Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
Peter Diamandis writes:
But what people aren’t talking about, and what’s getting my attention, is a forthcoming rapid demonetizationof the cost of living.
Meaning — it’s getting cheaper and cheaper to meet our basic needs.
Powered by developments in exponential technologies, the cost of housing, transportation, food, health care, entertainment, clothing, education and so on will fall, eventually approaching, believe it or not, zero.
In this blog, I’ll explore how people spend their money now and how “technological socialism” (i.e., having our lives taken care of by technology) can demonetize living.
As an entrepreneur, CEO or leader, understanding this trend and its implications is important…it will change the way we live, work, and play in the years ahead.
Sounds far fetched but …
To me, “demonetization” means the ability of technology to take a product or service that was previously expensive and make it substantially cheaper or potentially free (in the extreme boundary condition). It means removing money from the equation.
Consider Photography: In the Kodak years, photography was expensive. You paid for the camera, for the film, for developing the film, and so on. Today, during the megapixel era, the camera in your phone is free — no film, no developing. Completely demonetized.
Consider Information/Research: In years past, collecting obscure data was hard, expensive in time if you did it yourself, or expensive in money if you hired researchers. Today, during the Google era, it’s free and the quality is 1000x better. Access to information, data, and research is fully demonetized.
Consider live video or phone calls: Demonetized by Skype, Google Hangouts, the list goes on:
Craigslist demonetized classifieds
iTunes demonetized the music industry
Uber demonetized transportation
Airbnb demonetized hotels
Amazon demonetized bookstores
All good examples. Who spends on classified ads now? Photography only now costs time for most people. Calls to friends overseas are free and used to cost hundreds of dollars.
The automotive market (a trillion dollars) is being demonetized by startups like Uber. But this is just the beginning.
When Uber rolls out fully autonomous services, your cost of transportation will plummet.
Think about all of the related costs that disappear: auto insurance, auto repairs, parking, fuel, parking tickets. Your overall cost of “getting around” will be 5 to 10 times cheaper when compared to owning a car.
This is the future of “car as a service.”
Possibly the most exciting aspect.No tag for this post.
Tim Blair looks at what Kevin Rudd could achieve as UN Secretary General:
He’s the man who within just three years turned Labor’s election landslide into a government-shattering civil war. He’s the man who handed Australia’s massive budget surplus to Wayne Swan. He’s the man who tried to counter global warming with a household insulation program that burned down more than 100 houses. He’s the man who attempted to save money with a grocery watch website that ended up costing Australians more than $4 million. He’s the man who introduced humane refugee policies that killed more than 1000 refugees.
In the field of outstanding incompetence, Kevin Rudd is your gold medal winner every single time. Let’s imagine the outcomes if UN secretary-general Kevin takes charge of the world’s current major issues.
South China Sea dispute
Master diplomat Kevin personally conducts negotiations between China and the Philippines over disputed sovereignty claims. The situation is resolved amicably when China agrees to cede ownership of the area in exchange for erasing the Philippines with thermonuclear weapons.
Britain’s exit from the European Union is causing global financial anxiety. This is a job for Super Kevin! After just three days of top-level talks, Britain not only re-affirms its Brexit vote but commences an ambitious military campaign aimed at restoring complete dominion over India, Australia and the US.
A bewildered Kim Jong-un wakes to reports that a pale, circle-headed Australian man is standing in the middle of Pyongyang with a hand-written sign reading: “Hey, fat boy! Stop all the missile tests or no more McNuggets for you!” South Korea is subsequently ruled uninhabitable for the next 40 years due to radioactive fallout.
European refugee crisis
The Middle East becomes overrun with German, French, Belgian and Swedish refugees following Rudd’s pan-European “justice and tolerance” pact, co-signed by Syrian and Afghan community leaders in between their various sexual assault trials.
NSW greyhound ban
In Caracas, Rudd refuses to explain how he simultaneously solved the problem of surplus greyhounds in NSW and also Venezuela’s critical meat shortage. “Let’s just say it all worked out for the best,” the secretary-general smirks, gnawing on an elongated tibia bone.
“Please, we beg of you, stop helping,” pleads a Vatican delegation after a fifteen-word text message from Rudd somehow leads to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi being elected Pope.
It is obvious the Australian Government don’t really think Rudd would be a good Secretary-General, but feel obliged to nominate him as a former Australian PM.
The way of out their dilemma is to do what Republicans have done with Trump. Say you’ll vote for him but don’t endorse him!
UPDATE: According to Trans-Tasman this is what Australia will do. Julie Bishop is going to nominate him but not endorse him!
CLAPPING has been banned at a Sydney primary school which has introduced “silent cheering”, “pulling excited faces” and “punching the air” to respect students who are “sensitive to noise”.
The school now only allows its pupils “to conduct a silent cheer” when prompted by teachers and says the practice “reduces fidgeting”.
Elanora Heights Public School, which is on Sydney’s northern beaches, announced its new “silent cheer” policy in its latest school newsletter.
