No.29 Bellum Omnium Contra Omnes

According to the Red cross, armed conflict is “the logical outcome of an attempt of one group to protect or increase its political, social and economic welfare at the expense of another group”. It goes on to say “There is no need to be an expert or a prophet to predict that humanity is far from finished with it”.

Warfare is a “chameleon”, ever-changing, adapting, camouflaging itself. War escapes easy delineation. Our thoughts and our language itself seem incapable of conveying the reality we are facing. We may soon replace soldiers with machines, replace manned flight with drones and human operated weapons with automated weapon systems.

Those without such technology are turning their own people into human bombs and are targeting crowds of civilians rather than traditional military targets. We live in a world where the drone pilot faces off against the suicide bomber. Terrorist attacks instantly transform holiday resorts, cultural and commercial venues into fields of war.

The asymmetric response to increasingly remote military hardware is the invisible network, what the Red Cross describe as ‘rhizomes’, like underground root systems and stems which spread unseen, emerging to strike where no one expects them.

Even the notion of heroism, traditionally associated with obedience to a warrior’s code of honour, is either absent or has been perverted by those on both sides who portray cowardly murders as so many glorious victories. These evil acts are then proudly broadcast on YouTube and the evening news.

In our deeply divided world, the war front is everywhere and nowhere at the same time. War is always both omnipresent and absent.

The battlefield itself is moving into Cyberspace, ill-defined, without shape or borders. Yet war is still war, and continues still to show its old face. The nuclear threat remains a sword of Damocles hanging over humanity.

The fragmentation of warfare and the practice wherever possible of fighting on someone else’s soil has led some States to reinvest in conventional weapons. The medieval practice of besieging cities has returned to Syria and Yemen. “The civil wars in South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo hardly involve new technology or heavy weapons, yet they are among today’s deadliest conflicts.”

150 years of effort to limit the effects of violence through international humanitarian law (IHL) is failing. Even the most basic rules are not applied. What followed the Cold War was the so-called age of “war amongst the people”. Many new conflicts arose against the backdrop of decolonization and polarization. The typical conflict is no longer “industrial war” between two opposing masses of troops, planes and tanks. War is mostly internal or between local armed groups against foreign powers.

Anti-colonial and revolutionary guerrilla tactics are essentially the same as those used by contemporary armed groups against local or multinational armed forces in “asymmetric” conflicts. The ‘West’ has found itself again and again bogged down in interventionist wars. Unlike traditional wars, some say that 90% of those dying in current wars are civilians.

The system implemented after the Second World War is collapsing as new military and economic relationships emerging in the context of climate change and shrinking natural resources. New alliances, activists and solidarity networks challenge the State’s omnipotence.

Millions of people are on the road or in makeshift boats, while rich countries close their borders. Radicals call for isolation from the rest of the world and, at the same time, for taking the fight to the enemy. The world seems to be entering a period of selfishness, of one-sided power grabs and of rallying around “identités meurtrières” (murderous identities).

In the past, a “state of war” was formally declared and became the central concern of an entire nation until peace was restored. Now it is taking a new form in Western States. At once unending and unexpressed, similar to the permanent war described in Orwell’s ‘1984’, it is brought to public attention only through sporadic attacks and ubiquitous security measures. Private contractors are employed instead of conscripting citizens. The desire for “perpetual peace” has given way to disillusionment and the idea of a “forever war”. Aerial bombardment is preferred to committing ground troops in operations overseas. This leads to the use of weapons and tactics, such as remote bombing or indirect fire, and a tacit acceptance of increased civilian casualties. However, the recurring polemics over the civilian losses that these attacks cause show that perceptions of the acceptability of civilian deaths among the general public are changing.

Developments in communications, social media, cyber techniques, robotics and laser and nanotechnology portend not only new weapons, but also new tactics and new kinds of warfare. Some of these advances can lead to greater targeting accuracy and minimize civilian losses. Others, however, could unleash unprecedented tragedies – for example, through their indiscriminate impact.

As wars become smaller, more localised and more fragmented the days of few, major wars between large countries or blocks are giving way to many small conflicts and proxy wars between smaller countries and within countries.

This, is the equivalent in the modern world of what Thomas Hobbes meant by “the war of all against all” (Bellum omnium contra omnes). This is the essence of human existence in the state of nature, i.e. in the absence of civil society.

