Does Shelf Stacking Beat Geology?

The British Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan-Smith reacted angrily to the victorious legal challenge made by an unemployed geography graduate who was forced to do unpaid work stacking shelves at Poundland, a British discount chain.


The BBC reports:

Miss Reilly, a University of Birmingham geology graduate, and 40-year-old unemployed HGV driver Jamie Wilson, from Nottingham, both succeeded in their claims that the unpaid schemes were legally flawed.

This was because the regulations behind the schemes did not comply with the Act of Parliament that gave the DWP the power to introduce the programme.

Miss Reilly said that in November 2011 she had to leave her voluntary work at a local museum and work unpaid at the Poundland store in Kings Heath, Birmingham, under a scheme known as the “sector-based work academy”.

“Those two weeks were a complete waste of my time, as the experience did not help me get a job,” she said, after the court ruling on 12 February.

“I was not given any training and I was left with no time to do my voluntary work or search for other jobs.

“The only beneficiary was Poundland, a multi-million pound company. Later I found out that I should never have been told the placement was compulsory.

“I don’t think I am above working in shops like Poundland. I now work part-time in a supermarket. It is just that I expect to get paid for working.”

Now, I don’t think that people should be paid for doing nothing, and I want to see a reduction in the welfare bill through employment growth as much as anyone else. But the idea that people with skills and qualifications should be forced into subsidised menial labour is absurd, and an absolute misallocation of capital and labour.

It is important to emphasise that this was not a paid job, because that has important economic implications. If this were a paid job, offered by the market, then there would be no reason for the unemployed person to refuse it. In a market economy, there will always be a degree of economic mismatch, and people who are trained in one thing may well have to take a job in another temporarily or even permanently. That is undisputed. But that is not the issue at stake here.

If the company in question cannot or will not pay a wage for a worker’s labour, then the position is unsustainable and untenable. Effectively, the government is engaging in subsidisation — providing labour free of cost to corporations to support otherwise unsustainable activities. So in this case the government is choosing to subsidise shelf-stacking over geology.

Iain Duncan-Smith’s words actually make this very clear:

Shelf-stacking is more important than geology.

This is an outstandingly unwise decision, made by a government that has spent the last three years making profoundly unwise decisions that has led to a severe stagnation in growth worse than the Great Depression.

The state should not prioritise one sector over another. The state should certainly not subsidise work in one industry, when an unemployed person has skills and qualifications to work in another industry where there are vacancies. It is a waste of taxpayer’s money to place unemployed people in an irrelevant sector. In fact, the energy and mining industries are a key growth sector today in Britain and around the world, so the notion that someone trained in geology should be subsidised into stacking shelves is eye-poppingly absurd, and reminiscent of the kinds of grotesque capital misallocations in the Soviet Union and North Korea where skilled workers and intellectuals were (and are) often forced to work in demeaning jobs.

The real point of these programs appears to be to provide corporations with a source of free labour, and to engage in demeaning moral paternalism. As Iain Duncan-Smith himself puts it:

I’m sorry, but there is a group of people out there who think they’re too good for this kind of stuff.

Duncan-Smith seems keener to teach young unemployed people a moralising, paternalistic lesson than he is to pursue sound economic policies. In fact that is very much the trajectory of this entire government and its self-defeating “age of austerity” project.

72 thoughts on “Does Shelf Stacking Beat Geology?

  1. Usually I agree with your POV. On this I’ll have to disagree. You are right that the mkt economy should determine which jobs are required. However, why should the taxpayer fund Miss Reilly’s voluntary work? If you accept the mkt economy is the way forward without government intervention, then you cant also say that Miss Reilly should also get money from the taxpaper while she finds her ideal job. If geology jobs are high in demand then Miss Reilly should go to where those jobs are. If she didnt want the job, then show the government the finger and dont accept the money.

    • If you accept the mkt economy is the way forward without government intervention, then you cant also say that Miss Reilly should also get money from the taxpaper while she finds her ideal job. If geology jobs are high in demand then Miss Reilly should go to where those jobs are.

      If we’re going to reduce the unemployment rate, it’s preferable to do so in a way which is consistent with a market economy and is not some kind of paternalistic centrally-planned corporate handout program, which is what IDS is pushing. The job market is congested. The capital markets are congested. New businesses are struggling to get funding. Pushing unemployed people onto these kind of programs is the labour market equivalent of filling a “beef” lasagne full of horsemeat. The job program should match unemployed people with suitable work for their qualifications, not with any old crap. Making geology graduates stack shelves makes those who could otherwise stack shelves unemployed. IDS needs to learn some economics.

      • That I agree with. But then are you also saying that she should also get the jobseekers allowance until her skills are matched with a geology job she is happy with?

