The newly appointed
The newly appointed, radical, and Orwellian-named Minister of Productive Recovery is calling every company that plans to reduce its payroll to avoid losses and telling it that it must negotiate with labor and figure out how to keep losing money. The unions are in the streets. Oh, and large corporations will as well have to pay more taxes. And don't even think about moving "French jobs" out of the country.
The list goes on
The list goes on. This flies in the face of the IMF study that shows France is at the edge of a fiscal cliff with its entitlement programs. And taxes already consume 50% of GDP. Deficits are high and rising, and raising taxes furthermore will not result in to tell the truth collecting more taxes. Ask England how much they got when the passed a tax surcharge on the wealthy: tax earnings from the rich went down. An increase of only a few percent, and at some point the rich vote with their feet. Ask Maryland.
We can all see that shale oil is a growing business. US oil production is rising, even as consumption is dropping due to more efficient use of oil. You can easily find projections that within 10 years the US could be energy-independent. And if we get some policies that allow more wells to be drilled it could happen even sooner!
It has been said that you can't consider yourself a real global macro trader until you have lost money shorting Japanese bonds. Japan is a bug in search of a windshield - however it keeps dodging. Japan has a debt-to-GDP ratio in other words approaching 230%. The savings rate is declining rapidly and will in the near future go negative. At that point, the thought is, Japan will need to seek out foreign investors to buy its bonds. And who will buy a Japanese bond at 1% for ten years? If rates rise only 2%, at the time Japan would be spending nearly 80% of tax earnings on just the interest on its bonds. I would submit that in other words not a workable business model.
First, by now everyone has heard about cloud computing. I looked at if a few years ago, and it was even so too new and expensive for a small company like mine. After all, that has changed. We met a young man in Italy last summer who is with a firm called A3 that helps government organizations and businesses move their computing to the cloud. And what we found out is that we could upgrade everything we do for about the same as I was paying, nevertheless get far more service and security.
Our entire team of about seven people has "migrated" to the cloud. That means no more servers in my office and the support they need. All our data is now accessed from the cloud. We simply get online and sign in from whatever computer we are on, and the home page as we last accessed it pops up. And everything is backed up in the cloud in real time. I can access my information from my laptop, my iPad, or any other computer. Everything is there. All the software is really in the cloud, though I do have some special adaptations to allow me to work offline in planes and where an internet connection is not on the spur of the moment available. However as shortly as I get online, everything is at once and automatically backed up.
Week I have long been looking forward to
Then I am off to Newport for a week I have long been looking forward to. I am going to get to participate in something that I find both very exciting and a in a class by itself honor. I have had the privilege of getting to know Andrew Marshall over the last few years, first in small groups and at that time privately. Mr. Marshall runs something called the Office of Net Assessment for the US Defense Department, and reports to the Secretary of Defense. He was appointed by Nixon in 1973, and every Secretary of Defense and US President since at once has reappointed him. He is now 90 years old and shows no sign of slowing down. A few hours with him will get you right up on your toes, as he has worked with such a long list of forward-looking thinkers over the decades that it boggles the mind. He recalls seemingly every conversation. In the futurist world he is legend. The institutional memory he carries with him is beyond value. In essence, the ONA develops and coordinates net assessments of the standing, trends, and future prospects of US military capabilities and potential, in comparison with those of other countries or groups of countries, so as to identify emerging or future threats or opportunities for the United States. Think of it as an internal planning think tank for the Department of Defense.
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