling, and people.
    and the addiction of owning people just won’t go away if we just want to nag it outta them!

    owned-people do not espy enormity of problems that they face: the invariance under transformation-change: master-servant structure of society, in which the change we obtain is the change that alway benefits the ruling class; i.e., the only change u gonna get is the one that master ‘grants’ u.

    and nearly all scribes on nearly all sites support just the structure of society i mentioned above. and none wld say that explictly!
    nearly all have their petpeeves or pet theories to posit and then vigourously defend.
    there is no hallelujahs, exultations– only lamentation and skirting the most astounding facts!
    they do not offer a sinlgle solution nor even hint of hope!
    u can read chomsky, finkelstein, hedges, klein, and it is like reading a book with the title: how to say nothing in one mln words or + .
    god bless all children— devil bless u.s constitution; or rather the owners of that.

    btw. has anyone noted that priests even stole the god from us. aren’t they the last to believe in god?
    note, please, that indigenes of americas had a god but not priests. when priests saw that, they went ballistic.
    so, such a good exemplar had to be destroyed. and they did! tnx

  5. John Andrews said on November 17th, 2010 at 5:34am #

    Thanks for comments.

    bozh

    “they do not offer a sinlgle solution nor even hint of hope”

    see my People’s Constitution: http://www.freedemocrats.co.uk/pages/whatwestandfor.asp

    George and Mary,

    I’m afraid I pretty much agree with the Great Global Warming Scandal. The planet has been slowly warming for at least ten thousand years – pretty hard to blame that on 4x4s. And until the climate change guys start to address the very real problem of the overpopulation of human beings I can’t take seriously anything else they say.

    MichaelKenny,

    Bless you – always a little ray of sunshine.

    I think there are one or two Brits who visit DV, as George kindly verified; and does your comment really suggest that unless we write about something seen on American TV we shouldn’t bother? I’m sorry you feel the piece ‘talks down’ to people. As I never speak from an elevated position, and certainly don’t want to, I never intend to create an impression of intellectual superiority – something I’ve never claimed to have, and a style of writing I despise when others choose to use it.

  6. mary said on November 17th, 2010 at 6:04am #

    I didn’t say I agreed with Durkin’s view on global warming but the very fact that he is capable of making such as howler as ‘Britain’s Trillion Pound Horror Story’ surely calls ALL his work into account.

    These are the traffic figures for Dissident Voice. There is no mention of the origin of visitors other than from the US and Canada but I know of several from the UK and Mulga of course from Australia.
    (www.alexa.com/siteinfo/http://www.dissidentvoice.org)

    For anyone interested in seeing Durkin’s film it is available on the Ch4 website. (www.channel4.com/programmes/britains-trillion-pound-horror-story/4od#3139408)

  7. Hue Longer said on November 17th, 2010 at 6:38am #

    Hello John,

    The consumption and destruction of the planet is not sustainable and it works with and separate from population. the lines will get clearer as the billions go to double digits and I don’t know of a single “climate change guy” (presuming you are talking about climatologists) who argues that the Earth can take on more people. Should they all put their fields down and talk about what you want them too?

    If you meant “climate change guy” to be anyone talking about climate change? OK, overpopulation is a very real problem and unnatural climate change is occurring.

  8. Deadbeat said on November 17th, 2010 at 6:50am #

    Hue Longer writes …

    overpopulation is a very real problem

    I’m surprised “overpopulation” is not in quotes. The problem is Capitalist production and underconsumption due to the huge maldistribution of power. Apparently as the West wanes there seems to be a rise in neo-Malthusian misanthropic rhetoric.

  9. Don Hawkins said on November 17th, 2010 at 7:17am #

    Well John and Hue your thinking could just lead to an airtight case so to speak.

    lead on
    To keep in a state of expectation or hope; entice

    My opinion we are being lead on by wimp’s scared of change. The eye’s the ear’s working ok are they. Slowly warming for at least ten thousand years look’s like the Cato Institute and a few more have effected your thinking.

  10. Max Shields said on November 17th, 2010 at 8:37am #

    Hue looks like the master sockpuppet is at it again (Mr. DB). Up until the turn of the 20th Century there were under 2 billion humans on the planet. Over the last century we find ourselves approach 7 billion humans with growth continuing year in and year out. Our means of resource production, consumption, and waste grows expotentially with no end in sight (except the reduction of the species).

    Malthus was neither right nor wrong. A number of factors interjected themselves which reduced the population growth through wide spread air borne diseases, famine and migration.

    Calling Malthus a misanthrope (or that his “rhetoric” was misanthropic) is a tactic of attacking a person by trying to undermine their message with a baseless accusation. This is commonly used by those who either have no founded facts or argument AND must widely by the plutocrats in power. Generally it’s a red herring tactic that Deadbeat imploys on a regular basis since what he knows is only through google searches.

