Archive for the The Truth Is Out There Category

Barack Obama – forging a legacy in stone

Posted in #worldview, Culture, Economics, Inspirational People, The Truth Is Out There on 19/04/2010 by nicka77

Not content with having forced through health reforms against extreme and vitriolic political obstinacy, Barack Obama is turning his attentions to the much-needed reform of the banking sector.

It is a much repeated phrase in America, that “Main Street must never again be so reliant on Wall Street”, and it is the hypocrisy and self-indulgent ideology of bankers that will now come under genuine, tangible scrutiny for the very first time since the global economy crashed almost 2 years ago, as a result of the fraud charges brought by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) against Goldman Sachs.

In a few days time, Barack Obama will debate his banking reforms with The Senate in another round of hand-wringing, shaking of heads and venomous attacks on this “Communist” by Republicans and, even, some Democrats. It is no surprise that the timing of the charge of fraud being brought by the US SEC against Goldman Sachs is so aptly timed, and it is for this reason that I state that this will be the first tangible scrutinisation of the industry since the crash.

Up until now, Governments the world over have quite rightly focused their minds on saving the banking sector, utilising public sector funds in which to do so, thereby ensuring ordinary tax payers are not left totally bereft due to the actions of a small number of self-centred imbeciles. Only now, given that the global economy has stabilised, and investigators have had time to build water-tight cases, is the time right to bring lawsuits against those who brought the crash to bear.

In my opinion, it would be the wrong thing to do if banks and bankers had demonstrated some sort of remorse or indeed willingness to change their worst practices. However, the fact that Goldman Sachs have a huge $20bn war chest to dish out in bonuses this year speaks absolute volumes. They haven’t changed. They will never change. Unless they are forced to change through structural, regulatory and litigious force.

And that’s why this legal action brought against Goldman Sachs, and all the subsequent legal actions that will be brought against a variety of the worst offenders, is a hugely unfortunate necessity if the global banking system is ever to be rebalanced in favour of the ordinary man on the street. It is hugely unfortunate that this is necessary, because I believe that this legal action will be the spark that ignites a double-dip recession.

With the threat of legal action against fraudulent collusive practices between and within the murky worlds of hedge funds, investment banks and market analysts, the banks will once again close up shop, strangling the liquidity necessary to stimulate and fuel business in every corner of the globe. This will lead to another bout of job cuts, misery, and bankruptcies, as well as create a catalyst for further lurches towards extremist and non-mainstream political parties.

However, it is a legal action that, despite the short- to medium-term pain, is absolutely necessary in the longer-term. Just as America will have to go through huge amounts of pain to restructure it’s health system, the World will have to suffer yet more pain while the global banking system finally gets the attention it has deserved ever since bringing the economy close to total collapse.

Barack Obama is making very tough choices, and shying away from not one single battle.

He is the President that America needs, and he is the American President that the World needs.

All power to him. I believe his legacy will be unparalleled.

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The Dogs of War

Posted in #worldview, Culture, Digital, Economics, Technology, The Truth Is Out There on 18/04/2010 by nicka77

This is a great visualisation by John Snow at Gizmodo of the huge battle going on for our digital souls…. Google, Apple & Microsoft are fighting the first true war of the 21st Century (if we ignore those pesky terrorists) in their attempts to create lifestyle cocoons around each and every one of us, developing a multi-verse of platforms which will ensure that, once we are snared, it will be almost impossible to disentangle ourselves. The implications for personal data and privacy are, as we all know, enormous….

The pace of change is frightening

Posted in Culture, Digital, Economics, The Truth Is Out There on 08/10/2009 by nicka77

Fantastic little video here from The Economist that highlights just how quickly society is changing around us… check it out.

Stieg Larsson

Posted in Books, Culture, The Truth Is Out There on 08/06/2009 by nicka77

Have just read the first two books in the brilliant trilogy written by Stieg Larsson, who very unfortunately passed away almost immediately after completing the novels.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He was a journalist by trade, and the novels reflect his interest in the darker aspects of human society: white supremacy, people trafficking, political corruption, violence and abuse.

The first part of the trilogy, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, was actually called “Män som hatar kvinnor” in Swedish, which directly translated means “Men who hate women”. The novel is certainly both powerful and disturbing in its content matter, and Larsson’s writing forces you to question the morality of modern society.

