Monologues on the  Problematic Nature of Modern Life

-A series of letters to BBC journalists, and others, that when collected form a personal "Think Tank" regarding the issues facing us today.
The latest monologues are at the top -so the entire text is a kind of "archeological process" digging down to the origins of the current position.


An Important Conclusion?

From: Trevor
To: Mark Mardell - World this Weekend
Subject: The Medium is the Massage
Date: Fri, 10 Jun 2016 10:48:29 +0800
X-Mailer: Sylpheed 3.2.0 (GTK+ 2.24.20; i486-slackware-linux-gnu)

Dear Gavin, Mark and others,

Institutions, Organizations and other formal systems are intended to function autonomously and independently of input by individual people. This is perhaps one of the core messages in Galbraith's "New Industrial State".

Indeed, our modern world is firmly built on such structures (UN, IMF, EU, Internet, etc...) that were, at the time, often deliberately established to function (protecting Western Interests, generating wealth, preventing war, and ensuring unbroken communications, etc..) as autonomously and as indestructibly as possible. Indeed, the survival of the "Western World" was often assumed to be dependent on their continued effective functioning.

In this context, I'd like to look back at the titles of two recent BBC articles:

"The year it all linked up"

EU Referendum: The people v the elites?

These two titles seem to sum up (for me) essential "problems" in the world today.

Problems that need to be solves if there is going to be real progress (or perhaps even survival) within the western world as we know it....

At this point, I'm referring largely to the points raised in the titles -which may (or may not) be so well reflected in the articles themselves.

1.   It does seem clear that many of the global problems we are facing today are all related and interconnected to each other in one way or another..... While, unfortunately, our solutions to these problems simply do not "add up" -literally or metaphorically.

2.   It also seems clear that there is an increasing divide (in both trust and belief systems) between the "elites" and the "people".This is widespread both geographically and with regards to the number of social domains (politics, culture, economics, etc..) where it is manifest.

So, perhaps it is worthwhile to look for a common link between these two "meta" problems:

My suggestion would be to look closer at the dichotomy between propagated socio-economic myth -and the concrete (facts on the ground) realities of daily life: Galbraith (sorry to bring him up again -but he does hammer the point) mentions this constantly in his book.

Indeed, a quick look at the modern world clearly shows a global commercially and institutionally run set of systems that has (deliberately and systematically) embedded structures, procedures and organisations into daily life in such ways that have made them ubiquitous, invisible and virtually impossible to modify. Our "western" way of life is so deeply implemented on a structural level that the question of, for example, Britain (or even Greece) leaving the EU creates shock-waves throughout this globally institutionalised world.

These "shock-waves warn of a potential tsunami which presumably severely limits the parameters of available democratic choice..... Easily dismissed as "scaremongering" perhaps -but this "dismissal" makes it even more difficult (for the public) to appreciate its true importance....

Apparently, politically (and economically), the margins of error are usually quite small -simply because the margins of choice is also so very small. This is true for both national politics -as well personal choice in peoples daily lives.

Consumerist theory tells us that we individual consumers are the center of the universe -while social practice shows us we are totally marginalised, with almost no freedom of choice at all....

On the other hand, the idea of deeply embedded socio-political system that allows no freedom of choice -is directly opposed to the very socio-political political system that has embedded within itself such autonomous systems -for its own protection and survival.

The western socio-political system seems completely hung up by its own petard.....

Unless this problem of dissonance between theory and practice regarding the very nature of our socio-economic system is resolved -I see no way in which it is possible to develop an integrated set of solutions to modern problems -and to do this with the understanding and blessing of the people within an effective democratic process.

Our future survival may well be dependent on our ability (and willingness) to bring pragmatism and idealism (truth and fiction) closer together...... In order to agree on a collective approach to a whole nexus of related problems -all of which are rapidly undermining the world as we thought it was....

Best wishes,
trevor batten


Information and Government

A Poor Choice

From: Trevor
To: Gavin Hewitt
Cc: Mark Mardell - World this Weekend
Subject: EU Referendum: The people v the elites?
Date: Thu, 9 Jun 2016 01:24:49 +0800
X-Mailer: Sylpheed 3.2.0 (GTK+ 2.24.20; i486-slackware-linux-gnu)

Dear Gavin Hewitt,

  EU Referendum: The people v the elites?

  "The Leave campaign argues that destiny can be reclaimed, that control can be taken back and national sovereignty restored. The Remain campaign argues that globalisation cannot be reversed, only managed."

If that were true, then the debate would be rational, interesting and productive.

However, if one looks at the actual choice after dentist Cameron has done his plastic surgery -it seems more like: "Well my virile young man, would you like to remain married to this toothless hag I've created for you -or would you rather go live on Mount Athos?"