        • No, I think the people running the program should save the taxpayer some money (and believe me in the long run this will save money, because she would pay a lot more tax as a petroleum or mining geologist, etc, than as a shelf-stacker) by having the time and intelligence to find a placement or internship at an employer in the relevant industry. Yes, she should have done this herself and yes, maybe it is possible that they wouldn’t have found anything anyway (although as far I can tell, there are a good number of openings for geologists in the UK right now), but the key thing about this approach is that it doesn’t clog up the low-skills job market with university graduates.

        • The only place I say she has a chance of finding a job in Geology is Australia. Australia offers Brits under 30 2 years of work visa opportunities.

          We have that much land that has never been walked on by a white female Geologist. She could try her luck at prospecting, and maybe might meet her future employer in the Kalgoorlie pub.

        • Buddy, I think that the UK government could legitimately suggest that unemployed geologists move to Australia (etc) if they really cannot find work in the UK. I think that’s really a valid suggestion. Working at Poundland is not a valid suggestion.

  2. John: While I’m not familiar with relevant UK laws and regulations, once again I congratulate you for exposing foolishness and worse in “paternalism”, central planning, statism, etc. For a generic differentiation, I like “Top-down vs. Bottom-up”.

    • The worst part of this is that the government here calls itself “conservative”, claims to be in favour of the market, business, etc, but then goes and pushes a load of ultra-centralised paternalistic policies that just end up wasting more taxpayers’ money.

      • All [but the truly enlightened] are self-interested. When it comes to groups, they are 99.9999% all about themselves.

        Somebody should have had a talk with that Plato guy [when he was mulling over governance and such things] and set him straight! 🙂

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  4. UM…. my grandmother was a slave labourer. The German factory is still around today, don’t recall the name but they were big and they offered compensation in the early 90’s. She told them to get stuffed as it was less than a $1000, 900 odd I Think.

    The reality is if you are unemployed for too long, your skills lose relevance, and employers will put your resume at the bottom of the list. Employers are choosy and will select people based on “Cultural fit” i.e. would they socialise with them after work.

    I think it is stressful for young people to realise that they have to choose a career early on, work at the bottom, then get pigeon holed in that career for life. All that talk of changing careers mid life is bullshit, and only serves to feather the nest of the education providers.

    The more young people start to sue the Universities for misleading advertising the better.

  5. excellent article, especially the bit about the intention being to provide corporations with free labour. this is a dog of a government, and that smith is a christian fundie ideologue, very very dangerous man.

  6. The great god Equality doesn’t do differentiation. There is no place for human judgement in the process… that would lead to complaints. No, everyone must be treated alike by the system, without fear or favour, or rational thought. Value judgements are simply not allowed.

    Such has been the triumph of leftist thought this last half century.

    • Eeveryone must be treated alike by the system, without fear or favour, or rational thought.

      This is not a “leftist” or “progressive” ideal. Equality in front of the law and due process are the basis of democracy.

      Value judgments are the basis of theocracy.

      • “This is not a “leftist” or “progressive” ideal. Equality in front of the law and due process are the basis of democracy”…

        Oh, but it is leftist.

        I am old enough to remember when the great god Equality was not as all powerful as he is today. I remember a time when a civil servant could make a value judgement and could make the call “this action is not appropriate in this case”.

        I remember when the current situation was being advocated by student politicians with names like Jack Straw and Charles Clarke, and how many thought their proposals ridiculous, and, for that reason, that they would never be implemented.

        We believed that people are not equal, they differ, their circumstances differ. We believed that equality in front of the law meant due process and that each case would be judged on its merits, that a value judgement would be made on each individual circumstance.

        We believed that treating all persons the same irrespective of their circumstances is akin to condemning them because of their skin colour or their religion. This is exactly what the great god Equality is now doing to the unemployed. He speaketh from on high… “You are unemployed therefore you must be made to leave your sofa (they are all on their sofas, as they are all equal) you must be exposed to the work ethic (the are all idle, as they are all equal), and you must be made to do menial work (this is all they are capable of, as they are all equal)”.

        “Value judgments are the basis of theocracy”…

        No, “faith” is the basis of theocracy.

        • We believed that people are not equal, they differ, their circumstances differ. We believed that equality in front of the law meant due process and that each case would be judged on its merits, that a value judgement would be made on each individual circumstance.

          I think you’re muddying the water by calling it a value judgment (indeed, IDS’ policy is very much a “value judgment”, so much so that he called unemployment a “sin”). I think “judging a case on its merits” is not a value judgment so much as it is an economic judgment. But yes, not everyone is equal, not everyone’s circumstances are equal, and yes everyone’s case should be judged on individual circumstances.

