Tag Archives: poverty

A Greek Fatality

Greece is in a dubious place. On one side it is trying to advertise the appeal to invest in Greece, whilst on the other side it is trying to emphasize that discussions with Turkey and its ascension into the EU must continue. We might go with what we see in the AFP, yet there with “ending Turkey’s accession talks would be a strategic mistake that would maybe benefit only for Erdogan“; Turkey merely ended their own options. The rules were clear, you either adhere to certain standards, or you are not invited. The fact that others must give Turkey the umpteenth chance merely shows how desperate the EU has become. So when we see “Turkey is an important regional power and should remain engaged, added Tsipras, but also called on Turkey to respect international law and stop provocations“, we need to remind Alexis Tsipras that he is in not such a great place, so fathering solutions for optional investments into Greece is a slightly too dangerous a game to play. France is in a similar place. With “French President Emmanuel Macron said Turkey remained a vital partner of the European Union and ties should be maintained even if the country had strayed from the EU path, according to a newspaper interview published on Thursday” we see a President Macron that is becoming merely a facilitator for economic exploitation. Perhaps both need to learn the little lesson that many have voiced. “If You Don’t Stand for Something, You’ll Fall for anything“, it is a shallow and sad inheritance that the EU is leaving behind. A place that was high and mighty in what they call morals, whilst they are all about big business exploitation. The entire Turkey endeavour is partial evidence of that. The ignore through inclusion or else, whilst the current members cannot maintain their budgets, have no control over the expedient spending and the EU in dozens of trillions of debt, add to that an ECB that prints unsupported billions per month and we get a very dangerous situation. Reuters gives us in addition with “France’s Macron, a centrist, was elected in May on a pro-EU platform that included pledges to create a euro zone budget that would be voted through by a euro zone parliament and supervised by a euro zone finance minister” we are merely treated to a fantasy, a fairy tale that will not result in any budget, merely less transparency and more spending. It is also a first step to get the ECB with two years of utter irresponsibility of the hook. With “Stournaras said the euro zone should be strengthened because the ECB cannot be the single institution responsible for ensuring the euro zone’s stability nor can it maintain its ultra-loose monetary policy forever” Reuters is treating us to the first whiffs that the ECB plan has failed. It wants some level of contingency whilst not willing to throw the utterly overpaid ECB members in some prison until their flesh rots and their bones have bleached to something that reminds us of the colour white. It is merely a sham, set to get two more issues on the table. The overspending of Greece on the bond market, which will set the Greeks in another setting, which will bring certain facilitators dozens of millions in some bonus and nothing more than that, no solutions or gain towards any solution at all. This whilst adding Turkey to a field of players that we have been very outspoken against. Unless Turkey adheres to some minimum level of standards, levels that have not been met 16 fold, should be barred from the EU table. A collection of nations trying not to see that the game ended, they lost and they are not willing to face consequences. The good side is that as Brexit continues, every continued achievement within the UK will mean that France and Germany will face levels of what might become civil revolt against the hardships the people there will face and the politicians who placed them there sooner and sooner. You see, there are a growing amount of articles regarding the Germans and their new class of working poor. I think it is a little exaggerated, but the truth is not far from there. The US has a growing group of people working two jobs merely to make ends meet, for the most they are barely above the poverty line. Yes, that is right, two full time jobs merely to stay barely above poverty. The nations that is claiming to be in such good economic growth is handling it’s one percent by making sure that the disabling of the lower 40% is growing at a steady pass. The numbers are not that harsh yet, but for the most, that group has not seen clear quality of life improvements for well over a decade and Germany is slowly going into that very same direction. In Germany the poverty group grew by 0.5% in one year. As the news is hiding behind ‘new tools’ and reports, the Financial Times gives us: “I survive but I cannot live,” says Doris, a 71-year-old retired nurse, in the former German coal mining town of Gelsenkirchen. “I have no money to go to the ballet, or even €10 for the cinema. But what really eats me up is that I can’t afford to give presents to my grandchildren” (at https://www.ft.com/content/db8e0b28-7ec3-11e7-9108-edda0bcbc928), it is more than merely a story, or merely a small anecdote. It is the growing concern of many Germans and the rest of the EU is pushing the events under a large carpet, but under that carpet are more and more issues that are becoming visible. Even as jobless rates are going down, poverty rises. As the EU is not giving rise to the dangers that exploitative models like the ‘Uber show’ (and other players like that), we see a growing trend towards legalised slavery. In this Germany is following the trend of the USA, where the bottom 40% of these ‘earners’ have nothing left, no savings, no assets and no future to speak of. In this, the EU has become the one party to ignore its local members to degrees never seen before. So as we laugh loudly at the non-sincerity of people like Mario Draghi, we need to be aware that extremism towards the right is almost a given in whatever comes forward in the next wave of elections.

