Tag Archives: Princeton University

From Location to Innovation (loss)

It is a real estate dream, to talk about the location and therefor get a better price; we are all about getting a nice home, yet we look at places where we know it will sell for the 100%-200% of the price we paid for it, preferably within 5 years. Most of us looking for something oversized have at some point seen 924 Bel Air Road, Los Angeles, California. It is so over the top, so expensive that most billionaires might not even consider it. No matter how much of a technological, arts and lifestyle monument it is, complete with helipad. A house like that makes you a target of some sorts. There will always be envy, there will always be the next challenge and there will always be the next addition. To live in a house that has it all is for most you desire is unsettling. Weirdly enough it is within us, when we see this and we think ‘this is as good as it will ever get’, when we have that thought before we are 40 it becomes the limitation on us, it boggles our need of creativity. Now, for the most we need not worry, 99.99% of the population will never get near to 50% of that marker, but it is there, our minds creates this. So when a few articles passed my way, they started to add up and weirdly enough it is an opinion piece by John Naughton on June 16th that started it all. With ‘How Silicon Valley’s whiz-kids finally ran out of friends‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jun/16/how-silicon-valley-whiz-kids-finally-ran-out-of-friends) it begins.

With: “Once upon a time, Silicon Valley was the jewel in the American crown, a magnet for high IQ – and predominately male – talent from all over the world. Palo Alto was the centre of what its more delusional inhabitants regarded as the Florence of Renaissance 2.0“, I was never there, but I was linked to some degree and I say early on how greed took over, how opportunity seekers would resort to Machiavelli and other means to get what they desire and they never cared how they got there, it was their ‘political game’. Then we see a truth as the quote “the commentator Alexis Madrigal identifies no fewer than 15 different groups preparing ambushes. They include angry conservatives and progressive politicians, disillusioned tech luminaries, competition lawyers, privacy advocates, European regulators, mainstream media, scholarly critics, other corporations (telecoms firms, for example, plus Oracle and other business-software companies, for example), consumer-protection organisations and, last but not least, Chinese internet companies. With enemies like these, the US tech companies are suddenly discovering that they really need some friends.” the reason is actually simple. these US tech companies were heading in a direction of maximisation through iteration, as the need for true innovation was lost (not that innovation that places like Apple claim to have), others caught on and the drive that Silicon valley once had was no longer there, it was stepwise progression whilst the marathon runners like Taiwan, Korea, Japan and China caught up. Microsoft wasted its console world through mere stupidity and a spreadsheet (and being dumb and short sighted). That is why none of them are allowed near my IP (with the optional exception of Google). As innovation becomes iteration the margins went down and it brought regulators, tax haven needs and other players like competition and IP attorneys into all of it (as fore mentioned) and suddenly the grape season was out, the harvest had diminished and what in whiskey terms is called ‘the angel’s share’ grew leaving little to the others. I believe that the writer nails it with: “And we are beginning to realise that the immense power that the valley’s uber-geeks have acquired is what Stanley Baldwin memorably nailed as “power without responsibility – the prerogative of the harlot throughout the ages”” but there a mistake is made, there are two kinds in that valley, the dreamers and the combined needs of the operators and facilitators, that second group is more important to watch mainly because it stopped the first group. the second group thought that by putting their stallion in a paddock, fenced in and limited to a smaller part it would be more effective, and having 5 fields will lead to 500% of the goal, but that was stupidity speaking. Wild horses, real stallions need to race, the strongest takes the lead and together as they burn the ground under their hooves they become more agile, stronger players and their race goes towards the dream that they had no envisioned yet. that is how the iPad came, that is how Smartphone came that is how Nano technology comes and through iteration the next tier is not merely slower, the dreamers forgot to dream, they needed to produce in larger amounts with less resources, less space and that is how they got overtaken by said Korea, Japan and China. The results are in front of us and now that India is catching up in more than one way the dream of more fortune becomes the nightmare of losing it all. So when the final wisdom comes: “And once they went public they did what corporations do: maximise shareholder value, come what may, avoid regulation and pay as little tax as possible. Just like tobacco companies and arms manufacturers“, there we have it, the larger system was ignore thought compartmentalisation and no one realised just how stupid they were. that is one of two more reasons why I do not trust my IP with 98% of the tech firms, they will not learn because the inner parts are all about profit and maximisation, and through that weakness billions in revenue are lost, because of the fake dream that iteration brings the same in twice the time but at only a part of the resources, the biggest flaw is setting a profit stage to a spreadsheet, innovation can never be gained through predictive analytics, because predictive analytics gives the continuation of a product, not the consequence of a new technology beheld by a dreamer, there will never be data to do that and that is how it was all lost.

