Thursday, 1 December 2011

Simon's View on Society: Part 1: As it stands

This blog will hopefully be a 3 or 4 part-er about the global situation as I see it, More likely this will be a one off that no one will read because it’s what can loosely be described as a rather dull mix of economics and geography. So without further ado let’s bring on the boredom!

Part 1: As it stands: Post Fordism

So we live in a post-Fordist society, simply put we are currently live in an era after that of mass production (courtesy of Henry Ford) and no one has come up with a catchy enough name to describe the new era in which we live, but one thing is for certain it’s an era of change:  From manual factory labour, to service industrial jobs in developed economies, a widening employment polarisation both within and between regions, Characterised in the crudest terms by widening wage inequality. Yet perhaps more tragic then this is the individualisation (arguably even isolation) of labour. Gone are the class structures of Fordism, unions no longer appear at the forefront of workers minds, and other benefits from employments, such as pensions and sick pay appear to dwindle, as rising unemployment in western economies, driven not only by population growth but a long overdue reduction in the gendering of labour, savages the benefits to employment as the free market runs rampant. No longer embedded within society or even governance the economy drives all social benefit from employment into the dust in its wake.

This is getting pretty heavy, have some kittens

Instead Fordist benefits are replaced by precariousness in employment, employer flexible hours and lower wages. Yet there is also an arguably more intense vilifications and alienation of those who sit on the outsides, Immigrants, the unable to work and the unemployed (although perhaps the social stigma associated with unemployment has done more to keep a low welfare bill then many government savings attempts) become scape goats for macro level economic problems of which they have no control. Society is nevertheless incapable of appreciating the irony of shaming the unemployed in a system in which employment is no longer secured.

  All of which continue to further the equity gap. As Danny Quah theorised the knowledge economy does not lead to expansible and weightless transactions or infinite geographical reach because any potential benefit is eradicated due to uneven access and opportunity (often via infrastructure). Non-rivalrous knowledge goods are simply commodified as previously had been the case for formalising Land, Labour and liquidity. (Polanyi) Knowledge joins these as a fictitious commodity, that was forcibly created, yet claimed to be fundamental to the free market functioning. This combined with the “Superstar effect” (you pay a huge amount for the very best, you believe only the greatest will do and pay them accordingly, while those below, irrespective of rank, are paid comparatively little, despite being only marginally less useful) all lead to what Quah calls the “twin peaks of global development” in which there is no middle class, simply rich and a disassociated (even from each other) poor. (Worth noting that in this increasingly polarised society Quah owns a Lamborghini Gallardo and I don’t)

All will be equal when I've got one Danny

So that’s all gravy, lots of stuff about inequality and how bad the free market is, but what does it all mean? Well standing says a sevenfold structure of social divisions. Split into 7 catagories.
Elite: the top 1%
Salariat: Stable employment with employment benefits gvmnt/large corporation
Proficians: Portfolio workers
Old working class: Manual labours
Precariat: Precarious employment. Characterised by the 7 forms of insecurity
Unemployed: those actively seeking to work
Detached: rarely employed, alienated by society through no fault of their own. Often generations of Worklessness

And it is the Precariat category that I will investigate further in my next blog (TUNE IN NEXT WEEK)

Here's a song about what the UK might be like about this time next week

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Give Clubs a Chance!

It's essay time, which means I'm blogging.

Clubs seem to be the topic dou joure so i may as well throw my unwanted trilby into the ring. (could i pull off hats?) So lets get started with my run down!


Thanks Deion

First up it's all about the people you go with. You want to have a good time in a club? Take some people you actually like! Assemble a team and go out hard, no one ever got anywhere by being a whiny little bitch,
Sorry Duffy
if you go out thinking you're going to have a shit night then chances are that's what will happen. Having a unit around you that you enjoy spending time with can prevent this from happening!


