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|Posted on July 25, 2013 at 9:37 AM||comments ()|
It is monsoon and rains intermittently, making roadworks difficult. Much money has been allocated to repairing the roads, which are full of potholes, in Hyderabad, Mumbai and Banglaore. Within the last 24 hours, 4 people have been killed on the roads as a result of the potholes, sending people off their scooters and cars off balance. Traffic grinds down, and it is sheer determination of people to go to their work, take children to school or return home that makes them carry out these bumpy, back-arching journeys. Just to see the roads on NDTV and their representative coverage of this situation makes people cringe.
There is no clarity as to who is responsible for keeping the roads up to date. The local people have given up on the politicians and councillors, whose job it is to organise the repairs and point them out to the relevant municipal authorities, but confusion over which patch it is, whose jurisdiction it is, who is responsible and so on leaves a poor impression. Just how do the politicians and councillors and the road works departments liaise and co-ordinate is a fool's blessing.
Of course there is a lot that can be done to rectify the situation, and ensure the traffic moves at a normal pace, saving people time and frustration. This would surely add to the economic growth? Time is money, and a satisfied people can enjoy the finer things in life than being regularly trapped on the bouncy journeys.
It is time clear maps were drawn for people to know who is responsible for road maintainaince on each patch, and then for the teams responsible to get the work done of filling the potholes. It may not be the best plan to fill them all in a short while of say 48 hours, but rather to fill in a few roads each day when the weather permits so that the job is well done and the filling solidifies and takes hold and lasts longer. Attention to this problem of repairing the potholes will do Indian cities a lot of good, and the people proud. Those who are in charge must ensure they don't let the people down. Travel on Indian roads ought to be safe and comfort and free of stress as possible. That's something to achieve.
|Posted on July 19, 2013 at 10:39 AM||comments ()|
Mismanagement and corruption are two words that some reports on TV seem to suggest as possible causes of the neglect and decline of Detroit, leading today to a quickie filing of Bankruptcy.
A sad state for any community, sadder still when it has the towering GM headquarters building there.
There was a time when kids the world over associated the name Detroit with motor car production, or simply with great looking motors, the sort of cars we all wished to drive one day. What happened to those beautiful Chevvys and Corvettes, those beautiful cars? What happened to the whole car manufacturing industry? What happened to the people who worked there, what happened to the houses, lying today in their tens of thousands, abandoned, neglected, derelict?
It seems a debt burden of $20 billion, which the municipality today cannot repay, and a neglect over a couple of decades has led today to this sad bankruptcy.
A programme of regeneration must materialise, surely, to put Detroit back on its feet, perhaps even put Detroit back in peoples' affections.
It would definitely take the will of government to put some money into this economy, and the vision of enlightened entrepreneurs, who could probably see Detroit as a great opportunity to rebuild. Money plus the vision of someone (I know such a person is there, but I shall not pre-empt by banding a name, although if you look in the top 100 entrepreneurs in America, you will probably see who fits the bill) will put the life back into Detroit.
When houses became habitable, the people become hospitable, when a New Industry settles in Detroit, wealth will be created, wealth will grow, and life will be breathed into this neglected town. Hope springs eternal in the human heart, that I do believe, as do the guys playing netball in the streets there.
For the regeneration of Detroit, I pray.
|Posted on June 27, 2013 at 2:38 PM||comments ()|
It seems the government is supposed to be doing something about curbing the big APR moneylenders, precisely what remains to be seen.
Just a look at some of the moneylenders' shop windows suggests some things that may as well be included in any future legislation.
One shop says 'You can borrow upto £1,000'. It does not give any rate of interest or any such indication.
Another, which used to display a rate of 2487%, does not display that rate any more. But it urges borrowers to only borrow what they can afford to repay.
A positive step would be for them to display the rate, and give a table of figures, giving say repayments for every £50 and £100 per month, so the borrowers are clear what it is going to cost.
I also note the Department of Work and Pensions is no longer offering Emergency Loans. This may make the people in need turn to the loan sharks and suchlike....Something the government should be helping people avoid, that would be a people-friendly government, that serves the people.
The government could do well to teach basic budgeting and good housekeeping to people who are unemployed or ill, to help them prevent borrowing money which they could seldom afford to repay.
