Begin the Begin

Howzit Tjina: welcome to Jakari’s blog.

Howzit?


This is a common greeting where I live, and about which I mostly write; so should you be someone who lives what I call, offshore, then know that you may not know that… So in addition Howzit! is often accompanied by the word “China”, which has nothing in common with the place of that name and although it sounds like china it is spelt Tjina.


So you may be meeting someone you don’t know and it is appropriate to be less than formal as with a blog… So Howzit China [aka: Tjina].


In introducing myself to Amazon readers[and those new to Jakari ], I am aware that quite reasonably, most will never have heard of me, and wonder immediately why they should join my band of curious readers/listeners. You would also not therefore know that I have been busy quietly introducing the future to readers all over the cyberverse [sic] for about 20 years now since that world arrived where I live.


Begin the Begin


So. I shall observe, simply, that I am by the standards of fashionable modernity someone who has been around a while [as have a few billion other unknown wannabe noticed persons …one of whom may be you.]


Therefore although I have been a ‘bloggist’ for 20 years now and have even been read occasionally; and nonetheless given this is my first Amazon based blog, since setting myself up as an author of creative work on Amazon, I wondered whether I should perhaps offer thoughts to a new source of reader and wander rather, randomly, over what I am, why I am what I am, and generally why I am increasingly concerned that something I created as fiction is becoming most disturbing.


On the other hand perhaps that will be simply boring. Decisions… decisions!


So recently on Christmas day, I sat on the Internet and played with Google… something I have had little time to do this past 7 years… in that my usage was overwhelmingly professionally oriented. I am now released from that demanding purpose and can more closely koncentrate on ME and my vision plus mission …. And YOU… my reader, listener and, inevitably, once I learn the delicate art of Vlogging: a … viewer; and not to be outdone or outmaneuvered, a participant in some interactions. As Fred’ Nietzsche put it “Now all things are possible.”


What I did on Google was find Wikipedia’s lists of earthquakes that have occurred since forever ago or more specifically about 2,400 years ago, in ancient China and the Middle East and elsewhere.


[And btw as a recently retired septuagenarian old style ‘schoolteacher’ I am aware that Wikipedia has its detraktors. I am also aware that I may infuriate the sensible reader by using the letter K where usual practice calls for the letter C. Those of you who are based in the USA and fear the disruptive effects of that rather curious President ‘Tsunami’ as I call him, who having been voted in is more than usually despised by his populace, as a rude disruptor and it must have been the year, for we were born then too.]


Therefore I invite my readers to check out the information I shall herewith share; and tell me that I am wrong and that my role as a writer of fiction has not suddenly morphed into some curious form of prophetic reality check, and that when I did my research I was too filled with good cheer and miscounted. It was the festive season after all.


My purpose was to establish the total number of particular ‘BIG’ seismic events: [earthquakes broadly] that have occurred more or less ever; and about which we can infer a scale equitable with Richter [Richter Scale: RS]. I was also only looking at earthquakes @ 6 or greater than 6 [RS], a scale roughly equitable with Hiroshima in 1945.


So I was categorizing the earthquakes in two sets: those before 1998 and those afterwards. Now please remember that I am a writer of fiction so, 1998 was the year when I chose a particular sequence of events that took place then, in South Asia. Given that I was searching for a disruption effect great enough to fuel the move to Universal Income and a means to pay for it, I played “what if”: and made that a central background part of my story, the Jonker Memorandum, and in the chaos that follows the event my heroine can act….


Again, because you didn’t know: The Jonker Memorandum [pronounced Yonka] is Part 3 of the Azanian Quartet; and has existed since 2010 on my website nicholasjakari.com that has been visited many times and puzzled many. It took four years of weekend recording sessions in my garden to konstrukt, what I refer to, as the greatest one-man show ever [in my particular genre]. The final episode went up in 2014.


In my self imposed role as a down-market, essentially working class, contrarian mediator in the learning of things Economical amongst frequently less than avid learners, I had in mind the idea, that in the part of the story that is in “The Future”, the masses [Orwell’s Proles] live on what I call “Basic Pay” [An idea that is now increasingly touted as “Universal Income” an idea with which I strongly approve especially since I became older: and generally remained poor].


In point of fact as the themes evolved I realised that everyone lives on it [in the future] … never mind the Proles… Developments in AI, Quantum computing… which promises to be to digital, what digital was to steam… plus, plus, plus… et al … indicate a future in which work, as it was known is HISTORY. Basic Pay is inevitable… self-employment is inevitable on a dramatic scale… how can it work?


In addition to the idea of Basic pay and because the children in my care demanded it, I [plus the ‘demanders’ ] also had to consider how it could be financed or even afforded; something that seems to have been overlooked by most science fiction writers and those others actually actively promoting the idea.


A key evolving methodology seems to be involving… perhaps… a transaction levy… requiring dealing with hugely, insurmountable blocks of vested interests, at the heart of the “system” [however you choose to define it]. Discussions on that topic could keep people employed for ever… and what if we don’t have forever [fiction remember] … Or perhaps there is some other idea, such as one that is now at the heart of Part 4’s evolution, as the closing part of the Azanian Quartet and will be on Amazon later this year.


So back in 1998 I was wrestling with this [relatively unoriginal] idea that I had, which is really only a back-story part of the background to the main sci fi adventure crime story, in the knowledge, that neither idea was feasible in almost any term, short of a disruption effect on a monumental scale … so huge that the entire planet’s destiny was almost terminally; or certainly irrevocably changed.


So since I write fiction and since, like many of my fellow-now-aging-those-of-us still-surviving, wild kolonial boys, I had learned long ago about a military, firearms usage procedure, called the “Double Tap”: and serendipitously in that same year [1998] while in search of raw material for plots and themes, I had occasion to encounter the “double tap” method at the hands of a practicing expert.


It was done under the specialized supervision of a man, who was, some years later, arrested on an Interpol International arrest warrant, for [allegedly] 49 professional murders: and may therefore be seriously considered as an expert on the use of that double tap method. Albeit I did not then, know, that previously unshared information… albeit his general after action beer conversation was loaded with the usual conspiracy stuff.


But nonetheless I was then, contemplating the truthfulness of his affirmation; that the second shot amplifies the power of the first shot, by 500%, and by extension, I wondered: the second by the third et al to 6..


The news of the tit for tat bang, bang: by the two contenders for influence in that south Asian region, was routine fare in a place always desperately shifting attention elsewhere, in a variation of the standard national scapegoating exercises practiced in most localities.


Nonetheless. They [the two South Asian nations] were, to me, nestling on a great big piece of tectonic geology called the Himalayas: and ‘what if “ was a given.


In other words you will recollect that two competing regions in South Asia began a six-bomb test consecutive blast interregnum of underground nuclear explosions later in that same year, 1998.


Each was allegedly about 2.5RS.


I speculated … What if this is a Nuclear Triple double tap … 2500 x500% x500%x500% x500%x … = huge times… Maybe massive on Richter.


I write fiction remember. I checked out my idea over the years with ‘klevas’… people ranging from ordinary scientific types focused on classroom physics and chemistry, to Nuclear scientists and climate change people who all confirmed that I was writing fiction… and I went on… feeling ok.


The effect of what I have thus called: “The Ringing’, was global disruption. This was characterized by a sequence of flooding and tsunamis that I ‘created’ together with the mass scale disruption that followed the changes to the climate that I hypothesized over the next period of time. All this was part of the back-story to my tale of robbery and murder. In fact the explanatory chapters are simply headed as Footnotes. [For instance the footnote chapter in which the region I call Keiretsu [aka Japan/Nippon] was engulfed by a tsunami went up one week before the recent tsunami that devastated parts of the country and ruined a nuclear power station…. Elsewhere [Chapter 10.] the trouble starts after an airliner disappears in flight … published two years before an airliner disappeared]


And that ‘disruption’ of course; that idea changed the real story. And while I dealt with that need, which took a few years, I put together “7Ways to get your money” from notes I had made during the time after I became a ‘returnee refugee’ in this country where I now live. I had inadvertently, seriously annoyed the man who became the post liberation Dictator, of Zimbabwe; ultimately being forced out in a recent coup after 37 bloodstained years. So I had to exit post-liberation Zimbabwe, in something of a hurry: with my wife, two babies, four dogs and four cats in an old Volkswagen panel van; that blew up at the entrance to what I now call the Dome surrounding the Mega Unicity most of us call Jozi.


It was a time when a ‘sixties drop out’ had to come in from the cold; and make big money fast, in a place, that was itself, on a steeply slippery slope… to its own ultimate oblivion.


The Dome btw is an idea represented by the multilane high speed ring road that surrounds the inner city of Jozi, in Mzansi, where I have lived on and off ever since the 60’s, having relocated to Zimbabwe, in the ‘70’s as part of my ‘drop out’ period some years earlier, when it was still a naughty, disruptive, now failed, Kolonial experiment, with other people’s places.


The ‘other people’ wanted to go back to how things were before any koloniste arrived; and have successfully returned to the 17th century they sought. They are now displeased with the result… but that is another tale altogether and is otherwise irrelevant.


So 7Ways is a Prelude to the Azanian Quartet: a tale of many revolutions. 7Ways represents the world of relative order that makes everything possible. The Azanian Quartet is implicitly a metaphorical story about how the world ended, and what happened afterwards. It is also a story about the ambiguity of memory regarding how it all happened. It is also a story that gains more relevance in what has now after ten years of Quantitative Easing [QE] become a planet running on about one point three quadzillion US$ worth of global debt: meaning that getting the money is now more urgent than ever before.


Which brings us back to my Wikipedia search.


Allowing for some marginal calculation error… Wikipedia lists many earthquakes below 6 on the Richter scale… so I may have miscalculated here and there or over calculated elsewhere. And for all I know I may have been on the wrong page. I am still at heart a techno moronic, aging, baby boomer.


Pre 1998; going back 2400 ish odd years.
Slightly more than 400.
Specifically 413 … [four hundred and thirteen]. Subject as mentioned to korektion.


Post 1998. The next 19 [nineteen] years
Slightly more than 400.
Specifically 414. [Four hundred and fourteen.]


Perhaps you can understand why I am worried about my fiction writing skills. Tell me its imagination… or that I’m reviewing usage through a naughty Wikipedia page, which is…. Not appropriately Peer reviewed, is it?


For clarity purposes.


*You have access to the Prelude: 7Ways. Available now on Amazon. @ https://www.amazon.com/author/nicholasjakari
**Part 1 of the Azanian Quartet : The Buffalo Hunters is currently with an editor undergoing some surgery and should be available, end February 2018.
*** Part 2 The Ashanti Raider will be online by end April 2018.
**** Part 3 The Jonker Memorandum an 84 episode podcast cyber serial is available for your listening pleasure online at nicholasjakari.com


They are not sequential other than in order of writing so you can listen in pleasure. Many of my listeners are bed bound invalids and other resting persons. And like Mr. Nietzsche [whom I played for the world international Konference celebrating the centenary of that Philosopher at Pretoria University in 2000 AD] many of the ideas presented in that story have become common usage now since some 10million hits have occurred on my website many of them from people, say about 10%]


***** Part 4 is still under konstruktion and has passed the three quarters mark targeted to be ready by August 2018.


Hope to have you back again soon
Regards
Nicholas Jakari.
And don’t forget to buy the ebook.