          Now I think about it, I see where you’re coming from, though.

          his is exactly what the great god Equality is now doing to the unemployed. He speaketh from on high… “You are unemployed therefore you must be made to leave your sofa (they are all on their sofas, as they are all equal) you must be exposed to the work ethic (the are all idle, as they are all equal), and you must be made to do menial work (this is all they are capable of, as they are all equal)”.

          Yes, I see where you’re coming from. This case where graduates in useful subjects like geology are being made to do work in Poundland does arise from not treating each case as unique and individual. It does come from an excessively bureaucratic and insensible approach. Nay, it is rather Marxist.

  7. An increasing number of politicians now are subject to ‘clapometer’ politics.Those in power feel they must be seen to be ‘doing something!’ to get voted back in, and making the ‘workshy’ work or get no benefits is currently popular on the clapometer. Unfortunately for democracy, most voters are ill- equipped to vote on anything. I include myself, as we’re rarely party to the whole argument, nor usually clever enough to really see the full consequences of the changes caused when policies are changed (butterfly effect anyone?)
    I have often written reasonable comments on blogs, only to be metaphorically torn to shreds by others on the blog topic who don’t see it my way. Roman senators were rightly afraid of the mob, and our modern versions are no different. They must be popular to get voted in. Very few people would vote for me, and even if I did subject myself to the ordeal of seeking national office and get voted in, my policies would probably get me shot! The cure for most countries would be for their governments to shrink drastically and stop interfering. A moratorium on passing new laws and introducing new policies for an entire parliament would be a great start.
    As to what to do with those out of work, Our middle child is intelligent, strong and healthy. He chooses to avoid work wherever possible. We’ve been knocking ourselves out for years trying to get him motivated. He drifts from one job to the next, but at least currently he costs the taxpayer nothing when he’s out of work. This is a huge problem for us personally and the UK generally. How do you get the workshy to work?The conservatives are trying to tackle it. They need better advisers though. The crazy thing is that the taxpayer is no doubt haemorrhaging yet more cash paying the legal aid the good lass probably qualified for as well as the legal costs of the government in defending themselves, as a consequence of spending taxpayers money in a vain attempt to save it. No wonder we’re over a trillion in debt!

    • This is a huge problem for us personally and the UK generally. How do you get the workshy to work?

      Deregulate small business, help people who want to start businesses or become entrepreneurs to get access to credit, attract foreign capital and investment. All of these would start a jobs boom. With a jobs boom, people will generally find it easier to work than to not.

      Cameron, IDS, Osborne have it backward — they want to put people in jobs while the economy is depressed. If they implemented pro-business, pro-commerce policies, the situation would fix itself.

    • You said: “A moratorium on passing new laws and introducing new policies for an entire parliament would be a great start.”

      I agree. Australia had a hung Parliament, and life went on. In fact if no laws were passed business would know what the rules were, and could plan ahead. The current system causes investment gridlock, as nobody can expect the legal framework to remain static.

      Ah the Common Law was fantastic. Judges could use the facts and frame the law as it related to the case.

      I would employ a young unemployed person for casual work when I needed assistance, but the complex “Industrial Relations” and “Health and Safety” laws, make me shriek with fear. The youth today grew up with helmets on bikes so I don’t expect them to have any common sense when it comes to safe work practices. In my day you skin your knee, knocked your head, poked an eye if you did not use your brain.

  8. “Deregulate small business”

    I wish. My business is drowning in red tape. There is a constant feeling that one may be doing something wrong and end up with a retrospective punishment. Is it true that Germany has exempted small businesses from many of the EU rules?

  9. Work for food and shelter programs are what society needs. Who’s going to work if you can get $800 sitting at home watch TV having fun, or do the low pay back breaking dirty work for $800/monthly? Even an idiot can figure this out.

  10. So you people want your cake and eat it too?

    You want all the benefits of the massive centralization [“democracy,” i.e., other people deciding everything for you, economies of scale, i.e., cheap crap to buy, a nanny-state to wipe your butts from cradle to grave, an empire to cheer-on at the local movie house, and all the other non-sense], then you have to take the police-state, the unemployment, the alienation, the bogus stuff they call food, indoctrination [education], a drugged, drunk, and stupid community of neighbors and friends worried about missing their favorite tv show or not cramming enough garbage down their throats.

    Or, do you want to take control of your own life?

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  12. Aziz says “the idea that people with skills and qualifications should be forced into subsidised menial labour is absurd, and an absolute misallocation of capital and labour.”

    Really? So what do we do with ludicrous excess numbers leaving university with degrees in subjects which are of no use to employers: sociology, media studies – you know the sort of stuff? Do they live on a pension for life paid for people, many of whom are hard pressed to afford the basic essentials?

