Land, labour and food | Brussels Blog

Land, labour and food

posted by on 23rd Jun 2018


Land, labour and food

… and the greenbelt

Peter Breugel showed labour can have it’s own value – even if productivity is low.

Let’s build on the polluted greenbelt

A common argument in favour of greenbelt policy is that land is required for food production with a rising world population. However, Professor Cheshire points out horsey culture and golf courses on greenbelt land do not produce food. There is also the issue of food wastage and the destruction of food-value with the conversion of economically ‘inferior’ foods to ‘superior’ foods as discussed in It’s the poor that starve. Another post Pollution in the countryside discussed the destructive effects of modern farming methods on medium term soil fertility.

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Car-free estates of wooden prefabs with inbuilt market gardens.

posted by on 16th May 2018


I have a series of posts on looking for solutions to the housing crisis. Solutions should be cheap, friendly and don’t screw the world up. A good solution is car-free estates of wooden prefabs: starter homes for £20,000.

Improve these prefabs with modern cross-ply timber…

and add market gardens.

Could this change the way we live?

I hope so.

Anyway please look at Housing – part 16: Cheap, neighbourly and doesn’t screw the world up. (Especially the section “A new Ministry of Works … & starter homes for £20,000”.)

Also there was a EC study commissioned by Carlo Ripa di Meana which concluded “the car-free city costs between two and five times less”

Brilliant climate talk by Kevin Anderson

posted by on 12th May 2018

Brilliant climate talk by Kevin Anderson

‘If you drink half a litre of beer with a politician or
scientist they will tell you how bad it is – but if you
put a microphone there they will tell you some
optimistic nonsense about climate change.’

So now let’s have an index for #CarbonBudgetMorality as outlined in Are you evil or very evil?

The remaining carbon budget morality index

This would help any campaign to plan new settlements which are cheap, friendly and don’t screw the climate.  Most new settlements are in the range ‘Evil’ or above – even so-called eco-settlements.

Car-free cities and pedestrian apartheid

posted by on 8th May 2018

Car-free cities and pedestrian apartheid


Car Trouble: And How to Fix It from Carfree Cities on Vimeo.

Mixing motorists and non-motorists.

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Are you evil or very evil?

posted by on 23rd Feb 2018


Are you evil, or very evil?

The War on Evil

The Carbon Budget Morality Index (CBMI) is an attempt to link the your effects on climate change with a score estimating your morality – so you can see how evil you are.

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Before the robots take all our jobs

posted by on 4th Feb 2018


Before the robots take all our jobs

This outlines an old proposal of mine to modify VAT to create jobs.

The proposal gives extra flexibility to the management of the economy, making it easier to achieve full employment.

Below are two pieces I had published in the Computer Weekly in 1978. The first is an introduction from something that got rather technical and the second more concise description of the proposal I have been putting forward since the early 1970s.

How to create more jobs without inflation

Computer Weekly, October 1978


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Mixed communities – a failed policy

posted by on 2nd Jan 2018


Mixed communities – a failed policy

The “mixed communities” paradigm for housing development aimed to mix poorer people with more affluent neighbours to avoid the problems of large sink estates. It has been central to housing policy for more than a decade. A Parliamentary Select Committee in 2003 reported:

90. Several witnesses drew attention to the mistakes of the 1950s and 1960s when large council estates were built which tended to include high concentrations of poorer households. In its new programme, the Government must avoid creating ghettos by ensuring that different tenures are integrated into new developments. New approaches are required by private developers and housing associations to create mixed tenure schemes.

The decline of council housing

During the 1980s many council estates declined. The rot really set in with Thatcher’s housing policy as Andy Beckett outlined in a Guardian article, The right to buy: the housing crisis that Thatcher built:

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Pedestrian apartheid – RSPCA News (1976)

posted by on 26th Dec 2017

Pedestrian Apartheid

Separate developments for non-motorists

Hazebrouck before the car

In 1976, I wrote a note, “RSPCA News”, about developments for non-motorists, where they are separated from motorists. This outlined financial and legal mechanisms that could make non-motorist developments work.

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Climate change & the fallacy of the lump of labour fallacy.

posted by on 30th Nov 2017

Climate change & the fallacy of the lump of labour fallacy.

Janesville Assembly Plant is a former automobile factory owned by General Motors located in Janesville, Wisconsin. Opened in 1919, it was the oldest operating GM plant when it was largely idled in December 2008, and ceased all remaining production on April 23, 2009.

Listening to the BBC World Service Business Daily programme on Tuesday morning that old angry amateur feeling came back. The programme, Jobs for the World’s Young, was billed like this:

Young people make up 35% of the world’s unemployed, and it’s a global problem. Pulitzer prize-winning reporter Amy Goldstein, author of Janesville: An American Story, tells us how retraining doesn’t always work when it comes to finding people new jobs in the rust belt of America.

In her review of Janesville in the New York Times, Jennifer Senior wrote

In the case of the many laid-off workers in the Janesville area, the outcomes are decidedly worse for those who have attended the local technical college to learn a new trade.

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Censored by the Overseas Development Institute?

posted by on 27th Nov 2017


Censored by the Overseas Development Institute?

I hope readers will excuse the labourious details
but even I find the theme “The ODI censored me”
rather far fetched

I reported in a Angry Amateur No 2 that most of my websites are banned in Morrisons supermarkets. Most other websites are available even protest sites like Making Workers Pay or The Canary, a left wing site which The Sun has accused of spreading fake news. With most of my other sites blocked, this looks personal – but why? I am a bit paranoid but there are some out there that want to censor my views (and, of course, other more important views) but imagine my surprise when I discovered that the Overseas Development Institute seems to have joined in.

At the Overseas Development Institute

Lord Adair Turner

Although the ODI are a bit too close to the UK Government, they strike me as good people. They invite me to their presentations and have publications like these:

Implications of geoengineering for developing countries

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