Tag Archives: national debt

Where we disagree

There is another article in the Guardian; it was published almost 12 hours ago (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/dec/14/deficit-problem-crisis-productivity-george-osborne). It is a good story, it gives a decent view, but I feel that I cannot agree. It must be said that this is all in the eyes of the beholder. The article is good and sound and many will adhere to this idea. Yet, I do not completely agree. Yes, all the facts are right, the view is not incorrect, but it feels incomplete. The first quote “The most important issue is the poor performance of the nation’s productivity, which, far from being improved, has almost certainly been exacerbated by the constant emphasis on the putative need for austerity”, now this is a decent view to have, it is an optional view, yet in my view the following com up:

  1. Productivity relies on orders; the UK is competing with its baby brother India where daily labour rates are decently below the hourly rate of a UK worker. That in itself is not enough, the EEC overall is pretty broke, no less than one in 10 has no job, it is driven up by Spain and Greece, yet after a long term most Europeans are very careful about where money is spend on. So which manufacturing industry is getting the few coins that do get spend?
  2. There is no reputed need to austerity; there is an overspending in excess of 1 trillion that needs to be addressed. We can bark high and low on the reasoning for it, but that water passed the bridge a long time ago, now the debt needs to be taken care of. The US, Japan and UK have a combined debt of 30 trillion of national debt, the UK is a little over 3% of all this, let’s make sure that when the two behemoths stumble into nothingness, the UK does not end up being the biggest debt of all (again just my view), yet I feel certain that the banks will be in charge of a nation with such debts.

Yes, productivity will take care of all it, but I believe that the debt needs more then productivity. It needs innovation and IP. They will drive true productivity. People forget about the innovators. Alan Turing is still regarded as the man behind the concept of Artificial intelligence. What was a fab in the 40’s became the driving power for the planet from the 90’s onward; let’s not forget the foundations for the computer. We seem to herald IBM and others, yet Professor Sir F.C. Williams was at the foundation of the driving force that became the behemoth for almost half a century and this wave is still going strong.

The new currency will be IP; innovation will drive the places of work, the places of sales and the filling of coffers (the empty bags currently in a corner of George Osborne’s office).

People keep on ignoring the need for innovation; I tried it twice in a previous job. The response remained almost the same ‘it works as it is, so leave it‘, that is the drive stopper that ends a future, although the early 1900’s did not have the need for IP, consider the history of the paperclip and Gem Manufacturing Ltd, a British company. They had the better design, but never registered the patent, which is why Johan Vaaler is often seen as the inventor. I am not debating the validity, yet he registered his patent. In those days the rights were approached a lot more liberal then now. Nowadays our lives are all about IP, patents and who it is registered to. Haven’t we learned anything in 115 years? No matter that we now enjoy an article that is not patented, in nice contrast to people who enjoy a life because the man behind finding a cure (read vaccine) for polio did intentionally decide not to patent it (Dr Jonas Salk, who deserves a sainthood for that act), our future for certain, our survival to some exaggerated extent is depending on IP. Need drives production, but who owns the article that is needed? That part I see ignored again and again.

William Keegan does not look at the IP side, because he focuses on the steps following it, yet those in this real rat race seems to silence the need to look at it as they talk about productivity and manufacturing, but the innovator behind it, the one designing the IP, that person is worth gold. Consider Microsoft paying 2 billion for a piece of IP called Minecraft. A simple game, looking the way Minecraft does, is worth the revenue the high end looking GTA-5 made. It is all about IP in gaming; it should be the same in nearly any industry, not just the one that got kicked off by Alan Turing and Professor Sir F.C. Williams. IP drives every computer industry, it became the centre piece in the jewel that is now called ‘Business Intelligence‘ and ‘Predictive Analytics‘, but we broke the system after that.

Why was the system broken?

It is a broken system that is now illuminated in its flaws by people like Sir Kenneth Robinson and Brian Blessed. We ignored for too long that IP and innovation requires creativity. As Universities have been pushing logic and business, they forgot that the future tends to be created in the arts. Creativity is the driving force for any future, whatever is produced after this required a need for IP. It is a chicken and the egg issue, will the thought create the idea or is the idea the drive for creation? As I see it, this drive needs an artistic side, a side I was never any good in, but the best futures will need an artistic hand. It is shown into the massive amounts of IP the gaming industry manages. People might wonder why I keep on coming back to the gaming industry.