Round two

And that is how we got to round two last Saturday as Ruha Benjamin (associate professor at Princeton University) and even as she starts with ‘We definitely can’t wait for Silicon Valley to become more diverse‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/jun/29/ruha-benjamin-we-cant-wait-silicon-valley-become-more-diverse-prejudice-algorithms-data-new-jim-code), she gives a truth that I partially oppose (not the diversity), as it was always about the dreamers. Larry Ellison, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Larry Page, Sergey Brin, and Mark Zuckerberg they were all dreamers to some degree. That world needs dreamers and facilitators that push dreams into the reality of innovation. The more diverse that world is, the more diverse the dream becomes and the greater the achievement could be. It is true innovation in its purest forms and whilst the CEO’s took the words of CFO’s and marketeers that reality was forgotten. Marketeers hope and drive hypes, they cannot dream on something that they cannot fathom, it is the most destructive vicious circle imaginable. So when I see: “She founded the Just Data Lab, which aims to bring together activists, technologists and artists to reassess how data can be used for justice. Her latest book, Race After Technology, looks at how the design of technology can be discriminatory” I see both hope and failure. the hope is that as diversity of ‘activists, technologists and artists‘ unites, we see new paths, the artist sees a path and draws it, the technologist can devise it the activist can oppose the path and scream for a meadow to walk on, that is how innovation came, quote literally, the Dutch a nation the size of New Jersey gave us: ‘Dutch Solar Bike Path SolaRoad Successful & Expanding‘ (which gave me another idea with a more metropolitan and rural opportunity approach), innovated roads by catching sunshine to power the evening lights, it is true innovation in action and an optional path to reduce the carbon footprint, whilst getting the surroundings powered. When we see first results: “with 3000 kWh generated, the solar panels were outperforming the 70 kWh annual per square meter expected threshold set in the lab. In its first year, the SolaRoad produced 9,800 kWh, roughly equivalent to the annual average consumption of three Dutch households“, we see a path towards innovation. There is no doubt that data can be used for justice, but in which direction? Yet I too adhere to idea’s, I am a different dreamer and even with a law and a technology degree (including a master) I have not dreamt in that direction, perhaps this is for another dreamer, the need to recognise it is essential, to find the right dreamer.

And this is not an attack on Ruha in any way, she gives a clear premise with “Many of these automated systems are trying to identify and predict risk. So we have to look at how risk was assessed historically – whether a bank would extend a loan to someone, or if a judge would give someone a certain sentence. The decisions of the past are the input for how we teach software to make those decisions in the future. If we live in a society where police profile black and Latino people that affects the police data on who is likely to be a criminal. So you’ll have these communities overrepresented in the data sets, which are then used to train algorithms to look for future crimes, or predict who’s seen to be higher risk and lower risk“, you see this is observation towards risk, a path we have seen clearly in the last two decades, yet the opposite is also there, but how to set its dimensionality? It becomes big data in observation towards opportunity, a path never walked because opportunity is one identified once it is walked, a system cannot predict the dream if it cannot comprehend the dream, or the dreamer. It is designing a computer that will design computers. It is the ability to design Skynet (I just had to go there), with the optional danger of our own end (see the collected works of Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger). It is always most likely to fail because Ruha forgot to include a philosopher to her team. The computer fails because we forgot about philosophia, the love of wisdom, and as we forgot about that we merely ended with really clever calculators and calculators are never about predicting the future, it is about limiting cost and maximising profit in any endeavour (more money, more reserves, more energy, more resources) and these margins never lead to wisdom or innovation because the dreamer was missing and dreamers do not constitute a positive influx in that engine, sales and marketing did away with that, they always will.

To illustrate this let me give you a personal side. In 1997 I send a mail to a sales executive. I had recently by accident found the Warner Brothers Angelfire partnership site. They had united and every person could freely sign up to get a Buffy Address, a Babylon 5 address, a Charmed address and so on. It was static, you got access to fan art, you got 20Mb web space and an email address. In those days (pre Gmail) it was actually really cool, but there was no way to reach out, So I suggested that we have something similar and allow the people to reach each other and we would be in the middle being able to market to all of them. The sales executive laughed in my face, stating that it would never have any business premise, it was a useless use of resources, it was not in ‘the mission statement‘. I dropped it knowing it was a lost opportunity. Now we have Facebook. My idea was nowhere near it, it was not advanced it was merely messaging and marketing, the direct impact of no vision, 4 years before Facebook shown in two colours, Black and White, I still have the email somewhere, 4 years before the launch of Social media, I tried to introduce a path towards it. I have no doubt that Facebook would have overtaken me, I did not dream that advanced, but at least I had the dream and it is also for that reason that my IP will never go into hands like the limited ones I had to work with.