Ruminations on Basic Pay

Also known as the inevitability of Universal Income.

“ In the 21st Century we might witness the creation of a new massive class: people devoid of any economic, political or even artistic value, who contribute nothing to the prosperity, power and glory of society.”
Homo Deus p325.
Yuval Noah Harari


This statement by the author: Harari comes at the climax of what could be the most brilliant sustained piece of writing that this bloggist has encountered in years. The writing is more brilliant for being extended over two masterpieces of modern writing: Sapiens and Homo Deus: for which I would recommend the author for a Nobel Prize in literature. For the “times, that were changing” reported by a recent, past winner, Bob Dylan have sneaked up and abruptly arrived: on steroids.


The veracity of Harari’s premise is thus well timed. It arrived at precisely that moment in history that the exponential pace of technological development, has so outpaced the capacity of humans to keep up with the changes, taking place in the macro world, that the possibility of an accident kicking off something that is fast running, means we could once again be on the edge of a cataclysm, the likes of which we have not experienced since the last one a century ago… when progress went into steep decline: and put us all through a century of violent disruption: Stalling time.


A while back I came across some thing published, that I had written, as the closing paragraph, to an editorial piece at a different time in the past: The op/ed piece was broadly a comment on Mr. Alvin Toffler’s book: ‘Future Shock’…. I finished with the following comment on Toffler’s vision: “The alternatives are clear: either we train people to adapt to the future, or, in Toffler’s words, ‘we are doomed to a massive adaptational breakdown.’”


And what could be a greater “adaptational breakdown” than that represented by the “New Lefties” i.e. those now referred to as the “Left Behind” … what Hannah Arendt referred to as “The Mob”…. And for whom George Orwell, less politely, coined “Proles”. Such a phenomenon apparently elected to BREXIT, in the trending from formerly Great Britain to global britain; and put America’s first ever [perhaps] ‘Working Class’ President into power in that ‘Firmian’ Republic. Tsunami, is a “brash Blu Hawk real estate developer”; as said by a Republican Grandee on Bloomberg a moment ago as I wrote this … he spoke as if describing a Martian alien, who had just walked uninvited into the men’s room.


And then of course Le Bleu’s did the same thing; voting for the least disliked option rather than someone who could do them any good… They all promise to do that, don’t they?


And the ‘Left Behind’ are obviously in the majority… and in case you are confusing them with “New Left”: many are, in effect, new ‘Right’ [whatever that is]. They are an inter and intra class phenomenon, notwithstanding that the Brash Blu Hawker… a man who hustled buildings for a living, will not be permitted [they think] to implement his agenda, even though his agenda does not really lack any more purpose, than the agenda’s of all those others, who promised things: and then [often sensibly] compromised on the delivery: and then struggled to deliver, in the face of ferociously frantic; furiously factional vested interest groupings.


Further on into the article, that I happened upon serendipitously last year, in the midst of Mzansi’s # FeesMustFall: University ‘disrupting season’, I wrote:
“The future shock problem is viewed in many Western circles with such seriousness that a number of influential bodies, among them the ‘Club of Rome’ have gone so far as to recommend a moratorium on technological developments while the human race catches up, and gets it breath back”.


Well it never happened did it…: In fact during this past month listening to the radio local news and opinion discussions on day to day events I have lost count of the frequency with which the ‘approved’ spokespersons, on a range of topics, cite, improving education: as a solution to the problem of ‘ADAPTATIONAL BREAKDOWN”S.



Yet Mzansi, for instance, spends a huge percentage of GDP, relative to most of its chosen peers, for, apparently, as little gain as those Brexiting, President Tsunami/Le Bleu’s stricken peers have apparently gained, in the time since I wrote the piece from which I have quoted. It was published in August of 1978… [i.e:39 years ago this past month] In a magazine that no longer exists: in a country that, likewise, no longer exists.*


So we didn’t put the tech’ development process aside; and by the well known Moore’s Law dictum whereby processing power doubles every 18 months that means that the tech world has taken 26 steps, during the time that we more Linear thinking human beings have moved 39 steps… and that is only referring to those that have been moving forward.


Unfortunately the message attributable to the New Lefties, is, that they seemingly moved, more or less one step: 39 times. Meanwhile 26 steps in exponential language, [What was called Geometric Progression in high school mathematics] in the expanding macro environment is [assume each step to be a meter] more than Thirty Three Million meters. No wonder the poor NL’s feel left behind. Almost everyone is left behind.


And so it is likely that many are working on the edge of the new economy. The characteristic of the old economy, that replaced the frugal subsistence of the previous 70,000 plus years, was “Nasty brutish and short”. It was and often still is, a condition in which workers were treated like machines; and conditions were inhumane. The early behaviourist: B. F. Skinner observed then, apparently in all seriousness, that: “The real problem is not whether machines think; but whether humans do.”


Eventually the cost and legalities of fixing the horror of mass employment raised the cost of production, above what the corresponding, mass consumer market sought out: absolute rock bottom price points. So there was a clash thus, between the people who wanted to be wonderfully well rewarded, for doing something mundane: [me for instance] while simultaneously wanting as much blood as could conceivably be extracted from every stone.


And so tech has solved the inhumane aspect of mass production, to desired scales, through replacing humans with real machines that are rapidly, apparently, taking on tasks that require far more than simple manual dexterity.


True ‘thinking machines’ are evolving; and part of the world … even many of the [so-called] Globalists themselves, stare at prospektive superfluity. This as the emerging trend to kwantum komputing takes tech’s exponential journey Kwantum simultaneously, to more than a billion meters in only 5 more steps. Truly; to be left behind in such a maelstrom of evolutionary expansion is almost… normal.


In the meantime in our own part of the world I was shocked recently, to read, as part of an opinion piece published in the Jozi Star on the eve of the “Youth Day” weekend this year, a piece of information that took the idea of “Left Behind” to an unprecedented level… for me.


The piece carried the byline of a Mr. Jeff Radebe, the 5000:1 outsider for the job of President of the ruling party; and later the country, should the present ruling party win the next election again: Something within reasonable probability. As a rule politicians tend to be pretty close to the 39 step by step linear process, which is still a way ahead of NL’s trend, you’ll gather..


Radebe’s piece was broadly one of the most powerful evaluations of the idea of ‘Future to shock’ that one has come across from a sitting politician in many years. He laid out a blueprint for what had to happen, for Mzansi’s and more broadly Afrika’s emerging transformation; in order to marginally keep pace with the techno/economically evolving 21st century. The piece certainly revealed the thoughtful appreciation of someone who perhaps had covered a few hundred meters over the 39 steps…


In fact when one evaluates the alleged negative behaviour of the all the allegedly naughty President’s persons, routinely reported in a broadly unsympathetik media environment, in the kontext of what Minister Radebe presents as the stark reality of Afrika’s dilemma, then one kan understand the instinctive desire to grab the money and run, when the opportunity presents, for opportunity comes only meagerly.


So what was the shock that triggered this response?


In that part of the op/ed piece where he deals with the relevance of FIR * to Mzansi in particular, Mr. Radebe makes an astounding assertion. [* FIR = the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution a name given to this historical period which is to be characterized by the evolution of [AI] Artificial Intelligence].


Mr. Radebe asserts, that in a continent of some 880 million people more than 600 million, live presently, in a pre-electric world… a world essentially before “steps” were even considered.


To put that into perspective… Electricity represents the second industrial revolution…. [The one everyone learns about at school was based on steam, you’ll remember.] I don’t know how valid Minister Radebe’s statement is, in a world typified by ‘fake’ news lately. No references are identified in support of the assertion: I am simply assuming, rightly or wrongly, that the Minister is using staff resources to establish accurate information.


In other words nearly 70% of the people on the entire Kontinent have not yet encountered the 2nd Industrial Revolution in any meaningful way… Now that is what you kan validly call “Left Behind”. How does one contemplate developing a place that has to cover more than a billion steps just to catch up: with no idea how to do so? [unless somebody else has a betta plan]


A recent piece in the Economist raised questions regarding how an Afrika emerging from a pre-industrial era … [Mr. Radebe’s point regarding those most truly ‘Left Behind’] can progress in a world where machines that work for capital redemption, are superseding well paid cost centres, called manual workers [and those in routine clerical, for that matter]. They suggest that Afrika will have to find a new way… They were unable to suggest one however.


There is one solution, as a palliative to what is impending. I would not suggest thjat it is the only one it is however the one most likely to prevail eventually. It is the combination of VBasic Pay aka A Universal Income… linked to a levy on transactions in specific new areas of activity. I have as many of you know, promoted the idea of Basic Pay for years now. What else will there be other than Basic Pay for an increasing mass of overwhelming humanity… aka Universal Income [U.I.]. There are experiments in U I taking place in parts of Groland, currently, and of course in Mzansi, where i eke out my own pittance, there are presently 17,000,000 people living on a meager dose of basic pay… with close to zero chance of ever finding anything else.


So what does this mean
For the future
Of everything…?
Logically:
The Monetisation of
Humanity
Through data derived
Micropayments.


!NiK[17]

Closing Lines

Broadly speaking this has not been one of the coolest weeks this year.
 
I am also not referring to the electrical short that had us get the electricians out to fix a plug that burnt out. Or the water gush that brought the plumbers out. Or even the actual loss, altogether, of water, for most of last night, causing a flood of boiling level water pouring from the geyser, in an unrelated second flooding incident, brought on when the city water authority simply… cut of the water supply to the neighbourhood… in order to repair yet another burst pipe, this time in the next street. I am not even muttering about the URTI that kept me tied up in remedial bed for two days: Tues and Wednesday. [URTI = Upper Respiratory Tract Infection].
 
But No. The horror event in Manchester on Monday was bad, Firstly, simply because it was bad. More words cannot describe the horror of what happened any better. And also in the sense that we have connections to that city: my Paternal grandmother’s home town, my wife’s maternal grandfather’s home town; and it is the home of many deeply loved friends.
 
We are grateful that all our friends came through physically safely; and in particular that my nephew, Leigh [my brother’s son], who was involved in some organizational way with the event, was not physically hurt. And not just because he’s Sienna Poppie’s soon-to-be- sibling’s expectant dad, but also one of the reasons my brother lives. Strength to all.
 
As someone who is something of a survivor myself, I would say to all those who survived, that the true survival trick is to survive surviving: focus on what happened, not what didn’t happen… in the same way that we do not worry about the bus that passed us while we stood on the pavement, and didn’t hit us. Only consider the “What If’s” if you are a writer or some other creative person in search of plot and countenance.
 
NO. The really bad part of this week for this bloggist, is not what happened in the place the Jamaicans call Girlchester [why should everything be MAN! They say, apparently]. It was what happened at the small, almost intimate, private development facility where I spend odd days, mediating on the learning of many things related to how the world works.
 
