Session 5 on Tuesday 4th February 2014 -notes

Time: 7pm to 9pm

Venue: Friends House, 173-177 Euston Road NW1 2BJ - on the ground floor in the corridor outside the cafe

Agenda

1. General discussion and catch up (20 minutes)

2. Set objectives for the session (10 mins)

3. Economics basics (40 mins)

4. Systems thinking for change (40 mins)

5. Measuring progress and setting next week's agenda - (10 mins)

Session 5 on Tuesday 4th February 2014 - notes

1. Brilliant Economics – series. Economic recovery – real or illusory. Feel good factor and to encourage a positive momentum in the economy. Manipulation of the gold price has undermined the integrity of a safe haven currency. Driving people to hold land. Emerging markets and currencies plummeting – Turkey interest rates hit 16%?

2. Need for self-reflection – be honest. Do we have a preconceived idea of what we want to achieve or are we working co-operatively to develop solutions. Not target setting but how to produce the change but need to choose direction. Takes time – not easily quantified. Producing paper is no measure of value. Progressive instincts supported by intellectual rigour. Exploring multiple levels of understanding. Diagnosis – investigation may be simple or complex. This is a complex problem – the more one studies, the more complex it becomes. But there is a growing imperative to act on prevention (of collapse and injustice).

3. Chapter 2 Progress and Poverty Concept of the seven fundamentals. Agree the firm foundations.

Tracing them to the operational levels. Interpretation of wages for example. Land operationally unfairly siphoned off be minorities. 

Land, Labour, Capital (means of production), Rent, Wages, Interest (incentive to produce), Wealth

Land = earth's potential and creative forces of nature

Knowledge = specific or general – combination of nature and interaction - where does it fit?

Labour

Capital = potential means of production - is not money

Interest = incentive for capital to produce – not on money

“If you use my knowledge, you will pay me for the use.” Free Software. Putting a recipe together in a particular way specific to an individual. Specific and general knowledge. Simple village, simple life. Make a cake and sell it but not the recipe. Has the right to keep it private/secret. Medicine to cure leprosy. Invent it, sell it or give it to the world. Measuring progress is not really applicable. Fix labels – expand definitions – map how they relate within the system. 

4. How can we interest more people in our analysis a change? – to expand resources. How to inject change into the system? Open source model working for change. Get people thinking about change. Freedom and impetus to make changes. No fixed knowledge. Flexibility. Computers similar to telecommunications and crossover. To communicate internationally demands protocols. ITU multiple groups developing standards. Open source standards. No analogy in politics. Political system is not open source – secrecy and spying.

GNU/Linux: four essential freedoms:

The freedom to run the program, for any purpose (freedom 0).

The freedom to study how the program works, and change it so it does your computing as you wish (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.

The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor (freedom 2).

The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others (freedom 3). By doing this you can give the whole community a chance to benefit from your changes. Access to the source code is a precondition for this.

Intellectual knowledge is of humans – human capital. Citizens income would make people more relaxed about co-operation. How to get this principle to work in our favour. Looking at the 7/8 elements from the common point of view. People will come to the realisation through self-interest. Antibiotics – immunity of disease – inequality – in India people don't complete the courses reducing the effectiveness of antibiotics. Over use to enhance tissue growth in farm animals, on boats for anti-fouling. Competitive v co-operative. Need psychologist input – human thought and behaviour. Group behaviour. Incentives and their effects. Behavioural economics – basics.

Next week:

1. Tube strike – ticket offices – overcrowding (20 mins)

2. Exploring psychology – Lacan revisiting Freud in contemporary times – Zizek how to read Lacan.

Behavioural economics

Future: Andy Conio - Savage Money

Session 4 on Tuesday 28th January 2014 - notes

Time: 7pm to 9pm

Venue: Friends House, 173-177 Euston Road NW1 2BJ - on the ground floor in the corridor outside the cafe

Agenda

1. General discussion and catch up (20 minutes)

2. Leverage points to wake people up (45 mins)

3. Creating alternative ideology (45 mins)

  • Steps get from here to there
  • The what and the why – how to induce change. 

