Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Survival in Globalia Version 1.0

Survival in Globalia, Version 1.0

The Poem:

Play the game
Enjoy the fame
Kisses of passion
Love without ration

Survival of the fittest
Kingdom of the cheapest
Empire of the mass
A lot of fuss

Human relations
Strategic revelations
Advantage of the brain
Coat against the rain

March 2004. All rights reserved

Eurozone deflation again in September

The Eurozone 16 in September saw deflation (negative inflation) for a 4th month in a row (source: Eurostat):

September: -0.3%
August: -0.2%
July: -0.7%
June: -0.1%

Revised US GDP figure for Q2 2009

According to the US Commerce Department the US Gross Domestic Product contracted in Q2 2009 by an annualised rate of "only" 0.7% instead of the previous estimate of -1%.

GDP growth in recent quarters:
Q4 of 2008: -5.4%
Q1 of 2009: -6.4%
Q2 of 2009: -0.7%

That means that the GDP rates in Q2 for both the US and the UK have been revised and the new estimates paint a better picture than before and maybe better prospects for Q3 (which ends today, Sept. 30, 2009).

Revised UK GDP and other data for Q2 2009

Q2 2009 Gross UK domestic product (GDP) fell by 0.6% compared with the previous quarter, instead of the previous ONS estimate of a -0.7% and an original estimate of -0.8%.
The Office for National Statistics stats show a manufacturing fell of 0.1% in Q2, instead of a previous estimate of -0.2%.

The new estimate of decline in construction in Q2 is 0.8%, quite lower than the previous ONS estimate of 2.2%!

Sleepless in Globalia Version 3.0

"Sleepless in Globalia, Version 3.0"
(wrote it Nov. 2003)

Life as a movie
Love so groovy
Kisses of gold
Stories untold

Pieces of heaven
Someone's eleven
Battles uneven
Answers not given

Greed is a must
Believe not you must
Destruction of trust
Kingdom of lust

Aspects of red
Letters unread
Kisses of passion
Love without ration

a "centrist" worldview

IMO we need to guarantee all humans food, housing and health care whether they "deserve" it or not!

The rest (or most of the rest) can be done by markers (supply and demand).

key causes of global volatility

IMO just-in-time and outsourcing are key factors in world volatility in recent years, not "globalization" per se

some thoughts on decision making

Decision Making:

Problems and solutions:

Brainstorming solo (alone) or in a group?

Do people these days have time to make good decisions?

"citizen friendly" countries

How user friendly is a product with a 1000000 page manual?
How citizen friendly is a country with (let's say) 1000000000000 laws?

IMO most G20 - OECD member countries have too many laws and regulations that suffocate average citizens and small companies - they need to be reduced! How?

IMO, in principle, a citizen of a "state" should be aware of all the laws of said state, thus laws should be all put into one book of realistic size!!! Realistic?

On free markets and free trade

IMO free markets and free trade have rules, else they are not free they are "chaotic" or a "jungle"
I repeat: Free markets have rules, eg strong and effective competition laws - free does not mean chaos or jungle.

existing vs. real globalization

How large is the gap between a) the existing and b) "real" globalization?

Quite large, IMO.

socio-economic modeling (USA, UK, etc)

Policy and Strategy:

Do OECD economies such as the US and the UK need a new socio-economic and competitiveness model?

IMO, yes!

US consumer confidence

US consumer confidence down in September?


Trade, aid or tr-aid?

How I define "fair trade"

IMO fair trade is free trade that is coupled with freedom in immigration, goods + services (ie 4 freedoms)

How I define "fair trade"

IMO fair trade is free trade that is coupled with freedom in immigration, goods + services (ie 4 freedoms)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Is the world too big to be someone's "village"?

The global village concept seems to be proving not so easily applicable. Eg how many people, for example, wake up every morning "in the world"?

What does each person perceive as "home" and a his/her "space"? It is a question of personal choice and factors.

For some their "agora"/"market" is their neighbourhood, for some their city, for some their district, for some their region (e.g. Alsace, Surrey) or land (e.g. Bavaria) or state (e.g. California), for some their country, for some their region (e.g. South America, Southest Europe (aka the Balkans)), for some their continent (Europe, Africa, Asia, America). How many people can perceive the world as their oyster?

The interplay between all these levels of "space" does bring confusion. So do all these regional agreements on Free Trade Areas, Unions (European, African), and the large numbers of bilateral agreements. Which, in effect, do compete with the WTO, UN and other multilateral formats. How much more confusion can the man in the streets of London, Leeds, Lille, Amsterdam, Rome, Warsaw, Budapest, Seattle, Hong Kong, etc. handle?

Is so much choice of frameworks too much choice? Are nations and countries a depasse notion or not? Can they really be replaced by regional (EU, NAFTA, African Union, Mercosur, ASEAN) or global (WTO, UN, etc.) "notions"/"frameworks of mind"? And how can they deal with the transition?

The faltering WTO talks and the EU's Constitution problems are mere indications of the difficulty. Is the transition too fast, too slow or too fuzzy (not clear enough)?

We seem to be living in times which are so transitional that they are too confusing.

People need some stability and some liquidity, some fixed and some variable parameters in their lives. Are they getting that?

Can people live with total liquidity or everything fixed? It seems that most cannot. Most need a balance of the two.

Written: November 11, 2006
Updated: Sept. 29, 2009

The outsourcing effect: What is a "good" and what is a "service", actually?

Is outsourcing part of the reasons that the French said no to the EU Treaty in Many 2005 (or fear of the "Polish plumber"?)

What are the externalities of the outsourcing of call centers from the UK to English speaking Asia? Of East EUropean house painters flying in to do a job in the UK or Belgium and then flying back home?

Is the outsourcing of IT services and other services from the US to Asia a source of the instability of the recovery of the US economy?

We do live in a world where services are covering a much larger piece of the total GNP/GDP pie.

Where free trade of goods and movement of capital are at historical levels (if you factor out the current crisis)


Is there a difference between trade in goods and in services?

What are "trade-able" or exportable or "outsource-able" services"?

Is the world prepared to deal with outsourcing of work rather than import of goods?

Why do some EUropeans (and others) seem more afraid of outsourcing of services than of imports of goods?

Is there an implied assumption that whereas it is "OK" for non-OECD countries to export goods to OECD ones, it is "not OK" to "export" services? If yes, why?

What is a "good" and what is a "service", in today's reality?

What is, in essence, the difference?

Written: June 1, 2005
Updated: Sept. 29, 2009

Towards a more "confident" or a more "rational" EU?

I wrote this analysis on June 29, 2005, a few days before the UK Presidency of the EU. How relevant is it 4+ years later? IMO even more than in 2005!

Towards a more "confident" or a more "rational" EU?

Europeans like to compete, in stadiums. Americans seem to like to compete in .. everything!

Is that truth or myth?

Maybe Europeans do not like to mix business/work and pleasure? In other words, the European business and work systemics and traditions are not centered around pleasure, but around making a living. Maybe Europeans work to live and not live to work!

Assuming the above line of reasoning is valid, then, what will it take for Europe to be more "competitive"?

