Monday, December 3, 2012

Underestimating China Again

CHINA


China has a massive economic engine and much fuel.  People will admit to this--then ignore it.

China elevated 500,000,000 (half a billion) people out of poverty.  More than 1/3 of their population.  168% of the US population.  Still, we quibble about the numbers.


Quibbling

Experts quibble about whether the Chinese economy will grow 8% or 7.5%.  To validate the importance of their insights, they point out that this is significant.  What they don't point out is that these numbers are not topical.

Some experts quibble using cliches, slogans, and platitudes.  Risk on. Risk off.  Hard landing. Soft landing.  Clever?  Concise?  Yes. Conclusive?  Informative?  Pertinent?  No.


Ice Cream Scoops

For the purposes of insight, consider the ice cream scoop.  My sister uses the same ice cream scoop to serve ice cream to her children that my parents used to serve ice cream over 50 years ago.

Some argue that with products lasting over 50 years, eventually there will be no need to manufacture ice cream scoops. These people ignore population growth.  Eventually, the common lament was that US manufacturers were engaging in a form of planned obsolescence.  Not quite. But the concept is applicable.

Then Americans began buying plastic (disposable) ice creams scoops, manufactured in China,  at The Dollar Store.  Experts predicted the collapse of American manufacturing.  To solve the problem, experts began to exhort the virtues of the entrepreneur,  Innovation, and of course, cutting taxes on the rich.

The more academic began focusing on facts and numbers from China.

  • The population is aging.
  • Wages are rising.
  • The Chinese economy  needs more domestic consumption
  • The Chinese economy is declining due to the global economic decline
  • New Chinese leaders may or may not pursue the path of economic growth
  • Etc.
Some or all of this may be true. Still, this displays far more knowledge than understanding.

If wages rise, the one dollar ice cream scoop may soon cost two dollars.  However, that is not the problem.  The issue, seldom if ever discussed, is "what happens when China enters the upscale, high-end, ice cream scoop market?"  

Will you pay $17.00 for an ice cream scoop at Macy's or $10.00 for an ice cream scoop at Bed, Bath, and Beyond?  The Rolls Royce may lose all cachet with a discount Rolls the same way the Buick (The Bankers Car) lost cachet with the Buick Arrow.  However, will China compete successfully with Mercedes?

We were so obsessed by the fear that the Japanese Toyota would compete with the Chevy Impala that we never saw The Lexus competing with the Lincoln and the Cadillac. The Chinese know what happened with the Japanese and American auto industries.  Why would anyone believe that the Chinese are any less capable?  What happens when China tools up to compete in the luxury car market?


Domestic Consumption

When the wages of Chinese workers rises, so too will domestic consumption.


Declining Global Economy

The declining global economy is presenting an opportunity for China to invest globally. 

If China can elevate 500,000,000 Chinese people out of poverty, how many people around the world will they be able to elevate out of poverty.  To cut costs, China may soon begin outsourcing.  Elevating people around the world out of poverty; creating foreign markets; and forging economic and diplomatic bonds.  People around the world will soon prefer doing business with people who are not part of the Euro-centric Empirical Hegemony.  They may prefer doing business with people who look like themselves.  Follow the path of the trajectory.


Global Growth

I once pointed out that China knows it won't stay in business very long if it puts its customers out of business.  Still, China does have the opportunity to rise with the tide of rising global economies.  And do so better if they are part of the reason why global economies are risings.


The Haves and the Have-Nots

Metaphorically speaking, the haves are increasing arithmetically. The have-nots are increasing geometrically.  There is flux, though.  However that is a topic I will cover elsewhere. None-the-less, China is investing in Global Growth.


The Aging Population

True. China's one-child policy resulted in an aging population.  Soon, that may change to a two-child population.  Still, consider this.  If we, at three hundred million people, triple our population, we will have about a billion people.  What happens when China goes from 1.3 billion people to 3.1 billion people?  What happens when India's population increases from 1 billion people to 2 billion people.  What happens when the world Muslim population increases from 2.1 million people to 4.2 million people.  With a bit of simplistic arithmetic, we may see that the ratio is about the same.  However, what about the actual numbers?