A not awfully inspiring choice some might think -and yet the whole world holds its breath awaiting the outcome.

In the meantime, those still breathing are holding their breath regarding the outcome of the Hillary/Donald choice  -which must surely equate to something like: "Well fine people of the US, would you like to continue the horrendous status quo -or go for the super, mega bonus, rolling jackpot style total screw-up?"

Give Trump the keys to the nuclear code -and maybe even the Mount Athos option disappears in a mushroom cloud of dust......

So, politics is apparently no longer the art of the possible -but the gentle art of offering the demos a shitty choice between disaster and total mega-disaster -in the hope they have the wisdom to pragmatically choose the lesser of the two evils.....

In that context, perhaps it would be more logical for Merkel to say: "if we reason only in Rational terms, we will not be able to progress".

But the Comedy prize surely goes to Tusk:  First admitting responsibility -and then, after pragmatically creating disaster by abandoning idealism -claims that the only solution is obviously to throw idealism overboard....

Wow, rationality totally abandoned there.... progress is immanent!

PS:  In "The New Industrial State" Galbraith constantly warns of the disasters that will be unleashed if a politician gets into power who believes the free market rhetoric and ignores the actual reality.....

 So, the real debate is not: "Can globalism be reversed or only managed?" -it is really: "Can you live without the consumer gizmos that global consumerism has brought you?"

I suspect that if you look closely -you will see this debate being manifest (somewhat forcibly) for some time now in South American politics.....

Best wishes,
trevor batten


Bad Logic

From: Trevor
To: Glenn Campbell
Cc: Mark Mardell - World this Weekend
Subject: EU Referendum: Are the Western Isles the most Eurosceptic part of Britain?
Date: Tue, 7 Jun 2016 14:57:12 +0800
X-Mailer: Sylpheed 3.2.0 (GTK+ 2.24.20; i486-slackware-linux-gnu)

Dear Glenn Campbell,

    EU Referendum: Are the Western Isles the most Eurosceptic part of Britain?

       Morag explains: "It's so alien to me, things happening in Brussels and a whole lot of people from Germany and France...deciding what's going to happen here."

This seems to be a popular logical error: However, the EU, is not an alien entity entirely divorced from British politics. For decades, the Council of Ministers. with the British government as full members, has been the major force in determining EU policies....

So any failure of EU regulations is not the fault of the EU -but of the British government -for not looking after its citizen's interests well enough....

...and if the British government cannot protect its citizen's interests in an organisation like the EU -where all the cards are stacked in its favour -how on earth will it manage in the more aggressive world outside the EU?

Surely, it is now time to stop scapegoating the EU -and put the blame where it belongs -in Westminster!

Was fishing an issue in Cameron's recent EU "renegotiation's"?

Yours sincerely,
trevor batten


The Big Picture?

Stands to reason -it's treason!

From: Trevor
To: Mark Mardell - World this Weekend
Subject: Stands to reason -it's treason!
Date: Fri, 3 Jun 2016 10:00:43 +0800
X-Mailer: Sylpheed 3.2.0 (GTK+ 2.24.20; i486-slackware-linux-gnu)

The Big Picture?

I guess we might agree that Cameron has created a loose-loose situation on so many levels:

Win or Loose the referendum (stay or leave):

a)  The EU is undermined by any suggestion of a exit by any country
b)  The EU has been weakened as a result of Cameron's "negotiations"
c)  Britain is not significantly better off as a result of Cameron's "negotiations"
d)  The public has been offered a false choice between two evils
e)  The level of party political debate has been further weakened in Britain
f)  The level of public debate has been further weakened in Britain
g)  The Conservative party may be destroyed -but in ways that support the extreme right more than any other group.

If Britain leaves the EU:

a)  Global trade will be threatened (at least in the short term)
b)  The British economy will be threatened  (at least in the short term)
c)  Britain will literally be at the mercy of other trading blocks -when outside the EU

If Britain stays in the EU:

a)  Both Britain and the EU will be worse off than before the referendum process started

Some Alternatives:

-Presumably, a serious and sensible public debate on the pro's and cons of EU membership -including the desired nature of the Union would have reduced the pressure -and produced a much better final result, with far less disastrous side effects.

-Working cooperatively with the Russians (including dropping the veto against Assad) and bringing an end to the Syrian conflict would help the "migrant" problem. A more balanced approach to the Middle East is also essential. The successive invasions and regime changes have created a global disaster of epic proportions. Europe (and the US) seem to be in a state of total denial regarding the consequences of their actions -and this only makes matters worse.

-The nature of our current economic and financial systems (at both global and European level) need to be thoroughly questioned and overhauled. "Accounting" processes need to be more comprehensive and involve the study of total cost effectiveness for all parties involved and not just individual players. Where profit and loss are unevenly distributed -structural change or some form of redistribution is essential (on both economic and social grounds). Economic systems should be real and sustainable, to the public benefit, and not based on fictional growth or fictional monetary systems -for the exclusive benefit of the few.

