Tag Archives: OECD

Electing Stupid People?

It was the first thought that I had when I got confronted with ‘ECB Injects More Stimulus as Draghi Reveals Slashed Forecasts‘, trillion upon trillion added in debt and none of it worked, the Europeans merely added 3 trillion in debt and they have nothing to show for it. The ECB has become a clear and present danger to the quality of life of Europeans. At present every European should consider that they have an added €5,859 of debt that they have to pay, so in a family of 4 that amounts to €23,437 with the optional €156 of interest every month. A setting where we see that close to 53% cannot make that payment, so that is merely the interest with no chance of ever paying the actual debt. A debt that was a bad idea and has been a bad idea for over 4 years and still the ECB does whatever makes themselves and their friends rich. No accountability for their actions, no transparency and no way to undo the damage they push unto others. Still people ask me why I am a Brexit person. The acts of the ECB are a clear indication that the EU has failed its people to the largest extent.

So as Bloomberg gives us “But bank stocks dropped as the new loans will have less favorable terms than the ECB’s previous operation. There may also be concern about the ECB’s gloomy prognosis for the economy and the limited ammunition it has left if things worsen“, I merely see that what I mentioned in my blog for over 2 years is becoming a reality. the article (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-03-07/draghi-slashes-ecb-outlook-as-officials-inject-more-stimulus) also gives us “The ECB is reverting to more monetary support just three months after policy makers decided to end their bond-buying program and hoped to start weaning the euro-area economy off its crisis-era stimulus. The export-dependent European economy buckled under the weight of trade tensions, a slowdown in China and the uncertainties around Brexit.” This is making matters worse. You see the stage of ‘the uncertainties around Brexit‘ is one that the ECB gunned for trying desperately to keep the UK in and the actions of the ECB are pushing the UK away. Yes I agree that matters will become worse, yet only for the short term, the UK will over time rise faster and faster whilst the economies of France and Germany will become more and more stagnant towards facilitating to the other 23 players, as they are merely there to get an unrealistic economy and the loans that go with it. When I speculate, I come to the conclusion that Austria will get an expected debt that equals their GDP of 83% by 2021, Belgium is racing towards 108%, optionally by November 2020, Italy is likely to be at 135% by then, Spain is actually doing well, but it will not continue, if they are really lucky they will remain steady at 97%, France will climb to 99.2% and those nations are adding trillions more debt, because the ECB is not kept in check. that is the Europe that Europe is steering to and no one is asking the serious questions on how retirements will falter before 2028, the cost of living no longer realistic and there is no way to keep any economy in check because tee was never any real stage to keep it in check, with merely the impossibility to cast members out. Greece has a chain around its neck that will soon surpass the current debt level of 179% of GDP. So whilst ABC News over sells it with “Provisional data released Thursday show the economy grew 1.9 percent in 2018, down from a 2.1 percent estimate by the government, but closer to the European Commission forecast of 2 percent“, all whilst Greek Industrial news gives us: ‘Greek Economy Loses Steam in Q4, Recovery on Course‘, which might be really true as summer is coming for Greece so from that we accept that the Greek economy numbers will fluctuate positively. And those travelling to Greece tend to see a Greek alternative location, not an alternative country which is great for Greece but the overall numbers are merely positive, not overly positive. The weather has been part of that. There has been a tendency for people in Europe to select less foreign destinations for their vacations, especially the Netherlands and Belgium. This part is not the most important art, yet it still matters. If one nation is off by 0.1% we see an impact, however it is Germany where the economic slowdown is the most visible, and from the past people in Germany get cautious really fast, the 2013 smash down taught them that the hard way. It would impact Spanish tourism by a fair bit. For France we see a similar impact but less in tourism, for them the game changes in other ways and it impacts the EU as well. French RFI reported that the OECD gave “Italy is likely to go into recession. France comes out well, relatively speaking, with 1.3 percent, exactly half the likely growth rate for the US economy“. I personally have some serious doubts on those numbers. If France ends up with 1.1% they would be lucky, as we already have a debate on 0.2%, nation after nations have ‘recovery’ idea’s and not one is staged in any rock solid situation, it is all fluid and most of them hide behind ‘Brexit uncertainty‘ whilst they are all desperate to see Brexit fail before it becomes a reality, their economies will all take a massive hit, even the UK however, the UK once out will be able to push forward momentum just for the UK not for the dozen members hanging on the coattails of the UK. That was the truth that the ECB and the EU commissions are so desperate to hide. The UK residents get fear mongering story, one after another. How there will be no toilet rolls, how things collapse and how values are soon gone. Yet the direct impact is ignored. Once out the UK can determine for the UK again, not have an usurper player setting policy.

For clarity: a usurper is a person who takes a position of power or importance illegally or by force. It does not seem to apply to the ECB, yet how are they setting policy that is pushing the Europeans into debt by trillions, even after the second stage where it did not impact the economy in a positive way? The moment it was switched off, the EU economy is showing to buckle, so how is such a stimulus ever going to be a solution?

When we see “offering banks cheap loans to try to help revive the economy“, well from my point of view, a plan to revive that has been going on for four years is not a plan to revive, it is a vegetation form of life that is being kept alive artificially, as it would have been dead for some time under any other condition. It is merely facilitating for large invoices on a cadaver that no longer has the ability to self-determine its life. And in this case the ECB is really ready to facilitate large invoices, the question becomes who gets that cash, the people of the EU merely get to pay the bill and there are questions that are not getting answered by anyone, giving us a much larger problem. Are people this stupid allowed to be elected into such powerful positions?

You tell me, because from my point of view it does not make sense, and it never did, not past 2015 anyway. It is one part that is wrong; we see even more when we give regards to the issues shown by the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/mar/07/ecb-to-keep-interest-rates-low-recession-fears-eurozone-banks). With: “The central bank for the 19 euro nations said it would launch a series of targeted, long-term refinancing operations (TLTROs) in September. These are to run until March 2021 to help banks roll over €720bn (£617bn) of ECB loans and to ward off a credit squeeze that could deepen the economic slowdown” we see a situation that could optionally be interpreted as: “we predict that we cannot pay the outstanding loan of €720 billion, so we are creating a new loan to pay the old loan. We will not mention that as our economic position is not as good, so the fact that this will come at a higher interest is something we will have to accept“, a danger I saw coming a mile away well before 2017. Greece was the most visible one, but not the only one, Italy is in a similar position with its 131% of GDP debt and it will go from bad to worse. With a current predicted debt of €2,526,450,000,000 its interest responsibility is beyond horrendous and that too is swept under the carpet. When we see these acts of stupidity and irresponsibility the Europeans do not have a clear prospect, they basically have seemingly no prospect at all. At present every EU nation will denounce my view, yet what will they say in 2024 when I am proven correct? What happens to the people born between 1956 and 1960 when they look at their pensions and see that they really cannot afford being alive having to pay their bills on what is left? What excuses will their governments and the ECB give them when these people get to hear: ‘OOPS!‘ The chaos that comes with it will be one we get to remember for generations. It will be the moment where all over Europe the life of a Ministry of Pensions official will have a speculated shorter lifespan than that of a crack addict overdosing.