    Lester Brown (I suspect DB will google Brown and call him a zionist or some such dullard remark) and many other highly regarded thinkers provide a plethora of facts that support Hue’s assertion. (Deadbeat’s politics are beyond anything I’ve encountered in the real world. Let’s hope his numbers (other than the puppets spawned here, are few. We’ve got enough madness floating around without pseudo-socialists throwing out distorted messages.)

  11. Don Hawkins said on November 17th, 2010 at 9:00am #

    Take a look at what we see and hear unless you make a point to find the truth. The temperatures Worldwide in just the last twenty years is amazing to see. The changes because of that is also amazing to see. Now do I have a machine that can travel the speed of light to go and see with my own eye’s at these changes well no but I do have a machine that does travel at the speed of light called a computer and granted it is sometimes hard to know the truth when you see it. At the present amount of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere there should be no ice on Greenland maybe a little at the higher levels the rate we did it. Unless we make a point to find the truth what do we hear?

  12. bozh said on November 17th, 2010 at 10:09am #

    let’s please note the fact that the label “overpopulation” is much, too much, overgeneralized and imbued with dysphemisms, to boot, by our unknowledgable ancestors. so, i suggest, one uses this label after reviewing many facts.

    one cld start thinking by asking the question whether the planet is, [in]correctly, populated or overpopulated? or even why we cannot say that 7bn people live on this planet?
    and note that some people live sustainably and others not in all degrees.
    one cld even note that the few dogs in nepal also live sustainably but most dogs in western world do not.
    so, i suggest, we do not allow dogs in the west or anywhere else that do not live on their own; like bears, fish, dear!
    and then we get rid of all cars, escalators, sport, airplanes, ships, etc. if one is going to vacation to maui, take a rowboat.

    and a child in uzbekistan may use 100 times less than an american or canadian child. also let’s do away with all zoos and all pets and not just dogs.
    and not to mention to end supremacism, the root of all evil and one cause for having 7bn people instead, say, 4 bn.
    and then we cld melt and beat to plowshares all tanks, artillery, jets, warships, etc.
    and only thereafter ask how many people can live sustainably on this planet and only after u.s warlords and masters of people really become human.
    no human face– no salvation! tnx

  13. Hue Longer said on November 17th, 2010 at 11:18am #

    Max,

    What’s amusing me about DB on this post and the last one we engaged in, is that he can’t see the similarities in positions. I spoke of two lines and he missed it but it leaves wide open the critical number of people and the not always related planetary destruction. Not sure Bozh caught that either but yes, some consume far more than others- but this is hardly an either/or. If one would like to think that people living within their means comfortably finding sustenance, peace, justice and love can total 7 billion, great….. But surely, there is a number making the most responsible husbandry untenable? 10 billion? 50 billion? (Though I’m willing to bet my phone, internet connection and computer that 7 billion people consuming as much as Dead Beat and Hue Longer would leave the world as taxed as it is without the games the one percenters do to maintain power and leisure… not to mention that these things might be related).

  14. hayate said on November 17th, 2010 at 11:37am #

    mary said on November 17th, 2010 at 6:04am

    From that site you posted on internet:

    “Compared with all internet users, Dissidentvoice.org’s audience tends to be over the age of 45; they are also disproportionately childless men browsing from school and home who are not college graduates.”

    I’m curious how that site knows the ages, gender, whether the person has kids and their college history.

  15. hayate said on November 17th, 2010 at 11:39am #

    And I see hue and max need to get a private booth so they can gossip and drool over Deadbeat in private and not disturb the rest of the people at DV.

    Hint: editors…

  16. Max Shields said on November 17th, 2010 at 11:42am #

    Hue, yes the issue of population size and sustainability tied up carrying capacity which is a function of both consumption and economics which includes the larger ecosystem. That balance or a zero growth economy provides both human needs and prosperity without destroying the planet.

    I agree there is a number. The US representing roughly 5% but consuming 25% in resources or more is not sustainable. But the pop. is not the only variable tho there no doubt there is a limit to how large it can grow. The fact that it grew so fast in 100 years means the world is not a vast open wilderness filled with endless resources.

    Problem with DB (and a few others who follow a similar discourse) is that he catches a name and disagrees no matter what is stated. (or perhaps he thinks capitalism and zionism are the only reasons why human beings keep screwing up.)

  17. shabnam said on November 17th, 2010 at 11:45am #

    I am sorry to see people at this site attacking Deadbeat for his critic of Malthusian approach where basically tries to hide the real reasons behind world poverty and population growth associated with exploitation rampant in capitalism.
    Whoever is concerned with human condition rejects Malthusian explanation who believed the population does invariably increase when the means of subsistence increase and the superior power of population is repressed, and the actual population kept equal to the means of subsistence, by misery and sooner or later population gets checked by famine, disease, and widespread mortality.

    We now know that much famine was man made. It was produced by the imperialists and colonial occupation of Asia and Africa, not due to population growth. The man made famine including Bengal famine of 1943 is one among several famines that occurred in British-administered Bengal. It is estimated that around 3 million Indians died from starvation and malnutrition during the period.

    One of the reasons behind man made famine has been explained as follows:
    The United Kingdom had suffered a disastrous defeat at Singapore in 1942 against the Japanese military, which then proceeded to invade Burma in the same year. Burma was the world’s largest exporter of rice in the inter-war period, the British having encouraged production by Burmese smallholders, which resulted in a virtual monoculture in the Irrawaddy Delta and Arakan. Large amounts of rice were exported to the Middle East to feed British and Indian troops and away from the local population to cause widespread disease and deaths.

    According to one of the Iranian historians, famine of 1871 in Iran, where one third of the total population perished, was due to using land to produce opium to generate revenue for British army that occupied Iran. Opium plantation was carried out by Sassoon family, Rothschild’s agent in Iran. The British war policy and the Sassoon family opium business served well the British war policy which produced famine in Iran, but also in Bengal, 1874, Madras (India) in 1876. In general, the famine of this era was strongly associated to Opium plantation under British Empire.
    Dr. Mohammad Gholi Majd has written a book to show that due to British imperial policy during WWI where Iran was occupied by British, more than 8 million people were perished because British diverted the crops to feed her troops.

    Today, countries’ birth rate is from 49.9 (Congo) to 7.42 (Japan) where US birth rate stands at 14, higher than Germany, Greece and China. These birth rates show the link between poverty and the high birth rate is due to lack of education, health care, produced by lack of fair distribution of income, imperialists/zionists looting of the natural resources and human capital from Africa and Asia where have been educated in the developing countries but are forced to work in the developed counttries as cheap labor due to wide spread of WARS and unemployment created by the policy of the imperailsits/zionists, including sanctions, in the targeted countries.

    [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_sovereign_states_and_dependent_territories_by_birth_rate]

  18. bozh said on November 17th, 2010 at 12:10pm #

    hue
    “The consumption and destruction of the planet is not sustainable and it works with and separate from population”.
    this statement is not clear to me. consumption u tie in with destruction of planet.
    “consumption”, being generalized, cannot be understood. it wld be different if u spoke of eating meat, drinking coffee or milk, and the like, destroying or not destroying planet.
    u probably did not have in mind such consumption? but u left it up to us to guess what exact consumption wld destroy us.

    i noted ur first statement the first time i read it but let it go as i found it smwhat unclear.
    “similarities in positions” i don’t understand also. i think u mean that there are similarities in consumption between, say, an ugandan and an american. yes, of course; however, important differences as well.

    now with global warming, we cannot calculate how many people earth can sustain and adequately look after.
    the topic is simply premature and not just because of warming, but also warfare, threats of warfare, nuclear wars, unwillingness of world plutos to share with others, etcetc. tnx

  19. Hue Longer said on November 17th, 2010 at 12:51pm #

    Bozh,

    Yes, I meant beyond eating (but a lot goes into eating)

    I meant that DB and I agree here on the pressing problem being what he refers to as capitalist consumption (assuming of course he too is going beyond tea and milk)

  20. George said on November 17th, 2010 at 1:32pm #

    Yes indeed Shabnam, I’m astonished myself at the strange turn this thread has taken. Malthus? Why is he still around? But then again the ruling ideas of any one time are always the ideas of its ruling class and Malthus is indispensable to capitalism.

    I mean – isn’t it just a little curious how convenient the Malthus theory was to the capitalist system? The appalling state of the working classes in the “good old days” made some of the more sensitive rich feel a little uneasy, a little guilty. It may even have occurred to some of them to actually do something to help the poor.

    Not a good omen for the maximisation of profits, which demands a vast army of desperate drones. So along comes Malthus with the perfect solution – and one that even uses that very sense of compassion and turns it against itself. Malthus said: Don’t help the poor because you’ll actually make it worse for them! You’ll actually increase their misery! Curiously enough Malthus didn’t recommend birth control. After all limiting the number of starving poor would result in less of an incentive for the working ones to put up with any conditions going. Capitalism required desperate slaves and Malthus supplied the moral justification for it.