As for the people trying to live on a food allowance of £3 a day, that is £21 a week, and can buy a variety of good food, maybe walking to the supermarket twice a week and picking up fresh. Bit of exercise as well. And if you save £28 every four weeks, well, you'll be the richer every year.
As the saying goes, pennies make pounds. And the need won't arise to borrow from the sharks.
|Posted on June 25, 2013 at 6:56 AM||comments ()|
According to Reg Varney, the Fox news commentator, the world's central banks collectively have pumped in some Fifteen Trillion Dollars into the economies over the last few years. This is a hugely interesting figure...it should suggest the world is swimming in money, and not in need of further stimulus at all at all...
So far as publicly available figures indicate, the U.S. raised its Debt Ceiling by $2.15 Trillion Dollars on 3rd August 2011, and thereafter via QE 2 and QE 3 by a further $85 Billion a month, which has been trimmed by 1/12 since February 2013 since the Sequestration cuts kicked in.
In the United Kingdom, some £375 Billion of Credit Easing facilities have been introduced by the Bank of England, all told, till currently.
I wonder which other central banks have printed that gigantic amount of cash and released it into the system.
The current figures from Russia indicate a slow-down there, with GDP figures progressively being downwards, mainly due to lowering Oil prices on which the economy relies so heavily. Oil prices in the global context are of course likely to head down further, if recession is to be avoided once again.
The current oil stockpiles in the Middle East and the Strategic Oil Reserves would corroborate this scenario, and it can only help the oil exporting nations to keep the oil price low for some time till economies can pick up again.
To avert a slow-down at home which would impact the world, I believe the BRICS nations, with the exception of China, should consider a generous cut in the benchmark interest rate. I would suggest, that is the silver bullet, and they ought to utilise it.
China under the Rising Star of Chairman Xi is bound to do well and he likes progress and prosperity for his people; however, they are unlikely to keep on manufacturing goods cheaply and ship them out to the rest of the world, and on credit at that. A greater demand and consumerism in China itself is likely, and a re-focus is probably causing the current mild hiccup. It is a matter of record that when Honourable Xi was a rising star in his party, his comments and suggestions created a boom. I cannot believe that now he is in charge, anything but the best will be possible for China.
With increased trade between nations, and extension of credit facilities and investment into one another's cultures, a great hope of continuation of the world economic Recovery is always bright.
|Posted on June 23, 2013 at 4:50 PM||comments ()|
There is something about the chemistry, about the language and communication of the mind and soul, which brings people together or drives them apart. It is this chemistry between people that I would blame for.....or, rather, a change in the chemistry between people that I would blame for separation and divorce.
I am surprised that Napoleon Hill was not given the Noble Prize, but then again there is no category in the Noble Prizes into which his work fits. Perhaps, on that point, I would suggest there should be another category created by the Trustees of the Noble Foundation. The Increasing of Human Understanding.
Napoleon Hill interviewed 500 of the most successful people in America in the 1920s, and from those interviews he wrote many articles, published in his Hill's Success Magazine. But a few people made a huge impression on him, viz Andrew Carnegie, Firestone, Henry Ford, Dr.Alexander Graham Bell, and Dr. Thomas Alva Edison. And yes, Mr Edwin Barnes, who said it could not be done, that is to say, the writing of a blueprint for success based on the interviews with successful people.
Napoleon Hill turned that into a questions: Who said it could not be done? and went on to publish his Think and Grow Rich, a book that sells well throughout the world, in many languages, in number just after the sales of the Bible, Koran and Bhagavad-Gita and other religious masterpieces.
In his research, Napoleon Hill says that the first three years of a marriage often have petty squabbles and friction, but the love that exists between the two will carry it through. The next fifteen years are those in which the lucky couple start to look alike in their eye movements and thinking, influencing their value judgements and expressions, meaning the happy couple have achieved understanding of one another, and a state of harmony exists between them that we attribute to the magic of chemistry.
A state of harmony, an instinctive understanding, an automatic understanding of mutual goals. It is like both have the same road-map, or at least complementing road maps.
Those for whom a partnership does not work, it seems are rather like a horse-drawn carriage where the horses want to pull in differing directions. Where it is not possible to bring harmony of direction, abandonment of the journey becomes the alternative. Such is what happens in business partnerships as well, and in politics as well.