It is all merely part of a larger issue, even as Reuters gives us less than 24 hours ago ‘German industrial orders post strongest drop in seven months‘, we forget that this also impacts shipping numbers, the Dutch harbour revenues, in addition the “Contracts for goods ‘Made in Germany’ were down by 2.6 percent on the month, Economy Ministry data showed on Friday, marking their steepest fall since June 2018 and confounding forecasts for a 0.5 percent increase” gives rise to questions. We accept that we cannot predict increases and decreases to some degree, yet the stage of +0.5% against a 2.6% drop is quite another matter. I also had an issue with: “The Federal Statistics Office put the revision down to large orders for December being reported late“. I am not stating that they were misreporting to us, yet the question on the validity and quality of their forecasting pipeline shows to be more than a mere glitch, it shows that elements are either ignored or not properly doused in awareness. I am not sure which of the two is more dangerous, as the faltering positivity could also give rise to an increased risk of negated negativity through managed unawareness. I do not believe that either form exists by itself. I have accused some of orchestrated reporting through delayed bad news. I personally believe that this is a much larger problem in the EU, and it needs to be addressed really soon and to a much larger degree than it ever was. For that we need to make one final jump. It was last year September when Forbes gave us (at https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelfoster/2018/09/29/bernankes-2020-prediction-is-dead-wrong/#3132f00c4df5) “Something strange is happening in the investment-bank and hedge-fund world: a growing sense that the next recession (which, by the way, Wall Street has long been wrongly predicting for years) finally has a due date: 2020“. By itself it is not really an issue in any way shape or form. We have all seen these predictions, all based on actual numbers before. I made a similar prediction before Forbes got there (yay me), yet when we see: “the likelihood of a 2020 recession has risen due to, among other things, a tight labour market and higher borrowing costs“, as well as “former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is getting in on the act, saying a boom “is going to hit the economy in a big way this year and next year. Then in 2020, Wile E. Coyote is going to go off the cliff“, we see a lot of it coming to fruition at present and still the ECB pushes forward? We understand that this should be about actual data and not predictions, yet the numbers have been towards the negative for some time now and pushing for more stimuli whilst there is enough data to see it as folly to become reality is another matter entirely. There is a play handed out to players, whilst whomever owns the bank is seeing exactly which player has which card and the players are kept in the dark that the banks have camera’s looking over the shoulder of every player, which indicates that the banks can decide at any moment to sell short the play made by any player. It is great to be told that you can bluff, whilst the bank gets to see the cards all the players have. So the bank decides to set a stimulus play whilst they know that all players have losing hands, how does that go over with the players in the room?

And we allow these banks to be elected to set the stage as such in the first place?

 

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The truth that kills you

It started in a setting that I observed and wrote about for the last few years, every now and then the NHS rears its ugly head. My look into this started when the Labour party has created a £11.2 billion fiasco that involved IT. When it comes to governmental IT issues, the UK does not score that high. In addition, when you drain a resource in one path, the other path tends to fade away and there were always politicians who claim they could do better, yet experience for over 20 years have shown me that they tend to remain clueless on the matters at hand. The moment they accept it, they go have lunch with friends who all see opportunities and before he/she knows it, the required scope has grown by 250% and soon thereafter it becomes too large to manage. From there onward it goes from bad to worse and that is how the NHS got sliced and diced (just one of many issues plaguing it).

So when I saw ‘Shock figures from top think-tank reveal extent of NHS crisis‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/may/05/nhs-lowest-level-doctors-nurses-beds-western-world) I was not convinced that the Guardian had even ruffled the top layer of feathers here. So I took a look. Now, the article is linked to the King’s Fund that has the numbers (at https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/publications/spending-and-availability-health-care-resources). The work by Deborah Ward and Linda Chijiko is actually really insightful, and an amazing read. So let’s take a look and they do not disappoint, the start gives us “Although it can be difficult to find data on health care resources on a comparable basis across countries, international comparisons can still provide useful context for the debate about how much funding the NHS might need in future. There is also precedent for this approach – for example, when Tony Blair famously pledged on the ‘Breakfast with Frost’ programme in 2000 to get health spending up to the European Union average“, I have to consider the value of adding flair of Blair, but it is fair enough (or was that flair enough). Yet, data is everything and proper data rules the setting, this paper recognises that and that is a massive victory.

It is important to add (pasted) the following, because it shows the value to a much larger degree.

Alongside the UK, we have chosen to look at a selection of 20 European or English-speaking countries drawn from across the OECD. For some analyses, data was available for only a subset of these countries. For some indicators, data was only available for services delivered by the NHS and did not include resources in the private or voluntary sectors.

List of UK comparator countries in this report

Australia Czech Republic Germany New Zealand Slovak Republic
Austria Denmark Ireland Norway Spain
Belgium Finland Italy Poland Sweden
Canada France the Netherlands Portugal Switzerland

Unweighted averages and medians have been used throughout this report to summarise data for the collection of countries as a whole. The amount of people who relied on weighted data cannot be underestimated on stupidity to some degree, as we get raw numbers we see that weighting would look better, yet less accurate. In this we do recognise the danger we see with ‘each country is given equal importance regardless of the size of its population‘, especially when we consider that non-rural Denmark tends to me limited to Copenhagen, and rural Netherlands (if there is any rural part left) tends to reflect Birmingham population numbers on average, so when we also take into consideration the truth of ‘The median and unweighted average are often very similar across these analyses, though the median will be less affected by extremely low or high values‘, we know that we are looking at something serious, but in the micromanaged parts (bordering rural/non-rural), there will be the sliding of values at times, not on a national scale, but where we consider certain parts per nation do not properly reflect internationally (the Netherlands vs France or Canada vs Germany).

Now we take a look at certain segments. The first one is “Under the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)’s new definition of health spending, the UK spends 9.7 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) on health care. This in line with the average among the countries we looked at but is significantly less than countries such as Germany, France and Sweden, which spend at least 11 per cent of their GDP on health care“, Sweden stands out as it has a much more refined social based system, so there is a shift there, yet as Sweden has 3 cities (Stockholm, Goteborg and Malmo), whilst the rest are basically villages some no larger than 1600 people (2 of them), the rest are between 2,500 and 140,000 in size, so in that regards, the population spread required an approach that differs from several nations, especially when you consider a place like Skellefteå and Lulea in the north. To give a little more reflection Skellefteå has 33,000 people over 8.39 square miles another 40,000 live outside of the ‘city’ limits. So it is 3,900 persons per square mile that in comparison against Birmingham that has 10,391 Ashton Villa fans per square mile. Different solutions are needed, and more often it the hardware (ambulance/helicopter) is very different especially in the winter season (in Sweden) where they actually have a white Christmas and often a white Easter as well.

Now we get to what initially was considered an issue by me, but that was because Denis Campbell Health Policy Editor of the Observer messed up a little (likely unintentionally). You see the article in the Guardian gives us “They reveal that only Poland has fewer doctors and nurses than the UK, while only Canada, Denmark and Sweden have fewer hospital beds, and that Britain also falls short when it comes to scanners“, now what is stated here is true, yet by stating “Britain falls short in several ways, especially when we compare ourselves to the Unweighted average. When we do that when it comes to nurses, only Spain, Italy and Poland have a less fortunate situation“, the Unweighted average gives a proper light per 1,000 population and that is where we need to look at the start and the King’s Fund research is doing that splendidly and shows that ‘spendingly’, the UK falls behind. It falls behind more and more is still speculative, yet if the coming 3 Financial years do not show a massive increase (read: change to the NHS approach) that will become a worsening situation for the population requiring nurses, doctors and equipment.

In the reports, I find one thing missing, that is, it would be a good idea to have that, you see, in the part Medical Technology, the CT Scanner part is partially flawed, Australia scores massively high, which is nice as I am on that island, but I also recognise the part missing there, even as there is a proper notice given with ‘Data for the UK only includes MRI and CT units in the public sector, so these comparisons should be treated with particular caution‘, the missing element is not the numbers, but the distance. As Australia is an ‘island’ nearly the size of Europe, it has its own problem, most of Queensland is rural territory and when you consider that Australia is twice the size of India, the amount of technology they have is often a burden on the size of that nation and the mere fact that the 5 large villages (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth) merely represent 65% of the population, the rest is rural.

Yet the more I read on this report, the more I respect it, it clearly shows issues that the NHS UK has, partially due to its own flaws (the report does not show that). It shows at the end that there is space for jobs “There are approximately 100,000 vacancies for clinical staff in the English NHS, and nearly half (49 per cent) of nurses do not think there are sufficient staff to let them do their job effectively“, but it does not show the ‘elitist’ approach the UK has had for decades into allowing transference of other nurses (from other nations) to become part of this workforce, yet the impossible standards that the UK have used to stop that falls short of the shortages and lack of services now thrust upon the people in need of medical services. The second part is seen (at https://improvement.nhs.uk/documents/2471/Performance_of_the_NHS_provider_sector_for_the_month_ended_31_December.pdf), here we see: “Providers have not met ambitious cost improvement targets and it is critical that these plans are recovered before year-end

Providers set out plans to deliver a total of £3.7 billion savings this financial year. The sector has outperformed the wider economy by delivering an implied 1.8% productivity improvement. This was supported by cost improvements of 3.3% – equivalent to £2,139 million of improvements in the first nine months of the year, £97 million higher than the same period in 2016/17“, so how to read that? They need to show better for the same amount, they were unable to deliver and they still got paid? Is that how it reflects, because that is merely the setting of a disastrous business model, in that the elitist overkill hire approach of nurses will never be in a proper setting in that way, or solved which would be nice too.