A seventh grade child; Head boy of the Prep end of the continuum, brother of a superb 12th Grade fellow: a lad who lived like many boys do: for soccer. He collapsed on the field of play, during an inter-primary football match on Tuesday afternoon: and proved beyond help, despite the valiant efforts of a paramedic team. We don’t know yet why: and i was not there on the morning the announcement ‘that something terribly tragic had happened’ was made… [my absence was initially thought by many to be the referent: that ‘something terrible’ meant me… the old codger who makes the Eights practice Mabu and other tai chi forms before their class starts… and makes people do dailies and weeklies.]. This inevitably compounded the effect when the real source of the tragedy was known.
 
We do know though that we have had a week in which the only mood amongst our 400 odd children was one of deep shock, grief, inchoate frightened anger boiling at times to rage, and, one suspects, many recriminations… in place of the usual happy sounds of innocent interactive play and broadly enthusiastic attendance. Nonetheless there was also through it all, that powerful spirit we also heard about with Manchester… a sense of what the local cultural ‘fundis’ call “Ubuntu”… one for all and all for one. A sense of bonding.
 
The place shall be closed on Monday for the entire facility to attend a funeral that, like the citizens of Manchester, none of us predicted last weekend.
 
Some time last year I wrote some lines that came to me in that mysterious way that is part of the world of poetry, with the ‘message’ [if that is a reasonable way to describe that strange process whereby entire pieces of work suddenly bounce into my consciousness, often without warning] that it belongs at the postscript end of the story with which I am presently engaged: Part Four of the Azanian Quartet. [ 66,000 words down, 32,000 to go?]. And that it was to be called: ‘Closing Lines’
 
At the time, and even now, I have no idea of why they belong there or what it is intended that the subliminal me has in mind for a dénouement I simply trust in the perception that I already have the answer: I simply need to find where I have put it.
 
Anyhow: during a staffroom break time discussion on my return to the facility on Thursday, a random comment, from me to a trio of grief counselors that the management had brought in, to help both the children and us cope with the tragedy, brought a request from a colleague for the information to which I had referred.
 
In the ensuing search for that information, a copy I had printed of the piece called: ‘Closing Lines” effectively forced it self into my attention, broke through my own conscious clouds, and said that it also belonged, in this sorrowful place.
 
Following its injunction, I subsequently presented the ‘closing lines’ to some of the children, and then some of the adults. All agreed, perhaps numbly; and with complete incomprehension at the magnitude of what we faced… an unprecedented event, that they were, somehow, the right words: for reasons no one including me, could fathom… They simply seemed appropriate.
 
I offer them therefore to all of you out there who have felt the horrific pain of this week, both there with regard to Manchester and here; and are deeply, almost guiltily thoughtful, that you are still around while they aren’t. I leave the question of whether they, the words deemed appropriate, are so, to each of you to answer… love you all.
 
Closing Lines.
 
Do not mourn for me
When I am liberated from
This random
Place.
Mourn not for me that I am gone
Mourn rather that
We live in the
End of all those
Times through which we passed
By.
Mourn for the joy we
Expressed, reveling in a forsaken
Place.
 
Mourn rather that you remain.
Unfree from the blessed glory
Of eternal rest.
Must once again walk with those
Who live, awake.
And know that they live
Awake while sleeping.
 
Mourn for what you have
Before you leave,
But mourn not
For me:
Once my journey
Has begun.
!NiK[‘16]
 
In Memory of Katlego Mokholo [2004-2017]
died playing his beloved football.
And those happy persons: murdered in Manchester.
May you all R.I.P.
For we who remain: better prepared… perhaps.
Carpe Diem.

 

Blog 11 March 2017 The ‘Unresolved National Question’

Last Tuesday night [March 7th] I joined what seemed to be what was left of the Left, for an exploration, or possibly an evaluation, of the “Unresolved National Question “… sub headed: ‘Left thought under Apartheid.’ Having always been thought of by the Left as being on the Right and by the Right as being on the Left, I anticipated an entertaining evening and, notwithstanding its intermittently Monty Pythonesque overtones, it was.
 
I also anticipated discovering what the ‘Unresolved National Question’ was: and had not noted the sub-heading about its historical subtext?
 
Broadly speaking what was left of the Left were a most congenial, polite gathering of people who, in the most lethal of ways, could, under different circumstances, become, one suspects, a roomful of deadly enemies.
 
Perhaps, knowing how inherently suicidal the broad idea was that there was a [single?] presumed “National Question” that was unresolved; and, realizing that everyone present would have their own idea of what an Unresolved National Question would be… and that the room would be poised to slaughter anything, mercilessly, that was not reminiscent of their own pet hypothesis, the two lead speakers; plus the enthusiastic MC spokesperson for the evening’s prime sponsors, the National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences, managed to deliver a cluster of most entertaining, absorbing and often curiously insightful interpretations of the journey they had all gone through in setting out to resolve their ideas of what such a question that remains/ed ‘unresolved’ would be.
 
And somehow the room bought the message and we all, eventually, left happy once again, knowing that the question remained unresolved: and that the world was safe again for the time being.
 
Of course one of the important things about functions organized and or orchestrated by those who may be said to be “Left” is that, unlike, for instance, Theatrical or Corporate types, who would hand out a programme listing the speakers and agendas and some key aspects of the evening’s intentions or a summary of purpose, the old Left eschews such bourgeois indulgences in favour of an overall spirit of “last minute dot com”, egalitarianism.
 
I shall simply refer to 1st speaker, 2nd speaker; and random floor Kommenter’s plus the over all Mistress of Ceremonies and aim to avoid offence as much as they all did, since I had no idea regarding who was who: amongst the Left gathered crew: not being a Left Innie [or any other kind of Innie for that matter]. What I can say is that with one exception, and only briefly at that, the evening was conducted with an almost fascinating air of polite decorum…. That in a time of #Pay back the Money” and #Fees must Fall, was most refreshing.
 
So the first speaker opened with what proved to be an overview of what his production team had done in arriving at a book called the ‘Unresolved National Question’; and highlighted for those of us more innocent gatherers, that the period under consideration was the [so-called] Apartheid era, rather than the preceding Dispossession period: or the increasingly contentious time, subsequent to Liberation.
 
Their purpose, Speaker #1 explained was to find the “hidden voices” that had been silenced during the era 1948 – 1994 and prevented from clarifying what the real question of the times was… just in case no one knew.
 
I couldn’t help reminiscing in that moment how literally almost everyone’s voices were ‘hidden’ then on pain of retribution throughout that era. Despite all the ranting and general rage, in the present place to which the National Question refers, it is mostly normal stuff on steroids… uncool larceny perhaps rather than murderous exclusion. That time was mean vindictive and broadly driven evil … none of which has proved particularly useful for sustaining an economy long term: i.e. a Kondratieff cycle at least.
 
Just in case anyone was still confused about what the national question was; the editors point out in their foreword that this debate is not new… In fact they say ‘… the questions raised by the National Question debate OVER A CENTURY AGO: remained unresolved… So in other words if you hadn’t figured out what it was, no one was going to ‘spill the beans’.
 
The book’s foreword states: ‘The unresolved National Question’ concerns the “drive to build one united democratic nation- and is a ‘century-long discourse on South Africa’s nationhood”.
 
S#1 announced that the question was unresolved and that it was a neglected question. In konstrukting their book, they had looked at a relatively random kolektion of people’s interpretations of the Kwestion… Question, across a range of kontexts. We the reader can read all their opinions: and then have our own ‘National Kwestion’and see what happens. What was supposed to happen beyond some satori was unclear. Nonetheless it all seemed an interesting idea. As a marketer it has obvious usefulness in this regard and one could envisage it taking many strands.
 
So while it may have seemed an odd idea, to persons, such as this bloggist, who have, apparently, mistakenly considered the Question to have been answered in 1994: apparently it wasn’t.
 
In an attempt to deal with this possibly disturbing fact, the book production ‘team’ had chosen to explore the era [’48-‘94] under four different [Left oriented] themes that made up the first part of their explorations. Only then were they tackling the present [maybe] in Part 2.
 
The ‘Right”, assuming that version still persists, had their turn and it failed; and while the book pays some lip service to their vision, it was most reasonably discredited through the nastiness with which it was associated.
 
Frankly, by this time, having been only marginally enlightened as to what the National question really was: “The implicit idea inherent in the concept of “ONE NATION”; and why it [the Question] hasn’t been answered” seemed unclear. So since the enormous number of people who, it seems, have either contributed to of been associated with the kolekted viewpoints hadn’t arrived at an answer either, in this search: this bloggist did rather feel that it was a darn tricky question, for which came some curious enlightenment… Lights… action… camera
 
Speaker #1 reached a mini climax to his introduction with a resounding assertion regarding what he called “the Goals of the National Economic transformation struggle”. Simultaneously an adjacent neighbour’s struggle to figure out the video part of his Mobile’s camera thingy, whle waggling his camera/ mobile in a random manner had caught my attention. So he ‘accidentally’ [?] hit the Siri, GPS function instead.
 
Thus, into the resounding dramatic silence, contrived after S#1 thundered out: “ How does a diverse society come together and live in harmony?” The mechanical voice of Siri answered …
 
“Your destination is on the Left.”
 
The room collapsed. It was the only moment of actual apparently uncontrived humour… or a moment of theatricality, whichever it was fun. Of course no one seems sure of where Left is anymore, so the heartiness was a tad forced and short… a tension taker.
 
Then my first doubt regarding the direction the evening would take, came when speaker #1 quoted with academic enthusiasm, the late Mozambican, Samora Machel’s observation that: “For the Nation to emerge the Tribe must die”.
 
By that standard I thought we are already lost, given Ms. Nicola Sturgeon’s threat to break the centuries old United States of Britain, on the grounds that her tribe has not supported the [tribally bound?] decision for the ‘Nation’ to exit the European Union. She threatens to call for her Tribe to emerge from centuries of alleged “Oppression” in a suffocating Nation State: in order to remain part of another emerging bureaucratic plutocracy.
 
[Curiously when I mentioned that thought later to Speaker #1, in one of those momentary post presentation cocktail party type moments of brusquely interrupted discourse, he went blank at the mention of “Nicola Sturgeon” Huh Who she?, and then dismissed the Scots as irrelevant to SA’s National Question. And that is only presumptively true. Presumably too by the same logic he also may dismiss BREXIT, and Geert Wilders not to mention the recent stunningly unexpected accession to power in the centuries old nation called the USA, of Mr. D Trump, riding on the crest of what Mr. DJ Vance would call a “Hillbilly revolution”. Now there’s a ‘tribe’ deluxe: in league with atomising ephemeral ‘tribes’ on social media.]
 
Speaker #2 picked up the general theme of what he alleged to be the ‘failed revolution’ amongst the ‘Transformation lobby’ when he announced “You fought for Liberation but settled for Democracy” “Freedom is not Arrival” he thundered… and the reason why the National Question is not resolved is because “… we are forgetting to remember.”
 