Chinese exports will definitely rise with the increasing global population, the increases in affluence resulting from Chinese foreign investment, and China's domestic consumption will definitely increase with its rising and increasingly more affluent population.

Warmest regards,

Slim

If you find anything herein to be helpful, please don't hesitate to send me a really tricked-out MacPro and to tuck a few dollars into the envelope along with the thank-you note.


Contact information:

LinkedIn Profile





Copyright © 2012 Robert Asken as Slim Fairview
All rights reserved.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Fiscal Crisis Solution Worksheet

The impediment to solving the fiscal crisis is not a matter of economics.  It is a matter of process management.  Slim Fairview. From The Quotations of Slim Fairview. ©

  

"You can't lead if you can't manage."  Slim Fairview

Therefore, I've composed a worksheet to help Congress.

"Anything a Congressman has to say when the cameras are rolling isn't worth listening to."  Slim Fairview


First of all is the misalliance of ideology 

Some are calling for higher tax rates, others for increased revenues.  This begs the question, "Is this a matter of dollars or ideology?"

A. Tax Rates

How many dollars and from whom?

The Smiths earn $250,000 dollars a year, own their own home, and have a net worth  [Sell the house, pay the mortgage] of $50,000 dollars.

The Joneses earn $200,000 a year, own their own home, and have a net worth [Sell the house, pay the mortgage] of $500,000.

The Smiths?  Taxes go up?
The Joneses?  No tax increase?

Why do I ask? Because Congress didn't say.  And therein lies the problem. The people receive no information from Congress.

Fill in the blanks:


For standard income

Those making less than $20,000 a year:

How many?
What rate?
How much in taxes paid?

Those making less than $40,000 but more than $20,000.

How many?
What rate?
How much in taxes paid?

Continue, up the list until you reach the top.  Do this for the old rate. Do this for the proposed increase. Period! Publish the numbers.

Group 1.         Number of People          Tax Rate         Dollars Paid in Taxes

Group 2          

Get the idea?


Repeat the Process
 
Do this for Capital Gains.  The same process. Publish the numbers for all Americans to see.


B. Revenues

Those who want to close the loopholes.

Repeat the first part of the above for all taxpayers with current loopholes.
Repeat the first part of the above for all taxpayers with the proposed closing of loopholes.

Report the number of dollars that the Treasury will receive.


Now that we know who the money comes from and how much they pay, under the current system, and who the money will come from and how much they will pay under the proposed changes, there is little room for a Congressman or a Senator to hide.


Where will it go?  

The Deficit:  How much we bring in minus how much we pay out.  The government calls this negative earnings.  People call this a loss.  As it stands: How much we pay out minus how much we bring in.

The Debt:  How much we owe.

Whichever plan we embrace, or variation thereof, the people want to know something.  The absolute truth and in detail:

A.  When we increase revenue through taxes (the method notwithstanding) we will pay down the debt.

      Creditor.       The number of dollars.

1.
2.
3.
etc.

B. When we increase revenue through taxes (the method notwithstanding) we will increase spending:

       Programme        Number of Dollars

1.
2.
3.
etc.


Before Congress says another word about the Fiscal Cliff, they should draw up the grid, enter the headings, makes the list, and fill in the numbers.  Until then, they are nothing more than a gang of cigar-chomping party bosses in smoke-filled back rooms and derby hats cutting deals.


Warmest regards, 

Slim

slimfairview@yahoo.com



PS. If this is helpful, please don't hesitate to send me a really tricked out laptop and to tuck more than a few dollars into the envelope with the thank you note.  The GSA should be able to handle that nicely. Slim

 
Copyright © 2012 Slim Fairview

All rights reserved


 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Misunderstanding China Again


The China Bashers have new data.

  • Exports are down.
  • Domestic Consumption is up.
  • There is an aging population.

