Saturday, May 31, 2008
Friday, May 30, 2008
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Damage to forests, rivers, marine life and other aspects of nature could halve living standards for the world's poor, a major report is to conclude.
G8 environment ministers meeting in Japan last weekend agreed a document noting that "biodiversity is the basis of human security and... the loss of biodiversity exacerbates inequality and instability in human society". But the main CBD target agreed by all signatories at the Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit in 1992 - to "halt and begin to reverse" biodiversity loss by 2010 - is very unlikely to be met.
Monday, May 26, 2008
Once again trade unions are recognising the global effects of the employers and are re-organising appropriately .
The Finiancial Times reports a historic alliance between Unite, Britain's biggest trade union, and the almost 1m-strong United Steelworkers union in North America is about to create the first transatlantic union, with more than 2.5m working members.
The move is designed to provide greater protection for workers whose jobs are threatened by the spread of global capitalism. The UK and US partners hope unions from other countries will join the alliance, increasing its strength.
Amicus had previously signed co-operation deals with USW and the International Association of Machinists in the US, and the IG Metall union in Germany, while the T&G had forged working relationships in the US with the Teamsters and SEIU, the services sector union.
Previous examples of cross-border union co-operation include T&G's support for the Teamsters' campaign against FirstGroup, the UK-based bus and train operator accused of frustrating attempts by unions to organise workers at its expanding US business.
"One of the main reasons for the merger between Amicus and the T&G was our desire to create an international trade union that would be able to deal with multinational companies on an equal footing and organise working people in even greater numbers," said Derek Simpson, Unite's joint general secretary last year."Multinational companies are pushing down wages and conditions for workers the world over by playing one national workforce off against another. The only beneficiaries of globalisation are the exploiters of working people and the only way working people can resist this is to organise and band together."
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Never mind . Royal Mail's boss has been rewarded for his efficiency ...at least according to Royal Mail bosses .
Chief executive Adam Crozier earned more than £3m last year.
Mr Crozier got just over £1m in pay and pensions, plus a bonus of almost £2m.
Royal Mail said Mr Crozier had exceeded expectations and met all the targets set for him.
Losses for 2007 had widened to £279m, compared with a loss of £10m a year earlier.Its stamped letters business made a loss for the first time in the last financial year.
2,500 post offices were being closed to save money
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Friday, May 23, 2008
Thursday, May 22, 2008
A 30-year-old Toyota worker who collapsed at one of its plants had died of overwork.
It emerged that the man had worked 106 hours of overtime in his final month, most of it unpaid.
Unions say that companies generally see working unpaid overtime as a sign of loyalty. Toyota has a reputation for using employees' ideas to improve production methods and efficiency and reduce costs.
And they dare call workers lazy
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Monday, May 19, 2008
"From my point of view commercial resources in classrooms - Shell's introduction to the oil industry, Coke machines in schools - there's a continuum from there to commercial companies that provide school meals, to commercial companies being involved in education on all sorts of levels including management...Carphone Warehouse, Microsoft, Dixons and Granada Learning are all running academies. The schools minister, Lord Adonis, has said that every school should be in partnership with a business, and the government is promoting trust schools, which see businesses helping to run and advise schools.
Buckingham said the links went further than academies. Firms were increasingly sponsoring school sport, music classes and homework clubs, in what amounted to "privatising" state schools, he said...Buckingham said there was convincing evidence that the amount of marketing to children was intensifying and it was happening at a younger age.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
(Financial Times, 8 May) RD
"No other supercar catches onlookers off-guard as seductively as a Ferrari, finds Polly Vernon. Ferrari F430 Spider F1 - £137,852." (Page 74)
(Observer Magazine, 11 May) RD
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Friday, May 16, 2008
"There is growing concern that the Health and Safety Executive is failing at its job as it struggles with a growing number of workplace deaths. The HSE has reduced the number of its inspectors by around 25 per cent in five years from 916 to 680. Firms on average face an HSE inspection just once every 14.5 years. ... Last year 77 construction workers died, up from 60 in 2006." (Observer, 11 May)
Last year the HSE under spent its budget by £12 million, so from the standpoint of profit and loss what are 77 grieving families? RD
Thursday, May 15, 2008
"Along with creeping monopolies, growing inequalities and the all-absorbing momentum of the capitalist markets, Marx foresaw many of the effects of globalisation, which he called "the universal interdependence of nations", not least the effect of an international "reserve army of the unemployed" in disciplining and depressing the wages of workers in the developed economies. His description of the "cash nexus" foreshadowed the economic rationality at the centre of today's mainstream economic and management theories." (Observer, 11 May) RD
