Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Workers' councils

I've always said - the revolution will be boring. I've probably even begun a blog post here with that line before. I've spent hours this week - on my union branch committee and at the local Labour branch GLC as a co-op party delegate - sitting in meetings. I've even been mugginsed into being my Co-op Party branch treasurer/membership secretary.

I've argued in the past that the Labour party is precisely what workers' councils under capitalism would look like - anything other than a succesful revolution will lead to them being incorporated into everyday life. That, in essence, is the part of the Labour Party that is worth supporting. Parliament and the executive should be seen in institutional not party terms - i.e. the Prime Minister is an autonomous position which is essencially distinct from the party.

At the meeting we had, at least, a brief report from Frank Dobson on some of his doings, including his response to a resolution we'd previously sent him. Workers' democracy in action?

Anyway, a bit of a debacle: a debate on Palestine was cancelled becuase Labour Friends of Israel's speakers pulled out over a cock up as to whether the meeting was open to the public or not. Maybe I should change my motto to "the revolution will be slightly crap, and is very sorry for it."

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Thursday, January 03, 2008

Economics fun

OK, so, apparently gold has hit $855.10 an Ounce.

Lets do some maths. When the pound was convertable to gold it was 113.75 grains of gold to the pound/sovereign. So, to find what a gold sovereign is worth in modern dollars, we simple do (113.75/480)*$855.10 = $202.64. The BBC today is giving the conversion of dollars to pounds at 0.5043, so we multiply that by $202.64 to get a whopping £102.19.

Next, simply divide your wage/salary by £102.19 and you can convert yourself into a Dickensian person, earning a whopping £5 a week, or something.

Put another way, its a good reminder of relative economic wealth - all those trailing zeroes on your salary are just the fruits of inflation, the real gold value you possess says a bit more (obviously, this gold price is a high, and gold over the years has changed its natural value, but as an indication of the movement of incomes it has its uses).

This website gives historical wages, can you beat the wage of an agricultural labourer in 1931 (when the gold standard was abandoned)?

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