Adonis Diaries

Archive for the ‘economy/finance’ Category

Palestinians demand an independent State in Palestine: Cannot buy the alternative

The Trump administration has been working hard to establish Israel as the only viable State in the Middle-East to dialogue with. A few Gulf Emirate States have been coaxed to sign a dubious “peace treaty” with Israel, like Abu Dhabi and Bahrain.

The funny part is that the representatives of these 2 semi-States behaved as totally ignorant on what they are signing with Trump.

Egypt and Jordan had signed a treaty in 1974-75 which resulted in countless wars and civil wars in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq.

‘NYT’ coverage of Trump peace plan news quotes 5 pro-Israel voices, 0 Palestinians

Media Analysis

 on 

The New York Times covers phase one of the Trump peace plan, an economic “workshop” in Bahrain next month at which the administration is expected to dangle the money it wants to give Palestinians and states neighboring Israel, so that Palestinians will sacrifice their political demands/rights (among them sovereignty on ’67 borders; return of refugees; shared Jerusalem)– a figure said to be $68 billion.

The article quotes No Palestinians. (No Palestinian business person will attend this faked “workshop”)

It does include quotes from Aaron David Miller, Jared Kushner, Robert Satloff, Treasury’s Steve Mnuchin, and Brookings pundit Tamara Cofman Wittes. Five (Jewish) Americans, all five of them strong supporters of Israel. (Mnuchin’s background is here.)

Satloff, Wittes, and Miller are all presented as “critics” of the plan, but they are all Zionist critics of the plan. Just different shades of Zionist.(No, not shade. Stauncher Zionists than most Israelis)

Why? This is racism in journalism before your eyes.

The Times clearly has a structural bias against Palestinians. (As all colonial powers’ administrations in the last century)

Even as it demonstrates its higher consciousness in other left zones, the newspaper is stuck in the old paradigm on Israel.

How else could a newspaper publish four justifications of the killings of nonviolent protesters inside of a few months, as it did last year in Gaza?

This would never happen in any other context when a government opens fire on demonstrators.

But the Times columnists offered those justifications, in Shmuel Rosner’s case almost a bloodthirsty one, and there was no balance, let alone criticism from the Roger Cohens, David Brookses, and Michelle Goldbergs of the world.

Palestinians simply don’t count as full human actors.

The Palestinian Prime Minister released a statement rejecting the economic summit today.

He and his cabinet surely were available yesterday. So was Sam Bahour, who writes that Palestine cannot have an economic future without an independent political future, in which construction workers and university graduates will be able to find employment inside a Palestinian state.

Diana Buttu, Saeb Erekat, Hanan Ashrawi (who has been denied a visa to travel to the U.S.), Omar Barghouti, Mustafa Barghouti, Haider Eid surely would have spoken to the Times, too.

Palestine is truly teeming with sophisticated political actors on a wide range who would have something to say about the implausibility of economic peace.

And if the Times says this was an American politics piece, well, there are Palestinians here, too, who have a lot to say.

The bottom line is obvious and disturbing. Palestinians aren’t equals.

“Contracting out low-paid mercenaries hurts our reputation…”: Congress on US military operations

Posted in 2012

Yoweri Museveni is Uganda dictator for over 20 years: He mortgaged his citizens and soldiers to serve as low-paid mercenaries in the US Iraq invasion.

Over 20,000 Ugandan mercenary soldiers (called Kyeyo) were paid less than $300 per month in 2009 in order to be at the beck of US security services organizations such as Torres, DynCorp, Triple Canopy, Sabre, and Special Operations Consulting (SOC).

The White mercenaries from South Africa, Israel, England, France, Serbia…are paid about $10,000 per month, not including side benefits.

The mercenaries from the Third Countries Nationals (TCN) have to submit to the arbitrary, indignities at work, humiliating kinds of jobs, and bad treatments at all levels.

For example, the TCN mercenaries need winter gloves, and receive them during the hot season. They need masks for the frequent malefic and infection leaden sandstorms, and the TCN have to cope bare-faced and get aspirin for infections of the nasal and throat diseases…

The TCN wait months before they are issued Chinese second-hand outfits…

The TCN are not paid for the months of training: They are simply fed…

TCN are allowed vacations after a year, but even these unpaid vacation days, are postponed indefinitely

The kyeyo is paid $300 per month, but the security company is paid $1,700 per head and per month by the Federal government…

And the Ugandan recruiting company is paid $200 per head dispatched in Iraq or Afghanistan

In 2008, the US forces in Iraq was composed of about 150,000 regular soldiers and 70,000 mercenaries TCN (mostly from Uganda, sub-Sahara States, and the sub-Indian continent who can comprehend English).

In 2009, the two components were about equal in numbers: 47,000 regular to 40,000 TCN mercenaries, and this is why the pay dropped from an initial of one thousand to $300 per month, and from ingenious tactics executed by the hiring local companies in Uganda, such as Askar and Dreshak International.

For example, the Ugandan applicant receives two months of “military training” for free and are simply fed.

After the training period, the applicant is sent home to wait for the call. The applicant thinks the call is coming in any day now, and he is spending all his savings, selling his furniture…

Three months later, he is summoned to come and  sign a 22-page contract…in just 15 minutes to read and agree on whatever this mass of “legal” paperwork means…and not even accepted by the US legal system in the US

The applicant has no choice but to sign and be shipped to Iraq, and later to Afghanistan…

The recruiting company Ashkar is owned by Kellen Kayonga, sister-in-law of General Salim Saleh (a brother of the dictator).

In 2005, Ashkar was recruiting demobilized Ugandan soldiers for the US SOC, a security organization founded in Nevada by two veteran US military officers. The two recruiting companies are expanding their business and opening branches in Afghanistan…

The TCN are necessary for basic maintenance tasks, such as cooking, cleaning, washing, laundry, food serving, health care for the injured…

The TCN maintain 25 US military bases, and the most famous of all Camp Liberty, close to Baghdad and counting about 100,000 military personnel.

