Wednesday, 15 November 2017

A Management Lesson

A friend sent me this.
Image result for ducks for sale

A father left 17 ducks as asset for his Three Sons.

When the Father passed away, his sons opened up the will.

The Will of the Father stated that the Eldest son should get Half of 17 ducks,

The Middle Son should be given 1/3rd of 17 ducks,

Youngest Son should be given 1/9th of the 17 ducks

As it is not possible to divide 17 into half or 17 by 3 or 17 by 9, the sons started to fight with each other.

So, they decided to go to a wise man who lives in a cave.

The wise man listened patiently about the Will. The wise man, after giving this thought, brought one duck of his own & added the same to 17. That increased the total to 18 ducks.

Now, he started reading the deceased father’s will.

Half of 18 = 9.
So he gave 9 ducks
to the eldest son.

1/3rd of 18 = 6.
So he gave 6 ducks
to the middle son.

1/9th of 18 = 2.
So he gave 2 ducks
to the youngest son.

Now add this up:
9 + 6 + 2 = 17 &
This leaves 1 duck
which the wise man took back.

MORAL: The attitude of negotiation & problem solving is to find the 18th duck i.e. the common ground. Once a person is able to find the common ground, the issue is resolved. It is difficult at times.

However, to reach a solution, the first step is to believe that there is a solution. If we think that there is no solution, we won’t be able to reach any!

Picture from this site:

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Hundred years to the Russian Revolution

It is one hundred years to Russian Revolution today. When I was around 17 or 18 I read John Reed's "Ten days that shook the world" and it gave me goosebumps. It was like reading a thriller.  Then Gorky's "Mother", Ostrovsky's "How to temper the steel" to  Sholohov and Yuri bonderyev's stories make me admire the revolution more and more.

I told my daughters today morning.
"you know if Lenin did not do that revolution in 1917 there would be no Soviet union. I probably would not have got that scholarship and went to study in Soviet union. That means I may never have come to England. I may not even met your mother, my wife. You would not have been born. That's how it affected us."

But then, I had another choice to study in Sri Lanka. I may or may not ended up doing higher studies in another country and I may have met german wife there and then.My wife ia avid traveler and she may have  come to Sri lanka we could have ended up meeting each other. We may or may not have met in any of these places.

Difficult to guess really what would have happened. But I always know what happened. But, does my individual choice is important in this? Not really. This whole event and subsequent 70 years were bigger than one person. Bigger than entire nation. It affected the whole world. It changed the cause of the history.

Dmitri Volkogonov says this in his book "The rise and fall ofthe Soviet Empire".

"For seven decades of the twenties century, the soviet union followed the path mapped out by Lenin. it became a military superpower feared by the rest of the world, and it built a mighty technological, industrial, military and scientific economy. But it failed to make its people wither happy or free. It was the first country to send a man into space but it did nothing to improve human rights for its citizens.the people who carried out the 'Great October Socialist Revolution', who won the 'Great Patriotic War' and who advanced towards the 'Great Constructions of Communism' gained neither liberty nor prosperity for their efforts. 'Shoulder to shoulder' they marched along the Leninist path which had room for the masses only, elbowing the individual out of the way.

- Dmitri Volkogonov

Monday, 5 June 2017

Jeremy Corbyn is not a Marxist but a Social Democrat?

Corbyn and Theresa May
I wrote an article sometime back in 2016. I named Jeremy Corbyn as a post modern marxist at that time. After one and half years later I am about to change my mind on Corbyn. Is he really a Marxist or a post modern  Marxist? He won the second leadership contest of the British labour party with a huge margin. Now he faces the biggest battle of his political career as one of the longest serving leftist MPs in British Parliament. Theresa May - The British Prime Minister called a General election to be held on 8th of June 2017.

Last one and half years, I was listening to Corbyn's speeches and went through Labour Party's left wing politics. I came to a firm conclusion (despite assumptions by right wing media) Jeremy Corbyn is not  a Marxist nor a postmodern Marxist either.

