Monday, 30 March 2009

Red Herrings Everywhere!

The ongoing dispute about banks lending or not lending is nothing but a shoal of red herrings; discussing the absence of trust amongst the banks itself applies to the same category as covering up obvious tracks; the serious difference is that the first headline, when discussed in business circles offers the brilliant opportunity for obstructionists amongst the crowd to make themselves important. “I hear they are lending again” marks the innocent entree of what banks crave; it demonically supports the banks’ head quarters compulsory slogans issued to their infantry and trumpeters like: “Keep up our image!”, “Keep them quiet!” and “Spread optimism”, what harm to predicate “We do indeed lend!”.

What causes good vibes for the obstructionist(s) provokes immediate feelings of bad conscience amongst the remaining listeners as to whether they or their business proposal or model might be insufficient, impotent or just unworthy; what else could be the reason for their most recent bank discussions to have failed so badly?

Being an entrepreneur or the average need-to-be- bank-customer take comfort in the thoughts below:

Obstructionists are not bad people in general; they are basically stupid, selfish and ignorant, but not bad.

Banks are quite the opposite; they are bad which they insist to be in parts (of their papers at least), only; that is why they need Bad Banks. They are intelligent, ego-centric and all but ignorant. Aware of their past gambling routines, the risks and the potential losses they need to make sure that there is scorched earth all around them. They believe this will make the cover-up and the traceability afterwards of what caused the disaster and who played the major roles much more difficult and hopefully of nobody’s interest as everybody should then have taken the same Titanic journey.

The old saying that a bank will always lend you their umbrella when the sun shines but take it back when it rains might soon be your daily line of defence when getting rid of those bankers following you for business. What else is left for them to do other than return to the original bank business model of lending money to the ones that make money for them? Speculation will be restricted and strictly monitored; gambling – at least for the years to come – will be relocated to where it belongs; casinos and the back rooms of dark gin palaces or onto race tracks.

It remains to be proven that the desperate trials to obtain business for the banks will feed the remaining masses of bankers, meet their bonuses or only pays for the palaces to be illuminated and polished as before. The once so honourable objective of 25% return on investment that had underpinned the banks’ superiority over the average hard working but sub-profitable entrepreneurship and had paid for all that glamour will be history – for some time to come.

No arrogance and Schadenfreude: Red Herrings are neither sustainable nor efficient.

Carpe diem!

P.S.: At a meeting today we were told by bankers that they are actually lending more than before the credit crunch; that undoubtedly explains why car and house sales are down 60%, why construction industry has shrunk dramatically and why in entirely general terms the economy is going down the drain.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

green energy plans in disarray as wind farm giant slashes investment


“Britain’s ambition to become a global leader in renewable energy suffered a major setback…“.
because Iberdrola Renewables Inc., Portland, Oregon, reduces its investment in Britain by 40% or £300 Million. 60% or £450 Million remain dedicated for the time being.

Iberdrola Renewables Inc. is owned by the Spanish Iberdrola SA which owns Scottish Power.

To put this into its global context, which any global leader, more so a would-be leader ought to be doing:

• Britain’s aim is estimated to cost £100 Billion.
• That aim is to boost renewables to produce 35% of all electricity
• … and to make Britain a “global leader”.
• The time target is 2020,
• 11 years from now.
• We are now at a level of approximately 5%.

At the same time we face …

• a collapsing finance and banking system,
• …with economies around the world shrinking by two digit numbers.
• Governments competing in throwing (book-) money at insolvent banks,
• …and in inventing one economic stimulus package after the other.
• All of the above is inflating lending and spending by approximately one trillion!

What is more, we are living towards
• a climate crisis,
• a food crisis,
• a water crisis,
• a population crisis,

while every economy’s share of the global volume of labour is shrinking more and more and with time running out.

Is that not enough to finally start doing our homework? Should we not at long last understand that we keep trying to solve our problems by merely using the same methodologies which originally created the problems?

The conglomerate of unregulated banks with unknown lending, spending and gambling levels got us into this; we are trying to answer this by lending and spending to the very same? How fruitful can that be?

The oligopoly of a handful or two of energy giants shall obviously bail us out of the climate crisis; make Britain a “global leader”. But it forces us even deeper into dependency from these giants that trick us into high gas prices and block progress in building up intelligent grid(s).

