That is what I wanted to shout out loud today, not because of a scene between Tom Cruise and Cuba Gooding Jr, but because of the story written by Larry Elliot (the Guardian economics editor). He is not wrong, probably with his insights and degrees he is more right than anyone else so why am I all up in arms about it? You see, if he is right then there is something extremely wrong with this world. Here is the crux, either he is wrong, or the bulk of the planet has become demented. What will it be?
Why do I consider this to be my view?
The view evolves when we consider the following aspects of the British economy. First there is “The budget deficit will be almost £100bn this year and is rising. It was supposed to be below £40bn. If the current Treasury chief secretary, Danny Alexander, is foolish enough to leave a little note for his successor, he will only need to insert one word into the one penned by Byrne: still” and “Britain currently enjoys the sort of growth rate that Germany, France and Italy can only dream about. The economy should expand by 3% this year, making the UK the fastest growing G7 nation. Jobs are being created at a record rate, a development that explains why Britain is proving a magnet for migrants from the rest of the EU“, we have seen this. Yet, as immigration is not capped to the extent it should be, jobs go to the cheap Polish workers, whilst we see a massive +50 workforce unable to get jobs, which we get from the Guardian (at http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/nov/13/unemployment-fall-masks-jobless-over-50s). “Bennett is one of more than 400,000 people over 50 in the UK who is registered as unemployed, according to the latest official jobs data released yesterday“, you see, the mature experienced workforce is deemed useless in many areas and as such, the economy will take two hits. The first one is that these people in the end still cost money, in the second that as companies rely on cheap labour; we see that they go three steps forward, two steps back; it is getting them nowhere fast and at great expense too. So as those people have an income, the companies are just scraping by, having therefor the dubious benefit of living at tax level zero. That keeps the Osborne coffers (also known as the UK treasury) pretty empty.
Let’s take a look at some events linked here “Former BBC director general Mark Thompson has said sorry for the £100m failure of the BBC’s Digital Media Initiative (DMI)“, “Siren police IT project’s £15m failure a ‘debacle’” and not to forget “Abandoned NHS IT system has cost £10bn so far“. There is a level of sheer incompetence that is beyond measure. Yet, I think it goes further than that, I think that as areas have cut back and scrapped from the bottom of the barrel, we see cogs of non-comprehension that just twirl having no connection to any other cogs. Companies, which are no longer structured in the old ways, but still presented as such, they are niches into rooms, where only the manager has access. Like the American cubicles, that only one person oversees, absent of checks and balances, whilst the people no longer talk to each other, no clear communication. That represents the new era of work. The 50+ population have seen why there are issues with the cubicle approach and the manager who needs to get the task short-sightedly done is barring 50+ from being hired, this results in a sliding slope of minimised success.
What do they have to do with one another?
Let’s get back to the writing of Larry Elliot at this point “It took until 2013, however, for the level of output to get back to its pre-recession level, the slowest recovery of the post-second world war era. Osborne thought the economy would cope with austerity better than it did. He underestimated the impact of higher VAT and cuts in spending on growth. The chancellor thought his tough deficit reduction plan would boost growth by generating more confidence in the private sector that the books were being balanced. He was wrong. The upshot was weaker growth, lower than expected tax revenues and higher than expected borrowing. Half way through the coalition’s term in office, Osborne abandoned the idea of sorting the deficit in one parliament, and reverted to a more modest plan akin to that drawn up by his predecessor, Alistair Darling”
The crux is “The upshot was weaker growth, lower than expected tax revenues and higher than expected borrowing“. I think that it is not entirely correct! Yes, Elliot writes the truth, but behind the curtains we see projects failing due to bad decision making (like the headlines mentioned earlier), in addition we see mergers of an unparalleled size “The chemist chain Boots is being sold to the American retail company Walgreens in a £10bn deal that is delivering a huge pay-day for its private equity owners“, which sounds nice, but how does that fill taxation coffers? It does not!
Corporate choices are made to avoid taxation like “U.S. Treasury Seen Loser in Tax-Avoiding Pfizer Move to U.K.” is at the heart of the second tier of failures. Not a failure by George Osborne, but a failure by their corporations that bleed nations dry, whilst not being held accountable, there the nations have failed themselves by not alter the proper legislations to avoid these acts of non-taxability. Whatever happens next will happen too late, the coffers are empty and those who walked away will do so in non-taxable luxury for the rest of their lives and the lives of the next 3 generations of their family to come.
