In my quest to find cures, rather than only dealing with palliatives, for the world’s problems, I have drawn on experiences arising from my 59 years of wearing a ‘dog-collar’. By participating in a Christian ministry, I grew to acquire several basic insights which I believe are of fundamental importance in charting a new course […]
The industrial phase of capitalism had to be challenged. In the 19th century, two humane doctrines emerged. One was social democracy. It sought to protect people who lived in poverty. In the 20th century, Europe tested that philosophy through the Welfare State. Now, after 70 years of that experiment, we know that it has failed […]
When the IMF and the OECD concede that the global economy is out of control, we know our world is in serious trouble. The economic crisis is compounded by political paralysis. A new paradigm, or world-view, is needed. Britain now has the historic opportunity to take the lead in charting a new pathway into the future as it negotiates its exit from the European Union.
The terrible atrocities being inflicted on the citizens of France are said to stem, in part, from the failure to integrate Muslim migrants into society. There is a more general explanation, however. At its heart, France is an intrinsically unstable state. Understanding the cause of the instability could lead to the improvement of governance in […]
Some questions ought to be admissible at all times in an open society. Humans are an inquisitive animal: in evolutionary terms, it is what got us from there to here. But there are two categories of questions. The awkward questions point us in the direction of qualitative change, of evolutionary progress. And then there are the pointless questions, the ones we ask when we do not really want to know the answers. Those questions are camouflage, to deceive ourselves while pretending that we really do want to act constructively, when that is the last thing we actually want to do.
There is an almost universal belief by farmers that high land prices are beneficial to farming. I contend that high land prices are a curse on farming. I do not deny that some landowning farmers become very rich from high prices, but only when they sell. Most of them make more money from selling their farms than they did throughout the time they were farming. There is a clear distinction between what is beneficial to a few farmers and what might be beneficial to farming in general and especially to those who want to farm but have no land.
Civil wars sometimes fade away from exhaustion and sometimes they end through a peace agreement. The bloodletting in Bosnia in the early 1990s ended with the Dayton Accords of 1995. Nobody heard much about Bosnia thereafter until February of 2014 when widespread protests erupted across the country. It quickly became clear to outside observers that the armed conflict of twenty years ago had continued in the form of economic warfare against the citizens of Bosnia.
Politicians cannot be trusted: they do not keep their promises. That mantra is deployed to justify the apathy displayed at times of general elections. But the corrosive effect of that popular assessment is once again driving the rise of extremist political parties in Europe. The deep-seated cynicism is understandable, but it is corroding the foundations of the democratic process. What makes this crisis tragic is that both the voting public and the politicians seeking a mandate to govern are victims of a willful blindness in the theory of economics.
Prince Charles believes that he has a clear vision for his future kingdom. He has certainly mastered the pop mantras, such as: sustainability, human scale communities, respect for people of all faiths. But there is a flaw in his thinking: he wants to tag his vision onto the culture of greed. The physical embodiment of his hybrid community is annexed to Dumfries House in Scotland.
Ideas are windows through which a mind sees. But an idea can be obscured. We easily confuse the finger marks on the misted pane with the reality beyond. So it is with the idea of “the value of land”. Clearly understood, it reveals a remarkable world. While there are those who would like us not to see that world, it is mostly lost because of a habit of thinking and speaking that has been insufficiently challenged. There is also a horror that for thousands of years has run around the world causing mayhem and suffering. It began with the first pre-neolithic claims by the powerful to personal dominion over the greatest resource, primary for all living things – land. It has run through the endless violent conquests every people experienced, through to the modern Enclosures, the planting of the American flag on the moon, and on to the present time, of miners, loggers, and landless poor driving to death the last tribes in the Amazon rain forest.