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Phillip Blond - The triumph of non-human value

"Manipulation of numbers, represented by currency/money, allows writing “new” money as needed.  There is no tangible asset, or anchor.  There are only numbers, managed by whomever might maneuver into position to do so.  Economics came to be based on numbers, rather than real human beings.

On that basis, capitalism trumped people and therefore trumped democracy.  Democracy is about people, who since Descartes are considered necessarily real, rather than numbers which are not necessarily real.  An imaginary construct, numbers, rule a real construct, people.  That arrangement allows for disposal of real human beings, in the name of the imaginary construct."

- A Manifesto for People-Centered Economics 1996 

When Mr Blond went a'courting in Ukraine a few years ago he drew the attention of the Daily Mail who turned on him over his relationships with Ukrainian women. Our work in Ukraine was raising awareness of non-human value over human life, those who profit from human misery.

He drew my attention to the connection between Respublica and an organisation known as "The People First Foundation"

"29 October 2010; Kyiv, Ukraine - Yulia Tymoshenko has launched the new BYuT consultative website based around the publicly available recommendations of the People First Foundation. The Foundation, launched in April of 2010, regularly posts plans, outlines and democracy information on their website that is freely available to both citizens and political parties. Mrs Tymoshenko and her team have clearly found inspiration there.

Mrs Tymoshenko indicated in her presentation that her inspiration was the website of the British Conservative party and has even included a link. One of the principle architects of current Conservative policy is the UK think tank 'ResPublica', a partner organisation of the People First Foundation."

In 2007 another people-first organisation had delivered a 'Marshall Plan' proposal to Ukraine's goverment. It had argue the case for people over profit, the new bottom line, as I've described it more recently. A key paragraph from the conclusion was this:

'This is a long-term permanently sustainable program, the basis for "people-centered" economic development. Core focus is always on people and their needs, with neediest people having first priority – as contrasted with the eternal chase for financial profit and numbers where people, social benefit, and human well-being are often and routinely overlooked or ignored altogether. This is in keeping with the fundamental objectives of Marshall Plan: policy aimed at hunger, poverty, desperation and chaos. This is a bottom-up approach, starting with Ukraine's poorest and most desperate citizens, rather than a "top-down" approach that might not ever benefit them. They cannot wait, particularly children. Impedance by anyone or any group of people constitutes precisely what the original Marshall Plan was dedicated to opposing. Those who suffer most, and those in greatest need, must be helped first -- not secondarily, along the way or by the way. '

To be specific about those in greatest need. It was with the help of civic activists at Maidan that founder Terry Hallman had raised the issue of Death Camps, For Children after I'd introduced him to a trip report from an NGO trip to a place called Torez, observing:

"I don’t know if I’m stretching ethics here or not. On the one hand, I am bound by confidentiality and respect for the Western team’s work, as well as legitimate concern that everyone could be shut out entirely via mere mention of this information publicly. At the same time, silence will continue to prolong a deadly situation. What the Western team was told three weeks ago is exactly what the HRW team was told seven years ago. Obviously, perpetrating silence remains the status quo, and therefore nothing has changed. The Western team didn’t know about the HRW report until after the fact, when I pointed it out to them last week. They’re at least reconsidering their promise of silence, but feel bound by their own word — unwitting though it may have been — to keep silent. I hope that they will ultimately recognize that their overriding obligation is to their clients — kids in concentration camps, as they themselves put it — above the interests of people keeping their jobs and certain powers-that-be threatening to shut these kids off from any further help from the outside world. In the meantime, I’m trying to strike a fair balance between confidentiality and avoiding being a party to death by silence. I think I have a greater moral obligation to speak than to keep quiet."

Two interesting names associated with the People First foundation are Martin Nunn, communications director and former ambassador William Taylor:

William B. Taylor, Jr., Vice President, Peace & Stability Operations
United States Institute of Peace, Washington, D.C.
Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine

In 2008 Taylor had been one of the recepients of the letter to USAID calling for their support with this 'Marshall Plan'  It included graphic details of conditions in Torez and a trade in fetal body parts.

