Post for Apr 24-30 2011 (Tidbits and Nuggets)

TaN: Wage increase is an unimaginative and pallative stopgap to the spiraling increase of prices.  It will, not only, not solve but will even exacerbate the problem of high prices – and may have a collateral damages of mass layoffs, in closures, and another round of price increases (to cover the wage increase).  It is a vicious cycle that cannot be broken by wage increases.  [Another disadvantage of wage increases is that it puts you into a higher tax bracket.  Without a change in the tax structure, you end up pay more taxes; your increase just goes to the government.  This is good news for the government.]

Price increases are mainly triggered by price increases in raw materials (whether the cost of material itself or the cost of acquiring it, like transporting or producing it).  This cuts into the profit margin of a business enterprise.  To regain the decrease in profit, there are to ways: the easy/stupid/unimaginative and the difficult/intelligent/imaginative.  Most businesses will opt for the first, simply because they are easier and simpler, but it will, in the end, be detrimental.  The first method is the one used by the BIR (or IRS, if you are in the USA).  Instead of going after tax evaders and cheats and tax avoiders, they raise the taxes, to cover target shortfalls.

The other method is to improve production cost.  This is a win-win solution for all.  By reducing the cost of production (without sacrificing quality), the profit margin is maintained while labor still gets an increase and the consumers likewise benefit.  However, this is – as they say – often, the road less taken.  The sad fact is, today, the attitude/prevailing business policy is, if your employees or your consumers expect you to go that “extra mile” to serve everybody, they will be rudely disillusioned.

Moreover, for the more unscrupulous businesses who would (without hesitation and even threateningly) shutdown the business and open another one rather than give employees their due – i.e., decent wages and other benefits (assuming that the business is more than financially capable but unwilling), such businesses should be subject to intensive and scrutinizing probes and exposés.  These businesses ought to be charged with economic sabotage and with human rights violations because that is precisely what it redounds to – depriving the work force of their ability to purchase goods and services that keep the economy healthy and thriving, as well as keeping them in perpetual poverty and destitution.

Finally, a wage increase (especially if “across the board”) is no guarantee that things will be better.  If anything, it will distort the wages even more.  Does anyone honestly believe that by mandating a wage increase that those businesses that are not paying the minimum wage will start complying now?

The best way I can think of to, somehow, save us some time on the annual ritual of demanding for wage increases and the unsurprising response of the ECOP of “can’t afford a wage increase” is to change the regional tripartite wage boards into minimum wage monitoring teams who compute for and determine the semi-annual minimum wage and make surprise visits to interview daily wage earners regarding company compliance and to recommend filing of charges against violating businesses.  As to the need for periodic minimum wage adjustments (because it is so easy for businesses to raise prices but labor has to go through hell to have a pittance of a wage increase granted), let it be automatically computed and determined from the semi-annual average price index.  To avoid too much wage re-adjustments (even on a semi-annual basis), adjustments will be made only if and when the new computed minimum wage involves: (1) an overall movement or fluctuation of not less than (hypothetically, say) seven percent or (2) a factoral component movement or fluctuation of not less than (again, hypothetically, say) ten percent.  [By “factoral component”, I mean any one of the price components used in the computation of the CPI.  Further, among the factoral components should be (but not limited to): (a) minimum commuting fare cost, (b) prime commodities, and (c) regulated residential rental cost.]  The wage team will inform all businesses (through official notices) about the adjustments in minimum wage.

I am anticipating complaints of businesses regarding the impracticality of recomputing the wages every six months, but my answer will be, “If you find it complicated and difficult re-adjusting wages regularly, then learn not to adjust prices regularly so the CPI will be somewhat stable.”

TaN: PNRI’s statement and assurance of the Philippines being in no danger from the radioactive plume originating from Fukushima, Japan, is unfounded – with due respect to the experts.  Whether the statement is based on actual research and evaluation or simply “copy-pasted” from press releases and foreign news reports is irrelevant.  I am sorry to point out the following facts that may not have been considered:

One, it is true that the wind pattern prevailing in the Fukushima lattitude region is eastward – towards the North American continent.  However, it must be realized and remembered that the wind does not stop blowing , it does not stop there.  It will continue its trip around the world.  After the North American continent, it will cross the Atlantic Ocean and go to Europe (btw, the UK and other nearby by European states are not experiencing contaminated air and water).  It will come back full circle to Asia, via the Eastern Europe, through the Middle East, and back home to Asia.  But, this is not the end of the story.

Two, like an ordinary beam of light, the farther it travels from its source, the broader the beam becomes.  Similarly, the plume that started out from Fukushima will spread as it travels eastward.  By the time it reaches the North American continent, its diameter (or contamination boundaries) would have effectively grown to several times the original – ever wider as it goes.  By the time it is able to circumnavigate the world (and return to Asia, via the west), the front would have widened to spanning entire continents.  After a few times around the world, it would be vast enough to envelop the whole planet.

And, three, unlike many other substances and chemicals, radiation is not diluted and rendered “harmless”.  Instead, they follow a different set of laws – the laws of physics, specifically radiological or nuclear physics.  The way radiactive substances become inert or lose their radioactivity depends on their half life (i.e., the duration or length of time it takes for half of the material to lose its radioactivity).  For materials such as plutonium, the half life is “longer than the entire history of human civilization (24,000 years)” (see http://naturalnews.com/z031871_radiation_rainwater.html) while “cesium-137 which has a half-life of 30 years” (refer to http://www.naturalnews.com/031992_radioactive_cesium.html) and “there never has been and never will be a safe level of nuclear radiation” (see http://naturalnews.com/z031974_radiation_dangers.html).

THE ONLY SAFE NUCLEAR REACTOR IS 93 MILLION MILES (or 150 MILLION KILOMETERS) AWAY, AT THE CENTER OF OUR SOLAR SYSTEM!

