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Nick wrote:
Marylin Mason, (ex BHA,) who appears to be the driving force behind the new group proclaims "10 Solutions to End Poverty! Sign the Petition!" (though I can only see 5..... :shrug: )

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First, forgive international debt unconditionally and stop other predatory tactics. End the use of economic power as a means by which the wealthy control the poor.
Second, change the tax system in every country of the world. If justice is to be done, most of the taxes should fall on property ownership and not on the wages of working people.
Third, the poor should demand land reform, restoring land (or its value) to the people who actually work on it, instead of a few landowners.
Fourth, end privatization of natural resources and share these in common. Land, air, water, and oil are the common inheritance of all of humanity, not the stockholders of companies that have managed to grab these resources.
Fifth, "degrowth" in the rich nations--a radical cut in consumption of resources and production of waste--is necessary for the poor nations to survive. As Gandhi said, "Live simply, so others can simply live."


I think "flakey" is being kind. Above, we see a recipe for catastrophic disaster on a colossal scale! Marylin is free to think what she likes, she is free to campaign as she thinks best, she can even interpret it as a humanist response (ie that she thinks it would do good, and there's no god involved) but to have such stupidity applauded by the BHA is a to hitch the BHA wagon to the loony left. We (and the planet) need that like a hole in the head.

er, I must have missed that part! At least the global warming stuff is I think reasonable. I am not as sure as Nick about these points being being disastrous, but it is pie in the sky, surely, to focus on them like this


April 20th, 2011, 12:40 pm
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I have just had another look at the site, and all comments have now been removed :cross:

There has been a zero response on the BHA forum, but then that's about as lively as a parson's cat, so what did I expect?

Maybe it will sink without trace. Let's hope so.


April 20th, 2011, 7:29 pm
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Nick wrote:
Marylin Mason, (ex BHA,) who appears to be the driving force behind the new group proclaims "10 Solutions to End Poverty! Sign the Petition!" (though I can only see 5..... :shrug: )

Quote:
First, forgive international debt unconditionally and stop other predatory tactics. End the use of economic power as a means by which the wealthy control the poor.
Second, change the tax system in every country of the world. If justice is to be done, most of the taxes should fall on property ownership and not on the wages of working people.
Third, the poor should demand land reform, restoring land (or its value) to the people who actually work on it, instead of a few landowners.
Fourth, end privatization of natural resources and share these in common. Land, air, water, and oil are the common inheritance of all of humanity, not the stockholders of companies that have managed to grab these resources.
Fifth, "degrowth" in the rich nations--a radical cut in consumption of resources and production of waste--is necessary for the poor nations to survive. As Gandhi said, "Live simply, so others can simply live."


I think "flakey" is being kind. Above, we see a recipe for catastrophic disaster on a colossal scale!
As opposed to the catastrophe we have at the moment?

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April 20th, 2011, 10:09 pm
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Yes, Alan. Definitely. Or perhaps you can explain how deprivation can be cured by negative growth as advocated above?


April 21st, 2011, 9:54 am
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Nick

I'm not sure you're agreeing that there is a catastrophe that needs sorted.

However, perhaps it's high time for the economists or whoever have the knowledge to make a difference to come up with decent solutions to the world's problems and end the needless catastrophe that I've highlighted before where people are dying every minute or so for want of food and clean water.

There is little I - and many others - can do except donate to various charities, like Oxfam, the Red Cross and Save the Children, while we wait, patiently or otherwise, for others who can come up with a solution to do something that will make a substantial difference. While the current system tinkers around the edges of world poverty (while the west - and particularly the rich - get richer) and possibly makes a small difference, it is painfully slow. Well, not that painful for us in the west really, but deadly painful for those in the third world.

The solution isn't the current system that might help in 50, 100, 200 years or who knows how long. That is way too long. While we wait and get on with our lives, millions die. I don't want wringing of hands; I want to see action being taken - action that will get humanity moving towards a more equal world.

Oh! And if that means that I'm worse off, then so be it. If my 'suffering' was endured in the certain knowledge that others have the means to survive the rest of the day, then that is something we should all be willing to gladly endure.

Am I impatient? You bet I am.

