Duggie’s Ramblings – December 2020

Duggie's Ramblings

I apologise for failing to relate Patty Stonesifer’s explanation for dramatic change from Chief executive of the Bill and Linda Gates Foundation to CEO of Martha’s Table, a mobile foodbank run by volunteers in Washington DC, all before she reached the age of 40.

Early Life.

She grew up in Indianapolis, the sixth of nine children in a Catholic Christian family where volunteering was hardwired in their family life. This included a scheme to provide a cot for every child leaving the maternity hospital to reduce infant deaths. Memories of this were stirred when she saw the people queueing in McPherson Square, Washington. In her own words, ‘she wanted to go beyond Power Point presentations and get my boots dirty, to be close to the front lines’.

What was lacking? She was aware of the relevance of two ‘virtues’, in particular ‘Resumee’ for the CV (skills to bring to the marketplace) and ‘Eulogy’ for mention, hopefully, by people at your funeral, honesty, compassion etc. The change made by Patty Stonesifer was to reconcile her outer (Resumee) and inner self (Eulogy). Therein lies the counterintuitive truth of human nature.

The Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford University vaccines.

The United Kingdom is now in the early stages of using a vaccine to combat Covid-19, as a result of research led by a Turkish couple in Belgium and manufactured by an American company Pfizer, based in Germany (they used to have a factory on the coast of Kent near Ramsgate).

It is worth mentioning, something not broadcast on the national news media, the success of an Oxford University team. They have created a vaccine to successfully combat malaria from which thousands die (in the Third World every few seconds a baby dies from malaria). This breakthrough is an outstanding achievement for science and Oxford and a timely reminder of John Donne’s words “no man is an island entire unto itself but a part of the main”.

Dr Mark Carney’s Reith Lecture.

I wonder how many readers heard Dr Mark Carney’s Reith lecture on the radio. He was the Governor of the Bank of England until recently and is married to the daughter of a Gloucestershire landowner.

My own experience has been employed and an employer (in a small capacity) and two of our children are self employed, one in business and one in education (I think). It was quite a surprise to learn and appreciate the volume of academic economic theory revealed in his lecture behind or above our own ventures into the market place. The shadow, in this the first of his talks, was the quotation from Oscar Wilde-‘the cynic knows the price of everything…’ I leave the reader to complete the saying.