The TCN constitute 60% of the effectives in Camp Liberty. The TCN are the “Invisible Army” as Sarah Stillman labelled them in an article to The New Yorker (June 6, 2011)

What’s the story?

In 2003, Uganda had managed to disengage from the civil wars plaguing East Africa. The civil war in Sudan was “technically” ending for Uganda. In the east, the civil war of the Great Lakes is officially terminated, and the internal uprising by the Lord Resistance Army was quelled…

Dictator Museveni has to demobilize a big army and has no idea how to win their peace.  Museveni rallied with Bush Jr. preemptive war in Iraq and arranged to ship the surplus demobilized soldiers oversea…

All these security corporations are paid by the Pentagon, and the mercenaries receive no health care or any benefits after the end of the term of their service…

Most of them are shipped back to their country of origin when they fall very sick, handicapped…and their medical records destroyed so that the insurance companies such as AIG won’t have to pay no health care benefits or medicines…

US lawyer Tara K. Coughlin, engaged by an US Christian association for helping US soldiers in Iraq, discovered the horrifying conditions or the cases of the Ugandan mercenaries serving in Iraq.

The Multinational insurance corporation AIG hired Tangier International to discredit “repatriated” Ugandan who insist on receiving compensations, and illegally sending them to visit physicians at Tangier sold…

The independent  commission on contracts signed during the Iraq war presented its report to Congress in August 2011. The report states: “The crimes and wrongdoing committed by the security corporations that contracted out “mercenaries” blemish the reputation of the US overseas…”

The US military is “officially” out of Iraq, but 16,000 are employed at the US embassy and four consulates. And who is maintaining and “securing” the US personnel? Over 5,500 Ugandan mercenaries were hired.

The pentagon is spending 10 billion on 8 US private  security companies. Among them Triple Canopy and SOC (that will receive 973 million for providing static security in a 5-year term)

Note: Post inspired from a lengthy report by Alain Vicky to the French monthly Le Monde Diplomatique (May, 2012). The title is: “African mercenaries for US wars

This myth that mystify: East vs. West?  Even Better, South vs. North

Depending on the context, depending on the outcome, choose your paradigm.

Both paradigms ( only one life or cyclical lives) are human constructions. 

They are cultural creations, not natural phenomena.

To understand the business of mythology and what a Chief Belief Officer is supposed to do, you have to hear a story of Ganesha, the elephant-headed god who is the scribe of storytellers, and his brother, the athletic warlord of the gods, Kartikeya.

The two brothers one day decided to go on a race, three times around the world. Kartikeya leapt on his peacock and flew around the continents and the mountains and the oceans. He went around once, he went around twice, he went around thrice.

But his brother, Ganesha, simply walked around his parents once, twice, thrice, and said, “I won.”

“How come?” said Kartikeya. And Ganesha said, “You went around ‘the world.’ I went around ‘my world.’”

What matters more?

Devdutt Pattanaik looks at business and modern life through the lens of mythology.
When he was Chief Belief Officer, he helped managers harness the power of myth to understand their employees, their companies and their customers.

He’s working to create a Retail Religion, to build deep, lasting ties between customers and brands.
 — the myths that mystify. ted.com|By Devdutt Pattanaik

If you understand the difference between ‘the world’ and ‘my world,’ you understand the difference between logos and mythos.

The world’ is objective, logical, universal, factual, scientific.  ‘The world’ tells us how the world functions, how the sun rises, how we are born.

My world’ is subjective. It’s emotional. It’s personal. It’s perceptions, thoughts, feelings, dreams. It is the belief system that we carry. It’s the myth that we live in. ‘My world’ tells us why the sun rises, why we were born. 

Every culture is trying to understand itself: Why do we exist?” And every culture comes up with its own understanding of life, its own customized version of mythology.

Culture is a reaction to nature, and this understanding of our ancestors is transmitted generation from generation in the form of stories, symbols and rituals, which are always indifferent to rationality.

When you study nature, you realize that different people of the world have a different understanding of the world. Different people see things differently — different viewpoints.

There is my world and there is your world, and my world is always better than your world, because my world, you see, is rational and yours is superstition. Yours is faith. Yours is illogical. This is the root of the clash of civilizations.

It took place in 326 B.C. on the banks of a river called the Indus, now in Pakistan. This river lends itself to India’s name. India. Indus.

Alexander, a young Macedonian, met there what he called a “gymnosophist,” which means “the naked, wise man.” We don’t know who he was. Perhaps he was a Jain monk, like Bahubali over here, the Gomateshwara Bahubali whose image is not far from Mysore. Or perhaps he was just a yogi who was sitting on a rock, staring at the sky and the sun and the moon.

Alexander asked, “What are you doing?” and the gymnosophist answered, “I’m experiencing nothingness.” Then the gymnosophist asked, “What are you doing?” and Alexander said, “I am conquering the world.”

And they both laughed. 

Each one thought that the other was a fool. The gymnosophist said, “Why is he conquering the world? It’s pointless.” And Alexander thought, “Why is he sitting around, doing nothing? What a waste of a life.”

To understand this difference in viewpoints, we have to understand the subjective truth of Alexander his myth, and the mythology that constructed it. 

Alexander’s mother, his parents, his teacher Aristotle told him the story of Homer’s “Iliad.” They told him of a great hero called Achilles, who, when he participated in battle, victory was assured, but when he withdrew from the battle, defeat was inevitable. 

“Achilles was a man who could shape history, a man of destiny, and this is what you should be, Alexander.” That’s what he heard.

 “What should you Not be? You should not be Sisyphus, who rolls a rock up a mountain all day only to find the boulder rolled down at night. Don’t live a life which is monotonous, mediocre, meaningless. Be spectacular! — like the Greek heroes, like Jason, who went across the sea with the Argonauts and fetched the Golden Fleece.

Be spectacular like Theseus, who entered the labyrinth and killed the bull-headed Minotaur. 