So when we see: “By Q3 the sector had achieved 65% of the forecast efficiency savings for the year – to meet the forecast outturn, providers will need to significantly step up the delivery of CIPs in the final quarter. However, the same pattern was seen in 2016/17, so there is evidence to support the increased delivery in the final quarter“, which sounds nice, but they would still come short by no less than 20%, so even as we complement them by getting better in the home stretch, they still did not make the delivery they promised and no matter how ‘ambitious‘ the goal is, a goal not met remains a failure. So when we do address the shortages on all levels and the setting on how ‘some top think-tank‘ gives us ‘shock figures‘, it still revolved around a much larger mess that has not been addressed for the longest of times and is still nowhere near up to scrap.

The goods we need we see on page 51, with the setting of ‘Nursing vacancy position‘ we see how most other failures are shown to fail merely due to shortages, the fact that the NHS has 35,000 vacancies also shows on how timelines cannot be met, when we see that in regard to the shortages nurses to the job of 1.4 nurses, there will be more burnout and more delays on every field. Throwing money at it will not really solve the issue, because this is the one field where we see the direct impact of service levels versus the impossible demand of nurses. So when we accept that the nurses program requires a larger overhaul in setting the stage we see that this is te first field where the military are actually becoming part of the solution.

How speculative can we get?

Here is a warning that matters, because the changing of settings is essential to shaping the future. Consider two places the first (at https://www.army.mod.uk/who-we-are/corps-regiments-and-units/army-medical-services/queen-alexandras-royal-army-nursing-corps/) where we are introduced to Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps (QARANC), as well as the recruitment (at https://apply.army.mod.uk/roles/army-medical-service/army-nurse). Now consider that the army is charged with the setting of training all applicant nurses to serve the NHS. So immigrants and optionally their children get a short access path to serve the UK on medical terms and it comes with complete processed nationality (after initial screening is passed). So families get the option to become British and part of the society they moved to. Now, this will not always work, yet if you see a 35,000 shortage and you get to lower that by 1,000 each year? Let’s not forget that the shortage is not going away any day soon, so any approach we can take we should consider. Now this is not for everyone, and more importantly an army nurse is still a military function, yet in this setting, there will be training in English, UK values, medical training, language and more importantly the years to come will show whether they have what it takes, in the end we use a structured system to infuse the NHS in operational ways, in addition, as the there is a growing need at the NHS, we see other parts where such reflections would grow the power of the NHS indirectly.

Both logistical and engineering sides of the Military could spell equal options to grow the NHS, or at least grow the ability of taking care of itself sooner rather than later. When we consider that the cost of agency nurses are close to astronomical (at http://www.kentonline.co.uk/medway/news/trust-spends-11m-on-temporary-nurses-180427/) gave us “Medway NHS Foundation Trust spent more than £11m on temporary nursing staff last year, a Freedom of Information request has revealed“, so when we consider that, is calling the army to aid in setting the boundaries back by a fair amount that much of a farfetched call? When we also see “There is a shortfall of 40,000 nurses across the UK, which has been driven by a lack of nursing training places in recent times“, is my call to call in the army and its instructors that much of a leap? Now we can all agree that it does not work on all fronts, but we can either stare at the missing beaches we have now, or start creating our own beachheads and see if we can see how new solutions could be implemented. There is no certainty, only the certainty that at the present course there will never be a solution that is what needs to be addressed. We need to accept that the current approach towards solving the NHS issues is not realistically set. When we look at merely one source (at https://www.nurseuncut.com.au/how-australians-can-get-nursing-jobs-in-the-uk/), we see the language that is given even after you get the NMC (the Nursing and Midwifery Council), you passed the tests, you have shown that you are who you are, your medical knowledge has been assessed, we then see “The hard work isn’t over after this point though, as you will obviously still need to find an actual job within the NHS. Fortunately, there are places designed to help – such as agencies like Nursing Personnel, where you can find a range of jobs across different disciplines and in different UK cities“, so we see that the agencies are set as a buffer, filling their pockets, so they never ever want to see that changed. In addition there is “Following this, you must apply for and then receive a valid work visa to ensure you can legally work in the UK. Finally, when all the pieces are in place, you can begin your new nursing role. Good luck!“, So even after that path is taken, after you get your NMC pin, there are still two iterations to get through, even as the Army, or even directly via QARAN, we could see that the entire path, towards the NMC, especially by those who have a nursing degree. That was never an option? Not even as I discussed such a path almost 4 years ago? When we see the shortage and the non-actions in this, can we even have faith that those around the NHS want anything fixed? It seems that they get ‘rewarded’ no matter what, especially the agencies, so when we see the money in that, why would they want to fix it? I say start by fixing this for the nurses first, which will get delays down and will give additional rise to finding as the agencies get less work, it also states that the invoices form them disappear meaning that millions become available. More staff and alternatively also more equipment could be the beginning to solving two issues to a larger degree. After that we can start looking into addressing the shortages on doctors, yet I also feel that once the nurse shortage is addressed, the doctor shortage might partially take care of itself. Even as the Financial Times reported last year that almost 400 GP’s a month quitted the NHS, addressing the nurses shortage will lower that number and when there are enough nurses we will see that it might lower to almost zero (speculative), yet as one fixes two other issues, we will suddenly see that when nurses reach above the unweighted number of 10, other numbers are guaranteed to shift too, because as agencies make millions less, those millions will shift to optional beds, medication and technology. Suddenly the UK will not look so bad overall. Now, let’s be clear this is a path that would take no less than 3 years to see certain parts turnaround, but it is a realistic path with a realistic curve of improvement. So even as we get served “Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust has 9,264 4 hour breaches (25.5%)“, we can also see from the other numbers that a larger extent is due to a shortage of nurses, so when we accept that they could climb to 85%-90%, we see that the entire setting suddenly looks less grim, so even as we need to realise that there is a setting (based on location) that the overall need of 95% performance is ideal, the question becomes is it a realistic setting, when all matters are equal it might be, yet at present all things are not equal and that is the part that requires attention, it is not the top 5% made that sets the standard, it is the acceptance of those in the 90%-95% range that requires merely some scrutiny, the question becomes, which one alteration might get those in the 90%-95% range there? I believe that nurses are merely one part, technology is the second part and as we deal with nurse shortages, there is a setting that technology gets fixed to some degree in the process. This paper (Spending on and availability of health care resources: how does the UK compare to other countries?) does not answer it, but gives light to the path that requires attention, the paper gives a path to investigate and that is equally massively important, so when we consider figure 2, can the change between New Zealand (10.3 nurses) versus he Netherlands (10.5) above the unweighted average of 10.4 show that difference of attaining the ‘revered’ 95% score or higher? Because of ‘irregularities’ that national needs tend to have, it is a cautious approach, yet the idea that it solves it is one thing, yet the one part not shown here (hence I took these two reports) is that even a we accept that they cannot be used in comparison, the setting of getting the 95% mark is still an essential statistic (by some) and if so, we accept that we go by the Unweighted average as a mere indicator, is that the right indicator to use (read: rely on), or is there a number missing? Is there a ‘Nominal Coverage‘ missing that is an indicatory number that aids us towards the A&E 4-hour standard setting and the attainment of the 95% score? Now it remains indicatory as there will always be a shift towards nominal nurses and actual nurses, but we need to start somewhere and if additional nurses are the first requirement to start turning this around, these numbers will become a lot more important, that part is not addressed (which was never the setting for Deborah Ward and Linda Chijiko), yet it is an issue for the NHS and the writing and results by these two ladies, might be a first step in actually getting there. When we look at the simplicity of it, was it really that far-fetched? I am merely asking, because my flair for oversimplification can be overwhelming for a lot of ‘experienced analysts’.

Yet, my mere focus has always been, how can we fix/improve the current NHS?

