current affairs

Who hosts the most refugees?

The Syrian refugee crisis has been one of the biggest news stories of the summer, and continues into the autumn as EU countries try to negotiate resettlement. Britain has engaged in a more limited fashion in these negotiations, opting out of the latest resettlement agreement and offering to take just 20,000 Syrian refugees between now and 2020.

In many ways, it is a real luxury to be able to choose how many refugees to take. Most countries caught up in a refugee crisis have little or no control over what is happening. They don’t get to stop and think about how many people they can afford to shelter. They just arrive, and must be cared for one way or another.

And as it happens, most countries that host refugees are not wealthy and well-equipped for the role. 86% of the world’s refugees are hosted by developing countries. Here are the top ten refugee hosting nations, from UNHCR’s Global Trends report for 2014:


Turkey has been a major destination for Syrians in the current crisis, pushing Turkey to number one in 2014 for the first time. Pakistan had headed up that list for over a decade up before that, with a large population of refugees from Afghanistan.

Lebanon has been a refuge for over a million Syrians, despite being a small country of 4.5 million people or so. It’s the closest place to run to, and there is no possibility of shutting the border. It’s hard to imagine how Britain would cope with an influx of a similar scope, but we’d be better equipped for it than Lebanon.

Ethiopia is hardly a rich country either, and is unlucky enough to border three countries in turmoil: Sudan, Eritrea and Somalia. Just as many Somalian refugees were beginning to return home to the East, things have taken a turn for the worse to the West. People have started crossing over from South Sudan, making Ethiopia the biggest refugee hosting country in Africa.

Whether you’re in Britain or elsewhere, it’s worth bearing this context in mind when discussing how many refugees we can afford to host.


    1. Mark, you have put a simple and short question so I’ll give it as simple and short a reply as I can:
      We would often share if we do not like to see others suffering. Another reason is that if you were suffering, and could not help yourself,y you would probably ask for some help, so, if you want help to be given to you when you need it, but you do not give it to others when they need it- this would be selfish (caring for yourself only). You can die having been selfish if you want to. Most people do understand that it would be unfair to want help when you need it but not to give it to others when they need it. (This is described as using a conscience). If we are selfish we help the world we all live in to be more full of things horrible. If we share with others the good things they need enough of for food (& water), shelter and clothing we help the world to be a healthier and happier place to be in for us all as these things for good and pain get spread without us always seeing it easily.

      1. hi, i’m an activist. was just putting it out there. i live in canada where we have the most but share the least. when someone asks me how i feel about being canadian i tell them i am ashamed and disgusted.

        i am excited about global warming. it seems the only way out is for all the world to share. will the world become a better place with or without humans?

  1. Jeremy, This is probably not the sort of comment you want to reply to? I would like to know our governments interpretation of ‘afford’ in context. Surely, in reality boils down to whether we are prepared to have less for ourselves so that others can have the very least they need to attempt to live without imminent threat of death? In true democracy we’d all have to answer this (as we do as individuals with consciences).We know there is no real need for poverty in this world and perhaps this truly needs to be our priority. Corbyn is apparently talking along these lines, but, putting it into action!?

    1. there is so much waste in the world that having less so others can prosper is not necessary. all we need is a little bit better management. perhaps a slightly altered election process.

      1. Here’s 3 brief replies in one: Yes, your original question was so wide that’s why J. asked you to be more specific. Just as my boiling it down to ethics. Government can’t be all our individual consciences yet it is inevitably tied up for many. You say we don’t need to have less, but, just think of everything we have and everything you can imagine that is or will become available. Somewhere, some have to have less because ultimately resources are finite. Of course when it comes to basic necessities no-one needs to go without. But if escaping from danger is seen as a necessity (or relieving their torment is seen as a necessity), we have a part of the refugee problem and we would need to share our resources making them thinner for us (infrastructure, jobs). This is basically what I was saying. You mention different election processes – I recently attended a very short talk on direct democracy – I wonder if Jeremy or George Monbiot will ever choose to raise this subject in their articles.

        1. if we want better leaders all we have to do is let anyone run by submitting solutions to our problems. our leaders would all drop out.

    2. Absolutely, what we can ‘afford’ in this context is about what we’re prepared to give. As it happens, we’re not being particularly generous with re-homing refugees, though we are being fairly generous with financial support for those who are – lots of aid money going to Lebanon and Jordan right now.

      1. Thanks Jeremy – I know it, yet keep falling for it – Truth is, economics into ethics won’t go! It’s an impossible sum and I must stop trying it! Must look always just for damage limitations.

  2. There is a very good reason why European countries should be careful whom they allow in. The majority of refugees are Muslims. They are giving other people a hard time in the country where they have taken refuge. It helps nobody to import the problem, which is the underlying problem with Islam itself. It breeds intolerance and makes its followers quarrel with people who are different.

    1. henry, you say ‘They’ are giving a hard time etc – This is an often seen as an unethical attitude towards those innocent Islamists/Muslims who are not giving a hard time to people in their country of refuge. Perhaps you’re not bothered by this even though none of us is responsible for our births and our religious/ethnic/social labels. Are you? If so, what’s your answer for this? How ‘careful’ can we be here?

