Economic insecurity has become the “new normal” in the UK with at least 70% of the UK’s working population “chronically broke”, according to a study by the thinktank the Royal Society of Arts.
Thriving, striving or just about surviving, the RSA/Populus survey of more than 2,000 workers, found that while about 30% of respondents said they lived comfortably, 40% said their finances were permanently precarious. The remaining 30% said they were not managing to get by. Continue reading
Author Archives: Lin
Percentage of welfare in cash paid to the lowest and highest quintile in 2011
£280bn Global Arms Sales in 2016
Global sales of weapons and military services have risen for the first time in five years, helped in part by an increase in sales by British companies.
Weapons – many of which are fuelling deadly conflicts in the Middle East – are now being bought and sold at the highest level since 2010, with sales up more than a third (38 per cent) since 2002.
Military kit worth $374.8bn (£280bn) was sold in 2016 by the industry’s top 100 companies, an annual review by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri) found.
The findings came as UK firm BAE Systems signed a $6.7bn deal with Qatar to buy 24 Typhoon fighter jets.
British arms sales rose 2 per cent last year and now amount to almost 10 per cent of global sales, researchers found.
Germany’s arms sales jumped 6.6 per cent while South Korean companies notched up 20 per cent more sales than a year earlier. …
Sales by Lockheed Martin – the world’s largest arms producer – rose by 10.7 per cent in 2016, the report found, linked to the sale of F-35 combat aircraft. Continue reading
Destruction Of Black Wealth During The Obama Presidency
Between 2007 and 2016, the average wealth of the bottom 99% decreased by $4,500. This decline was particularly
concentrated among the housing wealth of AfricanAmericans. Outside of home equity, black wealth recovered its 2007 level by 2016. But average black home equity was still $16,700 less. Meanwhile, over the same period, the average wealth of the top 1% increased by $4.9 million. Much of this decline in wealth, we argue, was the direct result of policies enacted by President Obama. His housing policies, particularly regarding foreclosures, were a disastrous failure that led to millions of families losing their homes, with black families suffering especially harsh losses. What’s more, Obama had power—money, legislative tools, and legal leverage—that could have very sharply ameliorated the foreclosure crisis, if not largely prevented it. He chose not to use them.
In the following essay, we shall examine the circumstances that led to the housing bubble, and its eventual collapse in Part I. In Part II, we shall take a close statistical look at the decline in black housing wealth. And in Part III, we shall outline an approach that would have halted the foreclosure crisis, had President Obama chosen to pursue it.
Visualising world military spending
The Forbes 400 have more wealth than the GDP of the UK
In the United States, the 400 richest individuals now own more wealth than the bottom 64 percent of the population and the three richest own more wealth than the bottom 50 percent, while pervasive poverty means one in five households have zero or negative net worth.
Those are just several of the striking findings of Billionaire Bonanza 2017, a new report (pdf) published Wednesday by the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) that explores in detail the speed with which the U.S. is becoming “a hereditary aristocracy of wealth and power.” …
“The wealthiest 25 individuals in the United States today own $1 trillion in combined assets,” the report notes. “These 25, a group equivalent to the active roster of a major league baseball team, hold more wealth than the bottom 56 percent of the U.S. population combined, 178 million people.”
Interactive Map: European weapons and Refugees
Valuable resource from Centre Delàs:
Interactive map « European weapons and refugees »
The purpose of this interactive map is to highlight the link between European arms export and flows of refugees and internally displaced persons, in order to determine whether there is any direct or indirect responsibility of EU Member States for situations of insecurity and violence that drive millions of people to flee their homes every year.
A second objective of this tool is to stress their (ir)responsibility in European arms export authorization or realization as well as their inadequate compliance of the existing legislation, established by the Common Position 2008/944/CFSP of December 8, 2008, which sets up 22 weapons categories including ammunition, light weapons, aircraft and warships, military transport vehicles and all types of military technology for military purposes. On the basis of the criteria set out in the Common Position, the relationship between the European legislation on arms export and situations of insecurity leading to movements of refugees and displaced persons can be established.
More than 100 F-35s in service can’t fight
The U.S. military has signaled that it might cancel essential upgrades for more than 100 early model F-35 stealth fighters flown by the Air Force, rendering the radar-evading jets incompatible with many of the latest weapons.