4. Setting next week's agenda - (10 mins)

(Continuation of last week's discussions)

Session 4 -Tuesday 28th January 2014 – notes

1. GDP is a meaningless number. You can't control the economy through interest rates. Tax differentials on the poorest plus VAT. Not relevant to systemic issue which would resolve it.

2. When Corporations rule the world. Captive State. Water companies – charges increased to pay dividends – incentives. No account of the value created by customers through demand. Value captured by the few at the expense of the money. Countervailing logic – everybody must have water – it cannot be subject to market forces. Individuals making decisions under pressure of the overarching system. Private ownership of utilities? Individual wisdom can be manipulated – bribed, corrupted. Power mechanics. Prices going up because of private companies to pay increasing dividends. Definition of power - ability to do something on behalf of the interests of the majority. Captured land and resources making people pay. Current is economic warfare by the likes of water companies. Borrowing to gear up their returns and pay themselves and shareholders. Self reinforcing by the system. Privatised (conquered) land and resources. Power – undermine the policies which allow this. Efficiency is a product of management not ownership. The system only counts the financial profitability. King Alfred united England – to expand and consolidate power, has to go to war – necessity to tax the people. Same system today – tax the people to go to war. Microscheme which works as a small scale model which has been scaled across the society.

Psychology of these people – what made them change – want to acquire more or attack to eliminate potential threats. With more land, can get better standard of living attracting envy and conflict. Travelling the globe extending the model. With a democracy – the power to tax even more. Evolved to extract more and more. 

The what? Housing, Debt, NHS, Low wages – rising prices – common causes

Why? Not enough money. Power to propagate a lie. Power of the media. Ruling elites have the power to control the media. The power to amass huge wealth to buy institutions. George Soros had the wealth to control the Hungarian government. Ideology, the rich person has done a lot of good for society – needs to be undermined. Communist state – money removed but replaced by power of force claimed to be on behalf of the people. Russia? Tsar removal – power structure. Resources shared and continual reinvestment. Pyramid power structure – evolved and made bad decisions which destroyed what they created. Lack of common knowledge informing decisions. Ape groups common knowledge. How are countries governed. Do we need a government to run the country. Education to cope with complex social system. Breeding/educating leaders. Priesthood educated people into submission. Legislation, bursaries for children from poor families. Government recognised inequality of opportunity (education). Lord Wandsworth set up a school for poor children – beating the bounds – now a private college for the elite. Most of the private schools have been hijacked for the rich. Happened remotely because. Smaller communities. Mutual self interest – co-operation. Cellular power. This is what the rich have done by capturing the legislature, judiciary, and institutions. Garden cities (owned in common) – law changed post Thatcher to transfer ownership. Unlawful laws – disobey them, undermine them and show them as wrong.

Representative democracy – power structure key to remove the power of individuals to make decisions. Social elite in Soviet States. No unemployment in Soviet system – everyone had the base income. Production inefficient – need more workers. Elite buy off the majority – English elite always knew when they had to buy them off.

Creating alternative ideology – needs ot be based on objective reality. How does a community survive. Need to deal in fundamentals (7). Land, Labour, Capital, Rent, Wages, Interest (incentive to produce), Wealth. These hang together – trace connections to the faults in society. Housing, low wages, why is selling goods more valuable and making things. Making is easy – Distribution is the problem. There is not problem with production – need Citizens Income – people would have no problem getting what they need. 

Interest in this context is nothing to do with money.

Capital inert (other than robotics) – means of production (could include mathematics etc.)