      1. The people who have had the hardest time are Christians from the Middle East, ex-Muslims (who get death threats) and Jews. Chaldean and Assyrian Christians get constant harrassment. So do the Jews, with threats, school bullying, physical violence, and arson. The long established Jewish community of Malmö has been driven out.

        It is a few who are doing it but the Muslim community at large is silent. This is hardly surprising, since the holy scriptures of Islam refer to Jews as pigs and Christians as idolators, and states that both should be given the options of conversion or death.

        This is unacceptable and the authorities should impose a zero-tolerance policy when the religious teaching – in reality it is the worst sort of hate speech – is expressed in any shape or form.

        Unfortunately the media and politicians have chosen to ignore what is going on, but the public at large are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the conduct of some Muslims, the passivity of the Muslim community as a whole, and the conspiracy of silence.

        All potential immigrants should be detained and their backgrounds checked before they are allowed to remain. Some of them are ISIS operatives, dispatched as promised with the refugees.

        1. Thanks. I understand the argument for being ‘careful’ and ways to do so, but I keep searching for the best (perhaps, the only), ethical solution.
          If governments have ‘chosen to ignore what is going on’ there would seem little chance of ours taking the steps you advocate except perhaps for other government motives. Perhaps our acceptance of low numbers also has the admin costs of detaining and checking in mind.

          1. The real and most cost-effective benefits would come from establishing “safe areas” and providing the aid in the places where most of the refugees are.

            The notion of “taking them in” is largely driven by emotion. The response needs to be thought through. Taking some in is a viable policy but the applications should be processed and approved before people start their journeys and dealt with on a priority points system.

  3. Yes, there has been a lot of persecution and in-fighting in those places. Many of the Christians and Jews you mention are now among the refugees on our doorstep.

    David Cameron is right when he says that helping people at home is the best way to intervene, so that they don’t have to run in the first place. But he’s also too late with that message. If we’d taken better care of refugees a year or two ago, they could have stayed in safe camps in Syria or a neighbouring country. We didn’t, so they’ve moved on to Europe in the hope of getting on with their lives and getting their kids educated.

    Now we need to do both – improve conditions in the camps, and take in those who need help now, before the winter arrives. It can be temporary if necessary, we don’t need to hand out citizenship if that makes people uncomfortable. But we do need to pull our weight if we’re going to call ourselves a compassionate country.

    1. perhaps if we were able to understand that christians, muslims, jews, etc are all humans, the only difference being their memories as opposed to believing they are of different species, we might be able to move forward.

      1. Nice idea in theory, have a look at the German film I linked to, then you should realise it is Mission: Impossible.

        1. watched it. its not difficult to change a persons mind if you know whats happening in their head. listen carefully to their reasoning and you can recognize the problem.

          1. The problem is easy enough to recognise. They have been programmed. How do you deprogramme someone? How do you do it when they are under all-embracing social pressure to retain their programming? Entire communities need to be de-programmed. What makes it even more difficult is that deprogramming is an attack on their entire world view. Nobody lets go of that easily.

  4. ur not listening close enough. their brains are drawing conclusions from less information. because of this they are unable to recognize the information as garbage. as i said if you understand whats happening in their head its easy to change their mind. some really interesting information will be made public soon. perhaps jeremy and you would like to help.

    1. What do you expect? They are Muslims. Their holy book is the Koran and they believe it was written by Allah himself. If you can read a page of it and make sense of it you are doing well. In fact, it is more effective than a heavy dose of sleeping pills.

        1. People are not a fungible commodity. They have theories, opinions, and beliefs. They act in accordance with those. Are you saying that there is a way of re-formatting people’s minds as one can re-format a hard disk?

          1. Given that so much of our personality is set in our early years the idea we can fundamentally change people is moonshine.

  5. wouldnt that be great if it wasnt moonshine.

    the brain is a biological machine. it is possible to change a persons mind and its not difficult. you only need understand whats happening with all the mush. as i said, if you listen carefully to peoples reasoning you will realize that people are reaching incorrect conclusions because their brain isnt using enough information. it can be because of ignorance, they havent experienced the necessary information or because of an inability to experience enough to reach a correct conclusion.

    you can change a persons mind with a simple demonstration. works every time!

    1. I would love to see you try it on the guys who recruit for Daesh in the city centre here. They are certainly not using enough information, even though that information is available to them, in fact it is staring them in the face. But when their eyes and ears are tightly shut against what is staring them in the face, and would get angry and aggressive at any attempt to open their eyes and ears, how would you deal with them?

      The other problem is that many Muslims seem to be seething with anger just below the surface. This results in high levels of certain hormones which prevent the brain machine from functioning in a rational way.

      Based on empirical observation, I am with Devonboy on this.

    2. Mark – to be brief: Most humans want to survive and. preferably, in the best way available to them NOW. We assess this by comparing ourselves to others and against the current surrounds/situation. Where is this ‘information’ you speak of which changes this? If you want to back-up your claim and ‘change our minds’, you’ll have to provide this new information, won’t you.