    Large numbers of graduates are doing McDonalds type jobs and quite right, if there is nothing better for them.

    • Yes, there will aways be some degree of economic mismatch. But let’s remember that these jobs that are being subsidised by the government are not otherwise sustainable under market conditions. If there are paying jobs at a market rate in McDonalds and Burger King, and no suitable jobs for certain types of graduates then there’s not necessarily any problem in them taking them, other than crowding out lower-skilled workers. If that’s what the market produces, fine, but that’s not the case here. The case here is the government subsidising jobs that will crowd out lower-skilled workers in irrelevant sectors for those workers being subsidised. More horsemeat economics from the Tories.

      I’m not so sure that I want to beat up on specific subjects, because sometimes sociology and media studies are particularly useful, and I am not going to fall into the tabloid trend of calling certain academic disciplines I haven’t studied “Mickey Mouse” subjects. If someone learns independent research, critical reading, and critical thinking skills I don’t think the title of the subject really matters. (And equally, if they don’t learn those skills, then it’s probably been a less-than-productive academic experience).

      • Aziz,
        I like the phrase “horsemeat economics form the Tories.
        Your first para, hits upon the central and overwhelmingly important issue here. It’s an issue ignored by 95% of those commenting on this subject: do schemes like this bring about an AGGREGATE increase in employment, or using your phraseology, do “government subsidising jobs . crowd out lower-skilled workers…”
        There are in fact various reasons why one would expect an aggregate or NAIRU reducing effect. One is that the scheme discourages people from spending extended periods on unemployment benefit.
        A second point (and this involves contradicting your claim about these jobs not being “sustainable under market conditions”) is that benefits are a non-free market phenomenon: they encourage people to abstain from taking very low paid work, and instead spend extended periods looking for better paid work. Thus far from Work Programme jobs being jobs that would not exist under free market conditions, they ACTUALLY WOULD exist to a greater extent under free market conditions. And assuming a perfectly functioning free market brings zero or very low unemployment, then I conclude that Work Program jobs reduce aggregate unemployment.
        Turning down very low paid work would be justified if the unemployed spent a significant portion of the week job searching. The reality is they spend only a couple of hours a week job searching. Moreover, it is perfectly feasible to job search while working: the majority of those changing jobs in the US a few decades ago found their new job while still working at their old job. That’s according to a paper by J.P.Mattila in the American Economic Review in 1974: Job Quitting and Frictional Unemployment.
        I’ve gone into all this in much more detail in a paper here:

        • I spent my Uni days making and delivering Pizzas, and had that job before I landed my first job at Arthur Andersen (Auditor and Accountants). Admittedly, a position with an Accountant whilst at Uni would have assisted me somewhat, as the learning curve was steeper, than say someone who had the opportunity to work in their CEO father’s company.

          But I took on this degree, as there WAS demand for these skills when I completed my degree, and I paid back my schooling debt to the Government. I only took a commerce degree, as the jobs being advertised after the 1991 recession were Accounting jobs.

          I think Uni students have to be realistic with their choices.

    • Don’t knock jobs at McDonald’s. My sister-in-law organised for my daughter to work at McDonald’s one summer when she was 17. Two years later, when she was at university, she decided to stay over the summer. She (along with many other students) applied for work in a chain of coffee shops. She got a job – why? Because she had already been trained in how to work with food, how to work a till, how to treat customers…. at the end of the summer she was offered the managers job for the cafe she’d been in. Because she had still one year of studies to complete, she declined. But the story does illustrate how menial jobs lead to better opportunities.

      • Jack,

        Your daughter’s experience ties up with the empirical evidence. Several studies have been done round Europe over recent decades on the effects of temporary subsidised work, training etc. One discovery is that temporary subsidised work in the private sector results in a better “post subsidised job” employment record than similar work in the public sector. The second is that the sort of training offered alongside or as an alternative to temporary subsidised work is near useless. That is, learning by doing is better than the latter sort of training.

        Decent full time training leading to a recognised qualification (e.g. plumber, doctor, etc) is of course a different matter. I listed some of the studies here:

    • Precisely. Universities used to be “finishing” schools for the rich. Access (Philosophy, Arts etc) to all is a waste of tax payer money. In fact I think Commerce, Law or Banking Degrees are a waste too. Learning the ropes in an office is a better start, and if you are “Managerial” material. let the company pay for your education in advanced Accounting, Business Law, General Law and Management. The cost of the University industry is a drain on the economy. It is actually unproductive. How much does a graduate use in their first relevant position.

      Bring back Trade Schools, so people have the skills to use tools and actually be trainable across a multitude of industries.
      At least the UK can start making sheet metal toy cars, and in 3 generations make a real car again, just like China did.

