How the money men think

Every year the skiing resort of Davos attracts people with no interest in skiing. These people are the rich and powerful élites who come to worship at the temple of Mammon.

Davos is where dinosaurs go for one last roar. All the suits talk about is growth. But we are on a finite planet with finite resources so the talk of growth has to end sometime. Maybe that time has already come.

This year's Davos get together sees the usual crowds of idiots with more money than sense. National leaders rub shoulders with corporate executives, bankers and celebrities.

Yes, celebrities with the likes of Bono who push some pseudo-green/feed the world nonsense. The last I heard, Bono's middleclass guilt-complex fund for do-gooding was being investigated for fraud.

Even Aung Sang Suu Kyi was there for some reason or other. Everyone else will pat themselves on the back and say, "She is good for democracy!" In reality she is there to replace one regime in Burma with another, the regime of unrestrained capital and the continued rape of Burma of its resources.

One way or another Burma gets screwed. Burma's current cronies suck up to China and Ms Kyi would suck up to the west, if given the chance. No difference will be seen by the people of Burma. A slave to dictators is no different to a slave to the system of capital. We are all no different from Jewish holocaust victims or African slaves shipped off to the Americas. Our role is to make the élites wealthy and if we don't then we will be replaced by another human resource.

Also at Davos, there are workshops for money men to ponder over how to make more money from the masses. There is one thing money men like best, chaos. With chaos there is uncertainty. With uncertainty there is risk and a chance to sell derivatives and insurance to the world.

And so, the money men were given the world's problems; dwindling resources, poverty etc. and told to make money from it. There was not much thought about social upheaval or happiness, just pure capitalism and how to earn a fast buck from a difference of opinion. Bankers don't create wealth they just bring two parties together, who wish to exchange money or commodities, and then take a cut from the transaction.

Egypt is in turmoil. Being bigger and more important than Tunisia, Egypt has the suits worrying about whom to back. Give the people democracy and they might vote for someone the suits don't want. Back Mubarak and he might a bigger mess of things and the result will be an Egyptian people who won't want anything to do with the west.

Egypt and north Africa in general is full of educated people that have seen nothing like what the people of Eastern Europe have enjoyed since throwing off the communist yoke. The world is full of people who want more and better but on a planet that just can't help. There are 7 billion of us. Imagine one seven billionth of this planet. Not much, is it? Especially as most of it is water, desert or ice.

The elites at Davos are propped up by middleclass liberal idiots who want to have their cake and eat it. These idiots want everyone in the world to be dragged out of poverty but won't surrender one iota of their wealth. They are in for a shock, in the not too distant future. What Davos fears most is when we in the west realise that we have little more than the people of Egypt and we all mass in the streets too.

BBC - How to Stop Worrying and Love the Risk

A visit to London

I had a few items to hand back to a friend and so into the lion's den I went. How was I to get to London cheaply?

My car was too expensive an idea. Fuel costs are at a record high and then there would have a charge to park the car. Maybe as much as £50 for fuel and parking. Taking the train was the only option.

Instead of going to the station and buying a ticket for the next train to arrive, I bought my ticket online. With an advance ticket you can get a large discount. There are websites that will look for the cheapest ticket for you. One such is TheTrainLine but it charges a £1 booking fee. Instead go to the website of the train operator. In my case, I went to LondonMidland and got a single ticket for £6 instead of £7.

Unlike the days before online purchasing of tickets, singles are now cheaper than returns because you decide the exact times you want to travel. A return would have cost me £23. A single from the ticket office, at the station, would have cost me £14. And so, instead of spending £23 on a return or £28 for two singles, I paid just £12 for two online singles. The tickets were picked up at the station from one of the self-service machines. Just take your payment card and the pin given to you by the website.

In London I prefer to walk everywhere. For those of you who still want to take public transport around London then you must invest in an Oyster card. Buying tickets on a needs be basis will cost you more per journey.

London is the usual filthy, angry, consumer hell-hole it always was. People have one of two expressions on their faces. A scowl or a menace. You are either scowling because of the menacers or menacing because you are looking for a scowler to rob.

Oxford Street is the high temple to pointless consumption. Idiots from all over the world come here to buy brand new junk that will end up forgotten in a cupboard in a matter of weeks. Vain women replacing last week's wardrobe. Gadget freak metrosexual men buying an ego boost in an electronics shop.

I popped into Selfridges to look at a 3D television, just to remind myself why I should not waste money on one. But first, let me ask you to do this. Point at the sky whilst stretching your arm out to its full length. Cover a person, in the distance, with your finger. Without moving your finger, move your head a little to left and you see that person to the left of your finger, move your head to the right and you see the person to the right of your finger. That is 3D. Do you see that effect on a 3D TV. No, you do not. 3D TV is not 3D.

I walked the length of a fruit and veg market. More waste. Food toppling onto the ground, kicked around and forgotten. If I lived in London then I would have bagged the lot, washed it, cut out any bad bits and cooked it.

I have grown food that was in worse condition than what I saw people turning their noses up to in London. Often potatoes, I had grown, had a slight dusting of mould, a bit of green, a few eyes. Rub the eyes off, cut the green off, peel the mouldy skins off. The potato is edible.

Another oddity was the obsession with mobile phones and other gadgets. It was a cold weekend in London and still the zombies would not let go of their phones. Their free hands might have been in their pockets but the phone hand was out in the open, turning blue, ready to answer a call or a text message. Others oblivious to everything around them, bouncing around like a pinball as they play a game on their electronic best friend.