When you play in a race, win! — because when you win, the exhilaration of victory is the closest you will come to the ambrosia of the gods.”

The Greeks believed you live only once, and when you die, you have to cross the River Styx. And if you have lived an extraordinary life, you will be welcomed to Elysium, or what the French call “Champs-Élysées”, the heaven of the heroes.

But these are not the stories that the gymnosophist heard. He heard a very different story. 

He heard of a man called Bharat, after whom India is called Bhārata. Bharat also conquered the world. And then he went to the top-most peak of the greatest mountain of the center of the world called Meru. And he wanted to hoist his flag to say, I was here first.”

When he reached the mountain peak, he found the peak covered with countless flags of world-conquerors before him, each one claiming “‘I was here first’ … that’s what I thought until I came here.” And suddenly, in this canvas of infinity, Bharat felt insignificant. This was the mythology of the gymnosophist.

Bharat had heroes, like Ram — Raghupati Ram and Krishna, Govinda Hari. But they were not two characters on two different adventures. They were two lifetimes of the same hero.

When the Ramayana ends the Mahabharata begins. When Ram dies, Krishna is born. When Krishna dies, eventually he will be back as Ram.

The Indians also had a river that separates the land of the living from the land of the dead. But you don’t cross it once. You go to and fro endlessly. It was called the Vaitarani. You go again and again and again.

Nothing lasts forever in India, not even death. 

And so, you have these grand rituals where great images of mother goddesses are built and worshiped for 10 days … And what do you do at the end of 10 days? You dunk it in the river. Because it has to end. And next year, she will come back.

What goes around always comes around, and this rule applies not just to man, but also the gods. (But at a lesser energy and power? Like entropy?)

Even the gods have to come back again and again as Ram, as Krishna. Not only do they live infinite lives, but the same life is lived infinite times till you get to the point of it all. “Groundhog Day.” (Laughter)

Two different mythologies. Which is right? Two different mythologies, two different ways of looking at the world.

One linear, one cyclical. One believes this is the one and only life. The other believes this is one of many lives.

The denominator of Alexander’s life was one. So, the value of his life was the sum total of his achievements. 

The denominator of the gymnosophist life was infinity. So, no matter what he did, it was always zero. 

And I believe it is this mythological paradigm that inspired Indian mathematicians to discover the number zero. Who knows?

That brings us to the mythology of business.

If Alexander’s belief influenced his behavior, if the gymnosophist belief influences his behavior, then it was bound to influence the business they were in. 

What is business but the result of how the market behaves and how the organization behaves?

And if you look at cultures around the world, all you have to do is understand the mythology and you will see how they behave and how they do business.

Take a look. If you live only once, in one-life cultures around the world, you will see an obsession with binary logic, absolute truth, standardization, absoluteness, linear patterns in design.

But if you look at cultures which have cyclical and based on infinite lives, you will see a comfort with fuzzy logic, with opinion, with contextual thinking, with everything is relative, sort of mostly. (And what is the mythology of the Chinese? Are they bound to conquer the world as the US evangelists has been doing?)

You look at art. Look at the ballerina, how linear she is in her performance. And then look at the Indian classical dancer, the Kuchipudi dancer, the Bharatanatyam dancer, curvaceous. (Laughter)

And then look at business. Standard business model: vision, mission, values, processes. Sounds very much like the journey through the wilderness to the promised land, with the commandments held by the leader. And if you comply, you will go to heaven.

In India there is no “the promised land”. There are many promised lands, depending on your station in society, depending on your stage of life. You see, businesses are not run as institutions, by the idiosyncrasies of individuals. It’s always about taste. It’s always about my taste. (Is it still true in capitalist India?) 

Indian music, for example, does not have the concept of harmony. There is no orchestra conductor. There is one performer standing there, and everybody follows. 

And you can never replicate that performance twice. It is not about documentation and contract. It’s about conversation and faith. 

It’s not about compliance. It’s about setting, getting the job done, by bending or breaking the rules — just look at your Indian people around here, you’ll see them smile; they know what it is. (Laughter) And then look at people who have done business in India, you’ll see the exasperation on their faces.

This is what India is today.

The ground reality is based on a cyclical worldview. So, it’s rapidly changing, highly diverse, chaotic, ambiguous, unpredictable. And people are okay with it. 

And then globalization is taking place. The demands of modern institutional thinking is coming in. Which is rooted in one-life culture. And a clash is going to take place, like on the banks of the Indus. It is bound to happen.

I have personally experienced it.

I’m trained as a medical doctor. I did not want to study surgery. Don’t ask me why. I love mythology too much. I wanted to learn mythology. But there is nowhere you can study. So, I had to teach it to myself. And mythology does not pay, well, until now.

I had to take up a job. And I worked in the pharma industry. And I worked in the healthcare industry. And I worked as a marketing guy, and a sales guy, and a knowledge guy, and a content guy, and a training guy. 

I even was a business consultant, doing strategies and tactics. And I would see the exasperation between my American and European colleagues, when they were dealing with India.

Example: Please tell us the process to invoice hospitals. Step A. Step B. Step C. Mostly. (Laughter) How do you parameterize “mostly”? How do you put it in a nice little software? You can’t.

I would give my viewpoints to people. But nobody was interested in listening to it, you see, until I met Kishore Biyani of the Future group. he has established the largest retail chain, called Big Bazaar.

And there are more than 200 formats, across 50 cities and towns of India. 

And he was dealing with diverse and dynamic markets. And he knew very intuitively, that best practices, developed in Japan and China and Europe and America will not work in India.

 He knew that institutional thinking doesn’t work in India. Individual thinking does. He had an intuitive understanding of the mythic structure of India.

So, he had asked me to be the Chief Belief Officer, and said, “All I want to do is align belief.” 

Sounds so simple. But belief is not measurable. You can’t measure it. You can’t manage it. So, how do you construct belief? How do you enhance the sensitivity of people to Indian-ness. Even if you are Indian, it is not very explicit, it is not very obvious.

