The Republicans are needed but…

The Republicans are cautious. And that’s needed. (Some would called them conservative with a negative spin, others would do so with a positive mind.) But they could be so conservative that they slip into a hypermetropia, and so miss the possible fact that they might ‘throw out the baby with the bath water.’

The Brexit is not reality until implemented

It has been a week since the history making vote by the UK to leave the EU. Going by all the buzz in the media, it would almost seem that the UK had left the EU already. Obviously not the case. Not yet, if at all.

Everything is getting hyped; hype being a specialty of the British. It’s as though the world would end for the UK if they left. Not so. There’s uncertainty, sure. But, so what?

Scotland asserted itself, being almost unanimous by local district and regional count, but their numbers were overwhelmed by those of the land of the Angles.
Scotland (their leader(s)) threatened some sort of breakup or separation, I hear. Again, so what? It forces England to look beyond oil? And while size matters, it isn’t everything.

The thing is, England has also asserted itself. And they have a queen.

London, being ‘extremely’ international voted to stay; not surprising. She got her current status from the historical Romans who had successfully unified Europe (for a while) and whose name for her still stands.

Let’s see how the politics will play out in this battle of the blocks.

Soon after the results were announced, the British Pound (GBP) lost a lot of its value, and there was a lot of upset in the stock market. But we know that stock prices do not measure the real value of their corresponding companies exactly. So any associated hype in/by the markets should be taken with a spoon of informed salt. (Now might be a good time to buy ‘great stocks’ for cheaps. Those who play the market well could make a killing.)

Granted that it might be that the UK’s trade with European countries would be affected (positively or negatively), but they all have two years to adjust at least. So why the suddenness in the market crash? Invisible hands perhaps. Algorithms, maybe.

And really, I think, the GBP going down in relative value to the Dollar, is just the GBP going closer to its true value. Its been kept artificially high for way too long. And the importers loved it so.

So what if the UK breaks up? Would there be irreparable losses? That’s one question for the hype machine against leaving. For the hype machine that supports leaving, if your motivations go much beyond reasonable concerns about sovereignty, the loss of identity, and tangible economic benefits, then you might fall guilty of some sins in the future.

Imprisonment, Human Rights, and Justice

That the punishments of imprisonment prescribed by justice amount to the deprivation of the guilty party’s fundamental human rights points to one definition for punishment: the treatment of an individual with less dignity than meets man. Saying in some way, that the crime for which the guilty was found guilty, is characteristic of a lack respect for the dignity and fundamental human rights of others. Therefore the guilty ought also suffer a loss of dignity, freedoms, and/or possessions for justice to be done. Not exactly ‘an eye for an eye,’ but, not unreasonable, and not insufficient in measure.

The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) 2010 implicitly acknowledges that imprisonment based on ‘civilised’ justice and a fair trial is not torturous, is not inhuman, and is not degrading. if imprisonment is inherently non of these then one can ask how it is a punishment at all. Therefore there lies an apparent contradiction with article three of section one (Prohibition of torture): No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. And because it carries an absolute sense, and embodies the spirit of the entire document.

Prisoners are a people under captivity, and those in solitary confinement are as under house arrest. So imprisonment, by nature, is at the very least, degrading to the dignity inherent in man. A man’s freedom of movement and his privacy are severely restricted. Additionally, human beings are put in cages and may even fed as animals in a zoo. And depending on the individual psychology or choice of the prisoner, it may be properly torturous.

Rephrasing the article three: it says that just punishments, including incarceration and detention, should not be torturous, inhuman, or degrading. But Punishments typically have elements of torture, are an act in degradation, and might be inhumane. So the question, in terms of human rights, if punishments are just, cannot be fundamentally of torture … . Rather, it should be more about whether a punishment and its severity are just and warranted; whether the practice or act of it meets the purpose of it, without reducing the effectors to sadists or mere barbarians.