And although my first thought then was Milan Kundera, I then remembered that I had thought that Freedom involved the grand pleasure of naughty activities played out for a change on a goose feather bed… ah the vagaries of memory… and freedom’s simplicity.
 
Speaker #2 was apparently another Professor, presumably of something Political, as he insisted that ‘The State’ was in the hands of those who had lost empathy with the people, and that the citizen [presumably] had to reassert ‘Control’ of the State by disinterested persons’… a statement that seemed to be code for “Thieving corrupt self interested persons are looting the State’s resources instead of doing the job they were voted/employed to do’… certainly a position that found favour with the now largely enthusiastic audience.
 
And the idea of ‘disinterested persons’ was poignant for me, given that a recent shock phenomenon [whenit first happened] in the assessment answers I get from my more, disingenuous or perhaps naively innocent teenage Business Studies learners, is the rising refrain that reads “It is best for the government to own your business so you can get rich.” When the children of Public service workers present public service as a route to riches: as a goal, rather than the high-risk route of Entrepreneurial endeavor, then we know that we are in deeply unsustainable territory.
 

Then he S#2 launched into the now mandatory refrain regarding the idea of transforming the State through dekolonising the structure of thought that governed its behaviour… ‘The goal is dekolonisation’, he said… So was this the New National Question, I wondered?
 
I did find his idea intriguing though, that he regarded the Kolonization era as having its roots in 1492 rather than 1652. And as he reached back to castigate the past, the idea of a ‘National Question’ seemed increasingly irrelevant.
 
Logically the pre- kolonialized reality is represented by the idealized vision of a world, before rotten foreigners came and despoiled everything; in the interests of looting the resources of the Kontinent. And then those same rotten foreigners just accidentally ended up moving from Koloniste to mean spirited Settlers: and should go away without a please. How to get them to go is the implied National Question for a rising number of commentators… [So far triple BBBEE seems to be proving effective.]
 
That pre-Kolonization world though was inherently a world, in which [in John Reader’s inimitable description] the ‘People” lived in a state of “biological equilibrium with Nature” … In other words even more recently, in this Bloggist’s rambling traipses around the Kontinent over the past four decades, it was normal on reading the local press in overnight hotel rooms, to routinely find reports of local people being killed by wild animals… Usually some poor sod stumbling from one place to another while loaded with congenial liquids: taken out by leopard/jackal/wild dog/buffalo/snake bites/and more. Presumably in the Pre Kolonization era life expectancy was less than half of today’s not particularly generous level.
 
Thus isn’t the entire point of Civility to overcome such vicissitudes of nature. And surely the point would be to expand a working model rather than usurp it and simply alter its contents. So what would a decolonized world/country be like, given that there was no civil model that was “Kolonized”? And could this be the real “National Question”?
 
And in the spirit of remembering to which he had just referred; I remembered that; in a 30 second exchange with Mr. Robert Mugabe in the foyer of our mutual publisher, early in 1980, just prior to his winning the 1st post liberation election that year, he had told me of his intention to return his country [today’s Zimbabwe] to the dekolonised status it aimed for in 1650 [Two years before Van Riebeeck] when his ancestors, had successfully fought, beaten and driven out, a near century long era of Portuguese ‘Kolonisation’, of the, then, Rozwi/Changamire State.
 

It was a statement that in retropect lends serious credence to the 1492 hypothesis.

 
And it was a goal he has succeeded in achieving wouldn’t you say? Thus De-Kolonization 101. Was it a ‘worthy’ goal, in retrospect: or does it fall more conveniently into the adage of being careful about that for which one wishes lest …. That question is still open too.

 
I also noted a radio news report this week that the same man, [whom I like to call ‘Bob the Roz’], has called for ‘someone’ to lend him US$100 million to repair the roads the more recently expelled, later Kolonizers had built: [via exploiting the indigenous labour] and which have now apparently fallen into terminal disrepair.
 
Of course that could have been ‘fake news’. And anyway perhaps tarred roads are not a Kolonizing instrument… [well they are] but simply a sensible way to develop a place?
 
Certainly though, the beginning of the Kolonization period was a time before ‘National’ in Afrika was conceptualized. Therefore Dekolonization should, logically seek a return to the borderless regions of Afrika’s past: and yet no reference to the apparent “death” of Mr.[Thabo] Mbeki’s Afrikan vision was to be heard. And obviously too this is a most narrow interpretation of what the real Dekolonization means.
 
Eventually reams of Kommenter’s rose to ask the usual, ponderous, kontext loaded questions that rambled further and further from whatever point was being sought. The audience fidgeted with the idea of “What the National Question” really was; and why no one was calling for… for instance… the “shooting of the Boer” or something/one closer to home… or even just ‘expelling’ the pestiferous and inkonvenient Koloniste ‘Settlers’?
 
After all 1492 was not only notable for Mr. Columbus and the opening of the Americas, the unintended wholesale extermination of the indigenous ‘Amerindians” as a result of inadvertently imported pandemics; and the subsequent triangular slave trade to compensate for the loss of labour.
 
It was also the year the newly merging ancient Spanish rival houses combined in marital unity and then forced all Muslim and Jewish people who had lived in Southern Spain for centuries, out of the country with about three months notice. As recently as only in the past few months has the present Spanish government made overtures to remedy the injustice.
 
Of course the gathering was much too comfortable to actually flirt with such a rude idea. In fact it is possible that some members were descendents of those who were expelled so far back… [In the case of possible Jewish attendees, those known as Sephardic for instance: known for the place that gave them refuge then] So that particularly unpleasant topic never came up… simply hovered… hints here and there.
 
Well that wasn’t strictly accurate, because one, possibly well lubricated gentleman, [wine was liberally available from teams of enthusiastic wine deliverers] leapt up to take his turn with the hand mike, to announce that he represented the dispossessed KoiSan who were: the true owners of the National Question [whatever it was] … and broadly implied that all property was theft and that the land invaders should “fuck off” and give his people their land back… ALL OF IT.
 
He was politely ignored: albeit I did feel he had a point.
 
In many curious ways, the moment I found to be most profound came in S#1’s response to a question raised by a Professorial addressed person sitting in front of me.
 
After the long, mandatory context creating k0nstrukt period he somewhat demanded to know why he [S#1] thought that the [SA] Kommunist Party and other special interest groups on the far left had chosen to support, what they had previously criticized as a “giveaway” liberal Konstitution…. And by corollary why was the Liberal [despised] Konstitution allowed to provide such roadblock preventions to restrict the ongoing nature of the stalled Revolution.
 
In brief, the response was that much evidence kolekted indicated that brutal treatment by [now] ruling party cadres in the old Liberation camps [Quattro et al] during the [actual] “Struggle” had convinced sufficient party loyalists that proven safeguards were necessary to restrict the possibility of such abuse in the future.
 
That was for me the “Aha” of the evening: the Yin to the Yang.
 
Eventually though the Phrase “National Question” gradually became a mantra repeated ad hoc and ad nauseum by all speakers, kommenters and even the MC; and eventually Speaker #2 confounded the room by announcing that Transcending the National [Question?] was part of the “Struggle’ and that the National Question was really less relevant, than the greater, ‘Global Kweschun’ … a strategy that always, it seems, works to defuse all arguments: and reduce them to timid pretensions.
 
‘The Witch’ he concluded “is in the new Order, a convergence of random traditions’. On which reasonably profound and enigmatic note the presentation ended.
 
The lady sitting on my left, someone I remembered being linked to by alphabet from a first year English Tut group back in 1967… suggested that she was experiencing a “whole different language… like being on a different planet.’ She said.
 
My own interpretation of the National Question was the unspoken “What to do about the pestiferous Koloniste who, seemingly, as one speaker had observed during the evening: ‘ Make independent original thought impossible’.
 
Looking around the room in which we all had enjoyed a most pleasurable evening I could see that my version of the ‘Question’ was inevitably going to resolve itself. Once again I was struck by the growing reality that every Koloniste example in the room was either as old as or older than me and my 1967 fellow colleague and the former activist author who had accompanied her, who was a good sixteen years my senior. This is something most noticeable in my local shopping centres, and my Learner’s often mention that the handful of light textured learning mediators on the institution’s staff complement are almost the only such persons that they ever see. In fact in relation to a country of nearly 60 million persons… the Koloniste are almost vanishing.
 
On the other hand the liberated part of the gathering, who were close to more numerous, were for the most part below forty…ish.
 
The reality of the national question therefore, is that the implicit idea of the diversely populated state; and how could it achieve a cohesive future, would inevitably be tempered by natural attrition. The Koloniste class, is now seemingly operating on an awkward inverse pyramid, whereby the aged and ‘Baby Boomers’ are the top end majority; and the Millenials are in short supply lower down.
 

This could be because they are heading increasingly for opportunity now denied them here… partly due to the economic stagnation or because they see their future restricted as the english were for decades under the boer period of Kontrol. So the pestiferous part of the population will gradually winds down to a 1% [of so-called Whitey] with loads of wealth: and a marginalized handful of Neo-‘Bywoners’, many of whom would inevitably drift into a working handicraft class or become new additions to what seems to be a growing hard case “criminal’ class if they haven’t already.
 
I was also reminded then, in that observance, that it is more than a decade, since my classes in the Independent school sector of the economy had more than the occasional random great grandchild of some original Kolonistés, amongst the Learners. And in looking through the photos we take of the crowds at inter-high sports events, those self same great grandkids are similarly, only occasional: and then thinly sprinkled amidst the greater mass, indicative that mine is not an isolated experience. And such exceptions as there are, are hardly disproving this growing rule.
 
Surely, If Dekolonization is the goal then is it not time to take seriously the late Kepple-Jones’ position, taken from his 1947 work “When Smuts Goes”: that the name South Africa is a [so-called] WHITE Konstrukt and the revolution must stagnate in an untransformed state of beleaguered Kolonization, until the inheritors change its name to something more indicative of unfettered kontrol.
 
Perhaps the [sub] National Question should be: what to call this liberated new Nation State at the long end of Afrika. And perhaps we should do it before the potholes take Kontrol and the road networks entirely disappear, as they apparently do in other decolonized zones… again, assuming such reports are not ‘fake’.
 
But then perhaps that would be too serious. Which is why that part of my Podcast serial: ‘the Jonker Memorandum’ set in the 22nd century, has ‘vehicles’ travelling by a form of ‘hovercraft’ process, because the roads have in ‘fiction’ vanished by that time.
 
My thanks to the organizers: Wits University Press and the redoubtable Corina van der Spoel for her usual superb organization. And thanks too to the wonderfully enthusiastic host team from the National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences for a most enjoyable, almost old fashioned, evening of pleasurable provocation.
 

Blog

Some weeks ago The Citizen published an AFP piece on the growing acceptance of what I call “Basic Pay” and their headline called “Universal income finding favour” [2 Feb, 2017].
 
I anticipated a flood of random outraged/acrimonious/ responses and have: either missed them, or they didn’t happen. This is odd since this subject should be the biggest subject in the country … never mind the world. We may well discover its completely hidden role in maintaining order, should the threatened ending on March 31st of the contract to supply 17,000,000 [seventeen million] persons with “Basic Pay”, RSA style, come to pass.
 