Making the right things? Consumer economy. Vietnam – coffee. North “conquered” South – since unification to feed people – increased coffee production - on huge scale. Analogous to rice or cotton growing in Russia and China. Liberalisation allowed incentives into the system which created effective production making people richer but it's draining water at an unsustainable rate. Have to grow higher quality coffee. Coffee is fashion – brainwashed to increase consumption. Marketing coffee we don't really need. Vietnam should be growing food for self-sufficiency. Profits go to Nestle and few “oligarchs”. Super-system is driving it. Growth (in the accepted sense) cannot continue. Growth – distribution  of income is driven to produce. Job creation. Driver is interest compelling us to produce more. Why 15 Ferraris in Vietnam where there are no roads. Bob Seeger – activist folk singer – drop outs in the 1960s and 70s Harvard, Oxford. Feeling that there was something better. Movement to stop social sciences courses (Open Universities – road to Wigan pier) by Thatcher. People going back into East End and poorer areas to – bringing people together. Post war – power of the elites diminished. Relevance of basis income rewards voluntary simplicity. 

Forum to continue discussion. You need to be registered to participate in the forum. The relevant forum post is here: http://freecriticalthinking.org/smforum/index.php?topic=41.0

Session 3 on Tuesday 21st January 2014 - notes

Time: 7pm to 9pm

Venue: Friends House, 173-177 Euston Road NW1 2BJ - on the ground floor in the corridor outside the cafe

Agenda

1. General discussion and catch up (20 minutes)

2. Leverage points to wake people up (45 mins)

3. Creating alternative ideology (45 mins)

  • Steps get from here to there
  • The what and the why – how to induce change. 

4. Setting next week's agenda - (10 mins)

Session 3 on Tuesday 21st January 2014 – notes

1. Pubs company debate. Tied houses. Lobby group – The British Beer and Pub Association – lying to MPs and Select Committee. Lack of representation. Lobbying highlights a deficiency in the political system. Cheating is systemic. Landlords can't make a living honestly and so they have to cheat and Rob the customers. Corrupting influence across society. Sweeping income up to the top. Parliamentary vote – 311 no, 244 yes but prior to that there were only 20 people in the house.

2. Leverage points:

TTIP – NHS – taken for granted – charges; University fees – boiling frogs

Beer example – pubs

Passivity – in the face of democratic deficit – elections don't work. Central power – no checks and balance – lack of knowledge among minister. Leaders are corruptible.

Logical elements not operating in reality

Natural economic phenomena – interpretation – misinterpret the facts.

TTIP is a symptom

Employment – big business – less people to produce more.

Dispel ideology – challenge the facts which underpin ideology. Why the ideology exists. Can't address global warming – need to abdicate power to centralised power. Benefit those who hold.

High leverage points – power to detect deception. Why deception in ideology. Can create a lie with multiple truths.

Historical example: George Monbiot – Captive State – captive states. From the common people for the benefit of elites. Intelligent leach like systems attaching themselves to public institutions. Attacking the ideology of the Free Market. Adam Smith problems of the Free Market. Neo-liberalism is not a free market. Ideology tells you one thing but does the opposite. Based on of falsehood. Rendering reality. Fight wrong ideas with good ideas. In fact more jobs are created by small business. Proponents of the ideology are lying to themselves. Interpretation of the facts for selfish ends. Minorities are benefiting disproportionately.  Virtual reality. Importance of going from the highest to the lowest. Interpretation of reality. Create the illusion you cannot control the outcome. Interpreting the facts is not necessarily an illusion. One to many mechanics. Francois Hollande – ordinary person – elevated to President – dehumanise the human. Society creates a role for them. People are concerned about their own concerns. Introducing more sugar in food – strength of the sugar lobby. Slim low fat yoghurt no taste – fats replaced with sugar. Researchers paid by sugar lobby. Universities are now about power. Vice Chancellors – doubled their pay. Academics' wages declining. We believe big business bad. Reclaiming control. Dispel the inability to change. Why can't we do what they do. No representation. 

Creating effective ideology. Distributing power? How? We are imprisoned. 

Opportunists, Realists, Idealists, Radicals. Systems problem – is it still working. Why the group is not going anywhere. Passive / active – need to grouped together – different types. It is said “there is no such thing as truth”. Need a common purpose – defined by the common. Repression through history – be aware of globalisation – in the past people owned like cattle at a certain point. People are dispensable. There are many people to replacement. Knowledge is the means to empowerment. People off to fight in Syria – radicalised. There is a key. Radicalised for someone else's agenda. 