It was Hobbs who described life as ‘nasty, brutish and short’. Hobbes argued that there could be no morality in the state of nature because everyone would be fighting for individual survival. Moral notions have no place because everyone has an equal claim to everything. Without a government, no laws exist to regulate behaviour. Since no individual has the power to regulate human behaviour (on a large scale), any notions of justice or morality must arise from a social contract that all individuals adhere to. Without government, everyone’s equal claim to everything combined with the scarcity of resources leads everyone into the war of all against all: Everyone is the enemy of everyone else, and every individual must compete with others to gather enough resources to survive.

Hobbes proposed the establishment of an authoritarian state which had the power to control its subjects and establish a civilized society. In this authoritarian state, the ruler or governing body, known as the sovereign, the president or just plain ‘Trump’ (or ‘Putin’), has the ability to violate an array of individual rights to promote peace and prevent society from reverting back to the war of all against all.

Sound familiar?

Ref: EDITORIAL TACTICS, TECHNIQUES, TRAGEDIES: A HUMANITARIAN PERSPECTIVE ON THE CHANGING FACE OF WAR Vincent Bernard, Editor-in-Chief International Review of the Red Cross (2015).

Ref: War of All Against All, September 5th, 2010 by Kara in Dictionary, Moral Terms

No. 13 The Crisis, or ‘It’s a big trough and I want my snout in it’

You know that feeling – a dawning realisation that someone, somewhere has stuffed up mightily, and that there is going to be hell to pay?

Well the good news is that a crisis is a peculiarly human invention. Indeed, strictly speaking, it is entirely and exclusively a human affair. The other piece of good news, for the freelance consultant, is that every crisis is a massive opportunity. From the freelance point of view a crisis is a splendid example of ‘The Mess’ (see previous article on freelance consulting).

A crisis is a very different thing from a natural disaster like a flood or earthquake. While any kind of natural or man-made disaster will offer opportunities to the astute freelancer, the crisis offers an embarrassment of riches due to its uniquely human aspects. A disaster can precipitate a crisis for the unprepared executive, but a disaster is not, in and off itself, a crisis.

A crisis is caused by the executive failing to deal adequately with a disaster whether natural or man-made. It follows that an executive who deals quickly and effectively with a disaster will not precipitate a crisis. Essentially, what the freelancer is looking for, is a failure of confidence in the ability of those tasked with dealing with a disaster, to deal with it effectively. This is your opportunity to swan in with a quick fix.

Recent examples of political crises might include the Brexit Vote (June 2016), the emergence of Donald Trump as the front runner in the Republican presidential nomination race, or the collapse of the Australian Liberal Party’s vote in the recent general election. Commercial crises of recent note include the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the VW car ‘defeat’ software that falsified carbon emissions, and the endless and repetitive corruption scandals afflicting banks and the financial sector.

All these events have become crises because the powers that be, and in particular the powers that popular opinion believed should have dealt with the underlying issues, singularly failed to do so. The fall of the UK conservatives David Cameron and Boris Johnson as well as Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn, and the leadership challenges about to engulf Malcolm Turnbull in Australia, are all directly caused by the failure of these ‘leaders’ to understand and deal with the underlying causes of the disasters which have befallen them.

The push in Australia for a Royal Commission into banking corruption is a perfect example of how a commercial crisis can become a political crisis if both sets of executives fail utterly to deal with the underlying problem.

In the business context a disaster happens, but only results in a crisis when management fails to address the issue adequately. So crises in commercial and organisational settings are always and everywhere due to a failure of management (N.B. $$$).

The failing executive will of course seek to deflect the blame – onto the economy, onto more junior employees or even competitors, but this is merely sleight of hand. The truth will always be that the disaster has triggered a crisis because the underlying disaster has not been dealt with effectively. For the freelancer, it is essential to remain fully aware of this fact while absolutely ignoring it. Focus instead on suitable deflections, shallow solutions, and broader targets for blame.  If you can come up with a plausible solution that will enable the failed executive to keep his or her job you are laughing.

So for all executives, everywhere, I offer this word of advice: When disaster strikes, ask yourself how best to handle the matter to avoid a crisis. Decent continuity planning and risk management will help you prepare for the foreseeable, but when the unforeseeable happens, and it will happen, remember that clear thinking and honest leadership are your key to avoiding a crisis.

