Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Creativity: How New Can The New Year Be?

I am feeling a bit guilty for having stayed away from the computer for so long during my year-end holidays, so the title to this post does look to be a bit challenging and probably involved.

As you may have noticed, I seldom - well, never - acknowledge any holidays or festivities as they all seem to be so the same as the last one - or, the one yesterday except probably for a bit more devotion to food and drink - or drinks and a bit of food.

My friends had, I suppose, great fun in sending me stuff like 1.1.11 as the last 10.10.10 - and my mind just does not compute - cute, yes, but what is the diff.

Since I am not a farming kind of person, the yearly cycle doesn't really matter. Whether it rains or shines - or neither - my concrete laden urban life where everything I dare to touch or do threatens to destroy the world makes me live my life guilty as hell. I now feel like the ancient ascetics who dared not walk for fear of crushing the poor insects that are invariably caught under their feet. (They probably should have dare not breathe for fear of sucking the invisibles through their nostrils - or they should have allowed their wounds to open and not heal so that some worms may thrive and life a long and healthy life.

Somehow, the new year always opens with thoughts of self-improvement - which often leads one to self denial and apply self restraint so that everything that one consumes is reduced by 5%, 10%, 20%, 50% or even 70% if things are severe enough. As in the retail line, a 70% discount is a recovery of cost of item but not of overheads which can only be covered with at best a 50% discount. Any discount less than that is still profitable.

Would such discounts then apply to the budget deficits of individuals and nations, although I have in my mind all the time thoughts about losing weight, doing exercises, improving diet and quitting the infusion of things considered by the health industry to be poison.

A slim down year across the board, however, is no good for aggregate consumption and countries round the world continue to press harder on the accelerator to send more money quantitatively through the system even though the arteries may all be clogged up with plague and other life threatening stuff such as corruption and ruptures from terrorism.

After decades of rapid growth and near full employment, a really new year should, economically, be one when a bit of magnesium sulphate would have done a marvelous job in purging the intestines but no! the grandma would still like the little helpless but plump and chubby and instead insist on force feeding the hapless balloon. A really new year should be a year of a slimming economy.

By slimming, one is really talking about bringing into more realistic propositions sectors that have already been overfed with liquidity - personal credit, personal consumption, real estate, private transportation, as well as public consumption and public mega infrastructure works.

To really break out of the box, one must push one's head through the wall and come out into a new paradigm and its new frontier.

Where can we find it?

It is right here in our brains, when we have our ideas and think that we can pursue them in order to break new grounds.

I shall now take a few minutes to lampoon the biggest culprits of the current economic mess - incompetent bankers. There is no talent in lending to those who have physical assets as collateral, preferably real estate and false hopes as in stocks and shares. Recent history has shown us there is such a thing as asset bubbles across the asset portfolio, and banks have proven themselves not to be immune to the wholesale destruction of their balance sheets by some incompetent bankers at the top drawing big salaries and huge bonuses based on imputed profits - imputed because the loans that they have disbursed have not been fully repaid. It is the great potential for a bank to become a pyramid schemes that banks have traditionally been managed prudently like Shylock the moneylender. Instead, we have Santa Clauses throwing away the public's savings to politicians, thus undermining the greatest illusion in modern society called the money system.

My view is that the only way out is for small banks to lend to small businesses and hand hold them so that they can grow big in new businesses where big businesses do not know how to go.

I have no fondness for big brands - those in similarly modern shopping malls are probably the most mind deadening design and concepts that one can possibly imagine in this hi-tech world - fueled no doubt by mass marketing so that the only thrill got from wearing something that the average consumer can recognise to be the same fake sameness - like that which also happens in the world's oldest profession.

Our banks are dull, including those who are supposed to look after them.

So what is new for the new year with a new paradigm - let a thousand ideas bloom, and let they be financed - on the basis of their ideas.

I will also spend a few minutes paying attention to cheats. I do not mind clever people and I do not mind not so clever people - they are all part of the distribution curve that nature so wisely choose to endow mankind with. However, I do mind cunning people who sell adulterated stuff in order that they could climb on top of the masses whom they lie to. To say a thing is good when it is bad; to say a thing is bad when it is good. Such adulteration is called the corruption of the nature of things and such people be weeded out from the system. Once the weeds are killed, the beautiful ones will bloom.

1 comment:

walla said...

The illusion of the money system also exists in retail discounts.

Here customers expect there will be sales and thus hold back their purchases. So facing cash-flow pressure, retailers launch sales at regular intervals not just by tagging the prices high and then offering attractive discounts but also by displaying made-for-sales items at inflated prices but with discount tags. That these items come in the same old cartons unloaded from big trucks just before a sale starts suggests most sales are just illusions.

On top of that, this trend has become increasingly more pronounced which itself proclaims the illusion will soon reach a plateau but that would hardly provide comfort for the rise of household debt to gdp from sixty eight to seventy three percent resultant from focus on bourse-borne real estate.

Gone are those days where one could get a genuine last-pair of swiss-made bally's at rm200 that fits snugly and lasts twenty years. These days, men's shoes look as if only aladdin should be seen wearing them. people (a) pay meticulous attention to details (b) guided by constantly-sharpened methodologies applied to an (c) increasing collection of (d) accurate historical knowledge in (e) a society which religiously champions discipline, sacrifice, thrift, hard-work, creativity and drive to excel?

If they don't, they can be trained to do so. Then the challenge is whether the present education system does that. If it doesn't, perhaps it should.

And then, maybe, the bankers so produced as well out of such a system will realize enough the present predicament to advise the government that it should also change its industrial financing policies and make a break from the way entrepreneur financing has been skewed all these years by the role played by government in it which has caused many potential idea-developers to shy away because the policies that were attached to the forms were irrelevant from (a) all the way to (e) which are presumably factors of success for entrepreneurship.

Otherwise where could idea-developers go for funding if government only pays profiling lipservice, and bankers are unsupportive because they don't want to valuate the intangibles of ideas, leaving entrepreneurs with only the prospect of venture capital sourcing which is basically another moribund illusion in this country?