Then we may well discover it to be a mechanism to stave off mass conflict with those alleged to be, according to your correspondent; with reference to the recent Swiss, first round referendum on the subject, rewarding “… the lazy and the feckless” beneficiaries. While in reality they have [regrettably] committed an ancient sin of being superfluous to need.
 
Late last year you published a Gwynne Dyer piece, called “Half the jobs are going”, which I used as a discussion piece for a year end 9th grade exam. It was one of a rising tide of such articles appearing over the past few years. Simultaneously while U.S. Pres Trump is making much of his ‘bring back the workers’ theme there is growing evidence, some reported for instance this past week on the Bloomberg channel, that only about 20% of the jobs were lost to ‘cheaper’ venues from the Manufacturing industries of the USA over the past three decades; were actually lost to cheaper offshore labour.
 

80% apparently was lost to automation.
 
And this was obvious to me some 23 years ago when I began writing a futuristic [fictional story] called the Jonker Memorandum*. Aside from being intended as entertainment, the story also contains, the fact of Basic Pay and its associated Digital accomplice, The Transaction Levy [also loosely known as a Transaction tax or a Tobin tax,] as well as some ‘historical’ comment on some of the economic arguments used to justify it. This idea is currently under review in a number of quarters and China recently indicated they would be introducing it on a zero based level to begin with.
 
My site has, since its inception in 2011 attracted some 7,000,000 hits, mostly from machines, but also by some human persons: adding my arguments to the global debate.
 
In constructing my fictional world I embraced many of the ideas proponents are postulating in your AFP piece, albeit one of two departures is in your opening line… Rather than promoting basic i.e. ‘Universal’ pay in my story as a “Utopian idea” it is rather, a solution for an increasingly dystopian environment… a world increasingly perceived as less and less egalitarian.
 
Most obviously a world that continues to pour out an ever increasing mass of persons for whom no form of employment will ever exist, beyond new evolutions of self employment, is one facing mass scale disaffection; as is being revealed via BREXIT, Trumpism and a range of similar psychic reversal leaps in “LEFT BEHIND!!!!”current thinking.
 
Therefore different ways of managing survival calls for a complete re-evaluation of our understanding of the role of money [as opposed to wealth] in the world and so my story is at heart a sales pitch for the introduction of these tools [Basic Pay and the Transaction Levy] into society. If we can survive Quantitative easing to the rich why shouldn’t the same system work for the poor… at least they will spend the money: and the world’s problem [at east one of them] as the Federal Reserve keeps telling us, is an absence of demand.
 
Those unenlightened Neo Luddite persona who envisage “Taxing ROBOTS”, as your correspondent’s “Benoit Hamon surprise Socialist candidate” for Frances’s pending elections suggests, or more latterly, and surprisingly, Mr. Bill Gates suggests, have completely lost the plot regarding the destiny of both the human race and the future of the “Internet of Things”.
 
I chose with difficulty to write fiction, because by inclination I prefer poetry. So I wrote what eventually became an 84 episode allegoric prose poetic podcast cyber serial, over a period of years from 1994 to final episode uploaded in 2014. When I started on the journey I realized that it would take disruption of the most terminal type to bring about the revolution posed by basic pay and the transaction levy, so I used an event in 1998 as the trigger for a wave of disruptive tsunamis and other seismic phenomena that completely changes the dynamics of the planet; during which my Heroine introduces the idea as a solution to chaos.
 
Over the past years since I wrote and then read the world a “bedtime story’” a la Podcasting, I have noted [with concern, after all I thought I was writing fiction] that a disturbing number of things predicted as part of my story have become reality. Included amongst these is that, apparently, the mechanization of work has advanced to such a degree that three years ago in 2014 a Hong Kong based venture capital company, Deep Knowledge Ventures, achieved a world first: appointing an Algorithm to their board with equal voting rights to the other five [human] board members*. Current indications are that the algorithm performs better than the humans.
 
In closing I would mention that my position on the inevitability of Basic Pay financed through the Financial levy was first influenced and then founded by me on the following observation by Wassily Leontif [Nobel Economist 1983] who noted [then] that “The role of humans as the most important factor of production is bound to diminish in the same way that the role of horses … was first diminished: and then eliminated. Technology” he concluded, “can sever the link between infinite desires and full employment.”
 
Given the almost complete disappearance of horses from daily life can any statement have been more prescient?
 
Thank you.

* Ref: Homo deus Yuval Noah Harari. p322

The Social media PoPKru election

The November 19 online edition of the ‘New Yorker’ e’zine makes a plaintive “cultural comment”, on what writer, Nathan Heller calls: “The Failure of Facebook Democracy”. He roots his argument in the earlier public prognostications of a respected jurist in the USA: “If people are sorted into enclaves and niches, what will happen to their views?” he wondered. “What are the eventual effects on democracy?” The Jurist frets about the “Polarization of extremes” and the probable algorithmically impacts of ‘Likes’. In other words what happens when the “People” actually speak.
 
Heller then observes that: “ This month has provided a jarring answer. The unexpected election of Donald Trump is said to owe debts to both niche extremism and rampant misinformation.” … As if Mrs. Clinton, his opponent, was herself innocent of such debt.
 
What a curious cluster of statements. They do however summarise the shockwave running through global media for the past two weeks: whining about the death of meaningful factual evidence and the rise of opinion based reality… whatever that means. And as if they themselves were somehow paragons of virtue when it comes to the dissemination of information. In effect “The people” have chosen to believe their own lies and not those pumped by the press. Tut tut: Norty people [sic].
 
As Moises Naim proclaims, “Being in charge isn’t what it used to be” in his best selling “End of Power”.
 
And … in truth it has been an amazing, tumultuous and ultimately saddened fortnight.
 
Sad for the demise of an icon: well certainly for me. The Late Leonard Cohen: poet and muso extraordinaire. His ‘So Long Maryann’ was the second song that I sang for my equally late Grandmother-in-law at our first meeting: during the opening years of the seventies. [The first was Peter Sarstedt’s “Take off your clothes let me see what it is that you’re hiding… Don’t be afraid you have nothing to fear from my eyes”.] May they both rest in peace, no matter where each thought they might go.
 
It was amazing because of a confluence of previously unconsidered [so-called] Dark Swan events, arriving like the proverbial perfect shit storm. Shock election results [for some]. Shock “Transformation” events [for some] as our National rugby side have become the equals of the national Football team which on the rare occasion that they actually won an international during this past fortnight immediately fired the coach.
 
The Americans elected their first ever ‘working class’, Billionaire social media, reality TV star President. A few hours later the shit storm that followed sent a ‘tsunami’ washing along the side wall of the range of hills that separate north from south in Jakari’s home town Jozi. The Blog’s pad got 58 millimetres in roughly 20 minutes, while the suburbs on the end of the ‘mountain’ got nearly 160 mm in the same time. We get bad storms in summer… Highveld blazers they are of the kind I wrote about in the ‘Buffalo Hunters’ [Publ’ 1996]. This was like three storms in one.
 
It was, essentially, a wall of rain that swept in from the northwest and then slid left along the ridges called respectively Westcliff, Parktown and Linksfield and poured that deluge over Bedfordview, Senderwood and Edenvale.
 It turned a passing section of the ring road highway into a sudden raging torrent, sinking a logjam of congested traffic into a sudden unexpected quagmire of metres deep raging water. Homeward returning commuters found themselves heroically balancing on the roof tops of their wildly plunging, madly prancing, formerly beloved motor vehicles become masses of uncontrollable steel boxes; forming human chains, to help fellow commuters head to the safety of the highway sidewalls: An awesome, truly amazing event.
 
Then more hours later an ice storm hit part of a suburb of a coastal town…. Hail that fell in such a mass concentration that literally blocks of ice engaged with each other. Later still, on the other side of the planet a city on the east side of New Zealand, was devastated by a level 7 earthquake…. the third such earthquake to wreak havoc on the planet in the past month.
 
For us here in Jozi it was sad too for the number of people who were drowned in their cars [and elsewhere] while driving along a disgracefully inadequately guttered highway. A little three year old girl child has yet to be found after falling from a tree in which she was attempting to shelter when a well littered stream that loiters through the north eastern part of the city, became an instant raging flood wall of water: pouring roofs, cars, bricks n rubble, dogs, cats and a years worth of uncollected garbage, accumulated from a year’s worth of garbage worker strikes and strident downtime…
 
A voice on the radio called it “a one hundred year event”. And of course for those who have listened to the Jonker Memorandum they will know that ‘one hundred year’ events are starting to pile up in an ominous fashion…. And I thought I was writing fiction.
 
And so to the month’s tumultuous main two hundred year event: The election of Donald Trump: the world’s first working class, superstar billionaire, Social Media derived President of the USA. And so we enter the era of Tronald Dump. Wow…. we certainly got dumped on… and would prefer that those damm Yankees keep their own Dumpster under control so our commuters can drive home without having to take a bath.
 

Was this bloggist surprised by the result…? No I had predicted it the previous day in a lesson on ‘decision theory’, with my end of day senior class: timed as the election vote was starting on the American subcontinent. Among other things I had pointed out that in a long life of following political events with a trained eye, I had never experienced an event of this nature in which every form of respectable to mainstream to fringe media, of every shape, format and description with which I had any contact, gave one party a ninety percent chance of winning versus the other, who got the ten… grudgingly.
 
Using Mr. Rumsfeld’s “unknown unknown” SM factor… the alleged “Enclave and Niche” effect referred to by the New Yorker piece, we decided: the class and I, that, Mr. Trump’s chances were probably more like 60%; as the disintermediation effect of an uncontrolled stream of conflicting viewpoints opinions and rampant disinformation poured over the borders of this new quagmire called cyberspace. Truly a place as chaotic as out highway became for that half an hour.
 
In fact I did at times wonder if there was more than one contender taking part in the election, so parochial and pointless the entire exercise became… and we don’t even live there and have our own horror stories to endure. Regarding the election in a distant foreign country one was constantly reminded of a classic movie about a couple who buy a used house, the renovation of which leads to a bitter battle, in which they fight over the kids, the dogs and the nuclear button.
 

So how does someone everyone, including the house leader of the Party that he allegedly represented, and in fact pretty well his entire Party establishment; and, seemingly, the bulk of the supposedly supportive media, he represented: that literally everyone wanted to see beaten: become the ultimate winning “little guy”?
 
It could only be the latest quirk in what is now so rampant a revolutionary phenomenon, responsible [allegedly] for respectively the [so-called] ‘Arab Spring’, the upset British Conservative Party election victory in 2015, the subsequent infamous Brexit decision, and now, newly atomized humanity gives us Donald Trump a name that would be a byword for what he has done, in a fifties comic book … but who exists in reality: and as the comic meme goes Tronald Dump’s a Tsunami.
 
