In a recent article Philip Blond claims that the politics of the future will be anti-oligarchic, saying:
“An individualist economic culture is reliant on individuals competing, but this leads to zero-sum capitalism where some win it all and everybody else loses. This creates the necessity of the welfare state – if we have a society in which most are impoverished, we will require some sort of safety net to stop them falling into utter destitution.
Likewise, the legacy of the collectivist states was not equality – just visit Russia or Ukraine, where self- serving individuals have captured all shared goods and ensure that they keep them through state authoritarianism and criminal organisation.”
So let’s take a look at Russia and Ukraine, where I have visited and our work has focussed since 1999 on an alternative to capitalism, tackling poverty and childcare reform. Since 2006 our primary focus being the most voiceless and vulnerable children in Ukraine, who are considered of little social value and disposed of into institutions.
‘The Ukrainian maxim: “I saw nothing, my home is on the other side of the village” has no place in the modern world. If by our deliberate blindness, children are allowed to suffer such depravities then, by our inaction, we are all guilty.’
Deliberate blindness was precisely our experience. As my deceased colleague recorded in his notes
“This is not a research activity where many, if any, other people dared to participate. UNICEF was willfully blind to the matter because it was just too dangerous to bother to intercede Powerful interests remained entrenched with enforcers to make it dangerous. Jurists were correct, in my view. It was more a mafia operation than anything else, aimed at misappropriation and laundering of large money. That was perfectly congruent with how Ukraine operated before the revolution. USAID wanted nothing to do with it, nor would they fund any organizations or activists who might try. Some things could be done and some things could not be done. Helping these children was something that could not be done. So, I exposed it and made it the central focus and metric of Ukraine’s microeconomic development blueprint.”
In 2010, this cause was the subject of a petition to a newly elected David Cameron.
The author of the Sunday Times article heads an organisation called People First, which has links to Respublica.
Note that the article excludes the efforts of our founder Terry Hallman who dedicated his life to this cause. Note particularly that the article makes a children’s champion of one of Ukraine’s leading oligarchs.
“One champion of these needy children is billionaire Rinat Akhmetov. He has set aside millions to close down every state children’s home in Ukraine by 2017 and replace it with international-standard foster homes.”
In 2006 in his article , Terry wrote:
‘Excuses won’t work, particularly in light of a handful of oligarchs in Ukraine having been allowed to loot Ukraine’s economy for tens of billions of dollars. I point specifically to Akhmetov, Pinchuk, Poroshenko, and Kuchma, and this is certainly not an exhaustive list. These people can single-handedly finance 100% of all that will ever be needed to save Ukraine’s orphans. None of them evidently bother to think past their bank accounts, and seem to have at least tacit blessings at this point from the new regime to keep their loot while no one wants to consider Ukraine’s death camps, and the widespread poverty that produced them.’
Kyiv Post, who re-published the Sunday Times article had earlier reported on ‘Ukraine’s Scrooges ‘ and the paltry contribution they make to society. Another Kyiv Post article ‘Deadly Greed‘ drew attention to the death rates in mines owned by Rinat Akhmetov..
The task of closing down institutions and placing children in a loving family environment was the primary focus of the ‘Marshall Plan’ which said this about capitalism:
‘An inherent assumption about capitalism is that profit is defined only in terms of monetary gain. This assumption is virtually unquestioned in most of the world. However, it is not a valid assumption. Business enterprise, capitalism, must be measured in terms of monetary profit. That rule is not arguable. A business enterprise must make monetary profit, or it will merely cease to exist. That is an absolute requirement. But it does not follow that this must necessarily be the final bottom line and the sole aim of the enterprise. How this profit is used is another question. It is commonly assumed that profit will enrich enterprise owners and investors, which in turn gives them incentive to participate financially in the enterprise to start with.
That, however, is not the only possible outcome for use of profits. Profits can be directly applied to help resolve a broad range of social problems: poverty relief, improving childcare, seeding scientific research for nationwide economic advancement, improving communications infrastructure and accessibility, for examples – the target objectives of this particular project plan. The same financial discipline required of any conventional for-profit business can be applied to projects with the primary aim of improving socioeconomic conditions. Profitability provides money needed to be self-sustaining for the purpose of achieving social and economic objectives such as benefit of a nation’s poorest, neediest people. In which case, the enterprise is a social enterprise.
In this case, for the project now being proposed, it is constructed precisely along these lines. Childcare reform as outlined above will pay for itself in reduced costs to the state. It will need investment for about five years in order to cover the cost of running two programs in parallel: the existing, extremely problematic state childcare scheme, and the new program needed to replace it for the purpose of giving children a decent life. The old program will be phased out as the new program is phased in. After this phase transition is complete, the state will from that time forward pay out less money for state childcare. Children will have a better life, and will be more likely to become healthy, productive assets to the nation rather than liabilities with diminished human development, diminished education, and the message that they are not important – the basis for serious trouble. There is no need whatsoever to give these children less than a good quality of life as they grow and mature. The only problem is reorganization of existing resources.’
The costs identified at this time were $484 million on infrastructure and annual running costs of $320 million. Considerably more than millions “set aside” and considerably less than the $9 billion spent on Euro 2012.
Denying the existence and contribution of those who risk their lives to challenge the status quo, from the safe haven of ‘think tank’ won’t change capitalism.
Neither will the actions of politicians who include Blair. Mandelson and Byers, who have become advocates for the same oligarchs., nor will those who censor and those who hijack for their own benefit, the cause of ‘Every Child Deservers a Loving Family’
Blond says the new idealism of moral markets will come sooner than we think. I say it’s already here and he’s trying to credit himself, in a very un-Christian way. Clearly he and his associates have no intention of supporting those who walk the talk. It really began in 1995, as I relate in You, Me, We, Ethics and People-Centered Economics.
In politics however, there are few things more odious than faux socialism and of all politicians, none has more oligarchic connections than Lord Mandelson. Allegedly it was the Akhmetov foundation who paid for him to make his “impassioned speech in which he argued that the event can be used to spark Ukraine’s development and enhance its reputation”.
Imagine if they’d spent the money on opening a family home, instead, as in Kalinovka.
My colleague Terry also argued passionately for Ukraine’s development with a call for a Centre for Social Enterprise
In 2009, Mandleson as UK Business Secretary chaired the Social Enterprise Summit announcing that his department were helping firms who help others.
There was little evidence of him helping us. In fact, within the next two years, UK government had brushed us aside to delivery their own version of our project, notably with the primary focus, children neglected in institutions, removed.
Mandleson had “cried openly” on his last day in office, saying goodbye to his staff, though he’d have little concern when I’d had to say goodbye to mine, dying alone far from home. Local activists confirm what we spoke of by telephone on his last night when they wrote ” On his death bed he was speaking only of his mission – rescuing of these unlucky kids”.