Their assumptions? China will

  • Lose competitiveness
  • Watch its labour force dwindle 
  • Suffer economic decline
  • Reel from increasing unrest.

Untrue. 
  
As the world moves closer to the divide: high tech v. growing emerging-nation labour market, China will be in a position to leverage its advances in technology, engage in foreign capital investment, cement diplomatic and economic alliances globally, and prosper.

Aging populations are more conservative and less disruptive.

China lifted 500,000,000 people out of poverty.  (Some will forget. Prosperity does that to people. However, not all will forget.)

Needless to say, it is not improbable that China will modify its one child policy.  This China will do when China sees a need to do it.

China repudiated not only the Soviet Style of Communism, but also the socialist-light style embraces by some of our Pilgrim forefathers.

Recently someone or other mentioned a rise in Chinese nationalism and attempted to define it as looking to the government for assistance.  That is wrong.  Chinese nationalism can be more properly defined as the Chinese people becoming increasingly more concerned with what is in the best interest of China.  This is not unique to China.  Many nations do this.

If the reports are true, and domestic consumption is up, does that not suggest that the Chinese people are buying products made in China?  It would if Chinese exports are down.  Another report.

Would foreign capital investment not benefit China?  [Translation: Foreign capital investment will benefit China.]

Follow the path of the trajectory.  China moves from direct foreign investment (international business model) to the multinational business model.  Some examples would be China's purchase of a Portuguese, government-owned, power company; investments in railroads to bring Brazilian crops to port; and recent talks with Greek shipping companies.  All this has been reported in the news.

What the Chinese appear to have been doing is what I recommended to American businesses looking to do business globally in "Global Management: A shift in the paradigm of corporate America"

In that presentation, I explained to American corporate leaders how to approach the global business community.  But why explain that to American corporate leaders?  They've been doing that for years, right? Right.  However, the world has changed--the American Corporate Paradigm has not.

China recognises the shift in the global economic paradigm and is responding to it.

Regards,

Slim


If you find anything here to be helpful, please do not hesitate to send me a really tricked-out laptop and to put a few dollars into the envelope along with the thank you note. Slim



Pack it up and ship it off to me, [FedEx]


slimfairview@yahoo.com 

Copyright (c) 2012 Slim Fairview
All rights reserved.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Theocracy? America!


Last week, on Fareed Zakaria GPS, Bernard Lewis illuminated a vital fact that plays a large part in our Middle East relations; or the lack thereof.  In the Middle East, political power comes from Allah. (God, in the West.)

I will now illuminate another vital fact.  America is a theocracy.

Perhaps we no longer teach Constitutional Pre-History. Hence: The Pilgrims, English, went to Holland seeking religious freedom.  When they saw that their English children were becoming Dutch children, the Pilgrims set sail for the new world.  There, they established a religious colony.

Early American Literature was, for the most part, written by Protestant Ministers. (Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) and so on.)

Therefore, by extension, a very brief refresher:

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
 
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

By this, our right to govern ourselves was declared a right endowed by our creator.

Our power comes from God.

Now, as time passes and we become more affluent, we've moved away from the Spirit and the Letter of our early establishment of law. This law is now a law that we "do ordain and establish" for ourselves by the Constitution which we've written and continue to write.

The first third of the very first Amendment to our Constitution--necessary for its ratification--reads:  Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;

Yet, Congress opens with a prayer.

Now, we can debate the issue, however, that does not help us with our Middle East relations.  In the Arab World, power from Allah is not subject to opinion and debate.

This, among other things in the news, prompted me to write the article, "Our Middle East Muddling"  http://slimviews.blogspot.com/2012/03/our-middle-east-muddling.html

A quotations adapted from the Bobby Wolff Bridge Column:  "Some people use the Bible the way a drunkard uses a streetlamp. More for support than illumination."

Perhaps this article and the link provided will provide some illumination.

Sincerest regards, 

Slim


Copyright (c) 2012 Slim Fairview
All rights reserved.


Slimviews is an unsponsored, unsupported, sometimes unsupportable, non-profit, and--alas--unprofitable web log by Slim Fairview.




Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Four Million Jobs in Four Weeks--No Joke.



Do you remember the 800 Billion Dollar Stimulus Bill?  I do. And I did some math--well, simple arithmetic actually.  Here is the way to create four million jobs in about four weeks.  This is not a joke:

An $800 Billion dollar stimulus bill, when divided by 5 (years) will work out to $160,000,000,000 a year for 5 years.  My original thought was that the initial legislation would take us to 2013--the year following the election.  Now, I am looking at the issue from a different perspective.

4 million people and $40,000 per year.

People who earn $40,000 a year, spend $40,000 a year.  Now, we can quibble about the taxes: for the purposes of discussion only,  let's say 20%. Do we pay people $40,000 and tax then 20% or pay them $32,000 a year? (Now you know why I don't discuss, debate, or defend my viewpoints.)


4 million people making $40,000 a year will cost about $160,000,000,000.

I suggest this because it is flexible.  You can plan the programme for 2 years, 3 years, 4 years, or you can adjust the number.  More people in the programme for fewer years, for example.

What those people who have been hired by Uncle Sam will do is subject to debate.  Certainly, companies looking for trained employees can train the "new hires" at a very reduced--temporary--wage.  People could go to school; start a blog; do volunteer work; or sit in front of the television set all day watching CNBC thus answering the question, "Who is CNBC's target audience?" One would like to think that professionals in the finance industry are at least watching their money if not ours.


This then leads to the multiplier effect.  This was mentioned--only in passing--by Madame Lagarde in her interview with Maria Bartiromo on CNBC.  The topic was the European Economic Crisis.  This is the crisis that the European Leaders are attempting to solve without any attention to Capital Investment or Economic Development which leads to growth, employment, increased revenue, reduction of Government spending (through the divestiture of State owned assets), and the improvement of the economy.  But don't bother listening to me, everyone always doesn't listen to me.  But I digress.


To play out the math of the multiplier effect serves no useful purpose.  Therefore, I have included a link to an illustration of the multiplier effect--this being more easily understood than an explanation of the multiplier effect.   Keynesian? Perhaps--but only just a bit.


The Multiplier Effect--Illustrated.


http://www.slideshare.net/slimfairview/the-multiplier-effect-4962273


Economic Stimulus--by Metaphor

http://slimviews.blogspot.com/2011/06/economic-stimulus-by-metaphor.html


(Please read them both. It builds character.)

Regards,


Slim


slimfairview@yahoo.com

Copyright (c) 2012 Slim Fairview
All Rights Reserved.


PS.  An attempt was made to post this monograph in the comments of the New York Times online.  (Probably on Dr. Krugman's blog.)  I assume the reason the monograph was not approved for posting was that the relativity to the topic was tenuous. Slim







Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Russia

Let's consider a topic I have not yet written about--Russia.



To understand the misalliance, we must look back over time.

The economic problems in Russia go back to before the Bolsheviks.  One of the reasons for the economic decline is the absence of primogeniture in Czarist Russia.  Feel free to Google the topic.

The second reason is the failure of leadership to understand that while propaganda may fool some foreigners, it won't fool the citizens.  They must live under the conditions as they are, not as they are defined or described.  In short--when everyone owns everything, no one owns anything.  Reported in the news over four decades ago.  Eighty-five percent of the food grown in the Soviet Union is grown on fifteen percent of the land. We are not discussing surficial geology.  We are talking about the 15% of the land allocated to the farmer for his personal use.  This was a problem the Pilgrims confronted in Colonial New England.  They resolved the issue more expediently.  (Change or starve.)

With this much established, a centralised government, provided little or no opportunity for the independence that fosters creativity.  However, there is more.  The lessons of the revolution.  For those who read Danton's Death by Georg B├╝chner: The Lessons of the Revolution: "They are suspect, we are suspect, all are suspect."

However, the Soviet Union is no longer in business.  Today, President Vladimir Putin is moving Russia into a free-market economy, moving Russia into the WTO. These are positive moves.  However, what happened in between?