In that case, some 6 percent of the flying branch’s planned 1,700-strong F-35 fleet would be unfit for combat, sticking U.S. taxpayers with a $20 billion tab for fighters… that can’t fight. Continue reading
The Pentagon’s use of private contractors adds to a legacy of environmental damage
The military is one of the country’s largest polluters, with an inventory of toxic sites on American soil that once topped 39,000. At many locations, the Pentagon has relied on contractors like U.S. Technology to assist in cleaning and restoring land, removing waste, clearing unexploded bombs, and decontaminating buildings, streams and soil. In addition to its work for Barksdale, U.S. Technology had won some 830 contracts with other military facilities — Army, Air Force, Navy and logistics bases — totaling more than $49 million, many of them to dispose of similar powders. Continue reading
UK arms firms pay little tax in Saudi arms sale
The report, released by children’s charity War Child, claims that corporations, including BAE systems and Raytheon, have made an estimated $775m in profit on $8bn worth of revenue by selling arms to Saudi Arabia between March 2015 and the end of 2016.
Yet corporation tax receipts since the war in Yemen began stands at just $40m, something the NGO describes as “pitiful”.
Israel arms Myanmar military amid crackdown on Rohingya
Israel has continued to sell arms to Myanmar, despite international condemnation of the country’s crackdown on its Rohingya Muslim minority. …
The armaments sold to Myanmar include over 100 tanks, weapons and boats that have been used to police the country’s border and perpetrate numerous acts of violence against the Rohingya, such that the UN suspects the army is committing ethnic cleansing. Continue reading
The misleading UK official unemployement numbers
This is almost unheard of. Unemployment was most recently this low in December 1973, when the UK set an unrepeated record of just 3.4%.
The problem with this record is that the statistical definition of “unemployment” relies on a fiction that economists tell themselves about the nature of work. As the rate gets lower and lower, it tests that lie. Because – as anyone who has studied basic economics knows – the official definition of unemployment disguises the true rate. In reality, about 21.5% of all working-age people (defined as ages 16 to 64) are without jobs, or 8.83 million people, according to the Office for National Statistics. Continue reading
Universal basic income in Southeast Asia
My research focuses specifically on women from the region who live below the poverty line, which, for East Asia and the Pacific, the World Bank defines as living on less than US$3.20 a day.
In Cambodia, Laos, the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam – among the poorest Southeast Asian nations – between 13% and 47% of the population is living in poverty. The number is significantly lower in better-off Brunei and Singapore.
On the whole, women in these countries fare well enough compared to their peers in other developing regions in terms of literacy, employment, political participation and the right to organise. But this has not translated into greater gender equality. …
In poor families in Southeast Asia, up to 80% of household income is spent on food, yet undernutrition remains a huge problem in Cambodia, Laos, the Philippines, Indonesia and, to a lesser extent, in Vietnam.
If women were provided with sufficient income to feed their families, it would translate into better nutrition, health and general well-being for children and others entrusted in their care, and by extension, their communities. Continue reading
Wonder Woman and the Military-Industrial Complex
In short, this is straight-up propaganda for the military-industrial complex. It would have looked and sounded identical had it been scripted by a joint team from the Pentagon and the Israel Defense Forces.
My reticence to review the film has lifted after reading the latest investigations of Tom Secker and Matthew Alford into the manifold ways the U.S. military and security services interfere in Hollywood, based on a release of 4,000 pages of documents under Freedom of Information requests.
In their new book “National Security Cinema,” the pair argue that the Pentagon, CIA and National Security Agency have meddled in the production of at least 800 major Hollywood movies and 1,000 TV titles. That is likely to be only the tip of the iceberg, as they concede:
“It is impossible to know exactly how widespread this military censorship of entertainment is because many files are still being withheld.” Continue reading
Israel and India arms trade
India is Israel’s top destination for arms exports, buying 41 per cent of export between 2012 and 2016, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, an independent global conflict and arms-research institute.
Israel is India’s third-largest source of arms, with a 7.2 per cent share of imports between 2012 and 2016, next to the US (14 per cent) and Russia (68 per cent). Continue reading
‘Ready, aim, smile!’
Police have been accused of glamorising weapons after children as young as seven were pictured brandishing plastic machine guns to take aim at ‘ terrorist targets’ at a mock firing range.
West Midlands Police invited a class of pupils from Kings Norton Primary School, in Birmingham, to visit a firearms training facility for an event entitled ‘Ready, aim, smile!’
