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Saturday, 14 November 2009

Mathematical progress - Thanks to Ian Waring

1. Teaching maths in 1970

A logger sells a truckload of timber for £100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price. What is his profit?

2. Teaching Maths In 1980

A logger sells a truckload of timber for £100. His cost of production is 80% of the price. What is his profit?

3. Teaching Maths In 1990

A logger sells a truckload of timber for £100. His cost of production is £80. How much was his profit?

4. Teaching Maths In 2000

A logger sells a truckload of timber for £100. His cost of production is £80 and his profit is £20. Your assignment: Underline the number 20.

5. Teaching Maths In 2005

A logger cuts down a beautiful forest because he is selfish and inconsiderate and cares nothing for the habitat of animals or the preservation of our woodlands. Your assignment: Discuss how the birds and squirrels might feel as the logger cuts down their homes just for a measly profit of £20.

6.. Teaching Maths In 2009

A logger is arrested trying to cut down a tree as it may be offensive to any ethnic or religious group not consulted in the felling licence. He is fined £100 as his chainsaw is in breach of Health and Safety legislation, deemed too dangerous as it could cut something. He has used the chainsaw for over 20 years without incident but he does not have the correct certificate of competence and is therefore considered to be a recidivist and habitual criminal. His DNA is sampled and his details circulated throughout all government agencies.

He protests and is taken to court and fined another £100 because he is such an easy target. When released he returns to find Gypsies have cut down half his wood to build a camp on his land. He tries to throw them off but is arrested, prosecuted for harassing an ethnic minority, imprisoned and fined a further £100.

While he is in jail the Gypsies cut down the rest of his wood and sell it on the black market for £100 cash. They have a BBQ of native wildlife and depart leaving behind several tons of rubbish and asbestos sheeting.

The forester is warned that failure to clear the fly tipped rubbish immediately at his own cost is an offence. He complains and is arrested for environmental pollution, breach of the peace and invoiced £12,000 plus VAT for safe disposal costs by a regulated government contractor.

Your assignment: How many times is the logger going to have to be arrested and fined before he realises he is never going to make £20 profit by hard work, give up, sign on the dole and live off the state for the rest of his life?

7. Teaching Maths In 2010

A logger doesn’t sell a truckload of timber because he can’t get a loan to buy a new truck as his bank - Lloyds, of course - has spent all his and their money on a derivative of securitised debt related to sub-prime mortgages in America and lost the lot with just enough government money left to pay a few million pound bonuses to senior directors and the traders who made the biggest losses.

The Government borrows more money to give to the bankers as bonuses are not cheap. The parliamentarians feel they are missing out and claim what's left on expenses and allowances. The logger struggles to pay the £1,200 road tax on his old truck. However, as it was built in the 1970s it no longer meets the emissions regulations and he is forced to scrap it.

Enterprising East European loggers buy the truck from the scrap merchant and put it back on the road. They undercut everyone on price for haulage and send their cash back home, while claiming social security benefits for themselves and their relatives. When questioned they speak no English and it is easier to deport them at the government’s expense.

Following a holiday back home they return with different names and a few girls and start again in a lucrative branch of the entertainment business. The logger protests, is accused of being a bigoted racist and fined £1,500.

Unlike most fairy tales this is close to the truth. Two days ago my cash card was stolen by some ingenious souls. The lady at Lloyds said: "It's terrible round here. There are gangs of East Europeans doing this all the time. Always go inside to get cash."

What the story demonstrates, of course, is that government policy has systematically ruined education, killed enterprise, discouraged hard work and encouraged us to see all immigrants as crooks, which most are not - as anyone who, like me, has employed a Polish plumber, knows.

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