Clear evidence of the end of the USD$ as dominant International Trading currency

This caught my attention recently …. an interesting read

After the UK announced that it will join the new China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) as a founding member late last week, Germany, France and Italy decided yesterday to follow Britain’s lead and join as well….

This is part of an important transition from the old domination of the USD$ in Internal Trade, particularly in commodities, where up to now, the USD$ has been dominant. Recently there has been an increasing trend to trade commodities in the buyers or sellers currency – for instance in the case of transactions in the Chinese Yuan and the Russian Ruble.

These changes may well be detrimental to the United States in how it pays for overseas debt, that isn’t held in US Dollars. In that case it can no longer just print the necessary currency, it would have to buy the overseas currency at the prevailing exchange rate …. and with the liquidity of the United States already in question, with a estimated net solvency of approximately minus USD$60 trillion – the long term view is not positive, especially when the financial speculators start selling the USD aggressively.

The USA has no way of paying out its current deficit of in excess of USD$18 trillion dollars, accumulated by putting wars on credit card so to speak.  The United States, financially speaking is like a dead man walking …. I am not a financial specialist, but I cannot see a way out for them, unless they seriously cut their spending and increase income currently avoided through taxation loopholes. Surely if corporations are people then like the normal citizens of the USA, they should be taxed on the world wide income, regardless of the tax evasion strategies which they have in place.

A personal strategy would be not to leave funds in USD$ … to ruthlessly minimize your debt, and to put what funds you do have into “safe” (if there is such a thing) currencies, but preferably into hard assets like real estate or gold / silver, the actual metal not the paper equivalent. My personal strategy will be primarily real estate and keeping a minimum amount in liquid assets – and in setting up a simpler life style, whatever that means for you.

One thing that has had a marked effect on the value of the USD$ has been the confidence, Yes confidence that the world has in the currency, everything changes, that perception has changed in no small way due to the war that the American Republican party has been waging against President Obama, holding the USD economy as hostage … this in my view has been a major reason for the loss of face which has led to the loss of faith in this currency.

Good Luck .. just know everything changes and we are always in transition from what was, to what will be.

Broadcasters need to change – to stay relevant and viable

I wrote the below to a company in the UK about their response to a submission of mine.

“ I am not sure you will read this, but I will take the chance you may, I have been all across media, from Radio, Television and Content production, now more focused on strategy for current and future delivery systems, and how companies, particularly those former monopolistic media companies, such as Television will survive and prosper.

What I wonder, and perhaps you can enlighten me, why Traditional (old) media does not view the Internet as a partner instead of a threat, it is the ideal resource to allow them to form “true” partnerships, rather than the current viewpoint of most broadcasters where they treat these “communities” in anything but an accountable and collaborative way, they either totally ignore their feedback or treat them as a target for Email fodder… the potential for the internet to build support, communities and a future (though a more accountable and transparent one) for old media is there, it is profound, it just needs to be tapped with the right strategy.

Traditional (old) Media needs to be more open and inclusive, they need to provide content that their customers (which isn’t the advertiser) want to view, value them and treat them with respect, why not to start with a treat,  for example, like asking your customer base what they want to see, or how they see this character or that character or that relationship develop, this is the essence of the difference between old and new media ( although the whole idea of being tied to the end-user would be impossible and abhorrent for a really creative soul, Broadcasting is not about true creativity … it is about putting bums on seats ), however if those in Broadcasting are not responsive with a collaborative strategy, traditional media will be about as relevant to the future of content production and delivery, as the current manufacturer of buggy whips are to mass transit.

Old media has to become relevant to the future, they need to stop lamenting about their past glories. For instance the Internet, will not have in the short term, the capacity to deliver product to all, as Television and Cable / Satellite technologies do…I wrote a paper about this and other new growth business models back in 2008, though currently some aspects are changing, conventional broadcasters do have a real positive, and that is unlimited “connections” if you like, the true mass media model, something that under current and short to medium term prediction of capacity, the internet does not – but that gives old media a breather, it is not a reprieve.
Broadcasters need to change direction, as I guess I am doing, re-inventing themselves in a new guise, they need to find a different business model – but I guess my point is, just as in the past, the dire predictions from the other old media such as Radio and Cinema has had to do, they had to find a different way to prosper, they will have to specialise, but first of all they need to listen.

