Home » 2016 » January

Monthly Archives: January 2016

The Silver Bullet for the Economy

by John Brian Shannon | January 28, 2016

How balancing the economy can give us the best work/life balance.
Or is it the other way around?

U.S. work, life, balance

By legislating that every worker in the has the right to a job for a minimum of 6 months every year, we could solve inequality, poverty, and most social ills.

For those of us fortunate to be born in a Western nation, life is mostly about balance, and for our elected leaders it’s about how to achieve balance in the wider economy, and about the kinds of policies we’ll need for the future.

Thus far, our political and economic model has evolved. But let’s never forget that it wasn’t designed, it evolved. Big difference. (It might be the best Model T Ford ever built, but it’s still a Model T, if you catch my meaning)

And that’s exactly the conversation that we need to have

Here in North America, it requires only 1% of the workers (and presumably 1% of the total available investment pool) to produce enough food to feed everyone on the continent. Yet, we see major food distribution problems and it’s getting worse.

With regards to agricultural output and distribution, our North American model is the best devised but it’s far from perfect. And that is my point, instead of waging trillion dollar wars we should have continued to improve our economic model, especially in regards to the food distribution aspect.

I don’t think that we should be giving food away for free (except in emergency situations) but there are far too many Food Banks in operation for such an affluent society, and there is constant demand for more of them.

Q: And why do we have this particular symptom that I’ve singled-out for discussion?

A: There are far too many idle hands, and it’s because their jobs picked up and went to Asia — a process that began in 1973.

We could put an end to many social ills by employing every worker for a minimum of 6 months per year

By legislating mandatory job-sharing, every worker would be guaranteed a job appropriate to their particular skillset for a minimum of 25 weeks of full time employment, annually.

That means every worker has a full time job for a minimum of 6 months of every year and is then eligible to receive automatic unemployment insurance benefits during their (short) layoff period.

Mandatory job-sharing eliminates the need for ‘Welfare’

We know that long-term unemployed individuals eventually turn to welfare in order to be able to eat, have shelter, etc. once their unemployment insurance payments run out.

We also know that long-term unemployment eventually turns into substance abuse, crime, homelessness, and other social ills.

More crime = bigger policing budgets = bigger insurance claims/higher insurance rates = more citizens injured or terrorized by crime, etc… all of that are the symptoms of high and long-term unemployment, progression to welfare, and changes in the thinking of the individuals in such circumstances, including long term depression, withdrawing from society, anger, resentment, and more.

But with mandatory job-sharing the yearly unemployment rate would be 0% — that is, over the course of the year, every worker will have worked a minimum of 6 months. However, at any given point throughout the year the nominal unemployment rate would settle at 2.5%-3.0%.

With a job (and full unemployment benefits during layoff) long-term unemployment would become a thing of the past.

Keeping workers in a state of long-term unemployment brings on an OCEAN of troubles

Job-sharing is the answer.

By legislating that every healthy worker has a job for a minimum of 25 weeks annually, we could solve the worst inequality, poverty, other social ills, and dramatically and positively lower crime rates, insurance rates, policing and court costs, and enjoy a safer, more egalitarian society.

It’s so simple.

Related Articles:

Europe’s Refugee Crisis: What could possibly go wrong?

by John Brian Shannon | January 24, 2016

Since 2008, Europe’s leaders have employed unexceptional management-style techniques to deal with the global financial crisis, the Greek crisis, and the ongoing refugee crisis — instead of creating a grand overriding vision that large numbers of citizens could buy-into in order to craft an ever-better EU.

Supporters of anti-immigration right-wing movement Pegida in Cologne, Germany, January 9, 2016.

Supporters of anti-immigration right-wing movement Pegida in Cologne, Germany, January 9, 2016. Image courtesy of theindependent.co.uk

What the leaders of any nation must remember is that whether it be a country, a corporation or NGO, a grand overriding vision and a mission statement that a majority of participants can agree with and work towards is of paramount importance.

Words like, “nebulous” and “pedestrian” and “amorphous” have no place in such contexts. Yet we’ve seen that in the policy response to the global financial crisis, to the Greek crisis, and especially in regards to the millions of refugees streaming into Europe.

And now, due to a lack of proper direction for the new arrivals — as to what constitutes acceptable standards of behavior for male EU residents — serious problems have begun to appear. And if they can’t act in a civilized fashion (even with proper education and direction provided courtesy of the EU country they chose to reside in) then they must (quickly) be deported to the general region from whence they came.

Yes, these males are adults and we expect them to act appropriately. However, customs in one country may be very different than in others. Governments — not corporations or citizens, are supposed to inform new arrivals about the norms of human behavior in their new country.

Make no mistake, what we’ve seen in Germany is just the beginning. Much worse is in the offing as a number of huge festivals appear throughout Europe over the next few months.

The spectacular Kölner Karneval is set to start in a few days, a carnival that has been a part of Cologne’s cultural fabric since 1823, and begins with (you couldn’t make this up if you tried) Women’s Carnival Day on February 4th. (Face-palm)

What could possibly go wrong?

From seemingly small and disparate incidents wars have begun in Europe. Imagine a melee with thousands of women getting groped, accosted, robbed, raped or gang-raped by uncouth men of Middle Eastern descent throughout the week-long carnival in Cologne. Now imagine the repercussions if a number of German women or German police officers were killed, think how that might change Europe…

WWI was sparked by the killing of only two people, while the underlying cause of WWII could be attributed to the unfair conditions set on Germany after WWI by the Allied Powers via the Treaty of Versailles.

