beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
It is Cleaner Day
so I have to be awake until there is a cleaner and they work and go away
but I do not have to like it.

I mean I like the part where things get clean
but
ugh, awake.




So post apocalyptic societies Read more... )


Economies have a lot of story in them. I know I go straight from post apocalypse economics to zombies and magic but it's plenty complex enough for plot without. Actually that's part of the appeal of magic, there's a rulebook and we can say what the effects are without multiple degrees, because it's all handwavium.

Except it wouldn't be once you had established parameters. Magic would be just another factor in a thriving economy.

It's easier to control the magic use by thinking of ways it just wouldn't do the thing, but it's more fun to try and see what it would do, if the thing got easy.



I still have to be awake some more but I don't think I'm having great insights.

I'll go do something else.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I see a lot of arguments about economics that seem to be based on 'fairness' and how it isn't 'fair' to make x group support y group
but I get super mad when it's applied to corporations and like pensioners and children and so forth.

Like, dude, if full time work cannot support a worker from adulthood to the grave while they raise replacement workers, with a margin for supporting those who turn out not to be able to work full time, and necessarily including supporting those who support children etc

if full time work does not actually let your workers live

then a company is not paying it's own damn costs.

Seriously. That right there, your workers alive, is part of the costs of a business.

If the only way those workers can survive, at any point in their lives, sick leave or pensions or infancy, anywhen, if the only way they can survive is government support?

companies got to pay the government for the costs they've shoved off on it.

or else the business has failed and it's being propped up by the government.

no in betweens.



see also privatising profits while socialising risk, and how it skews hell out of the economy.




The robot revolution we need to worry about will change that cost, but the problem there is often just getting resources for the cost of extraction and manufacture, rather than including what usually gets shrugged off as environmental costs, and disposal or recycling, and somehow putting a price tag on how much of the actual resource it's using up in a finite system. Too many of the costs get shrugged off as invisible or, again, dumped on the government. Not making businesses pay tax sufficient to cover environmental regulation is, again, letting them get away with not paying all their own costs. Business has failed, government is propping it up.




I get really mad at economics that focuses too small to even make sense.



... I mean I daydream space colonies, and those are small, but in the sense that you can't get away from your consequences so they get really damn clear. Problem with some economics is focus too short small, consequences fall outside it, but consequences still real.

... and then we're screwed, by actions we had little to no control over.





I know I'd be awful at politics in the getting things done way, but so much of the time I read a real world thing and just want to... shout at people, mostly. Get them to pay attention. We're going to be up to our necks in consequence before people higher up the hill deign to notice, and that's just a really bad feedback loop.

Must think of something productive to do.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I looked at the budget yesterday and I just... I keep looking at it to see if maybe it's less bad than I first thought, and no, I notice something else that is also bad.

The reports aren't paying as much attention to the bits I follow, but there's a lot in them.

The thing reported earlier about ESA is true, the WRAG is having payments cut a lot, flattened to match JSA. The BBC is reporting that as a £30 cut, but for people under 25 it's actually a £50 cut, per week. ESA is being cut by either 30% or 50% depending on age.
Most reports can't follow all those acronyms and refer to the WRAG as if it's primarily about work, preparing for. The BBC calls it 'the working element of ESA'. And if that's so, why not make it just like JSA? And that's exactly what I saw coming when they changed the names.
ESA is not just like jobseekers. The WRAG is for people who might, conceivably, become able to work in a couple of years. It's for people who right now cannot work. Wasn't JSA set with a mind to incentivising people to work? How do they think being poor is going to incentivise people to be less sick?
ESA was set at a level people needed.
Sick and disabled people have to pay some towards their care, as well as having higher expenses because of stuff like being stuck at home all day using electric and having trouble regulating their own temperature and needing food to be easy and a bazillion things like that.
The money to do that comes out of benefits.
Except now the benefits have been cut, so it can't come from there.
And this isn't the first cut, or indeed the half dozenth. Cuts all over.
Disabled people are being screwed over so very thoroughly.

Benefits for families are being limited to the first two children, starting with children born after this policy starts. Sound fair? In the land of not ever changing! The government rhetoric is all about how people on benefits should face the same choices about affordability that people in work face, that people on benefits should know they can't afford more than two children.
What, so this policy is only aimed at the lifelong workless? FFS. Anyone, at any income level, can get sick and suddenly be unable to work. If they happen to have previously calculated that three kids is perfectly affordable, oh look, now they're on benefits and can only afford to feed two of them! Now they'll have to make a different choice!
How the hell are they supposed to make a different choice then?
Kids exist. They persistently exist, at least in any civilised society.
If the government is only going to feed the first two what exactly do they think will happen to the third and subsequent?

This is a policy that on current numbers would affect 870,000 families, according to the BBC.
That's at least 870,000 children the government has decided don't need to be fed.



And housing benefit is now for over 21s.

Apparently they're wrapping it in fiddly deals or conditions or something. We know how that goes. As soon as there are conditions there are targets set to catch people out breaking said conditions, and then there's homelessness.



