Current affairs, Past events & Future trends

The 21st century is seeing the impact of globalisation in many forms. International citizens of mixed parentage, universities promoting distance learning, affordable air flight and the digital and genetic revolutions.

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Friday, October 06, 2006

All the same, are we?



Whether or not a human is involved directly in research of the psychological kind, it is the case that there resides deep within us the deep primal urge to operate to take advantage of a certain situation that presents itself. A natural disaster, war, tragedy, economic downturn or other problematic general circumstance, mankind often returns to the basic mode of survival.

It is fair to say that where there is some sort of calamity someone, somewhere is profiting. That is not meant as a criticism, or even cynicism, but a statement of life. Recent news has presented - only a few weeks after the controversial item that the navy not the RAF won the Battle of Britain - the startling but not impossible-to-believe revelations that the Blitz endured by London in World War II was a time of not only restraint and stiff upper lip, but of gleeful abandon. Even to the point of fingers being severed for the procurement of jewellry, not to mention the sexual expressions of love. The ongoing Iraq war is just a confirmation of this scenario, where soldiers outside the normal remit of society (whatever that means) revert to actions to be regretted.

So there you have it. Hopefully you are not stuck on mountainside somewhere in the future with a group with no sign of help. Let's just say try and have a good relationship with your fellow travellers, in case you are the one that draws the vote for sacrifice. And pack a GPS phone.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Advertising works, right? You're here

I daresay the search engine phenomenon is not so hidden as to be a low profile issue on any consumer survey map. As if we needed reminding, adverts online are way ahead, whilst the viability of print and even television is in question, to put the point simply. The latest thing now is the drop in the usage of pop-ups - which of course many programs now enable the savvy user to avoid - and more targeted promotion. For instance, the social networking sites attract a certain age profile, common knowledge for the ambitious marketer. Look at even this blog. The adverts are embedded within the template of the page, not getting in the way (I hope) of the main rivetting text.

Speaking of which, advertising is a major area for new start ups. No more so than the new German company www.smartising.com. They are now part of a second trend which sees many companys from Deutschland shunning the GmbH corporate status in favour of registering as an Ltd in England. The advantages? Much cheaper in terms of intial capital, less red tape etc. However a fair few of them were not submitting required financial data. This problem has been seen in AIM (alternative investment market), ably targeted by the relevant authorities. So a German director inthe computer room in Munich may have his firm registerd in Middlesbrough, all through the help of a consultant.

Well, i suggest all of you quickly check that empty building in the middle of the high street. Perhaps it is not simply the former newsagent's.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Religious foundation?

One of the most interesting things to do is to look back a little in time to see the origin and development of certain people and institutions. As you will well know, it pays to look at the biographies of the great men of all time, including those alive, for inspiration purposes. For instance, you may not know that Iraq was 80 years ago a newly secured British mandate, with royal family and allegiance to the English King.

This brings me to Maersk shipping lines which recently featured in the international papers that I love to read online and in hand. They re the massive Danish conglomerate that is number 1 - yes, ships still do exist despite the increase in airplanes. The fact of the matter is this, they started over a century ago. Now it is clear to most that Danes can be bracketed in the Scandinavian region. The other Scandinavian giant Sweden, has a giant company Eriksson (now tied up with Sony for mobile handsets) also a venerable institution. That actually started in the old days of the small Swedish village that had a number of Protestant 'free churches'. The Protestant work ethic, according to Max Weber the German philosopher, meant they members put capital together to start business.

Now who would have thought religion could make money, eh? Or perhaps such has always been a great way to organise society. If one is devout follower of God, then one is more likely to save cash than piss it away on a Friday night on the town. The EU should look at this when comparing itself to the bastion of innovation, USA.

Monday, October 02, 2006

You believe who I am, don't you?

Well latest from the 'pink pages' http://www.ft.com/ is that most of us are liars. Or at least those who work in companies, which goes for the majority of adults of working age in the West and perhaps also in the developing southern hemisphere. The point basically goes like this: because of office politics and otherwise the average employee - and for that matter employer - needs to keep those around them happy like she does. Example is "congrats on your new job" even if one is annoyed/puzzled at their promotion over you. It is the case that politicians lie just like, or even worse than, the Hungarian prime minister did recently. One of the more notable pieces of action from the recent Labour party conference in UK was the wife of the soon-to-be-gone-but-not-too-soon prime minster Tony Blair saying Gordon Brown did not actually find Blair congenial, despite what he professed on stage.

