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.
With a hard Brexit, Britain is shooting itself in both feet and then trying to dribble like Messi.
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 –
Is it time for us to live the future free?
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.
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.
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.
You get the feeling that the Nintendo Switch will only be a middling success. The price of the console is too high and it doesn’t look like there are many games that would make the purchase worthwhile. I really think that Apple TV and Android TV is the future of hardcore gaming, though as yet they don’t have enough top-notch studios making games for them. This will soon change, as consumers will be drawn to cheaper games with good gameplay on both platforms.
The Nintendo Switch doesn’t have enough third-party support to make it a viable console. And sure it is more portable than the Wii U, the PS4 and Xbox One but I don’t think that is much of a draw nowadays what with smartphones, phablets and tablets. It will be a bit sad to see Nintendo lose and have to give up on hardcore home-based gaming consoles but it has to do so. And anyway, the 3DS and 2DS along with their mobile games will keep their company relevant in the gaming world, though Nintendo will have to accept that they must downsize their company and besides focusing on the 3DS, 2DS and the successor to those portable gaming consoles, they will have to become a gaming studio in the main. This means their profit will most likely decline but it could be a good opportunity for innovation at the company in terms of video game franchises and new iterations of established franchises.
Nintendo will have to work harder to survive and thrive but this could revitalise the company. In the future they may also learn to embrace change quicker and adapt to changes in gaming industry well as a result. My two cents is that Nintendo are a Japanese company and Japanese companies don’t like to admit failure as they have a cultural issue with admitting failure in their honour culture.
Companies like Valve don’t have this type of cultural flaw holding them back so it looks like American companies will dominate the gaming industry going forward. Valve will survive and do well because they have an established PC base of gamers and they may have some success with their efforts to create a console base of gamers too.
It’s going to be fascinating to see who pulls out of the hardcore gaming industry, Sony or Microsoft. Possibly Microsoft will because they don’t make money out of their gaming endeavours with their hardcore gaming offerings. They will have a small future in mobile gaming, perhaps. Sony may have to also pull out eventually, but they are making an effort to establish themselves in the mobile gaming market. This is their future – a highly diminished one. But this could be good news for gamers, as Apple TV and Android TV hardcore games will be much cheaper.
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.
Thomas Picketty, a French economist who, as written in his highly-talked-about book ‘Capital in the 21st Century’ released in 2013, believes that wealth should be taxed in order to regulate capitalism, may live to see this desire happen, as the damaging aftermath of the HSBC scandal, Panama Papers and the clamp-down on corporate tax avoidance suggests. This could be only considered a good thing for everyday people, as taxes are a great way of funding a thriving society.
Picketty may be wrong, however, in suggesting that global growth is going to slow, thus allowing capital owners’ bank balance to rise in proportion to the incomes of normal tax payers. “Infra technological frontier” countries such as China, Nigeria, Indonesia and India may help keep global economic growth higher than the rate of return on capital. In 2013, the rate of return on capital was a bit above zero per cent (Picketty believes that in order for capital to create a more and more unequal society, the rate of return on capital needs to rise above 2.5 per cent).
It’s not unthinkable that the rate of return on capital may indeed go into negative territory. Also, it would seem to be the case that global convergence between Africa, China and India could take a century, or perhaps longer than that, to happen (global convergence would lead to lower growth rates and the rise in prominence of capital, which could send Europe and North America back to the nineteenth century in terms of economic equality). Indeed, the convergence may never happen as the economies of countries from North America, Asia and Africa will likely go up and down, such that convergence may always be out of their grasp.
The rise in prominence of Picketty and his ideas about taxing wealth signal that the push to increase Ireland’s corporation tax will only grow more aggressive as time goes on.