The benefits freeze applies to ESA, yet the BBC confidently reports that disability benefits are excluded. This is what successive governments have bought with their rebranding, the main benefit for disabled people doesn't ping reporters as a disability benefit. A benefits freeze of course means a real terms cut, year on year, for the rest of this government.

I would once again point out that ESA was set at a level people needed to live, but this government doesn't care. They talk about 'fair'. Fair is measured relative to averages, regardless of need.

Nowhere is this more clearly demonstrated than in their promise of a 'living wage', which is now going to 'plot a course to bring the new rate up to 60% of median wages'.
They've rebranded the minimum wage, called it the living wage, yet set it rather below the current living wage. Remember living wage equals money required to live? They've set theirs lower than that.
"The London living wage, based on the cost of living in the capital, is already £9.15 an hour – roughly the level Osborne expects his new minimum to reach in five years’ time." £9.65 in London and £7.85 elsewhere, but this rebranding is only up to £7.20. And that living wage is calculated taking into account benefits that are being cut, so the real living wage is immediately going to be higher.
With the cuts in other areas the exact people this new minimum will apply to will still be worse off.
What they've done is specified an amount they expect people to live on, regardless of reality.
But hey, increased minimum! Yaay! (no, proper yaay, minimum should be living wage, progress would help)
Except it now only applies to those over 25.

People under 25 are screwed. Multiply screwed.



Massive cuts to disability benefits, framed in ways that don't involve putting a % label on them, named in ways that multiple sources are confidently declaring disability benefits safe cause it's only ESA WRAG that's being cut.

A whole stack of moves that leave people under 25 up the creek and paddleless.

And benefits cuts that decide there's such a thing as too many children, and once there's more than two the government just don't have to care.



Welcome to the next five years.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I get cranky about stuff lately and it's pissing me off. Which obviously leads to a crankiness spiral. Which is unhelpful.

It's things where I can see systemic inequality and oppression in real life in the present day here and now, but everyone around me seems to be attributing things to individual causes and coincidence, or implying that it's not really bad because over there in the distant past or far off places, that's the real bad things.

So a novel that turns out to be about sci fi slavery kind of pisses me off because you don't need to literally reprogram and meat puppet people when you can keep them scrabbling for scraps while heavily in debt and trying to live on zero hour contracts somewhere the minimum wage isn't enough to get by on.

And novels about oppressed monotheists in a polytheist society would only not piss me off it they had kinda muslim trappings, but no, it's always secretly oppressed xtians.

And yesterday I got in a pub discussion about systemic inequalities in education and (though I didn't fully articulate this) how capitalism and economic pressures leads to the convergence of media companies into monopolies which control every level of production and distribution, all adding together to mislead voters even before you factor in how money is deliberately going back into the political process to systematically campaign on false premises. I stopped because we were there to talk about science fiction, but I started because someone made a joke about stupid Americans and then wouldn't let it drop. Apparent stupidity and ignorance has a whole lot to do with systems. You can't just call an individual stupid and make out like it's their individual problem with an individual solution. All the solutions cost money, resources, and time, and systems collude to make sure most people don't have those.

Access to information is a hugely political topic. People not knowing stuff is not just about the choices of that individual person.

Nothing is just about the choices of that individual person! People exist within systems and their actions contribute to those systems, whether they consciously will it or not!

And yeah, I go to media texts looking for things to be annoyed at. Eleven years of further and higher education have kind of got me in the habit. Because once you open your eyes to it, sexism, racism, and all the other ugly isms are sodding everywhere.

Someone yesterday was arguing the 'it's just the best person for that role' angle about Dead Bro Walking trope. Yeah all the black guys die but it's just because individually they were the best actor for the role of screaming dying person. How can anyone actually believe that and not see how it adds up?

Also, I feel it is derailing and irrelevant to start picking apart my pub level accuracy on quoting media creators, when I was trying to list dead lesbians in TV shows. The problem here isn't precisely what is said about dead lesbians, it is that all the fictional lesbians are in fact dead. I feel it reasonable to be annoyed about that. And again they argued the 'best character for the role' angle, that just coincidentally the TV show went and brought in these characters to kill them off and it has nothing to do with them being lesbians. Even if that's now 100% of the lesbians dead, that's just luck.

And I'm not arguing that content creators sit there all *evil laugh* and pick a minority to kill off this week. That's what's always being defended against, as if that's an invisible accusation, and it's entirely irrelevant. What they thought they were doing isn't the point. The point is there's a whole lot of dead bros and dead lesbians, and that is a problem. They're a bunch of individual choices of best for that five minutes that somehow coincidentally adds up to meaning black guys and lesbians are all killed off. Which is creepy and bad.

Also, if the problem is dead lesbians, pointing out how many strong women there are on a show is also irrelevant. Unless they're dating each other, they are not the current point.

And I am so wound up and frustrated about this stuff.

And it feels like it's all of a piece, like people are trained into thinking things one at a time, attributing things to individual one off choices, and not looking at the systems and aggregates and big picture.

And I know that sitting there telling them elsewise four at a time is very nearly no help at all but
I'm
just
so
cranky.