  6. book coming out soon will explain all. seems our scientists made a blatant error in their research that has made an understanding of the brain impossible. once corrected understanding is easy. first time we set up a demonstration to help a person understand their brain was supporting an incorrect conclusion the person in question cried. the book will be released soon after our leaders fail us in paris.

    1. I’m assuming this book isn’t “The Righteous Mind” by Jonathan Haidt since that shows how hard it is to actually change minds.

    1. That sounds like mental conditioning rather than persuasion. Changing the world using brainwashing sounds a bit totalitarian. I mean what if those doing the conditioning are wrong.

      The idea of a ‘right’ answer is problematic. In a narrow sense we can have right for a limited circumstance or what is right for us personally but over arching answers are beyond us for current issues.

        1. I think the blatant error is to think you can ever truly know the ‘right’ answer to anything. Humility in the face of doubt is a better course

    1. Mark – With all these assertions you could have given any example – especially if you’re interested in the book selling! (Perhaps you think it’s going to storm the world without your help!).

  7. the brain throws information together. unfortunately it does not have a mechanism to make us aware of incorrect or missing information thus allowing us to believe the darndest things. the demonstration allows the holder of the ridiculous beliefs, not to understand the reasoning behind their misconception, they are not intelligent enough for that, the reason why they cannot be convinced otherwise, it allows them to recognize their brain is inadequate.

    no one is bad, they simply reach incorrect conclusions without knowing, thru no fault of their own, as a consequence of the structure and function of the brain.

    1. So that’s why I’ve had difficulty with my partner all these years! 🙂
      Well, it’s clear that people do ‘bad’ to themselves and to others because they believe it is going to be in their interest, and many do not appreciate that to love our fellow man as ourselves is in our own interest. I maintain that fear (for our own security and pleasure), whether this be sought from one form of power or another, underlies our ‘bad’ actions (despite the boldness needed for many acts). It will be interesting to know if your method deals with this and how.

      1. So you are saying that it is possible to de-programme millions of people and turn them into rational beings, all without having to ask their consent?

          1. Define rational. Is it being able to consider and come to differing views or is it to have the ‘right’ view as defined by whichever irrational person is doing the brainwashing?

            1. if freedom of thought was reaching a belief, clearly incorrect to vast numbers, and inflicting it on others, then yes. no more of that kind of freedom of thought.

          2. We all hold some minority opinions so the majority deciding it a recipe for tyranny (calling de Tocqueville).

            And then there are the times the majority are wrong. If we had this in 1967 we would have kept homosexuality illegal today.

          3. It doesn’t matter if is 90% of the population, or 90% of experts in a given area, they could still be wrong. No matter how overwhelming the present evidence is.

            If the vast majority of the people of Uganda think gay people should be imprisoned is that okay? From our perspective they are wrong but any appeal to ‘vast numbers’ overrides that.

            We are a liberal democracy for a reason. We allow minorities space because we accept we can be wrong and maybe the minority are right. This idea would be a recipe for homogenized thought.

            Imagine if those protesters at Manchester who spit at, intimidate, hit and threaten to rape Conservatives activists because they are ‘Tory Scum’ were to gain power. 11.3 million people to be brainwashed.

            Or imagine if the Tories decided to get in first. 9 million people brainwashed.

            No, we are a democracy because the majority rule but a liberal one because we don’t grind the losers into the dust.

            1. missed my meaning. i said people who could clearly see it is wrong. not people who believe it is wrong. big difference. going to have to wait for the book now. thoroughly enjoyed the discussion, very much appreciated.

          4. You just don’t get that it is impossible to separate those who ‘clearly see’f rom those who ‘believe’.Those who you would say just ‘believe’ would say they ‘see clearly’ and vice versa. Who judges? You, me, the vast majority.

            Still I wait for the book that will put us all right.

            1. its easy to tell. just ask them to explain their reasoning in full. people who believe dont use facts to support their beliefs. in fact they are unable to recognize facts often believing there is no such thing. in order to have a fact you need much supporting evidence. for people who cannot bring much information together in their head everthing appears as an opinion. again they are very easy to separate.

      1. Sorry –not meaning to start again, but had to correct myself (for anyone interested) – I meant to say ‘No-one IN THEIR RIGHT MIND would knowingly do wrong’. Again we have the question of RIGHT, so, (especially for Devonchap), I’ll drag this one up to quote.
        “If a group of people behave so as to do the very best for themselves individually, then they will produce a state of affairs which is worse for each of them’ from ‘The Politics of Private Desires’ Michael Laver 1981.
        Humans have continually been on the wrong side of this. Humans are a unit on this earth and need to unite as a whole. Today we have the evidence, but, will we ever respond rationally to it? This is, of course, totally relevant to the book Mark tells us of.

        1. As this seems addressed to me I’ll respond.

          You’ll be unsurprised to know I disagree with the Michael Laverty’s sweeping statement. It may be true in some cases but is no rule.