As we know a marxist is someone who read the Marx's "Capital" or read only just important bits or did not read it at all but whichever the way accepting Marx and Engel's economic theories and ideology.  Also a marxist would think and act towards  making revolutionary changes in society  that will lead ultimately to a creation of a communist society.

Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin are therefore marxists.

After Karl Marx and Frederick EngelsV. I. Lenin , Leon Trotsky and Josef Stalin developed Marxist theories further while creating the first socialist country on earth - USSR.  So we have Marxism Leninism, Trotskyism and Stalinism as well. These all isms were based on Marxism any way. Then after China's very own chairman Mao Zedong we also have Maoism. I would actually categorise all of them as post-marxist.

Ernesto Che Guevera and Fidel Castro are late marxists. (First they achieved the revolution in cuba and then tuned into Marxism). Pol-Pot of Cambodia, Ho Chi Minh of Vietnam, Kim Il Sung of North Korea were also post marxists and some were Marxist Leninist and others were marxists maoists.

There are lot of material available on postmodernism. So I am not going to write about it. I will quote this from Julie Graham's article which one can find here.

"Using the oppositional rhetoric that characterizes the most obstreperous post-modernism, one might summarize the postmodern point of view on Marxist geography as follows: Marxism and class are dead, but geography and locality are alive and well. More generally, modernism, homogeneity, rationality, mass production, metanarrative, tract housing, and space are dead. Long live post-modernism, pluralism, power and desire, small batch production, local narrative, indigenous architecture, and place."

Number of postmodern marxists are hiding inside this postmodern set. When we talk about postmodern marxists the first one to come to the mind is Fredrick Jameson. But dare I say that postmodern Marxist is the one who is firmly standing  on marxist foundation but overreaching all the others isms (leninism, trotskyism, stalinism etc) to find a best possible way to face the modern capitalism while finding reasons for marxism's decline.

Postmodern Marxists do not beleive that marxism is dead. Standing on Marxist foundation they are trying various ways to advance further thus crating different schools of thought. The western philosophers and postmodern marxists of that calibre are many. Alain Badiou, Pierre Bourdieu, Alexander Tarasov, Ernesto Laclau, Gayatri Spivak, Slavoj Zizek to name  a few. Some of them are in this list.

Therefore I cannot add labour leader  Jeremy Corbyn to that category of postmodern marxists. he is not a Marxist either as right wing press trying to portray. In one of the television interviews Corbyn admitted he value karl Marx as an authority on economic theories. However he also admitted he read Adam Smith and Ricardo as well. However just reading material of Marx one will not become a Marxist.

You find a clues in Labour manifesto that shows this is not a communist manifesto. Nowhere near to it.  The shadow chancellor John Mcdonnell also admitted he learned  a lot reading "Das Kapital". Whther you agree to what is in the "Capital" or not it's is better always to read it. Böhm-Bawerk did not write books criticizing Capital while not reading it i hope.

What I can see in labour manifesto is a Nordic economic model followed by countries like Finland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark. A similar economic model also put forward by British ecnomist John Maynard Ken  that we called keynesian economics.

For an example in this manifesto labour promises to  re-nationalise railway system. (public ownership). This is clearly putting a stop to thatcherism. Private British railway services are badly funded, expensive and services are below par. In European countries like Germany, France, Italy, Sweden publicly owned rail service offer tremendous value for money. They are on time, have better carriages and cheap to travel. So Corbyn and friends are not offering anything new. Just popular European rail service.

Until the year 1998 United Kingdom provided free education. up to university level. Number of private universities were only 7.   In 1998, then Prime Minister Tony Blair's Labour government has adopted a proposals to charge the university education. It was to be £ 1,000 a year. Since then both the Labour and Conservative governments allowed the tuition fees to rise up to   £ 9,000 a year.  However, this tuition fees applied only to universities in England. Wales and Scotland continue  to provide free education at university level.