In closing, I note that the people, whom Mrs. Clinton called “Deplorables” in a moment that probably killed her campaign; and about whom the media broadly sneered about, as “bigoted, racist, sexist” and whatever other fashionable slurs became momentarily abused , alternately people whom I call the “PoP Kru or ‘Pissed off People’, may not be written off as random hillbillies and general layabouts…
 
That map of the USA became almost a solid red with a thin couple of blue smears along part of each coastline, where seemingly the half of the country that voted for Mrs. Clinton resided. What an awesome comment on the vanity of failure.
 
One hears that much of that crowd that voted for “Change” were of the generation that was Leonard Cohen’s, and additionally that so-called Baby Boomer generation to which I and Mr. Trump and Mr. Cinton and Mr. [Dubya] Bush ironically all belong, and who have continually changed the world during our slowly ending era of existence. And for those that either don’t remember or were perhaps not born it does look as though we are the generation that is about to change the world again, helped by vast swathes of disaffected Millenials.
 
So I call Mr. Trump’s election victory not only a social media victory but also as the initials [s.m.] imply, a ‘Schumpeterian Moment’*: In other words One of those unanticipated ‘Dark Swan’ events that changes everything, irrevocably. Such a disruption can either lead to something better, or, as frequently, to decades of chaos: as it did with our own s.m. “moment” shock election result of 1948. Either way the die is cast the game’s in play.
 
Of course following our own President’s example `Mr. Trump could spend the next four year in endless courtroom prevarication, as did one of his predecessors Mr. Clinton, as those being shoved from the trough fight to get their place back: unknowing that one can never step twice into the same river.
 
He may however break the massive logjam that has locked up economic performance for nearly a decade; and is exerting a relentless grip on the rest of the planet: tightening into a massive debt founded death lock.
 
If he can manage to loosen that, then he will go down to posterity as a man whose name became a Trump card… If not… Then perhaps my Jonker Memorandum ceases again to be fiction and the game may well be lost for some further generations to resurrect.

 
*[With thanks to Professor Nupen, Wits, Pol Sci 101, 1967 for his endless harangues on the Schumpeterian’ power of disruption’… named for Joseph Schumpeter who first wrote about it a century ago. ]

The Dumpster Years : A Schumpeterian season

The November 19 online edition of the ‘New Yorker’ e’zine makes a plaintive “cultural comment”, on what writer, Nathan Heller calls: “The Failure of Facebook Democracy”. He roots his argument in the earlier public prognostications of a respected jurist in the USA: “If people are sorted into enclaves and niches, what will happen to their views?” he wondered. “What are the eventual effects on democracy?” The Jurist frets about the “Polarization of extremes” and the probable algorithmically impacts of ‘Likes’.
 
Heller then observes that: “ This month has provided a jarring answer. The unexpected election of Donald Trump is said to owe debts to both niche extremism and rampant misinformation.” … As if Mrs. Clinton, his opponent, was herself innocent of such debt.
 
What a curious cluster of statements. They do however summarise the shockwave running through global media for the past two weeks: whining about the death of meaningful factual evidence and the rise of opinion based reality… whatever that means. And as if they themselves were somehow paragons of virtue when it comes to the dissemination of information. In effect “The people” have chosen to believe their own lies and not those pumped by the press. Tut tut:
Norty people [sic]. As Moises Naim proclaims, “Being in charge isn’t what it used to be” in his best selling “End of Power”.
 
And … in truth it has been an amazing, tumultuous and ultimately saddened fortnight.
 
Sad for the demise of an icon: well certainly for me. The Late Leonard Cohen: poet and muso extraordinaire. His ‘So Long Maryann’ was the second song that I sang for my equally late Grandmother-in-law at our first meeting: during the opening years of the seventies. [The first was Peter Sarstedt’s “Take off your clothes let me see what it is that you’re hiding… Don’t be afraid you have nothing to fear from my eyes”.] May they both rest in peace, no matter where each thought they might go.
 
It was amazing because of a confluence of previously unconsidered [so-called] Dark Swan events, arriving like the proverbial perfect shit storm. Shock election results [for some]. Shock “Transformation” events [for some] as our National rugby side have become the equals of the national Football team which on the rare occasion that they actually won an international during this past fortnight immediately fired the coach.
 
The Americans elected their first ever ‘working class’, Billionaire social media, reality TV star President. A few hours later the shit storm that followed sent a ‘tsunami’ washing along the side wall of the range of hills that separate north from south in Jakari’s home town Jozi. The Blog’s pad got 58 millimetres in roughly 20 minutes, while the suburbs on the end of the ‘mountain’ got nearly 160 mm in the same time. We get bad storms in summer… Highveld blazers they are of the kind I wrote about in the ‘Buffalo Hunters’ [Publ’ 1996]. This was like three storms in one.
 
It was, essentially, a wall of rain that swept in from the northwest and then slid left along the ridges called respectively Westcliff, Parktown and Linksfield and poured that deluge over Bedfordview, Senderwood and Edenvale.
 
It turned a passing section of the ring road highway into a sudden raging torrent, sinking a logjam of congested traffic into a sudden unexpected quagmire of metres deep raging water. Homeward returning commuters found themselves heroically balancing on the roof tops of their wildly plunging, madly prancing, formerly beloved motor vehicles become masses of uncontrollable steel boxes; forming human chains, to help fellow commuters head to the safety of the highway sidewalls: An awesome, truly amazing event.
 
Then more hours later an ice storm hit part of a suburb of a coastal town…. Hail that fell in such a mass concentration that literally blocks of ice engaged with each other. Later still, on the other side of the planet a city on the east side of New Zealand, was devastated by a level 7 earthquake…. the third such earthquake to wreak havoc on the planet in the past month.
 
For us here in Jozi it was sad too for the number of people who were drowned in their cars [and elsewhere] while driving along a disgracefully inadequately guttered highway. A little three year old girl child has yet to be found after falling from a tree in which she was attempting to shelter when a well littered stream that loiters through the north eastern part of the city, became an instant raging flood wall of water: pouring roofs, cars, bricks n rubble, dogs, cats and a years worth of uncollected garbage, accumulated from a year’s worth of garbage worker strikes and strident downtime…
 
A voice on the radio called it “a one hundred year event”. And of course for those who have listened to the Jonker Memorandum they will know that ‘one hundred year’ events are starting to pile up in an ominous fashion…. And I thought I was writing fiction.
 
And so to the month’s tumultuous main two hundred year event: The election of Donald Trump: the world’s first working class, superstar billionaire, Social Media derived President of the USA. And so we enter the era of Tronald Dump. Wow…. we certainly got dumped on… and would prefer that those damm Yankees keep their own Dumpster under control so our commuters can drive home without having to take a bath.
 

Was this bloggist surprised by the result…? No I had predicted it the previous day in a lesson on ‘decision theory’, with my end of day senior class: timed as the election vote was starting on the American subcontinent. Among other things I had pointed out that in a long life of following political events with a trained eye, I had never experienced an event of this nature in which every form of respectable to mainstream to fringe media, of every shape, format and description with which I had any contact, gave one party a ninety percent chance of winning versus the other, who got the ten… grudgingly.
 
Using Mr. Rumsfeld’s “unknown unknown” SM factor… the alleged “Enclave and Niche” effect referred to by the New Yorker piece, we decided: the class and I, that, Mr. Trump’s chances were probably more like 60%; as the disintermediation effect of an uncontrolled stream of conflicting viewpoints opinions and rampant disinformation poured over the borders of this new quagmire called cyberspace. Truly a place as chaotic as out highway became for that half an hour.
 
In fact I did at times wonder if there was more than one contender taking part in the election, so parochial and pointless the entire exercise became… and we don’t even live there and have our own horror stories to endure. Regarding the election in a distant foreign country one was constantly reminded of a classic movie about a couple who buy a used house, the renovation of which leads to a bitter battle, in which they fight over the kids, the dogs and the nuclear button.
 

So how does someone everyone, including the house leader of the Party that he allegedly represented, and in fact pretty well his entire Party establishment; and, seemingly, the bulk of the supposedly supportive media, he represented: that literally everyone wanted to see beaten: become the ultimate winning “little guy”?
 
It could only be the latest quirk in what is now so rampant a revolutionary phenomenon, responsible [allegedly] for respectively the [so-called] ‘Arab Spring’, the upset British Conservative Party election victory in 2015, the subsequent infamous Brexit decision, and now, newly atomized humanity gives us Donald Trump a name that would be a byword for what he has done, in a fifties comic book … but who exists in reality: and as the comic meme goes Tronald Dump’s a Tsunami.
 
In closing, I note that the people, whom Mrs. Clinton called “Deplorables” in a moment that probably killed her campaign; and about whom the media broadly sneered about, as “bigoted, racist, sexist” and whatever other fashionable slurs became momentarily abused , alternately people whom I call the “PoP Kru or ‘Pissed off People’, may not be written off as random hillbillies and general layabouts…
 
That map of the USA became almost a solid red with a thin couple of blue smears along part of each coastline, where seemingly the half of the country that voted for Mrs. Clinton resided. What an awesome comment on the vanity of failure.
 
One hears that much of that crowd that voted for “Change” were of the generation that was Leonard Cohen’s, and additionally that so-called Baby Boomer generation to which I and Mr. Trump and Mr. Cinton and Mr. [Dubya] Bush ironically all belong, and who have continually changed the world during our slowly ending era of existence. And for those that either don’t remember or were perhaps not born it does look as though we are the generation that is about to change the world again, helped by vast swathes of disaffected Millenials.
 
So I call Mr. Trump’s election victory not only a social media victory but also as the initials [s.m.] imply, a ‘Schumpeterian Moment’*: In other words One of those unanticipated ‘Dark Swan’ events that changes everything, irrevocably. Such a disruption can either lead to something better, or, as frequently, to decades of chaos: as it did with our own s.m. “moment” shock election result of 1948. Either way the die is cast the game’s in play.
 
Of course following our own President’s example `Mr. Trump could spend the next four year in endless courtroom prevarication, as did one of his predecessors Mr. Clinton, as those being shoved from the trough fight to get their place back: unknowing that one can never step twice into the same river.
 
He may however break the massive logjam that has locked up economic performance for nearly a decade; and is exerting a relentless grip on the rest of the planet: tightening into a massive debt founded death lock.
 
If he can manage to loosen that, then he will go down to posterity as a man whose name became a Trump card… If not… Then perhaps my Jonker Memorandum ceases again to be fiction and the game may well be lost for some further generations to resurrect.

 
*[With thanks to Professor Nupen, Wits, Pol Sci 101, 1967 for his endless harangues on the Schumpeterian’ power of disruption’… named for Joseph Schumpeter who first wrote about it a century ago. ]

The Thing of Things

It is about twelve days now since my 22nd Re-Birthday. Twenty-two years ago on what has subsequently become a day of infamy, I died on the operating table during emergency surgery for multiple gunshot wounds. Went somewhere learned things and returned. And for twenty-two years now those routinely disturbing ‘travel’ experiences have kept recurring, triggered randomly by some glancing chance: or from the depths of sleep.
 
Most prevalent of these is a somewhat odd idea of the ‘Things of Things’ [as opposed to the ‘Internet of things’] … Chaos determines that a small event [a thing] can have profound effects on other ‘things’. And I have learned that CHAOS RULES.
 
Take for instance the currently hypothesized idea [with suitable backup] that a Comet strike on the planet some 12 Thousand odd years ago wiped out a pre-existing civilization, about which we have no knowledge, of its existence… As if an early version of Rome’s ultimate nemesis the Vandals; or even an ISIS [Daesch[sic]] gathering of disaffected billions consumed the past, and obliterated all knowledge of it and persecuted mercilessly any who held any view to the contrary.
 
It could even be speculated that the glorious cornucopia of pictographic stuff we have been privy to with Gobekli Tepe, a recently ‘discovered’ place in S.E. Turkey associated with this idea of a comet strike 12,000 years ago, was deliberately chosen and [seemingly carefully disguised] hidden; because the vanished civility could [hypothetically since we know nothing of them] have been a digitally literate society such as we are becoming, perhaps as much as we are becoming… and therefore what would we leave were we obliterated by alleged chunks off a comet that generated “The Great Flood” referred to in a litany of ancient myths and legends: and an era called the Younger Dryas.
 

Assuming the story represented by the unfolding remains of the ruin called Gobleki Tepe has any validity, then it raises the real question of why did it take us the best part of 6000 years to recover, and even then why was it only to the level represented by Akkadia and Sumeria.
 
And here we are once again on the edge of memory loss, and thus drawn, to often fallacious conclusions, in hopes of triggering truth… whatever it is.
 
Someone, often a bureaucrat, makes a decision about some pet peeve… or to resolve some issue… and down the line a comet strike occurs and chaos theory suggests linkages. For instance a recent entertaining viral piece of social media, drew attention to a chain of decision making that extended over two thousand years.The chain starts with a decision to construct a Roman chariot to accommodate the rear ends of the pair of warhorses intended to pull it… and the viral piece goes on to demonstrate the effect of that decision, on the design ultimately for rockets being sent into space.
 
Thus it was that I came to ruminate on yet another burst of student rage over the payment of fees to attend universities that seemingly most of many are unable to handle with any comfort: either in respect of Fees or acquisition of knowledge.And centtral to my rumination was the thoughts i had on learning of an abrupt, unaccountable leap in the “qualification” rate of final year high school learner in 2013.
 
In evaluating a problem that has the potential to gratuitously, rightly or wrongly, wipe out Mzansi’s inherited tertiary education structure, I wonder whether this thing of things has turned to haunt us. My ruminatory conclusion is that a pair of inherently unrelated “things”, are conflating: to bring down the house. To whit: Ill prepared wannabe tertiary learners and the democratization of corrupt practice.
 
Regarding the first proposition: Ill prepared learners.
 
As a long service contributor to the secondary education system it has long been held within the senior levels that the final results for the national senior certificate assessment are routinely adjusted [usually] upwards to communicate the impression that the ‘system’ is not as dark as it is painted and that a rising number of Children are achieving a university standard assessment. I admit that this is speculative and based on kolektive routine amazement that leaners who seemed and presented as, inept, unprepared and incompetent, routinely end up amongst the low end of the ‘winning entries’ [no offence intended to any so fortunate.]
 
Thus it was that I have long wondered wondered at a decision [presumably taken] to hugely and perhaps artificially inflate the final results for the 2013 high school year’s Senior Certificate assessment.
 
The figure jumped some 8 [eight] percentage points above the preceding year, which, notwithstanding the relevant minister claiming an “Eight percent” improvement was nonetheless in reality, in statistical language, closer to 14 Fourteen Percent. Either number was way outside the margin of error, or models of acceptable standard deviation, applicable to the measurement of relatively standardised and homogenous numbers and how they change over time.
 
It is undoubtedly a common occurrence to have successive school years or grades that are higher scoring than the preceding or following peers. So a fourteen percent improvement when viewed over say a fifty-year period would seem normal. When however, we review performance over a considerable and uniformly heterogeneous number drawn from the entire nation; and compare that result with the year preceding, then, in the absence of some considerable disruption, a movement of such magnitude is inherently suspect.
 
Nonetheless as we all know; for whatever reasons, no one official said anything to the contrary. The system ‘bought’ into the ‘development’, there was a national election pending, there were other more pressing issues of the day: than ’whingeing’ over the immense “success” of the new order. That was that and we all moved on. In fairness any demurrage would have been decried as an example of extreme political inappropriateness.
 
And thus it was, among other outcomes, that some 50,000 happy [albeit most fraudulently deluded] post -matriculants who, having ‘discovered’ that they had always been lied to, and that passing was a whole lot easier than everyone had always claimed, rushed to enroll in Tertiary, in a social media revolution driven militant wave that should already have had the eyebrows seriously raised.
 
For those unfamiliar with the usual process aspirant university entrants start planning and sending in reports from 11th grade, and the news media of the day were crammed, you may remember, with tales of administrative chaos: as a sea of new order millennials hit varsity in a wave that is cleansing out many a gloomy corner in its tumultuous passage.
 
Among other aspects of chaos an innocent mommy of one aspirant, was crushed to death, somehow in the maul that flooded unwary campuses. Multitudes who had mysteriously passed without much effort found themselves in a place where performance was all… and no one was playing games with outcomes. Thus their routine, embedded, standard, reflexive, procrastination model has yielded only rising un-payable debt and a terrifying wake up call to a reality that was instantly defined as deliberately and obfuscatingly complex.
 
Naturally this kolektion of happy under-ready persons, borrowed money at globally extortionate interest rates to go to the Uni’ of their dreams; assuming [reasonably] that their routine dilatory study habits were not the problem, for they were the same habits that got them through, so it was not that they had an intellectual problem with grasping the complexity of what they had chosen to study ….. The idea that the system had been rigged to their advantage was/is obviously both offensive, patronizing and also wrong enough for them to discover that their dreams had become nightmares.
 
The outcome is well known to those who follow events in obsessively parochial Mzansi. #Fees must fall, #all inconvenientlearningmustfall, #Universitiesmustfall
And to drive the message home ‘Burn baby burn’ as campuses in many quarters have seen artworks destroyed, libraries containing irreplaceable documents torched, entire science facilities razed to the ground, not to mention about two years of minimal learning; and skills development [the latter not strictly speaking, a university function… but rather one, recently imposed, through killing off the entire inherited alternative learning Technikons and similar institutions providing skills training.]
 
For skills you needed to go to a tech, or similar type of tertiary function designed to create a functional workforce. So we did away with all that and now you MUST go to Varsity. So we have masses of unemployable 20 something Arts graduates in such random fields as Biblical studies while we are short of plumbers, chefs, computer technicians, dental technicians, car mechanics, cabinetmakers, and toolmakers and so on, over pages of occupations… for whom no serious consideration has been given. When post are advertised, for instance by the local city council, one reads reports of applicants by the tens of thousands seeking to work as traffic cops, where ill- gotten ‘small payments’ are rumoured to be the bait: while ads for plumbers and electricians go unanswered.
 
People have literally died to get jobs as traffic cops and no one even knows that being an electrician in a country that must build at least ten million homes over a career lifetime would be a meal ticket for life: without the reasonable possibility of being shot dead by someone you pulled over for an offence.
 
Now the word is out. The exam results must be managed back down again. Last year’s [2015] results were down nearly 5 Percentage points on 2014, and there were some reports during the year from news aggregator services online, that the result was still 15 percentage points above the initial raw score recorded by the system before being “moderated”.
 
In the meantime the UNi’s are in some cases teetering on bankruptcy and even the most well off are taking a hammering. They have been prevented from raising their fees. The present government has apparently slashed their budgetary contributions, and a crashing economy is yielding a paucity of private benefactors. The kids don’t want to pay fees to study things that don’t understand.They have also become privy to the fact that the new elites are getting rich on democratised tax returns and thus comes the conflation.
 
The failure rate is apparently at all time record levels, one has heard figures of 90% under-competence levels being routinely reported in some quarters, and the international rankings of even the historically best universities are no longer anywhere near approximate of desirable. In other words they suck.
 
The mob, representing those who have been defrauded, and hence cheated out of their lives are righteously angry and absolutely no one in any form of authority is even starting to get to grips with what is a viral pandemic nightmare with no prospect of resolution. The relevant Minister of Higher education has ‘washed his hands’ apparently and put off “indefinitely” any consideration of what to do about the disastrous mess… which naturally can’t go away … until the Uni’s do.
 
And then having done that, and mindful that it was the President himself who elevated the government to central player in this years long tussle, last year, by unilaterally cancelling all fee increases for this year now in progress. The issue of the moment is whether the Uni’s can raise their fees for 2017. Decisions by the government were carefully withheld until breaks were over and the kids were on the home run to the exams and then the relevant Minister ducked completely and handed the responsibility for ‘increase decisions’ back to the Uni’s: successfully triggering off yet another anarchic wave of righteous indignation, burnage, rock throwing, teargas, molotov cocktails and stun grenades.
 
And so the entire “Pay back the money” idea takes a new turn as the students correctly argue that the money used for decades now for self enrichment shouold be theirs for a fee free education… and while i do have reservation on that with regard to University, i do bloggishly feel that the vocational sector should be released from the academic sector so that people can get skills that will be commercially useful and a price that facilitates national development.
 
And hence we have an insight into why it took thousands of years to recover our momentum when, as seems to be possible [and subject to further evidence] our entire evolutionary path was knocked of course… many thousands of years before we even began to now that learning was an arduous and contradictory journey.
 
The sheer weight of disillusion must inevitably break the system, and in the way of Gresham’s law* [Bad money drives out good] the empowered but powerless and vociferous majority must cancel out the potential of the tiny band of academic heroes.
 
And that is without throwing into the mix the growing disillusion with the way the fruits of the revolution have been allegedly appropriated by new elites intent on self-enrichment in place of fostering development and this is of course a problem regarding the perceptions of leadership in the country.
 
So the new ‘unspoken’ revolves around the knowledge from kolekted annual Auditor General reports. It is that the sheer scale of personal “Acquisition” over many years now would have comfortably funded free education at a range of tertiary levels, as it was once when it was heavily subsidized, without placing the pinnacle of the system at risk of disintegration.
 
So when rage conflates with disillusion a “comet” hits a planet’s comfortable existence; and the results, should care not prevail, could be a journey to a place that was not thought of when the word transformation became the new buzz term… but which has become the new normal for a range of other declining territories.
 
So what are the What if’s to this now overwhelming conundrum brought about by a simple failure to understand the dramatic difference between 8 percent and eight percentage points at a time when even point eight percent would have seen growing excellence being burnished and would have represented reality more closely. Notice that no one is sharing the secret of what to do, and the What if’s remain in the realm of fiction.
 
Perhaps that is why those ancients we knew no thing about, left us Pictographs at Gobekli Tepe, knowing we have issues with understanding.

.