It is the gap between rich and poor that is becoming the next danger. You see, it surpassed 20% by a fair bit in Germany and only in France is this difference larger, so as President Macron is not able to turn the tide on all the plans he made, we see that the dangers many tried to prevent with quick BS schemes are now at the turning point of blowing up in the faces of all who played this game. Now, we can agree or disagree whether Marine Le Pen would have been the solution, I personally do not think she could have made any better switch, what is an absolute given is that whatever comes next is not going to be that simple. And as more are screaming some ‘balanced’ none ultra-right change, the very real danger is that these speakers will no longer be heard or regarded as some option. In this the Financial Times will soon show how the poor side of the equation will no longer be contributing to the economy, because of health and mere minimum standards. The Greek fatality will come to show us all what happens when non-equality and non-accountability will destroy entire generations as well as any economic options that might have been, merely because greed and exploitation was given too much leeway. A first step in this was shown last week in Greece with “especially the IMF – to push through liberalization as an ingredient for jump-starting the country“, this however is the danger as we see “A five-point agreement, dating to the summer of 2015, between social partners and employers’ groups is already in place, with the highlight being that the specific law (1264/1982) should be modernized, especially in order to preclude “practices of poor implementation”. Conversely, the agreement does not dispute workers’ right to strike and constitutionally protected union activity“, these poor implementations are optionally the dangers to the fact that workers will lose even more rights than they bargained for. As the ECB is about to ‘attack‘ protectionism, we will see a growing amount of ‘entrepreneurial’ options like Uber, that will leave people with a presentation and no reality in a protected way of life. And I mean a certain minimum level where workers should have some protection from exploitation, which is not about to happen. We might agree that Uber was a nice idea, yet when we see that passengers are not insured, that is merely the tip of the iceberg and I am merely looking at drivers that have the best intentions and merely want to make some cash for their family. They are getting less and less; they have to agree to almost insane conditions. Even as we see and agree that Wired and the BBC are giving us an extreme with “London’s latest cut-price Uber rival is being investigated by TfL“, do you think that this is merely one case and the end of it? So as this Taxify is merely one player, hiding behind “it would “always” have lower fares than Uber“, how long until it becomes a wild west? Even as it is stopped operations in London, it is active in 18 countries. So how are they looked at there? How many are part of the EU and how is this so called one EU in any way ready for Wild West companies to make a quick coin and get out after the damage is done? It is that level of failure that we will see in Germany, France and Italy. So as the large three need to find solutions, the quality of life goes straight into the basement and what is left cannot continue. That was the danger from the beginning and the EU and its political branch as it fails yet again. But nobody cares because Draghi and Yellen will blame protectionism and leave the rest to rot (for lack of a better example) as they enjoy 8 figure incomes. It will not hit them.