The answer is simple Games have driven a trillion dollar industry (totalled). Commodore Business Machines (C-64, Amiga) Atari (2600,800, ST), Creative Labs (soundcard), The consoles that followed by Nintendo, Sony, SEGA and Microsoft and the list goes on and on, all from creativity. Even the military sees the essential need of creativity. Consider the text “Space-based Missile Defense: Advancing Creativity“, it is at the heart of everything, so many forgot about that, those in charge forgot about that part. It is why my vote for Cambridge chancellor would not have been for Lord Sainsbury of Turville, but for Brian Blessed. Lord Sainsbury is not a wrong person, or a bad choice. As I see it, all our futures require a much stronger drive towards the arts and creativity. In my crazy creative view photography was invented in 1642 by a Dutchman named Rembrandt van Rijn; his visionary view came 200 years before the chemicals were invented, if you want evidence? It is in the Rijksmuseum and they call it ‘the Nightwatch’.

 

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One debt too far?

I feel interestingly happy today. It is almost like I got the big role in the new Alice in Wonderland play. As i am a guy, some will think it is the role of the Mad Hatter or even the March Hare (there is supporting evidence that I am mad as a hatter and nuts as a Hare), but no! Those are not the leading roles. The leading role (apart from Alice) is the Cheshire cat, who was guiding Alice down the path.

The reason for these, are the events as I saw them this morning in the news. These events all took me back to my article on the 19th of June 2012 called ‘The accountability act – 2015‘. My quote ‘This is about stopping those walking out with non-existing virtual profits, turned into real money, and leaving others behind to clean the mess‘, is at the centre of that all.

This is all linked to a number of things, which by the way will have bearing on the Ukraine as well. The first is the article that we saw on Sky News (at http://news.sky.com/story/1239678/imf-warns-investors-over-rock-bottom-rates).

We see two quotes. The first gives us the warning “Investors are becoming dangerously reliant on rock-bottom interest rates, with many becoming so indebted they will face serious problems when borrowing costs rise, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned“. The problem is that these investors include several governments. When we see in that same article “the amount of cash spent on leveraged loans – the high-debt instruments with financial problems – now exceeds the level in 2007 before the crisis“, we are starting to see a clear pattern. In my view this pattern is that those who were in charge are doing it again. Those who wielded certain options are now doing it behind the screens. They are servicing a ‘population’ of what I consider to be not too bright members of a government executive branch and as such the fallout will be well beyond what we considered possible before.

The last quote “The IMF said it was also concerned about the levels of debt in the emerging markets” is the one I leave in the middle for now, I will however get back to this one later in this article.

The second article comes from the IMF themselves (at http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/survey/so/2014/POL040914B.htm) “Across advanced economies, the pace of fiscal consolidation is set to slow in 2014 as focus shifts to how to best design fiscal policies supportive of both further consolidation and a still uneven recovery“.

This reads as ‘In the US, EEC and Japan, the pace of reducing government deficits and debt accumulation will slow as governments are staring at designs of new fiscal plans for consolidation in the near future’. There could be other explanations, but consider that these three players have been utterly unable to close their wallets. They keep on overspending many billions (in the case of the US and Japan up to a trillion) of money they do not have. Over the last several months we have witnessed bad news management on many PRESS levels, whilst not actually looking truthfully at certain events. I will not insult the reader’s intelligence by quoting the LA Times in this case, but the headline that ‘the Global Economy is strengthening‘ reads like nothing less than a joke. The article read like a promotion page, with no real value, other than the percentages they were ‘boasting’ about. For the record, the US leading the way with less than three percent whilst Chinese growth is set at well above 7% might be correct, yet in the second part the US was leading as one of the developed nations, implying that China was not a developed nation, go figure!

The issue (as not shown by the LA Times) is that there are delays with the US for the IMF. In a quote from Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey, the following was phrased by ‘the Australian‘ “Senator Ted Cruz said that the package would unfairly raise US contributions while undermining its influence” (paraphrased).

This reads wrong in several ways. Is the IMF not supposed to be impartial in all this? The mission statement of the IMF (at http://www.imf.org) states “The IMF’s main goal is to ensure the stability of the international monetary and financial system. It helps resolve crises, and works with its member countries to promote growth and alleviate poverty“, it might just be me, but does that not require an impartial approach? If the US has too much influence here, how can stability be achieved, or is this the world according to ‘the US congress’? (I will steer away from blaming the White House here, as the IMF is supposed to be a long term planner and the White House is a short term location, in sets of 4 years).