Instead of setting targets and goals that are not worth the paper they are printed on and instead of building up more and more dependency on always the same circles, to avoid a (sub-posh) Italian term, we should rather invest all our capacities and means into intelligent ways of using less power, decentralising the generation of power and boosting efficiency?

It will be a much more stabilising approach to animate and support millions of households and companies to do just that!

It will make sense to help millions with relatively small sums each which add up to not even near as much as is thrown into the black, unknown depths of the banks’ black holes?

To take these thoughts to the extreme: why not bail out private enterprise and individuals, abate their debts by repaying those to the respective banks? An estimated one Trillion would give banks their lent amounts back, purchase power would be reinstalled, innovation and entrepreneurship driven fast forward and the finance system back to normal.

Normal? Well, the fallout would be that such banks whose gambling departments had overexcited the game would either have to find new investors or - go bust. New banks would shoot up everywhere based on the original bank business model; they would need regulation; the real one this time just like any other industry gets.

To say it with a legal term: it would be nothing else than “reversing the onus of proof” and everybody would know where he or she, the fellow man and bank stood.

At the same time this “economic injection” would allow government(s) to implement a whole set of wise rules of how to target issues such as energy efficiency; a couple of thousand observing cameras less but bringing in skilled but independent energy advisors will make a huge difference to the population’s handling and understanding of these issues.

Thereafter being a global leader must be fun compared to leading the globe into more disasters.

It goes round in circles, they say.

Carpe diem.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

bank, as in bankrupt, (culture of complicity),1518,614297,00.html

It is a pleasure to read the plain words and clear explanation of James K. Galbraith, US economist, on functionally insolvent banks and neutron loans. No need to emphasise: the pleasure is limited only to how it is said; explains why President Obama fears the “banking system could still collapse”.

…as long as the old management is in place, there are no incentives to cooperate in the evaluation you need to make.

There was clearly a systematic failure. But that does not mean there was no criminal energy around.

When a bank is insolvent, the incentives for normal banking practice disappear. They become perverse.

Carpe diem!

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Geitner versus Darling

Geithner versus Darling

US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner wants to get private capital on board to purchase trash from factually insolvent US banks; Alistair Darling, British Chancellor, is providing insurance for offering the same effect to British banks; which is the better solution?

I declare that question irrelevant: trash stays trash, whether it is wrapped in silver plated gold or in gold plated silver; in essence it stinks.

The only difference is that clever Timothy thinks private investors’ involvement will provide confidence into what everybody knows is rubbish; he takes the more risky path?

Not really, I dare to say there won’t be one private investor North of Cape Horn that won’t insist on a default guarantee or compensating hedging, behind closed doors.

Now that’s new? It’s the American way!

Carpe diem!

2030 "Perfect Storm" poses global threat

'Perfect storm' poses global threat

This Perfect Storm event would be much more pleasing to market if we had timed it to happen in 2000; or then may be in 2222.

A real Doomsday scenario should be coming with a catchy figure, don’t you agree? 2030 sounds something like half baked and “could do better”.

But then the ones around in 2030 might not really care what date it was when it all started or what date it is at all; our children most likely will be among the ones that will have to fight for every piece of food, a drop of water and any quantum of energy; they will have to fight hard to get there. What about you, me? Will they help us, will they take us along?

May be we should continue to pray and hope, to wish and to dream that it come out totally different!

I personally think we should rather take action, now; in fact any and everything we can do. We know it will happen, we know why, we do know the answers, not all, but more day by day. A throwaway economy based on growth of pseudo numbers, fake balance sheets and artificial success as the one-and-only pin-up idol must be replaced by one simple word: quality! The quality of life, of survival, of our existence.

What are we waiting for?

Carpe diem!

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Brain Cancer Linked to Youngsters Using Cellphones

Mobiles, that is!

Alexander had just been given his first mobile; he is proud as can be, excited to learn all its functions, downloads music and carries his new toy everywhere; he feels grown up by two feet and taken seriously, finally, thanks to that status symbol we so generously allowed him to have.

It is kind of hard having him switch it off at night only to know that he will use it first thing in the morning again and then immediately in the school bus; same as three, four or more of his classmates and the driver having one on stand-by or ear-hung on Bluetooth, too.