I tried to work on the standard model of culture, which is, develop stories, symbols and rituals. And I will share one of the rituals with you.  it is based on the Hindu ritual of Darshan.

Hindus don’t have the concept of commandments. 

So, there is nothing right or wrong in what you do in life. (And the judicial system?)

So, you’re not really sure how you stand in front of God. when you go to the temple, all you seek is an audience with God. You want to see God. And you want God to see you, and hence the gods have very large eyes, large unblinking eyes, sometimes made of silver, so they look at you.

Because you don’t know whether you’re right or wrong, and so all you seek is divine empathy. “Just know where I came from, why I did the Jugaad.” (Laughter) “Why did I do the setting, why I don’t care for the processes. Just understand me, please.”

Based on this, we created a ritual for leaders. 

After a leader completes his training and is about to take over the store, we blindfold him, we surround him with the stakeholders, the customer, his family, his team, his boss. You read out his KRA, his KPI, you give him the keys, and then you remove the blindfold.

And invariably, you see a tear, because the penny has dropped. He realizes that to succeed, he does not have to be a “professional,” he does not have to cut out his emotions, he has to include all these people in his world to succeed, to make them happy, to make the boss happy, to make everyone happy.

The customer is happy, because the customer is God.

That sensitivity is what we need. Once this belief enters, behavior will happen, business will happen. And it has. 

So, then we come back to Alexander and to the gymnosophist. And everybody asks me, “Which is the better way, this way or that way?”

And it’s a very dangerous question, because it leads you to the path of fundamentalism and violence. So, I will not answer the question. What I will give you is an Indian answer, the Indian head-shake.

Depending on the context, depending on the outcome, choose your paradigm.

And so the next time you meet someone, a stranger, one request: Understand that you live in the subjective truth, and so does he. Understand it. 

And when you understand it you will discover something spectacular. You will discover that within infinite myths lies the eternal truth. 

Who sees it all? Varuna has but a thousand eyes. Indra, a hundred. You and I, only two. Thank you. Namaste.

No more Caches for Fiscal Evaders in selected Islands?

Bye Bye Launderers and white washers of plundered wealth?

Since 2009, many nations were trying to find ways to close loopholes in fiscal laws that permitted the rich people to transfer wealth to foreign caches in order to escape paying their due taxes.

In 2020, Lebanon pseudo State has Not even contemplated preventing the militia/mafia leaders from draining our accounts in banks in hard currencies from vacating our territory.

The financial havoc has generated another capital consequence. in every nation around the world.

All these tiny islands and tiny States that were the havens of offshore companies where money were stashed away to avoid taxes are no longer safe havens.

The safe havens were pressured to enact laws that permit any State government to investigate accounts that were immune under “banking secrecy regulations“.

There are five main regions were these safe heavens concentrated their activities.

First, the Caribbean islands of about 14 of them, singly or set of smaller islands, such as: Caicos, Turks, Anguilla, and Montserrat (controlled by Britain), the Virgin Islands (controlled by the USA, the Aruba and Antilles (controlled by the Netherlands), the Bahamas, Caimans, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominic, Sainte Lucie, Saint Vincent and Grenadines, Saint Christopher and Nevis, Grenada, Panama City, and Belize.

Second, in Europe we got the city of Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Isle of Man, Isles of Guernsey and Jersey, Gibraltar, Monaco, Saint Marin, Liechtenstein, Luxemburg, Cyprus, and Switzerland.

Third, in the Far East we have: Tonga, Vanuatu, Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa, Nauru, Marshall Islands, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

Fourth, in the Arab Gulf we have: Dubai and Bahrain.

Fifth, in East Africa we have: Maurice, Seychelles Republic, Maldives, and then Liberia in West Africa.

For example, the Caribbean islands and particularly the Caimans has residency for 70% of hedge funds and manage about $ 2 trillion or 2,000 billions;

Jersey Island is the prime British offshore center and managing 300 billions;

Liechtenstein with 165 billions;

Switzerland with $2 trillions of offshore money or the third of the world’s caches and which generate a third of the State’s income.

The safe havens in the Virgin Islands are mostly invested by China.

Now most of these safe havens are in the process of regulating their financial activities because most States want the money of their citizens repatriated in order to be taxed.

The problem is that the fiscal laws in most States are so exorbitant and complicated that it is Not worth repatriating any money.

People are just waiting for lenient and simple fiscal laws to be enacted before they get the courage to transfer their money to their home states.

For example, taking into account penalties on bad faith (40%), interests in arrears, tax on revenue, social contribution and other rights and penalties, a French citizen having one million dollars in Switzerland should expect to pay 1,300,000 dollars, far more than what he has saved in the safe haven.

France has evaluated to 20 billions dollars of lost revenue is fiscal fraud, which amount to the total budget for the department of Research and higher Education.

The case of Switzerland banking secrecy laws started in 1934.

In 1932, France confiscated from the Commercial Bank of Bale ten books containing 2000 French clients; the socialist deputy Fabien Albertin divulged the names of the clients representing a wide spectrum of influential personalities from magistrates, to ministers, to deputies, and to bishops.

The State of Switzerland reacted.

Only in 1998 did the wall of banking secrecy fall in Switzerland when the US exercised pressures to recoup 1.25 billions dollars saved by Jewish families during the Nazi period.

There are four criteria to categorize a State as a fiscal paradise:

First, absence or lack of fiscal laws;

second, lack of transparency;

third, the economy cannot support that much funds (basically, a post office State); and

fourthrefusal to exchange judicial and fiscal information.

Tidbits #70

Apres Bonaparte, la mode est d’accueillir le mot Liberté d’un rire sardonique. (Chateaubriand)

Le Hero fantastique des lubies des poetes, des devis du soldat et des contes du people… restera le personnage “reel”: et qui fait disparaître tous ses infâmes personnages (Chateaubriand). (Like Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Bush Jr. Tony Blair,…)

If within an hour of reading you cannot find an idea/feeling to note down, you better switch to another book.