Russia had a startling success with Sputnik in 1957. However, it was not long before the U.S. put a man into space and a man on the Moon.


Soon after, we saw some rather iconic images.   The Gdansk Shipyard Strike. Then:  Ronald Reagan, a President of Mythic  Proportions single-handedly tearing down the Berlin Wall. The collapse of the Soviet Union. And, most poignantly, the unbridled success of China's economy.  Too, there was the reunification of Germany and the stark contrasts that were revealed. 


The problem President Putin has in his efforts to move the Russian economy forward and upward is this simple--he must contend with the fact that there are still a few members of the Old Soviet Guard who "remember a better time".  


Quite frankly, I believe President Putin will succeed.  Still, globally, there are many old wounds that have not yet healed.  Many slights, embarrassments, "awkward moments" in diplomacy.  The "companionable" silence.  Complicity in excruciatingly polite behaviour. And, there is another factor:


"It is a universal condition: We refuse to accept that all alliances and enmities are transitory." Slim Fairview.  From The Quotations of Slim Fairview.


Regards,


Slim


slimfairview@yahoo.com

Copyright (c) 2012 Slim Fairview
All rights reserved. 



Friday, June 8, 2012

EuroBondage & Leadership

 "You can't lead if you can't manage."  The Quotations of Slim Fairview

The new deception--leadership legerdemain--is a call for a EuroBond. This, of course, is more than a gilt-edged bailout.  Here is the problem.

We hear constantly about European Leaders meeting.  However, what is really happening is European followers are meeting.  Whom are they following?  Chancellor Merkel.  This begs the question, "Why?"

Have we followed Merkel's Lead?  Yes.
Have things gotten better?  No.
Have things gotten worse? Yes.
Conclusion?  Do not follow Merkel's Lead.

Let's speak colloquially for a moment. 


A country borrows money. (Bonds)
This money is used to grow the economy.
The economy grows.
The money from the growth repays the bonds.


This is not Merkelism: A solution based on the fear that someone, somewhere, is earning a living.


A country borrows money. (Bonds)
A country pays bills.
The country borrows more money to pay off the bonds.


Merkelomics means keeping the Greece and Spain shackled to poverty by keeping Greece and Spain shackled to poverty programmes.  

Suddenly, there has arisen a Twitter call to stop Merkel spreading through Spain.  This is not new to me. I've been doing that for a while now.


Back to leadership.


The reason we have committees is not to include people.  It is to conceal incompetence.  It is to spread the blame.  It is a desperate attempt to find a solution the way buying more lottery tickets is a desperate attempt to win the lottery.


Merkel has recently indicated that she will consider the idea of a EuroBond.  This is not an effort to find a solution to the EuroCrisis before the economic crisis becomes a disaster.  This is an attempt to conceal the fact that her leadership has failed.  This, I've discussed before in numerous monographs posted to my blog.


I would like to quote from my previous monographs.  That, however, is not the best way to handle matters.  Instead, I will include links at the end of this posting.


China.  I once said of Chinese-American economic relations, "China is smart enough to know that it won't stay in business very long if it puts its customers out of business."


The same holds true for Europe.  China does not celebrate the EuroCrisis.  Now, the EuroCrisis is a Global Economic Crisis.  Soon? A Global Economic Disaster. Why?  Because no one is leading.


Recently, commentators were saying there is no magic solution. China will not come to the rescue.  Now they are saying we should call on China.  Don't tell me the commentators haven't been reading my blogs.


Now, commentators are discretely expressing their disappointment in Merkel.  They say Germany.  They mean Merkel.


Nothing in any of the attempts over the past two years has any connection to economic growth.  Most of the attempts in fact impede or forestall any possibility of growth.


You can't have Economic Growth without Economic Development.  You can't have Economic Development without Capital Investment.  If you don't like the concept, you don't like China.


China: Capital Investment in Brazil to bring food to the ports.
China: Capital Investment in Portugal. (Winning bid for a state owned utility.)
China: Capital Investment talks in Greece--Shipping!