It’s “Call of Duty for real”
This past month, news came of soldiers training with a system called Tactical Augmented Reality. …
The idea comes from Will Roper, a Rhodes scholar in his late 30s with a PhD in mathematics. Roper runs the Defense Department’s secretive Strategic Capabilities Office; his job is to study where war is headed, and to develop the technological tools that help the United States win there. The military services think about today; DARPA thinks about the distant future; Roper thinks about tomorrow.
Facts about the NHS
- The population of the UK is an estimated 65.1 million.
- 1 in 20 GP surgeries have closed or merged since 2013. 57 closing down in 2016 alone.
- The NHS England budget is £117 billion for 2016/7 and will rise after inflation to £120 billion by 2019/20.
- Every 36 hours the NHS will treat 1,000,000 patients.
- Accident and emergency departments recorded their worst ever waiting times in 2016/7.
- Hospitals recorded their worst ever waiting times for elective surgery in 2015.
- The NHS in England has 149,808 doctors, 314,966 nurses, and employs 1.3 million people.
- 19% of NHS staff and 29.5% of NHS doctors are non-British.
- The average age of recent migrants to the UK is 26.
- Healthcare costs change with age: a 20-year old costs an estimated £500 per year, a 65-year old £3750 per year and an 85-year old £7500 per year.
- The population of the UK over 65 in 1975 was 1 in 8. Today it is 1 in 6. By 2050 it will be 1 in 4. There are 1.5 million people over 85 in the U.K today.
- The NHS buys many drugs from Europe and the USA paying in Euros (€) and US dollars ($).
- Health tourism, foreign citizens using the NHS, costs the NHS an estimated £1-300 million per year. A new overseas surcharge recouped £289m in 2015. This is 0.3% of the total NHS budget.
- Stationery costs the NHS £146m/year.
- Compared internationally the NHS achieves above average outcomes, with average funding and below average staff numbers. OECD.
- Health costs rise each year in developed countries, above real world inflation. This is broken down into staff wage inflation, new technologies, population growth, new drugs and medical advances.
- The NHS was estimated to require £30 billion by 2020 to meet predicted demand. To date, it has received £4.5 billion.
- Social care is estimated to require £4 billion by 2020 to maintain current service.
- The ratio of people working to those retired is called the Old Age Dependency Ratio (OADR). This was steady at around 300 retirees for every 1000 people working from the 1980s to 2006, but has now since started to rise. With retirement age changes, it will still increase by 20% by 2037 to 365.
Globalisation, France, USA, Brexit and Trump
At the heart of Guilluy’s inquiry is globalization. Internationalizing the division of labor has brought significant economic efficiencies. But it has also brought inequalities unseen for a century, demographic upheaval, and cultural disruption. Now we face the question of what—if anything—we should do about it.
A process that Guilluy calls métropolisation has cut French society in two. In 16 dynamic urban areas (Paris, Lyon, Marseille, Aix-en-Provence, Toulouse, Lille, Bordeaux, Nice, Nantes, Strasbourg, Grenoble, Rennes, Rouen, Toulon, Douai-Lens, and Montpellier), the world’s resources have proved a profitable complement to those found in France. These urban areas are home to all the country’s educational and financial institutions, as well as almost all its corporations and the many well-paying jobs that go with them. Here, too, are the individuals—the entrepreneurs and engineers and CEOs, the fashion designers and models, the film directors and chefs and other “symbolic analysts,” as Robert Reich once called them—who shape the country’s tastes, form its opinions, and renew its prestige. Cheap labor, tariff-free consumer goods, and new markets of billions of people have made globalization a windfall for such prosperous places. But globalization has had no such galvanizing effect on the rest of France. Cities that were lively for hundreds of years—Tarbes, Agen, Albi, Béziers—are now, to use Guilluy’s word, “desertified,” haunted by the empty storefronts and blighted downtowns that Rust Belt Americans know well. Continue reading
Total world military expenditure rose to $1686 billion in 2016
Military spending in North America saw its first annual increase since 2010, while spending in Western Europe grew for the second consecutive year.
World military expenditure rose for a second consecutive year to a total of $1686 billion in 2016—the first consecutive annual increase since 2011 when spending reached its peak of $1699 billion.* Trends and patterns in military expenditure vary considerably between regions. Spending continued to grow in Asia and Oceania, Central and Eastern Europe and North Africa. By contrast, spending fell in Central America and the Caribbean, the Middle East (based on countries for which data is available), South America and sub-Saharan Africa.