A limiting amount of opposition (from to her) is seen in “Part of that has been spurred on by Facebook and Cambridge Analytica and the US election. More and more people are realising that this idea of big tech coming to save us, it’s really been dismantled. Part of it is shifting from a kind of paranoia around technology to what my activist colleagues like to say: from paranoia to power“, I believe that data is data, it is not wisdom and I also believe that data can aid in finding solutions, yet to do that you must drive a solution, you must devise a way where data is the inspirer towards innovation and software cannot directly lead towards it, you can dashboard it to see where the needs are, you can report on it where the shortages are and you can make a slice and dice app to let people get a scope of information to feed the dream, but you cannot directly feed the dreamer as you cannot predict in what direction his dream goes. You can merely hope to bring the spark that makes the dreamer dream in his or her direction and hope it leads to innovation and at that part the CEO, COO, CFO and CTO will have come crying half a dozen times to stop the squandering of resources. She does address my view correctly when she gives us: “More diversity in Silicon Valley is important, but won’t automatically address algorithmic bias. Unless all those diverse people are empowered to challenge discriminatory design processes, diversity is a ruse” and she is correct and perhaps she also answers her own question.

In all this we forgot one group, we forgot about the children, we need to be able to look at data like a child and learn to randomly look at answers to questions that we aren’t even asking, it is the initial option of a spark (not a given) that leads to the insight we get with: ‘What If?‘, the need to embrace the obvious, not ignoring it, all this in data is required to get insights leading to wisdom, the question becomes how can this be addressed and form my personal point of view is to teach people about data as early as possible, not in a light of statistics, but in a light to something I got in the early 70’s, looking at the question ‘What is the chance something happens?‘, a simple ‘kans tol‘ (Chance spinner) which would give the younger watcher an indication on chance and statistics. When we add that to the equation what happens when creativity takes over and they start looking at what they can find, or even better, what they cannot find. The younger mind is more eager to find, and equally find missing. It is that part that we are missing out of and it matters, because it is the first step in learning the question that we are not phrasing, optionally overlooking the obvious.

Part Three (Final)