I saw a couple walking hand in hand. Were they talking to each other? No, both had headsets on and were listening to their own music selections. Women with pushchairs used as weapons to push people out of the way. I was always pushed around in a pram, which gives a mother a face to face view of their child. The sight of a woman, pushing a child in a pushchair, whilst talking on her phone is a sad sight. How will that child develop?

It's difficult not to notice the ranks of bikes for rent around London. You have to register for the service and then pay £1 per day or £5 per week. All very eco until you see big 4x4s trailering 8 bikes behind them because bikes tend to end up at all the popular locations. I am sure it would cost less to give people some credit if they take bikes from one location and redistribute them to others. The bikes are there to save on car journeys not promote car journeys that would never have existed without the bikes, namely trailering bikes to where they are needed. Still, since when did anyone in London think things through?

On returning home, I went to the station to leave my bag so that I could have a walk whilst waiting for my train. There was a charge of £8, which I was obviously not going to pay. Instead I went to the nearby British Library, close to Euston, Kings Cross and St Pancras stations. On the lower ground floor there are lockers for which £1 release the key. When you put the key back into the locker, you get your £1 back. Free storage. The British Library also has free WiFi too!

Food in London is very expensive. If you must eat out then there are cheap ways of doing so. Many Chinese restaurants have eat all you can buffets. Just don't buy any drinks, that's how they get their money back. If you like burgers and fried chicken then steer clear of McDonalds, Burger King or KFC. Londonistan has enough muslim owned fast food chains to fill your stomach with halal burgers and chicken at a fraction of the corporate price. A cup of corporate coffee for the price of a whole jar of coffee? I think not. If you want to cook your own food then get online and find ASDA, Lidl and Aldi supermarkets or you can go to the local market and look for something that's been chucked.

Being a Londoner is about being a cog in the corporate machine. If you are just visiting then there is no need to be a Londoner. If you have to live there for a while then just go there to make as much money as you can, whilst always looking for cheap alternatives to the way the corporate zombies do. Set yourself an amount of money to make then get the hell out! I did it for 6 years, it can be done.

We're broke so get used to it

Having lived in parts of southern Europe I can see why those countries in the south are failing to keep their economies afloat. They don't do second hand.

You see Spaniards, Italians, Greeks going for a stroll on Sunday dressed in newly bought clothes so as to show off the wealth they never earned. Towing along squealing children who expect a new toy every five minutes. Always "Spend! Spend! Spend!" But never "Work! Work! Work!"

Greece was a nation sitting on a foundation of credit but not any more. Even Greeks are discovering that frugality is the new watchword.

Europe and North America had a great century. The last one. Now it's for others to make what they can of a world fast running out of resources.

I don't care if people laugh when I say that I darn socks I've had for over a decade. I have better things to spend money on than new clothes. In the last ten years, I've bought two new pairs of trousers but only because I lost 5 stones (80 pounds - 30 kilos) in weight. That's it, my sum total of new clothes.

Losing weight also means I don't have a cavern for a stomach to fill with food (or rather money) everyday.

The car stays in the garage whilst I walk to the supermarket with a list of what I really need. Head down, ignoring the "offers", I get what is on the list and no more. Raw ingredients for meals prepared from scratch.

I don't eat out. I don't enjoy holidays so I don't have any. I worked hard when I had work and have a good pension coming in 21 years time by taking advantage of a work's pension scheme rather than pissing the money on something else. I saved enough to keep me going on £1 a day until I get my pension.

My life might not be a life in other people's eyes but then I probably will be around longer than them to see if I am right or wrong.

BBC - Greece's alternative economy with bartering

Free house and food

(but you will have to do a little work in return)

Ever wanted to live "The Good Life" but are not sure if it is for you? You can give it a try by being a volunteer worker on small-holdings throughout the world.

WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms)

Many organic farms are small, family run and calling out for help. They can't pay you a wage but can offer you free food, accommodation and a wealth of knowledge.

WWOOF is the original volunteer farm-worker website and it is beginning to show its age. There are many volunteer-run WWOOFing websites that can provide you with contact details for WWOOFing hosts throughout the world. A small charge is made that permits you to look at host lists.

With there being so many regional websites, traversing through them all to find a host can be laborious. You also have to pay for each region that you are interested in. Some lists are out of date and trying to contact a host often results in no answer.

http://www.wwoof.org

http://abundancefarm.com/downloads/free-wwoof-volunteer-directory.html (a free WWOOF list)

WorkAway

WorkAway is a WWOOF style website which matches hosts with volunteers who want to travel in return for their labour.

The WorkAway website is very slick and there is a small charge for a two year membership but it is worth the price.

WorkAway is better than WWOOF as there is only one centralised site that is professionally run. Consequently I nearly always get replies from hosts on WorkAway but have not once had a reply from a host on WWOOF.

Not only farm work is advertised on WorkAway. You will also find language teaching, baby sitting,  holiday home cleaning jobs and many more.

http://www.workaway.info

HelpX

HelpX is a WorkAway clone. You might find a few more hosts that are not listed in WorkAway. Not as polished as WorkAway. A small charge is paid for a two year subscription.

As with WorkAway, you will find non-farm work jobs too.

http://www.helpx.net