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I like electric cars. I like the idea of them, and though see the issues with manufacturing them, the benefits for their use in cities and densely populated areas for short journeys cannot be argued with. For me, I wouldn’t mind one. I do about 10 miles a day, hardly a large enough mileage to warrant paying so much for ever increasingly petrol prices. An electric car would be perfect, could pop to work and back each day in a nice little ‘smug-mobile’ due to saving the environment, and save on petrol.

The LEAF

However, there is one major and glaringly obvious issue. Cost. The cost of electric cars is currently far too high. Only now are we seeing the ‘affordable’ range coming into reach in the shape of the Nissan Leaf. I was shocked to find that these are £20,000 with the gov’t grant of £5000.

While many may like the idea of owning one, electric cars are currently stupendously over priced. Companies have spent far too much time and frankly, money, making electric cars the same as petrol. They have made high performance cars to go  ‘ooh, ooh, look at this car, it’s as fast as a petrol car’ which frankly, while impressive, is besides the point. People buying electric cars currently don’t want or necessarily need speed or high performance, nor can they afford it. That time, money and research should be focused on making them affordable. After all, isn’t this what the whole point of them is? Having widely-used electric cars will in theory help the planet. At the very least will reduce our reliance on petrol and reduce the oil companies power. Once a base range of electric cars that people can both afford and use day-to-day, performance will naturally increase with the technology.

Slightly more attractive ZoeEV

Renault, have however taken a step in the right direction. Their Zoe EV is expected to be around £14,250 which is much more manageable and realistic in terms of actual purchasing power. Not cheap enough, but a step in the right direction. The way they achieve this price too is via renting the batteries rather than selling. This reduces cost for consumer, but also means that newer batteries can be installed hassle free, as they’re swapped out at petrol stations. But one company isn’t enough. Frankly, until the VW Group get an equally tempting proposal out of the door, I shaln’t hold my breath.

To solve this issue beyond just moaning at manufactors, the question of government grants needs to be assessed. £5,000 clearly isn’t enough for people to currently be willing to upgrade. The infrastructure isn’t yet in place for long-distance journeys, and all round investments need to be made and to educate the public as to whether this is indeed a valid alternative. Increasing gov’t grants to make electric cars not only affordable but tempting will go some way to increase demand, thus causing manufacters to get their act together.

This, coupled with my various plans for making a self sustaining and self sufficient UK would detract from much of the political issues petrol creates, both national and international. At the end of the day, the adoption of electric cars cannot be too detrimental, assuming it is done well.

While it’s great that electric has been displayed to do high performance things to show it’s not sub-par to petrol you could kind of do with having a car people will actually buy and use  as that’s the whole point in making them Green. If a few people take them up, the impact will be minimal. Let’s hope that soon electric cars become more widely recognised as a valid alternative and a valid fuel source.

Let us also hope, that newer models will have better, less clichéd names such as the LEAF. And less white interiors. Look nice, but impractical for kids!

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The recent news that Trident has been renewed for the cost of £3bn has reminded me why I hate the trident scheme and oppose it. I’ll try and keep this succinct.

1. Cost:

With news that the recent cuts will devastate millions of people and wreak havoc with business, I am perplexed as to why £20bn is quite happily given over to upgrade the current reactors to newer ‘safer’ models. The safety of the countries economy seems to have little consequence here, with the people willingly taking a hit in how they live day to day in exchange for a one-time-never-may-happen upgrade. It’s not even like they’re buying a new, sparkly system that will save us all where before we had nothing. It’s just to improve it slightly – an entirely pointless farce.

Instead we could put the money we save from it into scientific research, the health service, universal education to degree level – many many things that are currently far better uses of money than a useless and outdated system. The social applications £100bn could have are huge and far reaching. Rather than have nuke’s, we could develop advanced technology with the public interest at heart, technology that would improve day to day living but also allow for our armed forces to be both better equipped and more advanced than anyone else in the world. I am a pacifist, but also see the need to have an armed forces in case of a direct attack. That said, research and money spent on the armed forces should benefit more than just them.

2. Legitimacy.

I cannot see any situation in the near future where we would actually deploy the Trident system. Yes Minister does another excellent job of summarising what would happen in such a situation.

(note the Afghanistan remark)

We would never use it as a pre-emptive strike. That is to say, its only purpose is to retaliate. To equal the score. To further destroy the human race and it’s ability to survive. In a nuclear war, I no longer care about countries or politics. My concern becomes this: Will there be people around to survive and carry on the species? I imagine there would, and our priority should be to ensure that the situation for those few, poor human beings is as good as we can make it. Wiping everyone we can off the face of the planet is not helpful to this.

If someone really wanted to attack us with nuke’s, they would. If any single powerful individual was insane enough to consider it, then Trident is not a deterrent. The cold war is over, and there is no longer huge amounts of tension between nations or a threat. There are more pressing matters that we need to focus on. Frankly if someone wanted to wipe out another nation, the collateral damage to their own people is not going to be of any concern. This mutually assured destruction (M.A.D – a dash ironic) is utterly pointless.