Finally we get to part three with ‘Why San Francisco techies hate the city they transformed‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2019/jul/01/san-francisco-big-tech-workers-industry). And we see part of the drive with “Even Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce and a San Francisco native who has long urged comity between the techies and the city, has taken to calling his hometown a “train wreck”“, we can only conclude that now that he bought Tableau it will get worse for him. Even as it is not about him, but the failing infrastructure with “one-bedroom apartment reached an all-time high of $3,700 a month“, which is more than twice the price for a real decent two bedroom apartment in Chicago, we see the impact, but not what is around all of them, yet it is not new, London has similar issues. As the people who can afford to live somewhere, we see that greed takes over turning the city into a carcass because it lacks a sustainable infrastructure. As people cannot afford to live near where they work, infrastructure becomes an increasing problem and as cities cater to large investors, they forgot that affordable living is essential; they merely pushed that issue forward and forward again and again. We see he escalation even further when we consider the quote: “San Francisco has become more of a satellite campus, with South Bay stalwarts including Apple, Facebook, Google and LinkedIn competing for office space in the city proper. They’ve joined the San Francisco-native companies Twitter, Uber, and Airbnb in the cramped confines of a city of just 49 square miles, surrounded by water on three sides” instead of diversifying and clustering over a much larger area, they all moved together, and as such thousands of employees need to live where they work and now prices are through the roof, it also impacts the bottom line, so as others decided to keep their stomping grounds in Columbus Ohio and as we see those in Madison Wisconsin, we see that the bottom line changes, yet they too push for space in San Francisco, so what was once the United States of America is not the Marketing needs of California. the sad part is that these people are all separated and isolated form one another through intellectual property, and as I am happy to make fun of Zendesk and their need to “file oppositions at the United States Patent and Trademark Office to 49 trademarks including the word “zen”“, all whilst we know that “Zen is a school of Mahayana Buddhism” that is reported and registered as something that is 1200 years old, so to see that there are at present well over 724 active trademarks which include the word “Zen” we see the replacement from inner peace to turf wars and it links to all of it, these people all think and associate alike, and as we have seen, it leads to iteration not innovation. And there we see the hoax in the serious setting. As we are introduced to: ““I feel like San Francisco is between Seattle and New York, but rather than the best of both, it’s the worst of both,” said Beth, a 24-year-old product manager who asked not to be identified by her real name. Beth moved to the city directly after graduating from Stanford to work at a major tech company, but recently transferred to Seattle. “Everyone I met was only interested in their jobs, and their jobs weren’t very interesting,” she said of her time in San Francisco. “I get it, you’re a developer for Uber, I’ve met a million of you.”” When you cluster together you create new bias and new limitations that merely stop you from dreaming. When you are in San Francisco, North of SF International Airport, you are now mostly all the same, think the same, work the same and you are all separated on three sides by water, and a failed infrastructure, you have no way to go. There we see the benefit that the two other locations have, space created opportunity and the chance to dream, a path to innovation, and I fear that things will turn from bad to worse for San Francisco. As greed pushed out the infrastructure, it removed diversity, it is not merely the diversity that pushes us to lows, the fact that some ideas came from watching someone do something else, the ability to see their interaction with the environment that allowed for new thoughts and that cubicles took that away, even if it is not called open space, it merely made the entire open space a cubicle. So whilst these people ‘enjoy’ their 55Km bus ride to Mountain view, we see that the same distance gets us to Santa Cruz and Monterey Bay, all with opportunity and other considerations and it is the ‘other considerations’ that are the treasure trove in this, because it changes the mindset of people, considerations lead to opportunity, opportunity is the foundation of innovation, it always has been, whether the innovation is accepted or rejected does not matter, it is the one that does go through that becomes the innovation that fills a corporate coffer, iteration merely lets it go on a little longer. Diversity shows that as others embrace an idea it can truly be improved on and create a new innovation, not a new iteration, but that only happens when the accepting diversity is large enough, and that is when we get the one quote that shows the disaster. With: ““It was really hard to stomach the indifference that I witnessed from folks who’d been living in San Francisco for a while, simply stepping over the slumped bodies of people who lived outside or just cold ignoring people asking for money,” said Jessica Jin, who moved to San Francisco from Austin, Texas, to work for a tech startup, of her first impressions of the city. “I wondered how long it would take me to also become numb to it all.”” we need to see that this is the largest danger. It is not that Jessica Jin moved to SF, it is ‘how long it would take me to also become numb to it all‘, that will be the moment that her dreaming to innovation ends, when we become numb, we merely create a shell to ignore what is around us and that is the first thing to thump innovation into silence, as I see it that has always been the first hurdle to lose innovation and soon thereafter they lose the ability towards iteration as well.

It is the larger issue to a much larger problem that we never properly defined, how did we lose the ability to properly dream a path to innovation, it is what drowns the creative mind and soon thereafter we get exactly what the CEO’s and CFO’s wanted, result driven worker bees, but that is what killed their company, the dream is lost and so is creation of innovation attached to it.

It is about location, location, location, but not in the way you thought it was. It was about the space to truly dream, too bad these hundreds of board members all forgot that one simple lesson, all whilst it was in front of them all along, most of them got into the board of directors using that path in the first place, how quaint!

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, IT, Media, Science

Insights or Assumptions?