This process called by Karl Marx the so-called primitive accumulation of capital was dealt with him in his Das Kapital (1867), mirrors what had happened in Europe at the beginning of capitalism. "In actual history it is notorious that conquest, murder, briefly force, play the great part ...As a matter of fact, the methods of primitive accumulation are anything but idyllic." (Page 668) A view echoed by one of the Indians in the Times - "The whites are violent. They just want land. We are afraid of them, they are very aggressive." RD
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
(Daily Mail, 1 May) RD
Monday, May 12, 2008
(Observer, 11 May)
Inside capitalism business is business, and the fact that millions of Burmese risk death by starvation is of no concern. That is how capitalism operates, during the Irish potato famines foodstuffs were still being exported from Ireland. RD
Sunday, May 11, 2008
The Independent on Sunday can reveal. And speculation is helping to drive the prices of basic foodstuffs out of the reach of the hungry." (4 May) RD
Saturday, May 10, 2008
This hidden god may well be evident to the well fed Archbishop but he remains well hidden to the millions of starving children throughout the world. RD
(BBC News, 9 May) RD
Friday, May 09, 2008
The NHS is provided for members of the working class. They are the class that produce all the wealth of the world but being poor can ill afford the best of housing, food or even medical care. Dignity for the only worthwhile class in society is a foreign concept. RD
Thursday, May 08, 2008
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
The UN can issue all sorts of pious resolutions, but if is more profitable to produce bio-fuels than food, then that is what capitalism will do. RD
Monday, May 05, 2008
"Genetic modification actually cuts the productivity of crops, an authoritative new study shows, undermining, repeated claims that a switch to the controversial technology is needed to solve the growing world food crisis. The study – carried out over the past three years at the University of Kansas in the US grain belt – has found that GM soya produces about 10 per cent less food than its conventional equivalent, contradicting assertions by advocates of the technology that it increases yields. ...The new study confirms earlier research at the University of Nebraska, which found that another Monsanto GM soya produced 6 per cent less than its closest conventional relative, and 11 per cent less than the best non-GM soya available." (Independent, 20 April)
Despite the claims of capitalist firms like Monsanto, GM crops are not the answer. Why do they make such claims? To them profits is the main consideration, not science. RD
Sunday, May 04, 2008
One of the world's most expensive homes is currently being built in Mumbai for Reliance head Mukesh Ambani. His personal skyscraper will boast six storeys just for parking cars, and is expected to cost nearly $2 billion by the time it is complete.
Nick Candy, one half of the design and development firm Candy & Candy, is in Mumbai to drum up interest for his own super-luxury project, One Hyde Park. The central London project is offering apartments - to the right kind of customer - for an average of £20m. Mr Candy is a man used to dealing with the fabulously rich. But he says, "I'm flabbergasted by the amount of wealth in India. It's staggering."
Candy & Candy specialises in strictly top-end property. Its customer base is a roll-call of the super rich: royals, entrepreneurs, private company bosses. It's now looking to open an office in India. India now has more billionaires than any other country in Asia - 36 at the last count. Together they are worth nearly $200bn. India's top three richest people are all successful businessmen, but have made their money in old-economy industries, such as oil and property.
And while they have thrived in India's new economy, they have all built their wealth on fortunes inherited from their parents.
Many of those super-rich are now keen to invest their wealth around the globe. But why would Indian investors want to put money into London's property market now the boom is over?
"It's going to be very tough in America, and I think the UK will probably mirror it six months later," admits Mr Candy. But, he says, this applies only to properties under £2m where buyers need to borrow the money. There, you can expect "serious reductions in prices", according to Mr Candy - "and you're looking at a lot more than 10%." For top-end property - costing more than £5m - he thinks prices will be stable. There are not many people who can afford that level of luxury - and in London, there are still very few properties for them to buy.
Besides, says Mr Candy, "they've still got huge amounts of wealth. Maybe it's come down from $1bn to $500m - or if they've been very unlucky, it's $50m. But it's still huge amounts of wealth."
And of course they are the economic migrants that the government want .
The Blairs' property portfolio already includes two houses in London, two flats in Bristol and a home at Trimdon Colliery, Co Durham, in his former constituency.
Seems as if he has no problem with the credit crunch that his pay-masters in the banking world created .
Saturday, May 03, 2008
It is reported that Building Societies are now only lending to one in 10 would-be homeowners, compared with a traditional level of almost one in five. A 68% decline means that building societies are scaling back lending as a result of the credit crunch even more severely than major mortgage bank rivals, such as Halifax and Cheltenham & Gloucester.
And for those workers lucky to have a house , prices in the UK are dropping by almost £500 every week . The Halifax said the average home price has fallen £8,136 since the start of the year reaching £189,027 - a fall of £479 a week. Two other surveys - from the Nationwide and Hometrack - also said it was the first time since the mid-1990s that house prices were down year-on-year.
Seema Shah, economist at Capital Economics, said: "The last time we saw two such large falls in consecutive months was during the depths of the housing market crash of the early 1990s, and even those falls fell short of the declines seen in the past two months...With the economy and labour market set to weaken further, our forecast for a 20% fall in house prices by end-2009 is firmly on track,"
Under capitalism , workers just can't win
Friday, May 02, 2008
(Times, 25 April) RD