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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Does South Africa need another wealth tax?

Dear Editor

​On Thursday 1st October, ​
World-renowned French economist Thomas Piketty
​, who gave the annual Nelson Mandela Foundation lecture, said
 that South Africa should have
​a​
 wealth tax!

The South African tax payer (rich person and corporate) is already paying more than they should for electricity, water, sewerage, rates, petrol, etc, to cross-subsides the poor
​(non-
taxpayer
​)​
.

If our government wasn't wasting money, then perhaps more tax and a higher VAT rate would help, but Medupi Coal Power Station should have cost R79 billion and is currently costing in excess of R150 billion.

It is also five years behind schedule. And up to one million people would have jobs if Medupi was complete, and they would contribute massively to tax income in South Africa.

Furthermore, the loss of income for Eskom not being able to supply electricity is R2 million per hour, and assuming that 1/3rd of the revenue is
​vat​
able, then the VAT revenue
​ loss​
 is about R90,000 per hour.

So let's focus on where we can earn and save the most and stop taxing the rich.

For every hour that Medupi is late, it is costing the country R2 million, just in electricity revenue, and it is currently costing the country 15% of its GDP. 15% of South Africa's GDP is R84 million per hour!

Another reason the Gini-coefficient (the measure of the wealth gap) is getting bigger is because of South Africa's grant policy where it is easier for people not to work and receive free (already paid by the rich) education, health benefits, electricity, water, subsidised transport, retirement income, training, subsidised food (e.g. non
​vat​
able items) etc.

Poor education means that school leavers cannot find jobs in a technical world.

And this 21st Century world is "flat" (see Thomas Friedman's book "Hot, Flat and Crowded"), where is easy for anyone even far from the grids to compete as long as they have technical knowledge and an internet connection.

Off-grid electricity is easy now with renewable energy and so rural Indians and others can find work all over the world, with a laptop, renewable energy, a satellite dish, and an internet connection. They are also healthier than city dwellers with less pollution, less polluted minds, healthier bodies, and a better ability to get the job done.

And South African miners go on strike so often that it is becoming easier not to mine! For example, to use renewable energy, and other man
​-​
made alternatives to the stuff that comes out of the ground!

One reason the Rand is depreciating so quickly is because our inflation is probably amongst the highest in the world. A reason for this is because the rich get 15% increases per annum in taxation (electricity, water, etc), whilst the poor get 0%. This makes it easy to fiddle the inflation numbers. Zero Rand for 18 million people receiving grants + 15% increases for 3 million taxpayers and one can see the problem.

So:

  • we need much more efficient use of our existing taxation
  • we need our new power stations to be completed
  • we need people to be employed and to start paying tax and VAT
  • we need an education system that works and produces 21st century minds, not 19th century minds, and
  • we need an elimination of huge wastage, especially wastage in electricity provision, in infrastructure, in our national airline, and an elimination of corruption in government and business.
​And we definitely do not need another wealth tax!​

​Yours faithfully

Letter in Cape Times 28th December 2015: "Year of the battery"

2016 will be the year of the battery, when Elon Musk uses his marketing and investment muscle to make battery usage widely used in home and commercial scale energy systems.

Embedded storage is just as important as embedded energy. Embedded means that the energy and storage is produced at the point of consumption, and it also means that if there is a fault at a large-scale nuclear or coal or hydro-electric or solar or wind power station, or on the electrical distribution network, that the embedded generators and storage can come into use.

Many parts of the US have realised how important embedded generation and storage is on their grids, especially in light of recent extreme weather events that they have been experiencing.

This makes our electrical grids much more resilient, increases security of supply and brings down the cost of production overall as our grids become more effective and efficient and because there is a lot less mismanagement of funds due to almost no possibility of corruption.

Our water grids already have embedded water in the form of peoples' pools and many 5 000 litre water tanks I see sprouting up in peoples' gardens and with pool covers and systems to make this water drinkable, the pools become much more effective and efficient at reducing the risk of drought and its associated effects.

Some pundits suggest that 30 percent of food is already grown in cities. This means that our food grids are becoming more resilient as well as the water and electricity grids, and therefore we should start seeing reductions in our cost of living over the next few years.

This cost of living is not only to ourselves, financially, but also to our planet, environmentally.