I've been reading A lot of literature lately about how clubs are places where women and men come together to be arbitrarily combined based on completely selfish values, that's not always the case, i know a lot of guys and gals that go clubbing because they like a dance, doesn't mean that you have to all pair up! I accept however that clubbing for women seems to be an endless stream of rejecting men who make advances. I personally I have no problem with a guy trying to make a play on a girl, that's fine, but lets watch our conduct gents! I have literally no idea how it became acceptable conduct to essentially go up to a girl you find attractive, rub your cock against her leg, and see if they respond in a positive manner. But as a collective we can work on that by not doing it and calling out those that do. hence making clubbing a more enjoyable environment for all.


You don't like the music, I get it, I don't like some of it either, but there are clubs for all different types of music! Don't rule out clubbing altogether just because you don't like one variety, that's like saying you don't like meat because you tried cows foot a few times and you didn't fancy it. Striking something down based on one (admitting mainstream) segment is nothing short of absurd.

Foam parties can fuck off though

Here's NFL Hall of Fame cornerback Deion Sanders, personal hero of mine to the tune of "Opposite of Adults" by Chiddy Bang. which you might here in a club, but i doubt it

"Through unity, we can touch thousands"

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Grounds for Divorce

Quick update on my life

Bus stops and a woman with a pram and a kid gets on, she's struggling with her stuff and she drops something, which I pick up for her.
"Thank you." She says
"No Problem" I reply
"Where's daddy when you need him?" she responds
"Story of my life!" I say in a jokey manner, and chuckle, Impressed as I am with my witty retort. After a few seconds it becomes clear I've made a horrible misjudgment about my audience.

Turns out a 5pm commuter bus is not the appropriate setting for dead pan verging on black comedy. The bus is silent. I feel the stares of those sitting in my vicinity. I have no choice, but to replace my headphone, and press the stop button, quietly leave at the next stop and continue my journey on foot.

Here's a song to see us out

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Did you hear the one about the pregnant woman with no husband?

So for those not keeping a close eye on my life (if not why not, you cunts) I went away recently to Europe and along my physical Journey towards Romania I also started a Metaphorical Journey along the long and arduous path of feminism. After the degrading experience of reading a book titled “How to be a Woman” by Caitlin Moran and other books on the subject with similarly dire names I had intended to write a (well researched) blog on the economic reasoning behind a gender pay gap, why it shouldn’t be 30% and finally my all-encompassing solution for such a problem.

Yet instead while doing the research for this blog I found that the UKs system for maternity pay can charitably be described as nonsensical and uncharitably described as backwards on a similar level to that of Tom Cruise’s Ideology. First of all I’d like to make it clear that most women are probably not affected by the issues this blog raises. Nevertheless I think it’s important to take a good long look at government policy on maternity pay.

74% of companies provide more than the government level of benefit known as Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) which in 2010 was £112.75 a week. For those that don’t know you can take 39 weeks of for a pregnancy legally (although the EU has voted on a bill to change this and the amount.) however progress is slow in this field because, quite frankly, they have more important things to worry about.
Think all that information has sunk in? I doubt it; let me lay some truth on you. £112.75 works out to £5863 a year. My room in a 4 bedroom flat in London is costing me more than that. Only one of the EU 27 has lower government pregnancy support pay (Luxembourg).  What this means is if you work for a UK company, there is a 1 in 4 chance that you cannot afford to get pregnant without financial support from another person. That’s fine for women who are happily married and decide to have a child, but what about unplanned pregnancy? What about women whose husbands leave them? What about rape victims? Are we seriously giving up on these women and their unborn children?

Furthermore (look at me using words) this 26% of firms are often at the bottom end of the pay structure for low paid and government designated “unskilled” work, Women in this line of work are often undereducated in comparison with the national average, there is also much research linking unplanned pregnancy to low income.
See I don't just make this shit up

This means that the women who have the highest rates of unplanned pregnancy, have the lowest financial capacity to support themselves get an unacceptably low amount of welfare support from our government. The most vulnerable, gain the least support.

