Saturday, April 29, 2006

CEOs of the world unite!

Lately, America's Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) have adopted a form of socialism to defend their soaring pay packets -

"From each according to his ability; to each according to Towers Perrin!"

In 1980, your typical Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of an S&P 500 company earned an average of 42x the pay of their workers. In 2004, this multiple had jumped to an astonishing 431x.

In 1940, George Orwell suggested that the boss should take home no more than ten times that of his workers. This may seem a little low today but it is hard to argue that a multiple of 431x sounds right.

There are many organisations dedicated to bringing down the pay of the corporate "fat cats" but in the past. these have tended to come from the politics of envy, from the Unions (see above), from those committed to destroy the system, and from environmentalists.

This is why, this organisation is so interesting.

The Investors for Director Accountability Foundation comprises successful businesspeople such as Fred Rowe and T Boone Pickens. They would be as welcome at an anti-globalisation march as a pin-striped City broker. In their mission statement, they declare that "We are investors and capitalists. We prize the driven, egocentric, imperial CEO who builds shareholder value" and add, somewhat cheekily, that "We don't sell our stocks because a company damages a tree in Bolivia".

However, they too are concerned at the soaring pay difference and the effect it is having on the returns of shareholders (often pensioners). They have singled out Pfizer as the most egregious example, reports the Wall Street Journal (subscription only).

CEO Hank McKinnell has served as Pfizer’s CEO for the past five years. During this time, Pfizer have paid him $79mm, guaranteed him a neat $6.5mm annual pension and watched the stock price decline by 44%.

Defenders of the status quo will shrug their shoulders and point to market forces. But this is just not accurate. Companies will happily pay megabucks to secure the services of a super-star CEO, but you would hardly expect a fierce bidding war to erupt were the services of Mr. McKinnell to become available.

Despite Enron and despite Worldcom, America's Boardrooms remain a cosy club where 'other people's money' is spent freely amongst themselves.

This group was set up to defend the interests of the small shareholder. But there is far more pernicious impact of the inexorable rise of CEO pay. For a system to survive, it does not need to be popular, but it must not be despised. Socialism died because those exposed to it could see the dire effects it produced. Capitalism is not yet hated, but CEO pay is a propoganda gift that the anti-globalisation Luddites can only dream of.


Friday, April 21, 2006

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Moral Equivalency in the Sydney Morning Herald

On 17th April, a suicide bomber from Islamic Jihad detonated an explosive in Tel Aviv that killed nine people and wounded many more.

The Sydney Morning Herald report is here. It is what you would expect until you reach the final sentence, which completely changes the tone of the entire piece.

"Since October 2000 Hamas suicide bombers have killed 300 Israelis. Israeli military attacks have killed almost 5000 Palestinians in the same period."

Let me translate for anyone who is in any doubt as to journalists, Tali Caspi and Rami Amichai's, true meaning;

The Zionists have killed twice as many Palestinians as Hamas have killed Jews. So don't you go feeling sorry for them. This isn't London nor is it Bali or Madrid.

Firstly, get your facts straight;

During the second intifada (2000 to the end of 2004), the number of Palestinian and Israeli deaths were reported at 3,334 and 1,017 respectively according to the Financial Times.

In 2005 the death toll dropped 70% for both sides (255 Palestinians and 55 Israelis killed) due to the "informal truce observed by some Palestinian groups", according to the BBC.

This article gives some idea as to the scale of the problem facing the Israeli security services,

"Militant Palestinian groups launched approximately 2,990 anti-Israeli attacks in 2005, In all, five suicide attackers got through Israeli security measures in 2005."

In 2006, there have now been four suicide bombs in Israel, all claimed by Islamic Jihad, a group with links to Iran.

And second, The Sydney Morning Herald is guilty of moral equivalency by;

i) ignoring the fact that 76% of Israeli deaths are civilian verus 30% of Palestinian. Or maybe the SMH subscribes to the Hamas view that all Israelis citizens are "legitimate targets"
ii) ignoring the fact that the terrorists use women and children as suicide bombers.
iii) ignoring the fact that the terrorists deliberately target civilians, whereas the Israeli security forces target those doing the killing.
iv) ignoring the fact that Israeli action is always in response to a terrorist atrocity; "you hit me and i'll hit you back". Noone seemed to think this was unacceptable when the US went to war in Afghanistan, so why should it be different in Israel.