That said, and in the sure and certain knowledge that only one in a million executives will heed my advice, I will just remind the freelance consultant that a crisis frees up cash, lots and lots of cash, which it is incumbent upon someone to spend – well it might as well be you, right?


The Brexit vote is a trigger for much more than just the UK, or parts of it, to leave the EU. It is a trigger that will actuate the many fault lines that have been growing beneath the surface of the modern world. It is also a symptom of those growing fault lines. The impacts will be economic, social, legal, military, political and historic.
Furthermore, the Brexit vote will trigger those tensions to erupt across the world to a greater or lesser extent in each and every country.
The popularity in the political sphere of Jeremy Corbyn in the UK, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump in the USA, the Tsipras’ Syriza party in Greece and the Brexit vote itself, are all symptoms of a breakdown of, for want of a better descriptor, the ‘social contract’ in each of these countries.
We are heading for seismic political changes in which traditional parties will be forced to adapt immediately or die, and since few human organisations can adapt quickly to change, my guess is that many of the old parties will die.
We are already seeing the early economic fallout as predicted, but it is the medium to long term impacts that really matter. After the dust has settled, the significant pressures already impacting late stage capitalism (or early post capitalism or whatever you want to call it) will re-emerge as driving forces. For example:
• Permanently low interest rates
• Static or reducing demand
• Vast increases in automation, leading to
• Destruction of many traditional jobs
• Growing abundance of low cost goods – think Sock City in China produces a huge proportion of the world’s socks at minimal cost
• Massive increase in virtually free ‘information goods’ e.g. music, movies, books, education etc.

These forces remove more and more goods and services from the economic sphere. This happens in two ways, firstly as more and more goods become effectively free, and secondly as the free, information based, portion of the value of goods increases, for example as the value of information increases as a proportion of the goods you buy – think Amazon’s purchasing suggestions.
There will inevitably be changes across the legal spectrum from treaties to trade agreements, IP rights, residency rights, forms of property ownership and so on. The only way an ‘information’ good can be profitable is if the supplier has a monopoly – just think about the music and film industries, without their monopoly on IP rights music and movies would effectively be free.
Militarily, we can already see a shift in focus in the USA’s attention from supporting Israel to confronting China and Russia. In Europe too Brexit will impact NATO and the will of the allies to work together.
Socially we are already seeing in every advanced industrialised (or post-industrial) country the growth of non-market relationships, the desire to opt out, the development of social networks both via social media and in specific physical localities.
Technological developments in terms of the internet, social media, solar power and now the promise of cheap batteries to store solar generated electricity, and ever increasing automation of work both enable and speed up the social changes mentioned. The immanent arrival of self-driving cars will free up real-estate and reduce the number of cars on the road. Changes which have the potential to shift our societies into whole new modes of behaviour.
All these trends taken together have the potential to ‘bump’ our world into a new historical groove.
In the years to come we may look back on the Brexit vote as the defining moment when everything changed, when all those pre-existing trends and tendencies were suddenly brought together in a new combination.

Let’s hope it’s a brave new world, it may have to be.

No. 3 Free Money

The year is racing ahead without so much as a ‘by your leave’ and already the Catholic Pope has resigned in a vacuum of rumour, backbiting and accusation, whilst here in Australia the fire, flood and pestilence season has gotten off to a great start. The country divided with pleasing symmetry into the flooded North and the burning South.

The Japanese, in the spirit of Total Quality Management (TQA) are continuing their record breaking free money stint. The official interest rate alternates between nothing and ‘we’ll pay you take the stuff away’.

But it’s not just the Japanese who can’t think of anything productive to do with their money, it’s quite a widespread problem. That giant corporations can amass tens of billions of dollars in cash deposits and have not the faintest clue how to make productive use of these war chests, in my view, beggars belief. There are many micro-lending organisations across Asia, Africa, Central and South America that could no doubt put this money, hoovered up from across the globe, to good use.

Perhaps those who have buckets of cash and no idea what to do with it should hand it over to the entrepreneurial masses whom, one may be certain, would come up with something.

Meanwhile, here in Punchbowl the new ‘Plazza’ town centre shopping and accommodation complex, powered by Woolworth’s vision of urban perfection, is beginning to take shape with the shopping precinct opening in December.

