Western governments are spluttering with indignation following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula – but in an economically interconnected world, spluttering may be their only response. US President Barack Obama promised “consequences”, and European Union foreign ministers rushed to emergency meetings. “But there’s nothing we can do,” says Keir Giles of Chatham House, an international affairs think-tank based in London.
One might think that the main obstacle to any Western military action is Russia’s size and 1300 nuclear warheads ready to launch. However it is not. In reality, the chief stumbling block to any Western action is the interconnectedness of the global economy. Sevastopol, the Crimean town which is the only port for Russia’s Black Sea fleet, is also vital for grain shipments. Ukraine is the world’s sixth-largest exporter of wheat and fourth-largest of maize, accounting for 18 per cent of the world’s maize exports. Disrupting that with military action or a blockade would destabilise grain prices, causing political unrest worldwide. Wheat and corn prices have already jumped over the current confrontation. (1)
In an interconnected world, there is so little you can do to harm the other without harming your self.
Think about it.
We are all living in the same world.
We are all interconnected.
Harming others means harming our own self.
Loving others means loving us.
In a cosmos old enough, One is the only option.
Is that the answer we have been searching for thousands of years in philosophy?
The command “ἀγαπᾶτε ἀλλήλους” certainly sounds more wise under that perspective…
Predicting how stock prices will rise or fall, everybody knows, is worth a fortune. Understanding the predictability of stock prices, too, can net you a pretty rich dividend, as Eugene Fama, Lars Peter Hansen, and Robert Schiller can tell you this morning. The three have together won the 2013 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sizes in Memory of Alfred Nobel (informally, the Nobel prize in economics) “for their empirical analysis of asset prices”. (1)
Predicting how stocks will behave, so that all investors buy them and – as a result – make them behave differently.
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“We are not worried about the poor dog who is barking, as we are commanding its master to keep its leash tight or else” – Minister Ali Abdu
An atheist friend of mine finds it impossible to believe in God. And yet, he believes that The Netherlands altruistically donate billions of dollars to Africa without expecting anything in return! Just because they are… good people!
One cannot really believe how the nation…
…which initiated commerce (i.e. exploiting colonies and earn millions via slavery OR exploit poor people by making them pay interest) even against the dictation of the then Christian Church that this was a sin,
…which so eagerly sold out all the Jews in its territory to the Nazis (yes, the Dutch people helped immensly the Germans into taking them with trains)
…which denied Greece the help from IMF in case it did not pass harsh austerity measures which cost lives, while at the same time did not vote for similar measures when the time came (!) (1),
has suddenly gone “good” and is giving away… billions!
I am sorry to disappoint those who believe in the existence of an ideal world, where rich people simply care. This is a cruel world. And it is run by rich people. (this is so true that it is almost a tautology)
Charity and philanthropy to nations in Africa means…
1. Earning money: This is the simpler reason and the most obvious one. All people who offer charity earn a tax deduction. (2) The same applies for companies. The Dutch Tax Administration can declare an institution to be an “institution for general benefit” (algemeen nut beogende instelling, ANBI). Often this is a foundation, though not every foundation qualifies. It can also be a voluntary association (vereniging), but not e.g. a sport club, or association of personnel. Also it cannot
be a commercial institution. If in a calendar year the sum of someone’s gifts to ANBIs exceeds 1% of the threshold income, the excess, with a maximum of 10% of that income, is deductible income. Also an ANBI is exempted from inheritance tax and gift tax on inheritances and gifts it receives, except on those made under a
condition such that it is not for general benefit. (3)
2. Salon socialist agenda towards Social control: The point of salon socialists is not that they do not spend money charitably, but rather that they are too high to be actively involved in the class struggle. Charity is seen as a capitalist and conservative project, because it leaves the alleged social structures of hegemony intact, and would even reinforce them (by making the poor dependent on the rich). Charity also implies that mandatory taxation is not needed, or need not collect sufficient funds.
The alleged act of charity is a “rather effective instruments of social control,” to support the deserving poor. It amounts to paying off the poor to behave (“bad” countries like Greece do not deserve to be “saved”). Paul Langford makes a similar assertion about the later flowering of charity in England: the hospitals and foundling homes of the 18th century were “built on a foundation of bourgeois sentiment mixed with solid self-interest”. (4) Giving money to the poor for education also present another advantage: You can easily strip them off their civilization and install your own. No one in Africa even knew of McDonalds or cell phones. Now they all do. They are “educated”. (5)
3. Earn some more money (well, why stop?): The state gives “charity” to buy drugs, pharmaceutical companies sell drugs more expensive than in other markets (or even sell vaccines which are not used anywhere else – see here), the money comes “back” to the right hands… (7) Lobying is also in the agenda. A small charity to warn projects of millions is a very logical thing to do. (8) Non profit organizations are usually – surprise surprise! – PROFIT organizations! See here how a non-profit organization lobbies for new drug trials in India, resulting in dozens of deaths…
4. State control/ Spying: Last but not least, NGOs are the best way to infiltrate a foreign state with hundreds of “workers” and start applying your foregn policy. There is a reason why Russia and China do not accept any more NGOs in their soil… (9) Africa is a place with very much oil and natural resources. Some “aid workers” fit nicely in this environment…
Philanthropy is something to be conducted secretely. Not to be advertized. Be very suspicious with those who shout to the world about how much charity they do.
Stop believing. Start questioning.
Oh and something else: The Dutch also kill newborns with disabilities. Does not fit here in this article, but it just popped into my mind. To fill in the picture soft of speak. (10)