A Plan to end the World Refugee Crisis – PHICS and beyond

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While many parts of the world live in peace, there are countries suffering from turmoil and war for prolonged periods, in the worst cases such as in Syria and Iraq, huge numbers of humans including the old, women and children are compelled to leave their homes and flee either within their own countries or to other countries. When persons are displaced within their own countries, it may be regarded as primarily an internal problem of that country, although in humanitarian interest other countries may try to counsel or influence it to resolve the issue. When huge numbers of humans flee the country and arrive in other countries, it no longer remains an internal problem of that country but becomes an International one. What can the world do about it? Existing international mechanisms such as the United Nations have clearly failed to resolve such issues and a new plan that works is urgently needed.

The world community must come together to alleviate the distress of humans.

Concerned at the situation in places like Somalia, Sudan, Iraq and Syria this author had applied his mind to the crisis in 2013 and proposed a plan called PHICS here
https://ashokmalhotra.wordpress.com/2013/08/22/need-for-a-new-international-law-to-save-humans-syria/

It consisted of the following;

1. If there is chaos, disorder, massive loss of life and human displacements from any country of the world on a continuing basis for a period longer than a year that has caused refugees to flee not just their homes but also their countries in hundreds of thousands, then such a country should be declared as a failed state in need of international intervention and supervision by force if necessary.
2. Such a country shall be placed under international governance, imposed if necessary by an international force for five years
3. During these five years a new standard prepared constitution shall be imposed and supervised elections shall be held while every attempt is made to restore order. The constitution can later be modified by a two third majority of the elected representatives and the country shall be handed back at the end of these five years but the next two elections shall also take place under supervision.

This is only the initial draft for discussion stated very briefly. It may be finalized after debate and safeguards stated. An appropriate forum for such a debate is the general assembly of United Nations. The only alternative to a new law as described here and termed as PHICS for the world is to host millions of refugees from disturbed countries and in the long run create disturbances in their own countries. The world suffers as a whole when there is any significant suffering in any part and the only few who gain are the dealers and makers of arms

How to Overcome Obstruction

Whenever any major change is proposed in the world, some country or person may have its own legitimate objections. The power of vote and democracy is able to override such objection. However the UN has been unable to do this because of the power of the veto held by a few select nations. PHICS cannot work if the power of veto continues in the present form. In case of a veto, the matter must be sent to the General Assembly again and if two thirds of the members propose, it should be abolished.

The Unique Situation of Iraq and Syria

While PHICS is proposed to be applied country wise, there are times when the problems of two neighboring nations are intertwined and need a special joint treatment as in the case of Iraq and Syria. In this case what is required before imposing national constitution and elections is a year or two spent in reorganizing the borders of the country with a view to long term stability. For example, seeing the turmoil in Iraq and Syria it would be best to redraw the borders of these countries to create three countries, A Shia Country merging Shia portions of Iraq and Syria with connecting corridors.; a Sunni country similarly and Kurdistan merging Kurdish portions of Iraq and Syria. Such reorganization would also correct  historical errors in drawing country boundaries and one such has clearly  been made here. Such an exercise would involve an international body of experts and a final approval of the United Nations with power to override vetoes as described earlier

iraq

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A new Kingdom is born – Piland

The Flag of Kingdom of Piland

The Flag of Kingdom of Piland

Today I was fascinated by a news report that an American has claimed a piece of the planet that apparently belonged to no country i.e. it was Terra Nullius. He has named it the Kingdom of North Sudan and declared himself as king. I do not have sufficient knowledge of International law to know how far this claim is valid or if it is a joke. However just for fun and as an experiment it is decided to repeat this exercise with a new Island that emerged earlier this year in the Antarctica along with an apparently previously unclaimed sector of the Antarctica – Marie Byrd land.

The name Pi Island has been tossed around for the new island because the day of it birth 3/14 and this name has inspired the name of the new Kingdom. Therefore, if not contrary to law, I claim this island, including it in this Kingdom of Piland, a new country that includes Marie Byrd Land and islands in that sector off the coast of Marie Byrd Land  declaring myself as the King Emperor of Piland. Presently the population primarily consists of visiting Penguins. :- ) but it shall eventually hopefully become a constitutional monarchy on the lines of UK with a written constitution in future. Until then proclamations of the King shall be law.

By this proclamation dated the 16th of July 2014, We the King Emperor declare Tsaven of https://www.blogger.com/profile/02361550958689286343As the Duke of the Piland Island, i.e the newly emerged island. This honor being bestowed on him due to his revealing the island to the world at http://frozennerd.blogspot.in/2014/03/a-new-island-is-born.html Subject to his acceptance of this honor.

Marie Byrd Land is the portion of West Antarctica lying east of the Ross Ice Shelf and the Ross Sea and south of the Pacific Ocean, extending eastward approximately to a line between the head of the Ross Ice Shelf and Eights Coast. It stretches between 158°W and 103°24’W. The inclusion of the area between the Rockefeller Plateau and Eights Coast is based upon the leading role of Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd in the exploration of this area. The name was originally applied by Admiral Byrd in 1929, in honor of his wife, to the northwestern part of the area, the part that was explored in that year. (from Wikipedia)

All citizens of the world are regarded as adjunct citizens of the Kingdom of Piland, if they so desire,  and may visit freely without visa or restriction and live or visit the Kingdom of Piland if they wish provided they do not carry out any activity to damage the environment in any substantial way and do not hurt or kill any plant, animal or fish beyond what is required for their short term food, clothing or shelter needs. – By Proclamation of the King Emperor of the Kingdom of Piland  The creation of the Kingdom is an attempt to protect the planet from any unnecessary exploitation aside from an exploration of new innovative laws and practices.

The primary goal of creation of the Kingdom of Piland is to make contributions towards protecting and enhancing the environment of the planet.

Marie-Byrd Land

Marie Byrd Land, Kingdom of Piland

Marie Byrd Land in Antartica, image from ( modified before use here)
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Marie_Byrd_Land_in_Antarctica_%28Relief%29.svg
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

 Assert your claim of citizenship to this new as yet experimental country (an experiment in International law) on Facebook merely by liking the page at  https://www.facebook.com/PilandKingdom

 

NOTE: Please register any sound objections, if any, that you may have to the idea of Kingdom of Piland as described here as a comment. If you do not, this Kingdom will become a reality

It goes without saying that as long as there is no fairly permanent human settlement and habitation in the Kingdom of Piland by persons who regard themselves as its citizens, the Kingdom must remain a merely symbolic thing or a game in virtual space or at best a first step only. Yet it is not impossible that an unexpected turn of events would make such a settlement possible. It would then become a physical reality.