Jeremy Corbyn's Labor Party manifesto proposes to abolish the tuition fees to study in British universities in England imposed the by the own Labour government. The small number of the private universities will not be abolished.

Next in Labour manifesto is to suggest public ownership of utility companies which supply Gas, Electricity and water. When these services were privatised it was expected that through private ownership healthy competition will reduce the high prices. But it did not happen. These companies got huge profits but they hardley invented them back. Also they raised the rates more daringly ignoring public outcries,  ombudsman's and regulators advises.

Companies like Thames Water stand accused of water wastage of millions of gallons through leaking of pipes but still charging high prices and raking in billions in profits. Another popular policy by Labour. It seems that people are responding well to this policy.

Labour party also promises to safeguard their flagship project - NHS. NHS needs more money pouring into it. They need more doctors, nurses and infrastructure. Corbyn and manifesto promises to stop Theresa May's selling NHS assets to private sector.

All these public services is more or less working perfectly in some  European and most  Nordic countries. People of these countries pay more tax for these services. In Labour manifesto it claims they would  tax 50% for the wages over £123000. Britain's top 5% of the earners will be affected. They would increase the corporate tax from 9% to 26%.   This tax is 39% in United States and 33% in France. They are threatening to tax the companies registered in tax heavens but  operating and profiting on British soil.

Most of these proposal cannot be categorised as from a marxist communist manifesto . I presume in a  a communist manifesto they would have asked to ban ownership of  private property.  There will be no incentives to private enterprises either. That would be banned as well or will be nationalised.

Corbyn will support small and medium sized businesses to stay afloat and creating jobs. They also want to build 10000 new homes instead of grabbing homes from bourgeoisie. 

Corbyn, McDonnell and co identify themselves as democratic socialists.

Theresa may and Jeremy Corbyn at PMQs

I remember two countries that named themselves as democratic socialist. One is German Democratic rRpublic or popularly known as Eastern Germany. Socialist unity party of germany i.e. SED was called party of democratic socialism. Country was run by the stasi, the feared secret service. I don't think Jeremy Corbyn wanted to run Britain like that.

Other country is Democratic Socialist republic of Sri lanka. Sri lanka has a free education until university level. Free health service similar to Britain's NHS but badly funded. Railways run by the government but people say time of the British raj railways ran better and ontime. Also there are lot of troubles and underfunding in all government run services. Country is not doing great at all.

However United Kingdom is not Sri lanka and not GDR. It's foremost a first world country with billions of income and healthy working populations. Social democracy is not something new to Britain.  All I can see is Jeremy Corbyn is a leftist politician whose ideology swinging like a pendulum in between a social democrat and a democratic socialist. But he is definitely not a diehard Marxist. 

 British history will be changed depending on  who will win the general elections will be  held on June 8.
One of the Corbyn Rallies in Gatshed

1. postmodernism 
2. post-modernism and marxism
3. post marxists 
4. JEREMY CORBYN  has read the works of both Karl Marx and free market pioneer Adam Smith 

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Eco holiday In Brecon Beacon 3 - Lambing by Chris and Liza

Eco holiday In Brecon Beacon 1

Eco holiday In Brecon Beacon 2

Some of these videos may cause inconvenience to some people. I am sorry about that. When we went to a vacation in Wales is the time usually lambing in farms were happening. So farmers often lie awake at night, to help the ewe to deliver the calf. Chris invited us to witness the lambing and we eagerly accepted the invitation. We have never seen that. .

On the one hand, this is important. If my  daughters want to study veterinary science they must have work experience in a farm. I asked Lisa whether they accept students who want the work experience in a farm. Liza said she would. But my daughters  thinking was different. They think farm life is difficult . Chris was working three in the morning, three lambs were born early morning.They have three children, Lisa and Chris work very hard.  I told the children veterinary work is not that hard and they don't need always in farms. But they  are not impressed even though they like the animals and farm itself.

tree house in the corner
අසළින් ගලන   දොළ 
 some scenery near the farmhouse.

