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Why Cyber War?

The Necessity of Cyber War as a better alternative to traditional warfare

 

By the time our generation is done with this living on this planet, we should have found a way to flip warfare into just another computer game.

 

  1. Cyber War does not kill people but does diminish both production as well offensive capabilities of enemy.
  2. It destroys lesser resources of the enemy irreversibly, thus leading to increased capacity to claim damages or taxes from the loser of the conflict
  3. It does not motivate general population for war hysteria thus minimizing inflationary pressures
  4. Cyber War does not divert too many goods and services (like commodities, metals, fuels) from your economy unlike traditional warfare
  5. Capacity to wage cyber war needs human resources  and can reduce asymmetry between nations in terms of resources available naturally or historically (like money , access to fuel and logistics, geography , educated population,colonial history  )
  6. It is more effective in both offensive and defensive capabilities and at a much much cheaper cost to defense budgets
  7. Most developed countries have already invested heavily in it, and it can render traditional weaponry ineffective and expensive. If you ignore investing in cyber war capabilities your defense forces would be compromised and national infrastructure can be held to ransom

 

Self-defence….is the only honourable course where there is unreadiness for self-immolation.- Gandhi.

Funny Economics

Some wry observations from me  on the world on economics-

1) 150 years after humiliating their country in the Opium Wars, Chinese mandarins have somehow convinced their leaders and military to park 2 trillion assets in Anglo Saxon debt. If Greece geting a 50% discount on its loan is the new precedent, when will the USA force its lendors to the negotiation table.

2) Income inequality and protests are something the Arabs and Israelis have in common. Besides being the sons of Abraham of course. Note the Persians are not considered the same as Arabs.

3) Advance knowledge of geo-political events can and ensures Western financial dealers have an edge on the sovereign funds in the other hemisphere.  What used to be the playgrounds of Eton has now shifted to the pubs of Boston and So Cal.

4) After spending 1 trillion USD on arms in the past one decade (funded by guys in item 1), the United States military forces is in a much better more advanced position to wage simultaneous war.

5) Can a war in Korean peninsula affect war in the Persian sphere of influence. Just follow the money , baby.

6) Saudi Wahabis continue to fund terror despite losing a lot of money in the economic meltdown in past few years. For every 1 $ increase in Saudi oil revenue, western oil companies ,traders, financiers make more, much more.

7) Demographics is an important key to economics. An aging Japan, and stagnant West is one cause to shift from manpower intensive warfare to cyber warfare. Plus Cyber warfare is good business . Underpopulated Russia and Arabs continue to lack true economic potential.

8) There are new economic incentives to develop tools to disseminate as well as distort information flow in real time in a hyper connected digital world.

 

Ah! The Internet.

On the Internet I am not brown or black or white. I am Anonymous and yet myself. I am free to choose  whatever identity I wish to choose, free to drink from whatever pools of knowledge my local government wishes to forbid. The Internet does not care about how rich or poor I may be. It has ways to track exactly where I am, but it has tools to disguise that as well. On the internet the strongest government, the richest corporation and the deepest pockets can tremble before the bits and bytes of a talented and motivated hacker working from his basement in his parents house.
There are no losers on the Internet: only winners. Except for those who seek to covet and control the uncontrollable- the human desire to seek knowledge beyond the confines of whatever cave they may find themselves borne in.
There are no countries to wage war on the Internet: there is nothing to kill and die for. The Internet allowed a million writers to write and publish without the interference of brokers and intermediaries. It allowed a billion people to download a trillion songs that were locked away in some rich man’s virtual vault. It allowed a dozen countries to overthrow their dictators without wasting a billion worth of goods and treasure.

On the Internet, everyone is equal, free and true to the own nature they choose, not the fate that is chosen by corporation, country or circumstance.
Ah! The Internet- it will set you free.

Credit Downgrade of USA and Triple A Whining

As a person trained , deployed and often asked to comment on macroeconomic shenanigans- I have the following observations to make on the downgrade of US Debt by S&P

1) Credit rating is both a mathematical exercise of debt versus net worth as well as intention to repay. Given the recent deadlock in United States legislature on debt ceiling, it is natural and correct to assume that holding US debt is slightly more risky in 2011 as compared to 2001. That means if the US debt was AAA in 2001 it sure is slightly more risky in 2011.

2) Politicians are criticized the world over in democracies including India, UK and US. This is natural , healthy and enforced by checks and balances by constitution of each country. At the time of writing this, there are protests in India on corruption, in UK on economic disparities, in US on debt vs tax vs spending, Israel on inflation. It is the maturity of the media as well as average educational level of citizenry that amplifies and inflames or dampens sentiment regarding policy and business.