TaN: It must be said that the soaring of oil prices will continue…unabated.  Let us pray not, though there seems to be very little hope.  There seems to be a “conspiracy” to push world oil prices to (according to a source that, so far, has proven to be very accurate in all of its “predictions”) – get this – $200 a barrel!  According to the same source, it said that a reliable source in the industry claims that the cost to bring up a barrel of oil from the ground is a mere $2!

Given the foregoing and assuming that it is reliable and accurate, it would not only be futile but even inane to waste precious hard-earned taxpayers’ money subsidizing oil costs.  It will only all be funneled to the pockets of the oil cartel.  It would be like frantically bailing out water from a sinking ship without plugging up the hole first.

Just like pouring good money into relief projects (which are a one-shot deal), it is better to channel limited monetary resources into rehabiliation projects.  What I mean is, abandon the oil (both fossil fuel and the so-called “environmentally-friendlier” biofuels – which are proving to be just as bad or even worse with respect to climate change and global warming) as we pour resources (money, talents, and efforts) into truly sustainable and friendly (for both the economy and the environment) energy technology.

There is no single alternative technology that will answer every energy demand – no one-size-fits-all technology, no silver bullet, no panacea for all ills.  Different environmental situations dictate different technologies – such as solar panels for desert regions, tidal, wave and surf for island and archipelagic areas, thermal for geologically active zones, and wind for vast open fields and flat terrains.  In fact, we can even go into biological and mechanical technologies in high urban and in densely populated areas (as in the fitness gymnasia and high foot-traffic walkways).

Solar panels are not suited for agricultural fields (for now, unless and until we can come up with transparent ones that sunlight through) because it will block the sunlight from the plants.  Deserts do not have to worry about that.  In urban settings, solar panels may be used as roofing in covered walkways, not to mention the unused roofs of houses and buildings.  Hydro technology can take advantage of gravity as it acts on flowing water or of the huge strong subsurface water currents our seas and oceans.  Biological and mechanical refers to tapping the wasted energy expenditure of fitness buffs working out in gymnasia and spas (hook the machines up to turbines and generators to charge storage power cells and batteries); the mechanical energy of crowds walking through malls and shopping centers; and, the prison inmates who could put their pent-up energy to better use than conduct riots and make life miserable for each other and the penal authorities.

Finally, there is a reason why God put the things that are essential to our survival within reach all around us and those that are harmful (but essential to the environment and the physical world) deep underground (like radioactive materials), in the depths of the oceans, and 93 millions miles away.  We, in our infinite “wisdom” (or is it stupidity), gather these up (and put in our nuclear reactors) and now we have problems disposing them, after they are spent.  I repeat: THE ONLY SAFE NUCLEAR REACTOR SHOULD BE ONE THAT IS 93 MILLION MILES (or 150 MILLION KILOMETERS) AWAY, AT THE CENTER OF OUR SOLAR SYSTEM!

TaN: (as an afterthought to the just-concluded Lenten season) The intensifying furor over the RH (Reproductive Health) bill is getting out of hand – both from the advocates and the oppositors.  In an effort to clarity and sanity to this inane controvery, much of the public are unaware of the points of argument – i.e., which provisions in the bill are being contested.  I posit that, instead of pushing the public to support or to oppose the bill, why don’t the oppsitors make public the specific provisions that their bones of contention and let the public decide.  After all, if God gave us free will (so we can decide on our own), who are we to impose our values and preferences on others.  On the other hand, if the reason behind the intense putsch to reject the bill is because the public is viewed as largely incapable of making the correct choice, this does not bode well of the oppositors – having such a low and insulting regard for the intelligence of the general public.

Responsible parenthood is good.  It is the right of every couple to self-determine that size of their family.  How many children a couple wants to have is none of anybody’s business, much less the state or the church.  However, it is a totally different matter if the couple is not able to provide for the children’s needs.  Likewise, the couple must clearly understand the definition and the significance of the term “responsible”.

It would appear that pro-choice advocates are equating the use of artificial methods of contraception as being a responsible parent.  They cannot be further from the truth.  Use of artificial contraceptives are the height of irresponsibility.

A responsible parent is one who partakes of the benefits of sexual relations and accepts the consequences – i.e., should the act result in a conception, both parents must not shirk from their responsibilities.  If they are not able to accept of the possibility of a conception, they have no right to partake of the benefits.  Use of artificial contraceptives is the epitome of irresponsibility.  Users are immature and irresponsible because they are perfectly willing to enjoy without having to worry about the consequences.

It must be understood and remembered that every right or freedom has its accompanying responsibility.  One cannot claim a right or a freedom unless one accepts the responsibility that comes with it.  A responsible parent does not run away from the consequences of his/her actions.  Equating the use of contraceptives with being responsible is the product of a twisted and sick mind, incapable of comprehending the concept of maturity and of responsibility.

Moreover, the use of contraceptives is in perfect congruence with the concept of abortion/murder (because it is the purposeful and premeditated taking of a life not one’s own).  It is not argued that a woman has the right to the determination of her own body.  However, the fertilized egg is not part of her body.  It is a separate being that just happens to be dependent on her for survival.  Abortion is no different not only from depriving a child of all means of survival (i.e., food, protection, and care) but even killing the child.

It is often argued when life begins.  Life has begun a long time ago.  A fertilized egg stops being different individual cells but has become a single entity – much like when a man and a woman become one flesh through and in the act of marriage.  They are no longer two separate people but a couple.

Moreover, individual cells are the building blocks of life, much like atoms are the building blocks of everything in the universe.  All life – that we know of and define – are composed of cells.  And, since only life can come from life (and not from non-life), cells must be living – in order to build life.

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