One may thus actually say that the article three gives no room to imprisonment, thereby going against certain conditions in articles four and five that permit them. And maybe also, it goes against the laws of a country to which it applies. (I’m thinking of Norway and the Anders Behring Breivik human rights case.) It says that imprisonments are illegal and should therefore be abolished.

Hence, for instance, if Anders Breivik must be punished having his ‘fundamental rights’ violated, he should be freed instead. The notion that breaking one law means that the whole law has been broken applies here. If one right is broken, then all is broken. It is therefore false to seek to implement some rights while permitting others to be denied. Should all prisoners be freed and should the ECHR 2010 document be voided?

Finally, if punishments by imprisonment is a true necessity for justice, the thought of the possibility of infringing on any fundamental human rights specified in the ECHR 2010 should not arise. There should be no statement in it absolutely prohibiting imprisonment directly or indirectly. Perhaps the article three should be rethought, expanded, or rephrased. Where do we start if what it says now is fundamental to everything we mean to uphold absolutely?

The Justice of Miracles

Miracles come for Justice;
Justice answers the call of Law.
Law exists to define the Ideal;
The Ideal is for (our) Peace.

And Peace;
It is the Truth that we seek.
There’s the peace of excitement, joy, and laughter.
And there’s that of wholeness, calm, and quiet.

But our peace must follow the ideal,
And the ideal be according to law.
The law that gives reason to justice,
So that miracles respond to effect it.

Procrastination is Laziness Too …

Procrastination, I’ve been told, is characteristic of extreme perfectionism (resulting in disgruntled perfectionists), low self-esteem, fear of success, and a fear of failure. One other fear needs mentioning, and that is laziness. Procrastination is a laziness because it is diametrically opposed to diligence.

All the above stated ‘roots’ of procrastination have the common thread named fear. So that the following quote might be appropriate: “… who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” [Hebrews 2:15]

So we can say what laziness leads to by rephrasing the above quote to, ‘through laziness were all their lifetime subject to bondage.’

That probably answers a few questions.

Cheers

Sustaining the Welfare State

The three pillars of every social welfare system, arguably, are health, education, and productivity support. A prioritisation becomes necessary where required resources are, or will be limited: we say health above formal education and both these above productivity support.

Formal education, ideally, itself, promotes productivity; while health is a necessity for both. Health is important because life is for the living to live healthy, and good health supports survival. Education is useful to promote enlightenment: the basis of civilised and healthy living, reasonable frugality, peace and order. Productivity support provides a humanitarian oriented survival line for individuals who lack the basic resources of food, clothing, and shelter in such a way as to help reduce their need for the same support.

A simple financial inequation for a sustainable welfare system:

(IPY – SAS – YOC) > (0.8*RMW)*(WEP) + FED + MIC

IPY = Income from previous year
SAS = Strategic annual savings for reserves (say, 20% of IPY)
YOC = Contribution from 0.8*IPY to current (non-welfare) operations and capital budget
RMW = Reasonable minimum wage per year
WEP = Estimated welfare eligible population for income support
FED = Computed annual cost of free public education through high school
MIC = Medical insurance support cost estimate for WEP

Obviously, it proposes that the current budget be funded from the previous year’s income, and promotes the elimination (or reduction) of deficits. A useful way to use the inequation is to observe and pursue fulfilling the demand it places on the management of the nation to ensure that the left-hand-side is maximised, and the right side minimised. Notable, reducing the WEP increases the value of the right-hand-side. And a well design education system might reduce the MIC. The devil is in the details, so what this translates to practically has to be worked out.

The RMW should be able to support local transportation to/from work, reasonable portions of home cooked meals of reasonable cost, basic shelter and clothing and the ability to save 10% of what is left after these basic expenses.

If a nation’s economy does not support delivering 80% RMW as minimum wage (allowing for a bearable 20% stress due to inflation or other factors) then its economy is imbalanced to the degree that it doesn’t sustainably support the RMW.