Of course, a lie by itself is no crime. Unless it is accompanied by some sort of proscribed social wrong e.g. fraud, court contempt. Gambling, on the other hand, is close to being confirmed illegal if the Republicans succeed in the continued diversions from the 'Iraq' issue, led by the ambitious (presidential aspirations) Bill Frist (Senate majority leader currently). I say it is all a load of speculation and the chances of it actually preventing private American (North) citizens from using electronic transfer to go on the web are quite slim. And one wonders why many are cynical of the politics. Add to this the rise of graduate schemes for virtually similar trans-national corporations and countless online applications - are you saying all is truthful and above board.

Recent recruit "After wide research and speaking to manager, I realise this firm was the one"
Translate "After continual rejection, I settled on this company. After all the pay was good".

Politics is after all a game. As is wagering bets. And both you play to win.

You believe who I am, don't you?

Well latest from the 'pink pages' www.FT.com is that most of us are liars. Or at least those who work in companies, which goes for the majority of adults of working age in the West and perhaps also in the developing southern hemisphere. The point basically goes like this: because of office politics and otherwise the average employee - and for that matter employer - needs to keep those around them happy like she does. Example is "congrats on your new job" even if one is annoyed/puzzled at their promotion over you. It is the case that politicians lie just like, or even worse than, the Hungarian prime minister did recently. One of the more notable pieces of action from the recent Labour party conference in UK was the wife of the soon-to-be-gone-but-not-too-soon prime minster Tony Blair saying Gordon Brown did not actaully find Blair

Of course, a lie by itself is no crime. Unless it is accompanied by some sort of proscribed social wrong e.g. fraud, court contempt. Gambling, on the other hand, is close to being confirmed illegal if the Republicans succeed in the continued diversions from the 'Iraq' issue, led by the ambitious (presidential aspirations) Bill Frist (Senate majority leader currently). I say it is all a load of speculation and the chances of it actually preventing private American (North) citizens from using electronic transfer to go on the web are quite slim. And one wonders why many are cynical of the politics. Add to this the rise of graduate schemes for virtually similar trans-national corporations and countless online applications - are you saying all is truthful and above board.

Recent recruit "After wide research and speaking to manager, I realise this firm was the one"
Translate "After continual rejection, I settled on this company. After all the pay was good".

Politics is after all a game. As is wagering bets. And both you play to win.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Sino-EU trade relations; a year on


British Prime Minister Tony Blair decided to visit China in my second week in that vast country almost exactly a year ago. I shall not go as far as saying he realised I was here before he came, but certainly this co-incidence is rather significant. If one has not realised how key this country is, then this should come as a timely reminder. In addition, the only English news channel in China - which naturally was my main station - reminded my room constantly of seemingly never-ending economic forums with businessmen from the West. Stuff like "Hu Jintao/Wen Jiabao has just met the foreign minister from Mozambique". And other similarly relatively insignificant nations. Cue the overstretched face smiling inanely and handshakes held far beyond the usual few seconds.

Let me put it this way, globalisation is an unstoppable force, something that has always fascinated me. Forget all this nonsense about an East/West clash of ideals, amongst other things. Just over a year ago US, European, African and Asian government finance ministers met not far from here to discuss the establishment of a new international economic order (http://www.chinese-embassy.org.uk/eng/xw/t205396.htm). Meanwhile, America has received millions of dollars worth of aid from its supposed nemesis in the aftermath of the recent tragic hurricane.When it comes to monetary concerns, it is clear to me that there are no real national limits; my Finance masters course starting now is not a year too soon.

With all this rentless pace of change in the world, it srikes one as surprising and sad that progress is still not made in the area of airflight. One simply needs to open the paper on a weekly basis to realise the persistence of low quaility pilots and craft leading to avoidable disasters.

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