But wait! A sobering dash of ice cold water has cast a long shadow over this otherwise idyllic hamlet; the shortage of barbers (a mere dozen within a 300 metre radius of Punchbowl railway station), is beginning to impinge upon our feel-good-factor.

Elsewhere, the Americans have retreated into their arcane national sport of tormenting people who have done something ‘inappropriate’. To do or say something not in keeping with the prissy social mores of the American elite, or at least with the social mores imagined by the American circus to be those of the elite, brings swift and immediate opprobrium, followed, inevitably, by death. The latest victims of this sport include various candidates for Barrack Obama’s cabinet.

The upside of this is that, for the time being, they are not trying quite so hard to be the saviours of Western Civilisation. On the downside, it is just a matter of time before they switch their attention from bating their internal political opponents and return once more to destabilising the world.

The current rampage and destruction of world cultural heritage by disposed mercenaries across North Africa was precipitated at least in part by the West’s unfortunate predisposition towards unseating dictators (Iraq, Libya, Egypt and now Syria) apparently without any thought as to the consequences. World News from Punchbowl (WNFP) has uncovered the amusing practice whereby the out-going American President hands a note to the in-coming President containing the name of the dictator he, or potentially she, is expected to topple. It’s a sort of a presidential game and failure to oust ‘your’ dictator is considered very bad form.

It is a matter of no small national pride here in the ‘lucky country’, that our practice of suckling at the breast of American democracy has enabled us not just to emulate our American mentors, but, in terms of banality and viciousness of national politics, to exceed them by a substantial margin. Our upcoming federal election promises to offer an exemplary display case for our new found skills.  Perhaps we should make it a display sport at the next Olympics?

But all is not sunshine and barbeques – right here in Punchbowl’s back yard, the Chinese, Japanese and Russians are back to squaring up against each other over a variety of barren rocky islands which are said to be strategic, or which might possibly sit over mineral deposits or good fishing grounds, or just ‘because’.

Those interested in sending a high-level negotiating team to break the deadlock should write to the editor or leave your name at the post office on The Boulevard (across from the medical centre).

Talking of Russia and the possible total destruction of life on earth; was it just me, or did it seem strange to you that there was nothing but a deafening silence from the astronomical community after a giant meteorite exploded spectacularly over Chelyabinsk in Russia? Had they not that very same night congratulated themselves and reassured us that an even bigger asteroid was going to miss the earth by a hair’s breadth? How come they failed to spot the Russian one, and how many others did they miss that night? The residents of Punchbowl demand to know!

For our readers with an interest in New Zealand, WNFP can report that New Zealand remains a stable, sensible, well run, reasonably open minded and pleasant country.

Our next edition may carry an in depth analysis of the global horse meat scandal threatening the pallets of discerning processed meat eaters and equestrophiles the world over. Or we may cover something more interesting.  Stay Tuned!


No. 2 The End Of The World

The year 2012 is drawing inexorably to its close and the Mayans have failed in their inadvertent bid to end the world. So far so good.

In a world dominated by talk of climate change, population explosion and sustainability, I want to highlight a few positive counter processes that put such undeniable woes in a broader context. These are, permanently low interest rates, the emerging superabundance of goods and services, population collapse in the advanced industrialised countries, downward pressure on populations in the rest of the world.

Apart from the usual rag-tag-and-bob-tail of fundamentalists, religious and otherwise, for whom sin and retribution in a thousand different forms is an article of faith, there remain the great unwashed masses of humanity for whom climate change, sustainability and population explosion have ascended the throne of moral imperatives.

These are the commandments at the heart of our new covenant with nature.

With sin and retribution safely out of the way we must now grovel before the altar of the scientific method and, if decent manners and polite society are to be preserved at all, sacrifice ourselves upon it.

There is now one and only one acceptable way of thinking, one and only one allowable logic. To believe otherwise is regarded, at best, as simpleminded and at worst as heresy.

In my first blog I mentioned that sea levels are approximately in the middle of their 120 metre range, and could rise or fall, as they have in the past, by around 60 metres. The climate change lobby does not contemplate more than a very tiny proportional change in sea levels over the coming century and says that the expected tiny change is both man made and recoverable.