 This appears to be similar to  —–^ “New Jersey v. New York, 523 US 767 (1998)”. US Supreme Court. May 1998. Retrieved 29 January 2010. “Even as to terra nullius, like a volcanic island or territory abandoned by its former sovereign, a claimant by right as against all others has more to do than planting a flag or rearing a monument. Since the 19th century the most generous settled view has been that discovery accompanied by symbolic acts give no more than “an inchoate title, an option, as against other states, to consolidate the first steps by proceeding to effective occupation within a reasonable time.8 I. Brownlie, Principles of Public International Law 146 (4th ed.1990); see also 1 C. Hyde, International Law 329 (rev.2d ed.1945); 1 L. Oppenheim International Law §§222-223, pp. 439-441 (H. Lauterpacht 5th ed.1937); Hall A Treatise on International Law, at 102-103; 1 J. Moore, International Law 258 (1906); R. Phillimore, International Law 273 (2d ed. 1871); E. Vattel, Law of Nations, §208, p. 99 (J. Chitty 6th Am. ed. 1844).”

Low Entropy Persons, Countries and Entropy Yoga

galaxy

The basic purpose of life appears to be to evolve. In ancient times when civilization began, humans applied their mind to this notion. They came up with a large number of practices designed to improve body, mind and soul of humans. Many such practices were described by a common name Yoga. Depending upon the precise practice there are very many different types of yoga such as hatha yoga, kriya yoga, karma yoga and so on for the ways to improve body, mind and soul must be countless.

This author has had deep interests in both the physical sciences as well as spiritual sciences. As a result of this combination the author had described a form of yoga that emerged from an intersection of both these sciences and gave it the name Entropy Yoga. An interested reader can find it in one of the early posts of another blog

(http://someitemshave.blogspot.in/2007/10/yoga.html)
What was described was that everything we do or even think, increases a certain quantity in the universe as a whole called entropy. Processes and actions that generate less entropy are more efficient than those that generate higher entropy. This principle applies not just to living beings but also to machines. For example a high entropy automobile would guzzle up much more fuel than another one of similar specifications and size that is low entropy generating one.

Amongst humans we have high entropy persons i.e. those who generate a lot of entropy during the process of living, relatively speaking. Generally high entropy person are those who are dishonest, disorderly and unclean. In comparison a low entropy person is honest, clean, orderly and disciplined. Persons do not become high entropy or low entropy persons because they practice yoga consciously since many have not even heard of it but because it is their nature to do so. A low entropy person may easily be recognized as more evolved compared to a high entropy one. Some may ask what has honesty to do with evolution. It has, because look at a monkey it will steal a banana from your kitchen and hand without any compunction but most humans would think twice about it.

The lowest entropy person is a zero entropy person i.e. someone who generates no entropy at all in whatever he does. In science such a process is called an isentropic process. Therefore such a person may be called an isentropic personality. It is an ideal state and by definition there is only one isentropic personality in the Universe – God. Other beings may approach this state as they evolve but if they eventually reach this ideal they lose their individuality and become a part of the one and only Infinite being, a state also known as Nirvana by Buddhists. However since other processes and beings continuously increase the entropy of the universe as a whole, a day will come when the entropy of the universe would be unsustainable and require its annihilation.

When a large number of persons in a country are high entropy persons or if its governing structures and systems are high entropy processes then the country as a whole becomes a high entropy country, conversely it is a low entropy country. It goes without saying that high entropy countries are marked by disorder, corruption and inefficiency. High entropy countries are the undeveloped parts of the world or become so whereas low entropy countries are developed or soon become so.

At the present time it is perhaps some countries such as Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden and Germany that are the lowest entropy countries of the world. At one time UK, in the later Victorian era and after, was also a very low entropy country. These things change with time. In Asia Singapore and Japan are examples of low entropy countries.

At the present time perhaps Syria is the highest entropy country in the world. Sub-Saharan countries and South Asian ones are also some of the highest entropy countries of the world. High entropy countries are marked not just by the presence of disorder and uncleanness but also lack punctuality, constantly changing practices and schedules aside from all possible manners of disorder. During my life time the design of coins, telephone numbers and schedules of examinations has changes so many times in India that it is difficult to even enumerate. It goes without saying that train timings and every other time including those of meetings and wedding ceremonies are never ever punctual. On the other hand, I have lived in Canada too and during my life time the design of coins, university exam schedules and my old phone number has not yet changed, although they added a new coin called the Loony some decades ago. The first is an example of a high entropy country and the second a low entropy one.

It was not always like this in India. One of its earliest civilization, called the Indus valley civilization is an example of the lowest entropy civilization mankind has ever seen on the planet. Recently, India elected a new government. The new leader – Narendra Modi – appears to be a low entropy personality of a high order. Indeed the first aspiration he expressed for India was of cleanliness, a desire for a low entropy state. Perhaps under his leadership India will once again begin its long march to becoming a low entropy country.

Who is a Refugee and why some in America do not seem to know

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The 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees has adopted the following definition of a refugee: Any person who owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country“. The concept of a refugee was expanded by the Convention’s 1967 Protocol and by regional conventions to include persons who had fled war or other violence in their home country.

At the present time there are millions of refugees in different countries of the world. The numbers of refugees in Lebanon from Syria are over a million.

The American Issue:

While America has actively supported and even assisted other countries in the world to host refugees, it perhaps never realized that it would be any significant issue for America on its own soil (with the exception of Cuba).  America is separated from the old world and Africa by vast oceans and has two large countries on its Northern and Southern borders with no prospect of war or religious violence erupting in any major way to cause large scale human displacements. What America has had to contend with for long have been illegal immigrants who seek to enter America for economic reasons. Therefore recently when a large scale influx of unaccompanied children took place through America’s southern borders, many viewed this as an immigration issue rather than a refugee one. However an unexpected war is taking place in Central America, a war that America has supported, the Drug Wars. The scale of violence in some Central American countries exceeds the violence in 2008-12 in Iraq as quoted in a report at Vox.com. It has caused a large number of persons to flee across Mexico into America. While America must examine if some of these are refugees or illegal immigrants, when it comes to children unaccompanied by adults there is little doubt in any reasonable mind that the majority of these are in fact refugees. Some of the children are as young as three along with a somewhat older sister less than ten years of age. What do these children know about economic prospects? There is no place lovelier for a child than home and parents unless some terrible violence and fear moves them out of it. Children do know about love and fear very well. A UNHCR report describing these refugees is here

http://unhcrwashington.org/children

As a Party to the 1967 Protocol, the U.S. is obliged to recognize valid asylum claims under the 1951 Convention and 1967 Protocol. The Refugee Act of US of 1980 is the domestic legislation governing asylum law in the U.S. The Refugee Act codifies the obligations of the U.S. under the 1951 Convention and 1967 Protocol.

 

refugees

While America seems to be flustered over the issue it must note that when a small country like Lebanon, that is approximately one thousand times smaller than America and much poorer can host more than a million Syrian refugees, it would not be an impossible feat for America to host 0.05 million child refugees. Moreover these are traumatized children in desperate need. However, the first step is to recognize that these children are refugees and not immigrants and in no case are they illegal in absolutely anyway.