In these videos below you can see how Chris help ewe to deliver the calf. Afterwards he would apply the iodine to the wounds and inject the antibiotics to the calf.

Helping the Ewe 

This is not really an easy task. All over the month there will be several births per day.
minute after the birth

calf with it's  mother 
Mating season of the sheppes usually starts  in Autumn / winter time. gestation time is about 6 months.  So farmers usually know by the Easter ewes are ready give birth to the lambs. In  April grasses start to grow. Grass is the main food source for the sheep. The young lamb are sold for meat whne they are around 8 to 9 months. A Sheep's life span is 10 to 12 years.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Once a thavarish always a thavarish?

Female Cadets in Victory Day parade 9 May 2017 - Courtesy of RT.COM

In my previous letter "Will New Russia is turning back to socialism? Victory Parade of 9th of May" I suggested that Putin may take Russia towards Stalinist dictatorship loosely based on Soviet Socialism. What I wrote at that time was this:

"Is it that Russia is firmly heading back to Soviet system with some sort of a mixed capitalist system like in China. In that case this day will be a memorable one. "

Last year we went to Russia and found THE country is very charming indeed. Despite the western sanctions we did not find any food shortages. At least Mr Putin made sure of that. I was told by my friend who lives in Russia as a permanent resident, that country's meat production went up with other farming products like potato etc after the sanctions.  So is these sanctions really worked? It seems to me it galvanised the Putin's position among Russians more. A true Russian her standing up to the western beast. 

  I always talk to taxi drivers when travelling or rather they talk to me. Our Russian taxi driver has an economic degree and also some other qualifications. He used to work as a lecturer in some far away Uni. Then he worked as a Pizza Chef. He left that job as well and now a taxi driver. He admitted that he is nostalgic about the former Soviet union. 
"I would not have to be worry about my daughter's education back then in Soviet Russia. She would have gone to free school and if she is good in studies  she would have gone to free university. Or she would have been selected to a technical college. Now I have to pay for her studies and everything. " he says.

"Our biggest problem is health care", continued the man  and he lists several problems he had previously and how much he paid for the medicine and doctors. 

"Back then all these were free.  What I earned as a pizza chef was not enough.  Now I am a taxi driver and doing some other small jobs like delivery. Still the money is not enough. We are struggling. Everyone said to us capitalism will bring us this and that we will live like you live in UK or like Americans". He moans.
Kremlin - I took this picture last year

"Well, Moscow is really beautiful. Lot of new buildings. Roads are maintaining quite nicely. People are flocking to restaurants and  stolovaya s (Canteens). All these rich looking shopping centres around. " I say. 

"Yes, it is good for some. There are lot of rich people here in Moscow and for them all Ok. But there are ten times more people are struggling. Putin is only looking after them oligarchs. Not us"  He laments.

"What is your name? Can I write this in my blog. " I asked.
"No Sorry. You will put me in trouble." man declined to reveal his name.
"Really now with all this capitalist democracy". Surely no one will go after a simple taxi driver. 
"you are joking" He says.

Well I was not.  Next time we took a taxi the driver was from Kyrgyzstan. An immigrant. Same story with him plus he has a worry about if and when Russian authorities will ask him to leave or not. He works and send money to his family. There are many like that.  
"That is another country isn't it, yours?"
 I asked. 
" Well we listened to Putin. " he says. "America is far. Putin is near. "
"Sound policy" I said.

I watched intently this year's victory day parade of 9th of May  2017. I love to see parades. I noted  in my article back in 2014 how Commanders and Putin used word  thavarish (Comrade) to address each other. It has very significant political meaning in Russia. When the the "glavno koamanduyushi " I mean Commander in Chief says "comrade soldiers" it is a big thing.