And this is shortfall is reflected in the government shortfall, if you crunch the numbers (which I have) you’ll see the government spending on SMP is £2765 per woman, which means (with more crunching) that the average woman at 26% of UK firms takes just 24.5 weeks off work when having a child. That’s 171 days off to grow a human.

Like I said above, help is on the way, the EU is riding in on its debt ridden pony to save the day, hurrah! Maybe I can buy Greece for a tenner and then turn it into a massive olive farm and use the profits to save pregnant women in the UK. Maybe not, I’ll probably just stay at home.

If you were affected by any of the issues raised by this blog there isn’t a government hotline you can call, because apparently they don’t give a shit

                                                                  on an unrelated note

P.S to finish the answer to the joke in the title is neither have I, because she's dead.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

NFL loses the keys

So as promised I've been writing a second blog on another farce, but i'd like to take a brief, but sickening moment to look back on the farce I mentioned last time. I've noticed that my advice to a certain Daniel Meier has obviously not been taken as he's written another 2 blogs. You can read his regurgitated opinion here, you can even listen to a song by a band that describe themselves as "3rd wave ska punk reggae dub" if you want, i must have missed those first two waves...

Having recovered from the onset of nausea let's move on to the real meat of this weeks blog. As Mr Cameron seems all too keen to remind us times are tough, and even big businesses are having to tighten there metaphorical belts in preparation for the metaphorical prostate exam that governments across the world are soon to embark upon. That is of course you live in the world of professional sport. Now before you stop reading and cast aside another dull instalment do stick with me! For I promise* not only does this blog inform, but it entertains, unlike some blogs of people who are 'studenting' (more on this next time possibly).
The National Football League (NFL) is a company which runs the league of American football teams that is most widely followed in the states, it’s there equivalent of the Premier league. Unlike Football in England however this structure has not always been stable taking on many forms throughout the years. Even now there is a rival league to the NFL in the form of the UFL (United Football league) with a smattering of teams with similarly ridiculous names. The NFL lasts from season to season based upon a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) which sets out the rules of the sport, off field activities and most importantly pay. Every so often a CBA reaches near the end of its contracted period and teams, players and owners have to renegotiate the terms of the agreement.   
In 2008 it was decided that a new CBA was to be agreed. A date was set for a new CBA to be created by March 3rd 2011, and put simply this hasn’t happened. As a result the Owners of all the NFL teams have hidden the keys to their stadiums and training facilities, and players now have to look for them so that they can begin preparing for the new season. (Hence the term “lockout”) Unfortunately the search for these keys has been about as successful as the navy seals attempt to find Osama Bin Laden the McCanns search for the daughter they killed. Which could ultimately mean that there is no football next year

One of the problems is that some owners would rather not have a salary cap at all. They’d rather use the 'small' fortunes that they have accumulated to be able to pay as much as they like. Hiring the best players to simply buy trophies in what has become known as the “Manchester city” school of thought. For example Dallas cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones would rather win championships then worry about creating a league which is equal and entertaining (possibly because this will make his investment more valuable). Either way he doesn’t care, because if there are no games next year he can use the 60 yard TV in Cowboys stadium to watch babestation.

Great Quality TV Jerry! What is that 32 DD?

NFL owners have said they will tell the players where the keys are hidden if they are given money. First it is vital to explain in this particular sport all the revenue raised from ticket sales, advertising, broadcasting and whatever is given to the NFL Corporation in the form of a healthy $9 billion pie.   Under the old CBA the owners were entitled to a healthy if rather filling slice of $1 billion! The players are then left to fight to the death over 60% of the pie in what is known as the salary cap. The victorious player is the given a “super bowl” in which to eat there lukewarm desert.

