fresh start

America China – The Power is Moving!

According to the OECD, Western countries’ debts in 2008 were equivalent of to 100% of their GDP. China on the other hand has a deficit equivalent of 21 percent of GDP. So not only is the Chinese economy performing very well, they are also partly bankrolling the West. And money talks. [...]

Is the West taxing itself out of business?

It’s not a coincidence that most successful Western corporations were founded last century. Then it was still possible to build up a highly profitable company in the West. Nowadays however, that’s easier said than done. Western tax authorities, led by Sweden followed by America, are tightening any loopholes there are. [...]

Saffron instead of opium?

The whole world would benefit from farmers in Afghanistan replacing poppy farming with alternative crops. Saffron yields about the same price as poppy so that would be one possibility. To make impoverished farmers change from poppy is however easier said than done. So wouldn’t it be a good idea for the world community to start channeling more aid into compensating farmers who opt for alternative crops? [...]

Corporate takeover of US elections?

Shouldn’t US voters know what corporation or interest group they are voting for? One American expressed his views very clearly on Reuters: “Our politicians should dress like racing drivers – they openly show the logos of who is paying the bills. At the race track the sponsors want to be known. In Washington the sponsors do not want to be known. I do not think Washington understands integrity or “transparency”. [...]

Will regulating banks avert another global crisis?

The G20 group’s discussions this weekend may lead to banks and other financial institutions having to pay two new taxes to fund future bail-outs. Good timing that a former Goldman CDO man just published a novel he wrote “about the cliched high life I had been living while creating and selling billions upon billions of these securitization and credit derivative products, now better known as ‘toxic assets”. [...]

Obama acting like a Nobel Peace Prize laureate

Many of us, even Obama himself, thought the Norwegian Nobel Peace Prize Committee awarded him the price prematurely. But by signing a landmark strategic nuclear disarmament treaty with Russia he is actually beginning to live up to the committees expectations. [...]

Laudable Indian move to educate all children

United Nations is hailing what they call a “ground-breaking” new act that legalizes the right to free and compulsory education for all children between the ages of 6 and 14 in India. The Indian move is laudable and since the bill was passed already in August last year to be implemented swiftly, presumably by now more Indian children are already attending school? If not, what’s the progress so far and when is it estimated that all children will start going to school? [...]

Will global trade pick up significantly this year?

So it seems global trade is picking up but even experts are not sure if it will continue to do so this year? What do you think? Will world trade pick-up this year? If so, how much do you forecast? Or is the rise we have seen so far this year just a temporary increase that will start declining again? [...]

Let’s make 2010 The Year of Optimism!

The world has been too gloomy the last couple of years. So now when the wind’s turning let’s capitalise on it and be optimistic. How about we all make it our new years resolution to be optimistic? What have we got to lose? After all without hope there’s just time. [...]

The American Dream – what does it stand for today?

It seems to me that a few bankers have managed to hijack and contaminate the American Dream. To them it means looking after number one at the expense of others, which is as far from the true meaning as you can get. And the price for that is being paid by Middle America with their drastically reduced spending power. [...]

New EU branding – instantly forgettable?

Isn’t the idea of the EU brand to convey the message of Europe as one of the most powerful players in the world? If so, I simply cannot understand the choice of Herman Van Rompuy and Catherine Ashton for the the two top jobs? Bland and unknown leaders like that far from give the image of a leading power. No matter how competent they are they simply fail to convey the right impression. [...]

Stop the “heads I win – tails I’m bailed out” syndrome!

To avoid repeating last year’s crisis, governments must find a way of making investors in financial institutions understand that they will lose money if banks fail. If not, there is no stopping the moral hazard of investors feeling safe believing that governments will always prevent major banks from collapsing. [...]