But I found another interesting battalion in this years celebrations. Completely new battalion. This video is from youtube and it was published by RT.

Commentator says this is "yonnaya armia" in Russian. The youth battalion. They didn't have guns. Commentator was mentioning  this is a military patriotic unit and they are representing over 70000 boys and girls  from all across the country. An initiative from defence minister.
Yunnaya arimia or young army (captured picture from video)
Now I am really worried. Is this a just cadet unit or is there any other deep meaning to this group of cadets. This parade is to celebrate victory over Nazi Germany. Hold on a second? Did Hitler had a similar army or not? The Hitler youths.
Hitler Youth
 Why do you need this type of military style youth army? Unless you want to suppress some discontentment among population? Hitler cadets were brainwashed  on patriotism.

 Is President Putin  rebuilding a greater Russia or is he trying to stay in power for another 10 years despite any opposition? I don't think he has any opposition. RT says 2/3rd of Russians wanted Marie Le Pen to win. We are perhaps lucky she didn't. Russian love Le Pen and they have now yunnaya armia. Way to go comrades.

President Vladimir Putin is a really talented person. He said Lenin put a  bomb under Great Mother Russia.  But he never said anything bad about Stalin. I tried to find a Lenin Statue (Small bust) in Moscow's kiosks. I see many of Putin and Stalin but none from Lenin. May be I did not look hard. Putin is proud of Soviet Union's achievement in some ways. Achievement in Space for example. But Mr Putin,  Lenin was the one who created the Soviet Union with the likes of Trotsky. Oh Yes,  Stalin was on the side too.

President Vladimir Putin is a really talented person. RT says he is virtuoso in chief as well.  He plays grand piano in china here.  In 2010 he sang "Blueberry Hill"  to an audience packed with celebrities. Kevin Costner, Sharon Stone, Gerard Depardieu were in the crowd. He is a popular guy not only in Russia. He has lot of admirers around the world including China's President Mr Z jinping.

He is very talented indeed.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Eco holiday In Brecon Beacon 2

Holiday home in Beacon Beacon is really beautiful. Apart from the wood burner that gave the heating to the compound we found another interesting feature. A renewable energy source.  A micro turbine housed in a small hut that our landlord Chris described as his pet project. It's a micro hydro power project generating 5 KW when full throttle. 
mini turbine housed in here
Chris found a water source on top of the small hill. It's about 40 m drop to below. He put a large pipe and directed the water stream down to the small turbine unit. 
turbine is below 

power generation unit with Chris

mini generator 

Mini plant

In full throttle unit would generate 5 kW per hour. For 24 hours this would generate 120 KWh of electricity. Chris claims this is enough for his farms  daily needs. Any extra electricity generated would be feed back to the main grid. Specially late night and mid day when they don't use much energy.  Our children were very interested to see this mini hydro power generating unit. 
Water from the turbine unit released to this small stream.
How this works:
I took this explanation from the website quoted below.
"Micro hydro power is the small-scale harnessing of energy from falling water. Hydraulic power can be captured wherever a flow of water falls. The vertical fall of water, known as the “head”, is essential for hydropower generation (fast-flowing water on its own does not contain sufficient energy for useful power production). Hence, two quantities are required for production of hydropower: a Flow Rate of water and a Head. The capacity of a micro hydro power plant is usually between 20 and 500 kW."

Invest in micro hydro power plants

Friday, 28 April 2017

Eco holiday In Brecon Beacon 1

holiday cottage 
Recently we went for a holiday in Wales again. Generally we would go to wales at least once a year. What attract us is the beautiful hillsides,  hikes in valleys and mountains and beautiful waterfalls and yes, the quietness of the surroundings. You don't here buses, cars trains and horns the usual noises from london. It's quiet at night and you can sleep with your window open.  Wales is bit more like upper hill country in Sri Lanka where I am originally from. Most of the landscape seems familiar. This time round we stayed in a converted barn in a farm called "The Beast barn" in Brecon Beacon. It's owned by farmer Chris and his wife Liz.

