Tag Archives: Robeco

Paranoid

OK, I admit it, I am calling myself paranoid (at present). You see, I have been looking at the news (nearly all news in Europe) and there is seemingly a low creation of rumbles going on. The strongest two are the Netherlands and the UK. The issue is not easy to explain, but I will. Corporations are in a frantic level of actions, Brexit has scared them and the unfolding of the EU is basically becoming reality. In a corporatocracy, that is a scary realisation, but they have an alternative. You see, the balance of the EU is not the nations, it is the two most powerful ones that set this tone. The difference is seemingly small but essential. Any nation can govern by the needs of its corporations, yet a monarchy has the responsibility to take ALL its citizens into account, a lot of issues would not exist if these monarchies did not exist. So the need of corporations is to destabilize and overthrow monarchies. In the end overthrown they might take their value and business interests, and those corporations do not care, they can tighten the screws and focus on the 80% that is consumer, not the 100% that is population. We have seen these acts in the US for the longest time in the Walmart family, not the strongest example, but the most visible one. They have spent well over $4,500,000 this year alone on lobbyists. Firms like the Alpine group, Capitol counsel, Cove Strategies, Ferox Strategies, Mehlman, Castagnetti et al and several more to represent their needs in political Washington. Let’s be clear, they are not breaking any laws, they committed no crimes, the Walton family merely uses the tools available to them to set the premise as powerful as possible towards THEIR needs. This is where the issue become a problem, as a republic driven political might adheres to the needs of a corporation, the people lose. In this the Walton family grows its wealth by a little over $100 million a day, some sources indicate that their total wealth grew by over 20% last year alone. That family has a wealth that puts the wealth of Bill Gates (Software Man), Jeff Bezos (the Amazon Boy) and Warren Buffett (Mr. Investment calling himself the Philanthropist Man) and their wealth combined to shame. That is the impact of a corporatocracy, when the companies rule a nation, their needs are set as the number one, followed by actual consumers and enablers as a second.

Poverty in the US might be the lowest in the last decade, but it is still set to 11.8%, in the Netherlands it is a little below 5%, that is not because the Netherlands is so rich, or their situation is so much better, it is because a monarchy looks at the needs of all its citizens (the rich, the poor the enablers and the non-enablers). So when I see ‘Money is the Achilles heel of a monarchy‘ (at https://www.nu.nl/economie/5991045/de-kosten-van-het-koningshuis-geld-is-de-achilleshiel-van-de-monarchie.html) with mention of Alles samen kost het koningshuis daarmee op papier in 2019 bijna 36 miljoen euro” (All together, the cost for the monarchy are set on paper to be around 36 million Euro). Now in opposition I will throw that Robeco paid a new CEO €30,000,000 annually around a decade ago, so it seems a little farfetched to look at the cost of royalty, and we need to consider that a monarchy comes with cost, it is in part also the cost we pay to keep all citizens safe, in other settings this tends to be the consumers and rich people. 

The second large monarchy is the British one, even as we have a lot more to look at, I will not, yet I will highlight that the attacks on Prince Andrew were more than attacks. It was the need of media to get circulation and in the UK that sells, it is money. OK, I will admit that HRH Prince Andrew received some real bad advice from direction he was listening to, yet beyond that the man is under constant (and not just him in that family) attack, even today I find well over a quarter of a million articles (not just from the UK) with headlines like ‘Who’s your Prince Andrew? Ten signs one of your employees is deadwood‘ (Source: Smart Company, Australia). Titles like ‘surplus prince‘ and statements like “The total number of people in the world who believe his side of this super-creepy story is one. You’d ground your small kid for telling tales like: “I didn’t sweat at the time because I had suffered what I would describe as an overdose of adrenaline in the Falklands War, when I was shot at … it was almost impossible for me to sweat.”“, from my point of view, the royal family is under non-stop attack by the media and haters. In the UK we see optionally one part that is an issue, their Monarchy is a lot larger, yet so is their population, yet the UK is a monarchy, both the Netherlands and the UK would not have made it to the place they are now if they were a republic, that much is almost certain. Europe has other monarchies, There is Denmark, Monaco, Luxembourg, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Spain and the small ones Andorra and Liechtenstein. Norway is not part of the EU, yet they are so close to the Danish and Swedish families that they are part of the problem for corporations. Yet for corporations the Netherlands and the UK are the largest problems, they have strong political ties, they have well organised systems and they both have the ability to limit the actions of most corporations. 