-The current political structure of the EU -putting national politicians and national interests at the (practical) heart of the decision making process is a disaster and needs to be reformed.

-The nature of (global) social and political debate (and the role of the media, lobby groups, NGO's, etc.) needs to be thoroughly questioned and overhauled.


Politicians and the media (including academics, think tanks, etc.) should take their work more seriously and act more responsibly. They should be made more accountable for their actions.

Cameron (and Blair) should face charges of treason .....  -and perhaps their direct accomplices too....

...and now I really will try to leave you in peace.... ;)



A Nexus of Problems

From: Trevor
To: Mark Mardell - World this Weekend
Subject: EU Break up?
Date: Thu, 2 Jun 2016 14:11:16 +0800
X-Mailer: Sylpheed 3.2.0 (GTK+ 2.24.20; i486-slackware-linux-gnu)


.... but if your question involved non-democratic policy issues in the event of an EU breakup -then that's much more fun to play with....

First, what could Britain do?

My first choice would be to try to go back to the Commonwealth....
A good global and economic spread of nations with (mixed) historical links..... but they may not want the UK (not unsurprisingly)....

The really obvious choice would be to be an even less independent US satellite than at present (or even a state, if you want a bit of a say)..... but I guess Britain alone would not be very interesting for the US.....

So, the probable choice would be to align with some other block..... ASEAN is a bit far fetched -so I'd go for BRIC -and introduce BRICE! Lots of opportunities there -plus old and new friends (although Brazil's a bit of a problem at the moment)....
In fact, it already sounds like a supermarket (BRICE Right! ?)

I guess a hard-core of (richer and maybe idealistic) EU states would probably pursue the European project -or even unite on simple pragmatic grounds. This would obviously focus around Germany (with satellite Holland) -probably plus other North European (protestant) states..... With a bit of diplomacy (in a collapsing world system) you might even add a few Asian giants like Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea..... but what about France and Japan?

A Northern Union would mean cutting the (failing) southern states loose -possibly allowing them to be picked up by the Russians (Greece, for example?) -who would gain politically, possibly economically but certainly strategically....

Then we would be left with a bunch of (mostly ex-Communist countries) that feel the need for a larger block to protect them from outside and inside destructive forces..... I guess they would make ideal candidates for a US European colony (like the Philippines previously -and perhaps at present too).... But what if Trump was President?

Then the BIG question would be: What happens to the Middle East if the EU dissolves, re-aligns or becomes pre-occupied with other things?

Personally, I'd just leave it to sort itself out -but then I have anarchistic leanings.....

Otherwise, it might just get carved up by the new (modified) power blocks -or it could be the tinder box that ignites the whole powder keg....

Personally, I wouldn't be surprised if there was another global conflict.... Not WWIII though -we've already had that one and I've kinda lost count of the current tally......

However, my main personal interest is to continue developing tropical backyard subsistence farming -so you guys can go wherever the madness drives you ..... (as long as its not here) ;)

-but it is fun to speculate :)

...and yes, of course Gavin's article was a good start...... but where will it end?  ;)

(exits to the sound of Vera Lyn)



Blue Sky Thinking

From: Trevor
To: Mark Mardell - World this Weekend
Subject: Re: EU referendum: Where are the big themes?
Date: Wed, 1 Jun 2016 20:27:49 +0800
X-Mailer: Sylpheed 3.2.0 (GTK+ 2.24.20; i486-slackware-linux-gnu)

Evenin' All,

Yes, you are of course right: I guess the problem is really "linking the levels"....

In my own personal experience, There is the "professional" (paid/career) level -and the "others"..... With (at least one) obvious exception, any kind of dialogue between professional and non-professional seems very difficult.

I don't think this is simply a question of intellectual level (all though this obviously is important) -but that modern life and professional (academic) career demands don't leave any time for  chitchats that aren't professionally productive....

This means that the fora there are tend to be either elitist or commercial (or both)..... and maybe that contributes to extremism and the "missing middle"...

How about a modern, public, "Midnight Society"? Would that be possible -or would it degenerate to TED talks (or BBC Future)?

I'd suggest the real problem is cultural: Decades of "rationalist" (elite) economic planning seems to have taken any real choice out of society. The "Third Way" may have killed any real debate because the "middle" is occupied (and failing?). The gap between pragmatism and romanticism -rationality and imagination -has grown too large due to the lack of a living middle ground.... Rationalism has become a religion that burns heretics just as happily as any other fanatical dogma.

The "technology" of debate seems to have broken down (or perhaps never really existed because it never had to face such difficult social conditions on such a wide range of classes and cultures).