It is the path to solution that we need to care for, how it can be fixed, if it can be fixed. I have forever opposed the Jeremy Corbyn approach to throw money at it, because in the current setting the only one getting a better deal are the agencies and they are already cats that are way too fat. Hence I look at the directions where training and education sets the pace and in that pace we need to find opportunities for the NHS to pick the fruits form the yard, it is merely a different set of spectacles, the spectacle is not merely about the presentation, it is about setting the right focus, because focus shows us where the flaw is and where we can initially start the focal point of repairing the situation.

The weird part is that Canada, the UK and Australia have similar issues, so there is a foundation of repair missing which is equally a worry. In all this someone is getting rich, is it so hard to look at those getting rich and why that is? The fix could have been underway as early as 2014, the fact that it is nowhere there is worthy of many more questions, yet the bulk of those who could ask them, do not seem to ask them visible enough for all people to wonder how certain matters could be fixed and when one is fixed how much the other problems diminish, an equally important question. Even if it is merely for the reason that not finding these answers could kill you, either in an ambulance, or in a corner of a hospital awaiting a nurse to get you to the proper place for treatment, would that not be nice too?

 

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The risk of androgynous automation

Today we see another message, another prediction and another approach to make people nervous. This time it is a combined effort from the fields of Oxford University and Deloitte, they find that ‘77% probability of ‘repetitive and predictable’ roles being automated‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/oct/25/850000-public-sector-jobs-automated-2030-oxford-university-deloitte-study).

So how true is this?

Actually, there is a lot of truth in it. The truth is not just a given, it is an essential need. Yet the headline ‘Study says 850,000 UK public sector jobs could be automated by 2030‘ is a problem, not one of disaster, but one of opportunity possibly missed. The article gives us a few things, including links to the full report (indirect), which is a good thing and let’s be honest, Deloitte is no PwC; they stand miles above that group of Excel users. My first issue is with page 2. Not because it is incorrect, but the difference from my view is as I see it more than semantics. You see, they state “eliminating the budget deficit – into an era of parallel challenges as it moves towards Brexit“. I believe that Brexit will enable over time a speedier recovery of the deficit, it will be no picnic, but it will happen. Which is why I in earlier writing opposed the view the independent had. They wrote “Britain’s largest banks are planning to move business overseas due to uncertainty over the Brexit process, the head of the British Bankers’ Association has warned“, where my response in a decently diplomatic tone was “So, let them fuck off! The moment they feel the initial 2018 collapse of the Euro and the US Dollar, which will be voiced as ‘our currency will face a temporary contraction of value’, then they will see the cost they face and the revenue they are now missing out of. So, feel free to consider to return after learning that mistake under conditions of massive administrative fees for consideration of inclusion into the UK economy“. This is not an empty view, when the UK returns to strength, those moved away will see contracting economies in Germany, where the Deutsche Bank will be desperate to retain business out of fear of the damage of ‘written off’ collapsing corporations. France will be in a similar state, but there Crédit Agricole and Natixis are the Powerbrokers and neither will consider some ‘grocery bank’ that is relocating to ‘new shores’, so these moving banks will not be too welcome there. And several other nations are in a similar setting. So what is left? Italy? Greece? Good luck with that idea!

So as the UK is facing new issues and new challenges, Deloitte is showing that it is not all roses. The report shows on page 12 “The OECD and IMF views are backed up by OBR analysis that suggests spending on investment, public services and benefits are the interventions most likely to provide rapid economic boosts while providing a platform for medium and longer term growth“, this illuminates an earlier issue that has been mentioned by yours truly (aka: me) more than once. It isn’t just the £11.2 NHS IT failure the UK Labour party gave its citizens. The bigger issue is that governments at large have had a failing grade in managing such projects. Over micro-managing made these projects too massive and in the end no longer feasible or realistic. If this is the path, than it needs to precede an altered adjustment in procedures on how to manage and set these projects. The issue we see that still is required for the NHS, also clearly shows that the political interference tends to be a hindrance rarely a solution. However, the political part cannot be removed, but the entire setup can be altered in another way. A clear definition of what is required, that would after this point be scrutinised by proper IT specialists working for the government (to keep that part of the costing down), only then when that part has been dealt with, can the project move into a new field. If this was the Law and Mental Health, it might be best phrased that the government needs an IT version of a Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). Such a manual would need a data requirement part, and application part, a data networking part and a security part. Until such an approach is made, the need that we see, will end up being a massive expenditure towards the Exchequers chest, with the risk of no result and no alternative. These paths make sense in two ways. In the first there will be a lot more clarity on what is requested, required and delivered. There will be less contractual mud and as such whomever took the project will be responsible for the delivered bad boy and it would show a clear path of adjustment and repairs (where needed).

There is even a new side in this, it will shape the required need of technical universities. Because as they become involved, delivering the hours and manpower towards these projects, the costing will be reduced, the Universities will also gain an income and their students would end up with a partial career and years of work and subsequent income. You see, the need to move away from these ‘conceptual consultants’ and selling concepts not products is an essential need to make it all work. There is even an additional benefit that larger IT corporations will lose their grip on governmental budgets and it will serve a wider audience, a change that has been overdue for at least 10 years.

The report gives on page 20 the public’s attitude. My issue is number 2. “More people expect public services to get worse because of Brexit“, I am not sure if that is complete. It is not incorrect, but the point of focus would reset really quickly when we consider the Guardian where we read “Deloitte’s previous work has shown that all sectors will be affected by automation in the next two decades, with 74% of jobs in transportation and storage, 59% in wholesale and retail trades and 56% in manufacturing having a high chance of being automated“, any automation where we see the change from personal towards an automated androgynous system, tends to cause waves of rejection and stress. Even today, we still have an automated irritation when we hear ‘press 1 for sales‘. Until we can upgrade these systems into a much better evolved system, automation will fluctuate into people seeking other avenues in acquiring that what they need. In addition, there is still an aversion to automated sales in some areas as distribution misses the quality marks the recipient demands in some cases. Now, we can all agree that there is plenty of evolution in this field and the evolution is growing in many directions and in long before 2030 we will have systems that are vastly superior to the systems we have today, that is the way the beast tends to work. There is also a given that we cannot yet predict how that will be in 5 years, yet all this requires a solid foundation between sales, services and facilitation/distribution and that part is currently still missing.

Now we get to the part that is a little bit of an issue with the report. We see that the top issue is ‘Better public transport‘, but better how? We see it on page 21 of the full report, so when we see ‘What things would you say would most improve public services in your area?’ Here, I miss a part where we see what the audience now feels is missing or failing. Is it prices, the amounts of times the public transport comes in, how busy it is (no sitting options), you see, they all come with extra costs. More busses means more costs. The solution that seemingly addresses all three mentioned, but is that the failure, the flaw or is it something else? I think that this issue remains subserving to the public’s personal issues ‘Poverty, inequality and low pay‘ as well as ‘Housing‘, which is all about the quality of life for most people. How to address that part is also an issue and automation does not address these policies in any way. Which is respectively 20% and 18% of an asked population of 1099 adults, which in my view is a population way too small to set this ‘State of the State‘ to. For a decent level of reliability, especially as the UK is a mere 65 million people, having a response quota 5,000-10,000 on a national level would have been an essential first. If the results were weighted towards the UK demographics, than it is likely that this report will have additional ‘flaws’, making me wonder who signed off on the requested paper?

There is another side the Guardian gives “However, in contrast to the doomsayers who predict mass unemployment, the firm has argued that over the last 140 years automation has created more work than it destroyed“, I am on the side of Deloitte here. In addition to creating more work, from the issues I raised earlier when considering that 10%-20% is moving towards retirement, the new jobs that are brought will be largely long term jobs and as the setting from tertiary IT education focusses on the governmental automation needs it already has as well as those we will likely see over the next 5 years, the overall quality of the workers in this field could rise almost exponentially when set this against the prepared workforce in the last 10 years. The result of better and more focussed workers will also increase the curve of automation as well as the quality of it. Part of the new data world is discussed on page 34 of that report. the quote “A police and crime commissioner compared data security challenges in the public sector to those in banking, concluding that banks “have secure information and have got away with it”” reads a little weird, yet the foundation of it is a requirement factor that will grow immensely. That field will grow in two ways. The first is the growing field of non-repudiation, a clear register that a certain person accessed certain data and only that person could have done it. This field especially if a cause for concern because there is a gap in technology here and especially in the case of NHS data, that gap needs to be filled (as well as several other fields). Should you doubt that, or prefer to trivialise this, then look towards Ashley Madison, the Office of Personnel Management, Anthem, Hacking Team and Premera. In effect totalling the endangered personal details of up to 150 million people. And this is only the hacks of 2015. When we see the upcoming move towards domotics, the overall danger of personal data getting out has the option of growing the number of people exposed by 1000%, basically a lot more than the complete UK population, at that stage even the sheep, sheepdogs and pony’s on Shetland could find their personal details online. This industry will grow, with a large club of international career opportunities in IT and the growing niche of Data Security.