3) Conspicuous consumption has failed both at an environmental and economic level. Cheap debt to buy things you do not need may have made good macro economic sense as long as the things were made by people locally but that is no longer the case. Outsourcing is not all evil, but it sure is not a perfect solution to economics and competitiveness. Outsourcing is good or outsourcing is bad- well it depends.

4) In 1944 , the US took debt to fight Nazism, build atomic power and generally wage a lot of war and lots of dual use inventions. In 2004-2010 the US took debt to fight wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and bail out banks and automobile companies. Some erosion in the values represented by a free democracy has taken place, much to the delight of authoritarian regimes (who have managed to survive Google and Facebook).

5) A Double A rating is still quite a good rating. Noone is moving out of the US Treasuries- I mean seriously what are your alternative financial resources to park your government or central bank assets, euro, gold, oil, rare earth futures, metals or yen??

6) Income disparity as a trigger for social unrest in UK, France and other parts is an ominous looming threat that may lead to more action than the poor maths of S &P. It has been some time since riots occured in the United States and I believe in time series and cycles especially given the rising Gini coefficients .

Gini indices for the United States at various times, according to the US Census Bureau:[8][9][10]

  • 1929: 45.0 (estimated)
  • 1947: 37.6 (estimated)
  • 1967: 39.7 (first year reported)
  • 1968: 38.6 (lowest index reported)
  • 1970: 39.4
  • 1980: 40.3
  • 1990: 42.8
    • (Recalculations made in 1992 added a significant upward shift for later values)
  • 2000: 46.2
  • 2005: 46.9
  • 2006: 47.0 (highest index reported)
  • 2007: 46.3
  • 2008: 46.69
  • 2009: 46.8

7) Again I am slightly suspicious of an American Corporation downgrading the American Governmental debt when it failed to reconcile numbers by 2 trillion and famously managed to avoid downgrading Lehman Brothers.  What are the political affiliations of the S &P board. What are their backgrounds. Check the facts, Watson.

The Chinese government should be concerned if it is holding >1000 tonnes of Gold and >1 trillion plus of US treasuries lest we have a third opium war (as either Gold or US Treasuries will burst)

. Opium in 1850 like the US Treasuries in 2010 have no inherent value except for those addicted to them.

8   ) Ron Paul and Paul Krugman are the two extremes of economic ideology in the US.

Reminds me of the old saying- Robbing Peter to pay Paul. Both the Pauls seem equally unhappy and biased.

I have to read both WSJ and NYT to make sense of what actually is happening in the US as opinionated journalism has managed to elbow out fact based journalism. Do we need analytics in journalism education/ reporting?

9) Panic buying and selling would lead to short term arbitrage positions. People like W Buffet made more money in the crash of 2008 than people did in the boom years of 2006-7

If stocks are cheap- buy. on the dips. Acquire companies before they go for IPOs. Go buy your own stock if you are sitting on  a pile of cash. Buy some technology patents in cloud , mobile, tablet and statistical computing if you have a lot of cash and need to buy some long term assets.

10) Follow all advice above at own risk and no liability to this author ;)

 

The Mommy Track

Wage_labour

Image via Wikipedia

A new paper quantitatively analyzes the impact of child bearing on women. Summary-

Women [who score in the upper third on a standardized test] have a net 8 percent reduction in pay during the first five years after giving birth

From http://papers.nber.org/papers/w16582

Having a child lowers a woman’s lifetime earnings, but how much depends upon her skill level. In The Mommy Track Divides: The Impact of Childbearing on Wages of Women of Differing Skill Levels (NBER Working Paper No. 16582), co-authors Elizabeth Ty Wilde, Lily Batchelder, and David Ellwood estimate that having a child costs the average high skilled woman $230,000 in lost lifetime wages relative to similar women who never gave birth. By comparison, low skilled women experience a lifetime wage loss of only $49,000.

Using the 1979 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY), Wilde et. al. divided women into high, medium, and low skill categories based on their Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT) scores. The authors use these skill categories, combined with earnings, labor force participation, and family formation data, to chart the labor market progress of women before and after childbirth, from ages 14-to-21 in 1979 through 41-to-49 in 2006, this study’s final sample year.

High scoring and low scoring women differed in a number of ways. While 70-75 percent of higher scoring women work full-time all year prior to their first birth, only 55-60 percent of low scoring women do. As they age, the high scoring women enjoy steeper wage growth than low scoring women; low scoring women’s wages do not change much if they reenter the labor market after they have their first child. Five years after the first birth, about 35 percent of each group is working full-time. However, the high scoring women who are not working full-time are more likely to be working part-time than the low scoring women, who are more likely to leave the workforce entirely.

and

Men’s earning profiles are relatively unaffected by having children although men who never have children earn less on average than those who do. High scoring women who have children late also tend to earn more than high scoring childless women. Their earnings advantage occurs before they have children and narrows substantially after they become mothers.

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