Random Monday Musings

  1. Tesco’s announcement of 20,000 new jobs is a gross figure, not a net increase. Households have limited money to spend so new jobs in Tesco supermarkets would cause job losses in less powerful retailing organisations, in effect most of them as Tesco is the UK’s largest private-sector employer. Do we all want to work for Tesco? Do we want dead high streets?
  2. We all want to go to the Olympics, or do we? The Olympics are in my view not about sport but work. Well, we quite like watching people working, look at the success of ‘The Apprentice’, but the Olympics pretends to be about ‘sport’. In my book sport is a leisure activity. Now it seems that success in the Olympics depends on how much money is spent on technology-assisted training. The UK is great at cycling because we have invested millions of £s in it. Lots of nations can’t do that. If we were really sporting we would all be on a truly ‘level playing field’, spending no more than the poorest countries could afford.
  3. The more frivolous or unnecessary the work someone does, the more they are likely to be paid. Take golf and football. Millions of £s a year for playing with balls? I know it’s all about the advertising, but that doesn’t make me like it any better. Farm workers do the most essential work, in my book, and look how little they are paid. Well, people need cheap food so they have money left over to buy golf clubs and attend football matches, don’t you think?…
  4. Read Barry Estabrook’s book ‘Tomatoland: how modern industrial agriculture destroyed our most alluring fruit’ (Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2011). The working and living conditions endured by farm workers in Florida reminded me of the misery of Chicago meat packers in Upton Sinclair’s ‘The Jungle’, written in 1906.
  5. Robber Barons ruled the Chicago meat yards. They rule the Structured Financial Products of today. Robber Barons have thrown their weight around throughout history and no doubt will continue to do so, for as long as our history continues.
  6. If we want to separate from the world of the Robber Barons, we won’t succeed by relying on Tesco and the other supermarkets, by queuing up to buy tickets to football or golf or the Olympics, or by making ‘shopping’ one of our most fundamental activities. A different life is rural, centred on families and small communities, in balance with the resources that our planet offers us.
  7. I seem to be describing the lifestyle of the Amish. Although I do not share their religion, I think they are very relevant to today.

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