A question that may help bring harmony back is : What was the road map that brought the partners together in the first place? Can it be modified and restored? If the answer is Yes, then hope still remains for reunion and success.
|Posted on June 19, 2013 at 4:06 PM||comments ()|
The Federal Reserve Chairman spoke about triggers and thresholds, but did not mention the punch bowl. Regardless, the speech was abundantly clear for those who listened intently, although the Dow heading downwards indicates the markets were not cheered although the picture is quite optimistic.
But then again, market participants tend to be greedy, and expect huge gains overnight if not instantly. I expect the market will pick up after the retail investors and mutual funds have digested and acted on the news.
There is the sign of stability in the economy going forwards. Interest rate at a quarter percent is at a record low, and unlikely to be cut further. So the low interest rate is going to hold into 2014.
If the unemployment rate were to go down towards 6.5 percent from the current 7.6 percent, then that would be the threshold (but not a trigger) for considering increase of the interest rate. So rates wouldn't be going up any time soon, although in the last few weeks some companies in unfounded anticipation have put up their interest rates. Depending on market dynamics, those are likely to be corrected (downwards) in due course.
Monetary policy will continue to support Recovery, stated Mr Bernanke. 200,000 jobs per month have been created on average over the last six months. This has improved the housing market, and is feeding optimism into household spending.
The economy continues to improve at a modest pace, and the policy is geared to return to maximum employment in the context of price stability.
Regarding the QE, through purchase of mortgage backed securities, these would be reduced in measured steps, beginning of 2014. This is the intention but would be reviewed in context of how the economy actually delivers. The brakes are not being applied yet (so should cheer people up for the foreseeable future).
(c) Durudarshan Dadlani, 19th June 2013.
|Posted on June 18, 2013 at 3:54 PM||comments ()|
Some good points have come out of the G8 summit held in Enniskillen, Ireland.
It was prefaced with the arrival of President Obama, where he started with an endearing and inspiring speech, that is sure to have sowed the seeds of peace and progress through co-operation and understanding, a theme which has built and matured in Ireland since the visit of President Clinton fifteen years ago.
The G8 leaders seem to have agreed on tackling the question regarding tax havens and thereby tax evasion by corporations and individuals. The loopholes which have till now existed are going to be closed through legislation and a requirement for corporations and individuals to disclose fuller details regarding creation of profits, taxes paid, where domiciled, where taxes paid, etc. This will mean the national treasuries benefit from tax collection.
Such legislation will also help the Emerging economies, such as Russia, India, South Africa, Brazil and China (otherwise the BRICS nations) who at the moment are bereft of tax to the tune of some $180 Billion which corporations operating in their jurisdictions adjust through having their identity domiciled elsewhere. This will be a boon for all these economies.
President Obama mentioned the trade amounting to One Trillion Dollars annually each way between the U.S. and the European Union, and the fact that Europe invests Four Trillion Dollars into U.S. annually, and the U.S. does likewise into the European Union. This helps to preserve some 9 million jobs on both sides of the Atlantic. This is a cause for mutual celebration.
Federal Reserve Chief Ben Bernanke has reiterated the policy of continuing with the stimulus, but tapering it if improvement or deterioration in the economy dictates. In any case, the policy will be to take a step away and observe the need of the economy. This augers well for continuation.
The Bank of Japan seems to have tamed their stimulus, and this again augers well so that it does not aid inflation. To the contrary, Japanese goods and investments available overseas will create a good market, and help prosperity, especially in the developing world.
As usual, you can send me your comments by filling in the form ----> Your comments please.
|Posted on June 10, 2013 at 4:08 PM||comments ()|
You have to appreciate how many times the name of the Wizard of Menlo Park comes up with so many inventions - the incandescent light bulb, the motion picture, the telephone. Having found a means of supplying people with electricity, Edison also invented the meter so he could charge people for the supply thereof.
In 1920s, he said he was working on an apparatus to communicate with the people In the spirit world.