The latest example of a political correctness outbreak in Australian schools, which have banned hugging, singing Christmas carols, celebrating Australia Day and singing the word “black” in the nursery rhyme “baa baa black sheep”.
The ban on clapping at Elanora Heights Primary School emerged on the same day that an exclusive girls school banned teachers from calling “ladies” or “women” in favour of “gender-neutral” terms.
More PC madness.
If you ban clapping because some people are sensitive to noise, do you ban speaking also?
In April, hugging was banned at a Geelong primary school and children were told to find other ways to show affection.
St Patricks Primary School principal John Grant said “nothing in particular” had caused hugging to be replaced by high fiving or “a knuckle handshake”.
“But in this current day and age we are really conscious about protecting kids and teaching them from a young age that you have to be cautious,” Mr Grant said.
He said he had spoken to teachers about his decision to ban hugging and then the teachers had spoken to classes, instructing the children on different methods of showing affection. He had not sent any correspondence home to parents but said there would now be a letter going home on Monday.
“There’s a range of methods including a high five or a particular knuckle handshake where they clunk knuckles as a simple way of saying ‘well done’,” Mr Grant said. “There are also verbal affirmations and acknowledgments.”
Children at the school have been enthusiastic huggers, he said, with hugs given out to teachers and other children.
“We have a lot of kids who walk up and hug each other and we’re trying to encourage all of us to respect personal space,” Mr Grant said. “It really comes back to not everyone is comfortable in being hugged.”
And some people are not comfortable with bright colours, so lets ban all clothing that isn’t black.
The man described as the world’s best-known conspiracy theorist is strangely mild-mannered. He has light blue eyes and a scruffy white mullet. He has a tendency to stare into the distance when talking, as if spotting some great unmentionables from afar.
David Icke, 64, sips weak tea while sitting in a hotel foyer near Sydney’s Central Station, glancing at a television showing Maggie Beer baking what may or may not be a flan.
He believes terrorist attacks such as 9/11 are part of a global conspiracy to control the masses. He believes the moon is a hollowed-out alien space station. He believes 60 per cent of the world’s leaders, notably Queen Elizabeth II, are shape-shifting humanoid reptiles.
An equally surprising score have paid up to $140 each to attend Icke’s Worldwide Wake Up Tour here. Tickets to his first Australian talk, in Perth, sold out. His Saturday night show at Sydney Town Hall was almost filled by Friday, with more than 1100 tickets sold.
I reckon we need a law that says anyone who pays money to hear David Icke speak is automatically removed from the electoral roll for say ten years.
The former British football player, BBC presenter and Greens spokesman sees the world as a great big spider web of Satanic rituals, mind control and skulduggery.
This may explain things!
We all agree that e-cigarettes are significantly less harmful than smoking. One in two lifelong smokers dies from their addiction. All the evidence suggests that the health risks posed by e-cigarettes are relatively small by comparison but we must continue to study the long-term effects.
And yet, millions of smokers have the impression that e-cigarettes are at least as harmful as tobacco. Over 1.3 million UK e-cigarette users have completely stopped smoking and almost 1.4 million others continue to smoke. We have a responsibility to provide clear information on the evidence we have, to encourage complete smoking cessation and help prevent relapse to smoking.
The public health opportunity is in helping smokers to quit, so we may encourage smokers to try vaping but we certainly encourage vapers to stop smoking tobacco completely.
We know that e-cigarettes are the most popular quitting tool in the country with more than 10 times as many people using them than using local stop smoking services. However, we also know that using local stop smoking services is by far the most effective way to quit.
The current national evidence is that in the UK regular e-cigarette among youth use is almost exclusively confined to those young people who have already smoked, and youth smoking prevalence is continuing to fall. …
Yet in New Zealand it is still illegal to sell nicotine for e-cigarettes. Why is the Ministry of Health so slow to change?
The groups that signed the joint statement are:
- Public Health England
- Action on Smoking and Health
- Association of Directors of Public Health
- British Lung Foundation
- Cancer Research UK
- Faculty of Public Health
- Fresh North East
- Healthier Futures
- Public Health Action
- Royal College of Physicians
- Royal Society for Public Health
- UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies
- UK Health Forum
Michael West writes:
The “Big Four” global accounting firms – PwC, Deloitte, KPMG and Ernst & Young – are the masterminds of multinational tax avoidance, the architects of tax schemes which cost governments and their taxpayers more than $US1 trillion a year.
Although presenting as “the guardians of commerce” they are unregulated and unaccountable; they have infiltrated governments at every level and should be broken up.
This is the view of George Rozvany, Australia’s most published expert on transfer pricing, which is one of the principal ways large corporations pursue cross-border tax avoidance. Rozvany stepped down last year as head of tax in Australia for the world’s biggest insurance company, Allianz. Formerly, he was an insider at Ernst & Young, PwC and Arthur Andersen.
“The Big Four have, under a Rasputin-like cloak of illusion strayed from their original and critical role of verifying the accuracy of financial accounts for all stakeholders, to be “accountants of fortune” merely representing the accounting position for multinationals and developing aggressive international tax avoidance practices,” he told michaelwest.com.au.
