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07/07/2020
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Banking with our money to make billions

The problem of banking arises from governments granting them the right to use our money the money we deposit in savings and other similar accounts for risky investing ventures.  They trade and speculate with our money.  Investment bankers buy and sell securities, whether equity or debt.  They also engage in financial engineering.  Financial instruments have quite an upside potential, but buyers of these instruments should be aware of behavior characteristics that affect the marketing of these instruments. When markets drop, they are the losers, not bankers. Strict regulation is required to balance this equation.  Banking executives playing this game at leisure are immune under the present system where they never risk being on the losing side, while they collect multimillionaire salaries and bonuses.  Therefore, they will continue to take exorbitant amounts of risk.  And governments keep bailing them out with more of our money.

They make the rules, and get the gold

July 14.─ The crisis has taught people a lot about the banking industry and the thought processes of its leaders. These lessons can be distilled into four golden rules.

1. The laws of supply and demand do not apply. When food producers compete to supply a supermarket, the retailer has the luxury of selecting the lowest bidder. But when it comes to investment banking, wages are very high even though the number of applicants is vastly greater than the number of posts. If the same was true of, say, hospital cleaning, wages would be slashed.

An investment bank, like a supermarket, demands a certain quality standard: it will not hire just anybody. But whereas it may be easy to identify a rotten banana, it is harder to be sure which trainee will be the next Nick Leeson and which the potential George Soros. That gives executives an excuse when things go wrong.

2. Success is down to my genius; failure is caused by someone else. When banks do well, and profits soar, the bosses are responsible for it all with their strategic cunning and inspiring leadership. Huge bonuses are therefore due.

 

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The truths and tales of Cuban healthcare

I just want to share with you an excellent article on the Cuban healthcare by Lucía Newman reporter for Al Jazzera.  Al Jazeera is finishing its activities in Cuba. Aparently the information on the truths and the tales of the healthcare is very difficult for the Cuban Government.  

 The truths and tales of Cuban Healthcare

The state-run system has been praised, but many specialists now fear they are falling behind international standards.

Lucia Newman Last Modified: 18 Jun 2012 08:30

Cubans reportedly have better access to healthcare than most people living in developing countries [EPA]

If there is one thing for which Cuba has received praise over the years, it is the Communist government's state-run healthcare system.

Much of this praise is well-deserved. Despite its scarce resources, Cuba has one of the world's lowest infant mortality rates - just slightly lower than that of the US. Life expectancy is 77.5 years, one of the world's highest. And until not so long ago, there was one doctor for every 170 citizens - the highest patient-per-doctor ratio in the world.

Of course, the government can afford so many doctors because they are paid extremely low salaries by international standards. The average is between $30 and $50 per month.

And the benefits of this healthcare have not only been felt by Cubans.

Under Fidel Castro, the former Cuban president, hundreds of child victims of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, left without proper medical attention after the collapse of the Soviet Union, were invited to Cuba. A hospital was constructed to treat them while they and their families set up temporary residence in Tarara, a beautiful seaside neighborhood near Havana. Many remain there today.

[ See complete article

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El gran predador humano

El ser humano es un predador demasiado exitoso y no está utilizando su inteligencia para comprender las consecuencias de sus excesos.  En la Cumbre de Río se manejan intereses nacionales egoístas que dejan a nuestros descendientes la trágica herencia del abuso irresponsable de los recursos de nuestro planeta. Cuando un predador es demasiado exitoso consume a sus víctimas hasta hacerlas desaparecer.  Se queda entonces sin alimento y muere de hambre.  La naturaleza se encarga de restablecer el equilibrio, pero a veces es a costa de la existencia tanto de las presas como de su predador.  Corremos ese peligro.

¿Y quién salva a los océanos?

  • La FAO alerta de que la producción pesquera roza el máximo
  • La cumbre de Río busca crear áreas protegidas

Río de Janeiro, Jun.18.─ Los océanos tienen pendiente una transición. La demanda de pescado no deja de crecer: ha aumentado un 32% desde 1992 frente a un aumento del 22% de la población. Al contrario que la agricultura o la ganadería, en la pesca la única revolución tecnológica ha sido la de capturar más y más. Según la FAO, “hay razones para creer que la producción pesquera ha alcanzado el límite”.

Johanne Gerhardt Fischer, responsable de pesquerías de la FAO, explica que hay tal cantidad de pesquerías por especies y por zonas que es muy difícil dar un estado global del océano. “Las especies de profundidad, como el bacalao, probablemente han alcanzado el pico, ya que desde los setenta se ha estabilizado el volumen de pescado desembarcado. En los pelágicos, sin embargo, se incrementaron mucho las capturas hasta principios de los noventa y luego se estabilizó. Crustáceos y moluscos están también más o menos estabilizados. Por eso tenemos razones para creer que probablemente los océanos están en el máximo de explotación aunque no lo sea para todas las zonas clave”.

