Articles

Government of the people, for the people, by the people! Democracy is not a meritocracy. Politicians are chosen in an expensive popularity contest. The world’s leaders are proving this hypothesis as they fail to fix the financial crises, for which they blame everyone except themselves.

A better form of government? Churchill believed that all the others that have been tried are worse than what we have now. What about something new?

Politics and money Money is playing a bigger part in politics. Democracy was already in bad shape, and this is making it worse.

Stealing from the poor Senegal is one of the poorest countries in the world. One of the world’s wealthiest companies is stealthily fleecing these poor people.

Zuma exposed The president of South Africa’s poor personal behavior satirized in art. The people of South Africa deserve better.  

Employment will decide the election. Really? What’s happening with the economy and the Presidential election.

Why save the banks? The 1% – the world’s richest people have the money – why are they not helping?

Democracy damaged. The election results in Egypt are the result of a bad system, not bad voting. Who’s at fault?

Fail to succeed The trend in modern management to sweep things under the carpet is being exposed as the hard times make mistakes more difficult to hide.

Austerity – what does that mean? Politicians are not owning up to their mistakes, allowing the special interest groups to protect themselves by getting voters to rebel against “Austerity”.

Fooling all of the people JPMorgan’s campaign contributions to members of the US Senate Banking Committee are paying off.

Unacceptable: The Banking Senate committee’s interview with Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JPMorgan, was a reflection of the impact of campaign contributions. Not a good one.

First loss is the best loss: The Greek election is over. Is it the result good news or not?

Heading towards the fiscal cliff: The agreement between the political parties in America that comes into effect on 31 December spells bad news for the economy. We should be worried!

Retreat from the cliff: The increasing cost of healthcare in America is a growing problem. Why is America’s healthcare so much more expensive than anywhere else in the world? It’s time to fix it.

Retreat from the cliff part 2: All the lobbying has distorted America’s tax code. It works for some, but right now everyone is paying. It’s become unaffordable.

Politicians don’t care It’s easy to see whether a politician cares about the country. Look at how they deal with issues that will benefit the country in the long term, especially ones where the pay-off comes after they’ve left office. How politicians improve education is a good test of their commitment.

Time for a Mandela moment The hard work for Mohammed Morsi, the winner in Egypt’s presidential election, is just beginning. Making everyone feel that they have won is a good start.

A glimmer of hope! The European authorities have put together a plan that could work. Will the politicians accept it?

Insanity is ……… The reason I left South Africa is largely because of the way the police handled the case after I was attacked and almost killed. Things have not improved.

LIBOR manipulated – that’s a really big deal! Barclays has admitted to manipulating LIBOR, which has earned them billions dishonestly. Other banks are also being investigated.

Did bank greed cause the crash? Two articles in the Wall Street Journal in April and May 2008 questioned whether the banks were manipulating LIBOR. LIBOR rose immediately after publication of the first article confirming the market’s true assessment of bank risk. The freezing of liquidity between the banks after that precipitated the crash in 2008. The banks have some questions to answer.

Is Germany factoring Mediterranean Europe When companies go into liquidation, people with money pick up assets at a discount. The policies being shoved on the Mediterranean countries are forcing them into insolvency. The rich, many of them German, will be there to pick up the pieces at massively reduced prices.

America sells America America is determined to recover the tourism it’s lost since 9/11. To do that people at airport security will need to change their attitude towards travelers. Not all of the people implementing American security procedures are American. That’s a challenge.

Corporate arrogance should be punished Large corporates are getting caught out for their dishonesty and poor practice. Now they’re compounding their problems by lying, and thinking the public is too ignorant to notice.

A Diamond in the rough What’s happening about the other banks that manipulated LIBOR? What’s the truth about the conversations that took place at the end of October 2008?

The wealth of nations The UN has produced an interesting report valuing the assets of 20 countries. In addition to the assets normally appearing on the balance sheet, each country’s human capital and natural resources are included, showing which countries are investing in their people, and which are not.

The governments’ ponzi scheme The pension promises that governments have made to public servants don’t add up. To keep paying they have to keep growing, and austerity means that they can’t. Something has to give.

Unions – part of the solution or not Wage negotiations often result in deferred benefits. The employers representatives make it look good by focussing on the short term cost increase (usually low). The real cost are in long term benefits, often in retirement. The unions representing public servants have won incredible long term benefits for their constituencies. The financial crises has made it necessary to calculate those costs, and they don’t add up. No-one is going to win.

Escaping the poverty trap The politicians in South Africa are not stupid. It’s just that they look that way when they start talking.

Making things worse Often well meaning people in the developed world think that they are helping when trying to protect the rights of those in the developing world. Not understanding life in those countries, the help is not help at all.

Afghanistan – what happens after 2014? A recent Congressional report states that 95% of Afghanistan’s GDP comes from international aid. The country needs to build on what we’ve left them. With that foundation the only direction is up.

The wealth trap The value of companies listed on the world’s stock exchanges is a function of the share price and the number of shares. Profit growth forms a large portion the share price, and if that drops shareholders lose money. Sometimes that wealth is a myth.

How to make money The people in finance are good at making money for themselves. Not always so good at doing the same for their clients. The methods of the investment gurus who do make money for their clients, like Warren Buffett, are not a secret, and they’re not as complex as some people try to pretend. Here’s how.

JPMorgan’s magical numbers JPMorgan has updated the losses incurred on it’s hedge trading losses in London from $2 billion to $5.8 billion. Happily that coincides with its best trading quarter ever, so critics will be told “what’s the problem?”.

Not going back to that restaurant A lighter moment.

Cause to celebrate Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, South Africa’s most capable politician has been made head of the AU. Perhaps now the many troubled countries on the continent will get some solutions. 

Good or evil Fracking is changing oil politics reducing the West’s dependence on countries that are prepared to use their control of supplies as a weapon. It’s important that our decisions on the subject are informed.

Invaded privacy Concern about invasion of privacy are pointing lawmakers in the wrong direction.

Let the games begin It looks like much of the debate before America’s presidential election will be about the economy. Let’s hope that some meaningful discussion happens.

Crazy weapons The recent slaughter of innocents in Colorado raises the question of why these crazies have access to military grade weapons. The rest of the world wonders why America can’t fix this issue?

What price a life The death of 34 miners in South Africa, killed by panicking police is raising hackles. It’s evident that lack of training is the issue.

Who’s next Africa can achieve it’s potential once it overcomes the corruption and lack of democracy that prevails. The recent deaths of the leaders in Ghana and Ethiopia offers an interesting contrast.

Open letter to the chairman of Volkswagen A dealership undoes the Volkswagen’s successful conversion of a customer. The chairman should know.

Whose fault is that? Uncertainty is stopping businesses from investing. 

Poor people There are more than 1 billion people living on less than a dollar a day. The rest of us complain about our problems after the crash. Theirs are much worse.

That’s rich New research shows that socialism is a better capitalism for the poor and the rich.

The real deal In 1910 Theodore Roosevelt made one of Americas great speeches, setting the country on a path of incredible economic growth. He argued for equality of opportunity.

Escaping the poverty trap Bangladesh is a leading example of development success contradicting Kissenger’s opinion that it was development “basket case”. There are some interesting lessons.

If it’s broken, IT can’t fix it Schumpeter, in the Economist, suggests that technology can make the government more efficient. Because of the implementation of technology in government, particularly email, it has made bureaucrats even less effective.

Robbing the rich to give to the richer Hedge funds have a fee structure called two and twenty. Two percent on the capital invested, and twenty percent on the profits they earn on the assets in which the capital is invested. That means that the returns have to be really good before investors get something themselves.

What were you thinking, man Hindsight is 20/20 vision, but sometimes so is foresight. Investment is simply a numbers game, and the mathematics of compound interest form the foundation of how well the investment performs. Often using the magic of compound interest, and the history of past performance, investment sales people offer the promise of fantastic wealth extrapolating from an often selective history.

Tourism in India The Taj Mahal is India’s premiere tourist destination. As one would hope, there are rigorous security checks at the entrances. But, if the officials responsible for the security don’t understand that they are manhandling one of India’s most vital assets, they are doing their country a disservice.

The new rule of law – social media Social media turns on the abuse of power by a Mexican politicians daughter, and Dad gets fired.

Let’s have better elections If election management bodies treated votes the way that businesses manage money, elections would not just appear to be credible, they would be credible.

Multi-tasking is a myth Even when high speed computers appear to multi-task, what they’re doing is dividing their attention, which means that each task is done proportionately slower. At least quality doesn’t suffer. When people multi-task, both speed and quality suffer.

Getting team India to win again< At the start of the 16th century India had 25% of the World’s GDP. So did China. By 1820 China’s share was 33%, but for India the decline had already begun, and it held 16%. By 1973, the low point, India produced 3% of global GDP. Then as the economy almost collapsed in 1991, it introduced a series of sound economic reforms, so that after that it’s economic growth sometimes reached double digits. And then it stopped./span>

Getting team India to win again – poverty People living on less than $1.25 per day are below the poverty line. India is home to 250 million, a quarter of the global total.

Getting team India to win again – infrastructure India is spending a lot of money on infrastructure. Sometimes the priorities are wrong, sometimes misdirected, often not efficient, and corruption is running interference that is undermining the prospects for many projects.

Getting team India to win again – The 1991 financial crisis The 1991 financial crises provides a number of pointer that India can use to overcome the hurdles that it faces today.

Getting team India to win again – fiscal consolidation A business that’s losses are more than 50% of revenue is in trouble. Because of the way that economists do the accounting the size of the problem is as apparent as it should be. India is in trouble and the stakeholders need to be told.

Getting team India to win again – the plan If it were an ordinary country, India’s challenges might be insurmountable. India is no ordinary country, but it needs to take action now – and this is a proposal of some of the things that are possible.

More money than sense Most of the time marketers of luxury goods are very good at using Daniel Kahneman’s ideas to sell to people who have more money than sense.

India’s competition with ChinaAlthough politicians deny it, the competition between China and India once again hit the headlines as India successfully launched it’s first mission to Mars. In New Delhi the competition with Beijing is also evident. The air pollution is making life unbearable for the inhabitants.

Are drug companies bad for ones health? Anyone foolish enough to browse through a medical dictionary is likely to come away from the experience believing that the only affliction that they’re not suffering from is housemaid’s knee. That might be a clue why healthcare in America is running at twice the OECD average.

Canada’s book cooks Canada’s peculiar budgeting system raises some questions about transparency.

Travel travail It was not a good day on Kenya Airways.

Open letter to the CEO of Ethiopian Airlines State owned airlines provide pretty poor service everywhere. At least with Ethiopian, it’s just the online service that needs improvement. Lot’s of it.

Trump proves that democracy is dead John Oliver’s spectacular takedown of the former reality TV star, who continues to win support from voters in spite of a string of xenophobic, racist, mysoginistic, and anti-muslim rants proves that democracy is dead.

The lumpy carpet syndrome There is a modern trend in business and government agencies to sweep bad news under the carpet. That’s not sustainable.

Trade – tyranny or triumph? There is a popular trend against globalisation and the trade that’s driving it. Demagogues and populists are riding the wave, ignoring the damage their rhetoric will do the the world’s poor.

Michelle Obama says what we feel about Donald Trump Michelle Obama makes a dramatic speech condemning Donald Trump for the mysoginist that he is.

Congratulations America Rome had Caligula, America has Donald

Ok, so where are the tax returns Donald Trump is the self admitted master of tax avoidance. How is he going to fix it?

What was the point of that? When thinking people vote to make a point, rather than to choose the most suitable candidate, they increase the chance that an unsuitable candidate is elected.

The first big test Many of Trump’s supporter believe that he won’t really do the things he promised on the trail. His choice of cabinet will reveal his intentions.

Democracy’s flaw Rational intellectual debate is the democracy’s foundation. Not any more.

Is Donald Trump America’s Jacob Zuma? Corruption is the abuse of power for personal gain. Zuma has proven how devastating that is with South Africa’s economy. Will Trump do the same for America?

Guessing who is the most unpredictable is not a good idea The world has too many leaders testing the rules. Using irrational behaviour as a substitute for diplomacy is high risk.

Trump Towers, a few years ago The bizarre tax code allowing property investors to depreciate their buildings is the source of much of Donald’s cashflow. But it’s created a huge future liability that Trump wants to disappear. Guess what, now he’s magician.

Tramping on democracy Trump’s disdain for the conflicts of interest between his role as POTUS and his business interests reflect how little he cares about democracy.

Trump didn’t win the election. Clinton lost it The Russian hacking exposed Clinton’s unsuitability as a candidate, and many of her supporters believed the predictions that she could not lose, so she did.

The house of cards The world’s economy is on a knife edge with only central banks holding it from collapse. Trump is about to push it over the edge, adopting the same mistakes that caused the Great Depression.

Tragedy Trump’s finger on the Twitter send button reveals his ignorance, and makes him the ISIS recruiter in chief.

Congress Should Investigate Russia Along With Donald Trump’s Finances An article that appears in Time exposes the security risks of Trump’s conflicts of interest.

The Electoral College is a good idea Don’t expect the meal to come out well if you don’t follow the recipe.

In war, truth is the first casualty America is a country still at war with itself after 170 years. The hatred offered fertile ground for fake news that escalated the hostility and destroyed reasons’s democratic role.

UNacceptable Ban Ki-moon’s tenure as Secretary General of the United Nations has been a dismal failure. In a position that requires strength of character, the man displayed the backbone of a squid. He has revealed designs to become South Korea’s next president. The country, as the potential host to the start of the next world conflict, must not let that happen.

Obama’s farewell speech (transcript) Barack Obama bids farewell as POTUS

South Korea’s fate The victory for democracy in South Korea, with the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye, might herald it’s next disaster.

http://nws-sa.com/rr/?p=1280Trump fails conflict of interest test Within a few days Donald Trump will be the President of the United States of America. His conflicts of interest are his Albatross. They have the potential to destroy his administration.

Is he, or isn’t he? Donald Trump psychological profile is unusual. The question is whether he is fit to lead Amerca. There is a group of professionals who say not. See for yourself.

Trump calls for a new election Donald Trump is questioning the legitimacy of the election that he won on November 8, 2016. He says that 3 – 5 million people voted illegally. There is only one remedy.

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