The foremost aim of the strategic annual savings is to develop a national reserve that can support continued operations for seven years without any other income. It is essentially an emergency reserve that may be used to bring financial relief during force majeure and major economic structural adjustments. A portion of it may be used for strictly capital projects.

Issues with the above inequation include that its terms are dynamic, and estimating the values of the terms on the right-hand-side might be challenging if not problematic. In order to alleviate this, at the most, half of the previous years SAS my be used to support deficits due to incorrect estimation. This, though, places an upper limit on uncertainty-based errors.

From this, with a view towards sustainability, and given global competition and a finitude of national income and resources, we surmise that the basic objective of the welfare state may best be defined thus: to eliminate or minimise the need for the welfare it provides. A complex problem that appears harder with higher population size, but also alleviated by cultural norms of mutual sustenance within familial groups.

The Unknown Soldier

The inscription on the tomb of the unknown soldier in Tel Aviv, Israel:

Here lies Abraham Schwartz
Died 1973 During Arab-Israeli War
A good Soldier and Jeweller

It seems like a contradiction: he was the unknown soldier, yet known as a jeweller. The inscription on his tomb, like a paradox as of the noble-servant, speaks to two truths back to back as the sides of a coin.

Every soldier has a name, he/she was born somewhere, and grew into their identity. People and human like everybody else, their noble calling and the calling of the kings makes them figures of a chess board.

Arbitrary.
Unknown.
Figures.
Like the regular citizen to civil servants and senators.
And on edge; characteristic of their membership.

Maybe it’s just a job. But we know that it isn’t just any job.

Specially, they are worthy of national honour. (We may interpret this as tax exemptions, free education, guaranteed pensions etc.) Because they have the kingly call to heed the call of the kings, to life or death, they who stand for their nation as them also.

Life in the military makes one the sacred property of the government, and by extension their people. The person, the tomb, and the inscription tells a story succinctly: one aspect of membership of the military in the midst of conflict, particularly.

This is the season of the armed forces remembrance day in Nigeria. In this season, let us remember the sacrifice that is the military, the sacrifices that it is for their families, and purpose again to remember always to show honour and kindness to them as persons and a group.

When It’s Better To Owe A Thousand People And Not Just One

If you have many small credits, no single creditor can make a significant demand.

We know that the borrower is subject to the lender. That’s natural law. It thus seems better to owe a thousand people one Naira each than to owe one person a thousand Naira. Because if at all a creditor would make a significant demand, particularly in a near default, they’d have to negotiate with the others to make headway. If you owe a single country, then you might have created a threat to you national security. Because there’s no one else to help reduce their negotiating power.

Banks owe very many people; people not likely to make demands at the same time; people who will not demand all that they’re owed.

This is what it comes down to: negotiating power. However if the can all agree, you would still have likely bought yourself some time (during their negotiating period). It might be terrible short though, but there’s always that chance (and hope) that they would argue and squabble for a ‘long’ time, giving you some room to breathe.

If you find out that you owe too much to one country, diversify. Many normal companies try to diversify their product portfolio as in insurance measure. Diversify your debt portfolio such that one single country cannot try to claim your land without another crying foul.

This might be good news for China if the US can (or if they will ‘let’ the US) pull it off, because they can rid themselves of some of the, maybe, toxic debt stock they hold. On the other hand, it means China buys more from the US than they sell to them.

How is that going to happen?

It is possible, but I doubt that China would sit idly by.

What can other countries do?

Buy from others even though it might me more expensive. In the long run, you might actually save your country from its inability to not import certain goods and/or improve her overall balance of payments.

We sometimes do this at a micro level, buying from someone/somewhere for the emotional value of doing so when we had an equally easy option of buying the same thing cheaper from another.

PS:
In a popular Mafia, crime boss, loan shark scenario, what is the likelihood that one of the creditors would count their losses and ‘kill’ the debtor? Will the others sit by and let someone kill the hope of the return of their monies and get away with it?