He does this subtly though, interweaving complex plotlines and memorable characters with the dark subject matter that he uses as the canvas upon which to paint.

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Definitely worth reading.

I can’t wait for the final installment….

http://www.stieglarsson.com/

TED – Ideas for India’s future

Posted in Culture, Economics, Inspirational People, The Truth Is Out There on 14/05/2009 by nicka77

This is a talk, just published by TED, where Nandan Nilekani discusses his vision for India’s future.

This is an excellent presentation, in which Nandan gives a fantastic summary of the ideologies that have made India what it is today, and what it will be tomorrow.

 

Well worth a look.

And for those who don’t know TED, it is possibly the best website around – their motto is ‘Ideas Worth Spreading’ – so check it out: http://www.ted.com/

Indian Elections

Posted in Culture, The Truth Is Out There on 30/04/2009 by nicka77

It is by total chance that I am in Mumbai during the Indian elections, and it is understandably dominating the news (superceded only by the ubiquitous IPL). Today has been Mumbai’s chance to vote, and the streets have been eerily quiet in comparison to the anarchy that I have experienced over the last few days.

I have been trying to get my head round the enormity and complexity of these elections, and had given up the ghost until I bought a copy of The Economist, who have cleared it up for me.

Just check out these staggering figures:

“The scale is mindboggling. It will spread over 5 stages, taking 4 weeks and involving 6.5m staff. In 543 constituencies, 4,617 candidates, representing some 300 parties, will compete for the ballots of an electorate of 714m voters.”

That goes some way to explaining why I was completely and utterly confused by the daily reports in the regular newspapers. The next comments, also from The Economist, go some way to explaining the problems that India has in shaking off the chains of feudalism, religious extremism, intimidation and corruption, even as it powers forward to become a global superpower.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These comments relate to Uttar Pradesh (UP), India’s largest state and one of the key political battlegrounds in these elections:

“Eastern UP, a poor caste-divided and gangster-ridden region, shows Indian democracy at its seamiest. In the 16 regional constintuencies that polled this week, 272 candidates contested, of whom 17% had criminal records. The BSP’s, SP’s and BJP’s (3 of the biggest parties in India) were the most criminal: 44% of their candidates were tainted.”

“The BSP also had the distinction of fielding a famous alleged gangster, Mukhtar Ansari, who stood whilst in a prison cell, awaiting trial for the murder of a BJP lawmaker.

“A nearby BSP candidate and alleged gangster, Dhananjay Singh, got into hot water this week when he was accused of murdering a rival candidate, Bahadur Sonkar, who was found hanging from an acacia tree on April 13th (Mr Singh, incidentally, is a high-caste Hindu, while Mr Sonkar was a dalit).”

“Among the main parties, Congress (who are currently in power) had the cleanest contestants in UP. Only 25% were criminals.”

This seems quite astonishing to me, but is obviously commonplace within Indian politics. There has been no mention of this in any of the newspapers I have read.

From further reading, I have become aware that the burgeoning middle class in India simply wash their hands of Indian politics due to the inherent corruption and feudalism at its heart. This leads to most of the 300 parties focusing on rural and regional issues, rather than national policies, in order to win votes from the poorer sections of the population.

Another factor to consider is that, because there are so many parties, no one party has any chance of achieving a majority, and what follows the ballots is a melee of unseemly trading and deal-making, leading to unwieldy governing coalitions that will rule the country with timidity and impotence.

Check out the articles from The Economist here (leader) and here (special report).

A Short History Of Nearly Everything – Bill Bryson

Posted in Books, Innovation, Inspirational People, The Truth Is Out There on 23/02/2009 by nicka77

This is the book I would choose if I could only have one book to read whilst stranded on a desert island (unlikely scenario but stranger things have happened).

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is absolutely packed full of amazing information, incredible anecdotes, wonderful stories about famous and lesser-known inventors and discoverers, and quite simply has more information in it than can possibly be absorbed in one read. I would recommend this book to anyone who has any interest in modern human society, and in how scientific endeavor has pushed our thinking forward.

http://www.randomhouse.com/features/billbryson/flat/home.php