When Rupert bought MySpace .. it was a disaster waiting to happen (and I thought so then when I wrote this and this about Fox and old media), MySpace is now floundering because of the stereotypes and the inflexible and unrealistic short term strategies that Fox tried to impose on the organisation – Fox, like many in the industry are just not structured or psychologically equipped to operate in the internet, as they like most conventional media is looking for the quick fix, the magic bullet, when there is none

They need to face and change, not only change to their structure and the organisation, but more importantly to their old viewpoints, a true change of culture is needed … do get with it, please remember what century you are in ( I am saying that a lot lately ),  your consumers do not want what you think is best or spin, they want respect and to be valued, especially the future generation s –  the up and coming new consumers, including my sons ‘Y” generation  … respect them, ask them what they want and listen and that will help you mold your future.

There is so much more to this .. but finding someone who will even listen, and is open to the inevitable changes needed, that will make them a force in the future is almost impossible to communicate to those who can make the change – now that is irony.

I don’t really want to be the one to say I told you so when it all crumbles and the jackals are there looking to the future picking over the remains of the carcass of old media.

Thoughts anyone –  or send me an Email

Telstra and the NBN

Research , tells us that the sale of Telecom Australia which was established in 1975 (to eventually become Telstra) had been an issue of public policy debate for well over a decade. It was talked about in the late 1980s and early 1990s as the Hawke Labor Government implemented a micro-economic reform agenda that included the privatisation of a number of Commonwealth assets including AUSSAT, the Commonwealth Bank, Australian Airlines, the Commonwealth airports, the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories (CSL) and Qantas. Labor generally opposed any sell-off of Telstra, but did consider the splitting of Telstra on a number of occasions

From the attached link here we can see that the Australian Senate has passed the legislation to split Telstra into a retail and wholesale (network assets) parts, Telstra, the monopolistic legacy provider of all Telecommunications infrastructure in Australia.

To me this whole situation is moot.

The Australian Government sold Telstra when it went private under a former Australian Government, and the government was paid for this assets and the remainder of this , though there is not that is left (approx 10%) is owned by the  Future Fund a government entity which was established in 2006, basically to meet the long term commitments of Public sector Superannuation payments…. see here.

My point is that we are using some of the same money that went into the coffers which we ere paid when Telstra went Private to exchange the Privately owned monopoly that was Telstra for another monopoly which is the National Broadband Network … the only difference being that this one is a government monopoly.

In a few years when the Government has spent tens of billions of our dollars on the NBN and its implementation, they will probably privatise it. Then essentially we will be back where we are now, with a Private enterprise monopoly –  funny does anyone else see something here that looks like Telstra, feels like Telstra and smells like Telstra  –  ah… then its Telstra by another name.

Surely it would have been cheaper just to buy back Telstra, just wait a while, until its shares lose more value they will be giving them away with your breakfast cereal.

Or perhaps they didn’t want the aggravation of trying to institute the massive structural and cultural changes that would be necessary for Telstra to change from the former monopolistic anachronism into a relevant, sustainable, transparent, accountable customer focused organisation, in short into a viable business model … Wow !! No wonder they are going for an alternative, actually I agree, it seems to be an almost impossible task.

For this to actually happen would perhaps require the board of Telstra instituting (and paying for) the changes, they would have to care and give a dam, a necessarily focused team would have to be imposed on Telstra –  independent of the operational structure, and finally the will and commitment to spend many billions of dollars over perhaps 7– 10+ years.  Then if successful, Telstra might have a possibility of resurrecting a worthwhile business model … this is part of what I do …. I am so aware of the enormity of the task. However there is no choice, Telstra has to be rebuilt from a organisational, structural and most important a cultural point of view, otherwise it will be as relevant to the future of communications technology as is the current manufacturer of buggy whips. Personally I see much of Telstra’s problem is a lack of a coherent vision, including the active involvement of all stakeholders, until this happens Telstra will not be relevant and competitive – long term.