Back Dormitory Boys

If you're one of the three people left on the planet who has yet to watch the greatest Chinese pop video of all time, here it is again.

The Economist reports that Huang Yixin and Wei Wei, the two students in the video, are now Chinese megastars. Even their roommate, just visible in the background playing computer games, has become a national celebrity.

So big have they become that the duo are set to join David Beckham, Ronaldinho and Janet Jackson as the public face of Pepsi in China.

The power of the internet and a good idea.


Monday, April 17, 2006

Easter Chick Joke

A lion, a shark and a chicken were having a beer discussing their prowess. The shark boasted that he could close an entire beach resort simply by swimming nearby. The lion replied that one roar from him could send animals up to fifty miles away scurrying for cover.

The chicken looked at the shark and then back at the lion and slowly downed his pint. "Shit guys, that's nothing. One sneeze from me, and i can cause total panic throughout an entire country".


Saturday, April 15, 2006

A radical new idea to fund students

Now this is genuinely radical. And it might just work.

Students currently fund their University educations with a mixture of parental cash and unsecured loans made by the government. However, this still leaves problems. Rather than restrict themselves to debt funding, why not use equity and sell a stake in their future earnings asks Joseph Clark, a PhD student at the University of Queensland, in the latest edition of Policy (subscription only).

The problems are;
i) Universities are poorly funded leading to low quality teaching. But why should the working class foot the bill for the education of middle class kids.
ii) Students need to take on ever larger amounts of debt to enter University. That those who benefit should have to pay seems fair but scary to those assuming large debts, especially from poor backgrounds.
iii) The vast increase in student participation in higher education has lead to a proliferation of degree courses which do not equip students for good, well-paid jobs. Students expectations are unfairly raised and money is squandered on 'useless' degrees.

Equity funding gets around all of these issues.
This is how it would work; Jack Smith needs $50,000 to fund him through a four year Law degree. He expects to earn an average of $100,000 over his first twenty working years. He offers the market 5% of his earnings over this period in exchange for $50,000 upfront. If he earns above $50,000 then the investor makes a profit; if he earns less, for whatever reason (death, change of career, etc), the investor books a loss. This contract can then be traded on the open market.

The benefits would be;
i) the value of a degree would then be reflected in the value of the contract. For example, those wishing to obtain funding for a Media Studies degree would find that they could only raise around half the amount of someone wanting to study, say, Medicine. This would provide students with some indication of their likely future earnings from following a particular degree.

ii) skill shortages would be easier to predict in advance and prevent. If, say, Dentists were in short supply, the price of a Dental contract would rise and more students would choose to study this option.

iii) if these contracts were pooled, they could be listed on an exchange and purchased by pension funds. Hence retirement income would be invested in training the young.

It might just work.


Thursday, April 13, 2006

Euston Manifesto

Just posted on Normblog amogst others is a document called the Euston Manifesto - a Renewal of Progressive Politics. It appears to be written by Nick Cohen and Norman Geras and looks like a manifesto by the democratic/rational/non-stupid Left.

There is a lot to like.

i) no apology or attempt to understand tyranny and terrorism
ii) a complete rejection of knee-jerk anti-Americanism
iii) a rejection of cultural relativism in favour of universal human rights
iv) a scathing attack on Amnesty International and its appalling comparison of the US with the Russian gulags
v) a complete rejection of racism. And, unusually for the Left, to include anti-Semitism
vi) the acceptance that a country's sovereignty is not sacrasanct. ie there are situations that justify invasion.
vii) a defence of freedom of speech (though they understandably do not get drawn into the cartoon debate)