      I remember my sheet metal and solder toy car I made as a youth in trade school. At least I am employable at Santa’s workshop.

  13. My theory below is based on the following premise by Hazel Henderson:

    “The problem is, of course, that not only is economics bankrupt but it has always been nothing more than politics in disguise… economics is a form of brain damage.”

    So, based on that statement, I will argue that economics is an elaborate illusion and, yes indeed, merely “politics in disguise.”

    Economic Policies and Politics:
    The entire slave-based economy is, in FACT, the political structure itself. Indeed the entire economy of the world has been and still is deliberately engineered by the very few white men in and of the WHITE POWER STRUCTURE. These very few shadowy figures, today and hereon known as the Trillionaires, have been from the very inception of controlled human societies and communities, it is THOSE people who have been and still are pulling ALL THE STRINGS of the mere Puppets in this OSTENSIBLE government (Look Up “Ostensible”).

    So these WHITE MEN who themselves comprise the WHITE POWER STRUCTURE, the Robber Barons, has/have succeeded for quite some time to keep a fairly tight lid on too much knowledge, learning, awareness, fact-based truth; Since learning and discovering actual FACTS would, of course, lead to bitter protest and violent revolt, and maybe even to their, the Robber Barons’, own rather bloody DEMISE.

    Religion as an Effective Tool:
    Religion is the deliberate suppression of knowledge and suppression of general awareness of actual facts. Religion has CERTAINLY BEEN A HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL Tool, along with Mass media. “Fervor” and self-delusion was, and still is today, accomplished mainly through the veritable TOOL of Religion. Further, Religion serves to reinforce the desired effect of Abject Ignorance which is, of course, the ABSOLUTE KEY in the game of mind control; Pacification through Religion and the tireless campaigns of keeping people in ignorant FEAR.

    The outright lies which are found throughout ANY religion, also serve as a vehicle for virulent, abject hatred; And a hefty and steady stream of abject fear (of God, of Black people, of Hell, of Satan, Socialism, Fascism, on and on) The political hacks, in this scheme, have found that the employ of so-called buzz words is stunningly EFFECTIVE. IT DISTRACTS PEOPLE; Keeps them really dumb, too; And too numb to react.

    And there is a veritable myriad of other totally intentional distractions, deliberately designed to hide the truth and the FACTS, (Ongoing SLAVERY, THEFT, PLUNDER), Distractions on any and every contrived “side” of the political spectrum; the entire “Left”-“Right” paradigm is also a very useful and effective contrivance; So-called “Issues;” Also totally Contrived to distract the populace away from FACTS, TRUTH. That is, distract the fools Away from what the Robber Barons are actually doing (STEALING, PLUNDERING); Let them bicker and argue about such issues as Abortion, gun rights, etc., etc. All and every technique is used; All are forms of intentional trickery. Religion, though, has worked like a charm since the day it was invented and written down (BY MEN), and Religion is still, bar none, the most highly effective tool for mind control today. Well, there WAS the period in history known as the Age of Reason, the Enlightenment, Well, We all know about that history, don’t we? CRUSHED IMMEDIATELY and THOROUGHLY BY (GUESS WHO); Replaced with RELIGION, NEVER TO SURFACE Widely AGAIN.

    The Late 20th Century:
    So, skipping straight to the late 20th century, the 1980′s specifically, the emergence of the despicable demon, Ronald Reagan, his total embracing of the R-wing “Christian” Fundamentalist-lunatics; the beginnings of the Total DEREGULATION of ALL industry; the utterly Fantastic LIE of ”trickle-down” economics; And the new “service” economy (SLAVE); All worked hand in hand to set the new and more all-encompassing SLAVERY (Yes, that means ALL OF US) and the Modern slave-based economy.

    And every [Puppet] Administration after that old bastard Reagan–Democrat, Republican–they are ALL IN IT TOGETHER–every government tool of the WHITE POWER STRUCTURE Did follow, in lock-step, the ongoing and now thorough DEREGULATION of every single industry and the Privatization of ALL previously public sectors.

    Clinton, of course, was among the most destructive of these twisted, perverted white men, as he is the one that repealed the Glass-Stegal Act that had been put into place by FDR after the Great Depression of the 1930s. Clinton did it, knowing very well the history and the certain ramifications [of giving a gigantic idiot-child a machine gun, i.e. DEREGULATION]; So, doing it anyway for his billionaire buddies in the Banks and on Wall Street; That, along with the passing of the Graham-Leech Bill, took away any and all restraints, i.e. REGULATIONS, from the banking industry and the financial sector..

    So, look around NOW. They tanked the economy deliberately; They want, for lack of a better term, Zombie-Slaves that won’t think or even ask why: (IDIOT-AMERICA). And they’ve sure GOT them and they’ve got them by the BOAT LOAD.