UPDATE JULY 10

The UN appears to have endorsed the stand of this blog right from the start. According to it: U.S. and Mexico should recognize that this is a refugee situation, which implies that they shouldn’t be automatically sent to their home countries but rather receive international protection.”
For a full report see: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/08/un-enters-immigration-debate_n_5565807.html

 

Proportional Tax – A New Method of Corporate Taxation

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Note by

Dr. Ashok Malhotra, Ph. D. UBC Canada, B. Tech., M. Tech. IIT Delhi

Abstract:

A new method of corporate taxation termed proportional tax is described. It is simpler than existing methods of taxation yet it appears to be powerful in implementing economic policy and directing corporate behavior in desirable directions. Proportional tax for corporations is different from proportional tax for individuals. While proportional tax for individual implies that they pay the same proportion of income as their tax, whatever is the level of income, for corporations it implies that they pay a tax at a rate that is proportional to their net profits.

Introduction:

While communism appears to have failed in most countries, capitalism has been more successful in meeting human needs and improving the quality of life of humans. However, it has not been an unblemished victory for capitalism. Problems have occurred because of an excess of greed or because of use of unethical practices to satisfy that greed. It may be pointed out that unethical practices are frequently more insidious than illegal ones. Illegal practices can be dealt with by law but it is impossible to deal with unethical practices until new laws are created to cover them. The huge compensations, bonuses and severance packages that senior executives of some corporation draw fall in the realm of unethical practices. It has led to the financial crisis of 2008. Unfettered greed of corporations have also led to rising inequalities that have forced some to homelessness while the wealth of the world has been captured by fewer and fewer individuals.

Various mixed models that combine elements of both, communism with capitalism, have also been attempted in parts of the world. Some of these have failed such as those employed in the period between 1950 and 1990 in India while some have done fairly well as in Scandinavian countries.

Whereas communism depends upon the state to provide goods and services, capitalism depends upon individual initiative to meet the same needs. Except for minor goods and services on a small scale that can be produced by an individual or an individual family most goods and services require that humans get together to create organizations for the purpose. Such organizations as legal entities are corporations and they are the main stay of a capitalistic economy.

It has been recognized that capitalism cannot function without regulation, for example preventing the development of monopolies that eliminate competition. If national economies have to continue with capitalism they must continuously evolve new practices, laws and regulations. It must be pointed out that whatever the economic model used, it is a tool to serve humans and wherever that purpose is defeated, resulting in inhumane consequences then economic activity degenerates into a tool for exploiting humans rather than serving them. While regulations control undesirable behavior of corporations, they also make life difficult for other corporations that may be behaving perfectly well. Thereby regulation also hampers economic activity. Therefore, in designing regulations care must be exercised towards simplicity and ease of application of the regulatory regime. In the present connected world, it is a wise course to study best practices of other countries and adapt these to suit one’s needs rather than inventing new practices that may turn out to be unsuccessful in the long run. However, this does not mean that new regulations need not be explored. Human innovation is an ongoing process just as human evolution is. It is with this in view that a new way of implementing corporate taxes is introduced briefly in this note. The simplicity of this new idea is such that it neither requires a lengthy explanation nor support by several other studies and references.

The new method termed Proportional Tax is simple to apply; in fact it is simpler than existing methods that have graduated discrete slabs. Aside from being a way to tax, the new proposal may also be used as powerful tool to discourage some of the worst practices of capitalism while encouraging the best ones. This new method was born out of a somewhat informal note by this author elsewhere called the ‘Rule of Ninety’ and it may also be referred with this latter name. It may be pointed out that the new proportional tax is specific for corporate taxes. Analogous methods do not apply to individual taxes.

Corporate taxes

Most countries impose corporate tax, also called corporation tax or company tax. Generally corporate taxes are charged as a percentage of net profits after allowing for certain deductions. Rates may vary between ten and fifty percent in most cases. While corporate taxes are an important source of revenue they are also used as policy measures, for example, exempting a certain industry such as the renewable industry from taxes or charging a graduated rate of tax to encourage new small businesses. However, existing methods of taxation are a limited tool in implementing policy. For example, they cannot prevent development of huge corporate monopolies on their own nor can they prevent excess profiteering. The new method called proportional tax can do all that existing methodologies of corporate taxation do, while doing much more to control corporate behavior in desirable directions in a straight forward and simple manner.

New Proportional Tax:

Proportional Tax implies that rate of corporate tax is proportional to net profits, NP, in a continuous manner rather than in discrete slabs. A constant of proportionality is required to determine the tax rate. Aside from the proportionality constant the new method may also prescribe a minimum threshold rate of corporate tax to prevent near zero rates of taxation for companies making small profits. It will be shown that this simple method has powerful mathematical properties that make it a powerful tool in the hands of policy makers and the public.

Consider,

Rate of Corporate Tax = 100 (Net Profits/M)

The constant of proportionality, M, here is shown as an inverse constant in order to give it a physical meaning. M may be visualized as the net profit of a reference virtual mega corporation that has a very large profit, larger than the expected profit of any other corporations in the country. Thus if a company makes one fourth the amount of net profit as M then its corporate tax rate shall be 25 percent as per the given formula.

Image

Figure 1 illustrates how corporate tax rates vary with net profits in billions of dollars. In this illustration, M has been selected as ten billion dollars. If a minimum threshold tax, T is selected as 20 percent and if M has been chosen at the outset as a suitably high number e.g. two and a half times the maximum net profit of any company, then tax rates for all companies in this example shall vary within a narrow band of twenty and forty percent. Different rates of tax can be promulgated depending upon choice of M and T. The variation of rates is a simple linear one but its ultimate effect on corporations is far from linear as shown next.

Proportional tax for corporations is different from proportional tax for individuals. While proportional tax for individual implies that they pay the same proportion of income as their tax, whatever is the level of income, for corporations it implies that they pay a tax at a rate that is proportional to their net profits.

Profits after Tax

Image

 

Profit after Tax termed as P here as different from the net profit, NP before tax is

P = NP – NP (NP/M)

Figure 2 shows how residual profit after tax, P varies with net profit, NP, if M= 10 billion and T = 0. The unique feature of this variation is that beyond a certain level of net profits, residual profit of a company begins to fall and in extreme cases becomes negative. This very feature of the new proposal is a powerful controlling mechanism that may be used if a country wishes to reduce the size of certain corporations e.g. banks that might become too big to fail.

All companies would like to make the highest possible residual profits. However, they will be obliged not to charge such a high price for their products, even if they can, so that net profits increase beyond the point that their actual profit reduces or even results in a loss for the company.

Choice of constants M and T

Constants M and T can be chosen for the economy as a whole or they may chosen as different for different sectors of the economy. Thus if a country feels that a monopoly has developed in the automobile sector and other players need to be encouraged, it may set M as a value equal to the expected profit of the particular monopolistic automobile company. That company would then end up paying near hundred percent taxes while newer smaller players will be encouraged to develop with lower rates of taxes.

It must be noted that since tax rate depends on net profits, the single large automobile company can still keep new players out by bringing down its prices and reducing its net profit in order to maintain a high residual profit. But that is something that will benefit consumers. It is good corporate behavior in the interest of all. This type of monopoly needs to be encouraged rather than discouraged since it has become self regulated from within rather than from competition.

