Trump Relaxing Banking Regulations Could Sow the Seeds of the Next Financial Crisis

Trump relaxing banking regulations could sow the seeds of the next financial crisis. I don’t think he understands that regulation is a good thing, as the consumers need to be protected, rather than a bad thing. It seems he takes his orders from Steve Bannon and somehow believes deregulation will cause growth in the short term. This is bad news for the long-term outlook for the world. Hopefully the next US president and government pushes back against this and undoes the damage before it’s too late.

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Britain’s Hard Brexit Will be a Disaster

With a hard Brexit, Britain is shooting itself in both feet and then trying to dribble like Messi.

Poem: What Next for The World?

What next for the world,

What next for us?

What next for the world,

Is it written on a bus?

What next for the world,

What next for the good?

What next for the bad,

What will happen –

What should?

Could,

Would,

Be,

Is it time for us to live the future free?

The Effect of Technology on Future Employment

The effect of technology on future employment, as highlighted by business leaders at Davos, is profound. More and more software, computers and robots will be replacing human workers, and some of it has already happened (think the lack of as many human cashiers in supermarkets).

One answer to the increased joblessness and lack of expendable income is a “spending wage” for citizens for doing no work at all. This would stimulate the economy by allowing people to purchase consumer goods, though it may not solve the self-esteem issue of people not feeling that they have a purpose in life, or that they at least have a diminished purpose in life.

Why Ireland is so Popular for Multinationals

Forget what people have said about multinational corporations coming to Ireland only in order to pay our very low tax rate. It’s hogwash. Those companies could go to many, many different countries to avail of low taxes. The real reasons why they have chosen Ireland as their destination is because Ireland is geographically close to the Europe, it is a member of the EU, it has a highly qualified, skilled workforce, its people speak fluent English, it doesn’t have a lot of red tape so it’s fast and easy to set up shop there, it’s a peaceful country so it’s very stable, politically it is also very stable and that doesn’t look like changing. Having a low tax environment is quite helpful for the company to maximise its profits also, but it’s nowhere near the be-all and end-all.

We can be very cynical and negative and display all the signs of an inferiority complex when it comes to evaluating our country, but Ireland’s success is justified only partly by happenstance (such as the fact that we speak English), and partly by visionary planning by the IDA (where they decades ago to focus on technology and pharmaceuticals as two growth industries the IDA should attempt to woo in order to get a lot of investment into the country).

Ireland has been a success story in many ways, and it’s healthy to celebrate that. It may be a relatively small island with a small population, but – to use the cliché – it really does punch above its weight. Most multinationals investing in Ireland are, of course, American, and perhaps there is something to the fact that Irish people make up a proportion of the US population, so they may go with a country for the European market whose culture they understand.

The Branding of Juventus and Pogba

Like it or loathe it, Juventus’ new logo is another sign of the branding and commercial focus of soccer clubs nowadays. Juventus is up against all the other big clubs and they need to make an effort to stand out. Even if I happen to like the new logo, the announcement was full of the usual marketing mumbo jumbo, so it quickly became annoying and pretentious.

It may also be a mistake. Juventus’ logo is recognised by millions so to change it seems like a silly waste of money and, more importantly, branding capital. They have to start from scratch with this new logo. It helps that it features a capitalised “j”, but still. Much more important, however, is the players this club can attract and what it can achieve on the pitch.

Paul Pogba spent a bit of time getting “p”s shaved into his head and having two capitalised “p”s bleached a greenish yellow colour to signify “Paul Pogba” on his noggin alongside getting his own Twitter emoji. Considering his performance against Liverpool on Sunday he should probably be focusing on how to get the best performance out of himself for his club. Though I think it has become clear to a lot of people that his choice to move to Manchester United was driven as much by commercial and branding ambitions as soccer ones.

Co-opism is What’s Best for the Future of Humanity

Now I want to share an idea of mine of a new political ideology that could help humanity have a better future. I call it “Co-opism”. This ideology would still fall under the umbrella of capitalism technically, as it would still be about the profit motive in a capitalist economy, but with the benefits of a co-operative structure, like better pay, better conditions and more engagement with the company, and thus happier employees who are more motivated to outdo the purely capitalist competition because they are happier and because they have a stake in the company.