Bring food grown in Brazil to the ports. Ship the food to China and the world markets.


Chancellor Merkel has failed to lead.  That evidence lies not only in the EuroCrisis bordering on a EuroDisaster, but also on every effort to conceal this crisis in leadership in a morass of committees and agencies.  The EFSF, the ESM, the IMF, the ECB and a series of meetings.


Chancellor Merkel cannot manage the crisis.  You can't lead if you can't manage.  The European leaders are not leaders--they are followers.  The EuroCrisis is about to become a EuroDisaster.  The EuroCrisis is effecting the Global Economy.


This is the time for Chancellor Merkel to step down and go home.



Bon chance.


Slim


Copyright (c) 2012 Slim Fairview
All Rights Reserved.




Additional Reading:


Merkel's Last Stand
http://slimviews.blogspot.com/2011/12/merkels-last-stand.html


The EuroCrats Trojan Plan--Destroy Greece
http://slimviews.blogspot.com/2011/09/eurocrats-trojan-plan.html


Eurocracy with Apologies to Swift
http://slimviews.blogspot.com/2011/09/eurocracy-with-apologies-to-swift.html

Merkel and the Salesman. (A metaphor to explain the failed economic policies.)
http://sidestreetjournal.blogspot.com/2012/05/merkel-and-salesman.html 

Merkel Blinks. Slim Wins.
http://sidestreetjournal.blogspot.com/2012/02/merkel-blinks-slim-wins.html

You Can't Fool the Lion. (A metaphor to explain failed leadership.) 
http://sidestreetjournal.blogspot.com/2011/12/you-cant-fool-lion.html


Firewall or Farce?   (Building a firewall around Greece will not save Spain's Economy.)
http://sidestreetjournal.blogspot.com/2012/02/firewall-or-farce.html


Regards,


Slim


slimfairview@yahoo.com

Friday, May 18, 2012

GM and Facebook


I posted this monograph of 5/18.  After a few colleagues read it, I took it down.  Now, with Mr Ewanick having left the firm, I am reposting the monograph.  Regards, Slim

General Motors doesn't find much value in advertising on Facebook. Some investors see no value investing in Facebook.  

Perhaps General Motors doesn't realise that the 14, 15, 16 year old youngsters visiting Facebook today will be visiting New Car Showrooms in a few years.  None the less, let's look at GM through the Years of Technology.

The General:  "The Telly Phone?  The Telly Phone!  I'm not buying telly phones.  I do that and my employees will spend all day talking on the telly phone instead of working.  Besides, why would I want to invest in some youngster and a start-up tech company.  You have no revenues, no profits. I'm not investing in the telly phone."

The General: "Telly vision?  Telly vision!  Who wants to look at that tiny screen.  Nobody, that's who.  Besides, why would I want to invest in some youngster and a start-up tech company.  You have no revenues, no profits. I'm not investing in the telly vision."

The General:  "Flying machines?  Flying machines!  If the good Lord wanted me to fly, he'd have given me wings.  Besides, what good is flying around with my brother?  And another thing: if you have flying machines you need to have airports. Do you see any airports?   Besides, why would I want to invest in some youngster and a start-up tech company.  You have no revenues, no profits. I'm not investing in any flying machine."  

The General:  "Light bulbs?  Light bulbs!  What good are they.  Light bulbs aren't any good unless you have electric companies.  How many electric companies to you see?  Besides, why would I want to invest in some youngster and a start-up tech company.  You have no revenues, no profits. I'm not investing in any light bulbs."

The General:  "The Motor Car?  The Motor Car!  Noisy smelly toy for the rich.  It will never replace the horse.  Why in heaven's name would I want to invest in the Motor Car?"

"BECAUSE YOU SELL MOTOR CARS!"

Facebook is the telegraph, the telephone, the fax machine, the post office, the television, the movies theatre, the Rolodex ®, and--with voice chat--the meeting room.  It is no longer a place for youngsters to hang out.  Facebook is now the business platform.