Conclusions:

A new way of applying corporate taxes called proportional tax is described. An appropriate choice of parameters, M and T, is required in the new method of proportional tax, for different sectors of the economy or the economy as a whole. The new method appears to be a powerful tool to manage corporate behavior so as to bring out its best its best while discouraging practices that are detrimental to society at large. It merits further study by economists and policy makers in order to explore its full implications before implementing as a new corporate taxation method, if desired.

Symbols

NP, Net Profit
P, Residual Net Profit profit after tax
M, An inverse constant of proportionality
T, Minimum threshold tax rate

References

1.Steven A. Bank (2011). Anglo-American Corporate Taxation: Tracing the Common Roots of Divergent Approaches. Cambridge University Press.

2. The Corporate Income Tax System: Overview and Options for Reform, Mark P. Keightley and Molly F. Sherlock (2014), CRS Report for Congress, Prepared for Members and Committees of Congress ( Report available as an online Pdf document)

How to control Global Warming and Climate Extremes

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Even if climate changes are a part of a natural cycle, if climate can be improved, why not? Most certainly mankind has done a lot to damage the planet in the modern industrial age and it can certainly do a lot to reverse that damage too, provided first of all, it knows what is the right thing to do.

by
Ashok Malhotra, Ph.D. UBC Canada, B.Tech, M. Tech. IIT Delhi

Climate Change

A widespread belief prevails in the modern world that the planet is becoming warmer and that more climate extremes are taking place. This belief spreads from the scientific community to the ordinary inhabitant of the planet who is regularly informed by media. A climate extreme happens, for example, when a hundred year record of rainfall, drought, heat or cold is broken in some region or other of the world. While some maintain that all this is a natural part of solar system changes, others hold that it is because of human activity. There is no doubt that the planet has seen unprecedented changes over the previous century and a half as human population has sky rocketed to its highest level ever. Technological changes have swept across the world and resources gathered by the planet for millions of years such as fossil fuels are being exhausted over a brief period of a few centuries while their use adds previously buried carbon to the atmosphere. While some parts of the world such as Canada would welcome the warming trend, few would welcome climate extremes because in a large number of cases it plays havoc with human lives and orderly planning.

The most relevant question at hand is: if climate extremes or global warming is taking place what can humans do about it?

Carbon Emissions

When fossil fuels are burnt carbon dioxide is produced and added to the atmosphere. Over the past century its levels have risen from around 200 ppm in the atmosphere to the current 400 ppm. International efforts are on to limit the increase of carbon emissions in the atmosphere by a variety of measures that include use of alternative energy to carbon caps and taxes. Whenever a carbon cap is considered the question also arises if it should be on a per-country basis or a per-capita basis. The obvious answer is that it has to be on a per capita basis because it takes a certain amount of energy to feed a mouth and a certain amount of energy to house and clothe a human. Any other basis of capping carbon would only be interpreted as an unjust domination of the powerful on the poor.

However, before such economy crippling measures are considered it is more important to consider the question, if carbon dioxide is really responsible for climatic woes. To the layperson it seems obvious that it is, because carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas. However, there is more to the story than seems obvious.

What is the Best level of Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere?

Do we need more carbon dioxide or less on the planet? In order to answer that question properly, it would be useful to ascertain what is the best level of this gas in the atmosphere as regards the long term well being of all life on the planet – plants, animals, and humans. The present level in the atmosphere is around 400 ppm. Studies have shown that a level of around 1000 ppm is best for plants. Therefore it seems that at least from the point of view of the green side of life, we need around two and a half times our present levels. At a time when most evolution of life took place on the planet, the carbon dioxide levels were much higher. During the Cambrian period that saw an explosion of new life forms, it was around fifteen times as high. Most of that evolution took place in the oceans that prospered hugely by the increased dissolved carbon dioxide even though the oceans may have had fewer coral reefs. The higher ph levels were a breeding ground for life and that is expected as both carbon dioxide breathing life forms and oxygen breathing ones prospers in cooperation. Some 200 million years ago when carbon dioxide levels were 4-5 times present levels earth became a virtual Garden of Eden. The period saw the rise of giant fern forests.

Some scientists have ascertained that mineral and protein percentage of some vegetables and fruits is lower if the carbon dioxide ppm goes up although plants grow healthier and faster. But that is obvious, a skinny chicken has a higher percentage of bone as compared to a healthy chicken but one would still prefer a healthy one.

Therefore should we look for ways to increase carbon dioxide levels to around 1000 ppm from the present 400 ppm? It has been rising in any case on the planet because of burning of fossil fuels but it does not look like the planet has enough fossil fuels to burn to reach that level and burning forests to achieve the same end would be counter productive. Further as we run out of fossil fuels a point would be reached when alternative energy will become cheaper. That is the point when humans would stop using any remaining fossil fuels irrespective of what others say.

However it must be recorded that the full impact of a higher level of carbon dioxide i.e. 1000 ppm on the full global ecology including the oceans needs further study.

Certainly when a fossil fuel is burnt much more than carbon dioxide is released and air pollution occurs. However, that air pollution is localized in time and space. The present discussion is as regards long term global issues. The local issues have to be dealt with primarily at the local level. The gap between renewable energy and conventional energy costs is closing rapidly and it is costs that ultimately dictate what form of energy humans use. One cannot prevent humans from using the cheapest available source of energy especially in the developing world where because of lack of development malnutrition still prevails. Therefore it does not look like the planet can reach ideal levels of 1000 ppm of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere anytime soon. Mankind would just have to learn to manage with less.

But critics argue that carbon dioxide is a green house gas and this would lead to global warming. Let us consider that next.

Would more Carbon Dioxide lead to Global Warming?

Critics argue that carbon dioxide is a green house gas and this would lead to global warming. However, before we decide if this amount would lead to global warming. Let us become more precise. It is no use saying that Atlantic Ocean will become more salty if we add a pinch of salt to it. No doubt the Atlantic Ocean will become saltier but if the additional saltiness has any practical significance or not can only be determined through further calculations. 400 ppm is around .04 percent in the atmosphere. A rough calculation carried out by this author several years ago showed that if we increase carbon dioxide by 1% in the atmosphere it could lead to a one degree centigrade rise in the worst case scenario that includes other chain effects due to increased absorption of heat. Therefore, if the present 0.04 percent level became two and a half times to 0.1 percent or a 1000 ppm the rise in temperature because of this effect would be less than 0.1 degree centigrade, an insignificant amount compared to other natural temperature changes. This author would like a recheck of these calculations by atmospheric heat transfer scientists and would like to hear of it as a comment to this post.

It may also be mentioned for a lay person that when carbon dioxide is talked of as a greenhouse gas one should not conjure a vision of a greenhouse made of glass, a dramatic vision inspired by popular fiction on the topic, that traps in much more heat radiation from low temperature sources while letting the suns heat pass in while also limiting convective current losses, but even if one insisted on thinking of it as something similar, than think of it as a green house that has only 0.04 percent (the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere) of its roof installed.