Or, to challenge the fundamentals of current thinking even deeper, are the fundamental assumptions/notions about "competiveness" too American or too global to be adopted by Europeans?

Is there a "European" alternative concept of "competitiveness"?

Is "competitiveness" a marketable or popular notion? Or is it a technocratic or economic notion, which cannot, by definition, "excite" or "motivate" European employees, businessmen/women and self-employed persons?

To be more "competitive", in the dominant notion of the term, what can be the motivating factor in Europe? Fear, threat, insecurity, expectation of profit, expectation of more safety, confidence, or more "fun"?

Do policy makers and Mr. Blair really expect Europeans to mix business, work, money, the livelihood of their own and their families, with "pleasure"? How "confident" is that?

For Europeans to assume more risks, to become more "entrepreneurial" in the marketplaces for products, services and jobs/work, do they need to be motivated by:

a) fear/insecurity, or

b) a more "competitive" mentality, or

c) more confidence, or

d) more risk coverage?

In other words, to become more "entrepreneurial", as Mr. Blair suggested in his speech in front of the European Parliament last Thursday (June 23, 2005), do Europeans need more confidence, more economic liberalism or more health and income guarantees (rather than less)?

A sports case study: When a professional football player, married with children, enters the field to play the game he (or she) so enjoys, does having adequate insurance that if he breaks his/her legs (and has to quit the sport), he/she and his/her family will receive enough financial compensation to live the rest of their lives, help him/her "compete" more and harder? Work and business analogy?

Europeans may, indeed, not like to "compete" in business and in work. Because, maybe, I argue, they take the "game" of business and work (too) seriously. Maybe because they are "rational" and risk adverse "investors", for themselves and their families. Who can blame them? For what? Is confidence the driving force in rational "investing"? Or hedging and risk coverage?

Maybe Europeans, especially moderate ones (the ones Mr. Blair targets his words to), have, simply, not learned to "invest" their lives in "competition"! Maybe they are too moderate (or too liberal) to be "competitive" in the business and work lives?

June 29, 2005

Monday, September 28, 2009

Warp Speed

I jotted down the following syllogisms re the dynamics of our era back in 2003! Still relevant today.

Things getting out of hand is a characteristic of this globalised environment.

Problems and the decisions they require appear today harder and more complicated than ever before.

Few, if any, strategic positions seem to be defendable in a playing field that appears to be flatter than ever.

Various parameters, such as globalisation, deregulation and meta-capitalism, have lowered barriers to entry and exit in most markets.

We live in a new era. Or don't we?

Those among us who have been around longer point out that problems and decisions have always been hard and complicated.

Globalisation is not a new thing.

So what is so new? Is this mere "media-hype"?

Following a century with two world wars, two nuclear bombs, immense technological developments, can we, in 2002, claim that things are now too complicated?

Maybe it is a question of speed.

Sit in front of a monitor and start playing a video game.

As you increase the speed of the game, you find out that things become harder, although nothing else really changes.

The tricks of the "game" are still the same, but speed makes a great deal of difference. It is a totally new ballgame.

Surviving in the game requires taking many more decisions per second, minute and hour. It requires faster analysis and response to the moves of your competitors and the developments in the game environment.

Could this help explain why things appear much more complicated in this global information era?

Are they? A matter of perspective.

The bottom line is that you cannot survive playing the game the same way as before.

That does not mean you have to throw away both the horse and the carriage. What to keep and what to change is a key strategic issue, be it 2003 or 2009 or 2011!

American and British Dreams and Scandic Reality

2.5 years ago, on May 3, 2007, I was asking:

Has a "British Dream" replaced the "American Dream"?


The Sunday Times had published a Rich List 2007, in which four of Britain's top five richest people were not born in the UK!

Has the UK replaced the US as the "land of opportunities", I was wondering, in May 2007.

Now, September 2009, one can still ask the question. But as far as the post-crisis economics are concerned, right?

American Dream and Scandic Reality?

Business/entrepreneurship is the most suppressed form of personal expression in the world today I was proposing back in Match 13, 2007!

A society where a child, irrespective of his/her or his/her parents background can realistically dream of starting and surviving a business (even very small) is not only economically, but also socially "libertarian"-liberal-free one!

In view of 2007 world rankings of economies and countries, one could speak of an "American Dream" but also of a "Danish, Swedish and Finnish Reality" (since those countries rank in top spots in competitiveness and other rankings, way above the USA, UK, France, Germany, Japan, China, India, etc).

Recent ranking by the Global Competitiveness Report of the World Economic Forum show that the Scandic reality is alive and kicking even in these economic crisis days.

For better global balance of capital, goods, services and people!

IMO global trade liberalization should go hand in hand with global immigration liberalization, for balance.

philosophical thinking: fair trade is, IMO, free trade that is conducted while the 3 other freedoms are in place as well: immigration, capital, services

free trade + free immigration
fair trade + fair immigration
the fairness of freedom + the freedom of fairness

The US: "turning" or hype?

Is the US "turning"
a) liberal
b) socialist
c) communist or
d) European or
e) not turning at all it's all hype?

Food for thought!

Policy for business, innovation and skills

How many countries in EU or world have a department like the UK's Department for Business, Innovation and Skills?

Does the EU have a thing or two to learn from the way the UK government and civil service is structured and operates? Just pondering!

How many countries have a dept. for better regulation like the UK's BRE?

According to the UK's Better Regulation Executive - BRE any regulation should be: transparent, accountable, proportionate, consistent + targeted ie only at cases where action is needed.

IMO and IME these are indeed great principles for better regulation.

German election results, liberal dems and tax policy

CDU/CSU and FDP most likely to form coalition government (as many times before in recent decades).

The FDP (Free Democratic Party), a member of ELDR (European Liberal Democrats), gets 14.5% of the vote, highest ever!

Note to US readers: In Europe, liberal democrat means being for both economic and social freedom

But is it equivalent to the American "libertarian"? Compare and contrast: libertarian in the USA with liberal democrat in Europe.

Now, both FDP and CDU/CSU want to simplify the tax system. Food for (policy) thought: Is a simple tax system a policy Utopia?

Did the end of the economic world as we knew it happen in 2007?

I wrote this analysis on August 14, 2007, 2+ years ago. How right was I then? How relevant are the syllogism I was expressing in August 2007 in September 2009? You decide!

Part 1: Dynamics

Troubling economic growth results in France, Germany, the Eurozone 13 and the EU 27 in the second quarter (aka "Q2") of 2007!

France and Germany grew by just 0.3%, below expectations!
The whole of the Eurozone 13 (France, Germany, NL, Belgium, Luxembourg, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, Slovenia, Ireland, Austria and Finland) also grew by the same, 0.3%, down from 0.7% in Q1.

The EU 27 (Eurozone 13 plus UK, Denmark, Sweden, Lithuania, Poland, Latvia, Estonia, Hungary, Czech Rep., Slovakia, Bulgaria, Romania, Cyprus and Malta) did a tad better in Q2, 0.5%, also down from 0.7% in Q1.

Part 2: Strategic

So, what is holding economic growth in "Europe" back?

France is said to suffer from major "structural" and "deep" problems that N. Sarkozy and his government will try to "heal".