          We have many examples where the pursuit of self interest results in public good (as well as individuals). The wealth generated by the profit seeking free market that has lifted billions out of poverty being the most obvious example.

          The idea we need to unite as a whole to do the ‘right’ thing is as misguided as Mark’s idea of brainwashing people who hold the ‘wrong’ view. Both rely on some dispassionate leader or group of leaders who can weigh all the evidence and come to the correct answer. But no one or even group can ever know enough. Hayek’s knowledge problem defeats it.

          It its absence it is better to rely on the millions of widely distributed choices we individually make every day. And since we can only truly know what we consider our own interests that is the best starting point for organizing our affairs.

          1. Devonchap, sorry I wasn’t actually directing the comment itself it at you but glad you responded anyway. I’d agree with you if I interpreted Laver’s definition of the central political paradox.the same way as you, but I don’t. It is, I agree not ‘right’ in terms of a rule. More of an outlook of his and many others, including me. Of course we’ll have many examples of the opposite, but, it is based on the balance of trade-offs, as one weighs up the overall outcomes in life. And of course anyone may disagree. Also. I wouldn’t for one moment think Laver would consider forcing individuals personally (which, I’m sure, we all hope the method Mark refers to is not containing – he was never explicit). The point is surely more about hoping for, (maybe even encouraging), policy making which can’t cater for individuals. This is a quick instant reply so hope I’ve made myself clear.

          2. The evidence is that human beings have always thought in terms of their individual interest or at best that of a small tribe.

            Working against the grain of human nature doesn’t work. I don’t think that is some kind of hopeless mentality, as I suggest, individual self interest isn’t immoral, it does wonderful things. It is just a matter of ensuring the incentives are right.

            1. Devonchap, you say -“The evidence is that human beings have always thought in terms of their individual interest or at best that of a small tribe.”
              Generally Devonchap this is not in disagreement. The point which I and others make is that hitherto we lacked the current evidence that the house we all share is dependent upon us acting not merely ‘AT BEST as a small tribe’, but, AT BEST, as a global tribe. Now, the scale of the tribe has become global, likewise, the principle which worked at best in a small tribe must be enlarged or the whole house falls down. This is what the central political paradox given by Laver is connecting with. It is your own point but human nature responding to the fact that ‘no man is an island unto himself’ in need of being applied to the macro times.

          3. DevonChap – there is the football stadium paradox. One person gets up to get a better view. Then the person behind has to stand up to see the pitch. Soon everyone is standing. That leaves everyone worse off than if nobody had stood up in the first place.

          4. Dichasium: Humans aren’t evolved to work as a global tribe. Yet we still solve global problems such as extreme poverty and the Ozone hole. We don’t need a change of principle, even if we could (which short of massive genetic engineering we can’t).

            Henry1841: That stadium problem is only a problem to people who haven’t been to a stadium before. When you have been once you realize that it isn’t in your interests to stand up for long. Self organizing and self regulating, a triumph of self interest. That is why lots of people still go to football matches, not just very tall ones.

            A lot of game theory examples that supposedly show short term self interest wins, such as the Prisoners’s Dilemma actually have very different results if played out many times. More akin to life. I can shaft the people around me but they won’t help me next time if I do.

            1. Devonchap there’s evidently a miscommunication here as I thought I’d explained that it is not about a ‘change’ of principle, it is just scaling up to meet the current and now evident truth which is rather like your very last sentence. We must support each other globally as a family because science has proved to us that we do (like it or not), share the same loaf even when our many other preferences/beliefs differ.
              Maybe the repetitive gap in our communication is that whatever I say about humans having to face up to the fact that we are all responsible for our one shared earth, (& sharing without greed is the only way forward), in reality, the only hope we all have is for governments to take charge on a united front (what hope is this! I’ll jump out of my grave and be happy to be alive if it would ever happen). Does this help you to see my meaning (irrespective of agreement)?

          5. Certain things can only be done by governments and global cooperation on many things is in the interests of their citizens.

            I think I would comment on two things. One governments must never fail to cater for individuals. It is what we are, our fundamental unit.

            Secondly while greed is unattractive the pursuit of profit and wealth is a great motivation and does huge amounts of good. The solutions to our global problems will not just come from governments but also from companies and individuals looking to enrich themselves. Think Elon Musk with his electric cars. If he becomes richer still but replaces the internal combustion engine we have all gained. This is coming back to self interest as a force for good.

            1. Devonchap, As this all pertains somewhat to the subject ‘Make Wealth History’ I feel it is ok to continue. None of your examples of gross wealth will EVER over-ride those who stand on the side of my belief, as stated earlier, that there is a question of trade-offs at play which means ALL such examples that you provide, despite their evidence, will never be better than what will prove ultimately to be necessary. The proof of the pudding (when thoroughly cooked) is in the eating. We are still cooking it, but, the pudding is rising and science is ‘proving’ it.. You will have heard it said ‘Love your brother as yourself’. Science is gradually but clearly showing that this works from the point of self-interest. Hitherto, we could not see this as our science has not been sufficient, but wise men always have.

