Adonis Diaries

Archive for November 29th, 2008

The demise of an army


The Southern Army had no choice but to avoid the shores and crossed their worst nightmare for 60 days toward the small fishing village of Bandar Abbass. What was to be an army was no longer; it was decimated by thirst and anyone who reached Bandar Abbass was in a state of coma and total dehydration.  There are no chronicles left on that adventure; the Greek would have done a thorough Iliad.

In order for the plan to evacuate the Southern Army to succeed it was necessary to lure the fleet of his enemy that his real intention was to land in Egypt from the Red Sea.  Actually, one of the primary strategies of Artax was to recapture Egypt and press on to Babylon and thus cut trade route supplies to the usurping Monarch; but that plan was studied for future activities and the decoy plan came much too late.

As is the case in general, military defeats are turned into victory by appropriate propaganda.  Since the small and insignificant navy of Artax was no match to the navy of the Persian Empire, and since Artax could not entice the neighboring States to join him on naval expeditions against the “legitimate” Persian Empire on account of ratified trade agreements and written documents, then Artax devised an ingenious promotion victory.  The best way was to give the illusion that his intention is to discover the African continent by touring its coast and establishing commercial colonies. As part of Artax fleet advanced around the African seashore, tales of his glorious adventures to circumnavigate the African Continent spread like wild fire amid the Persian people who were getting depressed of an authority wielded by the nobility and the cast of strict priesthood. 

Khosro the Magnificent reacts


The Persian Empire was pleased that Artax took to business and exported products at reasonable prices.  Trade and traffic to and from Afghanistan were heavy and very lucrative.  The fat Persian merchants, at the sold of their respective High Priests, nobles, governors, and warlords were getting fatter in return for small favors to Artax.

The festivities having taken their regular course according to customs of the inauguration, Khosro the Magnificent had to act and show the illusion of serious activities beside perpetual fun loving behaviors.  The Magnificent Khosro wanted to play the warrior and marched to the southern desert, just the ideal place to relax and be far away from the boring multitudes.  As “Khosro the Magnificent” proceeded leisurely toward the Southern Desert his army intelligence killed his appetite: there was confirmed news that renegade soldiers of the defunct Emperor Artax were infesting the desert and that ambushes are to be expected along the way.  No problems; the Magnificent ordered his naval forces stationed in Basra and Bahrain to get moving.  The Magnificent decided to have a view of the battles from a comfortable seat on a comfortable and luxury ship.  What was simply a desert diversion for the Magnificent turned a serious hardship for the Southern Army of Artax that never contemplated any frontal assault.  Worse, the navy of the Magnificent had pirate blood and they were excited for real actions.  The pirates never wasted an occasion to land and sack and loot.

Bi-weekly report (3) on Lebanon (November 29, 2008)


The frenzied drama of reconciliations among the various factions has been shelved in a freezer: Parliamentary election preparations for May have taken off.  General Aoun and Suleiman Frangieh are claiming that Saudi Arabia is funding the election campaign for the March 14 alliance and that the funds meant for the reconstruction of homes demolished in the war of 2006 are being used to pave fresh roads in critical districts.  It is predicted that any majority will not exceed a couple of deputies and that the main hot battles would be focused on four Christian districts at most because all the remaining districts are a done deal on confessional basis.  

Samir Jahjah, not a minister and nor a deputy, has been welcomed officially in Egypt.  Now that Deputy General Aoun is being officially invited in Syria then the March 14 alliance is raising all kinds of negative comments and complaining that only government sanctioned invitations should be permitted.  The visit of Deputy Michel Aoun to Syria is being delayed so that the government recoups a few advantages before General Aoun proves to be as potent as a whole government.  General Aoun has certainly gained much wisdom since the late nineties; although he has a secular mind he knows that the Christians in Lebanon have to regain equal standing among the caste system to get any reforms activated.  Thus, he is slowly but surely being acknowledged as the leader of all the remaining Christians in the Middle East.  I am glad that he was not selected President of the Republic; he can do much good in his current position of leadership of thinking clear and pressing for reforms

President Suleiman visited Iran and the US and now he can focus on internal affairs with all their serious headaches; he proclaimed that he will not constitute an independent electoral group for this election.  Seniora PM visited Egypt; as the representative of the Hariri political/financial clan he was more interested in how to control the distribution of the gas and oil trademarked for Lebanon’s electrical power plants.  An understanding had been agreed between Egypt and the Lebanese minister of energy Barsomian before Seniora’s tampered with the deal.  Barsomian had to stop the negotiations pending better conditions. The Hariri clan wants to suck the Lebanese people dry. Lebanon is still undergoing severe electricity shortage, rationing, and outages. 

There are strong rumors that Condoleezza Rice will visit Lebanon to thank her friends for agreeing to extend the 2006 War to 33 days that resulted in the complete destruction of Lebanon’s infrastructure and over 1,500 dead and three fold that number in permanent injuries! The State prosecutor should find it a golden opportunity to round up “Rice’s friends” at the next meeting and hang them for treason. 

If the March 8 alliance wins the majority then Lebanon would be ruled by Syria.  If the March 14 alliance wins then Lebanon would be ruled by Saudi Arabia and Egypt.  In either case there would be no economic stability: if Saudi Arabia dominates our policies then Syria would make sure that Lebanon would not enjoy security, thus no economic development; if Syria dominates our policies then Saudi Arabia and the US would refrain from financial support but at least Lebanon would enjoy internal security which means hope.