We can agree that there will be entrepreneurial events, some will find the golden goose others missed and that is fine, but at present as protectionism is low, as poverty is rising whilst there is a diminishing unemployment group, we need to wonder how the EU has failed its Europeans and whilst it will find a deal to remove mere values towards Turkey and tries to facilitate for more markets we see that there is very little left of this so called Economic European bloc of areas. Brexit came slightly too late but it might still be on time to keep British values up and growing, when that is shown France and Germany will run for the nearest exit. That is not a speculation, it is an absolute given, because soon enough the one percent who has had the media at their back, will not have any backing from a group that needs to stay alive and out of the hands of millions upon millions of angry people, people that will demand local solutions from people who can no longer give those solutions, or even give rise to the existence of those solutions. When that happens, Europe will not be a nice place to be for some time. Should you doubt this (always a valid option) that consider that Italy one of the 4 largest economic nations in the EU now has over 1 in 4 in the South of Italy that is in poverty, nationwide it is at 7.6%, the largest since 2005. So as some are in denial, the numbers do not lie and they are growing at an alarming rate, so even as we see news of a stabilised economy, we see that poverty is basically through the roof. Yet Draghi is not held to any of those standards, he keeps on printing money, 60 billion a month, leaving the poverty groups fending for themselves as they are growing. A clear warning that the Greek situation should have given the EU politicians, they basically all ignored it, because they had a PowerPoint presentation stating that it was not so.

The Greek fatality that is soon on our doorstep will force a new way of thinking. Not merely to the creditors, but to hold those in office accountable and prosecutable. The nice part is that in the largest 4 economic EU nations there would be enough votes to push that change, I wonder how many people will reside in EU politics the moment that shift happens. I wonder how the employment contracts change overnight before the legislative change comes through. The last is speculative from my side, but the evidence we have seen so far supports my worst fears.

Bloomberg partially confirms this. With “Eldorado Gold is the largest foreign investor in Greece and its decision comes as the country, which is working on creating a sustainable path to exit its bailout program, tries to lure foreign investments”, yet with ‘delays in acquiring routine permits’ we see that in the years that Syriza has been in power, the simplest parts of infrastructure arte not in place. We see (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-09-11/eldorado-s-greek-suspension-threatens-country-s-investment-image) that the government is failing in more than one way. With “I’ve been with Eldorado since February and CEO for five months and I haven’t had any hostility from the government, but just haven’t seen progress on permits”, we need to ask serious questions regarding dropping oversight from Greece, whether the Greeks should be allowed on the bonds market at all. You see, if you allure investment without infrastructure, you have nothing. That is the short and sweet of it all and the players in this debacle are talking a lot and not doing anything. Tsipras did not merely fumbled the ball, he forgot that he is on a playing field, he forgot about the dimensions of this field, he forgot about the referee in this and we now see that he is not aware on the rules of the game to participate. A failing on four fronts in one go, in this they claim to be ready without oversight on creditors? Who are you kidding here?

In this we see even more failings from the ECB and the EU, because in the oversight of the funds given to Greece, we see that there was no proper setting for even the largest investors, giving us the clear path that the EU failed even more because they had to be on par with all this. If not, they have given up their right to existence in all this. They could be regarded as the useless pegs that hold up the virtual tent, a tent that only exists in the minds of the Greek governing party and as such, as the tent is a virtual and exists in only their minds, the pegs would actually be redundant. It sounds harsh, but that is the clear evidence that Bloomberg is giving us. So as we now see ‘Shares in Eldorado have fallen 52 percent in the past year and were trading down 6.5 percent at 09:44 am local time in Toronto’, we can argue that Greece and the Greek government might be regarded as liable for a lot more than they anticipated. As such, what other projects would fail and what will the fallout be from these losses? Jobs, income, visibility as well economic progress, all lost in an instant because the Greeks were not ready to commit. It is a Greek fatality with more casualties than most realise and more will come to the view of others. Even as Reuters gives us that the IMF should commit towards Greece, we now see that such a step is ill advised. Why pour money into anything that will not take the issues serious. Did Greece really think that leaving their largest investor hanging for well over a year would constitute any solution? As such Greece is merely the first, France and Italy have other issues and equal worries, the fact that the EU never clearly looked at certain aspects in Greece gives everyone the worry what else did they not look at, or basically ignore. As such, is Greece merely the first visible fatality? Will we see new references towards Greece? The Greek play could now refer to a version of ‘theatrics‘ as well as a version of ‘doomed economic presentation‘. I will let the English language experts look at that one (just to keep them busy).



