April 29, 2017

Our societal radar does not record sufficiently many crucial problems and less do we discuss their possible solutions

Sir, Gillian Tett refers to JD Vance’s “Hillbilly Elegy” April 28.

The author, having faced “a family and culture in crisis” and in order to “combat a culture of instability, irresponsibility, anger and pessimism, made worse by opioid addiction’ suggests, besides the reintroduction of [some] military service, giving extended family members easier adoption rights over troubled children, enabling people receiving housing vouchers to move beyond poverty-stricken ghettos, and, most crucially, encouraging business to work with schools and community colleges to reshape education for teenagers, with more mentoring and apprenticeships.”

Ms. Tett concludes, “These are profoundly sensible steps. But they are also notably not measures that are getting much attention from Trump, let alone from the Democrats. Therein lies the tragedy of America today.”

Absolutely, it is a tragedy, but not only of America. Too much is not recorded timely by our social radars, or if identified then becomes horribly distorted, most often by those who want to profit, monetary or political, from the solutions.

For example: The world is facing structural unemployment, among other by robots and automation becoming more and more efficient. But was that talked about during the last election? No! It was not as politically juicy as going after, or defending, immigrants. If it had been discussed the Mexican wall could have been a non-issue.

In such a jobless world, in order to remain viable societies, we would have to create decent and worthy unemployments, which would probably have to include some sort of universal basic income? But was that talked about during the last election? No!

Also, for our economies to be able to move forward we have to stop current insanely risk adverse bank regulations, that refinances up to the tilt the safer present and past, while refusing financing the riskier future. Is that distortion discussed? No way Jose! If you do they might not invite you to Davos.

Instead populists agitate for instance with realities such as some few billionaires holding more wealth than half of the world’s population…while conveniently ignoring how un-transferrable such wealth really is… or scream about all the “cash stashed away” as if that cash was cash.

To have a chance to leave something reasonably workable to our grandchildren, we need to dramatically realign many incentives and fight those who are marketing solutions only to profit on these. In that respect here follows some of my wishes:

That we are able to keep the fiscal income lean since that is the only way to guarantee the fiscal spending does not get mean.

That we fight tooth and nail against all redistribution profiteers. By for instance creating carbon taxes that helps to save the environment, but that have all its revenues shared directly, equally, among citizens.

That we develop guidelines that help us classify credits, and as a consequence debts, into legitimate or odious.

That we make the pension plans of academics of the universities entirely contingent on how it goes for their students. As a minimum their pension funds should hold all the education loans that were given out in order to pay their salaries.

And of course, please, we must get rid of the so useless and so dangerous risk weighted capital requirements for banks.