What does it take for a city to jump from a manual labor into the knowledge-based economy and innovation? Physicist Inho Hong from the Max Planck Institute found that the urban setting must have this critical threshold of a population of at least 1.2 million. (In antiquity it might have been 10,000 for a City-State urban environment)
.

If we seek reforms by bringing up human nature as the cure and the solution, then we are following the wrong direction. It is human nature that divided society into separate classes and tribes.

Either we let human nature takes its course and divide us into communities of clans, or we need a strong State to redirect what is more favorable to the entire society.

A beekeeper in the US noticed one bee had radar-dish eyes typical of males, even though its abdomen, stinger, and wings were clearly female: A rare mutant honeybee is both male and female

Small Island “sovereignty” to the closest land country should be in matter of sea wealth. Otherwise, referendum are needed for the inhabitant to decide which Law and Order civilization they want to be affiliated with.

Emotional Baggage?  Allow yourself to feel emotions: you’re not a child any longer. Emotions may feel dangerous, but you can love yourself through it. You can do hard things! And if it feels too scary and you want support, no shame, no blame. You can always find the support you need to help you do hard things.

Can Anyone make me comprehend why Inflation is better than deflation in the cost of living for the common people? What I know is that inflation goal of 2% is meant to reduce the balance on borrowed money by the State, so that paid interest is fictionally reduced.

“Let’s get started today and see what’s the biggest hole we can dig between now and Sunday afternoon, running 24 hours a day.” Within three hours, the cars from the parking lot were gone and there was a hole in the ground.” — Elon Musk: The Architect of Tomorrow

My hypothesis: Children raised in secular environment have higher moral values because Not based on abstract fears.

When I am teaching children in my preschool class and we are all wearing our masks all day, can we hope that better mask technology is being developed that allows them to see our lips so they will learn proper letter sounds and diction?

Poverty, immunization rates, education, gender equality, clean water access, and more will take years to get back to pre-pandemic levels.

“I drove 600 miles up and down the state, and I never escaped the smoke,” said Oregon senator Jeff Merkley referring the monster bushfire in western US.

Greenland lost ice that covers an area of around 110 square kilometers.

Vinyl records are more popular than compact discs. Sales of records in the US surpassed CDs for the first time since 1986.

Israel strategy is to mow Gaza every now and then for lame excuses: No sustainable development allowed in any State bordering Israel.

Far-right President Bolsonaro is dispatching gangs of illegal farmers to burn down swathes of the Amazon rainforest. Many indigenous people standing in their way have been murdered.

President Bolsonaro is desperate to close a multimillion-dollar trade deal with the European Union, but with the forest ablaze, EU leaders are considering last-minute changes to build Amazon protections into the deal.

The US is investigating allegations of forced hysterectomies on migrant women in a Georgia detention center.. 

Seth Rogen doubt the legitimacy and the sense for the existence of Israel. This Canadian, Jewish actor admitted that Israel spread shameful lies to the Jews claiming that there were nobody in Palestine and all kinds of baseless myths. He said Israel does Not make any sense from a religious basis, because religion is silly. And it is dangerous to round up all Jews in one place .

BlackRock multinational investment circulate about $6 trillion in its investment every single day, as much as the entire USA GNP for an entire year. Most State Presidents, central bank chiefs and financial ministers are in contact with Leonard Finkle for analysis by its Aladdin artificial intelligence of the exhaustive data it hold. (Note that Black Stone is the name of the Muslim pilgrim rock in Mecca)

 

Big oil multinationals are comfortable working with Virgin materials:

Is Recycling anathema to profitability for multinationals?

The forecast is generation of Plastic will Triple by 2050?

Plastic cannot be Recycled? How Big oil misled the public?

Are they backtracking under environmental pressures?

None of this plastic, containers, bags, packaging, strawberry containers, yogurt cups… will be turned into new plastic things. All of it is buried.

When Leebrick tried to tell people the truth about burying all the other plastic, she says people didn’t want to hear it.

“I remember the first meeting where I actually told a city council that it was costing more to recycle than it was to dispose of the same material as garbage,” she says, “and it was like heresy had been spoken in the room: You’re lying. This is gold. We take the time to clean it, take the labels off, separate it and put it here. It’s gold. This is valuable.”

“To me that felt like it was a betrayal of the public trust,” she said. “I had been lying to people … unwittingly.”

Rogue, like most recycling companies, had been sending plastic trash to China, but when China shut its doors two years ago, Leebrick scoured the U.S. for buyers. She could find only someone who wanted white milk jugs. She sends the soda bottles to the state.

But it’s not valuable, and it never has been.

And what’s more, the makers of plastic — the nation’s largest oil and gas companies — have known this all along, even as they spent millions of dollars telling the American public the opposite.

This story is part of a joint investigation with the PBS series Frontline that includes the documentary Plastic Wars, which aired March 31 on PBS. Watch it online now.

NPR and PBS Frontline spent months digging into internal industry documents and interviewing top former officials. We found that the industry sold the public on an idea it knew wouldn’t work — that the majority of plastic could be, and would be, recycled — all while making billions of dollars selling the world new plastic.

The industry’s awareness that recycling wouldn’t keep plastic out of landfills and the environment dates to the program’s earliest days, we found. “There is serious doubt that [recycling plastic] can ever be made viable on an economic basis,” one industry insider wrote in a 1974 speech.

Yet the industry spent millions telling people to recycle, because, as one former top industry insider told NPR, selling recycling sold plastic, even if it wasn’t true.

“If the public thinks that recycling is working, then they are not going to be as concerned about the environment,” Larry Thomas, former president of the Society of the Plastics Industry, known today as the Plastics Industry Association and one of the industry’s most powerful trade groups in Washington, D.C., told NPR.

In response, industry representative Steve Russell, until recently the vice president of plastics for the trade group the American Chemistry Council, said the industry has never intentionally misled the public about recycling and is committed to ensuring all plastic is recycled.