However, there is also a lot of woolly thinking and the inevitable platitudes

i) the very strident anti-terror language is softened by a predictable sop to the Muslim community, "this does not justify prejudice against Muslims, who are its main victims, and amongst whom are to be found some of its most courageous opponents". If only this were the case.
ii) it is very unclear from the document where they stand economically, "we stand for global economic development". Yes, but who doesn't. "Globalization must mean global social integration and a commitment to social justice". Sounds nice but what does it mean? I think they mean that they accept that globalisation has pulled millions out of poverty but they don't like the fact that the rich have benefited disproportionately. Well i dont either, but it comes with the turf.
And "we support fair trade, more aid, debt cancellation and the campaign to Make Poverty History" could have been written by Bono. More aid? Really? Even though study after study has shown that it perpetuates not alleviates poverty. And why fair trade and not free trade? What is fair trade exactly?
iii) they completely ignore one of the biggest issues of the day - welfare - and they fail to answer the question, as Michael Collins so succintly puts it, of "why the white working class have gone from salt of the Earth to scum of the Earth in a little over sixty years?

However, i nitpick. This is a massive step forward for the Left at a time when they seem to have simply run out of ideas.


Australia's shark conspiracy continues

A while ago i posted that despite regular shark attacks reported by the daily Australian papers, the year-end stats show almost no danger whatsoever. Australia officially owned up to 12 attacks last year. I would put the real number at about 10x that if the last few weeks are a guide.

The carnage continues. "I could feel my foot inside its mouth, his whole mouth was around my foot, and I just knew it was some sort of shark," Luke said from his bed in John Hunter Hospital yesterday. "Then I hit it and it let go and I didn't see anything."

Jesus. I would have passed out from terror. Never mind started a boxing match with it. Fifteen year olds are clearly made of stern stuff round here.

Yesterday, i went kayaking in Middle Harbour in Sydney. It was beautiful. That evening i dropped into the Middle Harbour Yacht Club and picked up the daily notes. I found this; "a fisherman yesterday tagged and released an 8ft Tiger Shark and a 5ft Bronze Whaler. The fisherman stated he had noticed increased activity of sharks within Middle Harbour."

Did he really have to release it?

Meanwhile, animal rights activists are protesting the NSW government's decision to retain its shark net program. The Avalon-based Humane Society's spokesperson, Nicola Breynon said the nets were "crude and unselective and killed a great many sharks".

Yes, that's the general idea Nicola.


An American's view of cricket

The Australia-Bangladesh Test is beautifully poised for the final day.

Having just moved to the country myself, i have just finished Bill Bryson's rather mediocre book on Australia, originally titled "Down Under". Its one redeeming feature is his delightful American eye's view of cricket;

"The English invented cricket as a way of making all other human endeavours look interesting and lively...i dont wish to denigrate a game that is enjoyed by millions, some of them awake and facing the right way, but it is an odd game. It is the only sport that incorporates meal breaks. It is the only sport in which the spectators burn as many calories as the players. And it is the only sport, other than baking, in which you can dress in white from head to toe and be as clean at the end of the day as you were at the beginning...

Imagine a form of baseball in which the pitcher, after each delivery, collects the ball from the catcher and walks slowly with it out to centre field; and that there, after a minute's pause to collect himself, he turns and runs full tilt towards the pitcher's mound before hurling the ball at the ankles of a man who stands before him wearing a riding hat, heavy gloves of the sort used to handle radioactive isotopes, and a mattress strapped to each leg.

Imagine moreover that if this batsman fails to hit the ball in a way that heartens him sufficiently to try to waddle sixty feet with mattresses strapped to his legs he is under no formal compulsion to run; he may stand there all day, and as a rule, does. If by some miracle he is coaxed into making a misstroke that leads to his being put out, all the fielders throw up their arms in triumph and have a hug. Now imagine all this going on for so long that by the time that match concludes autumn has crept in and all your library books are overdue. There you have cricket."

And with particular reference to Australia,

"The mystery of cricket is not that Australians play it well, but that they play it at all. It has always seemed to me a game much too restrained for the rough-and-tunble Australian temperament. Australians much prefer games in which brawny men in scanty clothing bloody each other's noses. I am quite certain that if the rest of the world vanished overnight and the development of cricket was left in Australian's hands, within a generation the players would be wearing shorts and using the bats to hit each other."