    Slavery Then and Slavery Now:
    The main difference (other than race, i.e. skin color) between slavery then and slavery now, is that NOW, as the world is literally collapsing from overpopulation and centuries of destructive pillaging and ruinous plundering of the entire planet, the main difference is that those few men whom are “controlling” the people, the governments, etc., are thoroughly capable of committing mass Genocide; Indeed, it has become quite apparent that now we are all headed straight toward the edge of the CLIFF. And Engineered genocide is a clever and historic tactic; And that works too. They’ve been doing it all throughout history. Whether by Guns, Drugs, Prisons, Wars; You name it!! The main goal is very clear: Let “them” kill each other and themselves, on the battlefield, in the ghettos, etc. and let them ALL simply DIE OFF.

    For those that Disagree:
    By the way, ALL of the others, women, Blacks, et al, are MARGINAL, at BEST, in this grim little charade. Meg Whitman, for example, is rich, but she’s still just an IDIOT. The women, the Blacks; They’re all just Dupes. And actually I blame it ALL on the ENTIRE HUMAN SPECIES; The Human animal is simply put, to quote John Gray now, an “exceptionally rapacious Primate.”

    And I blame people for sheer and stubborn stupidity. Rather than seeking actual facts, most humans willfully choose to believe ENDLESS LIES and stupid fairy tales. People, as a rule HATE FACTS. Of course, on a fundamentally impervious and horribly pervasive, Absolute Stupidity has morphed into a VIRTUE in America!! And it’s a stupidity that is so base, so wide-reaching, that the destruction is total now. We’ve reached the point of NO Return.

    But MAN has ALWAYS had the Ultimate control; Whether by writing dumb books (the Bible, the Koran) to scare people into submission, and to shut people’s mouths and keep them ignorant and under MAN’S THUMB; Or by using BRUTE FORCE.
    Take ONE Look at every single filthy culture in this godforsaken world; PATRIARCHAL, MACHISMO and YES, THOROUGHLY MISOGYNISTIC. PERIOD. Barbarians and Neanderthals. Brutal and sadistic. There are very few truly enlightened men, but I think you must be an ATHEIST to find them.

    • I agree with some of the points, just see no need to include race or sex in your analysys. It is not just white males that are ruining the earth, it is everyone, maybe women can be excluded because they are dominated by men in most cultures globally, but even so, many women are complicit. For example Mrs Clinton is a woman…though some might question that. Mr Obama is mixed race, not white.

      The Bible and Quran may sound like they support the status quo…but these books have been subverted by the power elite. Hidden in plain sight within these books is the obvious criticism of money lending and charging interest for it. So both these books critique the foundational power structure of their system. Notice how none of this is ever mentioned by followers and preachers of these books. This indicates they have sold out and work for the elites and subvert the books from within.

      I believe the next phase of control exerted by the power elite over vast populations of human/slaves will involve electronic money/ credits will be encoded within the human body. All transactions will be seen and recorded electronically, All your buying and selling patterns known and recorded. This will give tremendous power to the central bankers who will be able to determene the velocity of money and will attempt to control money supply by knowing how much money is in demand at any given point in time.

    • Haven’t read such nonsensical racist rubbish for a long time. As regards “White man” being responsible for all economic evils, where are the “white employers” in China? 99.9% of employers there are Chinese. That’s about a quarter of the World’s population. And then another quarter or so of the World’s population are in the Indian sub-continent. There again, about 99.9% of employers are not white: they’re Indian sub-continent by descent or by race.

    • Ms. Marlowe: Your last three paragraphs leave me confused. Your previous tirade regurgitates what we’ve all read from Marx and what has consistently made life worse for people other than the “masters”. But your closing condemnation of all humanity leaves little choice but to become a hermit or build you own evacuation spaceship.

    • I have a homework assignment for you. Identify these “Trillionaires”.

      P.S. You will have to understand what a “Beneficial Trust” is, and client confidentiality will get you nowhere. Only the Government can access. But since they are “owned” you are going to get nowhere.

      And the Basle Summit is attended by “their” agents.

      Grape shot has been superceeded by drones and tasers, so we have a new Napoleon now (NDAA), to quell the “revolution” before it even gets started.

  14. Where did you copy and paste this from? Your antagonistic feminism and self-stimulating rage is what fills your mind with nonsense.

    But in the face of difficulty, you have to find someone to blame other than yourself for majoring in lesbian native-American studies.

      • May I take this opportunity to ask you and all the gang what OUGHT to be done?
        Repeal minimum wage laws? End government (mandatory) unemployment “insurance”? End “welfare” (government charity)? Provide government charity only in-kind, i.e., food/meals, clothing, dormitories, clinical medical care? Repeal all restrictions on employers’ right to hire and fire employees (such as overweight flight attendants)? Other?

