Yet another fine start – but we are all in it together

Leaders of the western world have explained to their electorates that when it comes to the credit crunch “we are all in this together”. Of course that is simply not true. When it comes to economic wealth and economic turbulence we are not all in it together. No one for a single moment believes that Mr Fred Goodwin, former Chief Executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland is really suffering as much as a family whose breadwinner has lost his or her job, or Continue reading

We pay members of Parliament to solve problems, not to smear people

Politics is a strange world and I do not understand it. Somewhat naively, I had believed what politicians told me when they said that they had entered politics for public service. These days you do see many poor politicians. I suppose that you may enter a job in order to serve and get a great deal of money for it. The two things are not directly inconsistent but they are bed mates that lie uneasy together. Continue reading

Carbon trading – should we bother with an Emissions Trading Scheme?

The European Commission thinks that a global market for trading carbon should be part of a way to tackle climate change and is working to create a worldwide carbon trading market. Climate change is so serious that we should welcome anything that we help reduce carbon dioxide emissions, but I have fears that global or indeed any market in carbon dioxide emissions will not help reduce emissions but will have the opposite effect. Continue reading

The philosophy of the credit crunch

Aristotle thought that humans are naturally designed to live together in communities. We are not loners by nature, he thought, but live most naturally cultures within communities which ought not to have more than 100,000 inhabitants. He lived at a time when Alexander the great was developing a massive empire with large cities, by conquest. The conquest made Alexander wealthy, but Aristotle thought that wealth is only a means to an end; the end is virtue. We cannot flourish, Aristotle thought, unless we are virtuous. These ideas developed over two thousand years ago, are still relevant today. Continue reading

Switching to renewables to improve the economy and save the world

The economy of the world is going through turbulent times. It is likely to recover quickly, and the recovery will last for several years, but even more difficult times will arrive. What I think will happen is this; the problems in the banking industry, almost wholly created by a combination of unsustainable greed and lack of proper regulation, will be fixed. There will be regulation to control the greed and that control will lead to a less speculative system in which bankers will not find it so easy to build personal wealth at the expense of the wistful savings of ordinary people.  Continue reading

Picturing climate change processes and understanding the puzzle

It can be hard to picture things of complexity. The old puzzles about how long it takes if three people dig a hole if A works twice as hard as B but C works 30% of more than A but  goes to have a cup of tea for half an hour etc, need (for most of us) pencil and paper to work out. Even then we often do not get the right answer We cannot easily visualise the processes that happen because they are rather complex. So it is with climate change and that is probably the reason why our leaders and most of us have such a relaxed attitude to it. Continue reading

Taking the long view, for banking and the environment

For the past few weeks the main problem that has been exercising governments has been dealing with the crisis of confidence and trust in the world wide banking system. It has been an immediate problem and one that had to be dealt with as a matter of urgency. It looks as though, now that the various governments around the world have put in place measures that will lead to a bettered ordered safer banking system. Continue reading