Yesterday’s article in the Washington Post (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/global-opinions/wp/2018/01/22/the-rise-of-saudi-arabias-crown-prince-reveals-a-harsh-truth) is an interesting one. In this article Professor Bernard Haykel gives a view on the issues we are optionally likely to see in Saudi Arabia. I am not sure I can agree. You see, he might be the professor of the ‘Near Eastern Studies and the director of the Institute for Transregional Study of the Contemporary Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia’ at a prestigious place like Princeton, but my pupils tend to shape like question marks when someone’s title requires 13 words to be merely one part. We see in the article “depict him as power-hungry and corrupt, and cite these two impulses for his behavior and policies. When King Salman designated MBS as his heir in June 2017, MBS effectively became the most powerful man in the kingdom. And despite ill-advised purchases (including a yacht and a French chateau, which have cemented the impression of the crown prince’s greed)“, so how does that work? You see Prince Mohammed bin Salman is wealthy, his family is very wealthy, and as such is a yacht a splurge? It would depend on the price. Second there is the mention on a French Chateau. Well, I have taken a look and I fell in love with a house in France too, in Cognac (my favourite drink). The house (at http://www.rightmove.co.uk/overseas-property/property-58209296.html), has 7 bedrooms, is amazing in looks and in a nice village. The amount comes down to a little over a million dollars (money I obviously do not have), but consider that the same amount will only get you a decent 2 bedroom apartment in the outskirts of Sydney, within some suburbs and in the city, those prices will go up from 250%-1500%, depending on how outlandish your view needs to be, in a measly 2-3 bedroom apartment. So how does that make the Crown Prince greedy? Now his choice is a chateau 50 times that price and a family that owns billions can splurge a little. His place is west of Paris. And let’s face it, as some economies are going, having your money in something substantial is not the worst idea. His second splurge, linking him to greed and power hunger is a yacht. So how does that leap rhyme? I have no idea and I find the professors view slightly too speculative. Yet, the man is not done. He then gives us: “MBS is trying to deal with a harsh truth about Saudi Arabia: The kingdom is economically and politically unsustainable, and is headed toward a disaster“. There is a truth in that. As Saudi Arabia is dependent on oil, there will be a lull in their lives, as the need for oil exists, with prices going down, there is no real prospect of fixing it, but wait that is exactly what the crown prince is doing. He is setting forth his 2030 view, a growing move away from oil dependency, which is actually a really good thing to do. It does not make him greedy, merely a visionary that technological evolution is essential to the continuing future of Saudi Arabia. We then get two quotes that matter. The first I already gave light on with “a sclerotic state with limited administrative capacity and an economy that is largely reliant on declining oil revenues“, yet sclerotic? That means “losing the ability to adapt“, which is exactly what the crown prince is trying to achieve, adapt the nation to other options and new ways. The second is a lot harsher, but requires additional focus. With: “a venal elite comprised of thousands of royals and hangers-on who operate with impunity and are a huge drain on the economy. It is saddled with a bloated public sector which employs 70 percent of working Saudis, and its military is incapable of defending the homeland despite billions spent on armaments“, so we can argue on the wisdom of ‘employs 70 percent of working Saudis‘, I am not stating that it is true, but when we see Walmart in the US, who employs 1% of Americans pumping billions of profit into that one Walton family, we should wonder how wrong the Saudi actions are. So we might not see corporate greed like in the US, but is one method better than the other? I am not sure that this is the case. The other part I need to comment on is: “its military is incapable of defending the homeland“, what evidence is there (it is not in the article at all)? Let’s not forget that Iran has been a warmongering nation for DECADES! How many wars did Saudi Arabia get into? There was the Saudi -Yemeni war of 1934, The Gulf War, where Saudi Arabia was a member of the allied forces, the Saudi intervention in Yemen and the current upcoming conflict with Iran. So, regarding the inability to defend the homeland? Is that perhaps merely gesture towards the incoming missiles from Yemen? Well, we can bomb the bejezus out of Yemen, but it would imply thousands of civilian casualties as these people are hiding in the civilian masses. Something they learned from groups like Hamas and Hezbollah I would reckon, but that this is merely an assumption from my side. I found the restraint that Saudi Arabia has shown so far quite refreshing.

I am not stating that Saudi Arabia is holier than thou. Like any nation, it makes mistakes; it has views and a set infrastructure. It is moving at a pace that they want, not the pace Wall Street wants, which is equally refreshing.

The article gives us truths, but from a polarised setting as I see it. Yes, there is acknowledgement on the achievements too, in both the directions of the USA and Russia, and we can agree that just like 86% of all other nations (including the USA) that the economy is a weak point. So how is America dealing with a 20 trillion in debt? From my point of view, the USA has not done anything in that direction for over a decade. Instead of lowering the corporate tax to the degree it did, it could have left it 5% higher and let that part be reserved of paying of the debt and interest, oh right, the 5% will not even take care of the interest at present, so as such the USA is in a much worse place at present, which is not what the article is about, but we should take that into consideration, and the end of the article? With “Ultimately, MBS wants to base his family’s legitimacy on the economic transformation of the country and its prosperity. He is not a political liberal. Rather, he is an authoritarian, and one who sees his consolidation of power as a necessary condition for the changes he wants to make in Saudi Arabia“, is that true? The facts are likely true and when you employ 70% of a nation, economic transformations are the legitimacy of that nation. There is the one side Americans never understood. In the end, Saudi Arabia is a monarchy; their duty is the welfare of that nation. So it does not make him authoritarian (even as he might be seen as much), he is the upcoming new monarch of Saudi Arabia, a simple truth. Within any monarchy there is one voice, the King/Queen of that nation. So it is in theory consolidation of power, in actuality it is a monarch who wants all voices and looks to be towards an area of focus, what that is, the future will tell, but in the end, until the Iran-Saudi Arabia issue is solved, there will be plenty of space for chaos.