Now: what's the solution that starts to bring significant improvements to those that are due to die today, tomorrow, next week and this year, or even just this generation?

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April 21st, 2011, 11:32 am
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Nick wrote:
perhaps you can explain how deprivation can be cured by negative growth as advocated above?

Perhaps you can explain how catastrophe can be avoided whilst maintaining an economic system that requires endless positive 'growth'?


April 21st, 2011, 1:29 pm
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Alan H wrote:
I'm not sure you're agreeing that there is a catastrophe that needs sorted.
I thought you were referring to the recession, but appreciate you in fact meant something different.

My criticisms are 2-fold: first, that the solutions proposed are either hopelessly vague, completely impossible or downright counter-productive, and second, that the BHA seems to be linked to them.

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However, perhaps it's high time for the economists or whoever have the knowledge to make a difference to come up with decent solutions to the world's problems and end the needless catastrophe that I've highlighted before where people are dying every minute or so for want of food and clean water.
Quite so. But it is not capitalism which has caused the problem, and it cannot be solved without political change. Eg, the end of endemic corruption, confidence in the rule of law, the end of despotism and tribalism are all necessary conditions for progress to be made. Also, sometimes, an end to the restrictive practices which are supposed to help the poor. For example, India is blocking investment by supernmarket groups, in order to protect small businesses. Result: lack of effective distribution channels, which means that prices are higher for the poor, and 25% of all food is wasted. This is criminal. Sure, some people will have to find alternative work,which will probably be painful for them, but cheaper, healthier food, which generates taxable profits which can be spent on infrastructure, eg clean water, is being prevented by the government itself.

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There is little I - and many others - can do except donate to various charities, like Oxfam, the Red Cross and Save the Children, while we wait, patiently or otherwise, for others who can come up with a solution to do something that will make a substantial difference.
As we have seen in the Arab Spring, ultimately the solutions must come from the countries themselves; we cannot impose solutions upon them. I too donate, especially to Oxfam.

Quote:
While the current system tinkers around the edges of world poverty (while the west - and particularly the rich - get richer) and possibly makes a small difference, it is painfully slow. Well, not that painful for us in the west really, but deadly painful for those in the third world.
THe wealth of the West is not the cause of the poverty of the rest. Growth rates in Africa are in the region of 6-8% per annum, post 2008. Where this is not so, it is generally because of conflict. There are limits to what is possible without a new neo-colonial system. Sure, things aren't perfect, but such a growth rate implies a quadrupling of GDP in a generation.

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The solution isn't the current system that might help in 50, 100, 200 years or who knows how long. That is way too long. While we wait and get on with our lives, millions die. I don't want wringing of hands; I want to see action being taken - action that will get humanity moving towards a more equal world.
Take Nigeria, for example; possibly the most entrepreneurial in Africa. Their principal problems are corruption and religious/tribal conflict, not the capitalist west.

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Oh! And if that means that I'm worse off, then so be it. If my 'suffering' was endured in the certain knowledge that others have the means to survive the rest of the day, then that is something we should all be willing to gladly endure.
As I've said before, you don't make the poor rich by making the rich poor. At least you will applaud the Coalition for maintaining the Overseas Aid budget. (Except that NGO's very often seem to have better outcomes.... Hmmm....)

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Am I impatient? You bet I am.
Me too.

Quote:
Now: what's the solution that starts to bring significant improvements to those that are due to die today, tomorrow, next week and this year, or even just this generation?
Whatever it is, it should not be for the BHA to propose the solution. I would expect humanists to be concerned, of course, and I would also expect them to support whatever solution they think fit, but in the same way that we dislike "Christian" charities, I do not think it is for the BHA to ally itself to specific campaigns, especially not when they are as barking as this one is.


April 21st, 2011, 1:33 pm
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thundril wrote:
Nick wrote:
perhaps you can explain how deprivation can be cured by negative growth as advocated above?

Perhaps you can explain how catastrophe can be avoided whilst maintaining an economic system that requires endless positive 'growth'?

C'mon! I asked first! :wink:

You'll need to define what you mean by catastrophe, too, if you want a serious discussion.