Why has the social (political/economic) debate become so poor? Why so bitter and extreme?

On the other hand, I'm not sure that I believe in the "big picture" -just a number of interacting "small pictures".... So perhaps there aren't any "big questions" either....

That's why I liked your European Diary -looking rather than pontificating. If one answers the small questions then the big questions will generally answer themselves..... The answer to any question always seems implicit in the question....

So I'm curious: How would one debate such questions as: What Europe would be like (and what would happen to German power) without the EU.?  

I mean the simple practical details. How would the debate be structured? Who would one ask to participate, for example? What would be the medium for the debate (a conference, TV, Internet, etc..) How would one integrate the various channels, positions, interests and levels?

Would there need to be a single answer -could there be a spectrum of solutions -or just a range of mutually exclusive alternatives to choose from?

Then there is the conceptual "technology": What would be the basic elements of the debate -and how would they be derived? Are we discussing cultural, economic or political issues -or what? How do these layers integrate (as part of the discussion -or as conclusion)?

Indeed, what do we actually mean by "Europe"? Does that include, for example, Russia and Turkey? Is Australia a "European" country?

Are the terms "Country", "Nation" and "State" all synonymous? How should we deal with enclaves, minorities, nomads and migrants? Do they have a role and a place -or should we aim for homogeneity and exclusion?

Does the urban/rural divide mean anything?

Do we need economic inequality to drive the system?

Are our financial and monetary systems truly viable? Is an "economy" possible if not based on continual growth and maximising profit (for whom)?

How does "Europe" relate to other continents? Are we equals -collaborating in some great humanistic project -or are we geopolitical rivals struggling for power? How do we position ourselves in relation to China, the US (and Russia)?.... Is the Middle East (liable to be) another regional system -or is it just the playground for our own ambitions?

How do we deal with challenges to our authority?

What about "tradition" (and "culture")? Is there a real place for such things (where) -or should we forget the past and move on to a brave new future? If we keep the past -what do we do with our (mutual) history of greed, bigotry and conflict -or do we just concentrate on the glorious bits?

Is there room for spirituality within a secular (commercialised) society? Does Eastern Orthodoxy have a place between western Catholic and Protestant traditions? What about Islam -and other manifestations?

Does the citizen have a role or function that goes beyond their economic value?

Are "sustainable" system really possible -or does every system inherently contain the seeds of its own destruction?

Indeed, the very point you raise about the level of democratic debate in democracy with universal franchise. How does a multi-national, multi-cultural (and multi-class) society talk to itself in ways that link the various levels coherently? Can this be done inclusively without sacrificing diversity -or is "democracy" just a scam to anaesthetise the people (a modern form of religion)?

Are we too busy earning money to even find time and energy to enter into a serious social debate?

What would happen if the answers were inconsistent with the way modern life has evolved?

No debate is possible without a number of accepted axiomatic assumptions: So what would be the set (range or choice) of assumptions underlying the debate? How free is the range of potential solutions -do they have to be acceptable to certain vested interests and if so -who and what?

To be honest, I rather liked the (academic) comments on Free Trade reported in a BBC recent article ("How Right are Trump and Saunders" -I believe). Not a conclusion stating that free trade was good or bad -but that it was good for some and less good for others.... Clearly such a dialectic approach opens up more interesting choices involving aesthetics (and balance) as well as social justice -than a simplistic argument focusing on only one side.... So where is the dialectic in modern social debate?

Also, one might need to ask if we have the language for a sensible debate..... That Britain opposed a Centralist Europe, I can understand -but then why reject Federalism -which seems a reasonable alternative? If the objections were serious -then why wasn't a better terminology developed? How can British Industry live with a Confederation of British Industry -while the British government cannot live with a confederation of European states?

So, on a personal level -just as an intellectual exercise: What kind of Europe (or world) would you like to live in? What would be it's key principles and aims?

Indeed, on what foundations should (or could) such a system be built -and (later) how "universal" can it be?

Do we really have the imagination and brain power to deal with "Blue Sky" thinking (on a global level).... and how do we bring it down to earth constructively?

Best wishes,


Missing Questions

From: Trevor
To: Gavin Hewitt
Cc: "Mark Mardell - World this Weekend"
Subject: EU referendum: Where are the big themes?
Date: Wed, 1 Jun 2016 09:26:10 +0800
X-Mailer: Sylpheed 3.2.0 (GTK+ 2.24.20; i486-slackware-linux-gnu)

Dear Gavin Hewitt,

EU referendum: Where are the big themes?

"Informing much of the debate is globalisation. What is the best way to manage its impact on jobs, on the movement of people and capital? Many in the European political establishment believe that a union of member states is better placed to deal with climate change, the environment, migration and energy supplies than nation states on their own."