In this his path is clear and that is the part the professor did illuminate too. With: “MBS is trying to appeal to young Saudis, who form the majority of the population. His message is one of authoritarian nationalism, mixed with populism that seeks to displace a traditional Islamic hyper-conservatism — which the crown prince believes has choked the country and sapped its people of all dynamism and creativity“, it is his need to create a population that is nationalistic, that sees Saudi Arabia as a place of pride, which is not a bad thing. In a setting where the end of hyper-conservatism, as it can no longer reflect any nation in a global economy, is an essential path. He is merely conservative in not handing out all those large benefits and multi-billion dollar revenue in the hands of opportunists who are eager to take those billions over the border, out of Saudi Arabia at the drop of a hat, any hat. That will drag down the Arabian economy with absolute certainty. A dynamic and creative nation, especially fuelled by youth and enthusiasm could spell several wells of innovation and profit that could benefit Saudi Arabia. I think that the path from hyper-conservatism towards where it needs to be in 2023 is so far well played. He is not there yet, but the path is starting and that is in the end a good thing. The only thing that the US needs to fear now is that the creative and innovation path that Saudi Arabia is on, could spell long term problems for a nation that has been fixated on a iterative technology path where the US is no longer the front runner, they were surpassed by Asia some time ago, the US merely has Apple and Google. Oh no, they do not, because those are proclaimed global corporations. So where does that leave the US?

So as we see Bloomberg (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-01-22/imf-sees-global-growth-picking-up-as-u-s-tax-cuts-gain-traction) gives us ‘IMF Says Global Growth Picking Up as U.S. Tax Cuts Take Hold‘, which is a number I find overly optimistic, Global growth is set to 3.9%, yet the bad news cycle has not started yet, so I reckon that if the global economy ends at 2.45% it would not be a bad achievement. In that light I find the mention “The IMF also predicted that the tax plan will reduce U.S. growth after 2022, offsetting earlier gains, as some of the individual cuts expire and the U.S. tries to curb its budget deficit“. I believe that the US economy takes a hard hit no later than 2020 and the idea of ‘curb its budget deficit‘ is equally amusing, they have not been able to do that for 15 years and as there is at present every chance that President Trump is a one term president only, the Democrats are now likely to win by large margin and the entire budget curbing would be immediately off the table, because spending is the one thing the democrats have proven to be utter experts in, they merely leave the invoices for others to deal with, which is equally unhealthy for any economy.

And in that article we see exactly the fears that are mounting towards Saudi Arabia too. With “the IMF flagged protectionism, geopolitical tensions and extreme weather as risks to the global economy” we see a new frontal attack starting on protectionism. Mentions like “A reduction of Germany’s surplus would help reduce global imbalances” and it is not one source, hundreds of articles over the last 16 hours alone, all hammering the protectionism word in a bad light. It is now becoming all about trade protectionism, even under the terms of Brexit, we saw on how people were stating that it was a disadvantage, the single market falls away and as such the UK cannot benefit. Now that Brexit is still pushing forward, the IMF is changing their tune and it is now on protectionism and trade protectionism. Another way to state that tariffs and import fees are now a problem, it is the final straw in giving large corporation the push for benefit they need and many are in the States (IBM, Microsoft, 3M and so on), they would benefit and even as I mention Brexit, it also affects Saudi Arabia. As we saw last July: “Being a WTO member, Saudi Arabia is expected to bind its tariffs on over three-fourths of U.S. exports of industrial goods at an average rate of 3.2 percent, while tariffs on over 90 percent of agricultural products will be set at 15 percent or lower“, so the IMF is not merely voicing the fear of the US, it is equally scared that the stimulus backlash is about to his impeding presented global growth, the protectionism and trade protectionism are set to plead for open doors, I wonder if that also means that patent protectionism would have to end. I doubt that because pharmacy is what keeps the US afloat in more than one way, and is not a subject that is allowed to be tinkered in.

So were these insights or speculations?