Germany's problem in Q2 is said to have been due a hickup in the construction sector!

Is the strong Euro holding EU exports back (correlate that with the political efforts to bring the European Central Bank under more "EU political" control)?

But is the US's "model" better? Or, what is more to the point, would it be suitable for Europe?

The US has a much more flexible labour market (except for, maybe, the UK), but is still a maze of 50 states with different state laws and taxes and other regs, but with a common language and pop culture, but not much of a "social safety net", some people in the US work but their salaries are lower than unemployment benefits in much of Europe and cannot cover the bare monthly essentials, the US has been running a large budget and trade deficit, it has been counting on

a) the "eternal confidence of the US consumer" in spite of all (or almost all? so far?) adversities and glooms,

b) Global investor confidence in the US economy and US stocks/companies in particular
(Q: are US quoted corporations still "American or does the stock ownership now qualifies them as multinational?? - America is a capitalist country but are Americans capitalists, in that they do not own hat much of their ("American") companies' stocks (but rather, their homes, ie real estate capital)?

The EU - Eurozone has been counting, it seems, on

a) making the baby Euro a globally credible currency, to have and to hold to trust and to invest in,

b) the 14 year old by now Single Market (how single is it, though, after 14 years?)

c) The German economy as a traditional steam-engine of growth (well, has it, since Re-Unification??)

d) A global UK economy

e) A so called "European" socio-economic model (to be psycho-analysed some other time) or rather, 4 or 5 different versions of it (British/Irish, Scandic, Central Europe, South European and Eastern European, or something like that, analyses/labels differ)

f) The US economy (!!!)

g) Something else (please specify): __________________ (maybe a more central planning
approach to policy)

Part 3: Philosophical

On the other hand, for the first time (ever?) the steam engine of global economic growth this year in not going to be American or European, but, ... Chinese! Yes, China is this year the economy that is driving the world to growth, not the US, not Germany, not the UK, not Japan, not the G8, not the OECD, nope, China! Oh yes, the (economic) world as some were accustomed to "know" it has ended, and the "Poles" of the economy are shifting, North, South, etc, and "violent" changes in the socio-economic climate are testing the endurance of humankind! No, it is not December 21, 2012, not the end of the Mayan calendar of the world, maybe it is the end of the traditional economic "calendar" of the world and the shocks are to come, soon, to a market (rather than a theatre) near you!

Yes, it seems that the economic "box office" blockbusters of the world are not of US or German or other European "production" anymore! New "studios" have come to the global economic "Holly Wood/Wall"!!

And a lot of "actors" are finding themselves out of the economic and social "spotlight" or are lobbying hard to keep their careers on track (US and European farmers, certain US manufacturers, etc).

Oh what interesting times we live in (an Ancient Chinese curse).

Should we try the I Ching method to tell us the future of stocks, bonds, house prices, economic growth, etc? Why on Earth not? Can anyone predict the economic future anyway? Delphi, Merlin, Nostradamus, Mayans, etc!

Many predictions do sound like the Delphi double edged or meaning oracles these days.

It is called "expectations"! Reminds one of Charles Dickens' book!

"Moderation is good" (Ancient Greek philosophy) aka "Chill"! In the long run .... all will be fine!

Dinosaurs cannot withstand major "climatic" changes! Roaches can, though!


How many Europeans want to be ... EUropeans?

I wrote this analysis on December 15, 2006. How relevant is it today? You decide!

How many Europeans want to be ... EUropeans?

When I was at business school, in 1990, I asked my HR professor what a “Euromanager” was (this was 3 years before the momentous start of the EU's “Single Market”. According to my professor, a Euromanager is a manager who has worked in at least 2 different European countries. Someone who travels a lot for business around Europe is not a Euromanager, stressed my professor, and I agree.

So, then what is a “EUropean”?

By comparison, an American is born in one US state, goes to college in another, goes to graduate school in another, gets his/her first job in another, and so on! But then of course that is “America” and Europe, the EU and many Europeans do not want to be Americans! So ... what?

Certainly, a European is not someone who has traveled to many European countries on business or pleasure! That is rather a “Eurotourist” or a “Eurotraveler”.

I think that a European is someone who has “lived” for a certain – significant period of time in at least two European countries. And a EUropean someone who has done the equivalent in at least 2 EU member states!

Having said that, how many of the EU's 450,000,000 (*) million citizens fall under this umbrella-definition? I have no statistics handy, but I suspect that the share of the whole is quite small, very, very small! And that is a problem!

How many European feel like or want to live in a country other than their native one? What practical problems do they face? Is mobility within the EU “easy” for those who wish to indulge in it? I think not. Not without a common social security and a common taxation regime!

Which leads this discussion to a “Catch 22” or, rather, a “dead end”! How many of the current 25 (*) EU member states would be willing to harmonize and unite their taxation and social security regimes? I do not even try to venture a guess!

So where are those Europeans? In the future, it seems!

(*) Now, Sept. 28, 2009, the EU has 27 member of course! And almost half a billion inhabitants.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Europe, with or without the EU (ie in any case) needs ....

In any case, what Europe, in other words the countries in Europe, need (with or without the EU) is a new civic/policy/political/ideological mentality or "culture", one of simpler laws in all policy areas that will be "opinion led" by the UK plus citizens of other members.

Eg IMO the EU needs a common but simple tax regime for small companies and persons for a real common market to exist (see my notes/thoughts on the EU, present and future).

G20 summit comments - critique - much ado about little?

Sept. 26 (aftermath):

* G20 members will now be able 2 assess each other's economic policies! big deal! that will be crucial for recovery not

* The G20 re-affirmed (?) their commitment (?) to a conclusion of Doha WTO talks next year!!!! Yeah, right! Does Obama have the so called "fast track" powers granted by US Congress for a Doha agreement that GWB did until mid-2007?

* Regulations re banking will be phased in after the end of the crisis only to avoid a new one.

Sept. 24-25

1) Is the G20 entitled to make decisions that (most of) the rest of the world will then be asked to abide to? (WTO 153 members)

2) Is G20 a better vehicle than G8 for coordinating the world economy? Why not a revamped WTO or a G153 (WTO has members) or UN (G192)?
Should the G20 also replace the WTO? 85% of global GDP sounds like nice but faulty reasoning IMO!

3) G20: if executive pay is to reflect long-term value creation not excessive risk taking then stock value is reflection because of NPV: The value of a share is supposed to reflect the NPV of its future performance as analysed by the market + discounted 2 present

4) better balance in the world economy: how on Earth will the USA save more and China consume more? G20 lip service?

5) G20 to replace G8: it is then time for a World Parliament (or almost world, eg 153 or 192) to balance things?

6)if the G20 are so concerned with global economic systemics, why not then harmonize their laws to help the small companies export + trade?

7) 85% of global GDP in G20 but what % of the population of the 153 WTO countries is represented by the G20 population?

8) A radical idea: The market economy countries of Earth should form +/-20 regional entities like EU + then form a "G20" with 100% POLITICAL representation!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Knights and Days

A comment, in poetic - pop art format, on the times we live in!

