Capitalism’s Last Frontier #13 Genesis of the Garden

Man the Cook

Alongside the development of plants was the evolution of cooking.

Richard Wrangham of Harvard University has persuasively argued that agriculture was only possible because of the development of cooking.  Cooking makes digestion easier and increases the energy recovered from food.  By freeing humans from having to spend half the day chewing tough raw food — as our primate relatives do — cooking allowed  humans to devote themselves to other activities.  The hypothesis is that cooking enabled increased hunting, which may have hastened extinction of big game.

He believes the advent of cooking permitted a new division of labor between men and women, although his explantions of patriarchy seem over-functionalist: Men entered into relationships to have someone to cook for them, initially enabling more time to be devoted to hunting. Women benefited from men’s protection, safeguarding their food from thieves. The humanity-defining notion that partners share what they find in the way of food. Cooking, he claims, made us human. “Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human

Plants and Humans Domesticate Each Other

As humankind developed technologies for intensification of gathering this set off co-evolutionary processes in plants.  For example humans selected grains whose stalks had failed to shatter and legumes which hadn’t exploded as these which were easiest to collect.  Even before cultivation by choosing and scattering these seeds humans caused a genetic change, from them on these plants could not survive without humans.  From the onset of intensive gathering mankind was driving evolution and not ebing driven by it.

Annual plants had evolved a variation in the rate of the germination of their seeds; this enabled them to survive harsh years.  Humans in sowing seeds in one season and then harvesting the first to sprout would lead to rapid evolution of early sprouting seeds and less variation in speed of germination.  The risk was then spread to humans of starvation in harsh years.

Humans would also of course select for other traits such as size, taste and digestibility.  Some crops such as olives were selected for their oil content, others such as hemp and cotton for their fibre’  Selection also removed poisonous qualities from plants such as cabbage and almonds.

Fruit and nut trees resisted domestication until around 5,000 BP because seed selected from desirable plants could not be relied upon to reproduce similarly desirable offspring. The discovery of propagation of cuttings overcame this problem in olives, figs, grapes and pomegranates. The development of grafting which originated in China enabled domestication of cherries, apples, pears, and plums.

Around places of human habitation a gradual genetic change and increased yield of many plants would have occurred.  Agriculture was not an overnight event, it would have evolved slowly, but quickened in periods where pressures lessened hunting and forced more intensive gathering.

Indeed bread, from the gathering of wild seed, is far older than agriculture, dating from the upper Paleolithic around 30,000 years ago.  However bread could not become a staple food until the invention of agriculture.  Consumption of cereal seed only increased toward the end of the Pleistocene, and humans did not develop storage pits and tools necessary for significant consumption of cereals until the Neolithic. Today, most humans receive two-thirds of their protein and calorie intake for cereal-derived foods like wheat, corn, rice, and barley. Bread was nutritious and light but required milling, preparation and baking, a fire and oven.  Increasing reliance on bread required a shift from camps and open campfires to houses, hearths and ovens.

Some groups could easily plant their seeds in open fields along river valleys, but others had forests blocking their farming land. In this context, humans used slash-and-burn agriculture to clear more land, and make it suitable for their plants and animals.

Over a period of several thousand years humankind became increasing reliant on agriculture and with the much greater yields from agriculture those tribes which had perfected new techniques would have enormous evolutionary advantages.  Efficient foraging also depended on mobility, while larger populations were more stationary and thus required a stable food source.  The population growth of those practising agriculture would lead to pulses of migration forcing back hunter-gatherers.

The evolutionary changes of plants constantly interact with evolutionary changes in animals in a process of co-evolution.  As flowering plants and insects evolved together so did domesticated plants and human society.

With greater yields a greater population could be supported and most importantly in good years a agricultural surplus could be generated and dry stored during winter.  Many gathered foods such as fruit are difficult to store for long periods and only with the fairly modern invention of pickling did this become possible.