Terrorists who abusively invoke Islam

Please amend all references to Islamic terrorists previously made on this blog to

"terrorists who abusively invoke Islam"

Or so say the latest guidelines from the EU.
In addition, my profuse apologies to jihadists who i may have offended as

"Jihad is a perfectly positive concept of trying to fight evil within yourself."

Update - i am informed that henceforth a spade is to be referred to as a "metallic soil redistribution device"


Riot police working 47 hour weeks

Apparently the only workers in France currently allowed to exceed the 35 hour week are the riot police.

No, im not making this up.



Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Liberte, Egalite, 401(k) !


They think they're Robespierre. More like Victor Meldrew.

In 1789, France's youth rioted in the streets to fight against the appalling injustices of the French feudal system. In 2006, they are fighting for the right to index-linked pensions and free dental care. The ultra-conservative students' claims would be toe-curlingly embarassing were it not for the astonishing fact that they have the support of the majority of the population and have caused Chirac and de Villepin to completely cave in.

Whilst there is nothing an Englishman likes to see than France in trouble, the recent and rapid decline in France's fortunes should cause all Brits to shiver and to pray that a great nation finally wakes up to its precipitous decline.

In 1836, Mrs. Trollope landed at Calais and overheard the conversation of a young man making his first visit to France. He was accompanied by a more experienced traveller, wise to the ways of the world. She recalled the exchange. ' "What a dreadful smell!" said the uninitiated stranger, covering his nose with his pocket handkerchief. "It is the smell of the continent, sir," replied the man of experience. And so it was.'

Britons have always had a love-hate relationship with the French. We love to see each other beaten (preferably humiliated) at any kind of sport (think 2002 World Cup humiliation), we grab any opportunity to knock each other and our language is peppered with digs at the French; going with a prostitute is to 'take French lessons', contracting syphilis is 'the French disease', using a condom, 'the French letter', and 'pardon my French' usually follows a bout of swearing. But each year, five million of us head for France for our holidays.

George Orwell remarked that "during the war of 1914-18, the English working class were in contact with foreigners to an extent that is rarely possible. The sole result was that they brought back a hatred of all Europeans, except the Germans, whose courage they admired. In four years on French soil, they did not even acquire a liking for wine."

All the most popular French jokes revolve around their cowardice. For example,
As many are aware, the French government recently raised its terror alert level from "Run" to "Hide". The only two higher levels in France are "Surrender" and "Collaborate". The rise was precipitated by a recent fire that destroyed France's white flag factory, effectively paralysing the country's military capability.

Four key events in the past six months give immense cause for concern for this once great country;

i) The leaking of the Obin report on French schools last summer.......'extensive Islamization of French schools in the vicinity of Moslem ghettoes and the imposition of strict conformity with Islamist dictates through violence and intimidation.' 37 pages of this kind of stuff. Followed shortly by...
ii) ...Thousands of Muslim youths rioting and torching Peugeots in the banlieue
ii) Then in the Autumn of 2005, French voters rejected the European Constitution.
iv) And finally on April 10th, the government caved in once again to the rioters (same age as in (ii) just different colour) and scrapped the CPE.

A recent study reported in the Economist showed that 75% of French youth aspire to a job in the civil service and just 35% of them think the free market is the best system (in China the number was 74%).

What is behind this stunning lack of ambition?

Meanwhile, 64% of the young are still on part time jobs one year after leaving education, national debt is building to scary proportions (now 66% of GDP) and unemployment refuses to budge below 10% (it is 23% amongst France's young and a staggering 50% in the banlieue.)

Why can the French not put two and two together?

Hope lies in a man named Sarkozy who seems to 'get it',
"France can no longer maintain the illusory barrage of a so-called model that each day shows itself to no longer work, nor protect anything or anybody."

Or in the resurgent corporate sector and a company called McDonald's, so beloved by the French, which recently reported strong 2005 numbers, citing particular strength in France.


Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Victorian police infiltrating Islamic terror groups

The Victoria Police has become Australia's first force to use an undercover officer to infiltrate a radical Islamic group, reports The Age.

During the operation, the officer arranged for the group's alleged leader, Abdul Nacer Benbrika, to accompany him to Mount Disappointment, north of Melbourne, to test explosives in late 2004. The explosives had secretly been supplied by police, who covertly monitored the trip.
The infiltration was part of the ongoing national counter-terrorism investigation, Operation Pendennis. Thirteen of the group's Melbourne members were later charged with terrorism-related offences, including belonging to an unnamed terrorist organisation.

The infiltration, the first of its kind, has raised concern among the usual suspects about using undercover agents in terrorism-related investigations because of the vagueness of terrorism laws and the potential to entrap suspects.

The accused from Melbourne are charged with laws passed in 2002 that make it an offence to be a member of an organisation "that is directly or indirectly engaged in preparing, planning, assisting in or fostering the doing of a terrorist act", regardless of whether that act ever takes place.

What a shame MI5 failed to do the same in the UK.


Monday, April 10, 2006

Golf phrases

Congratulations to fellow leftie, Phil Mickelson, on another Masters victory.

Next time you're out on the course, try expanding your golfing lexicon with a few of these choice phrases;

On the Tee
A Princess Di - shouldn't have taken a driver

In the bunker
An Adolf Hitler - two shots in the bunker
An Eva Braun - picked up in the bunker

Striking the ball
An Arthur Scargill - a great strike but a poor result
A Russell Grant - a fat iron
A Peter Mandelson - an unbelievable iron
A Kate Winslett - a bit fat but otherwise perfect
A Rodney King - over-clubbed
An O.J. Simpson - got away with it
A Condom - safe but didn't feel real good
A Sally Gunnell - ugly but a good runner
A Paula Radcliffe - not as ugly as a Sally Gunnell but still a good runner
A Douglas Bader - looks good in the air but doesn't have the legs

The approach shot
A Sister-in-Law - you're up there but you know you shouldn't be

A Dennis Wise - a nasty 5 footer
A Salman Rushdie - an impossible read
A Rock Hudson - thought it was straight, but it wasn't


Friday, April 07, 2006

The Stolenwealth Games

An Aboriginal protest group, the Black GST (Genocide to end, Sovereignty acknowledged, Treaty to be made) has set up a camp in Melbourne's Kings Domain during the Commonwealth Games and has since refused to leave.

Today, Mr Howard said the camp should be removed as soon as possible, despite the Victorian government refusing to intervene.

The group called the games the "Stolenwealth Games" and had said they planned to pack up "Camp Sovereignty" on March 25, but have since declared a fire on the site as sacred.

Err, right...

The very white looking guy in the centre of the photo reminds me of an old British eco-warrior, Stumpy. Shame i cant find a picture of him.


Friday mumble

Just how important do you have to be before your death is elevated from murder to assassination?

New words in the Oxford English Dictionary
'McSHIT', as in "I'm just going for a McShit"
Entering a fast food restaurant with no intention of buying food as you're just going to the bog. If challenged by a pimply staff member, your declaration to them that you'll buy their food afterwards is known as a McShit with Lies

Be prepared to take some shit in life; just do not take more than one mouthful at a time
Forrest Gump


Thursday, April 06, 2006

The Economist is wrong on Iraq - again

Bill Emmott, departing editor of the Economist, describes in his valedictory his backing of the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 as the "most controversial decision of this editorship". In debating whether the Economist was right to back the war, he concludes that "this will outrage some readers, but I still think the decision was correct—based on the situation at that time." This despite calling the last three years in Iraq a "debacle".

Bill, you are wrong, wrong, wrong.

When weighing up such a momentous decision as to invade a country, a multitude of factors must be considered. Namely, can the troops get to the capital quickly, what will be the peoples' reaction, what will be the repercussions with other countries, etc etc. For example, we all agree that the regimes in Zimbabwe and North Korea are equally as odious as Saddam's but noone is advocating invasion of either country. Why not? Because other factors are at work.