On the upside, we may be entering a period of permanently low interest rates. Some countries, such as Japan, have been enjoying, or living with, an effective zero official bank rate for over a decade. Australia is heading towards a decade of low interest rates, and the USA and Europe are likewise experiencing low interest rates. Demand for money, for capital, seems to be at an all-time low. That is why its price, the interest rate, is so low.

In the advanced, industrialised countries all around the world, native population numbers are falling as people have children later in life and have fewer children. Where populations are growing in these countries, the increase is largely due to immigration. This is so starkly evident in Japan, that the country’s legislature is becoming alarmed that Japan’s culture may be diluted by foreigners.

In the two countries contributing most to global population increase and to global pollution, China and India, there is evidence that population growth may begin to tail off and may even stop in the next few decades.

This is more evident in China currently than in India, but the causes are the same.  Firstly huge numbers of people are leaving the rural areas and moving to the cities as these countries become more industrialised. If mum and dad are both working long hours to make ends meet, and the kids’ education has to be paid for privately, there is a natural downward pressure on population growth.

Secondly, in both countries there is a large and growing middle class and the middle class is becoming a powerful force for change.

The Russian born, but naturalised American economist, Kuznets, developed the so-called Kuznets curve that describes a trade-off between, variously: industrialisation and flow of population to the cities, increasing city populations and growing middle class and a growing middle class and decreasing environmental pollution.

Right now China and India, amongst the most polluted countries on earth, are experiencing the largest growth in the middle class and the largest shift in employment to the towns from the country. The stage may be set for these emerging middles classes to do their stuff.

There is a second, equally interesting phenomenon emerging all over the world but most strikingly in China and India, and that is superabundance of goods and services.

We saw superabundance in digital form with the emergence of the World Wide Web some twenty or so years ago. Digital recordings of music, books and movies are, in effect, superabundant as they can be copied almost infinitely at minimal cost.

This superabundance is now beginning to emerge in manufactured goods and in services, led by China.

China plans to create two hundred new cities along its Pacific coast. Each of these cities would become a centre for some specialised form of production.  The most famous of these is the popularly named ‘Sock City’ Datang that produces 9 billion socks per year or around 60% of all socks purchased in the industrialised West.

Near to Datang is the ‘Button Capital’ of world, Qiaotou which likewise dominates the global button market.

In the current economic uncertainty China’s plan has been slowed, but we may yet see emerging ‘Jumper’ and ‘Trouser’ cities.

The effect of this is to produce these items in such abundance that their wholesale price per unit becomes increasingly low, tending towards, but never quite reaching, zero.

Consider that in 1909 the USA was still pretty much at the horse and buggy stage, and that a mere sixty years later they put men on the moon.

In Asia, if we look at the meteoric rise of Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand between 1965 and 1995 and of the Shanghai region of China in less than a decade, it is evident that the shift from large rural population engaging in agriculture to large urban population engaging in manufacturing and services, can now be achieved in a few short years.

Evolutionary stages that we might have once believed mandatory can now be leap-frogged with the latest technology and know-how. In India the HP Company will build a gas powered electricity generation plant next to a new Data or Call Centre so that the very latest technology can be used.

If the population of the industrialised countries is shrinking, and that of the rest of the world may be levelling out, and if superabundance continues to spread, sector by sector, we may one day see a sustainable future driven at this stage by capitalism itself.

Who knew?

Oddly enough it was Karl Marx’s view that superabundance would be achieved under a capitalist economic system and that it would pave the way for communism. Watch this space…


No. 1 Punchbowl

Punchbowl, if by chance you may not know it, is a suburb ten miles south west of the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge.

It is also, according to Einstein’s thesis on ‘the observer’, and given the fact that the rest of the universe is moving away equally in all directions, the centre of the universe.

This makes it a splendid spot from which to comment on the various matters and goings-on that concern mankind.

We need a baseline. We should begin by summarising where we are now.
A Bit of History
The great empires of the last few hundred years, the Spanish and Portuguese and later the French and British, have passed into distant memory.

Their scars are fewer than before and their taste while still occasionally thickening the tongue, has become less bitter.

The American Empire has, with a massive explosion of creativity, innovation, energy and self-righteousness, shattered the old world and raped the new.

Whatever one’s point of view, such an empire could not burn so fast and so very hot, without at last succumbing to the collapsing vortex of its own expenditure and consumption.

America has gone broke, its power is waning and the old-new powers of the Pacific and Indian Oceans are edging out of the wings.

