Monday, November 14, 2011

Nov. 14:If you have nothing to do today, nothing at all.....

...get a copy of the Moncton Times and Trancript, and practice making paper hats.

Read pages one and two first, though. They have the intriguing story of an experimental programme at Moncton High. It looks a little flaky at first reading; but it deserves serious thought. It's an attempt to deal with North American problems among youg people - lack of moral values, obesity, materialism, social isolation, and the serious decline of intellectual achievement among boys.

This is an important innovation. It's been needed since most churches abandoned social leadership social values over fifty years ago to embrac the quasi-materialisc and self-serving gospel of personal salvation.

It's going to take a while for this programme to work out all the wrinkles. But this is one that deserves patience.

There's not much in the rest of the paper. Finance Minister Higgs displays his ignorance of the history of business to the editorial board of the Telegraph-Journal. (that's okay. No editorial board in New Bunswick would notice the ignorance.) He said that government has to be modelled on business methods.  In fact....

....the origins of business methods are to be found in government civil service  that appeared in seventeenth century. Indeed, well into the 1950s, major corporations were sending their executives to Ottawa to learn their craft from the civil service. The corporate sneers at the civil service began only when corporate leaders realized that North Americans were coming to respect government methods more than corporate methods. That's when corporations began setting up "think tanks' and buying control of news media to preach that government was bad..

Higgs is a former executive for Irving. Great. Just what we need - a finance minister trained in the virtues of greed, and indifference to social and environmental damage. What do you think the chances are he will raise taxes and cut spending on the Irvings?

National and International news are two pages. And, no, the looming crisis in Iran is not mentioned. Nor is the use of riot police at McGill - though both could have a serious impacts on New Brunswick. Nor is there a mention of the fighting in Libya. You remember Libya. That's the place we just bombed to make western oil billionaires richer.

The business page features a masterful piece of advice that few business execs know about....always keep charity receipts for income tax purposes. Wow! Who would have thought?

Craig Rabstock wirtes an insightful warning that we should not run over moose on the highway. Gee! Lots of people wouldn't know that. Allan Abel adds his usual incoherent column on Washington.

Norbert Cunningham has read a book. He now realizes that the decline of the West is not due to greedy corporations, exploitation of povery, spending on wars, etc. The book is by an undoubtedly distinguished historian. But may I suggest that Norbert read more than one book?

Let him begin with a full history of western capitalism, one that includes the roles of war, theft, and exploitation. The weatlh that the west piled up from 1492 onward was based on superior military skills which made conquests of  Asia, India, Africa and North America easy, enabling western countries to steal natural resources and cheap labour, including slave labour, all over the world. It was also made possible by the exploitation of most western peoples, themselves.

That military superiority ended with World War Two. Take a look at western wars since then - Vietnam for France and the US, Afghanistan for the US and NATO. Korea, in which the combined forces of the west could barely manage a draw.

Incidentally, the change did not begin with Japan in 1970. It began with Japan almost a century earlier. Ever heard of the Russo-Japanese war?

The idea that westerners once had a superior work ethic is nonsense. If Norbert knew anything of the life of a chinese peasant or an African slave, or a native employee of a Canadian mining  sompany today in Congo or Central America, he might learn what a work ethic is. And he would learn that those paople so exploited all over the world, including here in New Brunswick, did not accumulate capital to invest more in business.

Yes. Today's TandT is a great opportunity to learn how to make paper hats.

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