Those of us who supported the war at the time, made a number of miscalculations, namely

i) we underestimated the strength of the insurgency
ii) we underestimated the strength of anti-US and anti-Western feeling in the region
iii) we understimated the loathing Sunnis and Shias have for each other
iv) we massively overstimated the Bush administration's competence.

Emmott is honest enough to admit the latter point, stating "a paper whose scepticism about government drips from every issue should have been sceptical about Mr Bush's government and its ability to do things properly in Iraq". You should have been Bill, but you weren't.

We should have listened to PJ O'Rourke - "Republicans are the party that says government doesn't work, and then get elected and prove it."


Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Don't you dare call me a Pommy, you racist scum

The Daily Telegraph reports that Australian fans could be kicked out of cricket grounds at this summer's Ashes series for calling an English player "a Pommy bastard".

Australian cricket chief, James Sutherland, described the phrase as a "racist comment". What will Jimmy make of some of the Barmy Army songs?

To the tune of "Yellow Submarine"

In the town where I was born,
there lived a man who was a thief
And he told me of his life,
stealing bread and shagging sheep.
So they put him in the nick,
and then a magistrate he went to see
He said "put him on a ship, to the convict colony
"You all live in a convict colony, a convict colony, a convict colony
You all live in a convict colony, a convict colony, a convict colony


The true colours of Hizb ut-Tahrir

Australian-born Wassim Doureihi, spokesman for the Sydney branch of Hizb ut-Tahrir, organisation. "Just because Muslims were born in Australia doesn't mean we have to accept these conditions".

Islamic group, Hizb ut-Tahrir, have learnt to disguise their true aims in the UK. Their constitution was recently removed from their website after a few people pointed out that it was a little, err, inflammatory. You can read it here.

However, no attempt at disguise is made in Australia.

Hizb has been caught distributing extremist pamphlets outside mosques in Melbourne and Sydney urging Muslims to rise up against Australian troops in Iraq and support the insurgency. At a mosque outside Lakemba in Sydney, the group was handing out leaflets blaming the Shia/Sunni fighting on US forces, saying "what happened in Samarra was of the planning and execution of the occupying forces".

The website of Hizb declares that the party "does not advocate or engage in violence" but the flyers tell a different story, "we urge you to make the calamity of Samarra as a motivator to repel the invaders and that you take them as your enemies."

Hizb was investigated last year by the Australian Attorney-General, Philip Ruddock, but were not designated a terrorist organisation due to lack of evidence.

Hizb ut-Tahrir was set up in 1953 by a Palestinian judge to inspire the creation of a Muslim Caliphate state. Its Sydney arm has more than 200 members. Hizb ut-Tahrir still endorses Sharia law, which stipulates the death penalty for gay and lesbian Muslims, apostates and unchaste women.

In a recent article in the Times (subscription only), Shiraz MaherPublished, a former member of the group, had this to say of the group.

Hizb ut-Tahrir is no paper tiger. It is a revolutionary movement seeking to overthrow governments in the Muslim world, establish a caliphate and then wage jihad on other nations. The mobilisation of British Muslims is an integral part of that vision.
I know because for two years I was a member, recruited while studying for a degree in history. With a presence on campuses across the country, Hizb ut-Tahrir is experienced in avoiding detection. Its members were the architects of the national "Stop Islamophobia" student campaign launched last year. They have also organised seemingly innocuous football tournaments and "welcome dinners" for new Muslim students. Recruiting such members of the UK's emerging middle class is particularly important to Hizb ut-Tahrir.
Although the party's primary role in the UK is to articulate the case for Islam as an alternative to capitalism, such work is intrinsically linked to its wider ambitions. Hizb ut-Tahrir is opposed to every regime in the Muslim world and has orchestrated coup attempts in Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Egypt and Morocco.
Exiled members who have regrouped in the UK have used the freedoms afforded to them here to seek to springboard their recruits and ideas back into the Muslim world. The effects have been felt most acutely in Pakistan, to which scores of British recruits, born and raised here, have returned since the late 1990s to propagate the party's message and incite the army to sedition.