In the end, we can agree with the numbers, or we can disagree. No matter how the meat is sliced, the recommendation on page 49 are in the end what matters. That part reads a little too diplomatic, but in all fairness they are points that count. Yet, as I personally see this, especially when set against page 2, I am missing something. You see, in my view, there is an item 6. I would state “This state will need to grow into a different dynamic (Government, Non-Profit and Commercial), it requires to grow its government policies by actively engaging and hiring the final year students into its governmental workplace and make them part of the IT evolution“.

It is my view that corporate needs will always exist, yet by preparing these students, graduating them and for them to adhere to corporate policies as they sell their innovations to government is all good for those corporations and I am not against that, because they will get a massive dose of that throughout their careers. There is nothing wrong by having these places of education create part of the engines of solution for the UK government. It falls directly in line with the thoughts in recommendations 2, 3 and 4.

The paper is a lot more than just about IT, even though IT takes the forefront here. When we look at the Guardian quotes “Interactive roles, which require “a high degree of personal interaction, including jobs such as teachers, social workers and police officers”, face a 23% chance of automation“, “senior staff in “cognitive roles that mostly require strategic thinking and complex reasoning, including finance directors and chief executives”, 14% have a chance of being automated” as well as “but the number of health service staff in this “interactive” job is expected to fall to 266,000 by 2030“. This grows another side in the IT business. Over the next 10 years we will see evolution and change as we see CRM systems and the interpretation of ‘What is a CRM system?’

The interpretation of ‘manage and analyse customer interactions and data throughout the customer lifecycle‘ has gone through massive change due to places like Google and systems like Facebook. This is an ongoing path and the inclusion of 5G and domotics over the next 5 years will create even more waves. It is starting to be almost essential that governments at large (not just the UK) are grabbing these changes by the proverbial balls before we see another iteration of lagging adapted technology. It is not the requirement to be ahead, but to be ‘inclusively ready’ will turn the tables on many issues. To be ready to include within the current technological iteration would give an additional decade of data and opportunities, whilst not adhering to these large changes could become increasingly costly over time. In an age where we move towards automation the need to be ahead is not the most essential one, it is staying behind where the danger lies. In that regard, you end up having to adhere towards whatever the commercial technologist brings, instead of shaping technology in ways where it is most useful for you.

A lesson most have learned the expensive way in this generation.

If there is one part I have to disagree with, than it is “Our wider research on automation also shows that while jobs are displaced by automation, new, higher-skilled and better paying jobs are created as a result“, the issue is not the need for these people, but as governments are no longer able to afford certain pricing plans (as those commercial managers hope they could price them at), it becomes a market where the cheapest provider is willing to offer it on, meaning that junior staff gets to be under higher scrutiny for less money, in a place where unemployment is relatively high, these hiring managers will get away with it. I reckon that the market will positively adjust by 2021, but that is still 5 years away. Unless you are a niche specialist, it will be your fate, but overall the quality of life would start to go up by 2019 (due to rising cost of living, aka rent), that is if you have the right degrees.

A slightly gloomy picture that is absent of doom and still a lot better than the issues the EU population overall is facing over the next 3 years.

 

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When a joke is too pathetic

This is the first thought that came to mind when I saw the ‘headline’ ‘IMF has ‘criminal responsibility’ for Greek crisis‘, which was in the Guardian Live part. So, is Alexis Tsipras just too stupid to be allowed as a politician? Let’s face it, after 6 months he achieved absolutely nothing, so is my question that far out of bounds? He created decline in diplomatic bonds by accusing everyone, except the ones really responsible, which were the Greeks themselves!

Let’s take a look at some of this, for this I am taking a larger step back, back in time. You see, after the Olympics of 2004, we should have seen an influx and a positive result for Greece, which it did, but only to the smallest extent. Compared to other nations that influx was not as strong as many expected it to be. When we look at the data the OECD (at http://www.oecd.org/) has, we see that the investment in Gross fixed capital formation (GFCF) was up in the year before the Olympics (that makes sense), then collapsed, only to go up steeply in 2006 and 2007, after that it goes down a lot, far below the average, guess what, after it hit a low (-26%) in 2012, suddenly there was a spike in investments, to minus 9.5% in 2013 and plus 2.7 percent in 2014. Yet, investments by whom? If we look at investment on % of GFCF by government we see that they represent 23.3% in 2013 and 20.7% in 2012. All this whilst corporate invested 34.9% in 2012 and 38.3% in 2013, households are in the basement, so the picture does not make sense (to me), when we compare this next to let’s say, the Netherlands, the picture looks even more distorted. Greece spiked its general government investment as % of GFCF far beyond the Netherlands, especially in 2009 and 2013. Greece has nowhere near that funding. Now, we see that it is just ‘% of GFCF’, yet spiking’s of 7% difference makes a lot more sense for the Netherlands than for Greece (the Dutch have dikes, harbours and plenty of assets to worry about). The Greek spending under former PM George A. Papandreou as well as spending by former PM Antonis Samaras, or should I say spending whilst they were in charge? Spending on transport equipment, other buildings and cultivated assets went up consistently, especially since 2012, whilst investment for dwellings went down from 2011 to 8% in 2014. These investment parts cannot be denied to some extent, yet the spiking implies that it is done at a moment’s notice, on the whim of emotion, lacking long term insight and stability. You only need to compare Greece to nations like the Netherlands and Sweden to see that the ‘spikes’ reflect what I would call: lacking vision and insight.

The questions only increase when you consider that Greece’s net trade never comes close to -20, -25.2 is the best they were able to achieve from 2003 onwards, and this is in billions of dollars, so as we see a decade of minus 20 billion or worse, it was -64 billion in 2008, questions should be asked, especially from the Greeks. A nation in trade deficit for ever a decade adds up to questions on WHY they were allowed onto the bond market in 2014, no one clearly asked those questions. In that light I need to add a blog (at http://yanisvaroufakis.eu/2014/05/11/how-the-greek-banks-secured-an-additional-hidden-e41-billion-bailout-from-european-taxpayers/), the article called ‘How the Greek Banks Secured an Additional, Hidden €41 billion Bailout from European taxpayers’, so how come that these matters are not on the front page? So as I see it, these massive indicators are shown that when it comes to ‘criminal responsibility’, Alexis Tsipras should also knock on the doors of previous PM’s and Greek political bigwigs (if they actually have any). For the simple reason that massive austerity would have been needed in 2006 onwards, how much was cut? How was this achieved? You see 2005 was already a clear indication that overhaul of property taxation, tax collection and tax evasion was a clear given, especially when you come up short by THAT much. Yet in over a decade no achievements were made and neither was anything truly done in the last 6 months.

In addition, we see the dangers of the title ‘Athens threatens to miss IMF payment‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jun/16/eurozone-greek-exit-athens-imf-grexit-tsipras), whatever the Eurozone braces for is an unknown to me, considering the large players downplayed the event. The quote ‘threatens to miss IMF payment‘ is also slightly misrepresented. As I see it. As I see it, Greece no longer has that much money at their disposal, I reckon the shift by using the IMF emergency funds was a clear given. There is also a ghostly silence when it comes to the bank run. No clear indication how strong that pull is, or are the banks perhaps already empty? That is not a speculation, it is the question, especially as political parties and banks are debating ‘Grexit’. The problems will only intensify when the bank runs are complete. Actually, I expect that escalations will occur a lot faster when people can no longer withdraw. There is presently no indication when it will happen, but as payments are missed, the dangers of banks no longer handing out cash (emphasis on ‘being able to’) after June 23rd is not out of the question, if the bank run continues, that date might be even before that date. It will be a new low in humanitarian economics, as retirees will no longer receive payments, how will they be able to pay, when the Greek government allowed in March for the dipping into pension funds. Depending on how many Greek bonds these pensions ended up with, when money is not coming, which is extremely realistic, the pension funds themselves will not be able to flood the monthly retirement pay out, which is due in less than 2 weeks, at that point, how will the population react?