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FACT on piracy?

There is a newscast that got to me in the middle of the night (at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-25575298).

Now, let me start that I am not in favour of digital piracy in any way. I have had a fortunate live, so for the most, I could go to the cinema and enjoy the big screen. At times I got to buy a DVD/Blu-ray, so I could enjoy the quality of the movie at home.

What gets to me is this quote “A spokesperson for the Federation Against Copyright Theft (Fact) said that piracy puts jobs in the entertainment industry at risk and prevented future investment in entertainment.

This spokesperson needs to take a hard look at himself/herself in the mirror in regards to the ‘BS’ (as I personally see it) that is proclaimed by said spokesperson! Why?

The 25 most profitable movies represented in the US alone $5.2 billion dollars. At the top is Iron Man 3 which did $400 million in the US, but did an awesome $1.2 billion worldwide. So, there is no future danger to investments, there is a truckload of money to be made there and greed is trump. An additional interesting fact is that the second Hobbit movie is on that top 25 too. It made over 200 million in one week, so lighten up FACT!

Perhaps FACT needs to take a new look at the message they are proclaiming. What angers me is that this is pretty much the same BS Sony ‘voiced’ gave when all that music was shared in the early 90’s (when the US had similar poverty numbers) on how much damage they had.

These people do not realise that a large portion of the US and the EEC is in such a recession that the people cannot afford the luxury of going to the cinema (or buying a DVD for that matter). In the US the poverty line now hits 1 for every 7 Americans, so it is time for FACT to wake up! In the UK things are slightly better, but only 1.1% better, making it 1 in 7 as well. So, perhaps FACT would like to take that into consideration before blaming dangers to piracy?

Who downloads movies?

Well, the main group here in my view remains the student population (who can hardly make ends meet as school fees go up and up). In addition I must state that this does not OK the transgression, but consider that these people have little options to see anything. Prices go up, yet students end up with less and less. The second group is the poverty group, who likely have no internet, but rely on a friendly neighbour to burn them a DVD. I am not saying that this is good, legal or acceptable! I am just saying that perhaps setting the right dimension might help ‘comprehension’ for those who cannot afford any of it anyway.

the second quote that the BBC gave “Piracy threatens the livelihoods of over 1.5 million people whose jobs rely on the continued success of films, TV programmes and other forms of entertainment that are created in the UK.” reads a little better, but I fear that this is slightly disjointed. We dealt with films, but we did not deal with TV programs. There we see that the big ‘winner’ is Game of Thrones (HBO) the quote that another site gave me “It also seems that those involved in Game of Thrones are not too worried by the levels of piracy around their show.

This does not make it OK, but consider that these series can only be watched with a subscription and that in the UK and the US 1 in 7 is below the poverty line. The financial situation in many European countries is not that much better, then perhaps those involved should realise that they, for the most are not doing that bad. Forbes showed an additional side to the HBO dilemma (at http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2012/05/10/international-audiences-have-few-choices-to-legally-watch-hbos-game-of-thrones/). Consider that the three pirated TV series that truly jump out are all HBO series. Can FACT explain how these poverty driven families can shell out $50 a month for cable? And, even those making minimum wage (which is only marginally better than poverty) can often not afford any of the choices FACT would deem acceptable.

So, and your truly (meaning me!), did I ever watch an illegal movie version? (I never downloaded it!) Yes, I did once. It was Star Wars Episode One and I only watched it because the Movie was launched 4 months later in the Dutch cinema then in the US (an unacceptable time-lag for such a movie). I still watched it in the cinema, I bought the DVD and later the Blu-Ray and so they got more than their money’s worth!

So, is there a real issue?