High population densities leads to more intensification of farming, whereas increased hunting and gathering in one area can rapidly lead to depletion and extinction.

“Settled agriculturists can survive at higher population densities estimated to be ten to one hundred times greater than hunters-gatherers”

Domestication of Animals

The first animals to be domesticated were dogs (around 11,000 BP), probably as aids during hunting, especially chase and exhaustion hunting.

The  major domestic farm animals all come from europe sheep, goats and pigs were the first to be domesticated.Around 7000 BC cows were domesticated and began to be used in farm labour.

The Original Sin

Agriculture has been described as choosing “cheap calories at the cost of poor nutrition.”   Humans were greater in number but less healthy.  It was this force of numbers, and probably the development of larger raiding parties, the genesis of armies, that enabled the expansion of agriculturalists, and most likely set the conditions for the rise of warlords and later kings. Studies of various skeletal evidence indicate an increase in infectious diseases, malnutrition, and anaemia in early agricultural societies as compared to hunter-gatherers.

The proliferation of agriculture is a self-perpetuating. With rising population, agriculture is needed to produce greater amounts of food. As food production increases through agriculture, populations grow and the demand for food increases. Mankind has been in a race for over 11,000 years to increase food production more quickly than population, and so avoid mass starvation.

The Bitcoin Crash – what it tells us about Crypto Currency

The travails of Bitcoin, the internet alternative currency, has gripped the internet but hardly touched legacy media.

It had been steadily growing since its inception in 2009, and this year had been getting some attention with calls for it to be banned as encouraging tax avoidance or even money laundering and drug deals.

Launch on May 15th called it

The most dangerous project we have ever seen

A month ago I heard folks talking online about a virtual currency called bitcoin that is untraceable and un-hackable. Folks were using it to buy and sell drugs online, support content they liked and worst of all — gasp! — play poker.

Bitcoin … could topple governments, destabilize economies and create uncontrollable global bazaars for contraband.

The exchange rate had risen from $4 a bitcoin a few months ago to $17.50 a bitcoin last week.

But in the last few days it has all come crashing down.

An online wallet was hacked into after a virus attach from an IP address in Hing Kong, following that the person stealing them tried to convert to half a million dollars worth of hard cash at exchange MtGox.

Within minutes the price had fallen  to $0.01 before Mt. Gox shut down their exchange.

The market has been reset to before the hack but this has been criticised by some users who had taken the opportunity to buy low.

Both Wikileaks and the Electronic Freedom Foundation have dropped taking donations in Bitcoin.

It remains to be seen if it can recover.  Convertability is still suspended.  For the time being the currency has failed and the vulnerability to an attack on a single computer is likely to dent confidence.

This kind of Cyrpto Currency is based on the idea that any sort of object, or any sort of record, accepted as payment for goods and services and repayment of debts in can serve as a currency.  This is quite correct, a symbol accepted as a store of value is a currency, and other features such as ability to be accepted in payment for taxes or be generated from credit are but contingent elements of money in certain contexts (and arguably features of any long-term successful currency).

Trust is important  as Jerry Brito explains

digital cash is different from physical cash in one very important way: If I hand you a 100 euro bill, I no longer have it. You can’t be as sure of that, however, when the cash is just 1’s and 0’s. So it’s been necessary to have a trusted intermediary deduct the amount from the payer’s account, and add it to the payee’s.

The attempted solution to this double payment problem is a distributed database spread across nodes of a peer-to-peer network tracks transaction, anonymity is assured through cryptography.  Currency is generated by mining, a deliberate allusion to mining for gold, only mining in this context is running an algorithm that only very very rarely creates a bitcoin.  It is a non-fiat curency, and a ‘hard’ currency in that it is not generated by fractional reserve lending but by this quasi-mining process.

The money supply of Bitcoins is programmed to reach 21 million over time.  So the more mining that occurs the less the chance of money generation.

