Wed Sep 19th, 2012 at 09:25:43 PM EST
They say an image is worth a thousand words. I have 2000 words for you. This is taken from the blog (in Portuguese) A Nossa Terrinha:
Portuguese rail network
|30 years ago||today|
Rigorously speaking there are still two extra lines operating that were removed from the second figure. But these will be deactivated soon due to cuts.
So, to get out of debt we cut one of the most efficient means of transport (its public and state owned so it has to be bad, right?).
This is going to work fine. So says the confidence fairy.
Wed Nov 30th, 2011 at 04:28:26 PM EST
I do not care if he votes UKIP. He tells it like it is.
Nothing more to add.
Fri Sep 2nd, 2011 at 08:21:03 AM EST
Today the bus operator for the city of Lisbon (Carris) has put forward another round of "service alterations". "Service alterations" could mean a lot of things but recently for Carris it means only one thing: service cutting. Cutting on the weekend. Cutting on the hours. Cutting on the number of buses per hour. Cutting the length. Cutting a line completely. Sorry, I lie, there is one thing that increased: prices. Average of 15% on the 1st of August. Courtesy of the Troika agreement (made with a so-called labour government - now changed to hard-conservative).
It also seems that the Troika (EU/ECB/IMF) agreement includes provisions to cut the railways in around 800 KM. Which is massive for this small country. In fact it is akin to the Thatcher-like cuts in the 80/90s (at that time made in the name of "progress" and private transportation). [Part of the railway service is also going to be privatised, but that is not my point here].
The only way to replace the rail cuts will be either by bus or car.
The bus cuts can be replaced by biking or by car. Anyway I suspect that part of it will be replaced by something else: unemployment making some of the travelling void. In practice it will probably be less travelling + more car.
These measures will most probably increase the reliance on private transportation.
Now... in terms of economic and energetic efficiency, what do you think it will be the outcome of going from bus/rail to car based transportation?
This is akin of cutting the muscle to treat morbid obesity.
This kind of neo-liberal austerity (cutting on everything "public", "common") will accelerate the road to abyss.
Side comment 1
This is not (just) to bicker on the externally imposed conditions. Indeed we brought this predicament to ourselves. Collapse is assured by the sum of external pressure, political stupidity, neo-liberal ideology and a populace with unrealistic (self-centered, hedonistic, selfish) expectations.
Side comment 2
Part of the objectives of the neo-liberal elite (e.g. there will be a cut of 10% on next year's NHS expense) is, by destroying public provision to "convince" people that private is better. This will backfire stupendously as unemployed/bankrupt people cannot pay for private services at all. This will not lead to the growth of the private sector, it will lead to simple demand destruction. This is already happening: lots of kids on private (for pay) schools are changing to public schools because the parents are becoming unemployed or have pay cuts.
This is not evilness. This is not stupidity. This is both combined.
Sat Aug 27th, 2011 at 07:55:56 AM EST
As I write this, I am pouring a glass of Casal Garcia, a Green (Green-White) wine from Northern Portugal. A bottle costs 659 Escudos (3.29 Frank-Marks if you are so interested) at Continente (a chain of big supermarkets around here). Much better than any plonk you can buy at Tesco's by the way.
The CEO of the company owning Continente (one of the two richest Portuguese) went for a meal in the Douro Valey a few months ago, he was entertaining some foreigners. He asked for a few bottles of Barca Velha (google for it). The meal had a cost in the 4-5 digit range (In Frank-Marks, mind you), lets say 5000 Euros (I do not know the precise value).
While I like Portuguese Green wine a lot, I have a distaste for Portuguese Beer. I can drink German beer, but mostly I have a soft spot for American beer (Having spent quite some time in the micro-brewery state of Montana). My favourite is actually a pretty common beer (in the US, at least): Blue Moon (sometimes called a "Belgian" White type of beer by gringos).
You might consider the discussion above quite boring. Self-centred maybe. Surely useless.
It is actually useless, but for another reason: it talks about money. It is quite interesting if you redo the paragraphs above in energy terms.
from the diaries, with minor edit - Nomad
Fri Jun 17th, 2011 at 09:00:39 AM EST
Today we will probably know the faces of the new Portuguese (conservative + über conservative) government.
There is a, not so irrelevant, issue that makes the situation in Portugal different from the rest of our PIGly friends.
The new Prime Minister is an honest, voluntaristic, globalist neo-liberal. He did indeed said his real intentions. He did not lie during the campaign. For instance, he said that the agreement with the ECB/EU/IMF was too soft on austerity. He wants more. Much more.
Note this: He did not lie during the period before the elections. This was a democratically chosen path. There was no posturing against the EU/ECB/IMF. There is a real belief on the (still ongoing) EU shock doctrine on the welfare of the people.
In the Portuguese Republic, there is no EU/ECB/IMF scapegoat. This is not the relentless assassination and destruction of a nation. This is democratically chosen suicide. This is our own doing.
Tue May 17th, 2011 at 07:38:19 AM EST
A small entry just to link to a (in my most humble opinion) insightful piece from Toby Young at the Torygraph.
It's not just the Labour Party - the Left is in meltdown all over Europe
While most of the piece is about emigration (an argument that I would recommend reading), I cite here the part that I think is most interesting:
Ultimately, the reason for the left's political failure is the intellectual vacuum at the heart of the Left-wing project, the absence of an intellectually robust alternative to free-market capitalism.
I actually disagree with this, but it is a good start. The vacuum is not intellectual, it is moral: The modern left is mostly concerned with giving more access to consumer goods to the supposedly "have-nots". Considering the standard of living in Europe, I speculate that most of the Euro middle classes have more consuming goods than the fair share that can be possible distributed with resources of Earth divided by 7 Billion.
frontpaged with minor edit - Nomad