But don't bother listening to me. Everyone always doesn't listen to me.

For more on Social Media:

Social Media is the Medium. Greater than the sum of its parts.

Quill Pens and Powdered Wigs in Today's Classrooms.


Warmest regards,

Slim

PS. General, if you've found anything I said to be helpful, please don't hesitate to send me on of those tricked out Macs and to tuck a few dollars into the envelope along with the thank you note.  Slim



Monday, March 19, 2012

Our Middle East Muddling

Our Middle East Muddling

Western efforts in the Middle East are not going well. Hence:

Through no fault of my own, I was watching C-Span over the weekend.  I was never so happy to see something so sad.  Four middle-age, middle-class, suburban white men were sitting around discussing The Middle East.

Each man was a credentialed individual.  The hosting organisation was prominent.  The collective understanding of the Middle East was non-existent.

One fellow, in making a point, referred to a conversation he’d had with someone from the Middle East.  He began, “You should…”  He lost me immediately.   I wonder how his Middle Eastern colleague felt.


You Forgot to Tell the Other Guy In discussing on my blog, why strategies fail,  I opened with the following statement.  It is as true of Global Affairs as it is of business management, perhaps more so. 

Global Planning, eh? Did anyone tell the other guy?

Okay, now you are getting ready to plan globally. You are going to discuss:

Strategic Planning
Innovation
Team Building
Market Penetration
The Visioning Process
Consensus Building
Project Management
and so on.

You will also consider financing, information technology, cloud computing, virtual servers, capital investment. You will achieve consensus the way others achieve nirvana. You will plan your work and work your plan.

You will fail.

Why?

You forgot to tell the other guy.

Based on this programme, and the one I watched on Sunday—same topic, four new middle-aged, middle-class, suburban white guys—I asked myself, “What would Muslims say in response to all this?  This monograph is, of course, for the benefit of the Middle East experts in this country. This is not what we want to hear. This is what we need to hear.


The First Amendment

One expert took the liberty of reading the first Amendment to your Constitution.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

Now let us look at your posturing from the point of view from someone in the Middle East.  The reason for this is to underscore that many Arabs want American style freedom, but not American style government. 

If we embrace your form of government, what will be the benefits?  You criticise us for having what you call a Theocracy.  You accuse us of lacking sensitivity to various religions.  Well, let’s look at what you practice.

When the Valedictorian at Thomas Jefferson High School gives her address, she is allowed to discuss the eating of pork—offensive to Muslims. She is allowed to discuss drinking alcohol or having intimate relations without benefit of marriage—offensive to Muslims.  However, if she thanks Jesus for her success, she will be censored by the Principal.   

We must assume the same rule would apply to the Muslim student who wishes to praise Allah for his success. This you attempt to justify under the guise of separation of Church and State.   

We know that this is not in your Constitution.  It was fabricate by your Supreme Court. Your Supreme Court created a principal to negate, “nor prohibit the free exercise thereof. Hence, under your system, our Supreme Court will forbid our Valedictorian to praise Allah.  This is only a part of the Western Cultural Hegemony you wish to impose on the Middle East.

Your Supreme Court, on one occasion, declared separate to be equal among your diverse people. Then, they declared separate to be unequal.  Therefore, you now have a society of diverse people that is, for the most part, not separate but is still unequal.  Still, you lack the capacity to understand that our society is not for the most part, diverse.  Stop trying to tell us it is to justify your pretense and gratify your pretensions.


Your Second Amendment

There are many Muslims who know your history better than many of you know ours.  In 1776 you fought an open, armed rebellion against what was at that time your legitimate Government over the minuscule tax on tea—taxation without representation.  Those of you most concerned about freedom, and those who claim to be charged with the responsibility of protecting the civil liberties of your people, have concluded that this right to keep and bear arms has limitations.  Sensible, perhaps; however, some have gone so far as to declaim that the amendment is there to protect the right of the government to maintain regulated militias.