The knight looked up
The sky was turning into grey
Rain is coming, said his aide
Let us seek refuge in that cave
Renaissances and revolutions
Shiny armours and grey matter
Manners and matters
Nobility obliges
Mobility frees
Fortresses protect
Castles in the sand
Words in the wind
New or Old
Wider or Deeper
Love or emotion
Motion or devotion?

Written: 2005

Perennial Nobility

Seasons of Years (Perennial Nobility)

Winners they were, of endless quarters
Believers they were, to the cause
Seekers they were, of the absolute advantage
Players they were, of the perennial game

Alone she was, waiting for her Prince
On the phone she was, searching for clues
Prone she was, to conspiracy theories
Away from her throne she was, a princess without her prince

Speechless he was, observing the outcome
Pennyless he felt, after the game
Effortless he thought, was his way home
Pointless he knew, was to try to regain his throne

Years passed
Springs, Summers, Autumns and Winters

The princess was waiting
The prince was hurting
The people were confused
The enemies were amused

Fairy tales can come true
But only in fairy tales?

Friday, September 25, 2009

G20, WTO, etc etc: Who represents whom at what?

Way to reduce the political representation deficit in policy decisions:

To make fewer and simpler regulations + laws in Plenary not to use Gs (G8, G20, etc)?

When will the EU ......

Deeper EU: when will the EU start exclusive representation of its 27 members in G8, G20, WTO, UN. etc?

Until then, the EU is a ...... (please specify)

EU Social DIalogue and Social Partners

Have Social Dialogue + Social Partners made progress in recent years in the EU and its member states? Elsewhere?

Civil Society, then and now!

Have the concept and practices of Civil Society (Citizens Society) evolved - progressed in recent years?

the natural prospensity to (over) legislate and its effects on small companies and the citizen

Consumers have natural propensity to consume - politicians have the natural propensity to regulate + legislate, thus chaos for the life and activity of the "man in (Main) Street" and the micro - entrepreneur.

The same politicians in Europe + US who say that they value innovation + creative minds in the economy make regulations that suffocate them

Example: What % of the time and energy of a citizen or small company is consumed by red tape + understanding laws + regulations? Too much!

federalist prototypes?

Is the USA a good model for a federal Europe or other new potential "federal" entities? IMO, No! Why? Too complicated.

subdiarity and proportionality

Subsidiarity is not a valid concept for the epoch, IMO

On the other hand, proportionality is crucial in policy and regulation and law making in our epoch.

a globalization that works for the small companies and the average citizens

IMO it is time for a simpler + deeper, more balanced globalization that will work for the small company (SME)and the average citizen.


the effects of over-regulation on SMEs

Local, state, regional, national, supranational (eg EU, NAFTA) and international over - regulation and over - legislation create chaos for the small companies and real people - the average citizen.

National sovereingty in 2009 terms

What is REAL national sovereignty in 2009 (instead of 1509 or 1909) terms?

a deeper EU in some taxation matters?

EU tax policy or lack thereof:

Need for an EU rather than bilateral between member states double taxation avoidance regime?

Balancing the individual and the collective

The key political and policy challenge of our times, IMO:

Balancing the individual and the collective

what suffocates small companies and start-ups

IMO/IME regulations are created to contain big business and instead they suffocate small companies and start-ups

are the new EU regulatory proposals realistic?

EU: Towards 4 pan-EU regulators for systemic risk, banks, insurers and exchanges?

Any lessons learned by the causes of the US crisis?

A solar, windy and intellectual EU?

IMO "intellectually intensive" services + products must become cornerstone of the EU economy based on solar and wind energy sources.

But self reliance on solar + wind may require radical back 2 basics way of life in EU, ie a much more intellectual than materialist one!

European Commission President re-elected

José Manuel Barroso re-elected President of the European Commission after European Parliament vote Sept. 16 (382-219, 117 abstentions)

Trans-Atlantic cooperation and the scenario of a USA-EU single market

The new European Parliament president has called for a true Trans-Atlantic cooperation.

Food for thought: Would a USA-EU free trade area or even single market

a) a realistic and/or
b) a meaningful concept - vision?

Socio-economic modeling in a meta-industrial Services era

Socio-economic modeling in a meta-industrial - Services era:

1) which Services sectors should an OECD country base its economy and jobs on - how large/wide a portfolio?

2) how much can intellectual products contribute to an economy + its jobs?

the contribution of Financial Services in national GDP: UK and Germany

Does the Finance sector account for 15% of the UK #economy (GDP) as the German finance minister claims, or 8% as the UK Treasury claims?

Makes a big difference.

In Germany it is estimated at 6% of GDP.

But in terms of socio-economic modeling: Do the UK and London depend too much on Financial Services for economic activity and jobs?

the main real problem of SMEs

The biggest problem that start-ups and small companies face in OECD countries is IMO too much regulation and bureaucracy

on embracing risk (UK)

How can the average citizen in the UK embrace #risk in his/her life or work or business?

simplicity in taxation policy

Why is it so difficult for policy makers in OECD countries to design a simple and effective tax system?

Beautiful days Stormy nights

"beautiful days, stormy nights, sunshine is here, maturity is near"
An allegorical commentary, based on a poem of mine, that refers to the dynamics of this first decade of the 21st century!

August 2005

There they stood, outworn winners
There they stood, proud losers
There we were, a vicious crowd
To the crowd the spoils

There they fought, desperate gladiators
There they thought, intellectual princes
There they felt, the winds of the ocean
There they met, the messenger of the king

Knights they were, in shiny armour
Nights passed many, then countless days
Princes they were, full of noble intentions
Days passed many, then countless nights

Children they were, of noble ancestors
Centuries passed many, then short decades
Adults they were, full of ambitious ventures
Quarters passed many, then short Mondays

Beautiful days, Stormy nights
Sunshine is here, maturity is near

Homeless alone at home in Terminal C

Home alone
Homeless free
Airport lounge
Freeport way

Freezing cold
No shelter in freedom
Roofless home
Home in the world

Home in the streets
Inspite of the snow
Home in the world
Free in the world

Terminal C, homeless
Terminal B, hopeless
Terminal A, fearless
Skylounge bar for the budgetless

Home in the nature
Freedom is the nature
Free grazers
Free riders to hope

Gate 13, for the lucky ones
Gate 24, for the tucky ones
Gate 1, for the privileged pair
Gate 33B, for the tourists' group

Touring the world
Wandering, hitch-hikers
One way ticket to hope
Home at the airport

Homeless at the airport
Hopes in transit
Freedom in hope
Non stop dancing spirit

Home alone
Lonely at home
Lost in the crowd
Go to the lost and found


Pavements to freedom

The frozen free
The comfortable prisoners
of modern dilemmas
The limbo dancers

The jet setters
The jet lagged,
opt outs of the rat race
opt ins for an alternative mode

There she stood
There he sat
Being free

Worlds apart
Coming together
at the airport

Life in transit
Nothing to declare
But love, hope and
Love for freedom

The freedom of love
Different strokes for different folks
Pluralist world
The united nations of Terminal C

Written: November 2005
Narrated: August 2007

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

real policies for helping SMEs

The Obama proposal for eliminating capital gains tax for investment in start-ups + small companies is IMO in the right direction

on entrepreneurship, success, needs and wants and niches

The triangle of success in work or entrepreneurship: a) like it b) be good at it c) it is in demand?

What do I mean?

Well, you have a hobby that you love, you turn it into a profession - job, you work very hard at it, BUT is it in demand? Many entrepreneurs forget that (the demand dimension).

Can you create demand for something because YOU think that people need it? IMO, that's quite unlikely! It's like trying to MAKE someone love you or fall in love with you: it rarely works! same with demand 4 a product or service! Unless you have many millions to spend in advertising, and then, even then, it is not that more likely IMO.

Of course that does not ignore the utility of pockets of demand (niche) but that niche demand IMO has to satisfy niche's needs

Monday, September 21, 2009

in a truly capitalist and free market world ....

Maybe John McCain was partly right: In a truly well functioning or proper capitalist and free market system/world, no bank or other market "actor" should be too big to fail and the market should "survive"/absorb, via its free functioning mechanisms, any failure. That no failure would be deemed as "systemic" or of systemic importance.

capping corporate bonuses to be discussed by the G20

The G20 to discuss restricting overall, not individual, bonuses as a proportion of a company's earnings

need for a "new" EU?

In my pro-EU opinion, all EU member states should continue to have a Commissioner in every term.

IMO if the draft Treaty fails to be ratified again, maybe it is time for a new EU! A deeper, leaner, less interventionist (fewer EU and national laws) EU, with member states with populations committed to the "project". "Deeper AND less interventionist" seems contradictory, but is not. As per the commitment, it can be "tested" via referendums and other criteria.

Some mapping of the EU membership:

27 member states at present, pop. 500 million;
350 of which in 6 members and the rest 150 million in 21. 2 EUs?
9 members have populations between 7.6 and 16.4 million, 4 more with between 4.5 and

competitiveness a) the value of education b) US and EU reshaping

IMO the quality of elementary education of the population is key to a country's competitiveness AND general well being!

Systemics: The USA and the EU need IMO major "re-shaping" in order to "prosper".

on the value of Logic in life and in decisions

Philosophy - Problem solving in life:
The tools, IMO:

1) data driven analysis, then
2) logic based thinking, then
3) humor (=last resort)

That is why I think that the value of education/training in Logic in elementary education is extremely high.

on Philosophy, Tweetering and "Laconising"

140 characters. Can they contain philosophical value? IMO, yes, 140 characters is enough for someone to express a valid syllogism concisely. So did the Ancient Spartans, see the ancient Spartans saying "ΤΟ ΛΑΚΩΝΙΖΕΙΝ ΕΣΤΙ ΦΙΛΟΣΟΦΕΙΝ" ("Laconising" meant brief and concise expression of thoughts without rhetoric) "Laconising means Philosophising (or Philosophing)".

on Philosophy in 2010: I am therefore I think?

IMO the product of philosophy should be applied food for thought for the average - real person on life's problems and dilemmas.

In other words IMO philosophy (love - search for wisdom) is a mass consumption "intellectual product"

"I am therefore I think":
thinking is for all as long as they embrace it. Does not contradict the original "I think, therefore I am" IMO.

Sparta or Athens?

history - systemics - policy:

Sparta or Athens?

Which city state system was more successful and viable?

from city states all the way to ...?

history - politics - globalization:

From city states to empires to modern countries to ......?

on taxation policy (various issues)

Why is it so difficult for policy makers to design a simple and effective tax system?7

The so called "Tobin Tax" on every financial transaction proposals. Unlikely to be agreed. But anyway:

a) how will it reduce risky behavior by banks?
b) can it be applied globally? Can pressure be applied to all country to adopt?

There is a saying in Belgium: "trop d'impots pas d'impots"
It means that too high tax rates = less business + jobs = less tax revenue
Can policy makers thus find that "optimal"-balance point without going over?

Friday, September 18, 2009

UK gov net debt now 57.5% of GDP!

UK economy:
Government net debt reached above £800 billion in August, more than £170 billion up in the last 12 months - net debt now 57.5% of Gross Domestic Product!

Free Trade Areas problems (NAFTA, EU, etc)

Can Free Trade Areas work better or mainly between economies - countries with comparable "systemics" (not just economic level and values)?

Case study:

The "Mexican Trucker" (NAFTA) and the "Polish Plumber" (EU) cases in cross-border provision of Services - compare and contrast!

revamping our way of life

Environment & Philosophy:
How many elements of our "way of life" are we willing to sacrifice to save the planet?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The "buy American" backfire and ther WTO trade considerations

U.S. Chamber of Commerce report says 176,800 jobs could be lost in the US b/c of Buy America policy. The main reason argued is because other countries could implement local/national procurement rules of their own that would erase any gains for U.S. companies.

The USCC report adds that if retaliation escalates, losses could be even deeper.

According to the Chamber of Commerce president Thomas Donohue “Buy American may be the best illustration of how such policies can sound good – but in fact, hurt the very workers and industries they are supposed to protect”.

Indeed, in a world that is complex and intertwined, including the economic and trade systemics, policies have more potential for "misfiring" or even backfiring, I would add.

According to the USCC President, the way to get other countries to buy American products “is through an open trading system where consumers, not the government, decide what they are going to buy”.

Indeed. But that does not nevertheless mean that there are not many countries members of the WTO even, that put up technical and admin and even cultural or complex/multi-dimensional barriers to access to their consumers - markets to companies from other WTO members.

And, in effect, force foreign companies to use intermediaries, either from a choice of private ones, or in some cases, state owned ones.

Which brings us again, IMO, to the issue of WTO based trade and its bugs and flaws. WTO rules are an advancement compared to decades past, one that came over many rounds of GATT trade talks. Yet, in spite of the huge progress, the current situation is not "stable", IMO. The world IMO needs much progress in WTO rules and their application or "back to basics". The current situation is irrational, unfair and un-balanced IMO. And not understood by people, on top of it (too complicated).

UK unemployment in May-July

UK unemployment May-July up by 210,000, to 2.47 million (7.9%)

Key elements to happiness

Philosophy : music, movies, books good TV, philosophy and sensuality are some of the key elements for happiness in life

Simplify and Rationalize for happiness

Back (or Forward) to Basics? Yes, IMO simplification is one of the keys to happiness. Simplify and rationalize your life! And IMO philosophy plays a key part in both.

the trouble with many famous quotes

IMO a problem with many famous quotes is that to be analysed or discussed, one has to know the context in which they were said

OECD employment stats and projections

OECD Secretary-General says OECD30 unemployment could near 10% (57 million unemployed) in 2010 if recovery fails to gain momentum

OECD 30 countries: unemployment 8.5% in July 2009 (5.6% in 2007) which means 15 million more unemployed than 2007

The intellectual economy

How much can intellectual products such as music, films, TV content (series etc), #books, etc contribute to the export revenues of a meta-industrial economy?

The price of social responsibility

How much "cut" are you willing to take on your salary or ROI in order to be socially and environmentally responsible?

UK retail sales in August: 2 bad news

Growth is food sales was more than offset by lower sales in clothing and footwear thus UK retail sales in August remained the same as in July (ie 0% rise). On top of that, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revised down the sales growth figure in July from 0.4% to 0.2%!