That wee school bus follows the back roads to pick up others and take them to school; no reception along an eight mile road, anyway, and very bad reception where those precious little toys find their friends’ masts called BT, Vodafone or even O2 – did that not stand for oxygen, once?

Good? Well, the twice-a-day-trip allows our tiny school girls and boys sitting in that bus and taking a twice-a-day-fifteen-minute-intense-shower of increased radiation from three, four, five or more mobiles that desperately try to find reception by maximising their sending power: They are programmed to do just that in order to overcome the Faraday’s cage shielding effect and the long and disrupted distance to the next sending mast(s). It is so simple, basic physics. The kids might learn about that in Secondary – will that then lead to any consequences? Hope against hope.

This is neither new nor are we the only parents of an eleven year old who are worried – it is a threat where we might be accused one day of having allowed our son or daughter to get brain cancer by neglecting supervision of minors. Worse: the boy might ask: why me, you should have known!?

I know: nothing is proven, too few and too limited studies, little do we know, it won’t hit them all, the risk is minor and who wants to question a billion Dollar industry?

Smoke, smoking, smokers are just going through that stage: who tells us, them or you that it will be any different this time?

This is from a parent who would like to know more, feels he knows better, but fails, anyway.

Carpe diem!

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Oil @ Sun

oil @ sun

Everything has its price. The oil price has come down from >$150 per barrel to now round about $46; that is 70% off a price level caused by the casino hype fuelled from speculation multiplied by an abundance of monetary liquidity divided by greed.The price for photovoltaic modules goes from >$4 per Watt, it will soon hit <$2/W of electric energy generated; this equals a 50% rise in profitability.

Unlike the artificial price finding for oil the price for PV modules is dependant substantially on subsidies paid for decentralised electricity generation but there are some major reasons why the prices will fall further and subsidising can make sense:

* PV industry worldwide is now an established industry, long passed the stage of test and trial; it has created jobs and developed new technologies; it will press its capacity surplus into the markets as there is still a margin left above cost of production;

* vigilantly the subsidies will be reduced step by step;

* an investment into PV contrary to one into oil is one that allows future running costs to be neglected and regarded as zero or close there to.

* PV products are future-proof in so far as they (directly) do not cause but help solve emission and pollution problems;

* PV will allow for any building to go from passive to active, thus creating more energy than it consumes.

Projecting these arguments into the future adding highly efficient decentralised micro-generation equipment installed in ultra modern low energy buildings, all of this is available today, makes oldtime technologies such as nuclear power look very bad; the ones that declare those as our only choice are left unmasked.

This has its merits; and it allows thinking that the credit crunch came just in time.

Carpe diem!

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Climate Scientists Warn the World is Heading for War of the Resources

Climate scientists warn that world is heading for war of the resources

New News?

The frequency of meaningless news and comments on the global warming hazard is shocking; putting it into context with detailed and specific news on single elements of the subject even more so.

· For example: one day last year news said the thawing of the ice would be going faster than predicted because water is darker and absorbs heat more easily which in return melts ice faster – now, how new is that?

· The next week it is the thawing of the permafrost North and South threatening to soon double GHG emissions – double what is in the atmosphere so far! Well ice melts, soil melts, so what’s new?

· A couple of days ago one could read that last year’s Wenchuan earthquake might add up to 2% of the yearly global CO2 emissions for decades; surprise?

· Or get this: national ship transport alone emits almost half as much particulate pollution into the air as the total amount released by automobiles – globally. Found out in 2009!

Take just these four points and read the above article – you will find it hard to believe that we should have a period of grace until 2015, 2050 or let alone 2100.

Intelligent animals would take precautions; just in case things develop differently to what so-called experts, media and politicians and other representatives of the human race forecast, expect, predict or guess.

We started to challenge the climate drop by drop – of fossil fuel: hard to understand?
We are now at a point where the physical and chemical reactions obviously make themselves independent under accelerating conditions: a new phenomenon?
We talk about periods of grace, possible reductions in the future and fears of wars on resources, extremely unlikely events, polar bears and penguins: well?

What do we know? Besides talking: absolutely nothing!

March 10th 2009
Carpe diem!