25 January 2011

WEF Davos - neither economy nor development

Neither the economy nor development is the main subject of the Annual Davos Circus. Apart from the fact that 4,000 Swiss soldiers are protecting the 'Forum' (at a cost of Sfr 1.5 million) the only reason for the media circus seems to be the self-promotion of the various participants. While some of them may have their participation paid for by the forum the majority is there courtesy of the taxpayer or shareholder of their country or company and is happy to freeload at other people's expense. Quite what the purpose of all this hot air should be becomes more and more unclear and the significance of this PR stunt declines as the number of gawking media representatives rises.

22 January 2011

IMF agrees $ 30 Billion loan for Poland

How much longer can international organisations distribute helicopter money to countries that are perfectly capable to keep their own financial affairs in order? And where is this supposedly 'free' money coming from? How are the citizens of the states that guarantee this largess able to supervise this spending?


Local politicians in the Bavarian city of Passau are unhappy with their government in Munich and have threatened to attach the town to neighbouring Austria. (21/01/2011)

8 January 2011

Media: Questionable public 'discussions'

As the present system of pseudo-democracy in essence degrades the citizens to helpless spectators they are nevertheless desperate to make their voices heard. One outlet that gives them the illusion of having their opinions considered is provided by phone-in programs on radio or comment sections on websites maintained by newspapers and other media companies. But nearly always these events are carefully monitored (one could say censored) and all undesirable views are eliminated. Alternatively the public's contributions are selected in a biased fashion. A good example is often given by BBC News on the web were an even or very similar number of voices for or against a proposition is often published (all in the interests or 'impartiality') and no accurate reflection of the balance of opinion is presented. Venting their frustration may help lower the blood-pressure of angry citizens but does little to improve governance in countries that need a complete overhaul of the democratic institutions.

How to reign in government spending, control the burden of taxation

An interactive budget-balancing tool (for example the one published by the New York Times) illustrates that with good will and common sense any state's budget problems could be solved quite easily and the tax burden reduced considerably. Usually spending is a one-way street were politicians buy votes with money that is ultimately raised from their constituents and we all love to spend other people's money. Letting citizens vote on each individual spending item will make it much more difficult for politicians to continue playing this game. Naturally, each group of citizens will still fight to gain as much from the government spending as possible but in each case there will be a larger group of citizens that does not participate in the benefits from this particular spending measure and will oppose it. The usual backroom deals between representatives of different interest groups will be impossible as they lack the final say on any spending.