Thus putting a bit of a dent in the optimism after a recorded retail sales growth of 1.3% back in June.

US inflation in August

The US Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 0.4% in August after having been 0% in July, driven by higher oil prices.

US Current Account in Q2 2009

In Q2 of 2009, the US current account which is broader than the balance from trade, decreased to the lowest deficit since 2001, USD 98.8 billion (down 5.4% from Q1 USD 104.5 billion)

This is due to lower imports and higher exports for manufactured goods.

Eurozone's trade balance, Jan. - July 2009

(Source: Eurostat)
In the January to June period this year, the Eurozone's trade surplus in manufactured goods increased to Euro 96.5 billion (Euro 145.2 billion in the same period of 2008). Its trade deficit in energy products decreased to Euro 97.6 billion (from Euro 156.7 billion in Q1+Q2 2008).

In July, the Eurozone (16 member states of the EU that use the Euro) trade surplus was Euro 12.6 billion, the largest in 7 years!

Eurostat also revised the volume of the June trade surplus, up, to Euro 5.4 billion (from an initial stat of Euro 4.6 billion).

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Change for the sake of Change?

Yes! Even for the sake for change! We need to make change a daily habit!!


Because in this day and age, whether we like it or not, not changing is not an option. But change is not easy (see eg comfort tendency).

But change needs to become as "easy" - comfortable as a habit traditionally is.

Thus, even change for the sake of change is not necessarily a bad thing. It trains bidy and mind to treat change as a habit.

Note: I only call it as I see it, it's an uber volatile world we live in. Nothing stays the same on almost a daily basis.

Bureaucracy in Europe/the EU and the USA

At the end of the day, is bureaucracy - red tape really less in the USA compared with Europe - the EU?

IMO bureaucracy rules supreme on both sides of the Atlantic and suffocates #citizens and small business

USA - EU similarities and differences


Should USA and EU "systemics"

a) converge or

b) remain different to offer 2 distinct choices - options?

hope vs optimism - economics vs physics


Hope springs eternal but optimism promotes economic growth: Analyze That!

Reminder: Economics is a social science, unlike Physics and Chemistry: thus it's laws are not like Physics laws (ie deterministic)

The Eurozone economy in Q3

The European Commmision optimistic about economic (GDP) growth in the Eurozone in Q3 (Eurozone has 16 of 27 EU members)

towards trade "wars"?

"Trade Wars" 2009:

Do not use trade as a "weapon"!

Changes and Habits

philosophy and life-management:

Make change a habit!

the competitive advantage of being human!!!

philosophy - work - management:

Never send a human 2 do the work/job of an animal or a machine (and vice-versa)!

Do not "buy into" the antiquated notions of productivity of the industrial age, remember, you are not a robot!

when the going gets tough ...

When in the "game" of life you are overcome by events around you, do not rush it, take a timeout to think things through, use your mind!

What is the most important "asset" in life?

philosophy and life-management:

What is the most important "asset" in life?
a) money
b) tangible assets
c) ability to think and feel
d) other?

Monday, September 14, 2009

more or better regulations?

Do citizens in G20 countries really think that more regulations will solve any real problems? Do they not realise the red tape cascade impact on THEM?

Most countries have too many laws for the citizen to be aware of - does this make sense? Like a TV with a 1000000 pages users manual!

IMO what most G20 - OECD countries need is less and better regulations; and stronger competition laws

Sunday, September 13, 2009

ah those Basics, where are they?

Lifestyle - Philosophy:

A solution to many problems in 2009:

Back (or is it forward) to Basics!

Barrier: most have lost sight of them!

Life in 2009: Back (forward) to the Basics? Body and Mind!

Body + Mind: when was the last time you gave your mind a good workout?

Economics is not Physics thus ...

Reminder: Economics is a social science (ie its laws do not have the determinism of Physics or Chemistry etc)

some thoughts re our lifestyles in 2009

Forget shopping therapy, read a good #book or go watch a good movie instead, much more satisfying and cool!

Are your lifestyle and choices - decisions in life

a) in tune with the times and

b) suitable for you, personally? (both?)


are you living in another time (not in 2009) OR living (mimicking) someone else's life - lifestyle?

The same applies for business/companies!!!
Is "your" company's strategy a) suitable for your company or b) a copycat of another company's strategy? If (b), Ooops!! Better re-think it!

understanding the news

News and Current Affairs:

a) the tree or

b) the forest


c) both?

a wiser life for a better planet!!!

IMO much of the materialism, greed even CO2 emitting activities of humankind come from trying to impress other people in wrong ways.

Example: Dating

IMO/IME dates really care about "other things" and they have nothing to do with wealth + car.

Yet, are there guys today who think that an expensive car will land them a cool date? Yes, there are.

But, how many dates ACTUALLY expect it or attach REAL importance to these things? Not that many after all is said and done! Other things matter!

private (vs?) private: beyond political ideologies

IMO, the private sector has a natural advantage in certain areas, industries, activities; the public sector and Society in others (eg health care - medical - pension insurance)

For example: An individual's health risks are better covered by "Society" - the public sector rather than the private sector; IMO this not a matter of political ideology but the structural nature of health risks and the industry/activity in general.

The private and public sectors have, each, their own role in a Society, economy, country/state.

public vs private: beyong political ideologies

IMO, the private sector has a natural advantage in certain areas, industries, activities; the public sector and Society in others (eg health care - medical - pension insurance)

For example: An individual's health risks are better covered by "Society" - the public sector rather than the private sector; IMO this not a matter of political ideology but the structural nature of health risks and the industry/activity in general.

The private and public sectors have, each, their own role in a Society, economy, country/state.

capitalism mach II?

Towards a meta-materialist, meta-industrial, energy lean, intellect driven capitalism?

Is it attainable?
What is the role of opinion leaders and shapers of all kinds (thinkers, lifestyle and fashion gurus, marketers, etc)?

some thoughts on environment and an energy leaner way of life

a) The French president announces plans for CO2 tax of 17 euros per tonne of emitted CO2 environment

b) US cap and trade legislative proposals

c) More than 50% of electricity in the USA is provided by coal!!!!

d) Philosophy: What are the total per unit carbon footprints (manufacturing + transportation) of various global products we buy at our local store?

e) a) CO2 b) nuclear or c) solar and wind AND an energy leaner way of life? Strategic trilemma for humanity and each human.

f) Could regionalisation of the trade of goods (as opposed to globalisation) reduce CO2 emissions - carbon footprint per unit of good sold?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

EU Competition law cases: decided and under review

EU: The European Commission has published a compilation of competition law related cases, decided or under review.

Reference: MEMO/09/380 Date: 09/09/2009

China's economics

China exports in August down 23% from Aug 08, trade surplus down 45%! but USD 586bn stimulus package to boost domestic demand

Brazil and Sweden out of the recession in Q2 2009

Based on the latest data, Brazil and Sweden stepped into positive GDP growth territory in Q2 (April-June) 2009.

Brazil out of the recession in Q2 2009

Economy: Brazil GDP: Q4/08 -3.4%, Q1/09 -1.0%, Q2/09 +1.9% = out of the recession

Friday, September 11, 2009

the causes of the crisis: who is "greedy "after all?