3. We don’t even own them

The nuke’s are hired from the US. What’s the point in that? May as well invest in having our own developing technology that will give us an actual edge, rather than a mirrored system.

4. Threats now are much smaller

Both the scale of threats now are much smaller – terrorism being the key thing that people are more wary of. This is something that will not be solved by having a nuclear deterrent due to the largely inability for terrorists to get their hands easily on ICBMs. This means that money invested in not invading and aggravating their domestic countries for little reason, and instead in furthering humanitarian efforts and ensuring the safety of domestic borders will benefit from the increased funding.

Plus, most countries now are much less likely to actually want to cause M.A.D or nuke us. If only for the fact it’s a large waste of recourses. There’s a long way to go before we will be in a situation of looking at a direct ICBM strike, and I think that road will throw up many more problems than just if we had Trident.

Oppose it, save the money, there’s no current direct threat, even if there was we’ll die either way, it’s a pointless and expensive system. If we oppose it and die in 20 years time from nuclear attacks, blame me, but at least we’ll have had decent education and health in our time on Earth.

Trident is an outdated ideal, a last remnant that clings on that has support because people think it makes us strong and the idea of us having a grand navy named pretentious ‘Trident’ harks back to the glory Empire days. The Empire is gone, we are now weak and have little military might. Focus on making us an intellectual force and we shall become powerful and respected once more.

I apologise if this lacks the eloquence and nicety that I usually try to include in blog posts. It’s merely one of the few things that genuinely angers me.

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Often reasons given against chasing tax dodgers or raising taxes to a more sensible level is that the reason we should not is because the organisations involved will run and flee the country. To many it may seem obvious that this is false and mere scare mongering. I want to briefly explain why so.

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A controversial subject that keeps cropping up now and then in the media is the planned construction of a new High speed (225mph) rail link between London and the North. It shall be constructed in two stages – London Euston to a new station in Birmingham (Curzon Street). Construction would start in 2017 and have trains running by 2025. The latter half of the track is a planned link to Manchester and Leeds and is known as the ‘Y’ section due to its shape.The cost? In the area of £30bn.

The question is this: Is it really worth it?

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Ever since a task in GCSE science where we were asked to come up with an idea for generating electricity, I have always supported this method of energy generation and policy. Since then I have developed my thoughts more into what they are now, and widened my thoughts to the world and the topic of global development. My idea several years ago that has lingered with me ever since was to have multiple turbines in a drain pipe so that every time it rained (the criticism of applying solar energy in the UK) energy would be passively generated – only a small amount, but enough to offset at least some a few lights and other devices. Needless to say upon further investigation I discovered this had already been done by someone from a University. My millionaire world saving dreams, dashed in an instant.

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Hello again. Hopefully you saw my previous blog post on the matter. If not, it’s here

The best starting point would be I feel with Aid, and the benefits and downfalls there of. Criticising aid may at first seem like me being a tad heartless, but I hope that I can dispel this.

I shall try to be methodical. There are three main types of Aid

  • Bilateral – Government to Government
  • Multilateral – Money gathers in a ‘pot’ -e.g IMF, WHO, World Bank
  • NGO – Non Governmental Organisations like Oxfam who gain money from the public

I’ll be referring to Bilateral and multilateral aid as ‘top down’ from here on. While there are some forms of it that support and are based as grass-roots schemes, it is really the dominion of NGO’s that use this type of distribution. There are differences that apply between these two types, though criticisms are much the same and for the sake of ease I’ll merge them.

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This post I feel will be a long one. I plan to split it into two or three parts, for ease of reading and writing.

Ever since doing sociology at A-level I’ve had a niggling interest in international development and the bells and whistles there of. Nothing too dominant to tell me it’s the direction I wish to go in, or that I actually was interested in, but enough to make me get excited about it again when considering writing this blog post and frantically dig out all my old notes. For this reason I have pursued interest in this area, and will talk about my thoughts on the matter and perhaps even delve into what I think should be our international and environmental policies. Not too much though.

In this post I will be covering the following key topic areas, and the direction it shall flow:

  • My thoughts on Aid and how it should be executed
  • The role of NGO’s and issues surrounding top-down development
  • Role of sustainable energy generation technology in the developing world
  • Microgeneration in the third world as a tool for development
  • Advantages and requirements for sustainable microgeneration
  • Role and applications this has in the first world.
  • Briefly the role of nuclear power in a post-Fukushima world. (A post that was requested that I thought applicable to be woven in)
  • Eventually, a conclusion and further summary

Below is where the article actually starts, this was more a warning/summary of what to expect. Hope you enjoy it, and please do give feedback and comment 🙂 I’ll spread the post out over a few days to give people reading time.

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