Sunday, June 01, 2014

Life Goes On

Following my last blog post sadness has been the mood of the week.

 However going for a run over Wimbledon Common with Chris my running companion this bright and sunny Sunday morning, lifted the spirit. We decided to have a post-run breakfast in a Raynes Park cafeteria with our better halves which again illustrated that in times of sadness the company of others can be very uplifting.

The conversation over breakfast more than touched on the news that thousands if not millions from Africa are seeking to emigrate or in truth, flee to Europe. The easy answer to the effect that GB is  a small island already over crowded we decided was quite insufficient. The more difficult  answers included the possibility of us in the West all taking large % pay cuts with a view to ensuring that the world's limited resources are more evenly shared. That raises many difficulties however not the least of which is that a 50% pay cut would not be instantly matched by a  similar drop in retail  prices making life very difficult if not impossible for many. Another difficulty which is illustrated by personal professional work experience is that on occasion one needs the very best assistance that money can buy.

Thus for an appeal concerning a fundamental point of principle from the court of Appeal to the Supreme Court in the UK on a legal  point which  had been lost several times already by other similarly affected parties, the very best QC that money could buy was briefed. That most difficult appeal was  successful. Had a 50% reduction been placed on  barristers' fees like the wages and salaries of everyone else, we would have been at best surely far less likely to have  found a barrister prepared to go that extra mile as the hourly rate for a far easier brief would have been the same.

 Likewise with for example world class footballers - if a 50% reduction in income was applied  why should an individual  work to excel  in the sport for a club when any club would pay him the same sort of much lower salary?

The capitalist system is far from perfect but for many people if not most, money does provide the incentive to excel. Human society tends to advance when individuals excel as those in charge of IBM Microsoft Apple and going back a way Brunel and  RL Stephenson illustrate but those individuals and their companies tend to need high rewards for their amazing achievements.

The spin offs from such human achievements  also include the possibility of diseases like  malaria and smallpox being eradicated not to mention many kinds of cancer but all those developments take time money and spririt. Alas the human spirit does usually need to be incentivised which is where money comes in. Cancel the incentive and the spirit can be put off somewhat and sadly the advances may diminish if not cease. Capitalism is flawed but so far at least is less flawed than other systems. Unfortunatelythat does not answer the question of how best to help those men women and children fleeing brutal regimes in other parts of the world when so many millions appear to need help.

We agreed however that many of the problems of Eastern Europe are not for the UK to resolve any more than they should have been in WWI so leaving the EU and reverting to the Common Market which is all the citizens of this country had voted for, would be sensible.


  1. I think, as all of you have already talked out for yourselves, a 50% reduction in income will never work - not least because people just aren't that "nice" any more. In any case, how could someone on - say - £15,000 p.a. be able to afford any sort of reduction in income at all?

    What I would welcome, but sadly think equally unlikely because of the lack of "niceness" would be the sort of philanthropy the successful Victorians went in for. But this time, instead of very grand Town Halls, philanthropy directly aimed to the most needy in the world. OK, of course they would want and only fair that they should receivepublic recognition of this. Because we all of us want our kinder attributes to be recognised. Of course a shining example of what I mean is Bill Gates, but where is his like?

    1. Greeting anonymous

      Well of course a 50% reduction in salary for someone on £15,000 would leave him or her with too little to live on unless the cost of living also fell by over 50% at the same time but that seems unlikely to happen.
      Also those earning less than the average wage should have a less than average (if any) pay cut to make the changes work.

      I read an interesting article in Today's Times (which I did not buy!) suggesting that contrary to popular belief the difference between the incomes of the rich and those of the poor is not increasing. The Western World's poor are according to the author significantlyless poor now than they were.

      . I am not sure about your point relating to personal philanthropy -that needs some reflection.

    2. Greetings Maytrees

      Well, my thoughts on the philanthropy of the Victorians isn't exactly well thought-out! But I do believe they felt some duty to spread a little happiness/goodness/niceness, and that this wasn't necessarily on town halls but also great museums and the Peabody Trust. I'm sure you can think of other shining examples!

      Interesting what the Times had to say about the gap between hugely rich and desperately poor not increasing. Did they mean just in Great Britain, I wonder? But there's also the case of what "seems" to be the case. When I was a child, during and post-war, everyone I knew "appeared" to be in the same boat because of rationing and also lack of materials though now I know that I was at school with some people who came from very wealthy families who just - pro tem - didn't have access to the spoils of their richness. Nowadays with television, knowledge of footballers' incomes etc. it must at least feel like a very large gap.

      And comparing our riches with Africa ........ ! Which of course is where you began isn't it.

      btw, I am Mr. Subliminal Dunn's sister, so not entirely Anon.

      I think the Editor of the Times would say, as he once did to my sister after being thoroughly bored, "this correspondence must now cease" !

  2. Greetings Ms Dunn
    Very thought provoking - you obviously did not attend Beaumont like he and I then!


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