David Paenson

Reject Universal Basic Income

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Socialists should completely reject the concept of UBI for one main basic reason: it takes class struggle out of capitalism.

Instead of fighting for higher wages, against privatisation of the NHS, schools and all the rest and for higher benefits and less means testing, workers would be sidetracked into an endless and pointless discussion on how to best balance UBI.

Michael Lavalette’s article in October SR is a telling example.

David Paenson
Frankfurt, Germany

Cause and effect

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Parrington’s article in my view suffers from two main weaknesses.

One is his attack on what he calls “the standard view that the genome changes only very gradually”. Nobel Prize winner Eric Kandel says that experience does have an effect on genes, but solely within the brain, and quite categorically rules out experience being carried over to the next generation through the genes.

Kandel, like so many others, sees no problem in accepting both tenants: conservatism when it comes to DNA reproduction and extreme flexibility within one’s own life span.

Feedback

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Email letters@socialistreview.org.uk or write to PO Box 42184, London SW8 2WD

Unconvincing
I can’t really agree with Sally Campbell’s assessment that 1984 was a “strong production” (June 2014). A lot of the dialogue was almost inaudible, the same flashing lights effect repeated over and over again.

The acting was unconvincing — for instance, not even the feeling of real sensuality in the love scene — and always the same library scene, even when the couple were out in the country enjoying nature.

The Quest

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Daniel Yergin

"Will enough energy be available to meet the needs of a growing world? How can security of the energy system on which the world depends be protected? What will be the impact of climate change?" These are the three questions which the author aims to answer in this 800-page volume.

It's worth considering if they are the right questions. What are "our needs"? It's only in one single short paragraph towards the end of the book, for example, that Yergin mentions the possibility of an alternative transport system.

Not So Selfish

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Having read Richard Dawkins' The Blind Watchmaker three times and now indulging in his The Selfish Gene, I feel Viren Swami has got hold of the wrong end of the stick (SR, March).

He makes it seem as if Dawkins was going on about a gene for selfishness. The simple point Dawkins is trying to make is that both change and continuity in the living world have genes as their material basis. He readily concedes that human behaviour could, or even will, change the environment in which we live. This could have an effect on which genes are favoured.

Dawkins leaves ample room for human will and should not be dismissed out of hand.

David Paenson
Frankfurt, Germany

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