The first item on the business plan that William the Conqueror must have drawn up with his squires, Odo and Robert, on the day of his coronation as King of England, must have been a funding plan to finance the governance of England by his squires for the 20 years he needed them to govern it for it to become his dynastic allodial real estate.
It had to not merely ameliorate any residual poverty that the Anglo Saxons barons had let happen to the indigenous population, before William conquered them, but ensure that Odo and Robert did not suffer any poverty in undertaking the governance tasks he needed of them, for that period, for, to do so would lay him open to their becoming both suicidally disloyal and suicidally reckless with their health and wellbeing, and his, and everybody else’s unto whom they owed a duty of serve, including each and every member of the population.
I have no idea when I was taught the economics of real estate governance, for I was born into a system that was already up and running, as it had been set up on 25th December, 1066, the day that William became the King. It had not kept poverty at bay all that time. Exigencies of life, death, nature, fate, fortune, god, the universe, and all that, took a toll on the economy, the governance and the population of England, and subsidiary nation of Wales, and so it must have too, way back then.
But England and Wales, and their economy, governance, and population, had survived it all, because that early business plan had been devised with sustainability in mind. Peaks and troughs in the economy, governance and population occur all the time due to climate and other exigencies over which William and his squires in those days had no control, so they had to cope as best they could with them, accepting there was nothing they could do to stop them happening, only make provision for them, in their calculations of the plan.
The nature of the economy in those days was much different than nowadays. The squires held the land in possession for the King, and tenants of it paid them rent and taxes to use it in such manner as the King permitted. The King, and the squires and the tenants tried to make sure that the way they used the land was sustainable, in the sense that land can be destroyed if you don’t protect it from erosion, and soil can become unfertile if you don’t put back essential minerals and chemicals that you take out of it. And buildings or works erected or laid out, on the land can decay if they are not maintained by repairing them as and when needed. Rents and taxes can be held steady, so long as the intrinsic productive value of the land, buildings and works arent allowed to depreciate to the point that they do not produce sufficient income to pay those rents and taxes. So sustainability becomes the means whereby poverty can be reduced over time.
But, as I have said, I have no idea when I was taught economics of real estate governance. However, it was not in the context of the economics of real estate governance back in the days of William the Conqueror and his squires Odo and Robert.
It was in the context of the Second World War and the aftermath of reconstruction that followed after it. I remember ‘homes for heroes’ and ‘jobs for heroes’ being interchangeable phrases in political and socio-economic polemics during my early childhood.
But, despite my family being theoretical land owning ‘aristos’ with a bloodline stretching back to William, Odo and Robert, my parents were ‘church-mouse’ poor. Indeed, they were poorer than church mice because they handed over 10% of their net incomes to the church they belonged to.
And their jobs were, ‘minimum wage’, for they were conscientious objectors to the Second World War, and employed throughout the War and for many years afterwards in so-called ‘protected industries’ that were very poorly paid.
They were the subject of a ‘white feather campaign’ for being conscientious objectors, and not, therefore, considered worthy of any of the ‘homes for heroes’ and ‘jobs for heroes’ that the people talked about. So, we were victims of a war, just as much as modern refugees in the Middle East, although our discomforts were nothing like as bad, and we were never in any sense, displaced, as those people are. But, we lived in South Wales, which was an area impoverished by the world wars of the twentieth century and interim economic recession; and we were subject to war-time rationing, so food, clothing, and even writing paper were hard to come by.
I felt so poor and lonely throughout my childhood that in my early teens I turned to petty crime to gain income and kudos and it has always oppressed me that I did so. Therefore, when I became a parent, I was profligate with my money so my child would never feel like that.
We were fortunate to be living in a nation that was a welfare state, otherwise life would have been hell for me, as I had (and still have) chronic physical and mental illnesses. And I have survived despite a horrendous personal and family history of suicide attempts due to those illnesses, thanks only to my being a member of a familial society that taught me an effective pedagogy of suicide avoidance and prevention, which I now also teach to poor people all around the world.
Also, thanks to that self-same society, founded by William the Conqueror, I’ve enjoyed a fabulous 50-year professional career, improving health, wealth, happiness and security of literally billions of people around the world, from my homeland in the United Kingdom.
It began by updating a 1930s new town development plan for Llantrisant in South Wales. My mother’s maternal grandfather had been involved in updating government advice on how to draw up new town development plans, so he taught me how, and I simply applied what he had taught me. The plan was subsequently submitted to the government and it won a design competition to transfer the Royal Mint out of central London. So the Royal Mint became the flagship of the Llantrisant New Town Development Plan and attracted masses of additional development into the South Wales Counties and the Monmouthsire region to make it more accessible and connectable than ever before.
Having set the wheels in motion for a burgeoning growth of the development of the South Wales Counties and Monmouthshire region such as they had never seen before, I moved to Berkshire to troubleshoot the accessibility and connectivity of those regions with South East England and the Midlands and the rest of the world, so the improved highways and transportation governance standards were distributed world wide, to improve the health, wealth, happiness and security of billions of people around the world. I even engaged with the European Economic Community and Space Agency in the design of the Galileo system of satellite navigation and surveillance and with professional institutions in adapting the routes to professional qualification of the multitude of disciplines engaged in regional and urban planning and development world wide.
I then returned to Monmouthshire to assist its entry into Wales, as the Welsh county of Gwent, then turned my attention to the county of Dyfed and eventually also Powys and Gwyneth. The Dyfi Estuary forms the confluence between Dyfed, Powys and Gwynedd, and my efforts helped get it designated a UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve.
Cardiganshire had once been the wealthiest county in Wales, due to its focus on coastal shipping, and it’s main administrative town, Aberystwyth, had even had its own Royal Mint, during the heyday of European emigration to the ‘new world’. So I joined it to the site of the new Royal Mint at Llantrisant by a highways development project given the local popular name, ‘Roads to Hope’, which transformed Cardiganshire from the worst performing county in Wales when I moved there in 1975, to the best performing by the time I retired in 2010. And the town of Aberystwyth and its hinterland were included in the Dyfi Estuary UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve, as an exemplar transport and services hub, and is now an acknowledged hub of economic development and tourism in Wales, which I find particularly gratifying.
But poverty is still rife in many parts of the world, even in the most modern of countries and counties; and it needs to be eradicated, as the inequalities it creates causes dreadful circumstances for the poor and lonely who suffer from it, making many turn to crime for income and kudos, to keep them from spiralling into severe clinical depression and into premature death, often by wasteful suicide that causes immense distress to their friends and relatives. This is why we cannot afford to be complacent about poverty anywhere in the world.