But what about the heuristic correlations that have been made by scientists and some politicians like Al Gore on a statistical basis without having to calculate? These are estimates that are obtained by statistical analysis and by drawing a graph between increases of CO2 over the last 100 year against temperature rise. It shows a much greater correlation than the calculated one degree rise for one percent rise in carbon dioxide. However statistical correlations can mislead. For example, if one correlated how many times the nursery rhyme Humpty Dumpty was sung in kindergarten schools and correlated that with temperature rise one might end up with a correlation too. While nursery rhymes are not a relevant parameter here, the numbers of trees on the planet are. Let us consider that fact now.

Deforestation

Aside from an increase of carbon dioxide over the last 150 years an unprecedented amount of deforestation has also taken place on the planet during the same period as forests have been cleared for agriculture and urbanization to feed and house a growing population.

If we correlated the amount of green tree cover on the planet with temperature rise it appears that one gets a much better inverse correlation with global warming, i.e. the lesser the trees the warmer the planet. On the whole, global temperatures appear to have gone up as the green tree cover on the planet has reduced for urbanization and agriculture over the last 165 years.

Global warming does seem to be taking place (even if it is only one degree in a century), it does appear to be because of human activity and the most likely human activity causing it appears to be a depletion of tree cover on the planet rather than increased carbon dioxide levels. But if that is the case then why are the scientists silent? Why do many stop at saying that there does appear to be global warming due to human activity but stopping short of elaborating what that activity is, leaving the public to jump to a conclusion of the greenhouse effect of popular fiction? Well the emperor has new clothes that everyone is going ga-ga over, as the emperor moves proudly through the streets strutting his stuff and the dress makers sit in a corner smiling silently not willing to let out the secret so as not to spoil the fun.

A growing population does need more food and land for agriculture but if an emphasis on growing food producing trees is now made, the pressure on increasing agricultural lands would decrease. Besides, there is a still a lot of barren and saline land on the planet that is being used neither for forests nor agriculture. It is a myth that trees cannot be grown on saline lands provided the right trees are selected (check out an online reference at the end of this note). Within our cities too we can do with less concrete and more trees. Every additional tree helps.

Climate Extremes

An even more serious concern than global warming is climate extremes. It plays havoc with human, animal and plant lives in many cases though not all a previously desert region in the north-west India (Barmer) suddenly developed lakes and reservoirs of fresh water when a five hundred year record of rainfall was broken. Here it seems that while miniscule amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have no significant role to play, forests and tree covers appear to be an agent of stability. Forests appear to play the same role for climate on earth as vibration dampeners play in mechanical machinery. A barren planet or another consisting of largely rock and sand land masses (with concrete and paving materials falling in the same category) is more likely to see climate extremes rather than one covered by trees and forests. It would also tend to create more dust storms. The depletion of forests could be the cause of climate extremes.

A statement has been made that small amounts of carbon dioxide cannot play the same role in climate extremes as trees on land can. To explain how that might happen require a deep knowledge of fluid mechanics, heat transfer and thermodynamics. For example it is a known fact in fluid mechanics that rough surfaces (such as those created by trees on the surface of the earth) offer little resistance to smooth laminar flows while resisting swift turbulent flows such as those that would lead to dust storms vigorously. This has something to do with the eddy structures that exist in turbulent flows and not in laminar ones. Also the roots of tress draw moisture from within the earth while releasing it through their leaves. In that process, when leaves dry out, some surrounding heat is absorbed. The resulting water vapor eventually accumulates high above the earth where it condenses at lower temperatures returning that heat high above the earth. Simultaneously trees shade the ground or constructed spaces in urban settings and prevent the direct rays of the sun from being absorbed in it. A portion of the heat that would have reached the earth is converted in combination with carbon dioxide into plant matter, some absorbed by evaporation and some reflected back into space from whence it came. In the colder part of the planets where the ground would benefit from such heat, trees shed their leaves in winter or leaves become needle like as in conifers. The entire process results in moderating temperature gradients from land to sky.

There is much more on this that is not fully understood even by this author despite the fact that he is doctorate in thermal sciences from one of the finest universities in the world and has made scientific contributions that can be found cited by a search as a Google scholar. Therefore it is too much to expect that the general public would benefit here from scientific evidence. On the other hand the public is easily swayed by lay reports in the media including popular fiction. While doing so, the public must keep in mind that media campaigns are generated not merely out of scientific knowledge but also out of economic and political agendas that may serve the short or medium term interests of some. Long term interests of all can be served by nothing but the truth.

Conclusion

The present conclusions do not imply in the least that efforts at development of renewable energy must be slowed down in any manner. Fossil fuels are a limited resource and they are becoming increasingly expensive. Further, their use does cause local pollution if not a global one. Instead what the present conclusions imply is that ignoring the real cause of climate changes and global warming i.e. deforestation and not doing anything substantial about it could be devastating for the planet.

A large section of even the educated thinkers of the world have been influenced by prevailing thinking that leads them to conclude that use of fossil fuels is causing damage to the planet.It does cause localized pollution over brief periods of time but this note presents an opposite view that in fact it is a good thing over the long term. The burning of fossil fuels is not doing any global harm. it is merely returning carbon that once belonged to life and got buried due to geological phenomenon back to life while improving the overall health of the planet over the long term. That happens because when fossil fuels are burnt carbon dioxide, the very life breath of the green side of life is produced and absorbed during the generation of green matter and food. In this the fossil fuel industry is inadvertently helping the planet. The harm to the planet is from another source – deforestation. In case there is an error in the present arguments the author would like to hear of it and will gladly revise his stand if countered with evidence based in science and not assumptions. It can be posted as a comment in this blog to begin with. So far for over seven years, when this author posted his ideas briefly elsewhere, scientists have not been able to offer any.

It may be mentioned that this author too was once influenced by mainstream thinking on the subject and was one of the first to propose carbon taxes on the fossil fuel industry several years ago in a different somewhat informal blog (http://steamcenter.blogspot.com) However, fundamental scientific arguments and data have compelled him to revise his stance, that presently still appears to be in the minority. He is extremely apologetic about the earlier erroneous view.

 

Trying to cap carbon dioxide emissions looks like a lose-lose situation for all. It could lead the world into increased nuclear dangers and the poor malnourished of the world into greater malnutrition or starvation. It appears to be waste of time and effort because time and costs will do that on their own as we exhaust our limited fossil fuel resources while improving the planet for the green side. On the other hand putting all efforts into restoring forests and trees is a win-win situation. It even appeases those who are worried about carbon dioxide increase because trees are a carbon dioxide sink.

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The author with godson and god-grandson in the Himalayas

UPDATE JULY 12, 2014

New studies support the conclusion here.