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¿El fin del capitalismo?

"¡Estamos presenciando el fin del capitalismo!", proclaman algunos, sobre todo los que vociferan desde los confines del Socialismo del Siglo XXI.  Se trata del derrumbe de una estructura capitalista endeble y minada por la corrupción, el crédito excesivo y los presupuestos populistas y demagógicos convertidos en una verdadera sangría de la riqueza de los países.  No obstante, es razonable esperar que el capitalismo saldrá fortalecido de esta crisis si las democracias aprenden la lección de que no hacen falta gobiernos interventores, autoritarios o centralizados, sino una estructura de autoridad encaminada a la defensa del consumidor, al equilibrio presupuestario y al desarrollo de un sistema legal que impida los abusos y los excesos de los poderosos.  Mientras tanto, estas enormes deudas que afectan nada menos que a los países desarrollados del Primer Mundo, exigen moderación y austeridad de gobiernos presentes y futuros, al costo político que sea necesario, orientando el gasto presupuestario al estímulo de empresas nacientes, innovadoras y en expansión, con mayor moderación en las tasas impositivas y un objetivo de estimular la productividad y el crecimiento mediante incentivos fiscales y créditos moderados y estrictamente monitoreados, enfocando los mayores recortes a todos los renglones burocráticos, improductivos y/o superfluos que responden a intereses creados y políticos.

Ayudas Públicas al sector financiero

Rescates públicos a los bancos suman 1,2 billones en ocho países

Madrid, Jun.12.─ El sistema financiero español está empachado por un atracón de ladrillo y el Estado ha decidido salir en su rescate. El caso de España no es único: hasta el momento, al menos, ocho países han desembolsado más de 1,2 billones de euros de sus arcas para rescatar al sistema financiero, según datos del Fondo Monetario Internacional (FMI). La diferencia es que el Gobierno de Rajoy ha tenido que recurrir a sus socios europeos para inyectar dinero público a las entidades españolas.

» España. A pesar de que las autoridades españolas no dudaron en alardear de la buena salud de sus bancos durante el colapso financiero de 2008, el estallido de la burbuja inmobiliaria dejó un reguero de cajas enfermizas. En 2010, el anterior Gobierno socialista inició un proceso de reestructuración del sector para impulsar la fusión entre las entidades. Las operaciones eran apoyadas mediante un fondo (FROB), a través del cual España ha aportado 40.789 millones a las instituciones financieras, aunque se han recuperado 27.908 millones. No obstante, como el problema persiste el Ejecutivo ha recurrido a Bruselas, que ha puesto a disposición de España un fondo de hasta 100.000 millones.

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How far Government?

In a democracy devised on a careful separation of powers, the US health-care reforms advanced by this US Administration (Obamacare) opened a battleground where opposing views of Democrats on centralization of government collide with Republican doctrines on decentralization of power.

Utah’s Conservative health-care reform

Is it a better answer to the health-care question?

May 26.─ Gary Herbert the governor of Utah, loathes everything about Barack Obama’s health-care reforms, not least, he says, the way “Obama has come along and spoiled the name ‘exchange’.” After all, Utah conceived its own version of health reform, called the Utah Health Exchange, long before Barack Obama signed his Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in 2010. Utah’s reform is “market-based”, says Mr Herbert, whereas “Obamacare” is a big-government monstrosity. But it too relies on exchanges, so now the word is tainted. Republican governors in New Mexico and New Jersey have even vetoed attempts by their legislatures to build health-care exchanges.

For Utah this means that its reform needs a new brand name. “We’ll have a contest,” says Mr Herbert. Beyond that, Utah will continue its fight, with 25 other states, to get Mr Obama’s reforms repealed, something that could happen as soon as next month, if the Supreme Court rules against them. But however that turns out, Utah will push on with its own reform, because “we think it’s really cool,” and a potential model for the other 49 states, says Norman Thurston, the man chiefly responsible for getting it up and running.

The history of the Utah Health Exchange is a reminder of the bizarre, tangled genealogies of America’s various health-care reforms. Utah’s was nursed into being in the past decade when Jon Huntsman, a Mormon Republican, was governor. At that time the main alternative reform was being cooked up in Massachusetts by its then-governor, Mitt Romney, also a Mormon Republican. Both men advocated a “mandate” that required everybody to buy insurance, an idea that originated in a conservative think-tank. But Mr Huntsman and Utah subsequently dropped that idea, whereas Mr Romney held on to it. Since then, and unexpectedly, the notion of mandates has become toxic in conservative circles.

Utah also decided that government subsidies should play no part in its reform, whereas the one in Massachusetts was based on them. Thus Mr Romney’s plan became, more or less, the basis for Obamacare, whereas Utah started seeing its plan as a free-market alternative …

[ Full text ]


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