Tag Archives: human-rights
This week on Facebook: Sometime in the early 90s I remarked to my European colleagues that supermarkets were turning us all into ‘battery hens’, in that we were all (however unwittingly) in thrall to the power of ‘marketers’ who exerted influence over our buying habits. I had no thoughts at the time that Artificial Intelligence (AI) would make my remark in the early 90s prescient and how the ‘battery hen’ analogy, when applied to AI, would have an increasing impact on all aspects of our lives.
It is true, we shall be monsters, cut off from all the world; but on that account we shall be more attached to one another. Our lives will not be happy, but they will be harmless and free from the misery I now feel. Frankenstein; Or, The Modern Prometheus by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
This week on Facebook: The 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations (UN) makes reference to social security and the economic, social and cultural rights of ‘the common people’¹. The UN’s writing of economic rights first is to my mind quite deliberate, in that without them any social and cultural rights look set to fall. However, finding a meaningful definition of economic and cultural rights has been difficult and resulted in my resorting to podcasts. While the podcasts have the titles ‘Economic Rights’ and Cultural Rights in the 20th Century, both lead to the question of human rights (4).
The European Union (EU) attaches great importance to the interdependence of all human rights and consider economic, social and cultural rights as part of a social welfare program that may well constrain the development of the EU (5). These issues also constrain the actions of the United Nations (UN) to a degree but are an essential part of any Group of 20 (G20) social welfare programmes, where the ratio of gross domestic product (GDP) to any social welfare programme that a G20 State has affects the forecast of future economic growth.
This week on Facebook: The UK 2010 State of the nation¹ reported on poverty, worklessness and welfare dependency in the UK that: “Over the past 13 years we have seen more and more money spent on the benefits system in an attempt to move people from below the 60% poverty threshold to above it. Expenditure on child-related benefits alone has almost doubled. Yet despite this expenditure, the figures in this document show that this approach is failing.
Income inequality is at its highest since records began; millions of people are simply parked on benefits with little hope of ever progressing into work; there are 800,000 more working age adults in poverty than in 1998/99; and high levels of family breakdown, educational failure, addiction and health inequality are having a severe impact on outcomes for both adults and children.” [sic] Read more of this post
This week on Facebook: I thought the term ‘dark age’ to be rather carelessly used recently, especially in the context of Homer and the fall of Troy. The term “Dark Ages” is now rarely used by historians because of the value judgment it implies, although it is sometimes taken to derive its meaning from the dearth of information about the period. The latter being certainly true of the Greek Dark Age (1) between the collapse of the Mycenaean civilisation and the GreekArchaic Period. Perhaps the Greek dark age that occurred between the end of the Bronze Age and the beginning of the Iron Age is the only period in Western history deserving to be called a dark age¹. There really is a dearth of information about this period in Western history, something that is not true about what became to be understood in Western Philosophy as The Dark Ages. Read more of this post
This week on Facebook: I never realised that I was living in what is called a Liberal Democracy, I would certainly not connect such a democracy with the Liberal Party here in the UK. It does however appear to be consistent with what one of my Facebook colleagues called Liberal Authoritarianism¹ and is increasingly illiberal. So what is a Liberal Democracy? It seems that even trying to define such a thing as a Liberal State² only succeeds in further dividing a disparate demos.
A fully liberal state is a state in which every citizen has equal rights and liberties, which are as extensive as they could be consistently with all others having the same rights and liberties. In these states this equality of rights and liberties coexists with a considerable socio-economical inequality. This raises questions about the extent to which these states are just and can be called true democracies. Liberal Democracy
This week on Facebook: In the 10th edition of their Democracy Index, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) recently reported the worst performance in global democracy since 2010-11 in the aftermath of the global economic and financial crisis. A special focus of this year’s report is the state of media freedom around the world and the challenges facing freedom of speech. The report aims to give a snapshot of democracy worldwide and includes 165 independent states and two territories which cover almost the entire world population.
Five categories are used to score each country: electoral process and pluralism, civil liberties, the functioning of government, political participation, and political culture. Based on around 60 indicators each country is placed into one of four types of regime: “full democracy”, “flawed democracy”, “hybrid regime” or “authoritarian regime”. The Democracy Index regards freedom of expression as essential for democracy to take root and flourish. The quality of democracy in any country may in large measure be gauged by the degree to which freedom of speech prevails. Societies that do not tolerate dissent, heresy and the questioning of conventional wisdom cannot be “full democracies”. Read more of this post
This week on Facebook: Following my reading of the articles in Bloomberg’s Weekend Edition (This Week was China Week), it’s apparent that we are committed to ideologies, politicians in particular — in my view — being particularly committed to the authoritarian ideology of China’s master plan, which I posted this month. However, in whatever form they may come in, the adherence to a particular ideology produces its own zealots. Comments on the social media confirm this view, but what about the many more who do not involve themselves in ideological discussions! Read more of this post
This week on Facebook: Some weeks a back an acquaintance in the USA sent me a link to What Happens When an MBA Student Raised in Communist China Reads Hayek. While the article presents a very biased view (particularly towards the USA), it does go some way to explain the explosive rise in China’s economic growth. Perhaps it isn’t known how the Hayek doctrine of economics influences Chinese communist party thought but I’m sure that it does, especially the economic views of Xi Jinping. One thing remains certain: The Peoples Republic of China is founded on a Constitution that is vastly different from the of the United States of America, notwithstanding the economic views of Hayek. Read more of this post
This week on Facebook: It could be thought odd, even hypocritical, that NATO (as led by the USA) is so selective and clearly so inept at using military force to spread democracy. Democracy, it now appears, being as inconsequential to the USA as it is to communist China! Tibet was invaded by China in 1950, the Tibetan government in Lhasa appealed for help to both Britain and the United States (both NATO members) but non was given.
The Free Tibet campaign still has many adherents, unlike last week’s post ‘Democracy in Xinjiang‘ when the USSR’s loyalties switched to Chairman Mao and the Russians helped the communist People’s Liberation Army recapture Uighur East Turkestan. In 1949 East Turkistan became Xinjiang when it was once again integrated into Communist China. China’s expansion westward is reminiscent of Japan’s reasons for its empirical expansion during world war II. To the Chinese, there is the added dimension of interpreting their cultural history and the memory of the humiliation inflicted on China by western economic and military hegemony in Asia. Read more of this post
- Sunday on Facebook: My wife’s paper has just arrived with the self congratulatory front page headline of, New Law To Tackle Moped Muggers. I wasn’t aware that we needed a new law, I thought that such people were already breaking the law. The problem seems to be in apprehending those responsible for breaking the law. Making new laws brings no comfort to my wife who now imagines a mugger being every moped rider and is now pressurising me to install more home security.
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