I expect to stay away from Greece until that dust cloud settles as it will be a harsh reality for Greeks to watch tourists walk around whilst they can no longer afford to feed themselves. The escalation with refugees all over Greece (Kos being the most visible one) is not helping any. The fact that posters are appearing with texts like “I am an immigrant, I’m here to rape your children” is not helping any. You might think that they are separate issues, but they are not. You see, this fuel of hatred is hitting Greeks every day, the unrest is growing amongst both sides. The entire debt mess is hitting the Greeks, who now see that what is left would be lost to the refugees. We are all about humanitarian aid, but how many will give them your last sandwich? How many will give food to the refugees when it means that your children will not eat? You might think that this is an exaggeration, but after next week, that might not be the case. When the announcement of a default meeting is given, the banks will get overrun, people will take all their money out, they might already be starting that today, when THAT is gone, how exactly will groceries be paid for? All this, because the two players Alexis Tsipras and Yanis Vardoulakis have basically been sitting on their hands for 6 months. It is nice to see the headlines ‘No new reform proposals for Eurogroup‘ and ‘Varoufakis rules out ‘Grexit’, deal possible if Merkel takes part‘. Well, as we are seeing now, it is no longer up to Varoufakis and Tsipras. as they pushed away reforms, accused the IMF and as we see ‘Europe Struggles Toward Solution as Tsipras Rips Into Creditors‘, we have to wonder, the Greeks made these deals, a I see it, the acts of THIS administration is now killing their own options, burning the bridges behind them. At this point, as I see it. Greece can no longer state “Grexit not a possibility“, at this point, we have arrived at the stage that Greece gets notified that Greece will be ejected from the Euro, perhaps even the Eurozone. The latter part is not that likely, but in sight of the Greek acts, no longer an impossibility. Now, only 2 hours ago we see “US urges compromise after Greek PM attacks IMF” (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/live/2015/jun/16/greek-crisis-negotiations-deadlocked-as-time-runs-short-live-updates). Now we see “US Treasury secretary Jack Lew has telephoned Alexis Tsipras to urge him to reach a realistic compromise, urgently. In a statement, the Treasury revealed that Lew told Tsipras that the Greek people, and the global economy, would suffer if Athens can’t reach a deal with creditors

My cold war view (I miss those old days) is: “Jack, buddy boy! Did you miss certain facts? Did you consider that this is exactly what Alexis Tsipras wants all along? He is a communist! This scenario will have a massive impact on America, he is meeting Putin on Friday. Perhaps they will walk through the Hermitage on Saturday, a family outing, special tour and as they turn around the corner he gets his new golden future, if he can push Greece over the edge, massively hurting the US (please do not deny that it will not hurt the US), than he will have a nice future, he might even get the Star of Lenin on May 1st 2016. Instead of meeting with European parties, he is having another meeting with Putin. This guy met with Putin more often than the bulk of the Europeans together

This might look like my shallow view, but consider the past of Syriza, their foundations, is my view so far-fetched? He has done absolutely nothing to propel the debt situation in any positive way. Is all war not based on deception? (Source: Art of War). Look at all the photo’s the papers have, all posing moments and all presentations of the moment (which politicians tend to do), has Alexis Tsipras been anything but a petulant child? As he went on and on in the style of: ‘Just give me my cookie now!‘ (Reference to the 7.2 billion bailout). In 6 months no clear reforms, no clear mention in any direction that could have eased any kind of resolution. The icing on the cake would be if the US would now take on some of these debts too. It would be a total victory for Tsipras, he can tell the Greek population has been dealt with and he’ll be living next to the Kremlin for daily Caviar and Vodka, the new Russian superstar!

This is just my view, it is a view and there is no reliability on my view, but oddly enough, my view matches all the facts we see, so is it less or more likely? Consider yourself, when you are in deep water with your bank, would you not try to get a dialogue and understanding? Would you not plead ‘there is no money now, but as soon as some comes in, we start paying!’ of course, the bank cuts you off, but the bank realises that waiting is better than losing, especially when the client has sincere intentions. So pissing of your bank, accusing them of ‘criminal responsibilities’ and letting them pay for it all, how does that help?

When the fence between you and the tiger is gone, posturing seems pointless, even if it is the only thing left to you. So, are the Greek politicians in charge now the joke that is too pathetic?

From accusations to ‘trying to make up’ as Helena Smith of the Guardian reports, “Over in Athens the government’s spokesman has just released a statement attempting to douse tensions with EU commission president Jean-Claude Juncker“. Is this part of the play, or have the members of Syriza lost direction and focus? This is the question for many, you see, accusations followed by carefully phrased corrections is about emotion, limelight and posturing, as I see it an almost empty gesture to keep a non-conversation going. In here, I mean non-conversation as a means to continue a dialogue that allows for non-actions to continue too. Will this go on for 30 hours until the upcoming near-fatal meeting to be? That will be a question to consider, because tomorrow might be the last chance before certain members meet separately to put Grexit to the vote. That last part is again just my view, but it is a distinct possibility, because the reality of Grexit has now been voiced, and the change from ‘if’ to ‘when’ Grexit commences needs a start date, Germany, France and Italy would want to keep control of that moment, just to make sure that they will not be terminally affected because of it, a consequence that is still an option!

As I see it, the game will change massively for France when Grexit happens, as such, France would want to champion that meeting for valid reasons of cost impact.

 

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Double standards, no resolve (part 2)

Part two is not about Greece or the Greeks, it is about what has been behind several parts for a long time now. Yet, the visibility of certain events is now forcing another large change to the surface. First let us look at the events as we see them in the Guardian (at http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/jan/25/wikileaks-google-staff-emails-us-government).

The title ‘WikiLeaks demands answers after Google hands staff emails to US government‘ calls for a few thoughts, but I think you should consider a few quotes and then reconsider how you feel. The first one is “Google revealed to WikiLeaks on Christmas Eve – a traditionally quiet news period – that it had responded to a Justice Department order to hand over a catch-all dragnet of digital data including all emails and IP addresses relating to the three staffers“. The second one is “Harrison, who also heads the Courage Foundation, told the Guardian she was distressed by the thought of government officials gaining access to her private emails” and then we get “The investigation followed WikiLeaks’ publication, initially in participation with international news organisations including the Guardian, of hundreds of thousands of US secrets that had been passed to the organisation by the army private Chelsea Manning“. So this was specific! Let us not forget that this person (Manning) should be regarded as guilty of treason! This is nothing less than an intelligence analyst going beyond rogue! Manning was a simple E-1 private with no comprehension of the complexity of wars, especially the war the US found itself in, a theatre that is hard to grasp for some of the brightest generals (you know these highly educated, passed their middle age point individuals with a few decades of military experience, in the US seen wearing stars on their shoulders). No, Manning decided on the safety of hundreds if not thousands of lives. In addition US diplomatic efforts were thrown out of the window, setting economic options back for up to a decade, if not longer.

So when we see the response by investigative editor Sarah Harrison “Knowing that the FBI read the words I wrote to console my mother over a death in the family makes me feel sick“, seems a little hollow. For one the FBI does not care about her mommy, two, what did you expect to happen when you access unauthorised data to the size, scope and extent as Manning had transmitted?

I think Harrison is overreacting, if we accept chapter 13 in the Art of war, both the spy and the receiver of information should have been put to death. Is it not a good thing that it was merely investigated by the FBI?

