Tuesday, October 18, 2011

GPP 072: Phillip Blond's Radical Conservative Vision, Part 1

Grace and I were fortunate enough to hear Philip Blond speak at Michigan State University on Monday, 17 October 2011. We were able to spend a large part of the day with him, both in a small table discussion and a larger talk before students in an auditorium setting. This is part one of an informal press conference he had with a small group; I captured it with his permission. The conversation with Blond is preceded by a conversation Grace and I recorded while driving back to Saginaw that evening, which I have included as a sort of introduction. Phillip Blond's Q&A starts at the 18 minute mark, if you'd prefer to skip ahead.

Unfortunately I did not get my recorder set up in time to capture his initial comments, which comprised his reaction to a quick driving tour around Detroit, although some of his response is mentioned in the "urban homesteading" idea he brings up later. I am ending this part at the point where I had to change the batteries in my recorder; I'll pick it up in part two. Mind the gap. Fortunately, it was only a moment or two.

Part One MP3 File

Part Two MP3 File

Part Three MP3 File

Part Four MP3 File

In the introductory segment, Grace and I talk about minimum wage. I think at my first part-time landscaping job, when I was 13 or 14, I may have earned $3.10/hr, which was raised to $3.35. See this table of historic federal minimum wages.

Note that current minimum wage is $7.25, so the hypothetical $7/hr job we discussed must have been $7.25. It is a minimum-wage job; in real wages, and relative to the poverty line, this is actually less than it was in 1981; see this chart.

1 comment:

Paul R. Potts said...

I've received several comments that link to a Sunday Times article alleging Blond "is accused of using cash from a think tank to fund a jet-set lifestyle," traveled around the world to meet women, etc.

I'm not ignoring these accusations, but I'm not posting links to the Sunday Times articles for a simple reason: apparently the direct links to articles don't work if you aren't a paid subscriber.

Here is a publicly accessible piece from the Daily Mail which, I think, covers the same things:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2052610/Camerons-Big-Society-guru-raided-think-tank-coffers-fund-40-000-jet-set-lifestyle.html

I have to confess I don't quite understand the implications of the following statement:

"It also that emerged Mr Blond once ‘treated’ Cabinet Office minister Oliver Letwin and his wife to tickets for a performance of The Magic Flute without mentioning they had been paid for by the company which owns the Canary Wharf complex."

Does this somehow connect Blond to Torchwood? (Because that would be awesome).

So far these revelations seem to make up a pretty pedestrian hit piece; if this is a scandal, it's a rather unimpressive one. In the United States we've got multiple Supreme Court justices that appear to be entirely corrupt, a Speaker of the House who handed out checks from tobacco companies on the floor of the House of Representatives, unindicted war criminals in both the previous and current administrations, political campaign expenditures set to top a _billion_ dollars, and I'm supposed to worry about the disposition of 40,000 pounds raised by a nonprofit?

I'm vaguely curious to see if he's done anything illegal or even significantly unethical, but in general I think it's unrealistic to expect people who are famous for being very good at _something_ to also be very good. This goes for sports figures, musicians, politicians, and academics. Wake me up if he's found in bed with either a dead girl or a live boy.