Is it "Wall Street" per se that was/is "greedy" for profits or its clients?

policy: financial regulatory reform: fixing one problem creates another

Companies in all sorts of industries in the US are warning that their ability to raise money would be affected if a Securities and Exchange Commission's proposal to prohibit money funds from buying anything but the highest-rated securities goes through.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The "new" pleasures in life (post-recession) - way of life

Philosophy post-consumerism meta-recession economy and way of life:

What is more satisfactory? Material goods or intellectual goods and other "things" in life? Eg

1) expensive cars, jewelry, clothes, gourmet foods, etc OR 2) a good book, movie, song, sunset, thinking and conversation, good sex etc?

Instead of "shopping therapy" ....!!!

philosophy - consumerism :

"Shopping Therapy": a relic of economics past? Instead, ..... (alter ways of satisfaction)

Too dependent on Trust?

Philosophy: Can a relationship be too dependent on trust? An economy (eg USA)?

US and German economc models or something else?

The average American was in personal debt, the German had savings.
Germany is since Q2 out of the recession. Different economic models or ..?

US households are cutting their debt levels

US households are focusing on cutting back debt levels during the recession.

Consumer credit fell in July by USD 21.6bn compared with June, according to the Fed, following another cute, USD 15.5bn in June.

With US consumers are focusing on paying off debt, that of course affects consumer spending that makes up about 2/3 of the US economic activity.

That is where, in theory, where the US stimulus package comes in, ie public spending, to make up for the slack and more, but that increases an already huge US national (federal) debt!

The complicated signals from the (complicated?!) US economy also include: US manufacturing grew in August for the first time in 19 months and home sales reached a two-year high in July.

Have economic systemics become a runaway train?

Note: Compare the US to Germany. Germans it seems had high levels of savings, as opposed to being in debt, and that helped them weather the storm, and Germany, aided by exports, is out of the recession since Q2 2009!

Rationalising prodiction and transportation

How do we rationalise production and transportation for better environment and better life? Is emissions trading the best way to such a goal?

UK house prices

House prices in the UK rose by 0.8% in August 2009 compared with July 2009, according to the Halifax. That is the second month in a row of higher prices.

Yet in the June-August period they still were 10.1% lower compared with the same period in 2008.

UK interest rates

The Bank of England holds the central interest rate at 0.5% for the sixth month in a row.

The problem of real globalization: let's call a spade a spade!!!

Globalization - WTO - EU - NAFTA etc etc etc:

IMO: Alas more people can accept/tolerate foreign capital and goods (in their country, state, neighbourhood, etc) than humans (ie foreign "plumbers" + immigrants in general). Sad, but true, for many people, IMO.

And that is IMO the biggest barrier to "real globalization" (4 freedoms for all)

when will the EU because a real single market for real services?

IMO EU-wide provision of Services (aka "The Polish Plumber") tests the foundations of the EU + root of Single Market problems in recent years

Barriers to a more real free trade world

IMO international #trade is nowadays too complex in laws + systemics 4 most companies and people to engage in or even understand. Solution: Simplify!

One key barrier to rules simplification is related to the willingness and ability of national and other bureaucracies and admins to accept or adapt

As a result:

A Labyrinth of bilateral trade agreements, free trade areas on top of the WTO rules!!!

Hence IMO free trade and real globalization "suffer" because:

(1) "the man in the street" probably has or works for a small company that does not partake in global (or even inter-national) trade

(2) not only the man in the street but most people around the world cannot understand all this Labyrinth of PTAs, FTAs, WTO etc.


Note: Is Information Power after all?

For quite a few years now, the notion that Information Is Power has been considered a dogma.

Yet let me put forward the following syllogism:

If Information is indeed "power" then how come so much of it is free (eg available for free on the Internet)? The assumption here being that when even minimal market forces are in action, supply and demand, something that yields power would not be given for free.

Thus, following on this syllogism, one can argue that maybe Information is not, after all, "Power". What would validate this syllogism?

Well, let's consider what one can do with Information these days. Not much, I would argue. Unless one has the means to use this information to produce something and/or market it to a market, what value does this information have, what "power"?

IMO, Information by itself is not power. One has to be in a certain economy or market or have real access to it (see WTO, free trade for products, services, work, etc) not theoretical access or only via a monopoly or oligopoly of middlemen (see some cases of complaints re certain countries at the WTO) and have the means of production (still being in most cases capital, labor and know-how) in his/her possession or access, for Information to lead to "Power" or even something of value.

Unless one wins a encyclopedic knowledge quiz show!!!

Comments are welcome!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

manufacture regonally, consume regionally?

Which has a lower carbon footprint per unit: global manufacturing or global distribution?

In recent decades, the idea was to rationalise/consolidate manufacturing in fewer plants (and thus decrease unit cost of production) and then distribute more globally.

In the last few years, with Global Warming and green taxation on transportation, are we not in effect "re-configuring" the previous logic?

And what is the new logic? Eg. Produce regionally, distribute and consume regionally?

multilateral trade: a cornerstone of globalization?

To what extent is multilateral trade a cornerstone of globalization (as we know it)?

UK, Germany, France and the .... EU

Are meetings between the leaders of UK, Germany and France undermining the EU spirit?

On the UK economy's business friendliness and competitiveness

The UK economy: No. 5 in the world in ease to conduct business (according a World Bank survey) but No. 13 in competitiveness (according to the WEF's Global Competitiveness Report 2009-2010)!

the success of the "Scandic" socio-economic model

IMO the continued high rating of Sweden, Denmark and Finland in the new WEF Global Competitiveness Report shows the success of the Scandic socio-economic model

The pros and cons of 200 yrs of the industrial age

Industrial Age:

Were the Luddites PARTLY right?

(Evaluating the benefits and costs of the industrial age)

The challenge of the post-industrial economies

Can a Gross Domestic Product consist mostly of Services and Intellectual Products?

Reforms in business regulations on the rise in 2008-2009 says World Bank survey

According to the World Bank's "Doing Business" survey (published annually since 2004), 131 economies (more than 70% of those surveyed) reformed business regulations in 2008-9.

That is a record number since the report was launched in 2004.

The survey recorded 287 reforms between June 2008 and May 2009, up 20% from the previous year.

According to the survey reforms focused on

a) making it easier to start and operate businesses,

b) strengthening property rights

c) improving commercial dispute resolution

d) bankruptcy procedures

Most reforms were implemented in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East and North Africa.

Reforming business regulations on the rise in 2008-2009 according to World Bank syrvey!

According to the World Bank's "Doing Business" survey (published annually since 2004), 131 economies (more than 70% of those surveyed) reformed business regulations in 2008-9.

That is a record number since the report was launched in 2004.

The survey recorded 287 reforms between June 2008 and May 2009, up 20% from the previous year.

According to the survey reforms focused on

a) making it easier to start and operate businesses,

b) strengthening property rights

c) improving commercial dispute resolution

d) bankruptcy procedures

Most reforms were implemented in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East and North Africa.