I believe both the professor and myself were doing both, I admit to that upfront, whilst the professor set it in a text that is acceptable yet should have been raising a few more questions that the Washington Post is bargaining for. We can argue that this is a good thing, but it is my personal belief that even as it was a good and insightful article, in the end all the mention of power hungry and corrupt, in the end he showed no real evidence that this was a move of a power hungry person, especially as the person in question (Prince Mohammed bin Salman) is set to be the future king of Saudi Arabia, the crown prince is at the tip of the pyramid, so he needs not be power hungry. That can only be shown if he starts expansion wars with his neighbours. In addition no evidence is shown of corruption, I do not state that this is not the case, but if you accuse a person of being corrupt it would be nice to add actual evidence of that, which is merely my point of view.

In the end, through insight and speculation, I hope that you got some insights of that and feel free to google ‘IMF protectionism‘ and see how many articles were added in the last week alone. It is clear that Davos is about removing limitations, not actually growing a true economy. Which implies from my point of view is that Davos is about big business and what they need, not what the people desperately require. Consider that when you read about the ‘World Economic Forum Annual Meeting’ and when you see who is present. My mind wonders on how many informal meetings there will be and how Theresa May is likely to get hammered on Brexit issues as Emmanuel Macron, Jean-Claude Juncker, Angela Merkel and perhaps even Donald Trump unite against Brexit. It is an assumption from my side, but at the end of the week, will I be proven wrong?

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, Law, Media, Military, Politics, Science

View from a balcony

On one side I feel like I am missing out on certain matters. On the other side there is the view that is not comprehended by me in light of certain revelations. Now, this is not a new feeling, I have always had certain issues with certain dilemma’s. Mostly they do not make common sense, so I write about them and let you decide. In a western world we get to see the illuminated part and as such we give light to the BS matters that politicians and media cling to. Yet, it is not always that simple. I would like to state that this is always the case in every matter, but that is stretching several levels of truth.

Now, I get shown a Reuters story on CNBC that gives equal doubt. Not on CNBC or Reuters mind you. The setting that is given to us is somewhat of an issue and it needs to be exposed.

With ‘Saudi Arabia, Arab allies in Cairo talks on Iran, Hezbollah’ (at https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/19/saudi-arabia-arab-allies-in-cairo-talks-on-iran-hezbollah.html), we might consider certain matters, but it is the quote “Discussions will focus on confronting Iran and its Lebanese Shi’ite ally Hezbollah, who the Arab allies say are interfering in their internal affairs” that sets the matter. The second quote makes sense and is equally important the quote “Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel Jubeir told Reuters last week the kingdom’s actions in the Middle East were only a response to what he called the “aggression” of Iran“. We can agree that Iran might be an issue, yet when looking at the first part. How does Hezbollah have the pull to get any decent level of interference up and running in places like Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait? Iran yes, there is no denying that part. But in all this Hezbollah seems to be a facilitating annoyance at best, with their power-base remaining North of Israel. Now, some might wonder why it matters, why we need to look into this. You see, it does matter, if we cannot properly categorise and analyse the actions of Iran and the more extreme parts of the Iranian military, clergy and VAJA, we cannot paint the opponents in the right colour and classes they need to be in. Do you think for one moment that the youthful Gadi Eisenkot is unaware of not merely who the actual players are, and to what degree they are active? Now, we can argue that we do not need to know (and that might be very valid), but as others are painting the image differently, we are being misled. Not misled in the way that we are sold the wrong package, but misled that we are not told just how dangerous the situation is. As I forgot where I saw the original image, lets take the example. There is a 40×60 portrait that shows an estate by the fields, the actual image is 60×60 and shows that the ocean on the right side was cut off for ‘aesthetic’ reasons, but the tragedy is that this shows that the person living there has no escape, if the fields catch fire, he is literally with his back to the water, he might live but the water will not safe his house, there will be no aid coming from there.

Iran is painted in the same way now. Iran is shown to be moderate and that view cannot be dis-proven by the views the media gives on President Rouhani. You see, there is a slowly growing hill of evidence implying that Rouhani has less power than we think he has and behind the curtains the less moderate generals in Iran are beefing Hezbollah and other elements up to be more and more aggressive against the state of Israel as well as the Arabian Nations that are not willing to sing the song of extremism that they want to hear. This is becoming more and more an issue. And as Iran is willing to use the PKK as cannon Fodder they are getting more and more support from Turkey, which now makes Iranian extremism a European issue as well. We might now ‘suddenly’ decide to hide behind the UK Telegraph ‘truths’ (at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/11/19/irans-growing-military-threat-blind-spot-british-politicians/), yet that is equally simplifying an image that has been pushed and tweaked for the longest of times by all kinds of parties (and the UK intelligence branch is not innocent in that part either, most notably GCHQ and MI6). You see they might come out with guns blazing stating: “British MPs have a “blind spot” when analysing Iran’s growing military powers and destabilising influence through it support for terrorism in the Middle East, a senior Conservative politician has warned“, but that is short sighted as some layers of filtering will always be there, some for essential security reasons, some for other reasons and only the second one should bear scrutiny and the media themselves have been part of the second layering for the longest of times, so there!