While Hizb ut-Tahrir continues to mobilise British Muslims in pursuit of its cause, its threat to global security cannot be understated. Silencing the party is, therefore, not simply a debate about free speech or criminalising alternative opinions. It is about protecting ourselves, and our allies, from the excesses of a totalitarian Islamic movement with grand ambitions.
Hizb ut-Tahrir's openly stated ambition of global conquest sits uncomfortably with its newfound obsession with free speech. A party leaflet from 1999 reads: "In the forthcoming days the Muslims will conquer Rome and the dominion of the (nation) of Muhammad will reach the whole world, and the rule of the Muslims will reach as far as the day and night." It's a world in which freedom of speech, of course, would be notably absent.


In defence of globalisation

Bill Emmott, the departing editor of the Economist after 13 years at the helm, ends with a vigorous defence of globalisation.

Since 1993, the globalisation (the liberalisation of domestic and international markets for goods, services, technology and capital) has produced spectacular results in generating wealth and dragging people out of poverty.

In 1993, world GDP growth was 1.2% and inflation almost 35%. Today, the world is racing along at an annual 3% growth rate and inflation has come crashing down to 3.7%. This has pulled hundreds of millions out of extreme poverty. The World Bank reports that the percentage of people living on less than $1 a day has fallen from 22% in 1993 to 17.8% in 2001 and they predict the rate to fall to 9% by 2015 at current trends.

This is over seven hundred million people.

All well and good say the anti-globalisation doomsayers, but by outsourcing everything to India and China, look at the damage done to first-world jobs.

Wrong again, guys.

The actual facts show a totally different story. Unemployment in OECD countries (the so-called "rich" nations) has fallen from 7.8% of the workforce in 1993 to 6.3% today.

Emmott ends with a warning that protectionism is the natural state as politicians seek to curry favour with voters. Despite its stunning success, globalisation is constantly attacked from all sides. The battle is going well, but is not won.


Monday, April 03, 2006

The rules of political correctness

Thought the phrase "pommy bastard" was safe from the PC thought police? Wrong. Not sure what to call your local ethnic minority community? Not sure who to blame for crime, high unemployment, loutish behaviour etc? Then look no further. Read this ands you should be safely armed for any Eastern Suburb/Primrose Hill/Lower EastSide dinner party.

Rule 1; The world can be neatly divided into a small number of groups.

Rule 2; Each group will consist of Victims or Oppressors.

Rule 3; Victims are always blameless, no matter how they got there. Likewise, Oppressors are always guilty.

Rule 4; The demands of Victims are always to be supported.

Rule 5; Cultural diversity is always to be encouraged unless it benefits the Oppressors.

Rule 6; Groups are assigned Victim or Oppressor status according to their power and wealth. Victims must be less powerful than Oppressors.

Rule 7; There must be no movement between the two groups. An Oppressor cannot become a Victim and vice versa. If Oppressors see the error of their ways, they can start hating other Oppressors but they cannot become Victims. A Victim cannot become an Oppressor because it would require the adoption of behaviour that was not blameless, violating Rule 3.

Rule 8; Free speech is only permitted for Victims but not by themselves. They must be represented by "community leaders" who are above both groups. Anyone who questions a Victim must by definition be an Opressor and therefore wrong. Oppressors' opinions are not worth hearing and are banned.

Rule 9; Victims are to be awarded enormous compensations at all times. Nothing is demanded in return. However, the offspring of Victims may become Oppressors.

Rule 10; Criminal acts committed by Victims are purely a result of their status and as such are the direct responsibility of Oppressors. Criminal acts committed by Oppressors are evidence of their innate evil.

Rule 11; If one group of Victims fights another, support must be given to the least powerful and wealthy of the two groups. For example, when gays accuse Muslims of homophobia, they are acting as Oppressors because gays are more successful than Muslims etc etc.

Rule 12; Actual truths and facts are irrelevant because of Rule 3.