The next part has a few issues (none of them are Larry Elliot) “The foundation notes that two-thirds of people who have moved from unemployment into work in the last year are paid below the living wage, the average self-employed person earns 13% less than they did five years ago and there are around 1.4m contracts not guaranteeing a minimum hours. Over half of them are in the lower-paying food, accommodation, retail and administrative sectors” Many of these lower paid jobs are all about areas where we see high rent, a massive drive to turn around orders and well above counted hours are needed. Life in London (as well as in Sydney) has become a life not unlike hyenas. These bosses are trying to stay afloat, which they do by hiring the weak, the cheap and the manipulative. One waitress mentioned this in a forum “Now I understand I am competing with people on the dole who can be near enough forced to work for free but it still sounds a bit shady“, the mention has bearing, as people are pushed more into unpaid extra hours, less rights, less options and less energy, we see a community that has devolved from symbiotic into parasitic, with only one winner in the end, the landlord!
Both the UK and Australia have been unwilling to deal with this entity, leaving the people at large to fend for themselves without any support.
The next part is a statement of fact, there is nothing against it in any way “If it is taking longer than expected to knock the budget deficit back into shape, the same can be said of Osborne’s other objective – to boost exports from a re-invigorated manufacturing sector so that Britain once again pays its way in the world”
How to go about it is at the heart of it and several options are open as they always are, but consider that out of a dozen avenues, one is a solution, three are deadly and the rest tend to have a costly non solving effect. Several parties in play, not Just George Osborne, but in that same view, Alistair Darling and Gordon Brown all had the same flaw (as I personally see it). Instead of finding a solution that is a mere band aid, they all failed to seek the solution which had the visionary idea to include the next generation. I had that idea on two instances; the one that matters here is the article ‘What’s in a health system?‘ on June 29th 2014, where I state “When people ask which company will do this, the answer should be ‘None!’. The UK is filled with universities, some of them regarded as the most prestigious and brightest on the planet. Consider that most IT people, might claim experience, yet their drama skills are the only ones that improved for the most, is it not up to the Universities, those who are introduced to the newest ideas, design a solution that would make the work of the doctors and nurses at the NHS better, slightly more efficient and a truckload of less hassle! Is that such a tall order?”
Like a regional solution for a independent Scottish IT environment, the visionary approach is to bring this to the universities, to develop a new system, not just a mere frame that goes on top of something else, but an actual new system, LINUX based option, a security enhanced LINUX for healthcare, one that is designed, not for 2016, or 2017, but for the next generation. Why not give the universities access to design their new future, not leave it to these current so called executives that waste up to 20 billion not delivering anything. That visionary approach is missing and it could be the death of us all (UK and Australia alike), we have so many similar issues, why not tackle them together, open up avenues that have never been considered. If you want visionary, then look at the Netherlands, they decided to change the bicycle lanes into solar panels, do you have ANY idea how many bicycle lanes the Netherlands has? It is actually a visible percentage of that nation’s surface. Now, they decided to give it a second function, which means generating electricity, without needing any space at all, illuminating the bicycle road through fluoresces, making it safer at night. They decided to attack road safety and energy issues all at the same time. That is the level of innovation we need to see, preferably without spending another 20 billion pounds. So how about changing, or better stated evolving universities and giving them a real hand in innovation and solving future problems we have ignored and left dead for granted (like the NHS).
The last part is seen here “Ed Balls, the shadow chancellor, said: “I am not that bothered about being behind on economic competence. In opposition, we are always behind on economic competence. Brown and Blair were at this point before the 1997 election. “I would rather we were further ahead in the polls but the Tories are leaving it a bit late for a feel-good surge. That’s why Cameron is talking about red lights flashing on the dashboard. Maybe he thinks he can scare people into voting Tory.””