Such transformations are possible, I once had hopes that the culture of the ANZ Bank which I considered such a success story, however my previous article about Green-washing here – has shown me, that the changes appear to be only skin deep, the culture has not appeared to change as I had hoped… greed is still greed – a sustainable accountable culture does not seem to have taken … very sad.

Well back to the article, I foresee a long term career here, as after working on Telstra for about 10 years a few short years later (or even sooner) we would have to do it all over again, to refocus and change the culture of the NBN after it goes back to private ownership …. so I could move from Telstra to the NBN … to institute similar organisational and culture changes …. then I could retire and write about the experience … but what an experience it would be.

Does anyone else see a cycle here…. ?  The real problem is that these decisions are not driven by anything other than incompetence, short term strategy, expedience, and ego –  after all,  they are politicians.  Could it be that the Labor Party is trying to correct the fact that Telstra was privatised in the first place ?

Essentially the problem is that nobody learns from the past, they always think this time it will be different …. without a underlying commitment to an ethical and sustainable culture as the basis for the paradigm, our egos, will screw it up … do you think it is possible for us to put aside our egos and actually work together  … pretty please ?

Limits to Growth

Why are we here? And how did we get here… I think you will find that is the question that people should be asking now, and will be asking more and more over the coming years.

Let us look at history just for a while, something which we almost never do, there have been Oh so many instances which we can point to where we as a species, did not learn from the past, and there are two culprits for this beside arrogance and all of the platitudes, like “it can’t happen to me”, “Think positive”, “it will all work out” … this position we are in for one reason, the resources of the planet are finite, the call and demand for those resources by the ever increasing population is causing the very scarcity of the resources to finally be brought into focus… the old scarcity principle is well and truly alive, the trouble is this time it really is real.

Why are we surprised with this… since the Club of Rome was formed in 1968 and with their first major publication in 1972 was The Limits to Growth – the Club of Rome, seems to have as its charter .. “to act as a global catalyst for change through the identification and analysis of the crucial problems facing humanity and the communication of such problems to the most important public and private decision makers as well as to the general public.”

The original report, examines fives variables which are: world population, industrialization, pollution, food production and resource depletion.

An update to the original report came out after 20 years, and another after 30 years (published in 2004). Another is expected in the short term, the 40 year report.

In 2008 Graham Turner at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Australia published a paper called “A Comparison of `The Limits to Growth` with Thirty Years of Reality”. It examined the past thirty years of reality with the predictions made in 1972 and found that changes in industrial production, food production and pollution are all in line with the book’s predictions of economic and societal collapse in the 21st century.

There is huge controversy about some of the claims made in the books, however in essence it sheds light on a simple fact, that resources are finite and are therefore limited. This is so important when we look at non-sustainable energy resources such as Petroleum based products (that currently underlies our entire way of living), rather than using sustainable resources for all our product needs. This of course gets me to another issue, we need an alternative to petroleum products, not to convert basically many food based crops, such as corn etc, as a base for maintaining the status quo and further polluting the atmosphere, we need dramatic research into a sustainable ways to produce hydrogen, as well as any other form of sustainable ways to produce, portable and peak load electrical energy (the somewhat mythical cold fusion comes to mind), some positive early work in many areas is already evident – much more emphasis on this work needs to be shown.

If we cannot find a sustainable energy source, what do u think will happen to the civilisation as we know it.. as one of the biggest problems with a global market, is how do you ship products from one point to another when there are no oil products to power the ships, road transport, farming machinery and of course airlines. It seems on the outside looking in , countries should be looking to provide incentives to their local industries to at least make them self sustaining in the essentials of life, food, clean water, and shelter – and being communal animals.. a community.

Any thoughts…?

Blowing in the Wind

Blowing in the wind The world we grew up with, is blowing in the wind; (an extract from a recent Skype discussion of mine with a business associate…)

David: Yes – the whole world is blowing in the wind… the world we know now will not exist … when this global paradigm shift is over…. the pressure is mounting world wide for a major event…. to make us realise something that will be a key to our own survival… and future

CRP: Can we be prepared?

