economics Key Article politics WellFair

Conditional Cash Corrupts Us All

Why cash has (almost) no place in a social security system.

Unconditional love is the ultimate expression of our humanity for a reason, because it is the basis of our successful evolution.

The purpose of social security is to provide unconditional support as the expression of solidarity, thereby maximising the output and the quality of our society. Conditionality defeats the central purpose of providing social security, corrupts all participants, and stultifies our society and its economy. Because cash distribution always includes conditionality, it has to be removed from social security.


How to Change the Post-Crash Economy – Review

Last week (6th Mar 2014) the RSA convened an expert panel including Costas Lapavitsas – professor of economics at SOAS, Paul Mason, Culture and Digital editor, Channel 4 News; Mariana Mazzucato RM Phillips professor in the Economics of Innovation at Sussex University; and Seumas Milne, Guardian columnist and author, to discuss the state of the UK economy today.
You can watch a recording of the event at


On the whole the panel offered observations, rather than understandings or remedies. This was disappointing, because if this is the brain trust for our future economic development, then we appear to be seriously short of direction.
Perhaps the most obvious question that remain unaddressed was: Why has financialisation has become so dominant?

The panel was uniform in observing the financialisation of the advanced economies over the last 30 years, but until we face the reason why, we will not be able to see the way forward.

environment politics

What does it mean to be a “green progressive”?

Too often those of us that consider ourselves to be part of the progressive movement, are too easily satisfied by feeling good. Feeling good is part being right, meaning that we feel we are speaking the truth, and part feeling that we are on the correct moral side of an argument.
But progress is a description that includes movement, and surely is really measured in terms of the ability to be effective in moving forward. Feeling good is a stationary state of affairs, the more fundamental question is how do we move forward? If we know the truth and we know the correct moral side of an argument, how do we then move forward to making that a reality? The true measure of a progressive should be the efficacy of the effort to progress.


BBCQT 2014.02.27

Q: Why is RBS paying bonuses, when they have lost money?
A: What happened in the “Great Deregulation”, was that the casino arm of investment banks merged with the normal banking retail arms of high-street banks. They did this so that their casino divisions could make even bigger bets, and to manage those very high risk investments they needed a particular breed of individual, that we have come to know generically as “bankers”. It is these bankers that are getting the bonuses, and the reason that RBS is paying them is because they have a casino division.
What this government has failed to do, in concert with all of the other governments of the Western financialised industrial nations, is that they have failed to rein in these banks and to force them to separate their casino divisions from their retail banking divisions. Till we get a government with the guts to actually make them make these changes, we are stuck with these kinds of ludicrous situations, even in banks that are 80% owned by the public!
Now, we also have to recognise that we are all partly to blame. We shovel £2.5 billion pounds a month into the City in the form of our pensions, and then we ask that these banks keep our money safe, and make it grow until we retire. Until we understand that no amount of money will actually make us guaranteed and secure in our old age, and that we need a proper social security system based on our mutual community, then it is we who are empowering these banks, and we are the ones ultimately who are requesting that these bankers look after us.
Q: Should the deals made with the IRA still provide immunity for terrorists?
A: We do not have all the facts, so it is impossible for us to determine whether or not these were deals, whether they do provide immunity, or whether they were necessary at the time to achieve progress towards peace. I hope that the enquiry will give us all more clarity on this in due course.
Q: Is it not time that Harriet Harman came out and apologised for her links with the paedophile information exchange?
A: I think she already did; if she hasn’t, she should have.
Q: Has Britain lost control of its borders?
A: No, that’s why we know how much migration there is. 
We are part of Europe, and that is good thing. 
What we have lost control of our spending, particularly as it concerns local infrastructure, especially social infrastructure like schools and housing, and what we need to do is to return control, in fact to give more control than we have done for over 100 years, back to our local communities so that they can adjust their spending and infrastructure investments to meet the needs of their local populations.
Welsh NHS: the whole point of a regional assembly is that you hold them responsible – get out there and vote them out of office, if they are doing such a poor job! You can’t have your tribal loyalties and a vibrant democracy. People died to get you your vote, use it!