But with the future supply fixed Bitcoin itself acknowledges that this could cause hoarding and crippling price deflation, why spend money in the Bitcoin economy today when the same currency will buy more tommorrow.  Bitcoin itself recognisances the model is flawed and could cause a deflationary spiral 

the supply of Bitcoins must grow in proportion to the total value of transactions undertaken using the system. This will lead to price stability and will eliminate the benefit that accrues to existing holders of the currency. This is fundamentally necessary to protect the existing value of Bitcoins. If this does not occur then an alternative system that does recognize the risk of deflation and price instability will present itself which will achieve a greater level of acceptance, destroying Bitcoin in the process.

In other words the supply of money must grow in proportion to the increase of value.  This is of course is the killer argument against the gold standard.  2-3% growth a year is not enough, especially when your pulling out if a recession.  Taking population growth and inflation into account you can very nearly get negative growth triggering a negative deflationary spiral and depression.  Whether or not Bitcoin is inherently delationary has sparked a lively debate, even reaching the pages of the economist.  Discussion though confuse inherent delationary tendencys with problems that occurr from Bitcoins (temporary) high exchange rate against the dollar.

Charles Schumer,  Democratic senator, claims it is just what drug dealers have been waiting for.  Specific sites for money laundering and drug dealing – slikroad –  have sprung up.

“Literally, it allows buyers and users to sell illegal drugs online, including heroin, cocaine, and meth, and users do sell by hiding their identities through a program that makes them virtually untraceable,”

With Gawker publishing a peice on anonymous purchase of pot on the 1st of June the number of people using Bitcoin exploded.

Whole Bitcoin farms sprung up, some using so much electricity they were mistaken as pot farms.  Rumors of huge botbnets gnerating bitcoins sprang up.

The best arguments against Bitcoins have been set down by Adam Cohen.  A key problem is bias to early adopers giving them free money with diminishing returns as people pile in like a ponzi scheme.   On the issue of crippling deflation Cohen says

Bitcoin is not designed to be a functioning currency, it’s designed to enrich early adopters. Again, that is why it is a scam. Period.

As a quick thought experiment, let’s say demand for bitcoins grew as more people found out about them. Well, you’d expect the price of Bitcoin in dollars to grow rapidly. Now assume I own one bitcoin. I also have a dollar bill. I would like to purchase a Pepsi. Which one of those will I spend? Obviously the devaluing dollar gets spent before the skyrocketing bitcoin.

Prophetically he predicted that when something goes wrong it will die – it did and it looks like it has, because there is no lender of last resort.  Its the same problem with so called free (in reality wildcat) banking, and Bitcoin is nothing more than internet wildcat bank where everybody is a wildcat bank.

Timothy B Lee in April speculated we were seeing a Bitcoin bubble.

the demand for Bitcoins seems to be driven by a combination of speculation and ideological enthusiasm. And we have a word for an asset whose value is driven by irrational exuberance: a bubble.

Because we think of a ‘bank’ as a big buiding with a vault, a physical thing, it is easy to think that there is no bank in bitcoin.  No there are many.

Each user is effectively a bank lending to themselves through endogenous money.

Think of it this way, if you wait a year of so it might generate a ‘block’ i.e. it expands the money supply, it issues credit to the owner. DIY QE.

This is a ‘credit system’ ‘which simulates specie.

People, briefly, trusted it as a store of value because the rate of credit expansion was low and predictable. Of course as it was never driven by demand for investment it would have proven deflationary in the long term, had it caught on.

Bitcoin is more interesting I think in showing up some of the proposed causes of interest as false as well as the Austrian (full reserve) view of abnking.

There was no ‘pure’ time preference here only an expectation of an increase in the service provided by the bitcoin wallet, i.e. it would increase.  Without this productivity it would have no value.

All that is needed to explain the interest it is rational to pay is rate of change of money value minus (existing debt payments +change of debt)+uncertainty premium.

Let me explain, if we know a field of rice will increase by 10% in one year (a famous case from Samuleson) then we might expect a 10% increase in the money value from that field of 10% (setting aside for one moment demand issues). If you had zero debt to begin with if you take on debt less than yield from the field times productivity (0.1) in this case we have made a rational decision.  If we have a debt overhang from the previous period we must also pay that before we turn in a profit.  If the burden of debt is not too great we have the opportunity for accumulation, further investment and growth.

If you anticipate productivity correctly and credit is cheap enough it presents an arbitrage opportunity between the imputed yield/rent of land today and the imputed yield/rent of land in the future  – hence profit.

It is not that the present is undervalued but that the opportunity cost of money as a source of investment is correctly valued when considered as net present value. Or as John Rae put it ‘The sagacious business man …he is constantly forecasting’

However if we grow 10% more rice we wont necessarily get 10% more.  If last year was a bad one and everyone plants we get a glut and losses.  Uncertainty and uncertainly alone is necessary to explain the difference between productivity and interest paid.  The difference being a premium, like insurance, on not realising value, such as from death and bad weather. Again there is no pure time preference here, time preference is explained by rational profit assessment issues.

Explaining the rate of interest it is rational to pay does not fully explain the amount of credit leant.  If the rate of change of savings (cash balances) is greater than the rate of change of investments we get a savings glut and vice versa.  Where savings funds are growing banks will seek to lower credit or credit worthiness to attract future interest income streams from lending, where it is shrinking banks will seek to restrict credit to increase income from interest and attract savers.

The circuit of credit is taken from profit and wages, so distributional issues and liquidity preference can lead to divergences between interest rates and profits, but they are intimately connected.

For bitcoin the left hand side of the equation (its self growing nature) attempts to compensate for the lack of a direct credit issuer (the right hand side).  You can of course get credit from other individuals but to do so they will have to have withdrawn money from exchange, which is deflationary.  Each individual lending will act as a full reserve bank, they cannot lend more bitcoins than they have.  This creates a problem of financial intermediation.  Few will have stores of wealth large enough to service large loans.  Someone could set up a bitcoin bank to serve as an intermediary but without being fractional they would need to charge  a premium to savers to attract funds.  This premium will come directly off profits and reduce growth.  A full reserve system will therefore restrict growth because of the extra change of intermediation.

Depsite the libertarian origins of many of bitcoins supporters few rushed to set up banks to fund investment, they were speculators, making mal-investment decisions  in search of a easy buck.  Exactly the Austrian critique of fiat banking.  The irony.

The Biggest Debt Defaulter in Modern History – Germany

In Speigal

during the 20th century, Germany was responsible for what were the biggest national bankruptcies in recent history. It is only thanks to the United States, which sacrificed vast amounts of money after both World War I and World War II, that Germany is financially stable today and holds the status of Europe’s headmaster. That fact, unfortunately, often seems to be forgotten.

Measured in each case against the economic performance of the USA, the German debt default in the 1930s alone was as significant as the costs of the 2008 financial crisis. Compared to that default, today’s Greek payment problems are actually insignificant.

Germany is king when it comes to debt. Calculated based on the amount of losses compared to economic performance, Germany was the biggest debt transgressor of the 20th century.

The anti-Greek sentiment that is widespread in many German media outlets is highly dangerous. And we are sitting in a glass house: Germany’s resurgence has only been possible through waiving extensive debt payments and stopping reparations to its World War II victims.

National Planning Policy Framework Forensics #23 Business & Economic Development

We are now into the topic specific parts of the document where there is often a one-on-one correspondence of the draft to PPS/PPGs.  In this case to PPS4 (as amended 2009).

Ill cover retail and town centre issues in the next section to avoid this post getting too long.

I wont refer to the Planning for Growth statement as the NPPF would subsume this.

