Thursday, January 19, 2017

The World´s New Disorder

Cover of The Newyorker Magazine
on Flickr under Creative Commons License
The following thoughts are the result of brainstorming two articles that have quite opposite stances. One of them is Yascha Mounk's "The Best-Case Scenario for the Trump Presidency" the other one is Simon Kuper's How to avert catastrophe" published in the Financial Times.

I have to agree with Mounk when he says that "confident predictions of doom are as simplistic as mindless optimism"However, I cannot do other than admit that there is a lot of truth in Kuper's affirmation when he says that "Today’s elites are often mocked for failing to foresee the financial crisis of 2008 but, in fact, such blindness is standard. In 1914, few people expected the first world war: the historian Niall Ferguson has shown that bond prices held up that summer, meaning that investors didn’t foresee higher government borrowing. Forecasters also missed the Holocaust, China’s Cultural Revolution and September 11."

I have to admit that, for as badly as I intend to opt for Mounk's approach to today's reality, I'm inclined to make a catastrophe-prediction: the World will give us a long-lasting lesson. Globalization is way too advanced. Betting against it, a loser bet. Free market can be a double-sided knife. Anybody, any country, allies or enemies can bubble you up and pinch you down. If they didn't do it so far is because we have been good boys, great consumers; because it's more profitable let's being prosperous and play inside our markets than bet against it. But, change those rules, bully the World around with your military power, alienate your traditional allies, and we'll have a huge retaliation. 

Globalization is the logical corollary of free society and free market. Globalization is the brain-child of liberal capitalism. In a trade war against China or Russia, with their market regulations and laws about who can own stocks or bonds, they will be the indisputable winners. 

Monday, November 28, 2016

Welfare State and Technological Revolution: a Good Pairing

Image by Frits Ahlefeldt under
 Creative Commons License
I always thought that Capitalism was the best economic model. Now, in the face of the new Technological revolution, I feel I have to reconsider this ideology. 
"The World Economic Forum has estimated that five millions jobs will be lost by 2020. A 2013 Oxford study estimated that 47% of U.S. employment is at risk of being computerized."[i]
We need to come up with a way to give proper response to those that cannot make a living no because don´t have the will, but because the system fails to create the right niche timely.
I´m not talking about “socialism” that would imply to withdraw money from people who managed to thrive and make a fortune under the previous model. I don´t believe that is precisely fair. But, I believe that putting taxes over the profits of the new technological activities, and redistribute them to the people that has been left out of the system, is a measure that should be taken by the governments, in order to keep a healthy society.
All the attempts to apply the same capitalist recipes to solve economic problems will fail, if we don´t recognize that we are facing a new and different paradigm.
I think history is making a call for the return of a Welfare model.

[i] McFarland, Matt. "Trump's Populism Is Only the Beginning. Here Come the Robots." CNNMoney. Cable News Network, 17 Nov. 2016. Web. 28 Nov. 2016.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Buckle up your seatbelt: The World in 2017

Image by WikiMedia Commons
The World is shifting."McCarthyism" or "War on Terror" will not longer be sufficient models to explain the complexity of what's going to happen in next years.
Israel standing with Trump while Trump is standing by Putin? In political terms, Putin's goals in the Middle East commune with those of Iran. And in Economic terms, China cannot hide anymore its purpose of being a player in this game. A possible China/Russia/Iran axis is what I fear. Internal divisions in the United States will look small next to the whole World's division. Then, there is the surge of incendiary propaganda: both from Russia and from other groups inside the United States. There is more, much more. Just watch the news, with an open-mind, with no assumptions that things will tend to be pretty much the same as they have been so far.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

United States 2016 Elections Takeaway

Image by DonkeyHotey under Creative Commons License
One of my takeaways from 2016´s election is that Sanders´s campaign proved that "Socialism" is not a bad word in America, anymore. But, does socialism really belong into the Democratic party? I don´t think so. Also, Trump´s campaign proved that white supremacist rhetoric has room in the political arena. But does Neo-nationalism really belong within the GOP? I don´t think so either. I think that the two-parties system is coming to an end in America, and we´ll witness soon the surge of some other parties.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Gratuity and Gratitude as Game Changers

"We all can win" by Frits Ahlefeldt - 
Laurvig under Creative Common License
The author of the picture you see here (among many other artists who are doing the same) might have something important to teach us: this artist has a good deal of quality artwork published in Flickr under Creative Commons License. This is how I see a more fair model of market economy: when we find individuals like Frits who selflessly share their talent, we should embed their work into ours and distribute it all around (of course we are the first beneficiary of this sharing activity) but at the same time we act as promotional agents spreading the word through social networks or even graphics or television media (whatever is available to us). Maybe the fundamental point is taking good care of making the due authorship attributions (I even put links to their websites so that their authorship is better guaranteed). Ideally at some point we can create a critical mass of demand for the author who can now continue with its share of selfless work but also gain an increased number of royalties by doing other works of different magnitude or nature. It is a model that can be applied to literature, music and not only art but also many other markets. The rule of gratuity combined with the rule of gratitude can produce profound changes in the way we exchange goods and services.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Open Source and Democracy

Picture by Scott Pakulski under Creative Commons License
I was researching a topic that fascinates me: the changes produced by what is called the Open Source Paradigm and I came across this Ted Talk (find link below) that impressed me deeply because, among other things I'm an Argentinian and I'm specially worried about the political model of my country. I was deeply surprised when, in the middle of the talk, shows up an Argentinian lady named Pia who proposes to extrapolate the Open Source concept into politics in order to achieve some sort of Greek democracy, where citizens can vote straight forward the laws that are discussed at the representatives chamber by means of an App. Last year Pia has founded her own political party called: "The party in the Net." (I imagine that they don't rely on big sums of many to found their party so I encourage my fellow compatriots to investigate this new party's platform, what they are doing, etc and spread through social networks or other means if available, should they think that this proposal is viable and can be an alternative for positive change in our country). Personally, after listening to this Ted Talk I don't think that Pia is dreaming of Utopia (though I can easily sense that some adjustments must be needed) You might say that poor Argentinian people don't have usually access to computers. However, if the country continues the path it's following now, soon people will have to spend days buying basic supplies as it occurs now in Venezuela. Instead they can sit a couple of hours a day in the computer parlor whenever it's subjected to consideration the continuation of their own assistance plan. May even participate in the debate and, if not, the representative of "Party in the Net" will be required to compute their vote as if every one of the resolutions that there they passed were a referendum. Here the talk: Listen Now: Open Source World

Sunday, September 6, 2015

A spectre is haunting America

A spectre is haunting America — the spectre of a growing viral xenophobia, of a raging reinforced conservatism. The political arena seems more agitated than ever, while police are shot every other day, minorities claim for the value of their lives in public demonstrations, and State Clerks are imprisoned for refusing to issue marriage license to gay couples. The nomination of a black-american president seems, somehow, to have over-stretched the society's bonds. It seems like liberal forces in America are going to a rushing pace while a big part of the society is not willing to embrace these changes. That's maybe why antagonic voices are growing in number and speaking out louder. For the sake of the country I wish that social changes will be delivered in more moderate intakes and that tolerance and good judgement will prevail.