Interesting question -but supposing "globalisation" is the problem and not the solution?

If some scholars are starting to question Free Trade Agreements -why aren't others looking seriously at "globalism"?

Or perhaps one might also ask the really big question:

   Why are the "big ideas" no longer debated any more? Why do hen and stag parties seem to be limit of human experience at the moment?

Perhaps Trump and Brexit are the "Greek Elections" that should have been taken more seriously.....

trevor batten


Mad Politicians

From: Trevor <>
To: Mark Mardell - World this Weekend
Subject: Hysterical Brainless Insults
Date: Thu, 28 Apr 2016 20:32:00 +0800
X-Mailer: Sylpheed 3.2.0 (GTK+ 2.24.20; i486-slackware-linux-gnu)

Hi Mark,

Kick Livingstone out of Labour over 'anti-Semitism' row - Sadiq Khan

You'd think poor Ken might have known to what levels of intelligence politicians have already sunk.

Fancy expecting then to understand the subtle complexities involved in "confusing criticism of Israeli government policy with anti-Semitism".

Indeed, the Israeli government itself apparently does its best to confuse the issue -claiming every Jew has a right to be an Israeli -while the rest of the world tries to make a legal distinction between religion and nationality.

If our politicians can't even work that one out -how are they going to solve more complex problems?

...and I thought moving Israel to the US was a rather neat idea....



Mad Reporters

From: Trevor
To: Mark Mardell - World this Weekend
Subject: Rise of the Robots - and Donald Trump
Date: Sat, 23 Apr 2016 16:41:38 +0800
X-Mailer: Sylpheed 3.2.0 (GTK+ 2.24.20; i486-slackware-linux-gnu)

Hi Mark,

Rise of the Robots - and Donald Trump

Is it a deliberate policy of the BBC to throw up misleading smokescreens -or is it simply a consequence of the parrot nature of bad journalists?

Ok. Perhaps, after the mechanisation of physical labour the middle classes are now at the forefront of job losses -but as the BBC keeps reporting the global middle classes are rising -and not up in anger....

However, the concentration of wealth going to owners and not labour is surely nothing new.... Didn't this encourage the rise of Socialism in the British Industrial Revolution?

So, one might suspect that the "Great Historical Disconnect" (if there is one) is not the fault of Automation -but Globalism (which stays neatly out of the picture).

The concentration of (machine) capital lies no longer in the hands of a (visible) few national entrepreneurs -but in the hands of the invisible owners of giant global corporations -who hide, and move, their assets strategically but invisibly for their own benefit (according to their own logic) on a global stage.

State investment in mental and physical infrastructure and the "Trickle Down Effect" are meaningless in a world where Profit and Loss are virtual concepts within a system of global transfer of assets and income by an exceptionally small but powerful minority of international players.

Technology is important -but never the whole story. When systems are highly connected, one has to look at the entire system -and how it behaves..... Not just focus on a single aspect.

Means and Ends are both important.... Neither can have value without the other.

So, is Politics part of Culture -or is Culture part of Politics?

...and why does the BBC have such god-awful Technology reporters?

Best wishes,


About You?

From: Trevor
To: nick robinson
Subject: Why the EU referendum is about you
Date: Sun, 21 Feb 2016 10:26:29 +0800
X-Mailer: Sylpheed 3.2.0 (GTK+ 2.24.20; i486-slackware-linux-gnu)

Why the EU referendum is about you

"...this is now all about you. And your country. And what you will decide."

Don't be daft -first they screw up the whole system -and then the public is asked to decide to stay or leave.... but what a useless choice:

Not how can we get the sick cat to the vet -but only what to do with the dead body afterwards. Stuff it or dump it?


Politics isn't about the public -or the country -or solving problems.... It's clearly about saving politicians arses -making sure they keep their pensions while they rob everybody else of theirs.....

The whole pseudo discussion over Europe -and the media circus around it -is a disgrace and an embarrassment. Not a logical or honest principle to be found -just smoke and mirrors and a load of bull.

Indeed, as you say -the real questions get left out of the vote: So although the public will be stuck with the result -whatever it is.... they do not have a meaningful say in the discussion regarding the future of their country or the EU.

Inside or outside the EU -the British public have already lost control of their own destiny -stolen by the political process that was supposed to provide the important choices.

To suggest otherwise is an insult to the public.

Happy daze....
trevor batten <>


Conjectural histories:

From: Trevor
To: Mark Mardell - World this Weekend
Subject: Nobody knows what the EU will become
Date: Thu, 25 Feb 2016 20:32:07 +0800
X-Mailer: Sylpheed 3.2.0 (GTK+ 2.24.20; i486-slackware-linux-gnu)

Nobody knows what the EU will become

"But perhaps what we need is conjectural history."

