Novelist. Author of APSARAS and tales from the beautiful Saigh Valley. First person to quantify spiritual values.

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Friday 27 January 2012

Cash in hand?

A senior taxman has said that paying workmen in cash, avoiding VAT and income tax was in effect diddling the state and taxpayers.
Have you thought, this could all be avoided if the ordinary man in the street didn't have to pay income taxes and the State's spending money was raised by other means? With no income tax to be collected it would free business people from the need to make PAYE returns, saving them money and giving them more time to concentrate on their businesses.
How would the state collect money? By extending VAT to cover everything at the moment exempted, including food. It could be rated at a lower level than the current twenty percent. Because people are able to keep all the money they earn, a very satisfying prospect, they shouldn't complain about a rising cost of living, especially as everyone would now contibute to the tax burden. No one, except those on hunger strike, could avoid paying some tax since even the scroungers and cheats have to eat. Of course, some people should pay income tax. Those earning over one hundred thousand pounds a week should be taxed on their income as should those with houses worth more than one million pounds. Pensioners should be given special exemptions as should those with special means but the broad premise should be that those most fortunate should shoulder the greatest load. This should be adopted as a privilege with special awards being made to those that contribute most. Capital gains tax as unearned income should be taxed to the hilt to avoid speculative practice and stop the spiralling price of housing that leads to pernicious booms. Companies, especially banks, should be made to pay almost all profits as dividends to the shareholders, giving income to the owners and not increased share prices and the opportunity for unearned capital gains to the grasping chief executives.

Since I was very young we have seen a shift in the way people live and work. When they had children, women used to stay at home and look after the children while the man went to work to earn a salary sufficient to maintain a standard of living for the family. These days it is a necessity, not an option, that wives have to work just to make ends meet. Forgetting the sideline issues of women's rights, why is this so? I believe it is due to the fact that macro-economists believe that we need annual inflation of about two and a half percent. Why? I believe that the Governor of the Bank of England should try and maintain it at zero so as to preserve the value of money and property. With an increasing elderly population, the UK is rapidly impoverishing all those who have contributed to the Country with their hard work and their taxes, only to see it eroded by inflation. It's no good politicians arguing that it depends on overseas resources and interests. Those in charge are where they are NOT to feather their own nests, like some have recently done, but to protect their citizens from outside influences and make their lives easier and fairer. It's not only physical attack we worry about; financial duress is every bit as bad. Imagine if Ted Heath, say, had realised the problems to be faced if gas and oil ran out. It would not now be a problem if the country had invested in safe and clean nuclear energy and converted all vehicles to electric. The UK can provide its own food if their fisheries are better protected instead of handing them over to the Spanish to exploit and the same can be said for supporting UK farmers in the face of unfair EU subsidies.

Monday 23 January 2012

Can we run an economy without GREED?

Last week, I went on an excursion with a group called Club Taurino de Mojácar to Roquetas. It transpired that they had approached several restaurants about serving luncheon for about forty people and found many not willing to accept such a booking. Now one may think this would be a good booking for the restaurant; an opportunity to make some money on food and drink at a quiet time of the year. Not so, it seems and it may be down to the Spanish way of understanding life and that it does not come down to profit alone. What benefit does it give you to make a few euros but cost you in stress and staff unhappiness at having to deal with a large number of foreigners. Does life have to be one obsessive pursuit of profit?

In my primitive understanding of the 'Mud Hut Economy', MHE, a profit free economy makes sense if human beings live off the land in a symbiotic relationship, such as that followed by the Aborigines, where only what is needed for life is taken. If each family in a community kills only those animals it needs for food and clothing, collects only the fruit, nuts and herbs they need for a balanced diet, then at the end of the day, each family will be no better or worse off than any other family.
The system goes wrong when a member of the tribe kills more than he and his family can consume and at the end of the day has a surplus of unconsumed food, say. What are the implications?
a. Taking more resources than need be causes an imbalance in the eco-system such as that which befell the Mayans who cut down all the forests. Within five hundred years the civilization fell apart.
b. Excess resources can be sold for other commodities such as new buildings, alternative dietary items, employment of others, creating imbalance between the families. Suddenly they are not all equal.
c. Increased resources of all kinds attracts partners in a 'survival of the fittest'/loyalty to tradition dichotomy, causing unrest amongst the majority and generating amongst other traits, that of jealousy, distrust and hatred.
d. Employment of less successful hunter/gatherers leads to more plundering of resources followed by control of resources and the adoption of power.
This situation is akin to what we have today. A divergence in lifestyle from equality to one in which the greedy assume power to the extent they no longer have to hunt or gather. ie The basic human requirement of directly providing food, shelter etc and the satisfaction that brings is lost.

Can you think of any other consequences of greed in the Mud Hut Economy?

I appreciate that this is all simplistic but I believe it shows us some truths and this principal one of these is that greed, even in the guise of philanthropy or altruism, does motivate innovation and change but probably at the cost of community cohesion.
To return to the start of this article, to actually find, in this day and age, some business people who can say NO to profit, who already earn enough to feed, clothe and shelter their family and want for little extra, I find charming. There must be a better way! Perhaps this points the way.

Tuesday 10 January 2012

Iran on the move?

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran is visiting Venezuela and its rogue president Hugo Chavez. I wonder why? What have these countries in common besides having Presidents that harbour a hatred of the United States?
Could we soon see North Korean made rockets, carrying Iranian nuclear warheads located on the Venezuelan mainland. Ostensibly, according to any treaty, they would be there to defend the South Americans from attack by the United States but in reality they would be there as an insurance policy in the event of an Israeli attack on Iran.
The Shahab 4 rocket, either two or three stage could reach Florida from Venezuela. With this arrangement in place, the Iranians could tell the Americans that any attempt by them directly or by the Israelis to attack targets in Iran would trigger a response that would directly impinge on US territory. If successful, millions could be killed. They would, therefore, feel free to act with impunity in the Middle East.