A Bit of Geopolitics
China and India are growing in confidence and vision.

This year, the Year of the Dragon, China for the first time, and in an unambiguous, if subtle, statement of intent, published a series of postage stamps bearing the Imperial Chinese Dragon, rampant, facing outward at the rest of the world, claws raised to strike, fangs snarling – at us.

The ferocious image caused a stir in China, but passed all but un-noticed in the West; too subtle perhaps. (See

The stamp’s designer, Chen Shaohua, is quoted as saying the image is symbolic of China’s mounting confidence.

Yahoo quotes his blog saying “As a large country which has major influence in the world, China is ushering in the restoration of national confidence.”

“From sternness and divinity, to a representation of China’s self-confidence, a dragon which is tough, powerful, stern and confident is an appropriate choice”.

Powerful, stern, confident and tough – please take note.

India, a step or two behind China and a little smaller geographically and in terms of population, is also beginning to flex its geopolitical muscles.

A recent spate of attacks on Indian students in Australia sparked a strong and confident response from the Indian government.

India is now less concerned about Europe, American or even tiny Australia, and instead is fixing its eye on its local rival, China.

China provides India with a camouflaged umbrella under which it can hide, for the time being.

While all eyes are on an increasingly strident China, India is putting its house in order and growing politically, militarily and economically.

This is the broad, highly simplified context in which various hanger-on states (Australia and Israel come to mind) are hurriedly repositioning themselves in an attempt to chart a safe course between Atlantic and Indo-Pacific rivals.

For Australia it means attempting to utilise its new found observer status on the UN Security Council without annoying America or China too much. One might wonder why they wanted the Security Council observer seat in the first place.

For Israel, in the aftermath of its failed attempt to re-occupy Gaza after the Palestinian state was given UN Observer status, it means gauging how long they can depend upon America to protect them in the face of growing Arab and particularly Hamas political and military confidence.

Some pundits have suggested that building in the zone known as E1 would effectively preclude a two-nation settlement between Israel and the Palestinians as it closes the potential Arab corridor to Jerusalem.

If that is so, and Israel does build in E1, the dice may have been cast and ultimately only Palestine or Israel will survive.

A Bit of Economics
Economically the world has suffered a terrible catastrophe in the form of the Global Financial Crisis and is only now beginning to come to terms with the sovereign debt crisis that Keynesian economic stimulus engendered.

America, as appears to have become its habit, is prancing theatrically towards its very own fiscal cliff.

Some economists and banking types have begun to suggest that the sovereign debt crisis might be settling down and Greece, followed by the rest of the Mediterranean countries, would not have to default on its debt and leave the Euro zone, precipitating the world once more into economic and financial chaos.

A Bit of Science
The climate too is misbehaving. More and more evidence is accumulating that climate change is real and that the effects will be significant and unpredictable.

There appears to be no evidence at all that change, when it comes, will happen in a polite, linear manner, i.e. that an ‘x’ per cent increase in global temperature will lead to a ‘y’ per cent increase in sea levels, or anything else.

There is plenty of incontrovertible evidence that temperatures and sea level have in the past been both very much higher and very much lower.

On the lower side, sits the fact that several cities lie approximately 200 feet under water off the coast of India.

This became known when fishermen complained of catching their nets in roof tiles and other submerged structures.

If one accepts the assumption that these cities were not built underwater in the first place, then either the land level has gone down or sea level has gone up two hundred feet since they were built. I am assuming the latter.

At the same time, it is known that the 200 feet tall cliffs of the Great Australian Bite were once under water.

So taken together it seems that sea level has a range of at least 400 feet or approximately 120 metres.

A Little Bit of Medicine
In terms of global health it appears that smallpox, polio and malaria either have been or will probably soon be wiped out and at the same time we have bred several penicillin resistant diseases (what the newspapers call ‘super bugs’) most notable of which is probably tuberculosis, that we may no longer be able to cure.

So What?
So where does that leave us? It is my belief that we are on the cusp of major change. Everyone I speak to about it has this feeling that something major is about to change, and to change fundamentally.

This blog, which I hope to update at least monthly, will examine some of the major (and some of the minor) political, economic, social and techno-scientific issues and developments of our times.

This is all my opinion, and you are welcome to comment.

This is post No.1, December 2012.

See you in January 2001, Poppy.