Yes, indeed.

"Experimental Biology" uses computer simulations to explore theoretically possible biological models.

The military do the same thing with "War Games".

Good writers also simulate potential alternative, non-existant or counter-factual universa.

That way we can create conceptual maps in the darkness of what might be -and learn what perhaps never could be -and why.

That is exactly what is missing in the current mechanical determinism of machismo politics.

Jaw, jaw is certainly better than war, war -but what does one talk about?

To have a map of the future possibilities (and maybe past mistakes) is a beacon of wisdom in the midst of the dark ages.

Schroedinger's cat sends you a wave of possibilities -let's hope it collapses into a singularity at a nice place!



Good for Business!

From: Trevor
To: Jonathan Marcus
Cc: Mark Mardell - World this Weekend
Subject: Arms trade: Exports grow as world crises grip
Date: Tue, 23 Feb 2016 11:38:02 +0800
X-Mailer: Sylpheed 3.2.0 (GTK+ 2.24.20; i486-slackware-linux-gnu)

Dear Jonathan and Mark,

Arms trade: Exports grow as world crises grip

Yes, very logical.

This is surely what the UK practiced for years and the lesson that the US learned from WWII.

With deregulation leaving the financial world in a shambles -plus the failure of US expansionism in Eastern Europe and the Middle East -military expenditure is probably the only way to compensate for the lack of non-military consumer confidence worldwide.

In fact, one might ask oneself if the US economy would have lasted so long as it has without 9/11 and the subsequent destabilisation of the ME....

Personally, I hate "Conspiracy Theories" -but the dynamics of global economics -in combination with the required social engineering explained by Galbraith (and no doubt others) as an essential part of the industrial state -create an "environment" which only allows certain survival strategies. The need to survive then forces certain types of behaviour which are much more pervasive and persuasive than any conspiracy.

If you guys understood "Systems Theory"then the dynamics of the situation would be much easier to see. Until then, you are trapped by environmental forces created by your own geopolitical and socicio-economic systems.

Good luck!



American Governability

US Crisis

From: Trevor
To: Nick Bryant
Cc: Mark Mardell - World this Weekend
Subject: The crisis of US governability
Date: Fri, 19 Feb 2016 18:02:16 +0800
X-Mailer: Sylpheed 3.2.0 (GTK+ 2.24.20; i486-slackware-linux-gnu)

Dear Nick Bryant

The crisis of US governability

So, at last the longstanding dysfunctional nature of the US seems difficult to ignore.

But if the world governing superpower is itself dysfunctional -what does that say about the modern world in general?

With, thanks to US interventions, a global conflagration looking increasingly likely in the Middle East -isn't it time for a radical rethink regarding global politics....

....before it is too late!

trevor batten <>


Reluctant Leader

From: Trevor
To: Mark Urban
Subject: US remains reluctantly tied to global security role
Date: Wed, 17 Feb 2016 18:53:46 +0800
X-Mailer: Sylpheed 3.2.0 (GTK+ 2.24.20; i486-slackware-linux-gnu)

US remains reluctantly tied to global security role

Madness..... like an alcoholic demanding their friends help pay for the booze -and the costs of the damage they do when drunk....

So, are we all supposed to start another World War when allies Saudi Arabia and Turkey invade Syria?

Isn't the western screw up in the Middle East big enough already?

Will the US never be able to kick the war economy habit it developed during WWII?

Why should so many people continue to suffer globally -just to support the US economy?

Makes me feel glad to be old.....

Good luck -with the happy daze...

Trevor Batten


European Governability


From: Trevor Batten
To: Mark Mardell - World this Weekend
Subject: Portugal wrinkles its nose at UK's EU deal
Date: Tue, 9 Feb 2016 17:53:14 +0800
X-Mailer: Sylpheed 3.2.0 (GTK+ 2.24.20; i486-slackware-linux-gnu)

Hi Mark,

Portugal wrinkles its nose at UK's EU deal

I guess your piece pretty clearly demonstrates the fundamental obscenity of politics:

Individual horse trading to save Cameron's personal backside get in the way of possibly essential structural reforms -which are ignored because they are of no personal interest to the politicians involved.

The general public suffer as a result.

Quite possibly, the system collapses, due to lack of structural solutions -but by that time, those responsible have feathered their nests and got nice pension benefits.

A plague on all their houses..... and hopefully, an end to the nation state too....

Unfortunately, it seems a natural or man-made disaster is the only way to halt the madness. But then the insanity usually manages to rise again from the ashes of its own consequence -ready to start all over again....

What fools are men to follow their leaders.....

If the council of Europe has been the main controlling organ of the EU, then the national politicians are themselves to blame for the mess that they exploit in their national crocodile tear based political Olympic games.