        And your opinion on a loosely related subject — taxation. Should taxes be SOLELY for government revenue, eschewing rewarding charitable and religious giving and, along with subsidies, rewarding or punishing behaviors such as energy-saving homes and autos?

        Remember: government is force — what it gives to one it confiscates from another.

        • The best way to cut the welfare bill and reduce dependency on government is with a jobs boom. Getting a jobs boom is actually pretty easy.

          I think repealing minimum wage laws (to be replaced by basic income as recommended by Milton Friedman and Friedrich Hayek) getting rid of many of the onerous regulations on small business (including most hiring/firing regulations), and introducing a flat tax with a high threshold and with a basic income guarantee, as mentioned above would be the best possible start.

          The next best thing, at least for Britain would be to institute a domestic lending program to create new businesses using the state’s current control of large scale financial institutions (RBS, Lloyds TSB, HBOS, etc). There are lots of unemployed people, and there is lots of idle capital in the banks. This is really the government’s fault, through the bungled bank bailouts, so introducing a lending program would right this wrong.

        • “Getting a jobs boom is actually pretty easy.”

          You need good jobs, not government subsidized rock-bottom jobs. In order to get there, you need to de-construct the corporate-state. The cost of labor is now so expensive in the traditional Western economies that only cartel industries can pay and remain profitable. Small businesses can no longer afford to pay for the state [and health care in the U.S.].

          So creating a class of people receiving a super low wages only supports this failed economic model, and besides, how low can wages go [like interest rates], to zero?

          The system has failed and needs to be fixed through decreasing the costs of every damn thing. 100 years of inflation and borrowing have created finance and administrative costs that has made the current business model, kaput [for all but the largest and most protected].

        • All I know is, that a 70 year old friend said when he was young, if the boss was a rude SOB, he could quit and find a better paying job. If he was fired, he could find another one. The laws were not so complicated then.

          I know I would hire somebody and pay them what they make for me, and if I was a scrooge, and they left, and they were a good worker I would offer more to keep them based on mutual discussion.

          Now long term unemployment and skill atrophy is a fact of life, and these regulation have created the biggest single loss of knowledge since the great libraries of antiquity were razed.

          e.g. how many old craftsmen are working on their own without apprentices, because it is too difficult for them to hire fire loafers. Or are too worried the youth with cut their hand off, because they can’t use tools.

  15. Yet bankers got bailed out despite being unproductive criminals or working within a elaborate ponzi scheme called banking and finance, overseen by the great God the government…democratic and with ‘the rule of law’. Laws and rules are changeable, politicians can change the law and they can apply it differently to different people and all is quite acceptable.

    Yes the unemployed geologist was prepared to work in a supermarket as long as she was paid, not working for free. These scumbag politicians need to be brought down a peg or two, told exactly what they are allowed to do…and they are not allowed to intervene in our lives as much as they do. They ought to stop trying to create their ideal world and leave us to do it ourselves as we see fit.

    Perhaps if Duncan-Smith and his type just stopped taxing us and keeping a cut for themselves before re-distributing it to others…people would be able to create jobs and products and services that people need. Duncan Smith is Loathsome.

  16. Pingback: Does Shelf Stacking Beat Geology? | My Blog

  17. “I think repealing minimum wage laws (to be replaced by basic income as recommended by Milton Friedman and Friedrich Hayek) getting rid of many of the onerous regulations on small business (including most hiring/firing regulations), and introducing a flat tax with a high threshold and with a basic income guarantee”

    Well said Aziz. What a pity Osborne can’t see that.

  18. When you look back in history, times like these are always the most difficult because you are living the failure yet unable to understand the new paradigm. So, what causes all the angst is the uncertainly.

    But, you can also view uncertainly with a keener eye and see it as a great opportunity to move forward, and that’s EXACTLY what we must do. Even better, you can enjoy the change through losing the fear. After all, what’s the worst that can happen?

    So, use your head and follow your heart and all will be well. 🙂

  19. Funny how the European bastion of freedom and liberty has once again institutionalized slavery.

    I wouldn’t exactly call the semi-mandatory works in the Soviet Union ‘demeaning’. They usually took two forms: ‘subbotniks’/’sabbatical’, when a group of workers cleaned some territory (typically of their factory grounds) from garbage on their day-off, or ‘kartoshka’/’potatoes’, when a group of workers got shipped to some farm and helped with collecting the crops. The first, or so I’ve heard, was not unheard of in the West and in the East for the big corporations; since basically everyone in the USSR was employed to the corporation ‘Soviet Union’, well, everyone had to participate in the cleaning. The second was partly a method to correct the fuckups in the cetral planning, partly a necessary measure in the very poor and desolate country with a chronic lack of agricultural labour, partly a way to socialize and unify collectives. It was hardly a shameful activity in the country where people were proud of their working-class roots.