Rozvany is writing a series of books on corporate tax ethics. “This is not a victimless crime,” he says. “While Western governments have been cutting back their aid to the most underprivileged in society, from the homeless to orphaned children in Africa, multinational companies have been diverting ever larger profits into tax havens”.
“The global community must also recognise the links between aggressive taxation behaviour, money laundering, corruption, organised crime and terrorism, of which the Brussels bombings and 9/11 are chilling reminders. This, unquestionably, is the financial sewer of humanity where the purpose for such money, no matter how malevolent, is simply hidden until used”, Rozvany says.
At the heart of the issue is a conflict of interest. While the Big Four advise governments on tax reform, they make lavish fees advising their multinational clients how to avoid paying tax.
“They are both architect and engineer,” says Rozvany. “They sell the (tax avoidance) schemes to the multinationals; and in the case of the LuxLeaks scandal last year, they arranged the deals in secret with government, to the detriment of all other sovereign nations and their taxpayers”.
In the PanamaPapers scandal earlier this year, Panama City law firm Mossack Fonseca was singled out as the major culprit behind a global tax avoidance scam, says Rozvany, but who signs the financial statements for Mossack’s clients? Who is guarding the guards? “And by the way, if one enters a Mossack Fonseca office, one knows that one is entering an aggressive law firm not one pretending to be something else”.
“From a regulatory viewpoint, it makes perfect sense to split the accounting and tax functions of each of the Big Four to improve financial integrity and to split each of these firms again into two firms to create competition. International commerce will then have eight international audit firms and eight international tax firms from which to choose.”
Don’t think the firms should be split just because they’re big. But the proposal that their tax and accountancy functions should be separated may have merit.No tag for this post.
John Drinnan writes:
Running a monthly liftout produced by Chinese state media must make good sense for the accountants at Fairfax.
But in my view, the eight-page China Watch PR/propaganda sheet (take your pick) seems self-destructive for this respected media brand.
According to a report in China Daily, which will write the views, the liftout will appear in the Sydney Morning Herald, the Age and the Australian Financial Review. It has also run in Fairfax NZ’s Dominion Post.
It will not be the first time that ad supplements have had a political dimension, but the tone of China Watch is sometimes lecturing.
China Watch – in localised form – also runs as a liftout in the London Telegraph and the Washington Post, both of which have had strong histories of reporting on world events and are not known as propaganda sheets.
These big boys have the resources and independent journalism to balance any propaganda. With all due respect, if you want a nuanced examination of the rumbling dispute in the South China Sea, you do not turn to the Wellington broadsheet.
Fairfax NZ group executive editor Sinead Boucher distanced the company’s editorial operation from the arrangement, saying it had no involvement in what was a commercial printing operation utilising the Fairfax distribution channel.
She noted there was a clear note on the liftout saying Fairfax editorial staff and resources were not involved.
But in my opinion, the willingness to run politicised content overwhelms that distinction. Who is next – North Korea?
The good news is that China Watch features so much heavy handed PR and boosterism, only a moron in a hurry would confuse it for editorial.
The Dominion Post does not have the resources to challenge any assertions from the Chinese propaganda ministry, which the Financial Times has described as having a budget of US$10 billion.
The Australian ABC programme MediaWatch has described Fairfax as running propaganda for the Chinese.
For example, China Watch declared the Philippines did not have a leg to stand on in its territorial dispute with China, but an international tribunal subsequently found in Manila’s favour.
Fairfax is playing in dangerous waters.
So the new model of journalism for NZ is to run propaganda for China.
NZ newspapers should run Chinese Government propaganda, if newspapers in China were free to run advertising from foreign Governments also.
John Cochrane blogs:
Conor Dougherty in The New York Times has a good article on zoning laws,
“a growing body of economic literature suggests that anti-growth sentiment… is a major factor in creating a stagnant and less equal American economy.
…Unlike past decades, when people of different socioeconomic backgrounds tended to move to similar areas, today, less-skilled workers often go where jobs are scarcer but housing is cheap, instead of heading to places with the most promising job opportunities according to research by Daniel Shoag, a professor of public policy at Harvard, and Peter Ganong, also of Harvard.
One reason they’re not migrating to places with better job prospects is that rich cities like San Francisco and Seattle have gotten so expensive that working-class people cannot afford to move there. Even if they could, there would not be much point, since whatever they gained in pay would be swallowed up by rent.”
Stop and rejoice. This is, after all, the New York Times, not the Cato Review. One might expect high housing prices to get blamed on developers, greed, or something, and the solution to be government-constructed housing, “affordable” housing mandates, rent controls, low-income housing subsidies (which protect incumbent low-income people, not those who want to move in to get better jobs) and even more restrictions.
No. The Times, the Obama Administration, California Governor Gerry Brown, have figured out that zoning laws are to blame, and they’re making social stratification and inequality worse.
This is the major factor in house prices in Auckland. Labour, National, the Productivity Commission, the NZ Initiative etc all agree. We just need the Auckland Council to listen – and if they won’t, to have Parliament over-rule them.