The Government is committed to securing sustainable economic growth. In particular, there is an urgent need to restructure the economy, to build on the country’s inherent strengths and to meet the twin challenges of global competition and of a low carbon future [no definition]. The Government’s overarching objective is sustainable economic growth.  Growth that can be sustained and is within environmental limits, but also enhances environmental and social welfare and avoids greater extremes in future economic cycles.deliver more sustainable patterns of development, reduce the need to travel,especially by car and respond to climate change
plan proactively to meet the development needs of business and support an economy fit for the 21st Century; build prosperous communities by improving the economic performance of cities, towns, regions, sub-regions and local areas, both urban and ruralreduce the gap in economic growth rates between regions, promoting regeneration and tackling deprivation
promote the vitality and viability of town centres, whilst meeting the needs of consumers for high quality and accessible retail services promote the vitality and viability of town and other centres as important places for communities. To do this, the Government wants:– new economic growth and development of main town centre uses to befocused in existing centres, with the aim of offering a wide range of services to communities in an attractive and safe environment and remedying deficiencies in provision in areas with poor access to facilities

– competition between retailers and enhanced consumer choice through the provision of innovative and efficient shopping, leisure, tourism and local services in town centres, which allow genuine choice to meet the needs of the entire community (particularly socially excluded groups)

– the historic, archaeological and architectural heritage of centres to be conserved and, where appropriate, enhanced to provide a sense of place and a focus for the community and for civic activity

raise the quality of life and the environment in rural areas by promoting thriving, inclusive and locally distinctive rural economies. raise the quality of life and the environment in rural areas by promoting thriving, inclusive and locally distinctive rural communities whilst continuing to protect the open countryside for the benefit of all

Some key changes

  • The lack of a definition of sustainable economic development.  No reference to environmental limits or social welfare.
  • The shift is from the performance of cities etc, to the needs of business.  This could lead planning authorities to neglect matters which are critical to the performance of cities – this is not identical as the performance of cities is dependent on innovation.  The job creators of tomorrow wont even have formed as businesses today.  For this reason the wants of current businesses may not be identical to the needs of the economy. For example businesses may seek to restrict competition from allocation of new land.
  • No focus at all on promoting regeneration and tackling deprivation and social exclusion.
  • Towns centres are now considered just places for shopping and not places for communities fulfilling a wide variety of functions.
  • The dropping of reference to protection of the countryside (as it is consistently throughout the document).
NPPF PPS4 Comment
In preparing their Local Plans, local planning authorities should ensure that investment in business is not over burdened by the combined requirements of planning policy expectations. No equivalent section. One sided and negative.  Business recognises the benefits of planning in providing certainty for investors.  This should also be acknowledged.
Local Plans should also recognise and seek to address potential barriers to investment, including poor environment or any lack of infrastructure, services or housing. at the regional level, disaggregate minimum job targets to local authority level One of the key sections in the whole draft NPPF,  Local authorities will now set their own job targets, but at what level?  And housing provision should be removed as a ‘barrier’ so now presumably it should be raised to meet growth aspirations.  In favoured areas such as Milton Keynes, Reading and Cambridge supply will tend to induce demand so it will be difficult to tell how much employment to plan for in the long term.  For those LPAS where the strategy in the RSS was employment growth led (such as in MKSM)  it will be difficult, as some LPAs have done, to suggest that now employment growth should only be constrained to local housing needs.
set out a clear economic vision and strategy for their area which positively and proactively encourages sustainable economic growth; set out a clear economic vision and strategy for their area which positively andproactively encourages sustainable economic growth Same.
set criteria, or identify strategic sites, for local and inward investment to match the strategy and to meet anticipated requirements over the plan period; The regional level should set criteria for, or identify the general locations of strategic sites, ensuring that major greenfield sites are not released unnecessarily through competition between local authority areas Apprently competition across a region is now ok.  Again how are anticipated requirements to be anticipated?
support existing business sectors, taking account of whether they are expanding or contracting and, where possible, identify and plan for new or emerging sectors likely to locate in their area. Policies should be flexible enough to accommodate requirements not anticipated in the plan and to allow a rapid response to changes in economic circumstances; supports existing business sectors, taking account of whether they are expanding or contracting and, where possible, identifies and plans for new oremerging sectors likely to locate in their area, such as those producing lowcarbon goods or services. However, policies should be flexible enough to

accommodate sectors not anticipated in the plan and allow a quick response to  changes in economic circumstance