“The proof is the dramatic amount of investment that is happening right now,” Russell said. “I do understand the skepticism, because it hasn’t happened in the past, but I think the pressure, the public commitments and, most important, the availability of technology is going to give us a different outcome.”

Here’s the basic problem: All used plastic can be turned into new things, but picking it up, sorting it out and melting it down is expensive. Plastic also degrades each time it is reused, meaning it can’t be reused more than once or twice.

On the other hand, new plastic is cheap. It’s made from oil and gas, and it’s almost always less expensive and of better quality to just start fresh.

All of these problems have existed for decades, no matter what new recycling technology or expensive machinery has been developed. In all that time, less than 10 percent of plastic has ever been recycled. But the public has known little about these difficulties.

It could be because that’s not what they were told.

Starting in the 1990s, the public saw an increasing number of commercials and messaging about recycling plastic.

“The bottle may look empty, yet it’s anything but trash,” says one ad from 1990 showing a plastic bottle bouncing out of a garbage truck. “It’s full of potential. … We’ve pioneered the country’s largest, most comprehensive plastic recycling program to help plastic fill valuable uses and roles.”

These commercials carried a distinct message: Plastic is special, and the consumer should recycle it.

It may have sounded like an environmentalist’s message, but the ads were paid for by the plastics industry, made up of companies like Exxon, Chevron, Dow, DuPont and their lobbying and trade organizations in Washington.

Industry companies spent tens of millions of dollars on these ads and ran them for years, promoting the benefits of a product that, for the most part, was buried, was burned or, in some cases, wound up in the ocean.

Documents show industry officials knew this reality about recycling plastic as far back as the 1970s.

Many of the industry’s old documents are housed in libraries, such as the one on the grounds of the first DuPont family home in Delaware. Others are with universities, where former industry leaders sent their records.

At Syracuse University, there are boxes of files from a former industry consultant. And inside one of them is a report written in April 1973 by scientists tasked with forecasting possible issues for top industry executives.

Recycling plastic, it told the executives, was unlikely to happen on a broad scale.

“There is no recovery from obsolete products,” it says.

It says pointedly: Plastic degrades with each turnover.

“A degradation of resin properties and performance occurs during the initial fabrication, through aging, and in any reclamation process,” the report told executives.

Recycling plastic is “costly,” it says, and sorting it, the report concludes, is “infeasible.”

And there are more documents, echoing decades of this knowledge, including one analysis from a top official at the industry’s most powerful trade group. “The costs of separating plastics … are high,” he tells colleagues, before noting that the cost of using oil to make plastic is so low that recycling plastic waste “can’t yet be justified economically.”

Larry Thomas, the former president of the Society of the Plastics Industry, worked side by side with top oil and plastics executives.

He’s retired now, on the coast of Florida where he likes to bike, and feels conflicted about the time he worked with the plastics industry.

“I did what the industry wanted me to do, that’s for sure,” he says. “But my personal views didn’t always jibe with the views I had to take as part of my job.”

Thomas took over back in the late 1980s, and back then, plastic was in a crisis. There was too much plastic trash. The public was getting upset.

Garten Services, a recycling facility in Oregon, where paper and metals still have markets but most plastic is thrown away. All plastic must first go through a recycling facility like this one, but only a fraction of the plastic produced actually winds up getting recycled.

In one document from 1989, Thomas calls executives at Exxon, Chevron, Amoco, Dow, DuPont, Procter & Gamble and others to a private meeting at the Ritz-Carlton in Washington.

“The image of plastics is deteriorating at an alarming rate,” he wrote. “We are approaching a point of no return.”

He told the executives they needed to act.

The “viability of the industry and the profitability of your company” are at stake.

Thomas remembers now.

“The feeling was the plastics industry was under fire — we got to do what it takes to take the heat off, because we want to continue to make plastic products,” he says.

At this time, Thomas had a co-worker named Lew Freeman. He was a vice president of the lobbying group. He remembers many of the meetings like the one in Washington.

“The basic question on the table was, You guys as our trade association in the plastics industry aren’t doing enough — we need to do more,” Freeman says. “I remember this is one of those exchanges that sticks with me 35 years later or however long it’s been … and it was what we need to do is … advertise our way out of it. That was the idea thrown out.”

So began the plastics industry’s $50 million-a-year ad campaign promoting the benefits of plastic.

“Presenting the possibilities of plastic!” one iconic ad blared, showing kids in bike helmets and plastic bags floating in the air.

“This advertising was motivated first and foremost by legislation and other initiatives that were being introduced in state legislatures and sometimes in Congress,” Freeman says, “to ban or curb the use of plastics because of its performance in the waste stream.”

At the same time, the industry launched a number of feel-good projects, telling the public to recycle plastic. It funded sorting machines, recycling centers, nonprofits, even expensive benches outside grocery stores made out of plastic bags.

Few of these projects actually turned much plastic into new things.

NPR tracked down almost a dozen projects the industry publicized starting in 1989. All of them shuttered or failed by the mid-1990s. Mobil’s Massachusetts recycling facility lasted three years, for example. Amoco’s project to recycle plastic in New York schools lasted two. Dow and Huntsman’s highly publicized plan to recycle plastic in national parks made it to seven out of 419 parks before the companies cut funding.

None of them was able to get past the economics: Making new plastic out of oil is cheaper and easier than making it out of plastic trash.

Both Freeman and Thomas, the head of the lobbying group, say the executives all knew that.

“There was a lot of discussion about how difficult it was to recycle,” Thomas remembers. “They knew that the infrastructure wasn’t there to really have recycling amount to a whole lot.”

Even as the ads played and the projects got underway, Thomas and Freeman say industry officials wanted to get recycling plastic into people’s homes and outside on their curbs with blue bins.

The industry created a special group called the Council for Solid Waste Solutions and brought a man from DuPont, Ron Liesemer, over to run it.

