Good, Bad, Ugly
March 26, 2012 § Leave a comment
So this is the one, the seriously serious blog to account all things..
It deserves a question mark does that opener. ? Because events have so inserted themselves upon my mind as to suggest I not concentrate on the sole object of original intent. Which might have ranked a sole ugly with me in titling terms. Though something, and respectfully, different to my readers. Hence this qualifier. And challenge—you decide which briefer topic is what.
Serious indeed the demise of a champion colonic cancer battler. Put that way because that was how a younger Paul Callaghan would have met any personal obstacle—to be engaged, battled, overcome. Such was his enthusiasm and resolve(rather than belief I think) of mankind’s science in delivering one’s fate. Not for him any great consideration that fate was of itself resolution. Fatefull yes, though at the same time earning our abiding R.I.P. Of eulogy there shall be plenty in coming days. Kiwis do that so very well. Myself, a matter of memory now and what to do about this. Ongoing of course. To his family, friends, networkers and countrymen my condolences.
At mention of titling above I was reminded of one the C.I.A. had earned in story The Eleventh Commandment. One of Archer’s slacker efforts though here a usefully instructive corporate meaning: thou shalt not be caught. Former Minister-in-Parliament, Dr. Nick Smith was caught. And rings a bell out of qualified admiration for this fellow’s willingness to bite the bullet. Decisively and of his own accord. To wit: pushed and shoved by himself. Into resignation. I said qualified because therein the flaw of a National brand favoring individuals. In MP Nick’s case the manifest of expectations his Party ‘friend’ held of position and influence and powers that she sensed herself full access to. And doubtless influenced also by how other people conduct themselves. Unanswered, however, public questions on which bullet exactly he bit.
Leaving the transient toxic liability side of this balancing act I would characterise as bright the woman on last weekend talking about net energy resourcing from planet earth — if it costs more to dig or suck the stuff up and distribute around the place than its revenues less all-risk* costs realise then why bother? Unless, of course, deliberate exclusion of folks unable afford it becomes de rigeur.
* all-risks now incorporates ‘extreme’ extraction. BP’s huge payouts and ongoing legal and obligations arising out of their GoM misadventures springs to mind. But this week notice of the Brazilian government’s resolve to Court remedies in respect of Chevron/Transocean’ Frade drilling in the Campos Basin adds endorsement. Latest I have on that from Reuters is that the parties have filed for hearing in Rio de Janeiro, thus evading a local prosecutor. Know they (corporates) well the power of individuals!
Now back to the bright one. Who would have been brilliant had she not made undue mention of “Antiquity”. And thereby laid bare her rather formal academic education. Clearly a case of knew she not Antiquity the insert word which among other things came into use to obscure time and events hitherto. Upon which much human motivation and mayhem has developed. Yes, including in the name of growth. To seekers after truth allow me add here lourd de sous-entendus which wotz what
exampled as AAFA with a recommendation that a permalink (= eye and mind ) be made thereto. Time permitting all shall be revealed unto kiwis.
Meantime, blessim, Tom Murphy popped up on oilprice. Here he is in some part supporting the RNZ guest whilst sticking with the knitting, as it were. [ my highlighting ]
… “resource depletion trumps climate change for me, because I think this has the potential to effect far more people on a far shorter timescale with far greater certainty. Our economic model is based on growth, setting us on a collision course with nature. When it becomes clear that growth cannot continue, the ramifications can be sudden and severe. So my focus is more on averting the chaos of economic/resource/agriculture/distribution collapse, which stands to wipe out much of what we have accomplished in the fossil fuel age. To the extent that climate change and resource limits are both served by a deliberate and aggressive transition away from fossil fuels, I see a natural alliance. Will it be enough to avert disaster (in climate or human welfare)? Who can know – but I vote that we try real hard.”
Over-stated else overlooked, I say that growth is not necessarily against nature. Elephant in the Recession room, Finance and Banking for instance, has only a derivative — capitalising resource extractions — role. Profits, profitability themselves derivative processes. Of business. Or as some Third Way authors would have it: the better way.
But wait! Is it better? Capable of bettering? How?
Three superb questions which, contrary to an earlier business cycling dictum of ‘questioners are out of the loop’, now require seriously serious answers. From governments and yes, you’ve gottit, corporations.
Don’t believe me.? Okay, let’s take a look at several illustrations:—
1. Is it better? Our context is the branded pharmaceutical industry whose embrace of globalization these past several decades had R&D Pharma sell high value low pack goods for consistently reported y-o-y profits whilst at the same time recording lower overall volume sales. Higher prices making the equation. Higher prices the ‘growth’. Bottom line: delusion.
2. Bettering? Our context is ‘We’re in business to make money’. Cause celebre over many years Goldman Sachs. Which still does a fine job of embracing everything in the main but IMHO because of this must suffer components who would damage its name, not to mention global financial markets.
One is aware of GS’s former Deputy Chief Exec, Greg Smith, bolting from the Board via the NYTimes Op-Ed page a week ago. Describing an attitude there of “toxic” and incapable of representing GS’s investors. As you see in some detail here GS traders set such folk up to fail and have friends, prime individual predators and countrymen, to coin a fitting phrase win-bet against them.
Despite this evidence and earlier successful prosecutions GS corporateness is such that its lawyers place it above not only their own investors but also competitors, peers, government, law and the judiciary in the U.S.A. How else do you read a call for the Judge to dismiss latest allegations on stated grounds that they(GS) and they alone are authoritative in the matters under examination.
I raise the illustration to suggest that should a corporate lead be taken in the matter of law change to a civil approach instead of existing criminal proceedings then all a government manipulator need do is appoint incompetant or readily influenced cronies. Who, experience relates, only too happily leave things to the “experts”.
That the Judge involved tossed this dismissal defence out adds weight to my number 3: How? Answer: Democratic authoritative independence. More particularly if industrial and/or commercial corporateness has come to negate governmental authority.
Added to which Lord Goldsmith(UK) has chipped in a view few legislators there would avoid – learn the lessons of history well before even contemplating the need to ‘move on’ . Then a most recent double majority decision of the US Supreme Court, ruling greater supervisory powers to the judiciary in criminal proceedings. Ensuring among other things the constitutional right to competant and effective defence before the courts. Plea bargains may more effective such proceedings make( caseload throughput for shorter sentences ) but such effectiveness also makes for all caught to pay the criminal liability of bad conduct. And not simply a few civil liability ie exampled cases.
In the local NZ context of the Financial Markets Conduct Bill this fellow relates an impending loss of stricture upon the guilty with intended change, adding:
That change from a criminal strict liability to a civil liability—unless you can show it is reckless or you can show that it was deliberate—we think is a very, very important change, and we are not convinced that it is the right change to make.
Around the same time leading Parliamentary language was expressing concerns re “silo” thinking. Bureaucrat attack that this it – so Cheney at the Pentagon back in his day – that some awareness of from whence the change call emanated is possible. We should hope that a parallel change regarding financial conduct does not have the same source. Its past ‘legitimacy’ having been utterly discredited elsewhere.
As to the better, or business way, and aside its narrower than democratic government requires flaw, the predetermined economic infestation of Douglas is also pre-existing proof of “deliberate” and “reckless”. Lessons of the past relating well with the Goldsmith view.
I must go now. Save to add how supplyside economics was always coded. So far as I am aware in enzed, unmentioned were the concomitant terms sell-side (sider) and buy-side(sider) terms too lourd for inclusion even Douglas’s pamphleteering. (aka sous-entendus lest a chance reader later uncover more than is good, bad or ugly of the author)
Po$itively – Go the Black Caps — two bats = one draw 😉