Yet, there is a side that many are ignoring; many do so in an unintentional way, mainly because it tends to not hit us in any way. For that we need to take a step back to Forbes 2013 (at http://www.forbes.com/sites/robertwood/2013/08/06/excuse-me-apple-google-starbucks-h-p-irs-wants-to-tax-stateless-income/), here we see the following parts: “U.S. companies are said to have more than $1.5 trillion sitting offshore. Most claim that they must keep the money there to avoid the taxes they would face by bringing it back to the U.S.“, “the money at stake is enormous. Plus, the companies involved have treasure troves of cash for many war chests. Big and protracted battles seem inevitable. Still, some big companies may be in for battles that are even larger than they think. They may even need to think different” and “The OECD plan claims that companies like Apple and Google avoid billions in taxes. The G20 is made up of 19 leading world economies plus the European Union. It too has voiced support for a fundamental reassessment of the rules on taxing multinationals“. These thoughts all sound nice, but there is an additional element to all this. You see, as I stated more than once, currency is slowly on the way out (loosely approached). The nations that are left with manageable debt are now slowly but surely diminishing to zero. Greece may be the first one, but at minus 18 trillion, the US is the clearest one to end up with nothing, especially as those large US firms have become stateless. You see, now we get to the good part, the new currency will be IP, but here is the kicker, most (including me) seemed to forget that IP is more than Patents and Trade Marks, it includes data! Now we get to the nice stuff, you see, Google adhered to a situation, Twitter and a few others did not, or at least in a delayed way, but the new currency will include massive amounts of data and many players are now catching on that data is at the core a stateless, virtual and duplicable currency. No matter how Sony called its hack attack, does it now look a little clearer that those having a copy of that data are preparing for more than just a data dump? This is what McKinsey & Company had to say in August 2014 “Indeed, the analytics performed by actuaries are critically important to an insurer’s continued existence and profitability“, as well as “While the impetus to invest in analytics has never been greater for insurance companies, the challenges of capturing business value should not be underestimated. Technology, as everyone knows, changes much faster than people. The key for insurers is to motivate their highly skilled experts to adopt the newest tools and use them with creativity, confidence, and consistency” and finally there is “The proliferation of third-party data sources is reducing insurers’ dependence on internal data. Digital “data exhaust” from social media and multimedia, smartphones, computers, and other consumer and industrial devices—used within privacy guidelines and assuring anonymity—has become a rich source for behavioural insights for insurance companies, as it has for virtually all businesses. Recently, the release of previously unavailable or inaccessible public-sector data has greatly expanded potential sources of third-party data“. Yes, it sounds nice that there is public-sector data, but the one part no mentioned is how the analytics is not driven by those, but ascertained through private-sector data fields. You see the data that Sony had on its employees and on the actions of 70 million customers is a lot more insightful when you link it to medical records. Consider how much profit a company gets if it could ascertain more precisely the risk 7 million of its own customers are. If the connection of medical (obesity) and the gamer data of one person results in a $12 per month surcharge, what happens when we see the US having an obesity rating of around 32%? Now we have 70 million accounts and their gaming behaviour. So if we do the following math 32% of 70 million (falsely assuming that they were all American gamers), then we now get the number of people confronted with a $144 a year additive. So in one swoop, this data set gives way to an additional $3.2 billion for insurance fees. Data is going to be that simply applied sooner than you think. With the cloud being forever virtual (as one would think), people forget that a personal space is linked to a real location (wherever that drive is), but what when the data set is beyond massively huge? What if it is spread over several locations? How do we think then? You see Stateless data is not a new concept, but until recently it was never a realistic concept. It is interesting how tax dodging makes engineers a lot more creative.

At the foundation of all this is not the Wikileaks part, that part just illuminates the nutty side of data. Consider the amounts you as the reader had shared in the last 72 hours via Facebook, LinkedIn, SnapChat, Instagram and such. You freely distributed that, you gave up your privacy rights for whatever you openly published. Now consider that whatever you shared got collected. Several people were on vacation (so someone knows that their house is empty and possible unguarded), some revealed that they were sick (health data) and some revealed other details like parties attended and such.

Now the empty house is the most direct one, but not the most important one. Consider the times you updated your status that you were at home with the flu, or something else. Under normal conditions you just had a sickie, or perhaps another way. Now consider that someone now automatically collects the times you were sick, how does that affect your premium? How will your health cycle be analysed if you are shown to have attended 15-30, or even 50-100 parties a year? How long until this shows as detrimental on your health chart? Weirdly enough not having that does not lower your premium, but there is every evidence that doing it will increase your premium.

Do you think that this is over the top?

Then see the following (at http://www.qbe.com.au/Personal/Home/Managing-Your-Risk/Insurance.html). Here we see “Importantly, reducing the likelihood of making a claim helps protect your No Claim Bonus, helping to keep the cost of your insurance premium down“, which has been a truth for a long time. Yet when we consider the mention ‘Don’t alert people you are going away (including on social networking sites)‘. How long until someone combines the two? At reputation.com we see the following “Life insurance companies are increasingly turning to the Internet to determine a potential customer’s risk“, so if you like extreme sports, you might pay for that passion in other ways too. In addition, the one most disturbing was “Donating to charitable causes is a noble gesture, but if you show too great an interest in any particular medical-focused cause, say breast cancer research or prostate cancer awareness, it might indicate to insurance companies that you’re at a higher risk for certain illnesses“, that gives a possible (implied, but not proven), connection that your social responsibility comes at an insurance price. Did you consider that? And this is not starting this year, or next year. Some of these events started no later than 2010.

This all was nothing but to pave the way for that what comes next. You see, there are several sides to Google and Facebook. They are all about bandwidth and several nations are now seeing that even though Facebook is too large, there is a clear path that data is currency, so how long until we see a growth of radicalisation through localisation? This is not radicalisation in the violent way, but in the opposite way. You should see radicalisation of data, attained by washing all the data markers in local server environments. You can’t wash all the markers, but you can make access to it a lot less available. This is the fear Google (possibly Facebook too) has had for some time. As these privacy acts, that data acts and data collection rights of the US grew in a need for compliance, people become falsely fearful of what is dangerous and what is not. The US government ascertaining whether you are a terrorist is not a danger. An insurance company upping your fees by $150 through collected data is a direct danger (to your cost of living). Now we see the link as it gets us to the first story that included Greece.

There will soon be a higher need for localised connected providers. Localised forms of Hushmail (www.hushmail.com), where the people get encrypted mail accounts that can be accessed online, through the web. How long until mobile users will select encrypted android apps, that do not connect to Google, but to local Hushmail providers. We still have the internet, but it will now go through national portals. The fact that Sony happened was only a matter of time. The fact that people now want that there data comes with actual privacy is a growing wave. The Wikileaks issue was the most visible and the most harmless one (for us citizens at least). The world is changing a lot faster than last year and many are now getting clued in that the things of value have not been guarded in the right way.

We will soon see new options on cheaper internet, cheaper mobiles and on package deals, this is what was skated around when this so called IP hearing was going on. Yet, when we look at an earlier statement by Mr Turnbull, in regards to IP, who said at the time. “It is very, very, very difficult if not impossible for someone that is just selling connectivity, just providing bandwidth to then be monitoring what people are doing“.

This is at the heart of the problem, they live of bandwidth, because bandwidth implies data, and the more used, the more data collected, which leads to the better their lives are. This is why they do not want monitoring. I am fairly certain that as their bandwidth falls away, as people move to localised solutions, which remain at the core local, these providers will ‘suddenly’ opt in a ‘possible’ solution. Only at the end of the tether will an industrial give in. Oddly enough, with fear of privacy and the dangers of insurance exploitation on the rise that tether will end up a sudden two inches shorter and now those providers will have to share that what they never had to share before.

Greece has changed the way they play the game; now perhaps we can change the game that is played and make a first monumental change for all!

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The reality that wasn’t one

Until we all realise that the edge of the abyss is on the Americans, we all need to realise that what will topple the Americans, will have a massive effect on us all. Partly because we are linked, partially because the events that are in effect there are also in effect in the Commonwealth and both are not willing to change their ways.

The issues all start with an article in the Guardian (at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/19/barack-obama-address-shutdown-debt-ceiling).

The first quote is: “There’s been a lot of discussion lately of the politics of this shutdown. But the truth is, there were no winners in this.

Actually, there are. The banks! They are making a bundle and as things go, the US will be (pardon my French) the Bank’s Bitch for a long time to come. $17,000 Billion has that effect on them. The article by the LA Times, which I personally call laughable, can be found at http://touch.latimes.com/#section/-1/article/p2p-77819148/

The four points should be looked at.