Liesemer’s job was to at least try to make recycling work — because there was some hope, he said, however unlikely, that maybe if they could get recycling started, somehow the economics of it all would work itself out.

“I had no staff, but I had money,” Liesemer says. “Millions of dollars.”

Liesemer took those millions out to Minnesota and other places to start local plastic recycling programs.

But then he ran into the same problem all the industry documents found.

Recycling plastic wasn’t making economic sense: There were too many different kinds of plastic, hundreds of them, and they can’t be melted down together. They have to be sorted out.

“Yes, it can be done,” Liesemer says, “but who’s going to pay for it? Because it goes into too many applications, it goes into too many structures that just would not be practical to recycle.”

Liesemer says he started as many programs as he could and hoped for the best.

“They were trying to keep their products on the shelves,” Liesemer says. “That’s what they were focused on. They weren’t thinking what lesson should we learn for the next 20 years. No. Solve today’s problem.”

And Thomas, who led the trade group, says all of these efforts started to have an effect: The message that plastic could be recycled was sinking in.

“I can only say that after a while, the atmosphere seemed to change,” he says. “I don’t know whether it was because people thought recycling had solved the problem or whether they were so in love with plastic products that they were willing to overlook the environmental concerns that were mounting up.”

But as the industry pushed those public strategies to get past the crisis, officials were also quietly launching a broader plan.

In the early 1990s, at a small recycling facility near San Diego, a man named Coy Smith was one of the first to see the industry’s new initiative.

Back then, Smith ran a recycling business. His customers were watching the ads and wanted to recycle plastic. So Smith allowed people to put two plastic items in their bins: soda bottles and milk jugs. He lost money on them, he says, but the aluminum, paper and steel from his regular business helped offset the costs.

But then, one day, almost overnight, his customers started putting all kinds of plastic in their bins.

“The symbols start showing up on the containers,” he explains.

Smith went out to the piles of plastic and started flipping over the containers. All of them were now stamped with the triangle of arrows — known as the international recycling symbol — with a number in the middle. He knew right away what was happening.

“All of a sudden, the consumer is looking at what’s on their soda bottle and they’re looking at what’s on their yogurt tub, and they say, ‘Oh well, they both have a symbol. Oh well, I guess they both go in,’ ” he says.

Laura Leebrick, a manager at Rogue Disposal & Recycling in southern Oregon, is standing on the end of its landfill watching an avalanche of plastic trash pour out of a semi trailer: containers, bags, packaging, strawberry containers, yogurt cups.

Unwanted used plastic sits outside Garten Services, a recycling facility in Oregon.

The bins were now full of trash he couldn’t sell. He called colleagues at recycling facilities all across the country. They reported having the same problem.

Industry documents from this time show that just a couple of years earlier, starting in 1989, oil and plastics executives began a quiet campaign to lobby almost 40 states to mandate that the symbol appear on all plastic — even if there was no way to economically recycle it. Some environmentalists also supported the symbol, thinking it would help separate plastic.

Smith said what it did was make all plastic look recyclable.

“The consumers were confused,” Smith says. “It totally undermined our credibility, undermined what we knew was the truth in our community, not the truth from a lobbying group out of D.C.”

But the lobbying group in D.C. knew the truth in Smith’s community too. A report given to top officials at the Society of the Plastics Industry in 1993 told them about the problems.

“The code is being misused,” it says bluntly. “Companies are using it as a ‘green’ marketing tool.”

The code is creating “unrealistic expectations” about how much plastic can actually be recycled, it told them.

Smith and his colleagues launched a national protest, started a working group and fought the industry for years to get the symbol removed or changed. They lost.

“We don’t have manpower to compete with this,” Smith says. “We just don’t. Even though we were all dedicated, it still was like, can we keep fighting a battle like this on and on and on from this massive industry that clearly has no end in sight of what they’re able to do and willing to do to keep their image the image they want.”

“It’s pure manipulation of the consumer,” he says.

In response, industry officials told NPR that the code was only ever meant to help recycling facilities sort plastic and was not intended to create any confusion.

Without question, plastic has been critical to the country’s success. It’s cheap and durable, and it’s a chemical marvel.

It’s also hugely profitable.

The oil industry makes more than $400 billion a year making plastic, and as demand for oil for cars and trucks declines, the industry is telling shareholders that future profits will increasingly come from plastic.

And if there was a sign of this future, it’s a brand-new chemical plant that rises from the flat skyline outside Sweeney, Texas. It’s so new that it’s still shiny, and inside the facility, the concrete is free from stains.

Chevron Phillips Chemical’s new $6 billion plastic manufacturing plant rises from the skyline in Sweeny, Texas. Company officials say they see a bright future for their products as demand for plastic continues to rise.

This plant is Chevron Phillips Chemical’s $6 billion investment in new plastic.

“We see a very bright future for our products,” says Jim Becker, the vice president of sustainability for Chevron Phillips, inside a pristine new warehouse next to the plant.

“These are products the world needs and continues to need,” he says. “We’re very optimistic about future growth.”

With that growth, though, comes ever more plastic trash. But Becker says Chevron Phillips has a plan: It will recycle 100% of the plastic it makes by 2040.

Becker seems earnest. He tells a story about vacationing with his wife and being devastated by the plastic trash they saw. When asked how Chevron Phillips will recycle 100% of the plastic it makes, he doesn’t hesitate.

“Recycling has to get more efficient, more economic,” he says. “We’ve got to do a better job, collecting the waste, sorting it. That’s going to be a huge effort.”

Fix recycling is the industry’s message too, says Steve Russell, the industry’s recent spokesman.

“Fixing recycling is an imperative, and we’ve got to get it right,” he says. “I understand there is doubt and cynicism. That’s going to exist. But check back in. We’re there.”

Larry Thomas, Lew Freeman and Ron Liesemer, former industry executives, helped oil companies out of the first plastic crisis by getting people to believe something the industry knew then wasn’t true: That most plastic could be and would be recycled.

Russell says this time will be different.

