Opinion – The Italian pension affair and the concept of intergenerational equality| Silvia Merler at Bruegel.org – John Gelmini

To answer Dr Alf’s question, the answer is ‘no’ because most existing pensioners in Italy, or anywhere else, are on fixed incomes.

Pensioners, in the future, should get their pensions at a later age, as happens in the UK where the NI system became insolvent in 2000. This was never reported to the public but I saw the correspondence between four leading pension providers and the Treasury in 1998 which described what would happen.

The problem with Italy is a lack of taxpayers and a low rate of family formation. By exporting more of the things that people want, jobs and taxpayers can be created but at present the discussion seems to center on the division of existing spoils rather than the necessity for new monies to pay for an increasingly ageing population. More of these pensioners should be encouraged to startup micro businesses instead of gossiping, drinking coffee and imbibing wine but old habits die hard.

The young in Italy, like the young in the UK need to wake up, learn relevant languages, acquire relevant skills, training, learn NLP and how to sell, and then migrate to where the work is, just like my parents did many years ago.

John Gelmini

Opinion – Referendum result no triumph for UK – Global Times – John Gelmini

Devolution within the UK has been unwise and has led to waste, fraud and mismanagement, far from needing more of it we need less of it in order to produce economies of scale and a more unified approach.

Splittism, which the Chinese do not like, and which was carefully not mentioned in the Global Times article on this occasion, creates the conditions that Dr Alf writes about.

The romantic idea that Tibet, or the area in which the Uighurs live, could be viable independent countries is a nonsense. They could not function properly and would be no more viable than Scotland has been since the Roman Emperor Hadrian applied his own solution to the Scots by building a wall across that part of his Empire to keep them in Scotland.

These calls for more devolution, which means stay in the union, have more say and get the English and those living in England to pay more is going to fragment the country.

The Welsh, representing another un-viable economic entity, are demanding a further £300 million gbp a year;  Cornwall another economic basket case funded by curious tourists and EC budget rebates demands its own language; and devolved status, local authority Chief Executives, who are masters at wasting money, want power to raise income taxes, more control over local taxes, the power to set rents.

They in effect want to become mini potentates and kings able to waste more taxpayers money and do everything bar raise private armies although that no doubt would come in time.

The UK used to be exactly that prior to the Norman conquest, a series of warring Kingdoms each not economically viable, each with grinding poverty and each with people having no say.

China, thousands of years ago years ago prior to the time of Sun Tzu was similarly split up into different but much larger warring factions until it became one country.

We should all learn from this; you can have regional differences in clothing, accents, cooking, architecture and how people look in that some will be tall, others short, others petite and others more physically robust.

Beyond that, they should all be part of one country working for a common objective namely the well-being and prosperity of the whole nation and the uplifting of its citizens without too large a gap between those at the top and the bottom.

This may for a time involve transfer payments from richer parts of a country to help more impoverished parts but it should never be on a permanent basis because the recipients of this largess will never solve their problems and will go on asking for more as has happened with Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and now the local authority Chief Executives.

The UK must solve its own problem in this regard, not by pontificating to others and not through more devolution which it cannot afford.

Gaps between rich and poor will always exist but if they get too big societies become unstable and collapse as happened to ancient Rome where the greed of those at the top created so much poverty and insurrection at the bottom that Rome’s legions could not put down all the rebellions until one day the barbarians seized their chance and sacked that Empire so that it was no more.

That means fewer administrative units, centralized purchasing and a willingness to deal with corruption coupled with a real mission for public service. This is something we saw with Frederick the Great of Prussia and the wise Philosopher and Stoic Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius Caesar whose book Meditations was the favourite reading of Frederick the Great of Prussia,Bill Clinton and the former Chinese Premier Hu Jin Tao who is said to have read it more than 100 times.

John Gelmini