Showing posts from May 16, 2010

Small is Beautiful

About 35 years ago, a man called Ernst Schumacher wrote a book entitled the same as the title of this post. Despite his name, he had become 'English' in every sense, and had been a very successful executive in the British Coal Board decades earlier. I was fortunate to hear a talk given by him in London, just prior to his death around 1976/77.

In my view, the man should be recognised as a prophet. In his well-written book he described how necessary it was (for the sake of man's well-being as much as anything) to downsize our approach to everything, that it was not necessary to plot solutions to technological problems on a huge scale. He illustrated how 'big' solutions for under-developed countries often ended in failure. But he went beyond that, he pointed out the need for people to be involved in what they're employed by - to have a 'say' in their collective welfare; the aplication of the 'commonwealth' or 'cooperative' principle.


The Big View

I have been writing a lot about the UK election, and as it's a fresh issue that helps to account for it; it would probably be not right for me to sound out-of-touch with current events!

But, today, let's step back a little and think of the global situation and the UK's recent events in the light of that.

What's recently happened in Greece and is possibly impending in Portugal and Spain, and much further away - in Thailand and parts of Africa - is probably only a glimmer of the stark realities of where modern culture has taken us. Despite our withdrawal as a country of Empire so many years ago now, there has ever since been a continuation of the theme of the main western countries taking a colonial approach in far-away territories. The west has always tried to make out to our distant friends that there is something superior about our way of life of TVs, cars and associated gimmicks, and now that eastern countries are better able to produce those commodities, we feel hur…

Expenditure Cuts ... Any Harm?

Cameron has said that £6bn. must be saved from the government's expenditure this year. He says "from wastage". Well, if that is the case, all well and good ... but who is going to judge what is wastage? If it's a case of too much being spent on office luxury in the civil service, well fine - but I feel that this is typical of an old Tory trick to cut expenditures on areas where it can see no benefit for the middle and upper classes. And I use the word "classes" advisedly ... we have moved into another type of class society; we cannot seem to get away from those who "have" and those who "haven't" and - importantly and sadly - a big divide separating them.

The concern is that expenditures provided by the outgoing government were already beginning to bring about the Big Society espoused by Cameron. Volunteer efforts combined with government expertise were beginning to take hold. But will the cuts start to affect those efforts? ... If th…

An Inner Perspective on Politics

For the past week I have been harping on about UK politics and politicians and a sense of betrayal in a section of the electorate at least. But perhaps we should look at the way out from our dubious political convictions from a different perspective.

To start with, it would be probably obvious to state that a voter's political opinion is guided by his own material condition. For example, the student might be guided to a vote by the 'promise' of no severe policy on the repayment of his student loan, or the banker who does not want controls placed on his ability to 'earn' as much as he can get.

But what has that approach brought us this time? Stalemate. Surely, what we have obtained is the result of our own selfish ambitions, and our ambitions have proved to be at odds with our neighbour's.

We need to be honest with ourselves and admit that our selfishness is the cause of our misery. Yet, within each one of us is the innocence that we were born with - a simplicit…