Just as we can communicate with our friends with the aid of a mobile phone, is it not possible to communicate with God or with the spirit world through something that is beyond such technology - the human spirit. I would suggest a finely tuned human being is a spirit phone.
|Posted on June 7, 2013 at 10:54 AM||comments ()|
I visited the London Business Show at Custom House today. It is such a beautiful and photogenic area, a film could be made here. It is right in the centre of everything. The City, whose banks stand next to the cable cars in the horizon, as well as neat houses which are not far from City airport. There are cafes, winebars, sauna and massage places, boxers' gyms as you would expect to find in the East End, as well as new buildings going up all the while, although I didn't see too many cranes today.
It is good that Abu Dhabi has invested in this venue; it was quite busy with an Accountancy exhibition as well.
First speaker I went to listen to is the Property Mermaid, Vicki Wusche. She guides people who wish to invest in property, helping them source suitable investments which will produce good returns. She charges a fee of nearly 7,000 for sourcing each property. Her ideas and assistance would be quite valueable for someone with good amount to invest, say 100K to 500K. I haven't got anything like that, so I could only be appreciative of Mrs Wusche's direct and interesting presentation.
Second speaker was Philip Bryan of Senfori, who made a very important point. Namely, that a lot of people don't believe in their own idea, they will listen to one-hundred-and-one ideas from other people and still have doubts. There you have it, a statement that is an absolute gem.
I thought I'll try and see if Angels Den could help me raise some funds. Half an hour told me it was good listening to Bill Morrow, who gets 140 business funding proposals a day at 8 branches of Angels Den worldwide. Out of these, 138 are rejected. The other two get the pleasure of being trained to pitch their proposal to a group of angel investors. The charge for the presentation is £800, which will include solicitors' fees for the equity share documents. And then, the Entrepreneur gets 4 minutes flat to explain his proposal. Fewer men get the funding, because they often look for £250,000 or £750,000 or a million. Ladies seem to go over their business plans with much rigour, and will often have worked out why they need £55,864.91 exactly, and how they are going to invest it in a pin-cushion factory and double the investment in 3 years. And consequently, women seem to get the funding, which they richly deserve.
Also an sad fact : that angel investors die at 52 (perhaps out of ennui). So if there is an angel investor who would rather look at something interesting, I hope s/he gets in touch with me. Either to make a film (for which I can certainly write a script) or back one of my business ventures, please let me know.
It was a great show, with many different services, especially creating websites, like Mr Site. Today there are a few more companies doing the same thing. What was missing was the lollipops and the jellybeans. Some stands were keeping the chocolates like they would prefer to take them home.
I filled in a form for the Guardian. Should I win some free publicity for my website, I would be happy.
|Posted on June 4, 2013 at 12:43 PM||comments ()|
There is an underlying assumption of stability and growing prosperity in the Turkish economy, which have kept overseas investors happy so far. The recent demonstrations, and the somewhat heavy police handling of it in Ankara and Istanbul, have put some mild question-marks on that scenario.
The strikes are over the reduced paypackets people are taking home each month, of the sign that the Turkish economic growth is slowing down from healthy levels.
This is partly due to the drop in productivity, people are not bothered to work so hard as before, and also on the changing culture of more and more people participating in the financial markets and making a living or side income from that in the midst of abundance visited by capital inflows from abroad.
Easier credit availability, which has added to dynamic growth.
Some people have also expressed the opinion that PM Erdogan wishes to keep the republic on strict religious lines. An interpretation is that the Turkish people are happy to live as individuals rather than people subject to a lot of strictures, which can be cumbersome. Followers of the Prophet Ali (cousin and son-in-law of Prophet Mohammed) can choose not to wear headgear, which is uncomfortable in the hot weather. As Turkey prepares to join the European Union, the people would like to join Europe on an equal footing.
The Prime Minister is on a tour of North Africa, which was arranged previously. This suggests a full confidence in his office and in the delegation of duties to his Deputy PM Gul, who has made active effort to engage with his people and offered apologies for the heavy tactics of the police.
Once the peoples' concerns are addressed, I believe the enterprising and dynamic Turkish people can continue to trade and make a good living and maintain their freedoms and emancipation.
I imagine PM Erdogan will listen to his people, and assure them of his approval of the trend of modernisation in culture.
Lower Oil prices will help all nations, and Turkey has many friends in Opec who may influence this.
A high Oil price is a curse to all, a lower Oil price will bring a blessing to all as well. For that, I pray.