It is however interesting how little there is to find on US Congress and the IMF, even by the larger newspapers. I was able to find http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/07/us-imf-reform-britain-idUSBREA361BX20140407. This article was published two days ago and it is interesting to see how many newspapers veered away from this Reuters article. Reuters had this quote “The failure of the U.S. Congress to ratify the agreed IMF reforms is bad for the institution and bad for the international community“. The additional part “A bid to get Congress to approve reforms of the IMF was dropped last month amid concerns that it could hold up a bill providing aid to Ukraine” as well as “The White House has been urging Congress for a year to approve a shift of $63 billion from an IMF crisis fund to its general accounts, as agreed by the U.S. government in 2010” are cause for concern. These payments were due for the IMF long before the Ukrainian crisis was on the map. So is this about not having any influence, or is this an early signal that the US has completely run out of money?
Yet a Chinese site (at http://english.cntv.cn/2014/04/08/VIDE1396947727947648.shtml) shows us that in their view with “The Spring gathering of the International Monetary Fund is approaching. China, Russia and other major developing nations are angry about a delay in reforms that give them more voting rights at the IMF. Now the countries are pushing forward with the reforms without waiting for the United States“, so now we get another view on the matter, Was Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey playing nice with the Chinese, or is there more? I personally do not think that he was ‘just’ playing nice. I have predicted before that the time with the US as a superpower would end. I have stated this for almost a year now. No matter where the interest of Texan Republican Senator Ted Cruz are and I have no doubt that his interest is Texas first, America second and his family third. Before you the reader thinks or even accepts the allegations by some that he is some newly formed version of the infamous McCarthy, then think again! When I did the math in a previous article called ‘Biased Journalism on USA shutdown?‘ which I wrote on October 1st 2013. Here we saw that Texas is one of only three states that could shoulder the national debt if it was evenly spread. So, to keep Texas strong, Ted Cruz has a fair point in regards to the IMF influence, but that is not what the IMF is about and it is Washington DC that went along with that, which means his hands are slightly tied.

The IMF article has set out that people are playing profit or government bail-out again (they did not state that, but the article implies it to some extent). The governments are not speaking out against these acts and as such we could face another massive economic setback in early 2015. In a minimal defence for Republican Ted Cruz it must be said that the IMF and the EEC are on a dangerous course. The Guardian is filled with messages on how the crises seems to be over and on how Greece is turning a corner towards better times. This is done at a time when it still needs another 8 billion; unemployment rates are at an all-time high and with European incomes remain dwindling down, Greek tourism is likely to remain far below levels for another 2-3 years.

It is the Catholic charity Caritas (at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/27/europe-economic-crisis-worse-caritas-report) stating “disturbing levels of poverty and deprivation being noted among children and youth“. This is at the centre of the issues that are enveloping Spain, Italy and Greece. In addition a 114-page inquiry into the human cost of the crisis also mentions Cyprus, Ireland, Portugal and Romania. This might not be at the centre of the mission statements that the IMF goes by, yet these industrial nations rely on workers, the fact that these nations are in such a state is a clear signal that several governments are not up to speed to give the needed aid to those people. This is not in regard to the intent a government has, but the IMF signals seem to be lacking certain reporting flags at present. the Catholic report is a first clear signal that those ‘happy happy joy joy‘ reports that economies are getting better are basically skating around the issue that is holding many down and for some considering the statement that ‘these two issues are not connected‘, should consider standing in a corner staring at the wall and feeling ashamed for even considering the thought to begin with.