Separating signal and noise in atmospheric temperature changes: The importance of timescale, by Santer B. D. et al, Journal of Geophysical Research, 2011, view online at:  http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2011JD016263/abstract

Please  also see for a discussion on this:
http://www.cafeconlecherepublicans.com/satellite-data-show-co2-almost-effect-global-warming/

A quote from the linked article: “ The bottom line of the abstract says: “Our results show that temperature records of at least 17 years in length are required for identifying human effects on global-mean tropospheric temperature.” and “As of June, 2014, it has been 17 years since the super El Nino of 1997/1998 and there is no obvious signal that increasing CO2 emissions have had any effect on global lower troposphere temperatures. In fact, over the last 17 years, temperatures show a slight cooling trend.”

However, if the temperature trend is correlated to deforestation a good correlation is produced since this has slowed down globally in the same period, with brief periods of regrowth of forests.

 

References

1. Interagency Working Group on Social Cost of Carbon. Technical Update of the Social Cost of Carbon for Regulatory Impact Analysis (US Government, 2013); available at http://go.nature.com/vzpkkb

2. Kopp, R. E. & Mignone, B. K. Economics 6, 2012–2015 (2012).

3. Schlenker, W. & Roberts, M. J. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 106, 15594–15598 (2009).

4. Tol, R. S. J. Annu. Rev. Resour. Econ. 3, 419–443 (2011).

5. Hsiang, S. M., Burke, M. & Miguel, E. Science 341, 1235367 (2013).

6. Sterner, T. & Persson, U. M. Rev. Environ. Econ. Pol. 2, 61–76 (2008).

7. Sherwood, S. C. & Huber, M. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 107, 9552–9555 (2010).

8. Knorr, W. Is the airborne fraction of anthropogenic CO2 emissions increasing? Geophysical Research Letters, 2009; 36 (21): L21710 DOI: 10.1029/2009GL040613

Useful Online:

1. http://www.naturalnews.com/039720_carbon_dioxide_myths_plant_nutrition.htm
2. http://someitemshave.blogspot.in/2011/02/myth-that-fruits-flowers-and-trees-do.html.
3. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change: Fifth Assessment Report
4. White House: Social Cost of Carbon (PDF)
5. Scientific American: Infrastructure Threatened by Climate Change Poses a National Crisis
6. http://earthguide.ucsd.edu/virtualmuseum/climatechange2/07_1.shtml
7. http://notrickszone.com/2013/05/17/atmospheric-co2-concentrations-at-400-ppm-are-still-dangerously-low-for-life-on-earth/#sthash.OPZILJ5y.dpuf”
8. http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/11/10/bombshell-from-bristol-is-the-airborne-fraction-of-anthropogenic-co2-emissions-increasing-study-says-no/
9. http://whatreallyhappened.com/WRHARTICLES/globalwarming.html

10. http://whatreallyhappened.com/WRHARTICLES/Rick%20Yanda.pdf

11.
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/11/10/bombshell-from-bristol-is-the-airborne-fraction-of-anthropogenic-co2-emissions-increasing-study-says-no/

Vote for more trees on the planet

https://yourevolution.ubc.ca/projects/140/more-trees-on-the-planet#.U0Kb6vt3CYe
twenty trees

A Brief Introduction to the Economics of Greed and Exploitation

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Ever since the financial crisis of 2008,  economic news from around the world has revealed much of the state of affairs in our world today. From time to time my reaction to some of the reports have appeared as blog posts. Recently I combined some of the more important ones into a single document. After editing, what emerged was a brief booklet of fifty pages entitled ‘A Brief Introduction to the Economics of Greed and Exploitation’.

 I tend to regard anything under 75 pages as a booklet rather than a book although the publishers tend to classify it as the latter. The booklet is published in full color so that some of the associated color graphics could be included from earlier blog posts that seem to have inspired changes from Japan to Switzerland and also perhaps USA and parts of Europe. The contents consist of seven chapters:

 

 

Chapter

Page

1

When to Tax the Rich and when not to

5

2

Inflation is like stealing from the Poor

11

3

The Rule of Ten

21

4

The Paradox of Modern Life and Economy

27

5

Fixing the Banks

33

6

Future of World Economies

37

7

A Spiritual view of Economy and Recession

43

 

 

 

 

Driven by insatiable greed, modern economic practices have developed in a manner so that while some executives and bankers walk away with millions of compensation, others are driven out of their homes to the street. At the same time, governments who had freely incurred massive debts with an eye on the next election and a fond hope that economies would continue to grow forever are now staring at mountains of debt. Nations that seek solace in a money printing press are producing inflation that is snatching away bread from the poor man’s table, while the rich laugh all the way to the bank and luxury destinations. As inequalities hit the roof, national economies teeter on the verge of collapse. The ensuing outrage has given rise to phenomenon such as the occupy movement.

This booklet has now been published (ISBN-13: 978-1495448195) and is available on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/dp/1495448193

Over the next few days and weeks it should be available with major online retailers around the world. While highlighting problems that have crept into modern economies, the author has also suggested solutions. The entire discourse is in an informal style free of scholarly notes and referencing so that it may be appreciated by an ordinary person, not just academics and scholars. This brief introduction to the economics of greed and exploitation should be of interest to any concerned citizen of the world.  While publishing this book let I could not forget the zesty economic news reporters who have covered economic stories in the media and the initial pages of the book has the  acknowledgement:

Acknowledgement

This author is grateful to Aaron Heslehurst of BBC World News and other economic news correspondents from around the world for having kept him abreast of international economic news

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A Brief Introduction to the Economics of Greed and Exploitation

When to Tax the Rich and when not to

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There was a time when some humans developed the notion that all humans are created equal and that it is unjust for some to amass huge amounts of wealth while others grind their butts out. This notion gave birth to the idea of communism. However, the communists forgot that the trees in a nearby forest are not all of equal height and that many humans are inherently lazy. Sans incentives and the need to grind their butts out, many humans would rather sit and fatten that area of their anatomy. The result was that bread lines became longer and longer until they became longer than the communist manifesto. It was therefore soon discarded into the trash can. Some political parties still call themselves communist but that is simply out of nostalgia. They neither mean it nor live by the philosophy any longer.

Capitalism thus marched across the world gloriously with the fond notion that if some individuals are allowed to grow exceptionally rich, it is good for business, and prosperity for all would trickle down, bit by bit, as water does from a leaky jug. This gave birth to the notion of trickle down capitalism.

But, alas, humans, those blinded by greed, can be extremely exploitative given the opportunity and have now invented a trickle up version of capitalism They have invented systems so that it is not the case of water leaking down a jug but rather a case of a vampire sucking up the blood of the poor until they are snuffed out on homeless street.

How does one distinguish a trickle down version of capitalism from the trickle up version? It is not all that difficult really. If the average income of the top one percent or ten percent (depending on choice of criterion) of the population is rising while that of the bottom one or ten percent falls in real terms (adjusted for inflation) then it is the case of a trickle up economy. It happens when the income of those at the top keeps rising while average incomes do not. How can a trickle up economy come about? It is quite simple really when the taxation system, salary structure and printing of currency are in the hands of a few.

How does one know if a government is printing more money than necessary? Well is there inflation of more than one or two percent around in your area? If it is then be sure that is what is happening although the guy controller up there called it something exotic like quantitative easing; and if a free floating currency is devaluing  with respect to other countries.