Continue next time. Power where it is and what is our power. Psychological element of the human being. Detection of deception? Optimistic? 

 

 

Session 2 on Tuesday 14th January 2014 - notes

Time: 7pm to 9pm

Venue: Friends House, 173-177 Euston Road NW1 2BJ - on the ground floor in the corridor outside the cafe

Agenda

1. General discussion and catch up (20 minutes)

2. Integrating the other modules into the systems thinking framework (45 mins)

3. Political Economy (45 mins)

  • Steps to achieve wider acceptance
  • Steps get from here to there
  • Creating alternative ideology

4. Setting next week's agenda - (10 mins)

Structure of the forum – Janos's plan to post Daily Pickings links in Forum under the appropriate module headings. 

Integrating the reality – using graphic to show how the modules illustrate the reality. Nature is supreme, Society operates within nature; Finance and Economy should serve the needs of Society and nature. Basic theorem of economics* Imaginary world and interacting with the real world. Cancer is bad – let's have no cancer. Causes: stress – GMO. Non-material things are also causes – beliefs. Climate change – rationale to reduce the number of people. Ideology has material consequences. Golden rice – vitamin enriched by GMO. Patent incentive to force the technology on people who don't need it. Swiss scientist - power to dictate to the world. Ideology driven. Thin end of the wedge. Patenting nature. Vitamin A deficiency fabricated to justify unnecessary/damaging  technology. Spices tumeric, ginger etc. beneficial.

How to change things – education. People can't think through consequences. Education – control. Incapable of making appropriate decisions. False claims of improving economy. Polls showing people perception of improvement. House prices up, inflation is down. Statistical manipulation. Property lease renewals – conversion of high street properties to residential? Higher costs and taxes versus reducing income. Increased bankruptcy. Share buy backs,  Corporate scale and Interest. Running out of tricks. Emerging market elites buying overseas assets. Goods and services. US no longer no 1 in goods; China no1. Britain no2 in services. Local markets don't count for much. Mobile money – capital flight. 

3. Political Economy (45 mins)

 Steps to achieve wider acceptance – Downing St – nudge unit – psychological warfare. Mind linked to the stomach – when there is no dinner – they will wake up. Tories don't want to win, because they pass the calamity to someone else. System has won by creating individuals with a bubble around them. Fragmentation – blinkered horses. How to take the blinkers away when they are a comfort in a hostile world. Young in their own bubble – their needs to be serviced first. Understanding ourselves – convince people to consider an alternative. Building to increase the amount of debt. No shortage of property. Big hassle to have a tenant. Physical means to induce change. Thinking not how to fix the system. Frank T – paper on change. Selling council houses 70% discount, subsidised interest rates, to lease back to council. 70% of council houses owned by private landlords. People buying houses with insufficient space, creating psychological problems. No personal space long term legacy. Concentration of wealth. No incentive in the political system to fix things. List of potential leverage points to change perceptions. Political system – economic system. Political economy – is nothing to do with party politics. Leverage points for the majority. One thing to have a solution, another is whether it is feasible. Is it feasible to wake them up? How do you make the horse thirsty? Why did we start exploring? Drama between the wars – red left wing drama in Britain – portraying the Russian experience. Censor – screening for material anti-monarchist sentiment. In the war – reversal to support the Russians as a people but not the system. Russian patriots fighting for their land. Government propaganda – suppression of Animal Farm. Story powerful. Hyde Park gallery – Christian Crusaders – puppet theatre. MacDonalds works for itself. 

The how may determine what needs to be changed. Physical reality based economics. Need to take account of the present.

Selling off all the assets. 

Janos's notes and schematic from the meeting

 Steps get from here to there

 Creating alternative ideology

List of leverage points to wake people up. 

Continue

 

The what and the why – how to induce change.