  20. Aziz. I’m sure that you really do appreciate that a declining population of taxpayers are struggling to support a growing number of unemployed, many who have degrees in subjects where employment is unlikely. The alternative is to do what other EC countries do : cut off the state (taxpayer) support soon after unemployment. Before “endless welfare”, I stacked warehouses, dug graves, budded roses, delivered news milk and bread. I never felt “demeaned”. I subsequently started and grew my own businesses and discovered that many people wanted jobs but they didn’t want work.

    • I agree that we need to get people off welfare and reduce the welfare bill. I disagree that a stick is better than a carrot. First, reduce regulation. Offer tax incentives for starting a new business, and for taking on new workers. The UK government owns lots of banks sitting on hoards of bailout cash. Lend it to unemployed people to start new businesses. Most will fail. Some will succeed and provide new employment. And invest money in infrastructure people have been crying out for — like the road networks, and alternative energy generation facilities to replace North Sea Oil. The carrot will work. The stick is not working.

      • IF (as is not the case) your welfare reduction “pros & cons” were directed at the US, I would disagree with you. Here neither anti-dependency carrots nor sticks have been tried, because the politicians in control of government (and banking, immigration, regulation of business and businesses) grow ever fatter off the status quo and want more of the same. At the same time, the Marxist ideologues (destroy the bourgeoisie!) among them use sticks against small business.

        “It ain’t as bad as you think — it’s worse!”

  21. JI: Your spot on “want jobs but not work” is new to me. It should be adopted and extended* to become the campaign slogan of those of us who want to save individual liberty and opportunity! A US tourist’s (not news media) evaluation of pre-collapse USSR: “Everybody has a job. Nobody works. Nobody has any money. If anybody had any money, there is nothing to buy.”

    * Want rights but not responsibility. Want “free” food, clothing, shelter, healthcare, education, provided by others’ work or money. Want respect but not the obligation to earn or give it. Etc., etc.

  22. I am on welfare, and have been so for a long time. Here is my perspective. Jobs generally circulate among those who have already got jobs. If one has been out of work even for a short time then you dont get the job.

    Its also quite unfair for those in employment to complain about those on welfare. Those on welfare are actually taking the bullet for the success of those who always seem to be able to get work and keep it. If those on welfare actually began competing for the jobs and even were able to get some of them it would end the habitual complaining of those who enjoy the present system as they would then be subject to the same complaining and whinging of those who are in employment. It would be a reality check. If it wasnt for welfare many of you whingers would be struggling a lot harder than you do.

    Also, employers seem to be able to employ who they want, which further compounds the problem for the unemployed. Anyone from eastern europe is preferable to the indigenous local population, as employers think they are better workers. Employers need to compulsory take on those who have poor CV’s in preference to those who are already in work or from eastern europe. This would give an equal chance. Of course it might mean a period of unemployment for those who enjoy the present system – but then I think they need this as a reality check. They need to experience what its really like.

    Job sharing is another idea I have had. Of course those with a poor CV or work history would be the preferred compulsory recruit.

    About starting a business. I have looked into this. The problem that they dont teach in their business training courses is that premises are too expensive to rent. Some complain that its the business rates that are crippling to a business. I can assure you that the landlord will charge at least twice the payable business rates plus some. In other words landlords expectations of how much money they should charge needs a reality check – if you can excuse the use of that phrase again.

  23. Crass,

    From JI above,

    “Before “endless welfare”, I stacked warehouses, dug graves, budded roses, delivered news milk and bread. I never felt “demeaned”. I subsequently started and grew my own businesses and discovered that many people wanted jobs but they didn’t want work.”

    The idea that you can’t start up because premises are expensive is just another excuse. The landlord has every right to charge what the market will bear. The issue with business rates is that so often the council provides little in return.

    You are either a provider or a parasite. I use the word in it’s scientific sense, and not as an insult. You need to look at the person in the mirror, because that person is responsible for where you are now. Not to blame, but responsible.

    You wrote “If those on welfare actually began competing for the jobs and even were able to get some of them it would end the habitual complaining of those who enjoy the present system as they would then be subject to the same complaining and whinging of those who are in employment.” I suggest you need a reality check if you believe that.

    Take responsibility for your situation. Turn off the TV and the radio and get off your butt and compete! Only your own negative self-deprecation cycle is stopping you from earning. You can do it. Don’t give up. Opportunity is all around us. By far the best bet for most people nowadays is an immediate minimum wage job while they start their own business at the same time.

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