CRP: or will we be prepared?

David: No… I don’t think we can be… I think the only thing you can do is hold onto your faith, whatever that is for you… believe … and love and help who you can…; as you will be helped…

CRP: Very well put

David: thank you; we are all here for a reason… we just need to realise and not limit ourselves by our ego and daily perceptions…; I am a little way along the road, but from time to time, I too need to remind myself, to take my ego out of the now, and accept gratefully all that is given… and what is also taken away; you learn to be grateful for what you have… because each of us truly have a lot, by being accepting of what happens and rely of your beliefs… that will see you through … I believe

I guess what we need to realise, is we cannot survive without the world, but going on our performance in the last 200+ years, the world would truly blossom without us… so please take notice..

Just think of this – how much of the past survives today…; Just imagine if all that was left of us were the things we have… 10,000 years from now ( not even a blink in the eye in relation to time) , almost nothing would survive of today… but ideals, the whole, love, beauty, art and our human spirit is eternal… it does not need a place… it is everywhere and in everything.

Telstra the Australian Communications , what I wonder?

This is a bitch session… in that regard you may want to move on… however lets start.

Most of my business life I have felt inclined to support Telstra… support Australian and all that – now I wonder why..

Aside from being about twice the cost of everyone in the marketplace, which the spin has always been then give superior facilities, features, reach and service – this is proving to be very old… and frankly untrue, as when it comes to the main markets their service, features and support is no better than their competition, however one aspect of their operation (I am sure there is more) is just plain pathetic.

For the real issue is the billing and payments side of their operation, where they interface with the public, in this case with me…. they make commitments when you are signing up for a service then break them,, they agree to charge $x then make up the charges as they go along, and whilst I find the operatives at the telstra subsiduary at Bigpond, generally refreshing and worth talking to… Telstra itself, is a disaster… now I am not blaming the people within Telstra… they work within a shell, a system, but some thinking must be really askew here, someone or some oversight committee has to be a fault for such a systemic failure of this part of their operation.

They promised me a refund for some equipment we purchased, then 4 months later when I queried it, they said they had a problem with one of the codes… after all they cannot say they couldn’t contact me to correct the issue….as the whole refund was based around my email account… really!!!! Then they said it would another 3 months… do you think Telstra has some cash flow issues….??? If not what could possibly be the reason for their pathetic customer service.

Every month I dread the arrival of the bill, they always.. ALWAYS screw it up… I have just been able after 6 months to make them understand I cancelled a service and have not used it since May… A month ago Bigpond agreed I have been over charged and gave me a credit of just under $200, but it has not filtered down to Telstra billings… they are still demanding payment for services I cancelled 6 almost 7 months ago….and the other side of the coin.. having new services connected.. well I moved to new offices in May… and they have still not connected extra landlines I need.. which we ordered before I arrived. I wonder if anyone else can do that for me ???

Think I will go looking for an all around provider… someone who actually listens to me… whatever happened to the old idiom, the customer is always right… they seem to function on the premise that the customer is always wrong… they do not listen to their customer base… this will cost them dearly in the long term… people will walk… very shortly me for one… if they DO NOT LISTEN.

Current Update on the Economic Crunch … to come..

From a letter by Hayman Advisors LLC we have the following extract….Daniel Hannan a member of the European Parliament said the following….

You cannot spend your way out of a recession or borrow your way out of debt….

See the whole article Here

So what exactly are we doing … well we are doing something that’s true…. better I think that the 1920’s depression when very little was done and most of it… too late..

So lets look at the US Economy today… where debt is at almost 40% of spending, some might say we are reaching a tipping point – running a war on two fronts is not helping – thought I might mention that – its very much time to get out of Iraq – stay in Afghanistan…which may tip the US economy into hyper-inflation…. cannot happen here….. I think thats called denial….

Australia is in a similar place with a budget of about AUD$350 Billion and deficit of A$50 billion growing…. perhaps they should talk to Daniel Hannan…?

Full details of the Australian Budget papers can be found here