Untill Terry's death in August 2011, Maidan had been unaware of the missive to USAID. I shared it with them and they published a relevant passage:  

"Although the PN reality is perhaps the absolute worst part of all things in Ukraine stemming from RICO [Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations -- ed.], it is far from the only part in the same vein. There is also the much more visible matter of kids in “regular” orphanages and kids living on the streets and in sewers. Orphanages have been another money-maker via selling “top” kids to foreign adoptions. Kids with lesser market value (over seven years old and/or serious health issues) were shunted to lesser quality, out-of-the-way orphanages. Kids with no market value were tossed aside completely, i.e., PN facilities a.k.a. Death Camps, for Children. President Yushchenko rightfully suspended foreign adoptions for a period of time because orphanages were normally operated more like livestock farms with product for sale. It’s mostly not the staff who are any sort of problem in these orphanages, although redundant independent evidence strongly indicates that sometimes arrangements have somehow been made for adults to come in and “play” with children of their choosing during the night. More often it comes down to even the best, most sincere staff having had their hands tied regarding what little they could do for the children assigned to them, because so much money was displaced as to leave comparative crumbs for caring for the kids. Once orphanage children reach the age of seventeen, they’re booted out into the world with hardly any preparation to deal with it. If kids are attractive enough, they can be (and are) taken into prostitution rings and rented out for sex work. If they got a bit of training at night in their orphanage, they are better prepared for sex work. (In Kharkiv, militia runs that operation. For Donetsk and Donbass, it’s Donetsk mafia. Variations on the same theme play out across Ukraine.) Street kids are street kids mainly because they consider living in orphanages until seventeen worse than living on the streets and sleeping in sewers. Of course they also have access to street drugs to take the edge off their miseries. That coupled with unprotected sex and inevitable prostitution produces an HIV/AIDS factory. In Ukraine at this moment, HIV is a pandemic and getting worse."

In 2011 People First's communication director Martin Nunn wrote for the Kyiv Post about Torex. He descriibes efforts to implement family type homes under the patronage of Rinat Akhmetov,

"We are all guilty of inaction. The violation of human rights in Ukraine is one of the pressing issues of our day. The suppression of freedom of speech, the control of the right of assembly, the oppressive use of the tax police and the blatant banditry of the road police however all pale into insignificance when compared to the wanton starvation of disabled children by those whom the state has empowered to protect them."

Clearly that includes former ambassador Taylor and all those who read the ''Marshall Plan'  in which placing children in family type homes had been the primary focus - "those in greatest need" 

The 2007 'Marshall Plan' had argued that Every Child Deserves a Loving Family 

"The point, again, is very simple: to protect safety, health, and security of each and every child in Ukraine. There is absolutely no reason why this cannot be done. EveryChild’s research, published less than a year ago, provides an excellent starting point. Dzherelo Children’s Rehabilitation Center in Lviv has years of experience and available expertise in caring for severely disabled children. It is noteworthy that Dzherelo must rely on private funding because Ukraine’s state budget will not pay for or support a program that is in every way superior to official state care. Many of Dzherelo’s clients are able to remain with their own families, and are transported by minivan to and from Dzherelo’s modern care facilities for basic, periodic medical treatment such as physical and occupational therapy."

There's a new 'Marshall Plan' on the horizon now and its about as neoliberal as anythng can be which includes Lord Mandelson and oligarxch chums.   

Capitalism is the triumph of non human value over human value, says Blond at the Postcapitalism temple

What Blond says abourt human value takes us back two decades to the argument for a people-centered economy, which concluded:

"Economics, and indeed human civilization, can only be measured and calibrated in terms of human beings.  Everything in economics has to be adjusted for people, first, and abandoning the illusory numerical analyses that inevitably put numbers ahead of people, capitalism ahead of democracy, and degradation ahead of compassion."

"Each of us who have a choice can choose what we want to do to help or not.  It is free-will, our choice, as human beings."

We laid it right at their feet but Respublica, their partners and the politicians who advise them chose not to help and we now have a war in Ukraine where the value of humans would appear to be very little.

When Mr Blond next visits Ukraine, I have a place I'd like him to see: