domingo, febrero 25, 2007

El Kibbutz se privatiza

El Kibbutz Degania, el primero, ha votado que sus miembros reciban sueldos privados.

Nearly a century after it was founded, Israel's first and most famous kibbutz has voted to give up its early socialist ideals and to privatise itself.

The changes at Degania, which was founded where the Sea of Galilee meets the river Jordan, were agreed by a vote and come after a one-year trial in which residents for the first time received private salaries.

In the past the 320 members of the kibbutz saw their salaries paid into a communal account and then received free services and an allowance based on need, usually determined by the size of their families. In future they will be paid varied salaries based on ability not need and, most importantly, they will be allowed to keep them. In return they will have to pay for services such as electricity and water and they will have to pay a progressive income tax into the kibbutz which will be used to support the least well off.



Degania-A

jueves, febrero 22, 2007

ALIANZA DE CIVILIZACIONES

Para llorar

Toda la información sobre el asunto AQUÍ

Unas risas?

Leed este intercambio de comentarios, se pone sesudo a veces pero es bastante cómico, sobretodo al final.

miércoles, febrero 21, 2007

Segolene Royal II

Johnny Munkhammar explica con detalle como las propuestas de Royal serían la puntilla del ya de por sí esclerótico mercado laboral francés.

The Socialist candidate for President of France, Ségolène Royal, recently presented her Election Manifesto with 100 proposals. It includes an increase in the minimum wage, higher taxes, more regulations in the labor market, expanded public welfare contributions, subsidised jobs for the young and nationalisation of companies. She promises to fight globalisation and free-market reform.

This is a candidate for President - who might very well win - in a country that experienced weeks of riots in its capital little more than a year ago. The current President concluded that France suffered from a profound "malaise." In short, they have many great economic problems, which they share with several countries in Western Europe. And Ms Royal promises not only to protect the current model, but also to do more of the same.

It is true that unemployment is down a bit in the EU, and in the euro area, at the moment. At 7.5 per cent, it is the lowest in a long time.

That said, these employment figures would be worrisome in other western countries, such as the United States. And the figures for unemployment don't show the whole picture. There are at least as many people of working age as the formally unemployed that don't work, but they are called something else, like early retired. The total number of people who are excluded is very high, and they are so for a long time. This is especially true for young workers and immigrants.

What's more, a comparison between the more free-market US, and the EU, is revealing. The share of the working-age population employed in EU countries is only 64 per cent; in the US, it is 72 per cent. In 2004, only 13 percent of unemployed workers in the US were unable to find a new job within 12 months; in the EU, the figure was 44 percent. In the EU, average youth unemployment is 17 percent. In the US, it is 10 percent.

And some of the most interesting comparisons can be made within Europe itself. Youth unemployment is above 20 percent in Greece, Italy, Sweden, France, Belgium, and Finland; but it is below 8 percent in Ireland, the Netherlands, and Denmark.

In the EU's 15 member states, between 1995 and 2004, the change in employment rates was also very different among countries. In Ireland, the Netherlands, and Spain, the increase in employment was the highest; in Germany and Austria, it was almost zero.

What yielded these differences? Labor markets are substantially freer in the countries that succeeded in creating new jobs. Payroll and income taxes were more than 10 percentage points lower in the five best economies (in terms of job creation) compared to the five worst. And the levels of contribution from the state for unemployment and sick leave were lower in the best economies.

This should not be a surprise. In recent years, the OECD has published a number of studies that confirm these correlations in its member countries. Government interventions in the labor market produce serious negative effects in terms of unemployment, especially among young people and immigrants. There are numerous academic studies that confirm this.

In the newly published "2007 Index of Economic Freedom" (Heritage/Wall Street Journal), there is a new category called Labor Freedom. It measures the degree of a number of regulations in the labor market on a scale from 1 to 100, and the 41 European countries score between 45.4 and 99.9. The differences are substantial. Countries with a high score, and a relatively free labor market, tend to be more successful in terms of employment.

Combined with the other factors of economic freedom, the correlation is even stronger. The freer a country's economy is, the wealthier it is - and unemployment is lower. When Ms. Royal gambles with populist policies that do in the opposite direction, she is playing with fire - literally.

Johnny Munkhammar is Program Director of Timbro in Sweden. He is the author of "The Urgent Need for Labor Freedom in Europe - and the World" in the "2007 Index of Economic Freedom."

martes, febrero 20, 2007

MINE YOUR OWN BUSINESS II

La ví y no defraudó.

Dió la oportunidad de hablar a aquellos en defensa de los cuales protestan los "ecologistas":

"I think the people who are against the mine, the project, they are rich people. They have money. They don't need a job. They don't need a job to live. They are not here like us. They are living there and they have a job, they have a house, they have anything. I know is beautiful here, but we can't live with that. We have to eat. We have need jobs and we have to work. We can't just live looking at the beautiful places here. It's not—it's not living like that."

Y dió la oportunidad de ver a los "ecologistas" sincerándose:

"In Madagascar, the indicators of quality of life are not housing. They're not nutrition, specifically. They're not health in a lot of cases. It's not education. A lot of children in Fort Dauphin do not go to school because the parents don't consider that to be important… People are economically disadvantaged, people have no jobs, but if I could put you with a family and you could count how many times in a day that that family smiles…then you tell me who is rich and who is poor"

Más aquí.

Y bastó eso para que los sandías que llenaban el patio de butacas rechinaran dientes.

Después de la proyección los dos peridistas responsables de la película,
Phelim McAleer y Ann McElhinney, respondieron preguntas del público y estuvieron sensacionales ya que todos los ataques hacían aguas por todas partes y eran fácilmente contestados.

La crítica iba porque no habían mostrado a los "ecologistas" buenos. ¿Ecologistas buenos? Ellos dieron la oportunidad de hablar a la gente de hecho más senior del lado anti explotaciones mineras, el problema es que el lado eco-pijo se mostró sin tapujos y se retrató como lo que es, una panda de impresentables.

También se dijo que era una película en la que se defendía sin ambajes un punto de vista, que si todo era blanco o negro y no había grises...vamos la misma crítica que le harían a Al Gore y su documental, seguro.
El problema es que no defendía ningún punto de vista de salida, simplemente dió la oportunidad de hablar a la gente directamente afectada y estos veían las cosas de manera totalmente opuesta a la de los eco-pijos occidentales, ni más ni menos. A partir de ahí las conclusiones caían por su propio peso.

También fue gracioso cuando se pusieron a criticar la minería y que dicha actividad realmente no trae ningún beneficio a las comunidades donde se realiza...vamos lo mismito que piensan cuando lo que ven es una película mostrando la lucha de los mineros británicos contra la decisión de Thatcher de dejar de subsidiar el carbón.
Con lo mala que es la minería y los mineros británicos lo dieron todo para mantener los pozos abiertos...no se enteraban, supongo.

Por lo demás NADIE pudo poner encima de la mesa NINGUNA mentira o manipulación contenida en la película.

Así que debemos concluir que lo que pasa es que la verdad les jode, por eso según el director diversas organizaciones ecologistas intentaron prohibir la cinta. Estas películas joden a los ecologistas porque les dicen a la cara que están equivocados y que el disfraz de salvadores de la tierra que tanto placer les produce llevar es como el traje del Emperador.

Por eso una y otra vez quedan con el culo al aire.

lunes, febrero 19, 2007

Me troncho

Segolene Royal

I've never seen you looking so lovely as you did tonight
I've never seen you shine so bright
I've never seen so many men ask you if you wanted to dance
They're looking for a little romance, given half a chance
I have never seen that dress you're wearing

Y tampoco se la había visto tan roja como hasta ahora. Las pasadas Navidades me hicieron un regalo magnífico, una suscripción de un año al The Economist. Bueno, por él me he enterado del programa electoral de Segolene Royal (Candidata socialista francesa a la Presidencia de la República) y es que da MIEDO.

Yet the 100 detailed policies that Ms Royal unveiled to steer France down this soft-focus path amounted, in the main, to a long wishlist of spending pledges, with little explanation as to how any of them would be paid for. Thus she promised to increase the minimum wage to €1,500 ($1,950) a month, to introduce interest-free loans worth €10,000 for every 18-year-old, to push up unemployment benefits to 90% of previous salary, to raise the lowest pensions by 5%, to renationalise and merge Electricité de France and Gaz de France, to penalise firms that pay dividends rather than reinvest profits, to boost public R&D spending by 10% a year, to cut class sizes in poor areas and much else.

En el fondo los franceses me gustan, por eso no puedo entender esa obsesión suya con autodestruirse.

Este programa electoral digno de Los Picapiedra, no hará sinó seguir hundiendo a Francia en la "malaise" que arrastra.

En los ghettos el paro juvenil llega al 40%, el 23% a nivel estatal, sin embargo Segolene propone subir el salario mínimo. La consecuencia será aún más paro, y ese sí que es un salario mínimo de verdad. Paro = Salario de O Euros.

Beneficios por desempleo de hasta el 90% del salario previo, con lo cual el incentivo para vivir del paro en lugar de salir a buscar trabajo serán enormes. Lo cual acabará finalmente de desquiciar el mercado laboral francés.

Nacionalizar empresas, es decir volver atrás, a la época de los mastodontes ineficientes e ineficaces, al servicio de los intereses partidistas de turno.

Penalizar fiscalmente a las empresas que den dividendos en lugar de reinvertir todos los beneficios...no vaya a ser que alguien decida montar una empresa para ganar dinero, supongo.

Y finalmente subir las pensiones, cuando resulta que la deuda de las cuentas públicas es de más del 60% del PIB y sus otras medidas crearán paro y contracción de la actividad económica. Por supuesto promete hacerlo sin subir los impuestos.

¡MADRE MÍA!

Que Dios los pille confesados.

miércoles, febrero 14, 2007

MINE YOUR OWN BUSINESS

Este domingo dentro del Jameson Dublin International Film Festival voy a ver Mine your own Business . En ella se muestra como los eco pijos ricos de los países desarrollados, con sus campañas y sus obsesiones, sólo consiguen que los pobres de los países subdesarrollados sigan siendo pobres.

¡Todo además en nombre de su bienestar!

Sin duda merece ser vista.






martes, febrero 13, 2007

CAMBIO CLIMÁTICO

En respuesta a mi gran amigo Pau, estaba recopilando una serie de artículos que cuestionan la histeria colectiva desatada sobre el llamado Cambio Climático (ese negocio que se ha montado Al Gore para seguir figurando) pero veo que mi admirado Xavier Sala-i-Martín está preparando una serie de artículos al respecto.

Los tres primeros ya están listos:

Una verdad incómoda


El consenso

A la vuelta de la esquina

Y dos más en la cocina.

Cuando acabe él, ya seguiré yo, salvando las distancias.

lunes, febrero 12, 2007

PENSIONES Y EL PAIS

Hasta El País se hace ya eco de que el sistema actual de pensiones hace aguas por todos lados.

Nada que no hayamos dicho ya aquí hasta la saciedad.

A ver si así nos enteramos todos de una vez.

Os aconsejo que vayais ahorrando por vuestra cuenta.

miércoles, febrero 07, 2007

300

La película más IMPRESIONANTE del año llegará en septiembre.

300

A partir del comic de Frank Miller sobre los 300 espartanos que plantaron cara al ejército persa en el paso de las Termópilas en el 480 AC.




Sencillamente acojonante.


lunes, febrero 05, 2007

IRLANDA

And so it is
Just like you said it would be

Life goes easy on me

Most of the time

And so it is

The shorter story

No love, no glory

No hero in her sky


Y así sigue la vida en Dublín. Es interesante estar en este país. Un país tradicionalmente pobre, en el que la gente hace menos de 200 años se moría literalmente de hambre y tenía que emigrar para salir adelante.

Hoy ese país es el segundo más rico de Europa y hogar de miles de emigrantes como el menda.

¿La receta? Muy simple


Ireland, 1950s, a decade of economic stagnation, high unemployment and mass emigration. The situation was not going to improve much more over the next 30 years. Low economic growth, wrong fiscal policies, protectionism, and sometimes corrupt governments had widened the gap between Ireland and every other economy in western Europe. By the mid 1980s Ireland was experiencing a 19.6% high unemployment, the Irish had the highest debt per head in the world, and the nation's GDP per capita was only 63% of their neighbours, the United Kingdom. The Irish were then known as the beggars of Europe. This situation changed dramatically during the 1990s when Ireland achieved a remarkable rate of economic growth: from 1990 to 1995 Ireland's economy grew at an average rate of 5.14% per year, and from 1996 through 2000 it increased at at an average rate of 9.66%. By the end of the decade, unemployment went down to a 4.5% and the nation's GDP per capita stood at $25,500, higher than both the United Kingdom at $22,300, and Europe's Powerhouse Germany at $23,500. During a little over a decade, Ireland was transformed from one of the poorest countries in Europe to one of the EU's richest countries. Ireland's 1990s and 2000s economic boom is generally referred to as "The Celtic Tiger". The Celtic Tiger term is an analogy to the name "East Asian Tigers" that was applied to Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong during their period of rapid economic growth between the 1980s and 1990s.

How did that happen? 10 root causes of The Celtic Tiger

The Celtic Tiger has been explained through many factors: low corporate taxes, low wages, US economic boom, foreign investment, stable national economy, a
dequate budget policies, EU membership, and EU subsidies. Economists are still debating about the relative importance of each of those factors. The debate about the causes of the Celtic Tiger is open and will probably last for decades. However, the fact is that all those factors have interacted, to one extent or another, to produce Ireland’s exceptional economic performance:


Foreign Investment and EU Single Market

European Union membership and the benefits of the EU's Single Market was key to Ireland's ability to attract foreign direct investment. Many North American high profile companies such as Dell, Intel and Gateway were convinced by the Irish Development Authority (IDA) and other government organisations to locate in Ireland because of its EU membership, low tax rates, government grants, and well educated, English-speaking work force. Many leading US companies now use Ireland as a platform from which to operate in the European market. The rapid growth in the US during the 1990s together with the resurgence in EU trade was undoubtedly a major contributor to Ireland’s success. In 2003, overseas companies accounted for 51% of Ireland's exports and generated more than €14 billion of expenditure in the economy, directly employing nearly 140,000 people.

Deregulation and Competition

In 1999 the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) rated Ireland in the top three countries in terms of economic openness. Ireland's little government intervention in business compared to most EU members proved decisive in attra
cting foreign investment. Furthermore, the introduction of competition policy was a major stimulant in the services sector -the building of the International Financial Services Centre in Dublin led to the creation of 14,000 high-value jobs in the accounting, legal and financial management sectors. The liberalisation of public utilities and transport, as promoted by the EU, made airfares to Ireland fell and boost tourism.


Fiscal Policy

There is general agreement among economists that the reason for Ir
eland's economic miracle was its low rate of corporation tax, among the lowest in the EU. However, many argue as well that the timing suggests that Ireland’s status as a low tax economy is a product of the Celtic Tiger, not its cause. In any case, lower taxes together with macroeconomic and budget stability resulted into a high level of investor confidence and therefore high private sector activity.

The Social Partnership

The famous Irish Social Partnership has been dubbed many times An
Irish solution for an Irish problem, although it is largely based in the social consensus model of the Nordic countries and Austria. The first Social Partnership was established in 1987 as an agreed multi-annual programme among the social partners to facilitate the difficult financial decisions made at that time to put the economy back on track. In those cases the trade unions made a commitment to wage moderation in return for a govenment’s commitment to the welfare state. The two key elements were wage moderation in return for income tax cuts and ongoing participation in economic decision-making through social partnership committees. Wage moderation in the heavily unionised public sector was a boom to the public finances, ensuring macroeconomic and labour force stability.

Human capital: Education

No country can attract long-term foreign direct investment without a well educated and skilled workforce. Irelan
d invested important financial and human resources in education since the 1960s with the introduction of free secondary education and grants for third level education. By the 1990s the Irish workforce was amongst the best educated in Europe. And they all could communicate efficiently in English. Not only had Ireland a supply of well qualified entrants to the labour market, many of those who emigrated in the 1980s were to return back to Ireland during the boom. Highly-skilled, experienced, and with extensive networks gained abroad they helped drive the massive increases in productivity through the 1990s.

EU Structural and Cohesion Funds

Between 1973 and 2001 Ireland paid €10 billion to the EU budget and received more than €43 billion from it. The EU Structural Funds have been vital to Ireland’s development through investment in transport infrastructures, education, training and industry. However, subsidies alone are not the cause of economic development in Ireland, and many argue that EU funds may actually contribute to retard growth in another way as well. In any case, none of the other poor countries in the EU which also receive subsidies have achieved anywhere near the rate of growth the Irish economy experienced (Portugal averaged 2.6% GDP growth, Spain averaged 2.5% and Greece averaged only 2.2% growth from 1990-2000).



Small is Beautiful

Most of the richest and best performing European economies are relatively small: Luxembourg, Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, Andorra... An increase in a small share of a large n
umber can make a huge difference to a small country. It is also easier to achieve good governance and social consensus in a small country than in a large one.

Peace and stability

Though rarely mentioned, the peace process in Northern Ireland and the Good Friday Agreement of 1998 gave Ireland a better image abroad and established Ireland's image as having a stable operating environment. It also transformed the political environment, enabling the government of the Republic to shift focus from security to economic development.


Good governance

Over the past two decades hundreds of overseas companies have located their European trading headquarters in the Republic of Ireland. That required a pro-active national government making long-term strategic decisions. The Irish government has had a consistently positive and active approach to the development of business, investing in human capital and pursuing a policy of attracting foreign direct investment. This
approach has ensured the ready availability of world class support services - from banking and finance to telecommunications and logistics. Low corporation tax and the excellent marketing of Ireland as an investment location by the IDA have proved equally significant.

Globalisation works for Ireland

Long before the Celtic Tiger the Irish were a truly globalised population. Ireland was until recently a nation of emigrants. There are as many as three million Irish citizens living outside of Ireland and it is said that up to 70 million people throughout the world can claim Irish descent. In the USA alone 40 million people claim Irish ancestry.
Ireland is a small but very open economy. Decades of state protectionism and successive economic failure lead to the situation where now the Irish are one of the most globalised
economies on the planet. Where Irish people once left to work in other countries, in foreign firms, now those firms have located in Ireland. For the first time in modern Irish history, the Irish now have the choice to stay. It is the story of how a small country harnessed economic globalisation for the benefit of its own people, to improve the welfare state and turn economic disaster into outstanding success.
Social and economic consequences of the Celtic Tiger

Some may say that the Celtic Tiger’s main achievement was
catching up with the rest of the European countries. That is simply not true, for Ireland has actually overtaken the rest of the European countries. This may well be actually a Celtic thing, being over-critical of ourselves and playing everyone down. The achievements of the Celtic Tiger have been indeed notable. The Irish are now wealthier than ever and it is not unusual anymore to see a party of Irish skiers in Switzerland. But most importantly, Ireland's historic trend of emigration was stopped and as a result the Irish can now choose to stay and live -well- in their own country. The Celtic Tiger has led to a new era of national self-confidence. Gone is the Irish inferiority complex and the sense of victimhood that plagued Irish society for decades. Of course, there is yet much more to do: improving the national health service, the road network, controlling the real estate bubble, the rising crime and violence among youths, accepting new demographics and multiculturalism, and so on. There will always be many challenges and threats ahead. No First-World society is completely trouble-free. However, when I look back to the last two centuries of Irish history, I can only say, quoting former Irish Ambassador to Britain Ted Barrington "I'm happy that the old Ireland is gone".



© Anjo Abelaira, December 2004
Anjo Abelaira is a freelance consultant specialising in project management. He was born in Galicia and has lived and worked in Ireland and Scotland. He is currently based in Brussels.