Breaking Plates

On the night Great Britain decided to choose a path no one had thought through to a logical conclusion; we went to the theatre on the Square … the square being Nelson Mandela square in Sandton City, the power quarter of Greater Jozi.
 
We went to the opening night of Renos Spanoudes’ play: ‘Breaking Plates’, a one person show: written and played by himself. It was deeply into a current genre representing that part of Jozi’s historical population, that is relatively evaporating: and operates in a world of those who are highly taxed but with limited political input; and is known conveniently as Retrospective.
 
And for Spanoudes? And the performance: a well worn cliché that never truly understands itself to be a cliché… A ‘Tour de Force’ with capitals.
 
For non germane reasons I have great difficulty with sitting anywhere for more than ten to fifteen minutes before the combination loss of mobility and sheer pain distract me from what I’m doing. Usually when we go to the movies or the theatre I choose the seat on the aisle on the right of the facility, so that I can stretch a leg or, if not available, the front row, which usually is: at the movie houses.
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On this occasion our tickets led us to a prime position in the middle of the back row. [It is a wonderfully Intimate theatre]from which i had an excellent view of the performance.
 
I would commend this information presented in the preceding two paragraphs as a testimaony to the power of Spanoude’s presentation: that it was so compelling that all conciousness of pain was absorbed by the text… That through humour and its pain made mine more bearable perhaps… I was only occasionally aware that the performance is a long single sitting… and that does not happen often.
 
In a series of five vignettes Spanoudes reprises several roles, one of which bore a haunting memory of a famous picture routinely used as a perception measuring tool, from the world of Psychiatry: a picture that from one angle or, point of view, is of a young woman: and from another, an aged crone. His performance here as the hauntingly aged crone was superb… bordering occasionally toward an edge of ruinous bathos and then drawing back delicately at the same instant… paced with aching anxiety: as he relates the woman’s empathically sad loss of purpose.
 
The irony he presents throughout in an un-missable [sic] performance, was crucifyingly apparent hours later, when we woke, on our side of the planet to the news regarding the now infamous BREXIT. We know now that the populace of that curious island called Geat Britain, from which I am spawned, had chose an act of seeming National Suicide: that has thrown the world into complete disarray.
 
They chose to step off a cliff during the darkest part of night, without any understanding of what lay ahead; whether some life-preserving trampoline affair… ish thingy would be waiting, at somewhere below ground level to catch them, bounce them into unprecedented prosperity: and keep them warm at night.
 
They, seemingly sleepwalked themselves to the voting booth/or not, in what was not a particularly tensely fought referendum, in which less than three quarters of the prospective voting populace actually troubled to go and vote … like many didn’t really care, either way… The union of which they had been a member for all of the country’s under 40s existence was so taken for granted that many never knew who they were, apparently, for there were reports on the Friday following the outcome, that “European Union” was the top trending item on Google that day… Talk about catching an ‘after action’ ‘wake up’….
 
And that form of news was what Renou Spanoudes set out to explore as, with a delicate series of brushstrokes he evaluates what is lost, about where we’ve been: when we can no longer go there… And hence dwell on, in Retrospection.
 
Bravo Renos.
 
P.S. he said it was on till July 9th so should you be in Sandton to inspect the late President’s monumental statue don’t miss ‘Breaking Plates’.

Enter Basic Pay

As my readers will know,because you’ve been following me for a while,the inevitable ending of our present track will be the replacement of most ordinary work by machine managed operations. This means that for the vast mass of the exploding human race population explosion most will have nothing of any significance to do in order to keep body and soul together. We are even on the cusp of making agricultural workers obsolete.
 

I write fiction and blogs n things and i wrote this blog that follows, based on two stories that appeared in the Business Report section of the local Star Newspaper on the 24th this month.
 
It was written as if to them, but since there is no certainty that it would pass muster to fill diminishing space, it will be on my blogsite, with tags to their edition.
 
Some weeks ago Business Report [BR] published a letter from a person in a place called Mount Edgecombe who wrote that: [BR headline] “Leader’s beliefs entirely opposed to their portfolios”. [BR: Monday May 23 2016.]
 
That headline came to mind when read I the BR Op-ed piece on the 24th [May] by Dr Thami Mazwai. [A Starting point for the State to help fortify small business.]. The writer gives such grudging concessions to the very idea of: “MARKETS!??” that I was left wondering what his actual understanding of ‘business’ was: enabling someone to buy what you want to sell to them? Hard routinely dispiriting work..or dealing with only one customer… the State…. And is that actually business? we were not informed about that.

 

I bear no philosophical grudge against the idea of governments facilitating developing small businesses either. I simply moved on from his resumé/litany of depressingly same ole same ole “we must do this, we must do that…” Surely it is time for a few: “We have done’s?”.

 

I did note too, the sentence in paragraph 6 that said “… that government spent R7,3 billion annually in support of small, medium and micro enterprises.”

 

So I moved on; and a headline in the International section caught my eye: “Swiss look at $2500 for DOING NOTHING!” The Swiss are voting to eradicate most welfare payments in return for a national basic wage payable equally to all [presumably: citizens] Wow! Basic Pay. At last a rational move, from a rational people.

 

The details of it are vague. Nonetheless Basic Pay is an idea I adopted back in the day, as a fictional idea for a work of fiction, and have promoted for 22 years, in promoting my fiction. It was cool to see it headlined at last and we shall establish the present extent to which the idea remains fictional.

 

And then I remembered the SEVEN point three BILLION and I sat down and I wrote down the following equation: What if: 7,300,000,000 is divided by 17,000,000 welfare recipients [BR recent budget report refers]? What would that equals?

 

Answer R132.73. p.a. Not much: A cup of coffee in Dubai.

 

The same equation with the 204.6 billion spent on actual welfare transfers, in the latest budget, was only R12035.31 PA. Again: not much albeit it is keeping 17,000,000 people alive, which was never the natural environment’s intention*. (*Tag`; ‘Reader. John’]

 

Now I would dispute the point made by Dr Mazwai, that the international start up business failure rate is 50% [Paragraph 5]. And that therefore for some weird reason, there must be something wrong with us because we are “5 out of 7” [or 71%]. Depending on size of sample and locations, most places are higher than 50. We have always been higher. In fact most estimates I have read over the years are in the 80% range so the Minister’s observation reflects an improved perspective. This is good because right now there is growing, reported, concern, that the trend in the total number of new start-ups in ‘home of business’ USA [for instance] is disturbingly less than in the past. There is no indication either that the fewer start-ups have an improved success rate.
 

There are businesses that owe their existence to the task [often Sisyphean] of reducing that failure rate. [When I say always, I am mindful that the country’s infancy was rooted in, initially, monopoly control of business opportunities in an encroaching band of territory by an early multi-national corporation: de Dutch East India Company … a period that extended through other means as well for a considerable time thereafter until after liberation.]

 

In fact self-reliance has actually been a hallmark of South African development. But the number who can manage self-reliance is thin. And thus many commentators, in your various supplements, routinely refer to our low, entrepreneurial, enterprise oriented populace, by comparison with such places as, for instance Chile, and more brusquely with those who are, as Dr Mazwai points out, subject to “intermittent explosions”. However our citizenry is really rather normal in this regard, risk taking is often bad for survival, so sensible people attempt to minimize risk. Crazy people start great companies… with no disrespect to those magnificent spirits.

 

So logically, the Swiss should vote YES. After all they have a similar problem to us, being that most people, even there, are not naturally entrepreneurial. Therefore it could actually be cheaper to give everyone a basic guarantee, [“According to need” as Marx observed in his Critique of the Gotha Programme]. Lose job, register online, receive basic guarantee through guarantee credited to account in finance house of choice [not withdrawable [sic] as cash], find new job, tax registration online suspends guarantee until next time. Simple. And: all done by machines. Presumably the place [Switzerland] has modestly effective compliance rates

 

This means it could also save the administrative cost of maintaining an otherwise under-productive, swelling bureaucratic edifice, to facilitate determining who should have the right to receive a slice from a complex welfare payments web: something that will inevitably raise the number seeking productive work… albeit that should in turn produce a surplus that could be added to the stipend.

 

It could nonetheless reduce the number of business start up failures, [for reasons that would perhaps be beyond the scope of this specific blog]. And that would be beneficial to the economy.

 

Obfuscatorily [sic], it would also require a subtle re-engineering of the overall tax system, to move from its present broadly, historically onerous, direct taxation levels with their often violent origins in a pre digital physical world: to less noticeably painful, micro deductions congruent with a digitalised world. These will be made to accommodate the introduction of the Transaction levy concept; as the Chinese have begun, to do, with their introduction of the [presently zero-rated] “Tobin Tax”.

 

On the other hand, of course, a myriad lifetime’s of memes, expressively symbolic of your “DOING NOTHING” headline, will more probably kick in this time, and so the Swiss vote may only pass, on about the fourth attempt… when the current wave of impending doldrums causes serious evaluation of the unintended costs of welfare.

 

Perhaps though it could be argued that Consumption is a job. I did mention that I write fiction, didn’t i?

 

But pass it eventually will. It is part of the future of Public finance, along with the transaction levy; recently nudging into re-existence, now in China… presently and cautiously limited to Currency trades, but, inevitably, spreading out into those world’s of derivatives, hedges and swaps, n all things ephemeral: as Rent is extracted from Time, without due consideration for dues: thereby starving more risky actual ‘real’ value creating businesses, of the kind sought after by Dr Mazwai… while adding less value to the common good. All good fiction isn’t it? Except that some seek to make it fact… and if it could increase happiness shouldn’t we consider it?

 

Thus we [the human race] will strive to harness the kinetic energy of the [so-called] ‘Casino Economy’ that we have invented, through the micro-cent mathematics of the new digital economy.…. as represented by for instance [of all things?] Spotify… ultimately without harming its [the ‘Casino Economy’s’] potential for amplifying change.

 

Thereby we would begin to effect the present ongoing transition of our global enterprise from its current earth warming smokestack era to a digitally driven greener future, where robots do the ‘heavies’ and humans learn to evolve to ‘our next level of consciousness’, as the Late Professor Tobias observed some years ago in his final public speech, in answer to a question from me on the subject.
 

So to return to Dr Mazwai’s R7, 3 billion spent on “supporting emerging enterprise” for what, to judge by the doctor’s gloomy prognosis, is something of a loss leader. So perhaps the Doctor could cut directly to the chase, and not wait to pass go… and take the entire budget and …. Ask …

 

Is it a viable idea? Who knows? So many things that didn’t seem viable or even tenable, when they first happened turned out to be game changers, and perhaps, paying people to become consumers isn’t a bad job in an age of saturation supply overwhelming all traditional theories of economics: a discipline founded on the management of scarcity. After all, surely consumption trumps NOTHING [if we may still use that T word]

 

And then there is a growing body of opinion suggesting that the current slow moving environment is partly due to QE enriched bankers using their haul to prop up their balance sheets, rather than exploiting the leverage potential of flooding struggling under- consumers with life enhancing salaries. That doesn’t sound much like fiction.

 

Aah. Such are the random thoughts of a fiction scribbling blogger.

 

Yours

Nicholas