I disagree, Ed Balls needs to get scared shitless real fast! George Osborne needs to do something similar! Economic competence is not something that is behind, the indicators are that they are close to non-existent. As numbers are hidden behind the statistics of ‘% of GDP‘ we are diluting ourselves that we have a handle on things, once the message is that the total debt has decreased below 750 billion, we have an actual message, but for now, that 25% decrease is nowhere in sight. Life in the UK is all about meeting the payment of the interest debt, whilst none are tackling any solution regarding the total debt for the future. That danger has been voiced by several players all over the field. The message now is that ‘Investors Underpricing Risk May Threaten Growth, IMF Says‘ (at http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-09-17/investors-underpricing-risk-may-threaten-growth-imf-says.html) as well as ‘Flug Flags Underpriced Risk as Investors Drop Corporates‘ (at http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-09-30/flug-flags-underpriced-risk-as-investors-drop-corporates.html), which gets a punch from today’s news ‘New York Hops on $15 Billion Israeli Corporate Bond Boom‘ (at http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-11-30/new-york-hops-on-15-billion-israeli-corporate-bond-boom.html). Like the housing in Hackney through Westbrook Partners and Round Hill Capital in the Netherlands, we see again a change in markets (like they always will), but this is different. Like Greece (again) last week with “A Greek official says the country is under pressure from rescue creditors to impose new austerity measures to resolve an ongoing budget disagreement worth a reported 2 billion euros ($2.5 billion)” (at http://www.cnbc.com/id/102222375), we see a market that keeps on getting pushed whilst there is no money left. By the way, those two players (Westbrook Partners and Round Hill Capital), did you consider combining these facts?
Have you considered when Westbrook goes market value and they merge with 2-3 other players (perhaps Round Hill Capital as one of them), when they merge, how much taxation will be missed out then, also, what danger will these tenants be placed in at that point?
So back to Greece and their dwellings, Greece should both be dissolved and offered to Turkey (just to make it sting a little more) or they need to clean up their act, including dealing with these massive strikes. Let’s not forget that Greeks themselves did this to Greece (partially through Goldman Sachs). We see cogs of greed interacting, finding new connections not to be held accountable, whilst its population gets the bill, blaming Germany for all of this. In that same light we see how we are now confronted with underpriced risks. So, not unlike the 2008 crash with all these “sub-prime” borrowers and bailing on 8 trillion, we now see governments trying to intervene by ‘forcing’ banks to make low cost loans to the underprivileged “sub-prime” borrowers, trying to create a fake boom, whilst at the same time, they have created a more likely than not risk that it will only explode in their faces, whilst imploding their economy (this is as I personally see it). Here in the end, we see that the bank wins no matter what, either the government pays them, or they just own it all. Like the landlords of London, it will destroy the quality of life for more and more people, whilst not showing any resolution in solving the actual problems.
This all comes together when we consider the IMF part on underpricing risk (mentioned earlier), there we see the part that is truly linked to all our woes: “Policy makers from the Group of 20 nations meet this week in Cairns, Australia, to discuss ways of boosting global demand. The Fed today maintained a commitment to keep interest rates near zero for a “considerable time.” At the same time, Fed officials raised their median estimate for their policy interest rate at the end of 2015 to 1.375 percent, compared with the 1.125 percent estimate made in June“. The crux: “ways of boosting global demand” it is at the heart of the failures we see. It is worse than bad marketing. The last thing we need to do is boost demand. We need to resolve debts. Yes, the US wants to see demands boosted, as it was one step away from bankruptcy 5 steps ago. They are trying to bluff into a new era of not being dead, whilst they have been unsuccessful in dealing with their debts, having no solution and even less options. We must find another way. If the Netherlands, one of the smallest nations in the world can turn around an age of innovation to their advantage in a novel way never seen before, then so can we! If you wonder how this linked, then consider how their solution can become a new era of energy independence all over South America, parts of America and all over Europe and Africa. Solar panelled roads, a patented solution that can change the face of the earth in one mere step. Once the high pressure solution is done for cars, we will see a new era of energy. Not bad for a place that is famous for wooden shoes and a leaky dike! So where are we in the Commonwealth? Where is our innovation?
In the end Larry Elliott spoke the facts, the truth and wrote an excellent article, I just disagree with the views they link to, in the end, it might be me who was wrong and it is all in the eye of the beholder!
In this age of debt, innovation and Intellectual Property are soon to become the only currency that will have any true value! The Commonwealth needs its own share of those, less it becomes as desperate as America currently is.