          6. When you say ‘None of your examples of gross wealth will EVER over-ride those who stand on the side of my belief’ do you mean persuade or do you mean you will ultimately be proved right?

            I think the word belief is important here. Your arguments, with the lack of specific examples and cases apart from general sweeping statements like ‘science supports me’ are like those you have with someone discussing their faith. No matter what evidence I produce I won’t tackle your belief.

            In that sense we will always have a dialogue of the deaf. Facts can’t trump faith, nor faith facts. I really recommend Jonathan Haidt on this.

            I can go on about how no successful or lasting society has even been as selfless and sharing as you aspire to or that you miss the trade offs involved but I won’t convince you and so far you haven’t brought any new evidence to convince me. So let us leave it there.

            1. Devonchap – I do believe I have a right to reply and will, though your reply says much about you and some of what I would have also said about our discussion.
              First, you ask me a question, then proceed to answer it your way, then say we’ll leave it there!
              Second, I was going to ask if you are or have been in the company of strongly motivated political people as you frequently overlook my comments and cause me to restate them in another way (in case you fail to understand rather than just ignore).
              Third, I was beginning to see that I was probably falling on your deaf ears, and if this latest reply had confirmed it, I was (like you) about to tell you that you can’t see the trade-offs because their not so obvious as facts and figures. Whereas you show your particular ‘facts’ and figures (and it all relates to a previous entry of yours about seeing ‘what’s on the ground’), mine on the other hand is already written in books galore by many and it is apparent they’d never convince you, (I’ve quoted one or two for you), and is based on evidence which takes more observation into account than ‘what’s on the ground’.

              Yes, it is plain that we look at different matters. And someone once said that you are in the blog for a specific reason – argument. This can only be made from ‘what’s on the ground’ that’s why you love to use your chosen ‘facts’ and figures. In my opinion, a more rounded thinking person need more. Perhaps you are from Mars and I am from Venus! – whatever it seems that n’er the twain shall meet 😉 Nice to try though and one is entitled to speak up for ones beliefs whatever they are based upon.

              1. to easiest way to recognize a person is using less information to draw conclusions is to have them explain their complete reasoning.

                a person who believes capitalism is of benefit, is only able to see his neighbor’s house in a gated community, if however you are able to step back and see the world as a whole you will recognize nothing could have been more devastating than pitting people against each other. a worse example of the benefits of individualism could not have been put forward. capitalism does not bring people up from the bottom, it cuts off access to the resources each of us has a right to as an inhabitant of this planet.

                you cannot win an argument with a person who is unable to understand, fortunately there’s another way.

          7. For the record I have an academic background from a dim past and am use to discussions where referenced evidence is assembled to construct an argument. That argument can then be evaluated in light of the cited evidence and other evidence. My wife has a legal background so we both naturally assembly our thoughts with solid facts to illustrate our arguments and for them to be challenged by other evidence based opinions. I also have some political experience and so am use to trying to craft statements to persuade the uncommitted, for which salient facts are useful (you can judge yourself how successful I was). Assertion only works with those who already agree with you.

            Sorry but I find your arguments are too vague which is why I guess you feel I don’t address them. You mention trade-offs without outlining what they actually are. You refer to knowledge written in books as if all books agree with you, which of course they don’t. Very stale to say ‘I’ve read books that agree with me’, ‘Well I’ve read other books and they say I’m right’ without actually weighing the value of those books.

            I do wonder what evidence there is that isn’t based on what is actually happening or has happened. Not much that would stand up in a court of law.

            “Your honour, the defendant clearly didn’t do it. I can cite masses of evidence and many witnesses but won’t. The prosecution will tell you details such as his hands were covered in the victim’s blood and 14 witnesses saw him commit the murder but these are just their particular facts and figures. I have long experience of observation of the world and tell you he is innocent. I won’t say why my opinion should be taken over that of the prosecution, but I tell you it should. I have read lots of books. Wise people agree with me. The defence rests.”

            Philosophy is fine but its practical application needs to be put in practical terms.

            So we talk past each other.

            1. Devonchap, You are as I always suspected. Your description, (plus reading between the lines), fits the bill perfectly. And most importantly you have adopted the very same approach as I encountered with you a long while ago during a different but related ongoing conversation (minus the abuse this time which is always a good effort!). The part you’ve repeated is to change my words slightly but sufficiently to produce a different effect, one that matches what you want it to. It is a lie that works to your end. This means categorically that I would waste my time pointing out to you what you said wrong about my words and the inevitable wrong interpretations. Like the other professionals who understand my meaning, and those joining in here with great support, I see that you are blind to the whole picture. A trained but narrow view. I’ve got caught up with you twice, best not let the cock crow a third time!
              Thanks for the time though – always worth learning something.

          8. Mark, you have just demonstrated why your brainwashing plan is a disaster. Your opinions are unconnected to reality and you would happily impose them to those who disagree with you. No vast number of people agree with you, expert opinion doesn’t either. Yet you would brainwash rather than debate.

