What Have I Been Reading? June 15, 2021

“Love is wise; hatred is foolish. In this world, which is getting more and more closely interconnected, we have to learn to tolerate each other, we have to learn to put up with the fact that some people say things that we don’t like. We can only live together in that way. But if we are to live together, and not die together, we must learn a kind of charity and a kind of tolerance, which is absolutely vital to the continuation of human life on this planet.”

Bertrand Russell

Tim Mohin and Kenataro Kawamori, Fast Company – June 7, 2021 


Can we keep doing this?

Climate activists have footholds in big oils’ boardrooms and activist shareholders have flexed their muscles. Also, Dutch courts have beat up on Royal Dutch Shell. Excerpt:

It may have seemed like an ordinary Wednesday, but May 26, 2021, will go down in history as a tipping point in the fight against climate change. It was the day that three oil and gas majors were sharply rebuked by climate activism—a day that will forever change the operational, legal, social, and financial landscape for this sector.

Catie Edmondson, The New York Times – June 8, 2021 


The Shanghai skyline.

I can’t be the only person to see the irony.  While China openly champions the benefits of a state managed economy, the US believes in the ultimate victory of the free market and the entrepreneurial spirit. Well, China would not have a booming economy and a growing middle and higher income group without a growing number of entrepreneurs. Conversely, the US would never have developed into an economic powerhouse without an Industrial Policy and industrial intervention.

Alexander Hamilton was the first major proponent of US Industrial Policy. However, industrial policy lost favour in the the Reagan years. Thus began the decline in US manufacturing and the off-shoring of its economy. Excerpt:

The measure, the core of which was a collaboration between Mr. Schumer and Senator Todd Young, Republican of Indiana, would prop up semiconductor makers by providing $52 billion in emergency subsidies with few restrictions. That subsidy program will send a lifeline to the industry during a global chip shortage that shut auto plants and rippled through the global supply chain.

The bill would sink hundreds of billions more into scientific research and development pipelines in the United States, create grants and foster agreements between private companies and research universities to encourage breakthroughs in new technology.

The Economist – June 5, 2021 

Secular laws isolate and do nothing to make Western society attractive. Honey attracts, vinegar does not.


A a new book by Ed Hussain explains

A cautionary tale – governments must beware of not paying attention to inclusionary policies that encourage diverse cultures to blend into wider society. Also, Western nations have given Saudis a free pass in exchange for oiled military bases. Most Americans believe that Iran was behind the 911 attacks. The make-up of the 19 terrorists include one Lebanese, one Egyptian, two Emeratis, and 15 Saudis. Why would any western country trust the Kingdom or allow its Wahhabis pour money into its mosques and schools?


Saudi Wahhabis pour money into British mosques and offer all-expenses-paid scholarships to young British Muslims. More surprising is the importance of the Deobandis. Mr Husain claims more than half of the country’s mosques now belong to the movement, which began in India and seeks to rebuild the caliphate from the ground up, convert by convert…….

The third is more practical. Britain is witnessing a struggle for the soul of Islam. But the state has repeatedly acted as if it is on the side of the forces of reaction rather than those of enlightenment. It has kowtowed to self-proclaimed community leaders, mistaking hardline beliefs for “authenticity”. It has tolerated schools such as Darul Uloom, in Rochdale, that combines gcse instruction with requiring students to memorise the Hadiths, including ones about beating wives and stoning homosexuals.

And it has failed to make a compelling case for Britishness. Mr Husain points out that many Muslim children get a warts-and-all account of British history from their schools, while hearing constant praise for Turkey and Saudi Arabia in their madrassas. The trauma of Brexit has created a palpable desire to cure many of the social and geographic divisions that threaten to divide the country into warring tribes. Mr Husain makes a compelling case that that quest should not ignore the world of the mosque. 

The Alternative UK – June 13, 2021 


I would’ve to travel somewhere in a blimp. Or, is it on a blimp?

New eco-blimps beat new supersonic jets anyday 

Dirigibles have always intrigued me. The 1937 Hindenburg  explosion put paid to their development for transatlantic air crossings. The Hindenberg had a luxury dining room, lounge, and sleeping quarters.  Excerpts:

From Positive News, here’s the story:

Carbon-neutral, short-haul air travel will be possible by the end of the decade, say those behind a project to put airships in the skies. Such a development could reduce emissions from aviation, a notoriously difficult sector to decarbonise.

UK-based Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV) this week unveiled air routes that it hopes to offer from 2025. Those include Liverpool to Belfast, Barcelona to the Balearic Islands and Seattle to Vancouver. 

The 100-seater airships would initially use both combustion and electric engines, providing a range of 460 miles. HAV told Positive News that the CO2 footprint per passenger would be about 75 per cent lower than on a plane. By 2030, the company aims to have an operational, zero-emissions all-electric fleet. 

Cities are in Crisis

March 7, 2024

Anastasia Mourogova Millin, March 5, 2024 Earth’s urban population will grow by 2.5 billion people over the next 30 years. Over the same time period, urban land expansion put at risk the survival of 855 different species and will threaten the homes of over 30,000 animal and plant species. Add in the impact of climate […]

The Co-working Concept, Issue 80

January 22, 2024

Co-working space came to mean the notorious We Work model. When I had been asked to opine on co-working I tried to steer the conversation away from the Adam Neumann / Softbank  flimflam growth model. Instead, I suggested that property owners look at usage and users. While I doubted We Work’s ability to survive I […]

The Affordable Housing Conundrum

October 3, 2023

Before I fall completely into the trap of opposition politics, I have decided to take a break from never-ending criticism and to start suggesting solutions to the affordable housing conundrum. Do I have a plan? No, more a collection of ideas To start with, I think there are three key issues: Home ownership is not […]

We Should Know Better

August 26, 2023

I know! I am going to sound like a grumpy old man. Maybe that is because I am. I have been scratching my head in wonderment at the Taylor Swift phenomena. Is she an Incredible song writer, composer, and performer? I really don’t know! A discussion for another time? But probably not. At my age […]

Not in My Back Yard

August 4, 2023

Don’t build it! At least, Not In My Back Yard ! I acted as an advisor  in the sale of a beautifully natural, 14-acre urban waterfront estate. Existing zoning allowed for the development of 30 to 35 single-family homes, which after road dedication would leave very little green space. I did not think that was […]

Glasgow – That Dear Green Place

July 31, 2023

We were visiting Glasgow (literally that Dear Green Place in Gaelic) to see where my father was born, grew up, and went to University. Fortunately for me, my cousin John from Australia had just visited and had met with historians, Bruce Downie  and Norry Wilson.  So,  we too arranged to meet them in the Govanhill […]