One should note that while Elon Musk has made the PowerWall well known world wide, it isn't the only battery that is available, although he is working hard to bring the price of lithium ion down.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Free electricity

Germany’s wind farms are now producing so much electricity they are paying users to take it - Democratic Underground
Comments
David Lipschitz The profit in free energy is a fast growing economy, job growth, taxation growth. Our politicians can't see this.
LikeReplyJust now
David Lipschitz Oh, and they could use the free energy to desalinate water, or make hydrogen and methane, or pumped storage, etc.

Friday, December 18, 2015

A clean future for our world?

Its a real pity South Africa and other countries can't see a clean future, with much less corruption and must faster economic growth:

How can VW fix its tDi problems?

Elon Musk comes up with an innovative idea for dealing with the VW diesel emissions.

Instead of fixing the existing cars, VW must sell electric cars. There will be a far faster reduction in emissions this way!

http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1101478_ignore-vw-diesels-make-company-sell-electric-cars-tesla-ceo-musk-44-others

Thursday, December 17, 2015

2016: When eveyone finally owns the means of production

2016 is upon us.

2016 is the time when everyone finally starts owning the means of production. The biggest mine in the world. The sun. The sun, which creates solar energy and wind energy and everything.

2016 is the time of phones that don't connect to anything and which can be powered by the sun, smart phones (computers in our hands), Twitter, Facebook, Google, TweetDeck, LinkedIn, about.me,  free wireless internet all over the place, fast and cheap ADSL, working from anywhere, the iPad, Skype, communications for free with anyone anywhere in the world, and who knows maybe in the multi-verse.

2016 is the time of scaleability, where homeowners and roof top owners will start owning the electricity grid in 2016. We will install systems that interact with the grid, and we will grow these systems without fraud and without corruption and the systems will be delivered in the time we say they'll be delivered.

For the first time in history, the people will really own the source of production, electricity. And when this is cheap enough, we'll use our excess electricity to take water out of the air and out of the sea, and when we can do that, we'll grow our own crops, and when we can do that, we'll make our own clothes, and when we can do that, we do what we want to do every day. If that means just tending our gardens, that's fine. If it means trading with people in our "flat world" on the other side of the world, from the comfort of our homes, so be it.

In 2016, the super-fast (communication), super-cheap, age is upon us. Communication centres will open. Satellite offices will become the norm, where people who can't work from home for whatever reason, will commute short distances to satellite offices, which will be integrated with fibre-optic connections to their main offices. These satellite offices will have video conferencing, board rooms, snooze rooms, coffee bars, pause areas, gyms, and they will be fun, just like Google and other offices are fun places to be and to spend our time.

In 2016, we will realise that time is our most valuable asset, and we will stop wasting it. If we are going to spend it we should do it wisely. Not sitting in carbon-monoxide fume traffic for hours on end, or paying e-tolls so that some overseas investors can get rich.

The time for mass exploitation is at an end.

In 2016, people will take ownership for themselves and the start of the end of mass apathy will be over. Our societies will be freer, with less crime, more jobs, more happy people, more localisation, and more fun. And a lot more local taxation, because of more employment, and more local businesses starting up, so that government can pay for all the things that we need, like communications, and an easy place to do business, so that we can enjoy our lives more. And this without borrowing and having to pay off international debts for 40 years.

The sleeping population of South Africa is slowly waking up. And when we wake up, and when we become conscious to our incredible, abundant planet, and our incredible, abundant energies.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

2016: The beginning of the Prosumer Age

A consumer consumes things.

A producer produces things and often owns the means of production.

A prosumer is someone who can produce and consume, for example for the first time in history the poor and middle class can own the means of production, e.g. making electricity, desalinating water, etc, a lot cheaper than we can buy it from others.

We will all realise at some point that we can do this once our consciousness is raised. Until then we will continue in the consumer culture where we think that cars and other fancy stuff are more important than owning the means of production.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Windhoek City Announced Water Crisis

Just a day after the City of Cape Town announced the start of water rationing, pretty much by the possible doubling of water prices, Windhoek City announces water crisis.

Pool covers mandatory. Pools not allowed to be filled. I agree with the pool covers, but I think pools should be filled. Reason: just like embedded electricity generation is critical to the functioning of our grids, so embedded water storage will also be critical to our ability to survive as a species.

http://www.namibian.com.na/index.php?page=read&id=34810