I can see so many problems, I know there's more problems I don't see, and I can't see how to get other people to see it let alone solve it.



And this is without getting into the sort of real world problems with a real world body count. Those are just horrifying and terrifying and leave me somewhere between really angry and awful hollow.


Especially the science based stuff. It's really quite a large problem when science can spend my whole adult life pointing at something and saying with some authority 'unless we do the thing we are going to die' and yet we don't do the thing. Humans are actually killing the whole planet. We could well render it uninhabitable. We're causing a mass extinction event and the Earth, as a whole, may not survive it. This is a problem.

And my individual choices for doing anything about said problem are... limited.



I mean I'm sitting here somewhere all western educated industrialised rich developed, with all those years of degree behind me, in a position of in some respects massive privilege, in one of the countries eating the world. But I don't see how to stop just by changing my individual consumer choices. They're not enough of the problem to make much of the solution. I don't know how to get at the levers. So I'm benefiting from systems of power and oppression, but feel pretty powerless to stop them or get out of the train, so to speak.

... this is why I daydream about space colonies. new place, new systems. also, my author brain knows that the point of the story will turn out to be that even in a new place humans are still human so we'll have to deal with our shit or live with it longer, and the suddenly concentrated nature of society would highlight everything.




Plus of course I feel powerless to do anything because I'm disabled and have had no support for a year and a half and it is in fact bloody difficult to do anything. Including shopping. Or the house viewings that are part of the plan to get me somewhere I can cope with better.

And then I feel weird about what I am getting that other people don't, like I should be guilty about having plus stuff, except I'm kind of stuck with the bits i'm not getting, and then it's all problem and no solution.



Everything all problem no solution.

Massive collective action is only way to make changes.

Except I've seen massive actions, protests, all sorts, and it don't seem to do any good.




So then I hide under a blanket and play Sims a lot.

Politics

Oct. 1st, 2013 10:14 am
beccaelizabeth: Lady Frankenstein plugs her brain in (net access)
You know, every time I think the *rudeword* conservatives have reached their natural level, they find further to go. This week's idiocy is the suggestion that, in order to get unemployment benefits, people will have to sit in the unemployment office for 35 hours a week.

That's not about giving them skills or training or support. That's making them sit in detention for the terrible sin of having no job.

Think about it. 35 hours a week, in an office, with other people in the same situation, and maybe some dude employed by the government to make sure you turn up and stay there. That's the best use of anyone's time?

That's this government saying hey, no, actually you do not get to have your own life, being poor means obeying our every whim. Dance, puppets, dance!

FFS, we pay taxes, we pay National Insurance, and that means we're entitled to support when we need it. Even if we need it a really long time! And, okay, some of us have to look around the family tree quite a bit to find a tax payer, but the basic principle is society pays in so society can get it back out when we need it. This is our money.

But no, the rich sods in charge think there is some fundamental difference that applies to divide the workers and the... I'm not going to repeat their words for it, they've been using rude words for it lately, lets go with unemployed. And if someone becomes unemployed, that means it is secretly not their money any more, because it is secretly not their country. They just live here.

Can we vote these bastards away soon? Please? Nobody voted for this.



Oh, and while I'm ranting, did you see the thing about making people in the ESA WRAG group take any work offered to them? "Forcing sick and disabled people to take up offers of work". Can you guess why that won't work? They've taken the keywords out of the names, but this is the replacement for Incapacity benefit. The benefit is for people who cannot work. This group is for people who, in a couple of years, may become well enough to work. Forcing them to take up offers of work they cannot do, even by the government's own ridiculously stringent tests... how is that supposed to be remotely helpful? It's not, of course. It's just another hoop. But then it would be catch-22: if you're on the benefit that says you're too ill to work, you have to take up work, or they will take you off the benefit, which will mean you're no longer on the benefit that says you're too ill to work, which, hey, means you have to take up work. At no point in this cycle does the person in question become well. And the government keep expressing surprise that people remain on ESA for a long time. Yes, they do, because they remain fucking disabled.


/rant for the day.

god knows they'll say something else rant inducing soon enough.

beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I have no employee. Why do I still have no employee? I just tidied my inbox (ie saved for later any messages that were still hanging around that I totally mean to reply to and know I probably won't by now) and the first time I emailed the place that does the paying saying hi I need a new employee was around the start of May. But here I sit, with no employee. Whenever I think things are going in a new employee sort of direction it turns out that no, no they were not sorted, no nothing has been done. Being told my funding was under review meant waiting a week. Even though it was under review in an upward direction. Because the person who needed to answer the message doesn't work all the days. And then every other message meant waiting a week too, and I don't even know why. And then I said yes that's a good advertisement run that, and I thought that meant they were running it, but a week later they send me back a price estimate and ask if they should do the advert. And that was the end of last week, so the ad may get placed this week, so it'll run next week, so CVs might start coming in the week after that. And I'll need to give them a couple weeks to send things. And then arrange interviews and decide between people, if this time any people bother to turn up. Last time I employed the one (1) person who actually bothered to go to the interview, and then they quit because they'd rather spend time with their boyfriend. And at the next interviews I got to choose between two (2) people. That worked out better for longer, but it takes its time to get set up.

And in the meantime I have no employee. For months. And I have been trying!

But there's an upper limit to what I can do without an employee. It starts somewhere around 'bugger all' and occasionally gets as high as going to the shop but then the shop doesn't often have much in it and it's a whole lot of effort invested just to come back with, again, bugger all.

So it is Monday again, so here I am sitting here making plans for the week again, and what can I plan?
I can plan to sit here and do absolutely totally bugger all some more.
Or, possibly, shop.

*giant sigh*

there's more to life than this. I've read about it. Whole big world.
... why is it when I go looking there's more empty bits instead?
... sometimes I feel like this life needs expansion packs bought, it don't got all the bits.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
As I may have mentioned a time or two, I have been trying to move for a really long time now. But because I'm disabled and all my income is benefits my options are very limited. I'm grateful that I have a roof and all, but I'm frustrated I can't move closer to, you know, food I can actually eat, etc.

The government will tell you that their policies mean housing benefit can pay for the lowest 1/3 of the market.
This ignores the thing where most landlords simply won't take housing benefit in the first place.
But it's also just plain wrong.

I go looking for flats that are within budget, I just don't find them.
Norwich Local Housing Allowance for a single person (over 35 I think, old enough to live alone by benefit rules) is £91.15 per week.
... ignore that they list it per week when rent is per month, that's just helpful, but if you times it by 52 and divide by 12 you get 394.98 per month.

A quick check of Rightmove... well, you have to tell it £400 per calendar month, which is a teensy more than is actually covered, and then it will give you back house shares at that price, or studio flats where studio means a bed in the kitchen, but there's 110 of them. If you want an actual bed room in your own place, which is what the money is meant to cover, there's maybe 45, probably less if you read the descriptions. In the whole of Norwich. Which is quite big. But Norwich has 321 non-commercial properties to rent right now, 292 that don't say they're flat shares in the categories, so that looks like 1/3.

But the BBC have a 'Where can I afford to live' page. Type in the precise rent, choose the lowest 25% of rents - which is even cheaper than the government's 1/3, so should totally work - and see that Norwich... is in fact not affordable. Their lowest 1/4 is £400, half way price £465, so 1/3 will be in between somewhere. That local housing allowance does not in fact cover it. According to the BBC.

Somebody's numbers do not add up.

As far as I can find, most of Norfolk and Norwich have the same LHA. Since the lowest quarter of one bed rents goes as low as £395 (basically that £394.98 a month) in several of the districts of Norfolk, maybe, if Norfolk calculated it once for everywhere, it makes some sense... but probably not, and even if so, not terribly helpful for people trying to live in the city, even if they can afford the coast. Yarmouth is £375, but their LHA only covers £368 of that, so that's not massively helpful. Especially since these are 1/4 figures, not 1/3.

So I go back to the articles again and I find the exact quote is "housing benefit provides a safety net which ensures that up to a third of private properties in most areas are affordable".
Up to? Well that weasels out of that one. Anything can be 'up to' as long as there's even one place where that works.

*glares daggers*

Poke the numbers how you want, the housing benefit just doesn't pay for a decent place to live, or even a crappy place to live in a great many places.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
There's some very upsetting stuff about healthcare and learning disability
http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2013/jul/12/no-review-board-deaths-learning-difficulties

Ministers have refused to create a national body to investigate the 1,200 premature deaths a year of patients with learning disabilities in the NHS
[...]
Instead the government has said it will give "greater voice" to people with learning disabilities and support the spread of personal budgets so patients could purchase better care.


NHS healthcare is called care. Community based social care is called care. Personal budgets are entirely the latter, and nothing at all to do with the former. What is being criticised is "delays in diagnosis, delays in treatment, lack of basic care and poor communication by doctors and nurses." Deaths are about 16 years early and about a third of the deaths of people with learning disabilities are because they aren't getting the right NHS treatment. To address this the government will... ignore it, because health care and social care are both care, right, so giving people the budget to pay for someone to cook for them will totally fix their doctor related needs.

Also the spread of personal budgets has been criticised because some people, especially the hard of thinking, aren't going to be able to do the paperwork, and most people won't know how to access the variety of services available, because only specialists with a wide view of the possibilities will have the training to think of everything.

In other words, their response is to make things harder.

Sometimes it's hard to attribute this kind of thing to mere ignorance instead of active evil.

But then Buddhism says ignorance is the root of all the other bad stuff anyway.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I was trying to understand (again) how some people seem to believe that becoming employed is just a question of trying. It is puzzling because there are more people needing jobs than there are jobs available, and some of the jobs available go to people who already have a job, so there's a lot of people chasing any given job. It seems pretty obvious that trying is not sufficient when there are no jobs.

But the people with the positive thinking keep trying attitude, they have experienced getting a job or seen a person get a job, and it was simples, someone tried until they got a job. That's a lot more vivid than numbers. So to them that is the real thing, because experience.