            1. best not to admit something appears to be unconnected or irrational. is dead giveaway. “It is the function of creative men to perceive the relations between thoughts, or things, or forms of expression that may seem utterly different, and to be able to combine them into some new forms — the power to connect the seemingly unconnected.”

              mechanically – imagine a person, (simplified) has only two memories playing in their head, one of a disposable lighter and one of a handgun. if told they were the same, they would believe the person irrational. if a third memory was added of the trigger of the handgun being pulled and a small flame popping out the end, the person would see the two items as the same and the one claiming them as such, as rational. more neural connections results in more memories playing back in the head at the same time.

              the demonstration is in no way forceful. everyone wants to be right, it is in our nature. the demonstration simply allows a person who cannot understand the reasoning to know they are incorrect… then we can all come together.

              1. Jennonpress – Can you please say who the quote you gave is from.
                Also, you said “everyone wants to be right, it is in our nature.” I agree but find it interesting that some want so much simply to be, or sound, ‘right’ that they do not even want to hear others (fixed mind), whereas some truly look for error in themselves (by listening and constant assessment), because they want to be proved wrong in case they are not ‘right’, and they appreciate that ‘right’ can become ‘wrong’. I wondered if your comment incorporated this or missed it. (Don’t forget the quote reference for me please).

                1. quote is william plomer. not dont want to hear, can’t understand what others are saying as devon…. is all the same. people either have more or less information playing back in their heads allowing more or less understanding. we assume people are being asses because we cant believe they do not understand what seems so obvious to us . as devon… said, when those more intelligent speak to him it sounds crazy. he is not an ass, he simply cannot understand. unfortunately because of his education he believes people he cannot understand are crazy rather that recognizing he is less intelligent.

                2. Thanks Jennonpress. This reminds me that after years of having this thought vaguely formulated I had recently begun to feel more certain. Your reminder will help me much to keep it in the forefront and make more use of it.
                  I also think that like nature & nurture, neural pathways can be enhanced by an individual’s own will ( a part of the nurture)– I suspect science may not agree. For me it connects with other such possibilities but I won’t start up another subject!
                  I’ll check out the neutral links to be found in William Plomer – thanks.

            2. devonchap – we want to work together to the betterment of everyone. two people working together can always build two better homes than two working individually. those of greater intelligence also understand intelligence is not of greater value, it simply brings a different skill set. in fact, because those who are better at repetition, perform jobs that put their health more at risk, they deserve more. also known is that public economies failed in the past not because of a lack of incentive, but because the wrong people ended up in the decision making roles. now it is understood what makes us tick, the same problem can be avoided and the massive advantages of sharing equally can be enjoyed.

          9. Jennonpress.

            How are you going to decide who should run our public sharing economy if the problem was the wrong people? Democracy is out since that gives us David Cameron, the 99% of the population who didn’t vote for Jeremy Corbyn clearly haven’t got the message that a equally sharing economy has been proved to be the best.

            And in a non democratic system how do stop the Stalins from climbing up the greasy pole? Are you magically imbued with the power to know who is the right leader or is there a questionnare?

            I mean you could brainwash everyone as mark suggests but what is to stop the nasty capitalists doing it to you first?

            Generations of people who think they are cleverer than the rest have said a sharing equal society is the way ahead (I see communism has been dropped as a name). ‘This time its different’ is what is said before the same old results.

            Good luck.

            1. No, this is not replying directly to Devonchap it just seems a convenient time to post it for anyone –
              “Where there is life, there is hope. Where there are hopes, there are dreams. Where there are vivid dreams repeated, they become goals. Goals become the action plans and game plans that winners dwell on in intricate detail, knowing that achievement is almost automatic when the goal becomes an inner commitment. The response to the challenges of life—purpose—is the healing balm that enables each of us to face up to adversity and strife.”

              —Dennis Waitley

            2. you choose good leaders by requiring them to explain how they would fix the mess our society is before they are elected. if they cannot explain, they cannot be elected. it is very clear those who participate in elections today cannot do so. raising or lowering taxes and shifting funds around is not a solution.

              there are people who are capable but the present system makes it impossible for them to participate. to allow those who can fix our system all that is necessary is to allow anyone to submit a written plan. then let the public vote on it. absolutely no campaigning. if that is done those who participate now will all drop out. (their inabilities will be realized when proper plans are submitted.) this same method will also protect us from the stalin want to be’s as they also do not have the ability to put forth real solutions.

              ps. its interesting how you have latched on to the idea that mark was suggesting brainwashing. why would that be?. perhaps you have been watching or reading too many spy stories.

          10. Jennon Press/Mark (Shall I call you Mr Sock Puppet)

            You do seem very arrogant for someone who doesn’t know the difference between a written plan and a manifesto. Obviously being less intelligent than you, the subtle differences are beyond my simple mind, just a molecule for you to order, but I do seem to remember all parties issuing them at the last election.

            I guess I lack understanding for your great scheme. All I know is that cleverer people than you have run societies based on equality of outcome and they always end with a pile of human skulls and apologists such as yourself saying, ‘I know what went wrong, it’ll be different next time. Such arrogance caused the Cambodian killing fields and the Holodomor.