Taxation: Whenever the issue of raising taxes on rich is considered in any country, arguments emerge that are for and against it. The fact of the matter is that there are times and countries where it is a good idea to do it as well as times and countries where it is detrimental. How does one determine which is which?

In order to ascertain if increasing or decreasing taxes of rich is called for one needs to understand  trickle-up and trickle-down phenomenon. If it is found that the average income of top five percent in society has been increasing or decreasing over the past seven years (a reasonable time period to rule out temporary fluctuations) at the same rate as the overall average income in society then the tax structure need not be changed. In case the income of top earners is falling at a faster rate than the average then a reduction in taxes of the rich may be called for rather than an increase. However, in case the income of  top earners is rising at a rate that is faster than average income then an increase in  taxes of the rich seems just, appropriate and useful for overall economic stability of a nation.

Welfare: Welfare measures including subsidies that help the poor are directed at the bottom earners of society, the bottom ten percent or at least the bottom five percent. Here too, whenever the question of increasing welfare spending in any country is considered arguments emerge for and against it. Increasing such spending could cause an increase of debt or fiscal deficits and thus hurt the economy in both the short and long term. In order to understand when increasing or decreasing welfare spending is called for one only need to look at the change of income of the bottom five percent over a seven year window and compare it to the change in average income over the same period. Incase the income of the poor (adjusted for inflation of goods that matter to the poor such as food) is decreasing at a rate faster than the overall average there is a desperate need to increase welfare spending. However, if the income of the poor is rising then perhaps a decrease in welfare spending may be considered.

If the income of  poorer sections of society has been reducing over the past  years while that of  richer sections rising, this could be because of one of two reasons. Either the poor are becoming stupider and lazier than before while the rich cleverer and more hardworking or, the system is becoming more exploitative of the poor. It does not require more than common sense to realize that the reason for this imbalance can only be the latter. The exploitation and imbalance needs to be addressed on an urgent basis because whereas it may mean choice of  home furnishing or  size of the home for the rich, it implies the very life and death of  poor and their children who are just as sweet as children of others or the choice of  which homeless street to sleep on. The quickest way to address this imbalance and injustice is to increase taxes on richer sections of society and then using this revenue to assist the poor.

In conclusion, the world does not need communism but it does need justice and a move away from unfair inequalities, because it is the latter that has led to such extreme responses through human history as communism or severing the head of the queen from her torso when she suggested that people could eat cake when they ran out of bread.

 

Some more blog Posts by author on similar topics

  1. On Inflation: http://someitemshave.blogspot.in/2012/11/inflation-stealing-from-poor-for-rich.html
  2. On High Banker and Corporate salaries: http://someitemshave.blogspot.in/2012/02/rule-of-ten-way-to-strengthen-democracy.html

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The Twenty-twenty Tree Initiative

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twenty treesSince I began blogging seven years ago on Word press and Blogger some of the ideas have caught the fancy of many on far off shores. Encouraged by such responses, this blogger is encouraged now to put forth a new idea that is concerned directly with the health and beauty of our lovely planet. It is called the 1:20 Green earth Initiative here, or one may call it the Twenty-Twenty Tree Initiative.

Very simply put the idea is that it may be prescribed by law that every person who possesses or controls land of one acre or more shall ensure that he or she plants a least twenty trees per acre on his land. This law, wherever implemented in a region, province or country would apply to all individual land owners as well as organizations such as farms, homes, schools, universities, industries, trusts etc. if they own or control a piece of land of one acre or more through lease or grant. Actually a far larger number of trees can be planted on an acre of land. This law merely prescribes the minimum. In his home this author presently has more than twenty trees and a home on less than one tenth of an acre and there is a driveway and two lawns besides.

While many initiatives are afoot around the planet to increase tree cover such initiatives have lagged behind the deforestation that has been taking place on the planet over the last century. The present initiative would add oomph to such attempts and help improve climate stabilization efforts. The law briefly put would be something as follows:

Every person or organization that possesses an acre or more of land shall ensure that at least twenty trees of a height of at least ten feet from the ground grow on this land. Those following short of this prescribed minimum shall pay an annual tree deficit tax proportional to the number of trees that are short of twenty. In the first five years after this act is promulgated the height of the counted tree may be less than ten feet.

It is not necessary that the trees be distributed evenly on land. Thus a farmer with a ten acre lot can plant an orchard of 200 fruit trees in a corner of his farm to satisfy the requirement. The location of trees and the choice of trees are up to the owner and farmers may prefer timber or fruit trees. In case they wish to harvest the timber at some later stage they may, provided they have planted or otherwise have more than twenty trees to begin with on their land. Some thought has to be given to the appropriate and simple implementation of this law because a law that is not implemented is only a piece of paper. An easy implementation is possible through a voluntary counting and submission of number of trees on their plot in January of every year. They should retain a receipt of this submission because if a surprise random check is made and the submission found to be incorrect there would be a penalty. Half the penalty would be a reward for the person who reports them. Certainly there would be several details of this law that would need to be worked out but that can be done quickly by a group of experts assembled for the purpose, once the idea is accepted. This blogger shall volunteer to be a part of such a group, if necessary, if called to do so by any region within feasible traveling distance.

Orchards

If farm owners may be obliged to reserve a portion of their farms for trees that could well be fruit orchards. One disadvantage of orchards as compared to natural forests is that they are low on bio-diversity and as a result they do not contribute as much to improvements in environment as natural forests. However there is a very simple way to improve both the environment as well as fruit yield from orchards by introducing bio-diversity. If twenty per cent of evenly distributed trees are different from the primary crop in an orchard then both the yield and the environment improves. Such orchards may yield up to one and half times the normal yield over the life of the orchard as per the author’s estimate just because of improved bio diversity and soil health despite the fact that there are fewer trees of the primary crop. In addition there is the joy of a different fruit for the personal consumption and distribution by the owner if not the market. All that has to be ensured is that the other trees are not taller or wider in girth than the primary orchard tree. If some or all of the other 20 percent trees are nitrogen fixing trees the gain is likely to be greater (read this http://permaculturenews.org/2008/09/29/nitrogen-fixing-trees-the-multipurpose-pioneers/).

Quite frequently, seeded by animal, bird or breeze a wild tree will come up naturally within an orchard. It is a good idea to leave it in and nurture it as one of the fifth trees. Being natural to the area it will contribute most to bio-diversity. Allowing or introducing wild flowers, berry bushes and mushrooms through the orchard would be even better. The bees will love the flowers and multiply faster. In orchard spaces exceeding ten acres in area do consider a pond with a stream leading to it meandering through the orchard with some fish of an edible variety in it to create the ideal ecology and ground water table as befits our wonderful planet.

Trees that can attract bees to nest are an additional bonus for pollination and that occasional jar of honey to brighten up breakfast and the after dinner desert and health of the farmer and his family. It may be mentioned that neither the fruit nor the honey from single source orchards has the same health benefits as that from a bio-diverse source. The same strategy is recommended for palm and olive oil plantations. Farmers into organic farming may label their produce as organic and ‘from a bio-diverse orchard’ for that additional oomph in their marketing.