Just a slight shortening.
positively plan for the location, promotion and expansion of clusters or networks of knowledge driven, creative or high technology industries; positively plans for the location, promotion and expansion of clusters ornetworks of knowledge driven or high technology industries. It would seem authorities are expected to compete through site release.
identify priority areas for economic regeneration, infrastructure provision and environmental enhancement; identifying priority areas with high levels of deprivation that should be prioritised for regenerationinvestment, having regard to the character of the area and the need for a high quality environment Is deprivation a banned word now?  Is regeneration seen again as a soley physical activity.
No equivalent section plans for the delivery of the sustainable transport and other infrastructureneeded to support their planned economic development and, where necessary,provides advice on phasing and programming of development Important but a statement that applies to all development and best rephrased as a general principle at the beginning of the NPPF.
facilitate new working practices such as live/work facilitates new working practices such as live/work Not evidence based, three detailed studies (Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Hammersmith and Fulham) have shown that it leads to a loss of jobs and units are almost entirely occupied as solely residential.
No equivalent section identifies, protects and promotes key distribution networks, and locates orco-locates developments which generate substantial transport movements inlocations that are accessible (including by rail and water transport where

feasible), avoiding congestion and preserving local amenity as far as possible

Key missing policy statement.
In considering applications for planning permission, local planning authorities should take a positive attitude to proposals for economic investment and seek to find solutions to overcome any substantial planning objections where practical and consistent with the National Planning Policy Framework. No equivalent section. Duplicates opening sections of NPPF, unnecessary.
No equivalent section seek to make the most efficient and effective use of land, prioritising previously developed land which is suitable for re-use and, subject to the specific policy requirements of this PPS for town centres, reflects the different locationrequirements of businesses, such as the size of site required, site quality, access and proximity to markets, as well as the locally available workforce Throughout the NPPF references to prioritising previously developed land have been dropped.
Local planning authorities should avoid the long term protection of employment land or floorspace and treat applications for alternative uses of designated land or buildings on their merits having regard to market signals and the relative need for different land uses. At the local level, where necessary to safeguard land from other uses, identifies a range of sites, to facilitate a broad range of economic development, including mixed use. Existing site allocations should not be carried forward from oneversion of the development plan to the next without evidence of the need and reasonable prospect of their take up during the plan period. If there is no reasonable prospect of a site being used for the allocated economic use, the allocation should not be retained, and wider economic uses or alternative uses should be considered. A key policy shift.  Why the distinction between long and short term?  What does this mean only designating employment areas for 10 years and reviewing every 5, is that what is intended.Treating ‘on their merits’ here means setting aside the development plan, and ‘price signals’ means allowing housing.  As housing will outpace employment everywhere it will mean wholesale loss of employment land irrespective of the prospect for or demand for employment use. There may be both a higher need for  employment of housing in any one area but that doesn’t mean that all sites would go to one or the other.  That is the abrogation of planning.  Some sites will be much better suited to employment or housing.  As drafted we will get housing located in very poor environments threatening businesses as they are likely to receive noise etc complaints from residents.  This will add to the burden on business.If Local Planning Authorities in allocating new employment land could not protect as such no rational authority would allocate any new employment land at all as it would not be used as such.  It would therefore lead to a perverse distinctive to alloocate employment land, and consequently housing land as employment growth would set the demand for housing.

The only possible way LPAs could deal with this is allocating a pot of land for X houses and Y jobs and ensuring that the balance is not disrupted in any one plan phase, having regard to plan signals.  This is unlikley to provide a firm basis for employment investment though.