Depends on how you look at it. From my point of view, the bulk of those downloading the movies and/or TV series cannot afford them in any way, which means that there would never have been a sale to begin with. Those who are above that mark are a decreasing population. As TV series and movies are offered via iTunes, consoles and other digital media for just a few dollars, getting the series (or movie) in that way would be preferable to many viewers, especially as those versions tend to be of better quality. The growth in sales as claimed by some (an increase of 40% in digital sales), means that the tide is shifting. The biggest group that remains has no way of buying it ever under the economic pressures they face.

Yes, you might have a case against these people, but consider how movies claim to make so many billions. Do they really want to go on a hunt for those who live below poverty? Has it truly come to this?

How about we use all that effort to get these people a ‘decent’ income?

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the upcoming currency

We have seen many events this last year. For the most, in many nations it had all been about hardship, bills, Economic downfall and more hardship. Even though the UK said the hard times are over, it is clear that many see and feel that the hard times are far from over and even though the economy is slowly returning, that moment of less personal pressure is nowhere near at the moment. The same could be said for the US. They are worse off (source at http://money.cnn.com/2013/09/17/news/economy/poverty-income/ ). This means that in the US, one in 7 is now in poverty. I thought that this was a unique number, but it seems that 1983 and 1993 had similar numbers; I actually had not known that. What makes this worse is that in 1993 the US debt was just over 4 trillion and in 1983 it was a third of that ($1.3T). So when someone tells you that it was like this in the past and it will all be better, then he/she will be lying to you.

Why does it matter?

The issue I have is that the LA Times reported this (at http://www.latimes.com/business/money/#axzz2p7uudgwk) ‘Dow finishes year up 26.5% in record year for stocks

Now, many of you (me included) have made the same mistake, a good Dow does not make for a good economy. If so, then one in seven would not be in poverty and the US would not be down well over 17 trillion dollars. This statement is one that I cannot stand behind, because the evidence is strongly overwhelming. Consider what many might have seen on the news (Sky News, Fox News, CNN, BBC World). It seems that staff at Wal-Mart is not doing too good. (at http://articles.latimes.com/2013/nov/20/news/la-ol-walmart-thanksgiving-living-wage-poverty-20131120). So we read that “its Canton, Ohio, store decided to organize a Thanksgiving food drive for fellow workers.” It was also nice that a celebrity like Ashton Kutcher is outraged over this. So, we see that Dow is up, because Wal-Mart is paying below the poverty line. How is this any representation of a fair America?

Under these conditions, the only fair thing Americans can do is to avoid Wal-Mart and shop at their local shops. It is quite simple, when Wal-Mart loses a massive size of their $17 billion revenue, when this money goes to local shops, they will be hiring staff. It might be a win/win situation for those currently on poverty. The MSNBC article (at http://www.msnbc.com/the-ed-show/leaked-document-shows-what-walmart-really-pay) shows a grim situation. Is it enough to see it as exploitation at best or slave labour in a slightly more realistic setting?

There is however more. It seems that McDonald’s is on that same horse. (at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/10/us-fast-food-protests-wages). Whether this is just a US problem remains to be seen. There are all kinds of jokes one could make on slave labor and an African American president, but you get the idea. There is no way that this does not hit him in any way as this happened on his watch! The question becomes how awake has he been whilst this was happening? When at least 6% of the Dow is created due to slave labour, it seems to me that questions should be asked on all matter of levels (which they are not). It is in that light that I find the Dow results very distasteful and wholly unacceptable.

When places like Coca-Cola pay 9% above the market rate and they are doing fine, why can’t others follow that same example? I must admit that 9% is indeed really good, but it is possible that Coca-Cola has evidence that this yields better and more loyal results. ‘Good for Coke!‘ I say (that slogan is likely to do very well in New York, L.A. and Amsterdam).