            So rather than be a cheerleader for mass murder I’ll just to stick being able to use capital letters.

            1. it seems you missed my explanation. most would believe you were ignoring the words placed one after the other, and a bit harsh, but closer observation would reveal you were unable to understand their meaning and were a nice but simple person who panicked when confused.

              its not brain washing, its simply a method allowing you to recognize your inability to understand. want to give it a try?

              1. Jennonpress, I think the neural networks reasoning could be analogous to someone doing a jig-saw with, let’s say, a third of the pieces missing. The picture imagined by the performer could be very different to the finished product and each performer with different pieces formulates their own assumptions which can block the way forward (due to misconceptions and false conclusions). It is frustrating when some throw the same old pieces claiming the same partial result, and you have some more pieces, but they’ve never seen them. Being in different houses you cannot reach them to enable them to see. I suspect we have all been on both sides of the coin but, at times, some are formulating the more advanced puzzle which gets closer to the real picture.

            2. devonchap, with todays technology real democracy is possible . before any changes are made this must be our first priority. once in place we all can decide whether sharing with some new understanding might be tried again.

              1. jennonpress, I imagine that, even if in place, real democracy could take a long time to reach its full potential. Who will be letting us know about the book’s release, and, does it contain the political element – can I assume so? I wonder if Jeremy will review it.

                1. it won’t take long. once people realize they are actually making decisions they will step up. most don’t vote only because they know it doesn’t make a difference. when the books available i’ll leave it up to you to convince jeremy. thank you for your time. learnt some.

          11. Mr Sock puppet, you are mighty arrogant for someone who has to pretend to be two different people.

            Sure you aren’t planning your own pile of skulls? Let’s review the evidence.

            Overly simplistic view of the world? Check.

            Exaggerated sense of your own intelligence? Double check

            This time its different mentality. Check

            Dehumanized view of your fellow humans (molecules, reprogramming) Big fat check.

            Demeaning the intelligence of those who disagree with you. CHECK.

            Congratulations, you have the whole murdering commie package.

            I recommend getting out and spending time with actual humans who have a range of opinions. Try not to tell them that they are simple.

            If that doesn’t work come and see me when your mind machine is working and then I’ll look silly.

          12. Real Democracy would get rid of the secret ballot.

            If people had to justify their votes to cut taxes for themselves while to poor go hungry to the mothers of the kids they are going to starve then we would see the selfish cowards change their tune.

  8. Hmm, looks like this has taken a philosophical turn. Apologies for the cynicism, but I have a two year old, so I’d need a lot of convincing that people don’t willingly do wrong, or that they can be reasoned out of things! And sadly I see plenty of adults behaving in similar fashion, so it doesn’t appear to be something you just grow out of.

    I’d also need a lot of convincing that a book can ‘show the world’ the truth about human nature, once and for all, just like that. Even the most influential books are contested. But I guess we’ll have to wait and see, won’t we? The revelation is only two and half months away…

    1. how wrong something is , is not fixed. if a person can only access a limited amount of information they will see something as a little bit wrong allowing them to ignore it. if however they have access to a great deal more info which causes them to see it as terribly wrong they will not do it. even murder can be seen as a little bit wrong with very limited information. thats why business people can pollute and use slave labor. we ve been incorrectly labelling them as intelligent not knowing what intelligence was.

      1. But Mark, there is so much information that no one, or even group of people, can assimilate it. Hence all knowledge is partial.

        You therefore can not get away people making up their minds with limited information.

        That is even before we touch on the fact humans are not evolved to be hyper rational beings but make heuristic leaps.

        1. great discussion. you re right, fortunately we only have to deal with that which is easily proven wrong. not all information is necessary to know simple things are true or false. fortunately those who are a problem only deal with the simple.

          1. Mark The ‘We’ you speak of regarding certain moves as intelligent are many but not all. The ‘We’ you speak of as those who will do the necessary on others will be under the control of some who thought certain ‘bad’ actions are intelligent. Of course it would be good to stop ‘bad’ actions but my comment and that of others is really all about the incredulous danger in any such plan. No-one here needs that explained that why some comments have been brief not one sided. You don’t seem to have acknowledged this inherent horror. I expect it’s all been said now.

            1. we the people. the safety net. molecules seek equilibrium. people are made up of molecules. as such they have no choice but to seek equilibrium. equilibrium for people is harmony or happiness good health and avoidance of stress. the more intelligent a person the better chance they have of reaching equilibrium for all people. everyones best bet is always the most intelligent. certainly not the people who are labelled intelligent today. contrary to what some believe there is not good and bad intelligence. everything will be covered in the book including the fact that intelligence does not bring more value but a different skill set. keep your mind open. real democracy is also included as with todays technology government reps voting for us is no longer needed.

          2. Don’t worry Mark my mind’s open. I’ve always hiccupped when many generalise that educated people are ‘intelligent’ and I argue that intelligence is how you use the information you have. This debate can go on but what you’ve said, (as I understand it), has been said in various ways many times before, (not by scientists), so it will be interesting to see if science has found a way to actually show it. You certainly have us all interested!