This simple idea can be put into place in countries all over the world. And the world will have to fight politically to put this idea into place by incentivising the founding of co-operatives and helping co-operatives in state policy and penalising and not helping non-co-operative companies. Now, I am aware that there is a system that is even better for the average citizen than co-opism and that is workers self-directed enterprises (WSDEs), as outlined by Richard D. Wolff on his website http://www.democracyatwork.info/ but I don’t think it is realistic to jump straight from pure capitalism to WSDEs. It is more realistic to work with the co-operatives that are in your country now and that are part of a culturally well-understood system.

One reason why I think Co-opism will work and that it as an idea will inevitably be put into action is that it is a nice halfway house between communism and capitalism. It gives better benefits for workers like communism but still has the healthy profit motive of capitalism.

So, here’s the part where I try to inspire you to take action. Put co-opism into place by founding a co-operative-focused political party! Spread co-opism elsewhere by simply sharing this blog post or by communicating the idea to others! Rise up against pure capitalism and neo-liberalism!

All Publicity is Good Publicity in US Politics

This opinion piece: http://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/kathy-sheridan-the-media-got-it-right-on-trump-but-nobody-cares-1.2877809 is clearly just one angle rather than a comprehensive assessment of why Trump won. This is partly because The Irish Times wants to write more than one article about Trump.

Anyway, the US media made Trump. The Irish Times and the rest of the Irish media are obsessed with Trump – just like the US media.

Of course the media, as a group, want to say they had no part in Trump’s victory, but it’s just not true. What Trump understands about publicity is that all publicity is good publicity in US politics. People, after having a candidate thrust into their faces for a year and a half, forget why they know the candidate’s name but they sure as hell remember that person’s name, and hey, what’s he promising? Change? That doesn’t sound bad to them.

Trump Will Bring Change for the Worse

trump

So Trump is president. This may be like watching a car crash in slow motion. Trump is an empty vessel. But the policies that his compatriots in government will put forward for him to implement will wreak the country. Half of the American people may believe that Trump can bring forth change. However, what they did not consider is that things could change for the worse.

Getting into those right-wing policies though, an example being his plausible pledge to cut taxes. What Americans need to understand is that they need a high level of taxes to provide good social services and to have a budget for spending, in order to invest in the country and improve it. As said by Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.: Taxes are the price we pay for civilisation.

These tax cuts will most likely be applied to the wealthy and the corporations too. And it should be obvious that the rich need to pay much more to society. However, I’m sure they squirrel away their money away to tax havens in any case. But the symbolism matters.

Four years from now, it may still not be clear to Americans that the economy has worsened. He may get elected again. Who knows. But he may not have brought the change the American people want. They may start to see him as akin to a politician: willing to promise the world to people and then not follow through on those promises.

And a new outsider might appear to promise radical change for Americans (my hunch is that Americans may vote for radical politicians until they get better jobs and higher wages).

In short, Trump may be trumped by another populist, perhaps – and hopefully, a very left-wing Latina.

 

 

 

 

Tesla Death Is Tragic but Cars That Self-Drive Are Still Needed

tesla-autonomous-driving-car

The first fatality in a car that is self-driving is tragic. Joshua Brown was an unlucky guinea pig, who was putting his full trust in his Tesla Model S’s Autopilot mode – an unfortunate mistake. Tesla have said that the driver must remain alert while trying out this mode. From news reports it appears he didn’t, as he was watching a Harry Potter movie while in the car. The Autopilot mode is still in beta but Tesla also claimed that it is “getting better all the time”.

It should have much fewer problems as time goes on when the mistakes and errors are rooted out of the software. And Tesla even went as far as saying that statistically speaking, if a driver remains alert and ready to grab the wheel, driving in Autopilot mode is still a good bit safer than regular driving.

Sadly, there will be more deaths caused by cars self-driving in the future. This particular instance is just a short-term setback for Tesla, and for the self-driving car industry as a whole. In the future the statistics may add up showing that cars in a self-driving mode still result in far fewer deaths or indeed accidents than cars with human drivers. I suppose one can’t help be sympathetic to peoples’ fears of cars being able to self-drive as a consequence of this accident. We clearly are in a transition period which may last many years, and every accident will keep people nervous about trusting self-driving cars. It may be a case of people needing to try them out to ease their nerves.

But frankly, given the amount of road accidents that lead to horrific injuries and deaths that could be preventable with future itineration’s of self-driving car software, it seems that the future of widespread self-driving cars is still sorely needed.