Archive for the ‘Misc’ Category

Happy New Year! Happy New Decade!

In Misc on January 1, 2010 at 18:01

May all your troubles last as long as your New Year’s resolutions : ) !

Copenhagen Summit: What to Expect?

In Economics, Misc on December 5, 2009 at 14:18

Environment ministers, government officials and other major players from more than 190 countries are gathering on Monday in Copenhagen for two weeks, in the framework of the United Nations Climate Change Conference for the highly-anticipated environmental summit, to address and agree on the measures that would curb climate change. The stakes this time are really high as major participants like the US and China have pledged to give in and finally seek for a deal.

Now, what is to realistically expect from the summit? We expect officials to agree on a new treaty that will succeed that of the Kyoto protocol and whose first phase will expire in 2012. Developed countries are expected to reduce their CO2 emissions while the newly-industrialised ones reduce its growth.

US, China and India have shown willingness to cooperate and strive for a sustainable agreement towards CO2 reductions. A major obstacle is that of funding. Although China overtook US in total CO2 production, it still is on 1/4 on a per capita basis of that of the US and has historically emitted much less than the States. In order for the NICs to engage in a CO2 growth reduction they would somehow have to be compensated for their economic slowdown.

Few days ago President Obama changed his scheduled appearance in the summit and announced he would be arriving at the final stage of the negotiations, boosting hopes for a strong deal.

There is a consensus that a positive outcome will come out. Nonetheless, limiting emissions by 80 percent on a 1990-basis by 2050 doesn’t look attainable to me. There is the problem of ‘burden-sharing’ of how much each country gets to emit. Moreover, according to Gordon Brown, leaders would have to pledge more than $100 bn a year by 2020, but the recession has made this sound as utopia. These are hurdles that have to be overcome.

There is a need to point to a direction and look long-run for once. When it comes to the environment, geopolitics ought to be neglected or at least downgraded to a second level. It’s the first time we’ve come that close to an agreement and who knows if we may have this opportunity again.

More posts throughout the summit.

by the Self-Seeker

Fertility Rates Fall: Good or Bad?

In Misc on November 2, 2009 at 21:40

fertilityRemember the time when Malthus was worried that population growth will eventually absorb all food supplies on the planet? Me neither, but you know what I mean! Fertility rates in developing economies have dropped to as low as 2.1 which is the threshold for the so called ‘replacement fertility’, an indicator of zero population growth.

It is undoubted that economic development and the modernisation of lifestyles across civilizations, have been compressing fertility rates long time now. What was unexpected was the pace at which those rates fell in the developing world. Social changes in developing economies have been far more rapid than in the developed world years ago.

Should we be worried about falling fertility rates? Probably not because as many scientists have claimed, our population has far exceeded the earth’s carrying capacity. Although not a catalyst, overpopulation was always a threat to climate change and biodiversity. Nevertheless, low fertility rates translate in more young workers required to work for each pensioner as more people exit than enter the workforce, something referred to as the ‘dependancy ratio’. This is likely to affect pension schemes as governments will have a smaller platform to absorb funds from.

Even though we’ve reached the replacement rate threshold, population will still keep growing due to positive population momentum  as large parts of the population are of child-bearing ages. Besides the fiscal effects that governments will have to discipline, there isn’t any real threat on the horizon. This is good news..

by the Self-Seeker

Bus Drama Caught on Camera

In Misc on October 20, 2009 at 13:42

Have you ever seen death from a very close distance? .. Me neither, but this guy did! The following event occurred in Russia, city of Perm, on Monday, where a bus runaway was caught on CCTV. Just watch..

Where is Capitalism Going?

In Financials, Misc, Politics on October 19, 2009 at 11:18

capitalismDo models fail cause they are flawed, or are we actually incompetent to use them the right way and make the best out of them? Do we understand the real dynamics of a model we adopt, or are we just gambling and hope for the best? Was capitalism chosen through a trial-and-error process? Is capitalism what’s best for human prosperity? How should I know..!

What I do know though, is history as it happened. Communism failed because it was unable to compete against capitalism for obvious reasons. But what about capitalism? Has it failed? Are advanced economies suffering an identity crisis? The answer to the latter question is yes, but capitalism per se has not failed. It is and will continue to be the core of market mechanisms around the world. Unless humans and firms stop being utility and profit maximizers respectively, capitalism will be the ruling system due to the economic freedom it bolsters. But, capitalism’s biggest virtue, its freedom, is also it’s biggest flaw. In general terms, this translates into market fragility, especially when an increasing number of countries are embracing this model.

Incentive is the driving force behind production, growth and as a result prosperity. When incentives are mis-percieved, this is where the economy moves to the wrong direction. In the case of large financial institutions, there was lack of accountability and misinformation to the market participants. The state was absent and Central Banks were “adding booze to the party”. This was not capitalism. This was the rule of jungle..

The current crisis hasn’t been a sign of failure, but an indicator that’s time for major correction to the system. Capitalism needs to be modified. The state doesn’t have to get more involved as bad as it needs to address the issues of accountability and misinformation, issues of paramount importance for the incentive drivers.

Markets do fail, but in a sensitive and complex world like ours, when they fail they fail big time. So, until a fitter economic model shows up, which doesn’t seem likely anytime soon, capitalism will prevail.

by the Self-Seeker

Welcome Back!

In Misc on October 15, 2009 at 19:16

Long time no “Say” fellas! I am glad to announce that NewsAura is back after a long time of absence from the blogging world but not the news ‘twists’. Feel free to comment on any story or even write your own on the recent news events!

Ellen Degeneres’s Cracking Commencement Speech

In Misc on May 19, 2009 at 20:53

Ellen Degeneres was asked to give the commencement speech for the graduating class of 2009 of Tulane University in New Orleans. Words are really redundant. Here is Ellen in action..!

Norway Win Eurovision Song Contest!

In Misc on May 16, 2009 at 22:23

23 year old Alexander Rybak has won the Eurovision 2009 title for Norway with his utterly harmonic and melodic song. Norway showed its force from the very beginning when it escaped from the rest of the countries. Alexander and his performance confirmed bokkies’ expectations and easily conquered the first place. Iceland finished second just a short breath before Azerbaijan. Here is the winning song..