Why cannabis should be legalised

Cogitation over whether to legalise cannabis or not in the UK has become very prevalent in recent years. Some feel that it is indubitable that cannabis should be legalised, because of its many health benefits, for example. However, some feel that legalising cannabis would provide even more incitement to the problem of crime. The discussion has become increasingly virulent as time goes on, with some feeling like cannabis being illegal unnecessarily obtrudes their human rights and some feeling that advocates of cannabis legalisation are going to allow the dignity of the country to dilapidate. In this article, I will talk about why I feel that cannabis should be legalised.

Firstly, at a time when the debt of the UK is so high, the government have a desperate need to raise funds. If cannabis was legalised, according to the Institute for Economic Research, the government could raise up to £900 million annually through the taxation of the regulated cannabis market. Although this may not seem like much compared to the national debt, “every little helps” as they say, and this would definitely help reduce the national debt, even if it is by a relatively picayune amount. These days, a great number of people are expressing an interest in smoking cannabis, and if the UK government can tap into that market by taking some of the money through taxation, then who knows? The government might raise even more than £900 million.

The amount spent on policing and treating users of illegal cannabis is also much too high, at £361 million. This means that not only are the government not procuring any money from cannabis, they are having to dish out quite a large amount. Most people these days do not even believe that smoking cannabis should be a crime any more, and so it is frankly wrong for the taxpayer to have to pay for the government’s decision to make cannabis illegal, when it is contradictory to the national tableau. In addition to this, making sure that the police force do not have to spend an inestimable amount of time policing cannabis users means that they can divert themselves into policing more important things, such as the elephantine problem of terrorism.

Finally, the legalisation of cannabis presents massive potential for the nascency of a new jobs market. When Colorado legalised marijuana use in 2014, 10,000 new jobs were created and crime fell by 14.6%, with the number of assaults being down by 3.7%. Although I recognise that the two cases are different, I hypothesise that cannabis will have a similar effect on the UK, and especially on the creation of jobs. That’s always a good thing. With the crime falling, this shows that the theory that legalising drugs will somehow “increase crime” is fallacious and simply will not happen. It is quite simple, really: legalising cannabis will provide a great number of benefits to society, firstly in raising money for the government and secondly in creating new jobs so, as stated in the Conservative manifesto, “more people can get on in life”.

Why socialism fails

Socialism is one of the biggest breakout economic ideologies of the 20th century. Although the UK general election was won by capitalists, socialism has more advocates than ever before, as a growing contingent are proposing a redistribution of wealth. You just need to look at the 250,000 people who protested on Saturday against the Conservatives’ cuts; only for them to announce £12 billion of welfare cuts a short time later. It is easy to see from this that socialism is becoming increasingly popular in modern society as more and more people are becoming aware of the perceived inequality that exists between the affluent 1% and the rest. However, I am of the opinion that socialism cannot work in modern society, or any society, for that matter, and my reasons are below.

Firstly, socialism does not reward hard work. Say, for example, that Raj works twice as hard as Mark. Surely Raj should be entitled to twice the pay that Mark gets. However, they both get the same. Over time, Raj will grow wise to the unfairness which is blighting his life, and he will work the same amount as Mark, as, after all, they do not get proportional rewards for their labour. This creates a culture of entitlement where everyone feels as though they need rewards for minimal, or no, work. This undermines the basic human principle of “work hard, reap rewards”, and means that laziness is promoted, which can only start a chain reaction towards a gradually more irresponsible society. This means that even the young children, growing up, know that whatever they do, they will just earn the same as someone else and so do not need to work hard, as there is no hope of a large reward, so work ethics stagnate.

Moreover, socialism will also undermine innovation. The great innovators of society, such as Bill Gates, are, mostly, the ones who become members of the 1%. This shows that innovation and producing products which people actually want to buy reap gigantic financial rewards, which is part of the reason that innovation is at an all time high these days. If innovation is not so heavily rewarded through the Socialist “redistribution of wealth”, people will not want to innovate anymore, as they are getting the exact same rewards as the non-innovators, the people who, frankly, add nothing to society. This kills innovation as the rewards are going equally to everyone, in effect, rewarding the non-producers and punishing the producers. It is like, as I read on another website, taking the average of a class and giving everyone in the class the class average. Of course, the worse students in the class would jump at this proposition, however the top students would not be so joyful. This is exactly what socialism stands for, except on a larger scale.