In an event that is widely acknowledged to have sparked the outbreak of World War I, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, nephew of Emperor Franz Josef and heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, is shot to death along with his wife by a Serbian nationalist in Sarajevo, Bosnia, June 28, 1914. — History.com

From a relatively small incident (the assassination of two important people) millions of wartime deaths and atrocities occurred because the politicians of the day let things drift — no doubt hand-wringing all the way.

The present amorphous EU refugee system is a recipe for disaster

It’s just a matter of time before something goes really wrong and thousands of people become injured or killed.

The lack of vision and leadership on the Europe/Middle East/North Africa (EMEA) refugee matter has, so far, been appalling.

I very sincerely hope that I’m wrong, but I think February 2016 is going to become another famous month in European history for all the wrong reasons.

Related Articles:

The 51 Percent Circle

by John Brian Shannon | January 3, 2016

The Economics of Empowerment

How We Could Add Unimaginable Wealth to Our Civilization by Adopting New Ways of Thinking

There’s a circle centred around a geographical point in Asia where 51% of the world’s people live. That’s 3.6 billion who live in an area only slightly larger than the United States (once you factor-in the land that humans can actually live on)

The 51 Percent Circle.

‘The 51% Circle’ in Asia – where 3.6 billion people live on disparate blocs of arable land that in their totality, aren’t much larger than the U.S.A.

‘The Circle’ has perhaps the widest disparity levels in the world; While some of the people living within that circle have fabulous wealth, others live their entire lives at landfill sites sifting through the flotsam and jetsam in a desperate attempt to find items of value to sell on the street.

Of course, there are disparities all over the Earth but nowhere else are there 3.6 billion people living in relative proximity to each other, some of whom may drive a different Lamborghini each day of the week and fly their personal jets at the weekend to the many exotic resorts in that part of the world, while others live in squalid tents with no water supply nor electricity their entire lives.

If ever there was a region of the Earth where investors might find the most highly motivated workers and many natural resources available to create huge returns on investment, this has got to be it!

In the West where I live, we are beset by ‘First World Problems’ — it’s a family emergency when little Jimmy doesn’t get EXACTLY the tablet computer he desired for Christmas, or when the delivery driver is 20 minutes late with our pizza. Even more serious is getting stuck in a traffic jam when we’re on our way home from work.

Very. Serious. Problems.

In The Circle, a ‘serious problem’ is when a venomous cobra has killed five people in your tent-city neighbourhood overnight, or when the water supply that is required to sustain human life is suddenly cut off by the authorities or farmers upstream, or when the river disappears due to drought.

In some areas of The Circle, once a criminal gang begins operating in your region, your life begins to change on that very day and whatever they decide to do with you, that will be your fate for the rest of your life…

Like the lions of Africa, life is ‘day-to-day’ for alarmingly large numbers of humans caught inside this sometimes cruel circle. At any given moment, a lion in Africa may get killed by hunters/poachers, by competing lions, by a pack of hyenas, or by a stealthy underwater crocodile at the old watering-hole, or any number of other reasons. Shockingly few lions make it to middle age.

And so it is with people who live within most of The Circle. Life is cheap there. You live ‘day-to-day’. If you can’t find a way to make yourself useful or even better, indispensable to someone wealthy — you’re gone.

As I’ve said, it’s a region with highly motivated people and under-developed resources.

Even investors with the worst track record in history should be able to strike it rich almost anywhere within The Circle

If the 20th-Century was ‘all about The Baby Boomers’ and ‘enabling’ their generation to add huge wealth to the Western nation economies by virtue of their buying power (called ‘Disposable Income’ by economists) — we in the 21st-Century might do as well by empowering the people in The Circle to become all that they can and should be…

We’re looking at nothing less than the greatest opportunity to create wealth in the history of the planet — an order of magnitude larger than the baby boomer wealth-creation paradigm

And in so doing, we’ll lift billions of people out of poverty, creating trillions of dollars of new wealth for corporations and dramatically increasing revenue to government coffers, and provide opportunities for ‘Circler’s’ to earn life-changing disposable income.

Instead of the one success story that we hear endlessly trumpeted on headlines everywhere; Apple Computer now worth $1 Trillion Dollars (by virtue of Apple’s decision to choose low-cost manufacturing in China and sales to EVERYWHERE on Earth) we could have dozens or hundreds of similar success stories (and not only in regards to personal electronics, but in many segments of the economy)

As a civilization we can choose to drop this ball or we can choose to make it work for us

The people who live within The Circle are highly motivated to do their part.

All it will take to add trillions of dollars of wealth to the global economy is the empowerment of an already motivated people via the implementation of a more detailed version of this vision, along with courageous political leadership to see it through to its best destiny — a destiny that works for everyone on the planet.

(Or, we could allow mediocrity to rule the day allowing the region to deteriorate, becoming the largest breeding ground for terrorism that the world has ever seen with enough terrorist numbers to seriously impact life on planet Earth — as compared to the relatively minor bits of terrorism we’ve seen emanating from other impoverished regions, thus far)

The West became incredibly rich by empowering the Baby Boomers in the 1945-2000 timeframe and the ‘Boomers’ responded by creating unprecedented wealth and a better standard of life for billions of people.

It’s high time for us to empower The Circle so that they can add their wealth-creation and better-standard-of-life contribution to our shared civilization.

The best time to do that was 20-years ago. The second-best time is now.


Related Articles: