Wednesday, 12 November 2014


"I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it."

"When government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny."
Thomas Jefferson

Glenn Greenwald does a great job of explaining why privacy is so important to us all.

The Edward Snowden revelations made us all question our views and beliefs on privacy. When Edward Snowden first came out the majority of Americans believed him to be more of a traitor than a patriot. As more details came to light a majority of Americans now view him instead as a Patriot. Edward Snowden, who is only 5 months older than myself, was incredibly brave to do what he did knowing full well what the consequences would be not only for himself but for his family and friends. 

Now companies and individuals are fighting back with Apple and Google now offering encryption built into their devices. As Edward Snowden says "encryption works" and the NSA and GCHQ have become worried as they know full well they can't break modern cryptography (the only weaknesses are usually found for example with the random number generators or some other side issue, not the algorithms themselves which would take thousands of years to break even with supercomputers). In reality we all want privacy for some reason or another. Medical conditions we may have. Personal communications we make with our loved ones. Little secrets that make us who we are. If we didn't then why would we password protect our emails accounts, as Glenn states in the video.

We should all take privacy seriously. Women in Afghanistan who are trying break free of their repressive male dominated cultures by utilising encryption. Political dissidents from totalitarian regimes. People who question our own Governments actions and have the privacy to do so. Everyone has a right to their own opinions even if it goes against conventional thinking. Such thoughts drive humans forward, it opens all our minds to new and better ideas. We should always defend privacy, if not for the sake of our own interests then for others who do need it and one day we will all be grateful for such peoples actions.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Freedom not Regulation Creates an Inclusive Society

On first listen this may seem like Nigel Farage is playing up to the UKIP stereotype of small minded bigotry, in contrast to the radio hosts who may seem quite evidently correct. If it does then I urge you to listen again to what Nigel is really saying regarding employing women of child bearing age. Rather than say what is politically correct Nigel actual states what happens in the real world.

The majority of people believe we need employment laws to protect employees. Living wages, anti-discrimination acts and rights to certain working conditions have been solved by markets, not legislation. For centuries Jewish minorities were persecuted, excluded from society and discriminated against yet they generally flourished economically. Why? Because they made themselves economically valuable and employable to overcome these barriers and gain acceptance. Cheap Eastern European workers continue to get jobs despite prejudices of many here in the UK. Information Technology has little or next to nothing in terms of workers unions yet enjoys very favourable working conditions. Flexible hours, working from home, good pay/benefits, interesting work and many other free perks. Workers in such fields actually have more power over their employer due to the competition for software developers. These rights have been gained not by unions but in spite of them. The best tool to combat prejudices and enable full opportunities for all is freedom. Markets are amoral. Morals are left with the individual which in a free marketplace means there will be little place for discrimination and disrespect. Employers who do, fail and go bust.

The current laws in the UK dictates that an employer can not discriminate against a women who potentially may have children in the near term future. So long as the women has worked for their employer for 26 weeks before their maternity leave takes place then they are entitled to a number of partially paid weeks leave that can vary from 2 weeks all the way to 52 weeks absence. Women are also entitled to pay rises and accrued holidays in their absence with the guarantee of a job when they do decide to return to work. The position Nigel Farage takes is "are you naive enough to believe a small employer with very limited resources doesn't take all this into account?"

The alternative without such mandated laws would be to reduce the current discrimination women face in the workplace due to these laws. It is true that women would no longer be entitled to Maternity leave which instead would be at a employers discretion. However more importantly women would find it far easier to get a job. Small businesses would not have the current legislation in the back of their minds when interviewing such a candidates. Instead the topic could be discussed in a mature manner rather than the women not even been given a real chance to the position before they discuss the candidates credentials. Getting a job and regular income is far more important than having no job which is exactly what the current laws cause. 

If you believe different you are either naive or arrogant. Small businesses, where someone is risking their own assets on borrowed money, have to take this into account thus will favour a male candidate as it currently stands. They may even do such an action when a more competent female candidate would be willing to do the role. When faced with two such candidates with an absence of the current laws the employer may be willing to take on the female over the male. Instead with no laws they could ask if they plan to return to work? What their career aspirations are? How long do they plan to take leave? Currently you can't even raise any of these issues in an interview as you may get a legal case on your hands. All of this would not cost the employee the current headache of where the women may take a whole year off and in the meantime the employer would have to employ another member of staff to cover the absence, pay the women maternity pay and still have to guarantee a job if the women decided to rejoin the workplace despite originally only having a single role available (otherwise they find themselves with a legal case). Women and young families would adjust accordingly to no guarantees in maternity leave. They could save in anticipation. Adjust their finances to a single income for couples. Private companies may start offering insurance, whereby a women saves with the third party in anticipation of becoming pregnant. They could even negotiate with the employer to still get a regular set of pay checks and stagger the unpaid leave across a 12 month period for example. Many options exist, far more exhaustive than the list given here, as freedom creates many more possibilities than one mind can think of.

So would people discriminate? Possibly but when markets are amoral it doesn't matter. Women may become more competitive then their male counterpart due to no laws. There will be entrepreneurs who employ such individuals because they believe, even with the maternity leave a women may voluntarily take, are far more productive than the other male candidate. I'm sure we have all heard hiring a good worker is worth two or more incompetent employees. Markets would quickly remove most such discrimination. Currently this discrimination is nationwide, however with freedom it would be relegated to small pockets. 

Women grafted their way into the workplace not from war, regulations or the enactment of laws. They got jobs and respect from their male counterparts because they proved themselves highly competent if not more able than many males. The key concept to understand is under the current laws the job for the female never exists. Under a complete absence of laws, the small company now has more incentive to employ the female. The two parties can have a rational conversation with one another to determine the exact circumstances. An employer doesn't want to let a good candidate go and would prefer to follow one of the options listed above. As Nigel Farage states its time to get rational and realistic rather than following some infantile political correctness thinking.