    As for arguing about global warming – well it’s clear there is an information war going on here. And what is the regular Joe or Josephine to make of it all? Let me refer to a prior concern. At the beginning of David Edwards’ “The Compassionate Revolution” there is an unforgettable quote from John Grasser, vice president of the US Mining Association and member of Global Climate Coalition:

    “We think we have raised enough questions among the American public to prevent any numbers, targets or timetables to achieve reductions in gas emissions being agreed here…What we are doing, and we think successfully, is buying time for our industries by holding up these talks.”

    So there it is. Over and above the issue of whether there really is global warming or, if there is, what is really causing it, there is another issue: the hundred corporations represented by the Global Climate Coalition are determined to muddy the waters as much as possible for the sole purpose of buying time to maximise profits. And we can be sure they have no end of propagandist puppets to do their dirty work. As with Malthus so with Durkin.

  21. Don Hawkins said on November 18th, 2010 at 3:08am #

    Doing just a little digging this morning and you would
    think Jews, Muslims, Christians praying for rain in West Bank could get 15 seconds on the new’s here in USA USA USA.

    One expert estimates that the city of Beijing’s water use alone grew by 150 percent in the last decade.
    The looming specter of climate change has also pushed water resources to the brink as steadily melting glaciers in the mountains and drought like conditions throughout the country earlier this year forced farmers to rely even more heavily on underground water stocks.
    In some farming regions, farmers reportedly had to drill hundreds of yards underground to reach freshwater. Water tables across the board have subsequently dropped, with one estimate suggesting that between 1974 and 2000, underground water tables dropped a yard a year. NBC

    Jews, Muslims, Christians pray for rain in West Bank

    A five year drought motivated a rare interfaith prayer service yesterday in Al-Walajah, a Palestinian village between Jerusalem and Bethlehem in the West Bank, also part of Israel’s Jerusalem municipality. The Media Line – a news service in the Middle East – set the context:

    The rainy season should have begun over a month ago, but the skies remain blue on this November afternoon. In a land that has seen much bloodshed and no few miracles, these devout believe that now more than ever is the time for divine intervention.

    Rabbi Menachem Froman – one of the clerics at the service – told The Media Line: “According to our traditions, the Jewish and the Islam, rain is due to the deeds of man and if we make any step of peace between us, perhaps that will open the treasures of the skies and rain will fall ”

    Back in July, the Jerusalem Post reported the drought had depleted Israel’s water supply by 25%. Washington Post

    Happens all the time been going on for heck a billion years, wrong.

  22. Don Hawkins said on November 18th, 2010 at 3:46am #

    The comment above from George; determined to muddy the waters as much as possible for the sole purpose of buying time to maximise profits. And we can be sure they have no end of propagandist puppets to do their dirty work.

    I really do like semicolons heck say anything you want after one anyway maximize profits yes and in order to do that must an unwritten rule think short term. On Wall Street it’s now done in nano seconds, 1 second = 1 000 000 000 nanoseconds. Let’s see how does that go?

    All the world’s a stage,
    And all the men and women merely players;
    They have their exits and their entrances

    In the States the media you know CNN, even Fox New’s and on and on bit players if you want to see the real players watch the financial channels CNBC, Fox Business, Bloomberg all pretty much the same. Talk about propagandist puppets to do their dirty work you will see them there in there fancy clothes. Where do you think the other new’s organizations get there marching orders sorry talking point’s. I guess I shouldn’t write this as these people are so arrogant if they read this there first thought’s probably bad is good think of the ratings market share. Just on the off chance in a mad world only the mad are sane right there and yes boring sometimes I think they do it on purpose and when there lip’s start moving we can be sure of one thing. I like the new thing replace the Fed with a supercomputer. Hal open the door Hal, sorry Dave can’t do that.

  23. Don Hawkins said on November 18th, 2010 at 7:05am #

    I watched CNN and CNBC much taking point’s GM. Now for some strange reason they kind of didn’t mention what I put below. Yes by all means GM keep selling car’s and truck’s with internal combustion engines to China then tell everybody well we will have electric cars in twenty years. Of course do the same thing here in the States and heck very soon a gallon of gas will only be about $11 dollars yes we all will live happily ever after and the shortest economic recover on record maybe short term thinking and no gut’s no glory and no planet that can sustain life.

    Something like this has not happened since the creation of General Motors in 1908 by William C Durant: In 2010, China will officially become the first market of the manufacturer in Detroit, surpassing for the first time, the U.S. market. “This year, GM will sell 2.3 million vehicles in the Chinese market and will have a market share of 13.5%, well above the volume of registrations from the U.S.,” said Kevin Wale, GM Chairman and CEO of the subsidiary in China. Metrolic

  24. mary said on November 19th, 2010 at 7:21am #

    Tim Holmes on Durkin – The Great Martin Durkin Swindle
    http://www.newleftproject.org/index.php/site/article_comments/the_great_martin_durkin_swindle/