1. The U.S. debt burden is starting to decline. That’s right – it’s going down, not up.

Really? $17,000 Billion remains that. The economy is not even close to being on par, and as long as the government is spending over a trillion a year more than they earn, the debt is not going anywhere. If we go from the T-Bill path, then the payable cost of T-bills (basically the discount value), for the entire amount would be $453 billion. This is of course not realistic; the number that is closer is based upon the annual deficit increase. These numbers were discussed in my blog ‘A new third World continent‘. So, when they do start to mature, an annual amount no less than $1,000 billion a year for no less ten 5 years would be needed. So, that debt burden is going nowhere, it will be there waiting for the people and it will come with additional bills.

2. China holds only a relatively small fraction of U.S. debt.

That is actually true, yet roughly 14% of $17,000 billion is still a massive amount, it just seems little. By the way, if they suddenly cash in, the chances of the US being able to pay it becomes smaller and smaller by the day. The debt ceiling is there and it would be instantly crossed.

3. The U.S. has had a national debt for almost its entire history.

Again that is also true for the most, yet in 2000 it was only 5 trillion (roughly), so in 13 years it grew by 12 trillion dollars, it grew from 5 to 9 trillion up to 2007 and the rest grew in the last 6 years.

4. Debt crises have marked American politics from the beginning.

Well, that is not entirely incorrect. The article starts with General George Washington. The guy who ran the American defence forces before Patton, roughly about 140 years before Patton. The debt remained under 1 trillion until the 80’s, so basically the US went through Independence Day 1 (1776, not the one with the aliens), WW1, WW2, the Cold War and the Vietnam war. All these elements involving massive amounts of politics, (except the Cold war, which was a contemporary event where Ivan Aleksandrovich Serov and Allen Dulles had a bit of fun, as well as their successors (boys will be boys).

The moral here is not about the marking of American politics, it is about Politics not doing what they were supposed to be doing. From my point of view, the right questions were not asked, hence the actions proceeded were of a game where open and clear communications were not in play (or this deficit would be a lot smaller).
There is plenty of blame to go around! Initial there was former President Clinton, even though the coffers actually had real cash in his era, the Silicon Valley crash started to leave its mark. It drove Gray Davis (former Governor of California) out of office and it was the beginning of a massive shift. After that the USA had former President Bush. He did a good job, but then 9/11 struck. The consequences had a major influence, it also changed the premise of many, instead of a true revamping of intelligence, 4 agencies were suddenly spending like there was no tomorrow. The military costs went up, which would really hurt the treasury coffers and lastly the financial crash of 2008 was one that had a long term consequence, especially as a building named America got prepped in the years 2003-2005, by the time the 2008 financial fire hit the house, there were no fire hydrants and there was no one able to actually fight that fire. The rest is the now and many are still reeling from those hits.

This takes us back to the article in the Guardian, where President Obama is quoted saying “First, we should sit down and pursue a balanced approach to a responsible budget, one that grows our economy faster and shrinks our long-term deficits further.

That is a simple answer, stop spending too much. I understand that spending $5 to make $50 is perfectly sensible, but America has become a nation of entitlements and costs, not profits. When you as a nation allow for tax evasion and keep on postponing putting a stop to these acrobatics (the Tax evasion rule is not expected to become active until 2014). So the US is in an extremely fragile situation. It is basically what you hear of Fox News (people like Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly and John Stossel), is that view wrong? Well the Nanny state is an overprotective government. I am all for protection. We should protect the weak, the sick and so on. But when you are broke, you cannot pay the beggar with coins you do not have, you cannot feed the hungry with food you cannot pay for. When your money runs out, it runs out. So until the government gets their horses back on track, entitlements will (not should) suffer. Perhaps doing something about Corporations and their tax evasion? For Example, Google paid the UK $12M in taxation, whilst their UK revenue was $3,000M. That is less than 1/2% in taxation. They avoided $2B in taxation in the US, according to the Bloomberg article (at http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-12-10/google-revenues-sheltered-in-no-tax-bermuda-soar-to-10-billion.html)

So how much taxation is NOT going into the US coffers? That list of corporations using tax havens is long and they are all prosperous. So, when entitlements fall away, look at those places on why support is gone.

The only part remaining is an article that came to view as I was reading up on a few parts. It is at http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/03/25/economics-professor-smacks-down-bill-oreilly-he-has-no-idea-what-a-nanny-state-is/

And the story is about Professor Richard Wolff having a go at Bill O’Reilly. It was on ‘Democracy Now‘ so the idea that this is about a democrat having a go at a Republican should be clear.

The first part was in regards to “a clip of O’Reilly talking about the latest round of European bailouts, which O’Reilly said is happening ‘because they’re all nanny states’ that do not have enough workers to support ‘entitlements’.

So what are the numbers? According to the site, http://apografi.yap.gov.gr/ where the Greek state currently employs 614,053 people, 15,000 jobs got axed in the first half of 2013. The Greek population is around 11 million; this gives us that just over 5.5% of the ENTIRE Greek population works for the state. There are reports that this used to be over 20% (in 2011), so how is that not a nanny state? According to the Oxford press it is stated as “a view that a government or its policies are overprotective or interfering unduly with personal choice.” when 1 in 5 works for the government, overprotective seems to be the case. The only part I do not agree with, in this case, with Mr O’Reilly is that Greece seems more and more the consequence of short sightedness and utter stupidity. In reflection, when a government asks Goldman Sachs to hide the size of their debt, I personally want to sail towards words like stupidity and irresponsibility.

Professor Wolff sees Germany and Sweden as Nanny States. That is not incorrect, however the next part “they’re the winners of the current situation. The unemployment rate in Germany is now below 5 percent.” is misrepresentation. First of all, when changes were needed (around 2009) Germany tightened the belt by A LOT! This is why it seems that they got off lighter, because they decided against borrowing (a lesson that the USA still has not learned). The second part is that Sweden has a different system. Yes, they do have a protective nanny state, but taxation is also higher. It is 57% at the highest tier; whereas the rich and playful in the US seem to pay only 29%. In addition, most Swedes are ‘proud’ (slightly overstated, I admit) to pay taxation. The more they pay, the higher their status. (Inwards they’ll sulk like nothing you’ll ever see).

So, Professor Wolff is missing his shares of facts too. In addition, Sweden had to deal with its own issues in 2003 as Ericsson dismissed thousands of people. They went from 85,200 staff members in 2001, to 51,600 in 2003. That is over 33000 in just 2 years. Try finding a job in IT in 2003. So as Sweden got itself back on its feet, they had moved themselves into a position to remain cautious. There is a good PDF file to read, it is called ‘Growth and renewal in the Swedish economy‘ It is by McKinsey and Company and worth reading. I wanted to add the link, but like Google’s ability to avoid taxation; they are getting better and better in avoiding clean links (just huge links full of Google statistics garbage). Although Sweden got through it all not too harmed, their current projections are not too good. Their deficit is likely to rise to 3% this year. One of the more noticeable incomes Sweden had was from Vattenfal and their nuclear power plant, the issues in the UK showed that Vattenfal has issues, some of their sites (outside of Sweden) were not panning out the way they were. www.vattenfall.com/en/file/Q2-report-2013_35251329.pdf has some interesting materials. So as they reported an operating profit of MINUS 25 billion (in Swedish kronor), they are still there, but that is an amount that hurts, and of course as they depreciated that much, it will affect the Swedish deficit. Let us not forget, they only have a population of 9.5 million and unlike Greece they are doing decently well. As for health care? The numbers from the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) show us two interesting facts, percentage of government revenue spend on health gives us USA 18.5% (highest), whilst Sweden spend 13.6% (lowest), then look at the percentage of health costs paid by government which gives us USA with 45.1% (lowest) and Sweden with 81.4% (2nd highest). So, either the Swedes get a much better bang for their buck, or in comparison the American system is extremely flawed. There are ways to find out which, but compared to the UK, which is almost identical to Sweden in covered health costs, yet the slightly higher spending by the UK government leaves me with the thought that an overhaul of US healthcare was essential, but until I see the actual numbers on the new system, I will remain doubtful whether Obamacare would ever be a solution (but I refuse to judge until better numbers are known).

So in the end, the information by Professor Wolff reads less correct when you take another look at certain facts.

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