Now, just to be clear, we see the cost of royalty (especially the Dutch one) almost every year (the Dutch are cheap as), yet the underlying story is still within me, there has been a larger attack on royalty in Europe and I personally believe that corporations are fuelling it through their links in the media. The attacks are subtle and for some reason two links I saw earlier this week are no nowhere to be found, the right to be forgotten is seemingly used to a wider degree (my speculation). More important, I believe that the Brexit delivery from Boris Johnson will open up a lot more than just the Brexit, at that point these corporations in denial realise that the overall force of greed will end in 2-3 years and when Brexit is complete there will be a larger need in the EU breaking it up faster. When we see ‘EU ministers opt to continue overfishing, despite 2020 deadline‘, we see more, we see a larger need towards greed and as we read “ministers ignored science and fought bitterly for their own vested interests” we see some of the signs that the EU has ended, the fact that they knowingly, willingly and intentionally ignored “By 2020, all quotas were meant to be based on a maximum sustainable yield – the most fish that can be caught without damaging the ability of the species to recover itself” should be regarded as evidence, I personally stand by my original thought, merely end the lives ot 94% of the global population and the problem is solved (that did not take long did it?) The issue is larger and more complex ad as such my thoughts towards the monarchies can be seen as paranoia. The two nations (UK and Dutch) have all kinds of interactions and even as the attacks on Prince Andrew are actual attacks, they are often done by circulation desperate media, which is still a corporation, but it would be a twisted example. Perhaps I am paranoid, but I feel that there is a larger attack on EU monarchies, I will let you look at the evidence in your own newspapers and tally the articles that are an example. Oh and I am not dismissing the fact that there are other driving factors either, that was shown by the NL Times last April (at https://nltimes.nl/2019/04/15/dutch-royals-less-popular-among-young-people-study). Here we see: “Support for the Dutch monarchy among young people fell sharply over the past years. In 2007, 70 percent of Dutch between the ages of 18 and 34 were enthusiastic about the Royal Family, last year it was only 55 percent, according to surveys by Ipsos commissioned by NOS“, I wonder how the percentages fall when we tae that number and set it in two groups, 17-26 and 27-34. You see until 25 you have no need to take things into consideration (like retirement), after 25 you do and that is when people get to realise that a Monarchy is a larger economic umbrella than a republic is. Yet they also illuminate the other side “support for a republic with an elected president is not increasing much. In 2007, 14 percent of respondents supported the idea of such a government, last year it was 15 percent, according to the surveys“, I reckon that the people realise that their cushy life is over when it becomes a republic, but the Netherlands and the UK are too large spoils of war for the large corporations and it is my personal believe that they will not give up on rich grounds of that nature, the breaking of the EU will force them in that direction soon enough, in that regard I have absolutely no doubt, greed remains an eternal journey.

 

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Political ego and their costs

I recently wrote a little about the Dutch Fyra train, a high speed billion Euro train that is still not functioning. There have been several pointing fingers, yet why is this such a complicated project?

You see, a project is basically a simple thing. It has a goal, it has requirements, it has noted milestones and if the project manager is a clear communicator, then that person has the easiest and best paid job of them all. That is the theory!

The reality is less clear. It becomes an increasing mess, when those in charge make oral promises and not follow them up, or even better, in some commercial corporations where sales executives make so many changes on the fly to wear the project manager down, so when things are asked, those sales executives respond with “where is it written down?” and the problem of it all remains in the clear. This latter example happens in several situations where the Sales department and not the project manager is in charge.

With Fyra there is a third tier, namely the politicians. The NOS reported last night that this group had been putting pressure on the Fyra project. Even though the testers reported massive amounts of events, flaws and even clear malfunctions and design flaws, they seem to have been ignored. These issues add up to a system that should not have been implemented. The political pressure that required ‘high speed train revenues’, in the light of spending was getting louder and louder. So over the heads of those people in charge stating that there are issues, the Fyra was implemented against the technical proven flaws.

I discussed the fyra in a previous blog called ‘Multi billion train ride’ on June 5th.

Now they have a situation where a train was accepted in this light of events and in that same light must be paid for. The Dutch rail roads do not want to pay and AnselmoBreda is telling them to pay. Even though it was never completely a fault by AnselmoBreda, there are more and more clear indicators that political interfering by approving something that was not ready seems to have been a clear interfering factor. So apart from the 7 billion in rails, they are looking at an additional half a billion for 19 additional trains that do not do what they are supposed to do. Basically, they would end up being regarded as VERY expensive non hi-speed trains. Then there are the annual interest and maintenance costs on 7 billion of rails, the list grows on and on. Consider these costs whilst the government needs to push 6 billion in cut-backs. Are you having fun yet?

So basically, a multi-billion Euro push, by politicians, who were guided by ego and a misguided sense of profit, the second factor was never a reality to begin with. If we consider this and see that under current conditions the Hi-Speed trains are not an option, then an additional 7 billion has been wasted. I personally wonder how many people will become non-accountable and in addition will be reason for a massive bill to the tax payer. Considering these events, the upcoming parliamentary committee might take a lot longer than many bargained for, which additional costs to boot.

So why are incompetent politicians getting in the way of sound business?

This claim is in this instance not about the present group, it was the previous groups interfering with this process, yet overall when we read some of the current statements on capping banking incomes, and then when it is decided that the new head of Robeco must get 30 million a year, nothing can apparently be done. Ah, the joy of claim versus reality!

There are several indicators that the UK’s version the HS2 is on similar tracks. As reported by the Guardian in July, there have been voices that the high speed North-South line, which will cost to the scope of 40 billion Euro is going in a not dissimilar direction. Even though the UK government is claiming a 20% nett return, the additional factors might have not been weighted enough. Consider that the current issues involving price hikes for train rides are growing between 4% and 9%, the group that can no longer afford these kinds of prices is growing fast. More important, these price hikes are now pushing people away from rail and towards buses for the sheer cost of it. This is an entirely opposing reaction to what the UK government needs it to be.

Those in favour of HS2 claim in the quote “This is a massively misleading oversimplification because it doesn’t take into account the significant financial returns that will be generated from an investment in high-speed rail.

Even though it is given that unlike the Netherlands, the distances in the UK make for a much more viable need, we should not negate that this is about connecting London to Birmingham. I agree that it is too simple to state that this line is for all those Ashton Villa fans in London, yet the same flaw is shown, when we consider the actual issue. If the distance is 119 miles, then a normal train at 125Mph does it in just under an hour, then why add 40 billion to install a train doing 155 Mph? Getting there 10-15 minutes faster does not warrant such expenses, more important, considering the economic charges, the group willing to pay such an extra amount to get so little extra time would be dwindling a lot faster than some might think, which beckons the question “What significant financial returns?” it is not until the train goes beyond 200Mph that this all becomes a more interesting issue, which means a 20-25 minute saving on that part alone. Here I agree that some (not all) will consider it. The question becomes how much extra will people have to pay until the 50 billion returns is begotten? In my mind that requires a commuting population a lot higher then it seems to have, or the tickets will become extremely pricey to say the least. In my mind, the wisdom is in the middle, it takes a massive amount of traveller, all paying top pound a day. Considering that the economy is nowhere near that strong in the UK until past 2016, the costs involved might be way too high. This all in the end gives weight to the statement made by the Institute of Economic Affairs calling it a “political vanity project“.

So which cheques are underwritten by a political ego and can people afford the consequences of such amounts?

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