Yet the issue remains, the painting we see and the one that is a viewing of framed reality are exceedingly different. As we tend to expect something like a ‘Edouard Cortès Pont Au Change Au Crepscule‘ to give a certain view of reality of what we see, it becomes more of a worry when the image shown is something resembling the works of Albert Gleizes and that is what we are starting to face more and more. As Hezbollah is shown as a lot more than a facilitator because Iran played it that way and we are not shown the evidence as such, we tend to get pushed into a mindset that is starting to question a few more items than we should and that is how I saw myself trying to see the light in the Reuters article. Now, the article is not wrong and not inaccurate. Yet the view pushed by the parties in these Cairo talks are making a similar mistake by not colouring the opposing parties in the right light, at the right size representing them as the annoyance they actually are. It is almost like there is a play where Iran is the bogeyman and as soon as the facilitators have been taken care of, we can focus on the real evil, yet there is the issue! As the players have been shown as less evil, too many other players who want to try and sit at the grown up table will suddenly come with political options that will only make things worse. Even as we are wiling to see Iran as not evil, we need to acknowledge that the moderates have a vacuum where others dictate strategies and tactics, and there is the danger. The danger for Saudi Arabia, the danger to a much larger extent to the state of Israel and as the European players are unwilling to face up to the dangers we see, they end up facilitating for Iran through Turkey sooner rather than later which will be disastrous for a few more reasons than most are willing to face the reality of and that is a much larger danger. It is a much larger danger not just to the PKK (regardless of their validity and political play wherever they are). The danger is seen in the Sunday Times with ‘President Erdogan: Let Turkey join to save EU’s reputation‘, so when we see: “President Erdogan has told the EU that allowing Turkey to become a member could save its reputation in the Muslim world“, so is that the story, or should they have stated “Europe ready to embrace the Iranian tool into the EEC for Europe“. The Times of all places might report one side, but the dangers that we are not seeing printed at present are still up for debate, because as I see it, at present, if we need to see a decent approach towards Turkey, we might best call the Butterball hotline, you know, as Thanksgiving is an upcoming event after all.

In all this we still see the same old polarisation. As newspapers report on the Arab nations uniting calling Hezbollah a threat and a terrorist organisation, we see the same response we expected. With “Kuwaiti daily Al Rai reports that terror group Hezbollah has raised its alert level in all of Lebanon for fear that Israel will start a war” we see the sad reality of what is happening in the Middle East, players like Hezbollah can always blame the state of Israel, that whilst we have it on good authority that this youthful young chief of the Israeli Defense Forces (read: Gadi Eizenkot) has not even flexed his muscles at present. How easily and ill prepared can Hezbollah get? in that I will avoid going deep in on the the Dahiya Doctrine that shows how to deal with terrorist organisations in an asymmetrical war. What is important is that there is a conflict between Gadi Eizenkot and Richard A. Falk, the American professor emeritus of international law at Princeton University. I take Gadi’s side when we see Professor Falk’s side of “the civilian infrastructure of adversaries such as Hamas or Hezbollah are treated as permissible military targets“, which he opposes, yet the truth is that a terrorist organisation has no ‘civilian infrastructure‘, it is a plain occupied target that can be destroyed if need be, collaborators and all. In this by colouring ‘parts’ of any terrorist organisation as out of bounds is just not on. If an organisation can indiscriminately fire hundreds of missiles on civilian targets, all bets are off and as such whatever infrastructure they have becomes part of the terrorist organisation and a valid option for targeted killing and/or demolition.

So as we are looking at the view from whatever balcony we think we are on, we need to consider what we think we see, what we are told to see and what the actual size of the frame is supposed to be, three elements, all of them in flux through media, our own perception of what we think we see and the mirror image of what we comprehend we are shown. It is a biased view and we are all (me inclusive) part of what we perceive to see. That is often more troubling than we realise, but as long as we are aware that we cannot see the whole picture, we would be able to set our minds to consider what an actual represented danger is, which is a good first step.

Leave a comment

Filed under Media, Military, Politics