Monday, July 27

China and corruption again

China keeps on popping up on the corruption stakes, but here’s an interesting wrinkle on the fight against corruption. I quote:

Chinese government censors have launched a sweeping campaign to purge any mention of a corruption investigation in Namibia from the internet because it involves a company formerly run by the son of China’s president. The government’s Central Propaganda Department has ordered all Chinese search engines to block any searches related to the case and has also shut down popular social networking sites such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. The crackdown came after African media reported three people had been charged with corruption in connection with a lucrative contract for Nuctech, the airport scanner company controlled by Hu Haifeng, the 38-year-old son of President Hu Jintao.

China is fighting against corruption, very laudable indeed. And frequently shoots or hangs people it finds as corrupt. Again, a bit heavy handed, but that I suppose is that. Here’s the thing which puzzles me. Corruption thrives under darkness, when things are hushed up, when the press isnt free, when the perps are hidden away. By stopping people from discussing things, from publishing aspects of corruption, from debating cleanliness in public service and removing nepotism, how on earth does China think it will control corruption?

This is seriously stupid but they forget that corruption in China is the cause of very many social explosions. Oh! by the way, it was also corruption which brought down the last Chinese Empire.

India opens door to foreign universities

Excellent news. As you know, I came abroad to study from India, but I would say that having MORE educational institutions in India is going to help. Its basically the corrupt who dont want it (constrain demand so they can charge more) and the ideologically stupid (oooo, the americans are coming…) who are against it.

Idiots. Millions of Indian students study abroad, taking valuable monies from India and spending it outside. Most stay back in foreign climes like I did. Who is losing out? Some of the factoids in this report were scary:

By some estimates, the country needs to build 1,500 universities over the next five years to equip enough people with the skills to sustain rapid growth in Asia’s third-largest economy.

Bloody hell, 1500 universities!!!!, are you joking? but I dont think they are joking.

According to the University Grants Commission, only 9 per cent of 20-25 year olds enrol for a college degree.

Eeps, that’s very low!

Here’s a great comment:

Aamir Khan, the Bollywood actor, told Hillary Clinton, US secretary of state, this week that people who were attracted to teaching were often those who could not find employment elsewhere. “The majority of teachers are people who are not really interested in teaching to begin with, and probably are not entirely fit for it and are not the brightest minds either . . . By and large in India, the people getting into education are [there] because they can’t find a place for themselves anywhere else,”

These are the people who are coming out who will be treating your diseases, teaching your children, building your houses and constructing your trains. Is that a good idea?

A bank in your mobile phone

This was very interesting news. I was discussing automation with some friends elsewhere and what I said was the because of the miniscule revenue per customer in the retail area, higher automation is a must for increasing revenues by reducing cost. But more importantly, the level of customer satisfaction and quality is much more because it gives you control over your money and investment products rather be driven by the vagaries of a human being who might not be at the right level to satisfy your level of demand.

And then you see this. I quote some extracts:

"Unlike traditional banks where mobile banking is used as a secondary channel through which customers can only conduct account enquiries and basic transactions, Jibun Bank is entirely based in the mobile phone, with the Internet serving only as a secondary channel," Tohara explains. "For a Jibun Bank customer, the entire lifecycle of products and services are available on the mobile phone, right from account opening to account closure.

In addition to more standard transactions such as Yen deposits and funds transfers, customers can access more complex banking services such as foreign currency deposits, loans, credit cards, electronic money, e-shopping payments and financial planning tools. The bank also has started selling insurance products and is planning to add the new products aggressively, according to Tohara.

Can you see the level of services there? fascinating. Quite an interesting perspective. Specially for vast swathes of the world ranging from India, China to Africa, Latin America, this would work brilliant. More importantly, in the countries where people are asset rich and time poor like in the OECD countries, this can work as well.

The account opening process was an eyeopener to me.

"A virtual bank with the mobile phone as the primary channel requires the highest level of automation," he explains. "The account opening process for Jibun Bank (which is from a mobile phone) is a fully automated process from both the bank and customer points of view."

He says the only manual processes are printing the forms and dispatching account information, which are outsourced to a printing company. The files are uploaded directly from the mobile phone or sent by the customer to a printing company. Further processing is executed at the printing company, which processes the data and delivers the information in electronic format to the bank, which then automatically processes the data to execute account activation. As such, he says the technical design of the project needed to undertake a much higher level of automation than conventional banking.

More evidence that the intermediation element of the bank is changing face dramatically.

Now McDonald’s is off to Switzerland from UK

The British Tax system is byzantine and frankly no longer top of the heap. A good tax system not only helps fund the public sector but also provides good security and operating framework for firms who operate under its umbrella. For firms such as WPP, Shire, Regus, Henderson, Charter, Beazley, Brit Insurance, UBM, McDonald’s, Kraft, Proctor & Gamble, Google, Yahoo etc. etc. are all moving off the UK. Its not just the headquarters that move off, its also the senior management who move off, they take the intangible senior leadership horsepower with them.


But then, the current government is a twit. Good heavens. Here, read all about how McDonald’s is off to Switzerland.

Why are migrants better than British workers?

Not only are foreign born workers getting more jobs than British born workers but they are better able to hold on to the jobs that they have in the first place.

Can you see the difference of UK born versus people from outside? I quote some worrying figures from here.

An analysis of official statistics shows that the number of British-born workers in employment fell by 451,000, or 1.8 per cent, in the first quarter of this year compared with a year ago.

Over the same period, the number of foreign-born workers with jobs rose by 129,000, or 3.5 per cent. In the first quarter of this year, British-born workers left employment at roughly four times the rate of foreign-born workers.

what do you do? what do people say?

Roughly the same proportion of British nationals and foreigners are unemployed – one in 12 – but joblessness among Britons rose by 600,000, or 43 per cent, in the past year compared with a rise of 16,000, or 15 per cent, among foreign workers. Part of the divergence may be explained by non-Britons leaving the country as jobs became harder to find.

Sir Andrew Green, the chairman of campaign group Migrationwatch UK, said: “It is increasingly clear that foreign-born workers are faring better than British-born ones as the recession bites. We must face up to this and take serious measures to tighten the points-based [immigration] system for the benefit of British workers.”

The government isn't doing much to deal with the issues relating to Britons, and this is allowing the BNP to step inside and claim for very emotive and problematical land such as British jobs for British people or go into the racist mode. And nowhere do we see what the Government is doing to help the local chaps out, the investment in the public sector goes into unproductive places such as welfare and other aspects rather than going much more into education, funding, and the like.

Forget about helping the poor working class students get better educated and get better jobs. The proportion of students who go to the top universities in the UK is falling rather than rising. This not only has an impact on the poor and unemployed, but its also causing severe decline in social mobility, a key feature in every good egalitarian society.

Spending a cool £0.5 billion on politicians

Coolness personified. We are ending up spending half a billion pounds on about 29,000 people on top of the political tree. I quote:

The number of politicians and their advisers on the UK public payroll now tops 29,000, The figure includes councillors, MPs, peers, MEPs, members of the Scottish Parliament and Welsh and Northern Ireland assemblies and their staff. Their total cost is estimated at more than £499m for the year 2007/8.

Please bear in mind that this figure doesnt include the MEP travel or expenses which could bump it up a wee bit. But why are we surprised, take a look a the growth of public sector in the country over the last 100 years.


So what' the share of the economy this year?

Almost 43% is being generated off the back of the 56% generated by us. Now that’s not a parasite, that’s a cannibal. How long and how much would these blood sucking buggers suck our lives out? Compared to that kind of spend, 1/2 a billion is measly change, no?