Posts Tagged ‘Cultural intangibles’
Moves to control the internet

Perhaps the music industry is the work of the devil after all:

Canadian music labels demand keys to the Internet: The Canadian Independent Music Association is seeking to create liability risk for social networking sites, search engines, blogging platforms, video sites… it is also calling for a new iPod tax, an extension in the term of copyright, a removal of protections for user generated content, parody, and satire, as well as an increase in statutory damage awards… ADISQ is asking the government to add a requirement for Internet providers to disclose customer name and address information to copyright owners without court oversight. Meanwhile, CIMA wants takedown with no due process and unlimited statutory damages.

They may actually be a bigger threat to our freedom than the greens. Truly  amazing. Of course, once they get something like this through in one jurisdiction they will seek to extend it to all others. In today’s globalized interconnected world the “it can’t happen here” view is indefensible. The same vested interests see the same gain from the same changes. They will go through the same processes to impose them. That”s if they can’t bypass much of the legislative scrutiny by getting an august international body to approve it first.

Australia is not much better. Indeed may be worse, with its fascist tendencies far clearer:

THE Gillard Government’s media inquiry threatens not only our freedom to speak, but to hear and decide for ourselves. But why?

Its report last week, by retired judge Ray Finkelstein, proposes a super media-cop, funded by government, to police all that’s said and written in the media.

It would even have the power to disappear you – or, rather, your words – by requiring offending articles to removed from the Internet, never to be read again.

It’s time to gird your loins and accept that our generations time to stand up for our culture, our freedoms and our rights is fast approaching. That our moment of testing truth is soon to be at hand. Will our descendents wonder how we could have allowed our Hitler to rise? How we could have cast aside the cultural components our forebears fought and died for. That we could have sentenced several generations to tyranny, despotism and destitution.

Your government will be inspired by the moves afoot in Australia and Canada. Even if these specific threats go the way of SOPA and PIPA, they will re-emerge in a new form. The money to be made or power to be maintained by removing your rights, liberties and freedoms are too tempting to those without a moral compass or understanding of what they do.

Many really don’t know what they do as they cut our cultural underpinnings out from under us. Most of the left are thoroughly brainwashed against our culture. While some on the right go so far as to deny there is even such a thing as society. Amazing. Our individual interactions are shaped by our society which reflects our culture.  Just try ordering  beer in Mecca if you think otherwise, or even stepping foot in it. Our society and our culture are good and worth protecting.

It is so sad that we have such a powerful enemy within. The Australian government in particular seems to have taken the “hear no evil, speak no evil see no evil” to heart. It is seeking to impose a distorted version on us:

Hear nothing speak nothing and see nothing that criticizes our government.

We might be being led by a bunch of monkeys, but they are certainly not wise. They rarely are, which is part of the reason why it is best to limit their power and influence over us. The framers of the US constitution got that right. They knew their English history with its the battles between the King and Parliament. They were right to stand up for their rights as Englishmen. You are right to stand up for your rights. It’s your cultural inheritance, you owe it to your descendents to pass it on intact. Take it back.


Limited Liability Partnerships

I am gob smacked, absolutely gob smacked at the latest manifestation of just how much of our cultural inheritance we have trashed. They may sound innocuous or even boring but “Limited Liability Partnerships” are a newfangled creation that has taken the accounting world by storm. Talk about corrupting the basis from which so much of our wealth has been generated.

Personal liability is a strong incentive to ensure your company does the right thing. It will make you particularly careful about your choice of partner. It will also make you more likely to look beyond the dollars they bring the partnership and ensure they behave appropriately. It was the basis upon which accounting firms worked, until various jurisdictions created limited liability partnerships.

Limiting partners liability reduces their incentive to ensure decent behavior. It is no surprise that this bastardized form of partnership came to the fore at the turn of the last century. Just in time to limit the liability of all those auditors happily signing off on fraudulent accounts. Safe in the knowledge they would not be sued for every penny their partners are worth. And safe they are, if my reading of Wikipedia is correct then PwC and Ernst & Young are limited liability Partnerships. Deloitte is limited by guarantee, whatever that means. KPMG is also a limited liability partnership in the US – registered in Delaware, that paragon of corporate standards. It’s enough to make one think the big 4 should lose their lock on auditing multinationals accounts. Perhaps it’s time to end the requirement for all of a multinationals subsidiaries to be audited by the same firm. It would certainly lower audit costs.

Is it any wonder that things really started to go crazy after the integrity of the accounting profession was undermined? How can the stock market fulfill its function when public accounts are often fraudulent fabrications? What will that eventually do to our faith in capitalism? Actually stock markets are failing badly at the moment anyway. They are floating ever higher on low turnover high frequency trading, despite unprecedented levels of liquidity. They really do not have much to do with funding new productive ventures anymore.

One trusted institution and profession has been trashed after another as our societies become ever more compromised. Destroying the cultural intangibles that enabled us to become wealthy is not progress. But it is happening and manifesting itself in so many different areas. Once academics argued about weather there was such a thing as truth. Now Presidents and Prime Ministers tell bare faced lies. Honesty and integrity are so yesterday. Unfortunately they are requirements for a wealthy tomorrow.

Once upon a time politicians tried to improve your well-being. Now they seem intent on replacing you with someone more likely to vote their way. It is as if they do not care what they destroy as long as they win the next election. I guess if you kill the engine of growth you make it far more important to take as much of the existing wealth as possible. After all, there will not be a whole lot more of it down the line. It is such a shame. Historians may look upon this as a gilded age of unprecedented wealth and well-being. Much as our ancestors used to view ancient Rome and Greece.

We had a great deal of cultural capital at our disposal. Capitalism is such a powerful mechanism for driving productivity gains. Much of society can operate without capitalist incentives and we will still get wealthier. But at the moment we are sabotaging our future in so many ways. We are trashing the cultural intangibles we inherited from our forebears.

It is our cultural capital that enables us to live lives of relative ease and plenty. Our cultural capital forms the very foundation of our civilization. It is not just science that stands on the shoulders of giants, but all of us.

Markets rigged

Looks like the mainstrem media are finally cottening on:

The Wall Street insider trading investigation may lead everyday investors — already rattled by a stock market meltdown, a one-day “flash crash” and the Madoff scandal — to finally conclude that the game is rigged.

“A large part of trading has to do with trust, and I don’t have it,” says Mark Swenson, a 43-year-old plumber from New Hampshire who refuses to buy individual stocks.

“When a stock moves up 10 percent, you don’t know why,” he added. “We can pretend that everyone has access to the same information, but they don’t.”

Even before news broke that federal investigators were looking into whether hedge funds traded on inside information, small-time investors were pulling their money out of stocks — despite a remarkable run for the market since the spring of 2009.

Americans have pulled $60 billion out of U.S. stock funds this year, according to the Investment Company Institute, a trade group. Meanwhile, investors have piled money into Treasuries and bond funds that are considered safer investments, even if they don’t return as much money. And at the same time, banks like Wells Fargo have reported that money is moving into checking and savings accounts.

You heard it here first.

Now perhaps they will start to realize how many core aspects of our culture have been corroded. How much of our cultural seed corn is being eaten. Gone are accounting standards, the rule of law, markets, security of title. How much more corruption can capitalism take? Will it just collapse in a smoldering heap, crushed by its own contradictions? We have posted about this before here.

Lee Kuan Yew summed it up well:

“If you believe that it’s permanent, it will come tumbling down and you will never get a second chance.”

Enough is enough.