Monday, September 7, 2009

friends and enemies

Philosophy and life management:

IMO, whoever actually suggested that one keeps one's enemies closer than his/her friends was a bit of a masochist!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

for a "deeper" EU

IMO the way to a deeper EU is a .... simpler EU!

More meaningful to the people, fewer and better laws (national and EU), common tax etc

Is globalization dying? How about Regionalization?

Maybe regionalization (NAFTA, EU, African Union, ASEAN, etc) is a more realistic step towards eventual real globalization

the (shaky?) future of world trade

Don't (bilateral) free trade agreements (FTAs) and free trade areas undermine the WTO and multilateral trade?

FTAs: Are a) the WTO and b) multilateral trade in general, in effect, "dying" and no one is willing to admit this in public?

2 myths: a European and a global one!

IMO: Alas, globalization and European integration turn out to be either a) unbalanced or b) myths

Globalization rhetoric but where is the commitment?

Lack of commitment to a common future is IMO also more than evident among the WTO members - hence heavy on rhetoric, slim on action

Free Trade Areas vs Single Markets vs Unions

a Free Trade Area is one thing, a Single Market another, but a "Union" eg EU (or like) requires real commitment to common future IMO

Bonjour Austerity, unless notions are re-thought?

The "West" urgently needs IMO a new - post-industrial - approach to productivity, efficiency and what work is, otherwise bonjour austerity

a new US economic model urgently needed

IMO the USA urgently needs a new - meta-industrial - economic model for competitiveness, growth and jobs

does the EU need a US type federal budget?

Are the effects of recession "symmetrical" even inside the Eurozone?


Cannot have single currency w/o strong federal budget a la USA

recession adapted home ec!

What is the min amount of USD Pounds Euros etc you - your family can live on per month?

happy workers!!!!

Work making one happy? Now, that's a socialist POV lol

Work to live or #live to work?

UK and USA: Is inward investment an LT economic strategy?

UK and USA: When was the last time they had a positive trade balance (surplus)?

Is inward investment an LT economic strategy?

Post-recession thinking

Do you think that the post-recession economy (and life) is going to look anything like the pre-recession one?

de-industrialising the USA

Of the 225000 jobs lost in the USA in August, 125000 were in construction and manufacturing = further de-industrialization of the US economy?

Lifestyle dilemmas - life management - happiness

a) a free trader or b) a free grazer?

a) a CEO or b) a beach bum? OR a) a yuppie or b) a vagabond?

Which dilemma do you prefer?

on the job of looking for a job

Looking for a job may be a ... job but an unpaid one though

The UK vs French and German economic models

Is the recession in the UK deeper than the French and German ones? Why?

Anything to do with the UK's economic model in the last 30 years?

G20 etc: Free Trade Rhetoric?

free trade - protectionism - G20 etc: do as I say and not as I do OR "lip service" - rhetoric?

A few philosophical thoughts on Freedom

Is freedom the opposite of "prison"?
What is the real function - elements of a "prison"?

Would not a "uniform" definition of freedom run contrary to the very concept of freedom (or is it cyclical logic)?

Freedom: maybe it is the ability to be free of long term commitments of any kind, to change your mind, to turn 180 degrees

a wider role for the WTO?

Does the WTO need to expand its scope to include "global" policy issues now discussed by G8, G20, etc?

a wider role for the WTO?

Does the WTO need to expand its scope to include "global" policy issues now discussed by G8, G20, etc?

Conspiracy theories and simplistic ideologies

IMO our world systemics + dynamics nowadays are so complex that they are even more prone to conspiracy theories + simplistic theories/ideologies than in centuries past

Friday, September 4, 2009

the value of competition law

IMO competition policy - law is the cornerstone of any real free market

Do you understand "Globalish"?

Until globalization, WTO, free trade and the like become understood and applicable to small companies, IMO they will not count for much or be popular

IMO that means becoming simpler, allowing a small company the real possibility to market to a global "niche".

The current labyrinth contributes IMO to "globalophobia" to SMEs and citizens

IMO the world either has to become a) MORE or b) LESS global.

Overlap between Free Trade Areas and free trade agreements?

Is the world map of Free Trade Areas AND bilateral free trade agreements becoming too messy to make "sense" to companies?


Country X is a member of Free #Trade Area A,
country Z is a member of Free Trade Area B.

Does a free trade agreement between X and Z "undercut"/undermine Free Trade Areas A and B?

Eg Mexico is a member of NAFTA, Brazil and member of Mercosur. How does a bilateral trade agreement between Brazil and Mexico affect NAFTA and Mercosur?

Food for thought!

Is Philosophy dead (or misunderstood or ,...)?

One can seek #wisdom but can only fully possess it?
Philosophy vs. being Sage

Is Philosophy in 2009: a) dead b) mis-understood c) a luxury d) other ____ ?

What "is" Philosophy, actually?

Banking & Financial reforms

Can the G20 adopt binding rules to regulate bank behavior?
Are UK, French + German leaders realistic or is it "rhetoric"?

Is the French plan to put a cap on bankers' bonuses "unworkable" (as A. Darling claims)?

tunnel vision?

economy - thinking:

There may be light at the end of the tunnel, but how long is the tunnel?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Change as a habit in 2010

Philosophy - life-management:

Adopting change as a (personal, etc) habit! An oxymoron or a survival skill nowadays?

Local development: London and NYC

Is London over-relying on financial services for economy and jobs?

Could they use more diversity?

the value of Logic in 2009 (?)

philosophy - logic - decisions:

Does it "pay" to be rational in 2009?

interest rate policy: food for thought

economic policy: What was the US Federal Reserve's central interest rate 24 months ago, September 2007? 5.25%!

Compare and think!
Why were they so high then? Why are they so low now?

Cause or Effect?

main US economic policy actions

1) $787bn economic stimulus package (February 2009)
2) $700bn Troubled Assets Relief Program for the banking sector
3) $1.2 trillion by the Federal Reserve, "quantitative easing, a program of buying government debt in order to boost lending and to promote economic recovery.
4) Federal Reserve: The central bank's interest rates were cut to between 0% and 0.25% in December 2008 and they remain at this level today (Sept. 3, 2009)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

CSR or Corporate Citizenship?

CSR: I like the term "Corporate Citizenship" better, more suitable connotations IMO (eg citizen in Ancient - Pericles Athens terms)

EU and Eurozone unemployment stats in June and some thoughts ....

June unemployment (Eurostat) top: Spain (Eurozone member) 18.5% Latvia 17.4% (6.9% in 2008) Lithuania 16.7% (5.8% 2008) - EU 27 9%, Eurozone 16 9.5%

Why is unemployment in the Eurozone in June (9.5%) higher than the whole of the EU (9%)?

Of the 6 EU member states with lowest June unemployment 4 are in the Eurozone (NL 3.4% Austria 4.4% Cyprus 5.5% Denmark 5.9% Czech 6.4% Lux 6.4%)!!!!!!!

When will the single currency single market of the Eurozone realise it potential? How? What is missing, in your opinion? IMO: a single language in the workplaces

What can the American economy learn from the EU 's systemic economic and other problems? eg the effects of over-regulation? other?

15.1 million jobless in the Eurozone: if each SME was offered the right "climate", if, then .....

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