It just doesn't work when you multiply it up.

Read more... )
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Universal benefits are cheap to administer
and everybody needs to eat
so why not pay EVERYONE enough to live on and let them get on with it?

Read more... )


I know I've said a lot of this before, but I don't understand the priorities. How about we just, collectively, say "Okay, everyone's allowed to live and eat and all that necessary stuff, now let's see what else we do."

xposted from Dreamwidth here. comment count unavailable comments. Reply there
beccaelizabeth: Eight pointed Chaos star with eight red question marks (Chaos star questions)
Universal benefits are cheap to administer
and everybody needs to eat
so why not pay EVERYONE enough to live on and let them get on with it?

Read more... )


I know I've said a lot of this before, but I don't understand the priorities. How about we just, collectively, say "Okay, everyone's allowed to live and eat and all that necessary stuff, now let's see what else we do."
beccaelizabeth: Eight pointed Chaos star with eight red question marks (Chaos star questions)
I have decided I want to run a vegetarian/vegan Quest Tavern with community notice board for people to advertise volunteer services and ask for volunteers, and also put up more fun things like if they're going to Stonehenge and have room for one more. There would be games and books and somewhere to relax after 5pm without alcohol.

But I keep reading the news and thinking that also, I want to just feed people. Because there's not enough food. Half a million people in the UK using food banks. Some of the food banks running out of food, or people having more than the allowed number of vouchers, so they send them on to food kitchens. Government via Job Centres responding to this by sending more people to food banks, rather than going 'OMG WTF no food how come British people are starving what has gone wrong', which seems the more reasonable response.

I realise role play games and free food doesn't immediately evoke the traditional community outreach response to food poverty. But it's more interesting than making people listen to a religion book. They can listen to a Terry Pratchett book instead, or a Doctor Who, there's audios of those.

This is a lot like my plan for a space colony, which would start by trying to make a self sufficient cafe. But with more games and a noticeboard and possibly a big book and someone with a wizard staff to be wise about helping quest parties get together. It also resembles my superhero team plan, because everyone can be a bit of a superhero, and connect enough together and you can fix a lot of problems. Places with eating are good for connecting people together, because they can have a cup of tea and a sit down and a think and a chat.

If my plans all end up resembling each other they're maybe a Plan.

Except I would be egregiously terrible at running such a place. I mean I can't make tea and tend to spill drinks and drop food. I could, however, make informed choices about games and books to stock. And what to play on the TV that isn't sport. Sport is boring. A lot of things that are not sport would be more interesting. But for most things you wouldn't want to chat while you watched, so maybe sport is more of a background thing? But you could put things on with subtitles and they'd be interesting and you could chat about them. So, I could contribute some opinions about entertainment. I'd have to find people that could do the food and drink and money parts. And also the reliably being able to speak out loud. And the human contact for more than about a dozen hours a week. ... most of the things, really.

This is probably a terrible business plan, especially if part of the plan is to feed people just because they're hungry, that's never a business.

But it seems like it would be interesting to fail at even. I'd not mind pouring my money in to the interesting experience it could be. ... I'd greatly mind heaps of debt I'd spend another decade paying off, but that's a whole second problem.

The problem with plans like food banks and just feeding people is the government is supposed to fix the problem at a more evenly distributed and structural level. I mean, if I make a cafe that feeds people, it can't feed many people at all, and also they have to be people that can get to the cafe. The government has theoretically ironed out the delivery systems meant to ensure EVERYONE can eat. So what's up with that?

I guess it's like the disability thing and they reckon if they stop helping the problem will go away.
... the thing where there's only one way that can be logically true is why they currently really sincerely creep me out.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
The other day I watched The Man in the White Suit. It's about a man who invents a new sort of fabric, rumoured to last forever and never need cleaning. Only one person thinks it'll be a good thing, freeing people from the drudgery of laundry and repair; everyone could be clean and well dressed forever. Every level of society unites against him because such an invention would wreck the economy. They'd only need to sell one set of clothes once! Horrors! The funny all comes from stereotypes of the different classes reacting to the idea.

The idea of a lot of modern progress is to free people from the drudgery of what used to be daily necessities. Read more... )

Something has to change. The mess won't go away just by wishing there's work for everyone. The work went away, and there's a lot more of everyone than there used to be.

So I've been thinking all this, and I've been thinking about space colonies.

Read more... )

If I figure out how to make that work then I've solved economics.

Slightly good trick.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I have complained a lot about current government policies on benefits. All parties are trying to crack down and get tough on welfare recipients, means test them and send them to do compulsory work and suchlike. All the major parties seem to agree that making people work is the important thing.

I say, bugger that.

How about everyone gets enough to live on. Everyone. No strings, no means test, no messing about. (Some ability test, because disabled people need more to live on.) Once everyone no longer has to worry about making a living, see what happens.

Read more... )

Economy no works no mores. Eats up multiples of a planet, and we only have the one. Leaves many many many unemployed, because they aren't actually needed to keep everyone alive.

So now what?

Keep everyone alive and see what they do with it.