Now, I promised to get back to the Ukraine as I stated in the beginning. When we consider last year’s BBC article (at http://www.bbc.com/news/business-13366011), we saw that between 2009 and 2012, Germany was the ONLY nation who had its budget set correctly. The rest was short between 1% and 10% of their budgets. It is nice that these nations speak on percentages, because those shortages go into the hundreds of billions for some nations. The twelve nations represent over 53% of the entire EEC giving a summed deficit of 13.2 percent. This in itself is not a fair assessment, so let’s turn this around into a number. This number comes down to minus 546 billion, which is just the deficit for 2013. So, the governments are not keeping their balance in any way, in addition, we now see that investors are slowly playing their ‘games’ again. There was a rush on Greek bonds, because the evidence is coming that these people will get their money no matter what. So, why do we have any form of bail-outs? It is clear that overspending is not punished, so the entire Austerity posturing seems like an empty threat. I am all for helping out those in need, but it seems more and more clear that those ‘in need’ are not doing their part in cutting down on spending in any way, shape or form. So when (not if) the train goes off track, those smaller nations will be left to their own devices, ready to get exploited by all bigger companies to get their dividend. With the larger players India and China, it seems that US companies and bigger players want cheap nations for whatever market they want to get to. In such sights is it even a wonder how areas of the Ukraine are now in fear of what comes next?

That part is shown in several ways. Even though there is now such a boasted evidence of corruption in the Ukraine as the involvement of the ‘former’ president Yanukovich. Yet, if we accept and use the paper by Anna Yemelianova and is called ‘A Diagnosis of Corruption in Ukraine‘ (at http://www.againstcorruption.eu/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/WP-14-Diagnosis-of-Corruption-in-Ukraine-new.pdf), which I mentioned on March 18th, then there is no way that corruption is limited to one side of politics. Corruption in the Ukraine is too wide spread and any player above a certain level has to be tainted to some level.

It is still puzzling why the EEC and the US are so set on the Ukraine. Why set yourself up for these levels of costs? Why get in bed with the Ukraine, whilst the bulk of the EEC has overspent by well over 500 billion. Is it any wonder that some Ukrainians are frightfully running back into the Russian arms? If we believe the Russia Today, with their headline ‘US wants to destroy Ukrainian ‘bridge’ between EU and Russia – German intellectuals support Putin‘ (at http://rt.com/news/germans-support-putin-ukraine-265/), then we see the view of a struggling USA, who reports a nice number, but when payments are due, America will only be able to do so by taking another debt ceiling hike, which places them well over the edge of bankruptcy. I have some issues with the article for other reasons. Yes, the EEC wants to keep a good relationship with Russia, if only for the reason that most of Europe relies on cheap Russian Gas, which, when absent will push the bulk of the European middle class squarely into the poverty bracket. I am just wondering whether retired German Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Jochen Scholz was hoping to get a free training course in flying the Sukhoi T-50 stealth fighter, making him the first NATO officer to ever be allowed in ‘new’ state of the art Russian equipment (this is an insinuated assumption on my side). The article has a few more issues that are slightly too vague, but the sentiment is not incorrect. The American Anti-Kremlin approach in an age of non-accountability in the era of finance is an issue for too many people. So here is me, the Cheshire cat, all smiling and smirking on events currently playing out.

If the accountability act was indeed a reality on all Common Law nations, certain games would not be played and as such nations (the US, all EEC nations as well as Japan) would be in actually movement out of a ‘debt abyss’ and not at the whimsy of high stakes investor poker games where when it works they get a large bank account, if it fails they will get bailed out by the governments in some unnamed way, which does not seem to get a massive amount of press visibility.

So here we have it, what I evangelised from the very beginning or my blog. The world can be a better place, especially if people are held accountable for their actions. That part gets even more visibility when we notice a lack of press visibility ion some regards. When we see the Standard, a UK newspaper (at http://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/press-freedom-debate-royal-charters-are-medieval-piece-of-nonsense-8898388.html) where it is all about the issue as “Media heavyweights have branded the government’s proposed royal charter for press regulation a ‘medieval piece of nonsense’“, yet only a little over a week earlier when the Telegraph reported (at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/malaysia/10720237/Malaysia-Airlines-crash-Suicide-mission-theory-of-MH370-investigators.html), how the MH-370 was a ‘suicide mission’. A piece that was so bad that it’s journalistic value was less than the photo that the Sun used to publish on page 3. This happened before the plane was found, without a black box, lacking in facts, but with a photo of a cabin crew member on page one of the newspaper. At the same time, the issue of the US Congress in regards to the IMF reforms, as stated by Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey has not made any non-Australian papers. So, again, as I have always stated, there should be freedom of the press, but there should also be accountability, which is exactly what Lord Justice Leveson had advocated. Perhaps some regulation would not be too far out of context as we see a lack of informative journalism and a still unhindered tsunami of paparazzi based articles.

If we are truly one debt too far, is it not time for accountability to step in?

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