Finally, socialism, contrary to popular belief, undermines the basic moral values of a person and promotes instant gratification. As people, after some years in a socialist society, will be predisposed to getting something for nothing almost instantaneously, they will not want to slog to get what they want and instead will become almost like a small child to his parents, in that they want everything very quickly, having done almost no work to actually achieve it. Now take the example of the small child, and just think that even adults are subscribing to this ideology! This behaviour is toxic in a modern society and will slowly kill the hard working, positive nature that characterised the American Dream. To an extent, we are already seeing this with the Obama administration, with the American public slowly becoming disaffected a-la Holden Caulfield in The Catcher in the Rye. Why should they work if they can get everything from the state? Herein lies the problem with socialism, in that the bad eggs are rewarded and the good eggs are punished. Is this the kind of society we would like to promote? I think not.

How I think we can reduce the gender pay gap

There is one astonishing statistic that defines the gender pay gap: for every $1 earned by a man, $0.77 is earned by a woman. These figures have no place in 2015, and, as such, this gap has garnered a great deal of attention from the mass media. However, what has been lacking from all this media coverage is a viable solution to actually close this gap and rid society of one of its last great evils. Below, I will try and propose a few solutions that, to me, are workable, and will help close the gap.

My first proposed solution is to raise the minimum wage. As of now, women make up about two thirds of all minimum wage workers, so are working for meagre wages which do not help support a family, especially in this tough economic climate. Raising the minimum wage would help ensure that women get paid more money than ever before for performing minimum wage labour. This means that the gender pay gap would shrink as women now get paid more for their labour, increasing their salaries in relation to their male counterparts and making sure to reward women fairly for their labour. This would also mean that more women than ever before can support a family, and this would also, in turn, blur the lines between men and women in terms of being the main “bread winners” of the family.

Moreover, another method to reduce the gender pay gap is to promote pay transparency. Currently, in the workplace, it is regarded as somewhat taboo to discuss salaries, and, as a result of this, women cannot tell when they are being paid less than men for the same type and amount of labour. In this day and age, public image is everything for large companies such as Tesco and Starbucks, and introducing pay transparency means that people will know when women are being paid less than men. This results in a damaged public image, which will remain in the consumer’s mind and could reduce a company’s profits. As a result of this preventative measure being added, companies would make sure to pay women the same amount as men for the same amount of labour, which means that the gender pay gap would be reduced. This also has potential to start a chain reaction, with each company trying to attain a benevolent public image in order to increase profits. This would only serve to further reduce the gender pay gap.

My third solution is to invest in high quality education and childcare for all. Even though we live in a very developed world, the stigma that men should be the sole family breadwinners while women care for the children is still prevalent in modern society. Investing in this high quality education and childcare means that women will be more equipped to sustain a job which requires particular specialist skills, and thus this would mean that women go into higher quality jobs, which consequently pay more. This would result in the salaries of women increasing and therefore the gender pay gap would be reduced as a result of the increased involvement of women in high quality roles, for example management positions in the world of business. More women in top positions would also inspire young girls to aim for these jobs, which would start a chain reaction which means that the gap would remain small in the long term, leaving no chance of it reopening again.

I must stress that these solutions are simply my opinions, and are not guaranteed to change the gender pay gap by even an iota, however, in my opinion, they will and will help to rid the world of this great evil.

Why the USA needs Robert Reich as Secretary of the Treasury

It’s easy to see that the power of the finance industry has grown and grown over the past few years. With that, the power and importance of the Secretary of the Treasury has also. A position as powerful and important as this has grown to be deserves someone dynamic, someone versatile, and someone who isn’t afraid to challenge the President. Robert Reich ticks all of those boxes. The USA today is facing greater challenges than ever before in the form of income inequality (please see my previous article for more on this), deficits and unemployment, so it is incontestable that we need a Secretary of the Treasury strong enough to combat all of these problems.

Don’t be fooled by Reich’s short stature; he is a man of massive experience and knowledge gained from working in a plethora of different areas. He has a clear and tangible vision of the US economy, and an understanding of the challenges faced by the common man. He can stand up in the face of multinational corporations, while also being able to negotiate amicably with them, in order to reach a mutually beneficial solution. Reich is also a versatile character, being able to explain economic theories at a schoolboy level, and also being able to take it up a notch when need be. You just need to look at his Facebook page to see a pleasant smattering of videos on how to make the economy work for the many, not the few. This only proves his versatility and the feasibility of his solutions. Make no mistake, Reich is a man on a mission.

Reich also is a man willing to accept his mistakes, and move on to form a more feasible solution later down the line. He can say how he did things in the Clinton administration, and change his ideas based on if they turned out well or not. A man with this experience would be an immense asset to the President, and would bring with him an incredibly logical and analytical mindset, working, as he says on his page, to serve the interests of the many, not the few. His expertise, skills and experience are exactly what is needed to fill one of the last great voids that the USA has. They need Robert Reich in order to truly start on the road to fulfilling the American Dream, and making sure that the USA does not lose its status as an economic powerhouse. Only Reich can help the USA reach true greatness, fulfilling the needs of the many, not the few, and making good on that promise of the American Dream.