To create such an orchard, just plant every fifth tree in a row of a different fruit or timber. In an existing orchard selected trees may be removed to be replaced by others and when a forest is cleared for a plantation just leave in some original trees so that in the end one fifth the trees are the original ones.

Amendment for small plots

While the twenty-twenty tree initiative prescribes minimum growth of trees on large plots of land, the Tweety amendment is the suggested amendment for small plots that are smaller than one acre. Here a minimum requirement of one tree for every two hundred square yards of land may be prescribed under the same initiative with similar fines for not growing them. Thus a person owning 800 square yards of land in an urban, suburban or rural area would be required to grow at least four trees on it that are taller than ten feet in height. Tweety amendment is just the name given here. One can easily choose another if one wishes but it will certainly get tweety birds singing to home owners every morning.

UPDATE: April 2018

How to make the scheme politically popular

This scheme requires imposition by a government and in democracies an essential requirement is that a scheme be popular over the short term as well, not just the long term. A new tax of any kind on farmers will not be popular on farmers especially in India. In this case the scheme can easily be inverted by converting the tax to a financial reward based on trees. it would become highly popular then. The funding for it can come from other tree plantation budgets of the country. Spent this way it would be far more productive than other plantation drives since individual care and responsibility by citizens is ensured.

Additional Notes about trees:

1. A brief note on how to select a tree to grow is here http://ezinearticles.com/?How-To-Select-A-Tree-To-Grow&id=7027748

2. The spiritual impact of planting trees is here http://nainitalgoddess.blogspot.in/2013/10/babaji-and-trees.html

3 The influence of planting trees on climate change is here http://steamcenter.blogspot.in/2013/07/one-fact-about-climate-change-most.html

Frequently asked Questions:

Q: I own 1.359 acres of suburban land. If this initiative becomes law in my area, how many trees will I be required to plant?

Ans: 1.359 x 20 = 27.18, the required number of trees is 27

Q: I own a ten acre farm. In case this law comes into force I would hate to shade my farm. Can I just choose small lime and lemon trees and crowd them in a corner of the farm?

Ans: You sure can, provided they all reach at least a height of ten feet. However do not crowd them so much that you can not reach the lemons

Q: I own a commercial plot of 200 square yards in the marketplace and have constructed all of it for my shop. It is permitted in commercial areas of my city. I really have no space for any tree. What should I do?

Ans: If your business is making good money you do not have to do anything, just pay the annual tax for a single tree deficit. If your business is not doing well and you cannot afford to pay even that tax, then pull down the business premises and grow fruit trees on it instead. You will at least get to eat the fruit.

Q: I have a small urban dwelling on 330 square yards and I have paved the entire front portion. What shall I do?

Ans: All you need to do is break a two feet circle in it, pull out the rubble, replace with good soil and compost and plant a tree in it. Your home will look prettier.

The Rule of Ten to manage Inequality

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The Rule of Ten to manage Inequality

Recently there has been a hue and cry about the high salary and bonuses that TENsome corporate executives, especially bankers are drawing. The occupy movement that has erupted in many countries around the world represents this anguish of people. New sources of communication make expressing this anguish possible. There is a simple way to fix the problem. It is called the rule of ten here. If adopted such a rule will not only strengthen capitalism, it will also strengthen democracy. Simply stated this rule states that within any corporate or government organization the cumulative annual benefits (that include salary, bonuses, shares and all other benefits) of any individual within that organization shall not exceed ten times the total benefits of the lowest paid individual. This will immediately put a cap to the high bonuses and perks some individuals are enjoying in various organizations. The rule has to be corporation wide not country wide in order to allow corporations to compete.

The less severe version of this rule replaces the lowest salary in the above rule with median or average salary. Average is a better choice since it reduces chances of exploiting some in a company with very low wages.

The basis of this rule is that no individual is less than ten times as capable, hard working or talented than the most capable individual in any organization. In case one is so, one should be in a care home instead. It is only just that the salary structures reflect this reality. Why ten and not nine or eleven? Well some number has to be chosen and a round number is simple to implement. The real and evident reason for these gross inequalities is that those with advantages have exploited their positions to maintain their advantage since the dawn of human civilization. However, the base has got broader with time, from a single King or dictator to at least around one per cent. With further evolution the trend is bound to accelerate. This author too has belonged to the one per cent for most of his life, but if he speaks against it, it is because of his spiritual leanings that regard exploitation of humans by other humans as unfair.

Countries not used to this sort of rule will find it rather extreme, but they can make a beginning by a rule of 20, 30, 40 or 50 or even 100 in in its place to prevent a few individuals from ripping off the voiceless shareholder and the shirts off the back of the poor.

The rule of ten should be seen as a regulation to fix ratios of maximum to minimum wage within organizations, not necessarily in the ratio of ten is to one but any ratio that has been agreed upon, even 100. It prevents senior managers to run away with unlimited compensations

How will such a rule strengthen democracy? If a referendum is to be called for such a law an overwhelming majority shall support it. Any rule or law that is in accordance with the just aspirations or wishes of the people and is workable strengthens democracy. What about the argument being put by some bankers etc. that this will lead to a flight of talent. That is just nonsense.

Such a rule will not lead to a flight of talent. It shall lead to a flight of greed and exploitation instead.

What will happen to the campaign contributions of political candidates if some individuals and corporations are not allowed to get disproportionately rich? No just human society needs campaign contributions that ride on the back of the homeless and the struggling while the likes of Berlusconi have perhaps taken off to their island spa for another bunga bunga party. Quite likely he has enough room for other leaders to join him as other economies around the world collapse under the burden of debt.

It is the opinion of this author that unless the presently prosperous economies of the world take steps towards limiting high executive rip-offs and take care of national debt they are headed to certain economic doom. Current measures as being adopted around the world only kick the can down the road, a road in which the pits get deeper as one moves further.

A year or so ago when the CEO of a Swiss drug major was walking off with a seven million severance package, as approved by a board of directors whose compensations he had approved (it is the you scratch my back, I scratch yours story in corporations) the Swiss public woke up and forced in a new law to prevent this sort of rip offs by companies. The legislators cried foul and the companies cried foul but the public had their way because of the unique sort of democracy the Swiss have. In other countries the public does not have a similar say.

In India the first baby steps towards such a rule have been taken in a new company law that requires companies to list ratios of peak to median salaries.

The rule of ten is much more effective in permitting struggling businesses to revive through across the board salary cuts, or help new businesses to grow, while a minimum wage regulation can kill them, if they are unable to afford the minimum wage

Concluding Remark: Inspired by the original version of this note, that has been posted by the author in several other places (e.g. http://someitemshave.blogspsot.com) the Swiss moved a slightly modified 1:12 rule. It was narrowly defeated. The Swiss and other countries are working on a somewhat more lenient 1:20 rule presently.