Nations that Manipulate Tax Rules

The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg has rightly been accused of manipulating its tax rates to enable large multinationals like Amazon to avoid paying corporation tax on the profits that they make on business in the jurisdictions where they make the profits. The main architect of this is the gentleman who now heads the European Parliament, Mr Juncker, which shows that if you have enough front you can get away with almost anything. Continue reading

I did my job right

“I knew I did my job right” was the justification that Darren Wilson gave for shooting Michael Brown. From Officer Wilson’s account of what happened in Ferguson the incident was not straightforward. There is no point in pretending that it was a clear cut case of a policeman shooting an unarmed man, although in this case the policeman did shoot an unarmed man. There is no point in the British press pretending that America’s gun laws facilitated this crime which would not happen in Britain. With our strict gun controls a few years ago police did shoot from very close range five hollow point bullets into the head of John Charles de Menezes, a man innocent of any crime.

In the de Menezes case no police officer faced any charges; they too were doing their job right.

The defence of only doing one’s job is frequently used, by journalists intruding into matters they have no right to know, by police when killing innocent people, by Prime Ministers when declaring illegal wars. It provides these people, I suppose, with a degree of comfort that they were authorised to behave in the way that they have behaved and that authorisation came from their employer – the newspaper or television station, the head of the police or the democratic decision of the nation.

“I was only following orders” was the defence beloved of the war criminals tried at Nuremberg. “I did my job right” is the defence of a police officer who regards his job as being to follow procedures designed to protect and serve the public instead of protecting and serving the public. If the consequences of following procedures is that someone dies unnecessarily, then so be it..

 

Thirteen Years: that is a long time

Totalitarian regimes brook not dissent, ever. Democratically elected regimes also brook no dissent, but have to find ways do quashing dissent without appearing to infringe the rights of the dissenters. Shaker Aamer is a dissenter, it would seem, but I cannot say that he is, because his views have never been given a platform. Continue reading

Oil Prices Get Lower

Mr Putin, Leader of the Russian Federation has suggested that the fall in oil prices is due to American shale gas production. I doubt whether this is the sole factor, and no doubt Mr Putin would acknowledge other factors, such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria selling oil for only $30 a barrel and increased production in Libya, but as Mr Putin points out, if oil prices fall to less than $80 a barrel most shale gas production is uneconomic. Continue reading

Desire and Improvement

Most human activity is trade. People sell their labour and buy things. Trade is merely economic work.

Not all human activity is economic work. There are those who can spend a lifetime in prayer or contemplation, requiring simply food, water and shelter in order to continue living but here are others whose work is prayer and contemplation in lavish and luxurious surroundings, enjoying the pleasures of a palace while they petition their gods with prayer.

Economic work, if it is to be successful for the economic worker, involves the prediction of what humans actually desire to improve their lives, as they perceive it. Spiritual work has no measure of success and and involves the prediction of what humans should desire to actually improve their lives.

This is important, but its importance is also its impotence.

 

I Tried to Write Something

I tried to write Continue reading

The Green Climate Fund – Too Small to Make a Difference

You might have heard about the Green Climate Fund; thirty rich nations have promised to pay money into the fund in order to help developing countries affected by climate change cope with climate change by investing in “green” technology. Continue reading

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