What we have noticed first was how beautiful and clean was converted barn - cottage we stayed in.
the kichen 

living room
There was a small wood burner to provide the heat to reception room. But house was rather warm and cosy. There was no need to fire it.
beautiful wood burner

House was quiet warm. Then we saw the big wood burner in the outside shed. The wooden oven produce the necessary heat and the hot water for the cottages and to the farmer's house. There is a water jacket around the burner. The water carries the heat from the burner and the same heat used to make water tanks hot as well. 
Chris the farmer with his wood burner

small but enough to heat 3 houses

heat exchanger
the heat exchanger used to heat the water that flow through the pipes. Chris collect the debris and wood from his own farm. It's a quite large farm.
This link explains how the heat exchangers work.
Wood and other debris for the burner

This is the first part of a series of articles I will be writing  about this holiday. 

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Trump have to be rescued from own establishment he represents

I am completely perplexed by the current news items. For example in "the Independent" article points to " CIA boss John Brennan says Donald Trump "doesn't understand Russia". According to the writer it's a scathing attack on President-Elect. Well, it's all about that infamous Trump-Dossier.

Next news item is MI6 chief used Trump dossier details in key speech on Russia. Mind you both are intelligence agencies.  One is from US itself and other one is United Kingdom who for years and years had "that special relationship" with US.

Now, it seems to me that they are afraid of one thing. That one single  interesting fact that comes up always. it is like when you throw a tennis ball deep down into a pond. It comes up always. The so called relationship with Putin and Trump.

What kind of relationship is that?  I don't really think anyone know about that yet.  Outgoing Obama administration deported some Russian diplomats accusing them of hacking democratic contenders emails, changing public opinion against Clinton and also changing outcome of the US presidential election. Pretty crazy ha?

What's worrying for me is this? Exxonmobil's contract with Russia.  Russia has vast oil reserve in Siberia, Arctic and Black sea They have a contract with Russia's biggest oil company Rosneft for over $1 billion. Russia today reported that much in February 2015.  However, European Union and United States (That is Obama-Clinton Administration) imposed sanctions relating to the Energy Sector. Sanctions over Russian invasion of  Crimea, Interference of Syria or whatever But for Energy Sector?  The biggest assets of western world, Middle East and Russia is oil. Are you carazii?  (Or crazy for that matter) Wars happened for energy resources and money.

Rosneft and Exxonmobil connection go as far as 2013, 2014 when they did joint projects.  Does anyone want to let go of a $ 1 Billion deal and future oil revenue for that matter? See then Donald Trump enters the stage. If the Russian wants to change the outcome of  American presidential elections this is their chance. Obama is already somewhat unpopular in US and in the world over Syria. Russia and Putin backed the correct horse.  Well their horse won. And there is this hacking scandal. Do you beleive it? Why not I may say.

And who is the future secretary of State, I may ask? Rex Tillerson.  Well who is that? He dealt with Russia and Puting on behalf of  of ExxsonMobil.  First thing I would say that President Elect Trump will do is to  lift sanctions against  Russia. And then Rosneft and ExxsonMobil contract's  will be back on track.

Now there is no problem except Donald Trump is saying CIA mislead him about Russian Hacking scandal.  Security chiefs are criticising him and  He criticize them. What I am saying is this is dangerous.

We want free world to be free world. We want president of united States of America to be in safe hands. American's voted for him. Although he lost the popular votes he won by the electoral system. We can't argue with that.  Yeah, its is strange that he won with that low margin. Hey, Remember "Forest Gump"- "Shit happens." Anyway I can't see that he is that bad.

Although I can't see he is going to be president for a long time either. I kind of see some sort of an impeachment process hanging above him. It seems to me  part of the American (and British for that matter) establishment is dead against him . I wonder where the people stand in here. On Which side? Mr Trump's future will depend on that.