Smoke and mirrors as protection against the Black Death raging outside. The solace of a brief illusion before the sleep eternal?

Happy Daze,


Waking Up

From: Trevor Batten
To: Mark Mardell - World this Weekend
Subject: Is the deal a dose of reality for the EU?
Date: Thu, 4 Feb 2016 20:03:53 +0800
X-Mailer: Sylpheed 3.2.0 (GTK+ 2.24.20; i486-slackware-linux-gnu)

Hi Mark,

Is the deal a dose of reality for the EU?

The answer my friend is Kurt Goedel.....

    If the system is consistent, it cannot be complete.
    The consistency of the axioms cannot be proven within the system.

These theorems ended a half-century of attempts, beginning with the work of Frege and culminating in Principia Mathematica and Hilbert's formalism, to find a set of axioms sufficient for all mathematics.

In hindsight, the basic idea at the heart of the incompleteness theorem is rather simple. Gödel essentially constructed a formula that claims that it is unprovable in a given formal system. If it were provable, it would be false, which contradicts the idea that in a consistent system, provable statements are always true. Thus there will always be at least one true but unprovable statement.

........ Douglas Hofstadter wrote a popular book in 1979 called Gödel, Escher, Bach to celebrate the work and ideas of Gödel, along with those of artist M. C. Escher and composer Johann Sebastian Bach. The book partly explores the ramifications of the fact that Gödel's incompleteness theorem can be applied to any Turing-complete computational system, which may include the human brain.

Gödel, Escher, Bach

GEB contains many instances of recursion and self-reference, where objects and ideas speak about or refer back to themselves. For instance, there is a phonograph that destroys itself by playing a record titled "I Cannot Be Played on Record Player X" (an analogy to Gödel's incompleteness theorems),

It is my personal belief (based on my own work) that Goedel's Incompleteness Theorem is valid for any interpreted system. (Goedel's own proof seems to involve "coding" and "decoding" as an essential part of its methodology)

A simple version might state: Any complex dynamic system will eventually evolve to become incomplete or inconsistent as time passes.

Politics involves the interpretation of theory into practice (the art of the possible).... It will therefore ALWAYS generate systems that self destruct -analogous to Goedel's theorem.....

All nature is a form of self-destruction.... In life there is death and in death there is life.... This can not be changed by Cameron or anyone else....

Every historical Empire has collapsed over time.....

How long did the Graeco-Roman Empire continue after the fall of Rome?
Did not Rome and Byzantium fall as a result of their own internal dynamics -as much as a response to exterior dynamics (also partially set in motion by themselves).

Was not the Middle Ages perhaps one of the most successful periods of western history (fitting in between the fall of Rome and the Renaissance?).

Was it not the triumph of the Renaisance, triggered by the fall of Byzantium, that culturally split the west off from the rest of the planet?

Did not all the great periods of history destroy themselves through their own internal dynamic? (Although it does seem that some Eastern empires did last longer than most western ones)

How could the EU be different?

Killed by its own pragmatic avoidance of philosophic principles and cultural histories......

How come Tusk doesn't even have the historical awareness that Greek tragedies are even more fundamental than Shakespeare? Foolishly playing to the Gallery again.....

But the Greeks at least understood mathematics and ratio as the basis of aesthetics and art....

So, Perhaps it's time to roll down the curtain and move on....

Maybe after the Treaty of Rome the Treaty of Constantinople....

"Reality" is just a dream of Brahma -as he breaths in and out, Destroying and Creating so the cycle continues....

Meanwhile, the best laid plans....



Technology and Socialism:

From: Trevor Batten
To: Mark Mardell - World this Weekend, Sean Coughlan
Subject: An earlier question answered?
Date: Wed, 3 Feb 2016 21:27:40 +0800
X-Mailer: Sylpheed 3.2.0 (GTK+ 2.24.20; i486-slackware-linux-gnu)


Earlier I wondered how one might run an economy based on machines -if there were no workers left to earn the money....

Why a bunch of Silicon Valley investors are suddenly interested in universal basic income

Leon Bagrit -The Age of Automation:

It seems so obvious -doesn't it?

...and doesn't it make this tired old game seem rather irrelevant?

Fear and loathing will power drama of EU debate

What value the foolish struggle of power greedy men -in an age of plenty beyond the exploitation of economic slavery of humanity?

Unfortunately, I also have to say that after reading this simple explanation of the principle of subsidiarity, I am even more disgusted by both the British EU political debate and the media coverage of it:
Distributism Basics: The Nature and Roles of Government

I never could understand why so many British politicians wanted a federal Europe (as opposed to a centralised one) while being allergic to the label for such a system.

What value does debate have when the terms of the debate are so debased?