John Madden Won his Super Bowl in 1976 with the Oakland Raiders
However in the last 5 years since the 2006 CBA the owners claim that the cost of running an NFL team has risen and that $2.4 billion should cover the hardship. Ignoring the (un) likelihood that these billionaires do have an inflation rate of 19% pa. They propose that the players should hence take a pay cut of 18% to ease the financial burden. Don’t worry though this money won’t be coming from household NFL names like Tiger Woods and Bruce Springsteen. Rather from the rookies and practice squad players who don’t own Ferraris but still have families to feed.

Still at least we've still got basketball...

Speaking of basketball and barak obama

* this is a liberal democrate promise

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Mindless views?

So here it is! My long awaited, eagerly anticipated and quiet possibly ill fated blog! The first edition will be an action packed double header of farce (you lucky devils!) Firstly I’m going to talk about freedom of expression on the internet, by which I mean reviewing a certain blog. Later in the week I'll move onto another farce, the NFL (American football) lockout explained in simple language even women can understand

Let me start by saying I don’t expect this blog to get many likes, followers, friends, rounders or whatever it is that blogs are supposed to get, nor do I think it should. My personal problem with blogs (yes I have a problem with them) is that a medium was created whereby anyone from anywhere in the world could express their opinion. The trouble with creating this system is that it leads to the mistaken and frequently vain hope that someone somewhere will care.

Surely the point of a blog is to either inform a reader of something they didn’t know, or to entertain. What many bloggers fail to realise is that once upon a time someone already had the idea that people would want this sort of service and so they created a profession called journalism! In this little know profession “journalists” create entertaining or informative (or sometimes both) articles for the viewing pleasure of Joe public. However this service was not free, because it took considerable skill and time to create this sort of media, bloggers often miss this point.

Nowhere is this more apparent then in this weeks blog up for review “Mindless” by Daniel Meier. Before I start the post mortem of this rather poor specimen to determine cause of death I’d like to reiterate what I’ve always said throughout my life. You know me; I never mean to be rude! So the next few paragraphs are me definitely not being rude.

Looking back to October 2010 (yes the author has had this uncontrolled verbal diarrhea for over 6 months) and the blogs humble beginning the warning signs are there. A blog discussing that new album from an artist that the author used to like but no longer does. Making outrageous and obviously untrue statements such as
Linkin Park produced Collision Course, a mash-up of rock and hip-hop even greater than Aerosmith/Run-DMC's Walk This Way
The blog produces many similar opinions for what appears to be no reason other then to appear controversial.

Week by agonising week Mindless starts to develop a comfortable pattern, which is unfortunate as the way it is written means it reads about as well as the transcript of a Steven Gerrard post match interview. After a while there is an air of inevitability about the quotes from unheard of American sitcoms and the picture becomes unnervingly clear. What we have hear ladies and gents is a person who may be considered “anti-mainstream.” Arguing with this individual is pointless and predictable. Becoming anti-mainstream is simple, take commonly accepted wisdom, and argue the exact opposite. Dislike TV programmes that are enjoyed by many and sing high praise of those that have fallen out of favour with all but a desperate anti-mainstream few. In music anti-mainstreamists claim not to be “indie” because this is of course too mainstream. This tragic personality defect is often caused by an inability to form or express ones own opinion with conviction and thus leads to a need to simply argue against what others will largely accept so they will actually have something to say. When a bunch of these “individuals” get together they are called “Liberal Democrats” death is the only cure

Many anit-mainstreamists are hoping for this story to break

Even if the author managed to form his own opinion he is still meeting a crucial element of any article. Journalists collect evidence and over time create an informed piece of literature worth reading. Daniel however obviously tries to whack one out in the half hour before lunch, and with the 29 minutes remaining he writes a blog

My final criticism is that in a misguided attempt at originality the author starts the blog with a song title of quote, and ends it by embedding a YouTube video of the song. Hopefully upon realising how mainstream this procedure has become when blogging this woolly liberals head will explode, and we can be rid of his drivel.

I'll levae you with a poem by the fantastically origional Taylor Mali, on the importance of speaking with authority when forming your own, like, you know, opinions?