The boy who knew too much: a child prodigy

This is the true story of scientific child prodigy, and former baby genius, Ainan Celeste Cawley, written by his father. It is the true story, too, of his gifted brothers and of all the Cawley family. I write also of child prodigy and genius in general: what it is, and how it is so often neglected in the modern world. As a society, we so often fail those we should most hope to see succeed: our gifted children and the gifted adults they become. Site Copyright: Valentine Cawley, 2006 +

Monday, May 04, 2009

The wisdom and folly of Great Britain.

Great Britain is showing both wisdom and folly in recent times. It is curious to observe these two characteristics at work, simultaneously, in one of the world's great, but formerly greater nations.

I admire the preparedness that Great Britain is showing against the flu pandemic - this one, and all others, that might or might not come. Great Britain has the highest proportion of Tamiflu/Relenza antiviral treatments that I have seen in any nation - enough for 55% of the population. They are also seeking to buy 32 million masks, on the international market (enough for each of those receiving treatment, basically). Now, I look at those numbers and I see a great willingness to do what is necessary to mitigate this coming pandemic. There is wisdom in their actions, in this case. It should also be noted that these medications and masks would, I have no doubt, be issued FREE to everyone, under the National Health Service - it would not be a case of the poor must go without (as it would in certain Asian countries I could mention). There is a wisdom in that, too, since disease spreads between people of all degrees of wealth and treating people for free, ensures that the poorer members of society do not pass illness to the richer members. So, not only is it humane, but it is good public health policy, too.

Yet, there is another decision that the UK has made which does not seem so wise. The government is raising the top rate of tax to 50% from next April. Last year they raised it from 40% to 45%. This will apply to all people earning more than 150,000 pounds. They are also removing all tax allowances from people earning more than 100,000 pounds a year. Apparently, these changes will affect the top 600,000 earners, in the UK. This strikes me as particularly foolish - for it is a competitive world and one thing all nations are competing for is talent. If Britain takes too much of the earnings of its most talented people off them, they will just up and leave. Great Britain will not stay "great" for too long, if it is scaring accomplished people away.

There is, perhaps, a philosophical connection between the first examples of wisdom and the example of folly. It is clear that the public health preparedness costs money and that this money is raised in taxes. So, the attitude that leads to great preparedness also leads to greater spending. Yet, in this particular case, the connection is weak. It does not cost much that much to be prepared for a flu pandemic. However, it is true that if there is a general tendency to spend, there will be an increased tendency to tax.

The way things are going, Great Britain looks set to be a healthy nation, with a great shortage of skilled people. It could be said that the new tax policy could cost Britain more in lost economic health - as good people leave - than the public health policy will save them.

It is strange to see such long-sightedness on public health present in the same country where such short-sightedness is present with regards to taxation and talent retention. It is my view that Britain will learn an interesting lesson over the next few years: that taxation is limited not by legislation, but by competition with other nations, for talent retention. Great Britain is just about to lose a lot of its talent, to the rest of the lower taxed world. I hope Britain wakes up to the situation before the damage is too great.

(If you would like to learn more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, aged eight years and seven months, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, five years exactly, and Tiarnan, twenty-eight months, please go to: I also write of gifted education, IQ, intelligence, the Irish, the Malays, Singapore, College, University, Chemistry, Science, genetics, left-handedness, precocity, child prodigy, child genius, baby genius, adult genius, savant, wunderkind, wonderkind, genio, гений ребенок prodigy, genie, μεγαλοφυία θαύμα παιδιών, bambino, kind.

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 10:50 PM 


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Haha. And therefore the trick is to earn less and be taxed less. Or hide it in Switzerland with their secrecy laws.

9:58 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

It will just push a lot of people away to places of lower Switzerland.

Thanks for your comment.

10:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

God Save the Queen - :)

12:53 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Thanks for the video. That is the thing about true democracies...all voices are allowed a voice. In some countries, however, which look down on such insecurities as a nation with a genuine choice, only one voice is allowed a voice. Now, where could that be?

1:37 PM  

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