On this level, "politics" -with its propaganda based media-handmaidens are a crime against humanity: A fraud at best -and at worst, the justification for cultural and economic genocide.

If "education" is the answer -then it is certainly time that somebody started seriously asking what the real question should be.....

Why, in the pursuit of money, do so many people connive in the perpetuation of their own slavery?

Oh happy daze,


The Simple Answer:

From: Trevor Batten
To: Mark Mardell - World this Weekend , Sean Coughlan
Subject: Re:  Linking Up the Cities?
Date: Wed, 27 Jan 2016 11:42:38 +0800
X-Mailer: Sylpheed 3.2.0 (GTK+ 2.24.20; i486-slackware-linux-gnu)

Dear Mark Mardell and Sean Coughlan,

Sorry for the long  and probably confusing text earlier. I think I've found the (simple) answer:

While people have economic interests in creating and promoting problems, nobody has a professional or economic interest in finding effective, integrated solutions.

I believe it is called "Market failure".

Perhaps this plays a role too:

The Man who studies the Spread of Ignorance

“I was exploring how powerful industries could promote ignorance to sell their wares. Ignorance is power… and agnotology is about the deliberate creation of ignorance."

".....Proctor explains that ignorance can often be propagated under the guise of balanced debate. For example, the common idea that there will always be two opposing views does not always result in a rational conclusion."

Best wishes,


Back to the Beginning?

From: Trevor Batten
To: Mark Mardell - World this Weekend , Sean Coughlan
Subject: Linking Up the Cities?
Date: Wed, 20 Jan 2016 20:00:29 +0800
X-Mailer: Sylpheed 3.2.0 (GTK+ 2.24.20; i486-slackware-linux-gnu)

Dear Mark Mardell and Sean Coughlan,

Already inspired by Mark Mardell's article

"The year it all linked up"

I began trying to think in a more connected way about the causes of the problems we were facing.

Then I saw the article

"Are cities the new countries?"

Which was also very encouraging -because I already believed that the difference between Urban and Rural life was not fully appreciated by those who's minds were conditioned by living in cities.

This Urban/Rural contrast was the inspiration for my "Project Land:"

-as part of "Project Home Farm:"

Certainly, in a time of crisis, it seems time to question the supremacy of the Nation State (and geopolitics generally) as the mainstay of international relations and global political structures.

The problems of federalism go far beyond the propaganda of right-wing Americans and anti-EU Brits when looked at on a global scale.

Can we socially, culturally and economically afford a monolithic socio-economic system?

If Bio-diversity is so important to our survival -then why is conceptual diversity not equally vital?

So global commercial corporations might also not be the best alternative for the National State.

However, in this context, Singapore might be considered already a City-State (more or less) -with Hongkong once having a similar status before being returned to the mainland.

If there are Island-States, Mountain-States and Desert-States -then why not City-States -and Rural-States too? If the politics of commerce is the basis for the current State -why can't culture, philosophy or religion form a practical and conceptual basis too?

How can Nation States compete on a truly equal footing -when their geographical, cultural and economic circumstances are so varied? 

Perhaps more diversity would help weaken the current power-structure and provide a broader conceptual basis for global problem solving. Perhaps this is why it will not easily be tolerated easily within the status quo.

It also struck me as significant (but somewhat curious in the context) that Sean Coughlan was credited as Education correspondent:

In my view, the education system (as much as the other social manipulators) has failed miserably in implementing the educational changes described as essential by Sir Leon Bagrit in his 1964 Reith Lecture <>.

Bagrit predicted disaster if his approach to automation was not followed. I believe we are now witnessing the result: The problem is not directly about technology but a new way of thinking that links the formal, logical and "forensic" approaches by mapping desires into practical solutions, as a result of having a "universal simulation machine" at our disposal.

The implications are political, educational, economic, social, technological, linguistic and philosophical.

In my view, the cultural importance of the systematic destruction of all formal systems (outside specific professional and commercial applications) is a disaster which possibly is greater than all the other disasters created by modern hubris. It also remains the most invisible -because the cultured men of letters have conditioned themselves and others to destroy the very intellectual skills that would make it visible.

Attached is my effort to find a way through the maze of problems signaled by Mark. Despite the title -it is more about mapping the (hierarchy of) problems rather than providing solutions. In my experience, defining the problem is often the hardest part of problem solving.

The document is also intended as an exploratory discussion document -and not as an ideological manual.

I sincerely hope that these questions can be addressed more seriously before the situation becomes much worse.

Best Wishes,
trevor batten

         Attachment:               Getting the Solutions Together?


Key issues

Cultural Axioms

Getting the Solutions Together?

Internet, Industrialisation and Social Engineerering

Our Letter to some Seed Companies

Project Land
Project Home Farm

Trevor Batten
 <trevor at tebatt dot net>
 Baclayon 2016