Let’s look at Libya.  What if Colonel Gaddafi and the Libyan Civil Liberties Association told the Libyan people that their second amendment right was the right of the Libyan government to form militias to protect the Libyan people?  There would have been no liberation of the Libyan people.

We hold these truths to be self-evident; that each man is endowed by his creator with inalienable rights.

Now that we have established that your revolution and new government arises from rights that you received from God, and that you wish to create a peaceful society, and that you have enumerated rights to protect your citizens, let’s look further.

You have accused the Muslim society of being a society of violence.  Yet, we see the violence perpetrated against the Loyalists in 1776.  We see the enslavement of Africans.  We see the bombing of Churches and the killing of children.  We see the violence of Corporations against workers who try to form unions.  And we see the violence of labour against the businesses they work for.  We see “peaceniks” rioting for peace in your streets.  We see Americans bombing Federal Buildings, or trying to.  And when they are captured, they are represented by Laudable Attorneys protecting their civil rights. 


Now, what about civil discourse? 

We see those who claim to be protecting their rights to free speech; attempt to protect that right by violating the rights of others through heckling.  And we see the hypocrisy.  “When they do it, it is censorship.  When we do it, it is sensitivity. “

On your news programmes we see the hypocrisy of debate played out every night. Pundits, politicians, contributors—some on the left, some on the right—evading questions, telling half –truths, interrupting each other with contradictions that are vague at best if not untrue, or all talking at the same time.   

This is not debate, this is a farce.  Has no one mentioned to your most distinguished public intellectuals that belligerent, argumentative, and rude, are not attributes of civilised, intellectual debate?  Then there are those who attempt to intimidate opponents with either ridicule or false and malicious allegations that malign their character, their integrity, their faith, and or their sanity.


Congress

One member of your Congress, the single-most august legislative body in the secular world, told the people that that Congress has a 9% approval rating.  (Perhaps he forgot that he is a member of that Congress.) 

To your Congress:  there is an incontrovertible fact—your people don’t like you.

Your President Clinton stated that Government is the store and the American People are the customers.  According to your Constitution, your Government is the store; the American People are the owners.  The owners have said you performance is not acceptable.  They don’t say this only every four years in a Presidential election.  They said it when the people gave control of your Congress to the Republicans in the mid-term election of President Clinton’s first term—“I’m not going to tax and spend, I’m going to tax and invest.” [Perhaps too many people remembered President Carter.] 

They said it when they handed authority to the Democrats with the election of President Obama.  Then came, “If you want to find out what’s in the bill you have to vote for it.”  Is anyone surprised that the people returned control of the House of Representatives to the opposing party?  The surprise—and irony, however, is that the first time this happened, the Republicans worked with the President.  Now, the Republican Party is controlled by the Tea Party—the Party of No.  Plus ca change…eh?

To quote one of the most eloquent of your Presidential orators, Lyndon B. Johnson, 

“I ain’t never learned nothin’ talkin’” [sic].


This is excellent advice.  Everyone wants to talk to the Muslims.  Everyone wants to explain US policy in the Middle East.  [How long ago was the mantra, “If you don’t agree with me, it’s my fault. I didn’t explain it properly.”]   

This seems to me to be what the Arabs would say to us.

Perhaps it would help if we listened long enough to find out what the “Policies” of Middle Eastern Nations are toward the US and other Western Countries.

“It is a universal condition.  We refuse to accept that all alliances and enmities are transitory.”  The quotations of Slim Fairview.

China sees the world from a mountain top 6,000 years high.
The Middle East sees the world from a mountain top 4,000 years high.
Europe sees the world from a mountain top 2,000 years high.
We see the world from a mountain top 236 years high.—Slim Fairview

“No one agrees with someone else’s opinion; only his own opinion expressed by someone else.” – My Dad.

We may be the biggest kid on the block, but we are not bigger than all the other kids on the block put together.

“Diplomacy—If you have to explain it, it’s not diplomacy.”

Bon chance.

Warmest regards,


Further reading:







Copyright © 2012 Robert Asken as Slim Fairview
All rights reserved.