Food

Jul. 20th, 2012 11:54 am
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I have been reading about food banks.
I saw a food bank sign up near my house and it made me think.
There's lots of stuff in the Guardian http://www.delicious.com/redirect?url=http%3A//www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/jul/18/food-banks-on-hand-outs

In theory we have a benefits system that acts as a safety net so people get what they need to survive.
But the practice has always been a bit shakier.
And now it's just had the sticks kicked from under it. No, actually, it's an ongoing process, it has only just begun compared to the plans, the kicking is ongoing. Frankly it scares the hell out of me.

And I don't understand it.
We live among such abundance.
There's a ton of spare food goes in the bins at the end of the day, and there's a lot of hungry people. How does that make sense?

Read more... )


No, I don't have a replacement idea. I can't think of a way to do things that makes everything work. I don't know enough. I don't understand what the problem is. I have no solutions.


So I'm just puzzled and tired and powerless.

It would be nice to be able to vote for someone who knows how to fix it all, but hey, we tried that, and they're great big liars who do this instead.




At this point I'd usually watch superhero movies, but my planned Batman marathon feels a bit off, right now.


News is made of :-(
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
It pisses me off that the current discourse focuses on people doing paid work for employers and defines that as 'doing the right thing'. I've seen it repeatedly from Conservatives. They make a dividing line in their speeches between people living off benefits and people 'doing the right thing' and working.

Carers are nowhere in this discourse.
Read more... )

There is this vast and expanding abyss in values revealed here. Somehow, somewhen, the only effort that counts as work is working for money, and the only valuable contribution is monetary value.

Caring is doing the right thing.

If there's enough looking after to go around, even if the money is slim (but can feed you), the world works.
But it doesn't matter how much money you get if you can't get the care you need.



I'd leave it there, that's a strong point and I wish that argument would carry.

But there's one more thing.
Couldn't it also be a right thing to leave more room for other people?
Read more... )

The current arguments about Housing Benefit are in the same pile, where 'doing the right thing' is completely defined by going out to work and saving up money to pay for a house.
(The idea of taking shelter away from everyone who needs benefits under 25... does he not know that's what he's saying? What is wrong with him?)
In this argument, where are the landlords and the banks?
Read more... )

Something went wrong, but it wasn't in the morals or work ethics of your average renter.

Read more... )

Everyone can fit in together, for a long time it seemed like everyone could work together to make sure nobody went completely without, and yet now? Boom, discourse of fairness, discourse where 'do the right thing' means simply and solely go out and earn money for work from some individual (rather than get money for basics from all the country via the government). Discourse where only individual effort matters, and where it somehow makes sense to set private companies the job of getting people jobs, by sending them to compulsory work their employers don't have to pay for, despite the fact that there is no evidence it helps make or get jobs and actual evidence rolling in that it doesn't help. Because at some point they got hung up on making people try, because that's their moral good, that the work is attempted.

I don't know. I don't know how to fix all this. I do know that what gets said in speeches doesn't match my lived experience.
And yet we have such plenty.
Why doesn't it work?
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
There's headlines about how childcare is costing so much people can't afford to go to work, because it would cost more to have kids be looked after than they would earn at work.

That seems fairly logical to me.

To get kids looked after, someone needs to work all the hours the parent is off at work, plus some hours where they are travelling to work and back. So they are doing more hours childcare work than the parent is doing work. If they are paid the same, say minimum wage each, then that is minus money. Read more... )

It just seems a bit like the headlines are saying 'somebody has to do all the work! even the bits we are pretending are not work!'

It's like carer work. There's tons of people who are doing carer work and can't afford to go to do other work because there aren't enough places to get care and when they get it it costs more than they're likely to make.

There's lots of extra work with being disabled as well, because one cannot do all the work oneself that most people are accustomed to doing, so one has to put money on it and get someone else to do it. So one finds out how much most people save by being able to cut their own vegetables, for instance.

I can see how people want to get jobs and have more money coming in. It's just I think the thing needs to be phrased in terms of already having care jobs, and they want to go do different jobs that pay better and get paid by someone that they are not co-parents with. It makes more sense that way.

Money is confusing though.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I woke up with a great big frown trying to figure out how to make communal kitchens work.
... I'd been dreaming about post apocalyptic Britain where everyone lived on trains and kept moving to try and avoid the Bad Things. I don't know why that made me think.

I was thinking, a lot of people have problems with make their own food. Some of us can't do it at all, many have problems making cheap enough nutritious enough easy enough food. Going out to eat costs bunches. So people eat rubbish reheated food that costs quite large bunches anyway.

It seems like there should be a way to put the problems together and make a solution that is cheaper because it is for many. I don't know though on account of not being any good with money or food.

Read more... )

Making a for profit cafe work and making a not for profit we all want to eat but only one of us can cook work would have different rules in some ways, but both be complicated.

Still, seems like all this being disconnected makes a bunch of problems.

But then I think about being connected to and indeed dependent on my actual neighbours for my foods... there's times that wouldn't have worked at all at all.

Okay, this idea, not going to work.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I've been reading about the disabled people protesting in London today.
I keep wanting to tell campaigns, not is a very weak word.
If you say Becca is not a cow then what image do you have in mind? Becca and cow, right there together. You have linked the very things you are denying.
This lets you manage some very elegantly polite insults - 'the right honorable opponent is not stupid' is a nice starter.
But if you're doing a campaign? Don't shoot yourself in the foot with it.

So: "We're not scroungers or fakers"
true, but it's letting the Tories and the tabloids steer the discourse.
You have still positioned disability, scrounging, and faking, right there next to each other.

Saying what you're not isn't going to work.
Read more... )

Okay, so I can point out the problem but not really formulate a solution.

There's a bit in Highlander when a teacher says "Choose your ground, choose your weapon, and face what is to come."

The way politics chooses its ground is to choose the terms its using, the discourse it will engage in.
Read more... )

And I have absolutely no idea how to choose solid ground of our own.

We need pretty simple things. Being clean, fed, safe. Getting to places and communicating with people.
Already there were tests and definitions. I can't understand how they can tighten them and then look at the people who won't fit the new boxes and actually believe they'll now magically be able to do all the things.

I do know that the arguments from cost and from fairness are absolutely poisonous.
Need remains.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I read a thing in the Guardian again. And the comments. I should stop doing that.
The thing was about how poor people aren't eating fruit and veg as much as they were 3 years ago. Prices have gone up massively, and they're not eating as much. instead of 5 a day they're more like 2.7.
in the comments bunches of people were saying that proves poor people are stupid because veg is cheaper than junk food.
people need a certain amount of food a day, not a plate full but measured in calories.
if you try and get the same amount of calories out of your fresh lettuce and carrots as out of bread, you spend a bunch to do it.
why people no get that?
also, some of us can't buy carrots in carrot form and then do anything with them. too fiddly. I buy veg in steam veg bag form, which is somewhat more expensive. Veg is only cheap as long as you only want cheap veg, sort of thing.

now I'm hungry.
But I can't decide what meal it is or what to eat.
It is sunday, it is egg and beans and potato day. I have those.
... there's no proper fruit and veg in those. beans and potato count as protein and carbs instead.
... I will have fruit from pots later.

another thing, if fruit is in long lasting pot form, it costs more. but if I get fresh apple, like I did on Friday, I go to eat it on Sunday and it has gone yuck already. I'm not great at time. but food isn't cheaper if you end up wasting it.

humans all seem to be working with different sets of facts.
It seems peculiar.
I don't really know what to do with it.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
To people in newspaper comments saying that people living somewhere that they can't afford under the reformed housing benefits rules should just move:

Try it. Just try it.

Try an entirely hypothetical search for places to move to that will take you on benefits. Because there are absolutely bugger all of them. I haven't found anywhere to even apply to.

And as for the social housing... I have been on the waiting list since March 2010. Every week I apply, and every week there's at least dozens of people ahead of me. Anywhere between 22 and 186, to be precise, with the average somewhere towards 50. Actually I just shoved them through an averages calculator and it says 107 applications, mean 64, median 56, mode 50. Because I like precision in my ranting. ANYway, I have been applying for nearly two years and mostly dozens of people are ahead of me in line. I applied with letters from the police, my social worker, and my doctor, as well as college. They all said I needed somewhere new to live. But I'm still in the 'Low Need' group, that is people who don't particularly need to move. Because I have a house. So I wait in line. A very, very long line.

The hypothetical family that needs a lot of housing benefit? Currently has a house to pay that benefit to. They will be 'Low Need' too. That means until they've had the money run out and been kicked out, they can't bloody well move. And once they have? They're suddenly Emergency, front of the line for you. And meanwhile all the rest of the line that has been waiting years gets to wait even more. Because there are not enough places. Plus, if you want to move far enough away that you won't have the exact same high rent problem, you have to apply to a different area, and there's RULES about that. Primarily, that they don't want you because they've already got enough of their own thanks very much, back of the line for you.

Any place that does have housing doesn't have jobs. There may be exceptions to that but I've never heard of them. And the family with big housing benefit needs might have people working who just can't afford the rent. So their options are move away from their jobs, or, if the benefit is reformed, lose their house and move away from their jobs. Where this goes on the 'scroungers' rhetoric scale I do not know.

And some families, the ones most likely to hit the benefit caps in fact, are so big they have trouble finding any place to live together in the first place. And wherever they find to live is going to be expensive too.

Plus moving people from a place where they're getting by to somewhere they'd have to start over can cost extra anyway. Has anyone done the maths on that?

So they should 'just' move?
Find them the place to move to, and the job to go with it, and the school place, and the childcare network, and everything else that goes with a particular area,
and I'm sure they'd be happy to.

If the house isn't a falling apart piece of shit, which is getting ever more likely in an ever more squeezed housing sector.

Housing is just not as simple as the commentariat seem to think.
And for that matter not as simple as the government seem to think.

The solution can't involve cutting costs when that'll leave people with no roof over their heads, because that ends up more expensive in temporary accommodation anyway. There has to be serious investment and building a ton more housing, so there'll finally be enough to go around, and costs can get less crazy. Plus, lots of builder jobs while it's getting done. Works much better than trying to squeeze individual families out of the safety net.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Am reading in the Guardian another thing about the increase in interns and work experience placements.
If I'm reading it right people on jobseekers can be given a choice between doing a work experience placement or not getting benefit.
Jobseekers allowance is meant to be the very minimum they need to live on. Need.
So they do work or have no money.

Read more... )

Sometimes I don't understand what people think government is for. They work for us. Including the workless of us.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Shenanigans is a funny word. Wonder where it comes from? *looks up* "Origin: 1850–55, Americanism; of obscure origin" Huh, so the dictionary doesn't know either. Cool.

... /tangent

Politics: Twisty.
I've been following with some interest and admittedly limited understanding the bits of government stuff that are likely to make my money go away. Things about ESA and DLA and welfare reform and housing benefits and all that all. Basically the government (and not just this one) seems to think that if they rewrite the definition then disability will magically go away and everyone will be okay or even happy lalalala.
... that or they just want to make the money stop and know where that will leave people.

So there's a Welfare Reform Bill in the Lords and they're having big argues about all the parts and pieces. Read more... )

So it's all a big argue and I don't know the rules but that sure does look like a cheat to me. I mean it's one thing to have another argue properly and try and talk people into amending the amendment, it's another to wait until they've gone to sleep and pretend that represents an opinion.

Is it always like this in politics, or did they save it up special for the disability days?



:-p to the lot of them.

I'm going back to bed.
And hoping that this time nobody decides to deliver parcels, use power tools, clang clang in the underneath garage, or have a shout in the main hall about why there's so much safety glass. I don't know why that needed shouting about but I went to look due to worry about volume and emphatic intonation and the topic was what all was repaired how due to who several years ago. They were just loud about it.
I miss quiet.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I've been thinking about the economics of the Federation, Starfleet, and what bits are tricky to understand.

http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Money has a lot of quotes on it.
Simplest explanation for inconsistencies is writers forgot the 'no money' rule or couldn't grok it.
But I was mostly wondering how it could work, not how canon suggests it works.

Like, right now people exchange money for goods and services; prices vary wildly, but broadly speaking they are driven up by scarcity. Limited resources are divided up into bits that are owned by some legal entity and then they get bought and sold.

The Star Trek future posits that replicators and other advanced technologies pretty much take the limits off. There is no scarcity. You can have whatever you want, the replicator just makes it for the asking. So, no money.

But there's areas where that isn't so simples, stuff replicators can't make. The most obvious one being work. Read more... )


The results of work, of people rather than replicators working, would also be exchanged in some way. And owned, probably. I mean, if you spent ages making art and some collector dude stole it you'd still think of it as stealing even if you weren't expecting to get money for it. And Jake talked about selling his first book, even though it seems to be projecting late 20th century publishing models and ignoring even the current blog model as a publishing avenue. I mean, if nobody works for money, then it's all much more like fanfic. Fanfic writing works by giving. But art and stories aren't going to leave someone stranded if nobody gives them one.

The big question really is, how much does the Enterprise cost?
Who owns starships, and how can they possibly be exchanged?

I haven't the slightest clue of an answer. I can see how Starfleet works, but Starfleet aren't the only starship owning and operating entities, or the only humans.

And how does one arrange passage on a starship? Or get a colony together for a new world?

Read more... )

Where the houses go remains scarce. Read more... )

I quite like the idea of not trying to accumulate money, but there's a lot of difference in just getting rid of it. How do they swap goods and services? And how long are you likely to be stuck waiting for that house you want?

Plus, access to education, and access to subsequent work. It's all very well showing students competing for admission to Starfleet Academy. Selective schooling, only take the best, since you want them to not blow up the big ships or the neighbours. Seems fair. But what happens for the education of everyone who doesn't get in? Is it like now and some people are stuck getting City College? And what difference does it make to them, if they don't get in the top universities? We know how you get a job in Starfleet. There's very tough competition, and more for every promotion. So is that what people in the future strive for, not the rewards from jobs but the jobs themselves?

... I can't really see people competing for care work. Just, in general. It don't seem likely.

Would the jobs that are harder to get in to still be the higher prestige work? Starfleet is selective so it is seen as of higher value to humanity than an inclusive recruiter?

And I'm not getting into the politics. The who is in charge and how. Even though that tangles with economics very extensively.

So, conclusion: Starfleet economics is difficult to make sense of.

er, surprise?
given that mostly they was stories about stuff blowing up.
beccaelizabeth: Lady Frankenstein plugs her brain in (net access)
I'm a bit fed up with headlines and government rubbish talking about fraud-and-error, and conflating lower rates of disability benefit with being not disabled, and all that balls. They keep making the numbers look big. Want to know the real percentage of fraud? Read more... )

Could the policies just maybe be made so they make sense for the 99% ?
Or, hey, to be fair, the other 90%, when you include error and change in circumstances.

It all makes me so tired.

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beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
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