If urban areas go over to housing jobs will move out to cheaper remote locations as will people seeking employment as they will no longer be able to afford the outward commuting costs.  Cities will hollow out becoming places only for the rich, the unemployed, students, disabled people and the retired.  It will create a huge donut city effect like Chicago. As firms are forced to move out the urban economies of scale of agglomeration will go.  There will no longer be an economic advantage to move to a city.  So cities will hollow out but new firms wont move in whatever the price.  The risk is a downward spiral of high fixed capital costs not being able to be afforded by an eroding tax base.  This is precisely the cycle of decline of the ‘urban prairie’ cities.

It is unacceptable for the NPPF to play such a dangerous experiment without any research evidence and contrary to the basic principles of urban land economics.

No Equivalent section  at the local level, encourages new uses for vacant or derelict buildings, includinghistoric buildings Should be a general statement at the start of the NPPF
No Equivalent section At the local level, considers how sites for different business types can be delivered, including by the use of compulsory purchase to assemble sites and other planning tools including area action plans, simplified planning zones and local development orders Very surprising that the NPPF does not refer to these proactive tools, especially Enterprize Zones.

The draft NPPF contains a section on the rural economy, replacing EC6 and EC7 of PPS4.  The key test is to

support sustainable rural tourism and leisure developments that benefit rural businesses, communities and visitors and which respect the character of the countryside. This should include supporting the provision and expansion of tourist and visitor facilities in appropriate locations where identified needs are not met by existing facilities in rural service centres.

This implies that business development in the open countryside, where there is a shortage of allocated land in villages, is ok providing it ‘respects’ the countryside i.e. blends in, even in national parks and AONB and on the Undeveloped coast.

Japan Sets up Council for Reconstruction

From Japan Times

the Reconstruction Design Council, a government panel responsible for drawing up a blueprint for reconstruction of the areas, made public a draft of its first proposal…

The draft presents measures covering many areas in a rather general manner. It is difficult to discern a definite direction of the council’s thinking from the draft.

The draft also avoids mentioning particular points people appear to be interested in, such as whether to continue with nuclear power generation and whether new communities should be built in elevated areas instead of near the ocean….

Specific measures mentioned in the draft include increasing agriculture’s added value while lowering the costs of the industry; rapidly reconstructing important fishing ports, collectivizing fishing boats and gear, and actively introducing private capital into the fishing industry, and quickly establishing a system in which power companies will be required to purchase all electricity made available by firms that generate power from renewable sources.

The draft also calls for establishment of “reconstruction special zones” to which support measures such as special deregulation and tax privileges will be applied, and for the unification and simplification of rules for land use.

At present different laws are applied to agricultural and residential land.

The draft does not include a specific proposal such as moving local residents to elevated areas from coastal areas so that they will be relieved of the risk of exposure to future tsunami.

This is a difficult issue. Elderly people have strong affinity with their old communities. If the idea of rebuilding communities in coastal areas is abandoned, young people may stop engaging in fisheries and local fisheries may decline. Wide public discussions will be needed on this issue.

The draft also says that the basic units for pushing reconstruction are municipalities. Both the central and local governments should seriously consider how to attain consensus on the reconstruction at the grass-roots level.

A law on reconstruction was passed today, no agreement on how to pay for it.

Online Community Infrastructure Levy Calculator – Proof of Concept

This is just a crude proof of concept at this stage, using google spreadsheets. You can embed these in webpages but not wordpress – hence the workaround, the image above will take you to google spreadsheets.

The spreadsheet is freely available for people to play around with. It really needs someone with google spreadsheets knowledge, or do in excel then export, to trap the division by zero errors. For example at the moment if the amount of social housing is zero it throws an error.

Also to do is to develop some user friendly forms and explanations, and explanations of exemptions, fairly easy to do in Google forms.

Also needs a look up table of annual index rates – when we have them.

Once complete you can tailor it and insert it on your council’s website using iframe.

This took only 1/2 an hour so would be grateful for all feedback.