So, how is it all related to an upcoming currency? Well, is it that hard to believe that Wall Street will soon introduce the Dow Dollar? I am not talking about the Dow Jones FXCM Dollar Index, no I am talking about an actual physical currency. When (not if) America faces a total collapse, as any bankrupt nation is likely to face, then what will happen to the coinage on a global scale? Do not for one second think that Wall Street is waiting for that to happen, it might be that they have backup plans in place at this very moment. There will be a debate whether that coinage currently has an actual name. If you think that this is not happening, then think again. Do you think that a group of power players controlling Wall Street, who decide the fate of Trillions (of which hundreds of millions are theirs) do not have an alternative in place?

The sad part is that these Trillions are likely gained through tax shelters and tax havens. This is for now all perfectly legal, but when one in seven is in poverty, it shows a massive imbalance between the have’s and the have not’s. In addition, consider that the 442 billionaires the US have, several members are there because of their share of Wal-Mart. In opposition we see the owners of Coca Cola and Mars (the candy) and they made the list whilst paying their staff really well, so apparently slave labour versus a good product shows that a good product gets you there too!

Back to the coinage!

So this new dollar, which by the way is unlikely to be some ‘Bit-coin’!

I have had my issues with this on several levels as I wrote in the Wall Street Journal last July, where I wrote “until we can see some level of genuine foundation the fear remains that bitcoin has a danger to become the new detergent to launder all kinds of currencies. If that does happen, when the bitcoin is regarded by governments as devalued at 94%, what would be left?

That part is supported by an article last month (at http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/nov/18/bitcoin-senate-hearings-regulation), the Guardian also published this in addition at http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2013/dec/10/apple-blocks-bitcoin-payments-on-secure-messaging-app-gliph. So, there is an issue with a virtual currency! In all fairness, when a ‘bank’ changes value of a coin, where $400 in Bit-coin rises to $250,000 to those same coins within a few years, something is definitely wrong. Money doesn’t grow and yes we need money to make money, but it will never grow to this extent. This looks like all the makings of a new marketed pyramid scheme and after these fortunate ones are done, we will see a massive collapse, because it is all virtual currency. Then what? Who will then be held accountable? Currency not supported by any valued mint (like Gold as currency used to be set against) is likely to yield a catastrophic result to the owners.

This brings us back to that Dow Dollar. At present, the US bankruptcy remains a reality and when that happens, where will currency go? Let us not forget that the US debt ceiling becomes a reality again in February 2014. Nothing was ever resolved and the US is still no closer to getting its own house in order. The moment this escalates and fear of the future becomes a reality, stocks will go down quicker than the German Deutschmark in 1923. Can it all be prevented?

First of all, when an economy is getting better, being tax accountable is a first, the fact that through economic and international lawyering this is no longer a case remains to be fixed. There have been too many delays on that path. In my (debatable) solution all members of the Dow 30 will make an annual 1% contribution to the US treasury. If you as a member get this prestige, you get to pay for it! It is a founding principle that actually came from the United States. On the other side, the government with that accepts responsibility to become more than just budget neutral. Overspending should end and the US must not be allowed to spend above the amount of taxation collected. So no 100.01%, when this budget is reached, IT SHUTS DOWN COMPLETELY!

This means also means that politicians would officially be held accountable for their budgets and will serve time in prison when they fail (that should make an immediate rise to able personnel instead of these ‘friend of the senator’ positions). Lastly, that 1% contribution goes towards paying off the deficit. These funds are not allowed in any way to be used towards some payment or budgeting scheme.

You see, when people behind Wal-Mart and McDonalds make so much money that they get to be on the billionaires list, whilst their staff members are in poverty; we need to shake their houses in order. Sending invoices are a first step on that path. If they do not comply, they go to jail and their companies become nationalised. I know, it is extreme, but consider the validity of justice when a billionaire actually goes to jail (something that seems to only happen in Russia), it might make them clean up their act and it also gives rise a first anti-greed wave. This is something that had been long overdue.

So will this so called ‘Dow Dollar’ become reality? Yes! It will happen 0.021 seconds (roughly) after imminent bankruptcy is declared by the US treasurer (which is likely to be done from a plane or an airport location).

Have a nice 2014 and keep an eye on your savings!

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