At most, five ministers are working and the remaining 25 ministers claim that they have no offices or secretaries to study files and participate in the ministerial meetings.  The serious ministers are of the interior (Baroud), telecommunication (Basil), energy (Barsomian), foreign affairs (Salloukh), health (Khalifeh), and the minister without portfolio (Shamseldine) for administrative reforms.

There is in Lebanon a nitwit of a Christian religious cast called Maronite.  You give them arms and they will find any excuse to use them and initiate a civil war; if no other castes respond to their provocations then they will slaughter among themselves.  This nasty behavior has been proven through centuries.  It is like among all the laudable genes that the Maronites have two ugly resilient genes which develop much faster than the others.  One gene is utter hatred and loathing for everyone among themselves, other castes, and other regional powers (read people).  The other nasty gene is never to learn from past experiences, regardless of how hurtful these events were; it related to their fundamental superficial culture.  One fact stands out; everytime Lebanon faces military confrontation with Syria then it is the Maronite who volunteers to be on the front lines; when peace returns then it is the other castes that advance to reap the benefits and the Maronites are relegated to lick their wounds and nurse their gene of hatred, frustration, and revenge.


Note:  I am a born Maronite and I had to vent my frustration and displeasure with our state of affairs.

Priorities and revised economic models for enterprises (November 29, 2008)


Within a month of the Wall Street financial crash, major EU industries (excluding the financial, real estates, and insurance institutions) have laid off over 62, 000 jobs and the USA over 77, 000 jobs.  There is no end in the forthcoming months and the jobless rate has broken all record high.  The communication, auto, computer hardware, retail stores, airline, and chemical companies are the hardest hit so far. As the jobless rate increases then society would drift into unstable climate of insecurity in individual health and safety and retention of their properties. Without a climate of security no influx of investment can repair the long-term malaise in the slow moving society to recovery. It is a definite pattern that in any downturn the workers, elderly and new employees, are the first to be laid off.  As if it is the manpower that was the culprit and not the management.  Consequently, a revised understanding of what constitute the worst case impact on a society should be evaluated.

Economical models for the productivity of enterprises need to be revised to include the sustainability of enterprises under fluctuating and cyclical financial crisis.  The working capital should be able to remain intact for the demand cycle and the value added in manpower quality of the main industry units unaffected by the flux of capitals.  Consequently, I suggest tackling two fundamental concepts.

First, the working capital should be managed differently from the general acceptable accounting procedures to resist fluctuation in central rate and money devaluation.  It is very reasonable that the retirement funds of the manpower and the stocks purchased in the company by the manpower be within the working capital management.  The manpower should then feel highly active to evaluating and discussing how the working capital is allocated and invested. 

Second, we need to start a new field for defining added-values and how to measure it concretely instead of rationalizing it as a proxy ratio.  Added values should be measured accurately because it is intrinsically related to the quality of manpower. Added-value is what makes an industry viable economically to the workers, stakeholders, and society in general.  It would not be a piece of cake to operation value-adding parameters; otherwise I would not be suggesting a new economic field for the characterization of what we mean by value-adding economy. Every industry would have to define its value adding element such as in the service industry, hardware products, software products, chemical, car, heavy duty machineries, tourism industry, commercial banking, and financial investment banking, and so on.  Every industry has it proper cyclical market demands and its competitors, localized or multinational, dependent or not on cyclical supplies of raw materials or manpower. 

I am afraid that the first criterion that would jump to mind is for the concept of value-added economy to be represented in monetary terms, which is not the proper criterion.  Value-added economy is the investment in the manpower; for example, programs in continuing education, acquiring new skills, versatility and flexibility to fill vacancies, knowledge of the competition, the products, the tools, and the equipments.  Value-added economy is raising the quality of the manpower so that a large company would aid in subsidizing private complementary companies, from among its qualified personnel, when the tough gets going. Value-added economy is elevating the knowledge of the personnel and assisting them to find new jobs during harsh downturns.  The only monetary value or ratio associated with added value would be the expense (value added capital) invested for manpower quality relative to working capital (VAC/ WC) for raising the quality and professionalism of the manpower.  When this ratio diminishes then a company has gotten lax and is turning away from the new fundamentals.  Obviously, an independent team should be hired to prepare, control, manage, and evaluate the effective progress in manpower quality at all levels of skills. 

Quantifying the quality of workers and employees is the main task in measuring value-added industries; it is feasible and its time has finally come and it should be the optimizing factor in equations instead of rates in profit, shareholders equity, return on capital and so forth. Inevitably most of the variables used in current optimizing model of financial and economic problems would still be effective, many with significant re-definitions, but when the re-orientation is based on the added value of manpower then a new picture would emerge and standard financial analysis re-discovered. 

The quality level of the manpower can be defined as the potential added value (PAV) in time of crisis and the working added value (WAV) in normal business cycles. WAV is the criterion that stocks in the market are valuated in addition to other financial criteria; PAV would have critical significance in times of hardships, especially, if the company recorded the events when this potential was managed and directed in previous situations to overcome serious market or natural conditions. As armies conduct maneuvers to test the readiness of its effective so companies have the duty to conduct maneuvering re-organizations of potentials to test and evaluate its field readiness and re-evaluate its programs for value adding quality in manpower.  I think that the more credible and frequent the organizational maneuverings the higher the market value of the company.  The more frequent the maneuverings the more evident would be the needs for downsizing and decentralizing and retaining coherent and manageable number in work force.




November 2008

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