April 21st, 2011, 1:36 pm
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Nick wrote:
Quote:
Oh! And if that means that I'm worse off, then so be it. If my 'suffering' was endured in the certain knowledge that others have the means to survive the rest of the day, then that is something we should all be willing to gladly endure.
As I've said before, you don't make the poor rich by making the rich poor.
I'm not suggesting you make the rich poor, but it depends on what you mean by 'the rich'. You and I are staggeringly rich by global standards, but even we could afford to have and own just a bit less if that meant some poor souls in the third world got some clean water. But there is far more wealth around that could be FAR better used that it currently is.

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April 21st, 2011, 3:52 pm
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:offtopic:

Shall I split this thread now?


April 21st, 2011, 6:05 pm
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Happy to have stimulated discussion of one of the issues covered by H4BW, and just to set the record straight, I don't expect all humanists to agree about the problems, let alone the answers – or anything much in fact (8 years working at the BHA would've cured me of that if I'd ever thought it). H4BW is there for those humanists that are interested in one or more of these global ethical issues, and for them to pick and choose what to do about them - of course (which hardly needs saying, I hope).

I don't think it's "flakey" to pay attention to what's going on in the world and to try to inch forward to make it a better one, or to take on board the evidence (something we humanists are usually keen on) that more equal societies work better than grossly unequal ones, that infinite economic growth is simply impossible on a finite planet with finite resources, and to extrapolate that a more equal and fairer planet would be a better one.

The BHA supports H4BW at arm's length, just as they support other humanist specialist interest groups, many of which take some of the pressure off the BHA to do everything, endorse everything, campaign about everything, enabling BHA staff to get on with the main business of the BHA. It certainly doesn't mean that the BHA and all humanists will endorse everything signposted on the H4BW website, any more than the BHA and all humanists are necessarily vegetarians or members or the armed forces or Mensa. But some are, and they sometimes like to do their thing under a humanist banner.

There are also some advantages to the BHA and humanists of being more visible outside our usual campaigns and networks: it promotes humanism amongst ethically concerned people well beyond the usual core supporters, and it answers one of the occasional criticisms of humanists, that (unlike most religions) we are exclusively and selfishly concerned with our own rights and problems - and before you all lay into me or quote this out of context I do not think this is true of humanists!


April 21st, 2011, 7:22 pm
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Hi Marilyn!

First and foremost, welcome to TH! I'm delighted to see you here, as I regard this as the best general humanist forum available, ever since the BHA shot itself in the foot by closing its open forum. I'll respond more anon, but do,please, see what else TH has to offer on all sorts of topics (including some none too serious :D )

Just a quick correction. It is not paying attention to global issues which is "flakey", but the solutions proposed. That is entirely different. I'm glad you like evidence. Are you prepared to accept it, though? :D


April 21st, 2011, 7:59 pm
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Hi Marilyn! :welcome:

Marilyn wrote:
I don't think it's "flakey" to pay attention to what's going on in the world and to try to inch forward to make it a better one, or to take on board the evidence (something we humanists are usually keen on) that more equal societies work better than grossly unequal ones, that infinite economic growth is simply impossible on a finite planet with finite resources, and to extrapolate that a more equal and fairer planet would be a better one.
Quite. It's always good to put forward ideas that will solve some of the horrendous problems that many members of the human race currently face and the problems we all might face in the future. I certainly can't see the current system changing because of deeply entrenched and vested interests, and even if it did somehow move towards a more equal world - and some might argue it is heading in that direction - progress is painfully slow.

It is difficult to see what change needs to be made - and I'm certainly not the one to come up with solutions for this - but unless we can set out the general direction we need to go in, we will never get there. And the longer we prevaricate, the more of our fellow humans will die and suffer needlessly.

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April 21st, 2011, 11:02 pm
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Thank you for the welcome. When I have a minute to spare from saving the planet :smile: I'll introduce myself properly in Reception.


April 22nd, 2011, 8:00 am
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Athena wrote:
:offtopic:

Shall I split this thread now?


:thumbsup:


April 22nd, 2011, 9:07 am
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Yes I think it would be a good idea - discussion of H4BW / climate change / the environment is rather different from discussion of the BHA.


April 22nd, 2011, 9:40 am
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