Out of touch, some might say


Since when did ensuring adequate child nutrition and well-being become ‘unnecessary spending’ or a ‘giveaway’?

These views came after the government announcement that free school meals will now be made available to all children under 7. Nick Clegg apparently had to push the Tory led coalition to accepting what one senior tory describe as “an appalling waste of £600million of taxpayers’ money” (out-of-touch, some might say).

For the family orientated press I’d assume this would have been a triumph for common sense. For the financially led papers, a catapult to future economic growth and prosperity. But no, ideology or utter bollocks prevails over all.

The World Bank’s Nutrition Overview, states, “The economic cost of under-nutrition, in terms of lost national productivity and economic growth, are enormous. Countries can lose between 2 to 3 percent of their potential GDP each year.”

Furthermore a Harvard School of Public Health study says, pursuing economic growth top-down without corresponding direct investments in health and health-related programmes “has little effect on child nutrition”; in other words, economic growth has not helped child nutrition – thus having little effect on long-term sustained economic growth. So how are we going to secure economic prosperity 20 years from now?

Some people have asked, how can we afford it? But how can we afford not to do it?

Might as well…

Shit! I’ve not posted in ages. What must my five followers be doing with themselves?

I must have been doing some important and exciting, eh? In fact it’s the opposite, I’ve done nothing; work has meandered from the mundane to the irrelevant; entertainment has involved weekend trips to the nearest watering hole and my thoughts have been stale and uninspiring.

I did complete another edX course though… check out my post Mathematical Motherlickin Geni-ass regarding the first.

This one was entitled The Challenges of Global Poverty, provided by MIT. I was discussing some of the points with a friend of mine, who considered the whole task of poverty alleviation as hopeless. The best thing that course taught me that it was far from hopeless. To illustrate this… I give my five followers a task.

Look around you; on your desk, in your room, in your kitchen. Count how many items there are, designed to make your life a little more comfortable, convenient, enjoyable.

Now look again at those items, how many of them have been designed to alleviate poverty, or would be of use or accessible to someone in absolute poverty? I assume very few of them would be.

Despite this abhorrence, people are pulling ‘themselves’ out of poverty; designing their own solutions, systems and making their own decisions independent of, or in some cases in spite of Western intervention, to make their own and the children’s life’s far better. Furthermore imagine a nation like Britain in 1900 for the majority of people. Pretty shitty, huh? It wasn’t until the conclusion of two World Wars and another 45 years before a systematic and comprehensive system of poverty alleviation was created. We call this the Welfare State and it is commended the world over. Many of what are poor nations today only achieved independence 50-60 years ago, their journey is only just beginning.

I suggest you read Profs Duflo and Banerjee’s book Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty, which supported the course to find out more. Check out their website too for some useful stats and studies -http://pooreconomics.com/

Also, I scored 89%… BOOOM!

Daily Politics

Watching a debate on the Daily Politics, BBC2 about Marxism Vs Socialism. It’s an apt topic, but the pure capitalist endorser, Dr Madsen Pirie of the Adam Smith Institute doesn’t display a solid understanding of the facts, but simply touts his deeply held, ingrained ideology.

He claims that improving the wealth of the rich, improves the livelihoods of the poor. But that is far from proven. There exists some correlation, but the first rule of statistics is that correlation doesn’t equate to causation.

The inequality gap is at it’s greatest since The First World War and he says he doesn’t care! As if this isn’t a concern, or detrimental to the well being or state of the economy at large. Allow me to elaborate.

People on lower incomes have a greater marginal propensity to consume; if you increase 10 peoples’ £10k income by 10%, they are far more likely to spend that extra 10% than someone who receives an extra 10% on their £100k income. Improving the livelihood of the poor from the bottom up, is good for capitalism, better in fact than top-down, trickle-down policies.

The inequality gap should be of concern to Dr Pirie, not only for moral reasons, but somewhat contradictory to my opening paragraph, reducing it will support his own ideological goals.