  9. Noted that you had a load of comments-but a distinction should be made between a Refugee and Migrant. I would suugest that the majority of migrants will not qualify as Refugees under the United Nations Covernant for Refugees-European Union has been seeking to harmonise asylum process and law for many years.In the view of governments aiming to minimise migration, asylum is an exception that allows too many people through. Human smuggling and trafficking complicate the migration landscape; being smuggled to sanctuary has become an important option for Asylum seekers, even though it carries a price beyond its financial cost. By resorting to the services of a smuggler, an asylum seeker seriously compromises his or her claim in the eyes of many states. This also leads to an imputation of double criminality: not only do refugees flout national boundaries, they consort with criminal gangs to do so. Therefore it is argued, their claims must be bogus and measures to restrict their basic rights are justified.

  10. not sure why but signing in changes my name mark/jennonpress is the same. devonchap sorry was so hard on you. i will make more effort to allow people to know it is different this time.

  11. There is a spectacularly insular EU frame of the current inter-continental refugee crisis (bulk of refugees are Afghan, Syrian, Iraqi, Ethiopian/Eritrean) in most media. Thanks for expanding the discussion with data from other countries that are doing far far more to house if not rehabilitate refugees. One quantitative metric that is very useful to analyse the impact of refugees on a country is the percentage of refugees temporarily residing in a country with respect to that country’s overall population.

    Lets call it the Refugee Impact percentage (RI) for each receiver country := (# of Refugees in country/Total Population of country) *100. The Syrian RI for various European countries in 2014 (when the stats were last collected) were:

    Country Refugee Impact %
    Sweden, 0.3 %
    Germany, 0.05 %
    Netherlands, 0.03 %
    UK, 0.007 %
    France, 0.005 %

    Those paltry numbers apparently correspond to a “flood” or a “swarm” (recent German/Swedish magnanimity notwithstanding).

    Now, compare that to the countries neighbouring Syria which have 1-2 orders of magnitude higher Refugee Impact %:

    Lebanon 26%
    Jordan 9%
    Turkey 2%

    One simple implication of these facts is that a lack of a coherent, globally coordinated UN funding of the refugee camps in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan (where the bulk of the refugees reside) or availability of Exit Visas (as was arranged for the Vietnames Boat people in the 70’s) has lead to their progressive impoverishment (those countries are not giving refugees work permits) and subsequent exodus. The UN is so horribly underfunded that the World Food Programme has halved its assistance to the neediest Syrian refugees, providing just $13.50 per person per month.

    Mohsin Hamid wrote a perceptive essay a few years ago “Why migration is a fundamental human right” in which he suggested:

    “This problem must be addressed. The scale of migration we will see in
    the coming centuries is likely to dwarf what has come before. Climate
    change, disease, state failure, wars: all these will push hundreds of
    millions, perhaps billions, to leave one country for another. If we do
    not recognise their right to move, we will be attempting to build an
    apartheid planet where our passports will be our castes, and where
    obedience will be enforceable only through ever-increasing uses of

    There is another way. We can recognise the human right to
    migration. We can recognise that we are ourselves, all of us, doubly
    migrants. We are migrants historically: our ancestors came from
    somewhere else, and originated, long ago, in the same spot in Africa.”

    ps. The refugee statistics are sourced from the UN and UNHCR and were drawn from Economist’s infographic.

    1. Thank you Albert, that’s a useful metric. As you say, the numbers don’t correspond to the rhetoric in the slightest.

      The right to migration is an interesting one, because we used to have it. People were free to move in and out of Britain in the past, though of course we still had allies and enemies and you did so at your own peril. The idea of passports is a product of the nation state, which is a relatively recent invention in the grand scheme of history – and despite its dominance in international relations, probably isn’t the last word on how we organise ourselves globally.

      People would hesitate to embrace a ‘right to migration’. It sounds politically impossible. But if you flip it round, it makes sense philosophically: what gives us the right to exclude anyone from coming to Britain, or anywhere else? In what sense is this piece of land ‘ours’?

      1. It is a duty of government to defend the realm for the benefit of the country’s citizens. It would be a breach of duty to allow in people who were in effect invaders and could well have hostile intentions.

          1. How is anyone to know whether the people are civilians or ISIS-operatives? Does ISIS care if a few of its people die on the way? Why would they need to take their weapons with them?

            Some of the people who have arrived in Sweden ARE ISIS. About 30 of them were harrassing the one Christian in the same accommodation and the Christian had to be rescued and removed to a secure place.

    2. You have to ask why are people refugees? Most of the current crop are fleeing from Muslim-related conflict, within different flavours of Islam or from Islamic persecution.

      Accept them indiscriminately and the recipient countries end up importing the conflict with the people. This is beginning to happen in Sweden and Germany.

      If there is a human right to immigration, there is also a duty on the immigrants to adapt their way of life to the recipient community and to be loyal to the country and accept its values. It does not go with any right to try to change the country to their way of life.

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