“It didn’t get recycled because the system wasn’t up to par,” he says. “We hadn’t invested in the ability to sort it and there hadn’t been market signals that companies were willing to buy it, and both of those things exist today.”

But plastic today is harder to sort than ever: There are more kinds of plastic, it’s cheaper to make plastic out of oil than plastic trash and there is exponentially more of it than 30 years ago.

And during those 30 years, oil and plastic companies made billions of dollars in profit as the public consumed ever more quantities of plastic.

Russell doesn’t dispute that.

“And during that time, our members have invested in developing the technologies that have brought us where we are today,” he says. “We are going to be able to make all of our new plastic out of existing municipal solid waste in plastic.”

Recently, an industry advocacy group funded by the nation’s largest oil and plastic companies launched its most expensive effort yet to promote recycling and cleanup of plastic waste. There’s even a new ad.

New plastic bottles come off the line at a plastic manufacturing facility in Maryland. Plastic production is expected to triple by 2050.

“We have the people that can change the world,” it says to soaring music as people pick up plastic trash and as bottles get sorted in a recycling center.

Freeman, the former industry official, recently watched the ad.

“Déjà vu all over again,” he says as the ad finishes. “This is the same kind of thinking that ran in the ’90s. I don’t think this kind of advertising is, is helpful at all.”

Larry Thomas said the same.

“I don’t think anything has changed,” Thomas says. “Sounds exactly the same.”

These days as Thomas bikes down by the beach, he says he spends a lot of time thinking about the oceans and what will happen to them in 20 or 50 years, long after he is gone.

And as he thinks back to those years he spent in conference rooms with top executives from oil and plastic companies, what occurs to him now is something he says maybe should have been obvious all along.

He says what he saw was an industry that didn’t want recycling to work. Because if the job is to sell as much oil as you possibly can, any amount of recycled plastic is competition.

“You know, they were not interested in putting any real money or effort into recycling because they wanted to sell virgin material,” Thomas says.

“Nobody that is producing a virgin product wants something to come along that is going to replace it. Produce more virgin material — that’s their business.”

And they are. Analysts now expect plastic production to triple by 2050.

Cat Schuknecht contributed to this report.

The next 2 superpowers in this century: China and India?

Currently, India that rely heavily on China for ingredients in its pharmaceutical industry and its major importer, is trying hard to distance itself from reliance on China, and pressured by the USA to go this way.

India and China have even come to military confrontation on a stupid border swath of land.

China and India Empires: Same and Different (April 28, 2009)

Since antiquity, China and India formed vast empires.

They were the wealthiest, the most populous, and the most creative in almost all fields of industries such porcelain, gun powder, paper, vaccines, compass, rudder, the invention of zero, philosophy, art of war and you name it.

Europe relied on the silk, spices, perfume, and luxury items imported from China and India through Persia, Turkey and Egypt.

The Great Wall of China is the only human made construction that can be seen from space.

Three centuries before Portugal put to sea its galleons to circumnavigate oceans, China had fleet of ships 3 times bigger than the biggest that Spain or portugal constructed.

Every society has gone through the same historical development and experienced with feudal systems, caste systems, monarchies, and oligarchies.  The difference between China and India are:

First, China had gone through the harrowing communist period and millions of people suffered from famine, forced labor displacement and indignities under Mao for 2 decades, but it managed to crush the priesthood or sacerdotal castes and feudal foundation of the economy and social fabric.

In India the priesthood castes are as powerful as ever.  There are millions of this “untouchables” caste, the lowest caste of the 5 structured by the Brahma and Hinduism religions.  The “untouchables” are consecrated by religion to remain untouchables.

Gandhi confronted that humiliating condition head on, but no other modern Indian government or political parties dared to revisit this abomination.  In fact, the caste system prevalent in the Middle East was imported from India by the Ottoman Empire as trade with Europe stopped after the occupation of Constantinople.

For over two centuries, Europe was closed to the Ottoman Empire as Turkey was militarily expanding in Europe.  The Ottoman Empire had to rely almost exclusively on India for administrative organization, culture, and trades.

Among the good things, the Ottoman Empire also received (imported) the worst that India could export; it is so enduring that the Middle East societies cannot shake off the plight of caste system that is exacerbated by close knit community structure.

Second, China has the mentality of becoming a superpower at par with the USA.  Everything that China is doing is at a gigantic measure such as the biggest dam with all the subsequent mass transfer of people, traditions, and customs.  The focus on urban centers and industrialization is diverting water from agriculture, the source of its initial prosperity and social stability.  A 7-month dry season in the northern part, the wheat basket region, is sending shivers of forthcoming famine.

The rivers in China are heavily polluted and the western diseases from water and land pollution are harvesting thousands of young lives. Over 25, millions were forced to vacate the urban centers to their remote villages after this financial crisis.

India is progressing at a steadier and less drastic strategy and linking the country with new route infrastructures.  The cheaper car produced by India are supposedly to be sold in India for only $2,000.

Third, China is investing heavily on energy resources and lands oversea, particularly in Africa.  India prefers to cajole the USA and signed a less favorable deal for importing light nuclear rods from the USA and satellites from Israel, though it could produce these advanced technological items.

Fact is that the British Empire held on to India, for 3 centuries, because it realized that the vast Indian population is the hardest working and was adding all the values to the wealth of the British Empire.

During the Soviet Union period of 1917 to 1989, China and India followed the precepts of communism and tight control over private ownership and enterprises.  These two nations experienced famine on large scales, and suffered all kinds of miseries and humiliation.

As soon as the Berlin Wall fell and the capitalist system dominated world economy and finance. And China and India transformed their development accordingly.

In China, tiny Deng Xiaoping ordered restitution of collectivity lands to private cultivators and authorized selling part of the production.  Then the private agriculturists were permitted to select what they wanted to plant and production tripled.  Small enterprises and private shops were granted to be formed and in no time 22 millions small industries were hiring 135 millions employees.

In China, small modifications in freedom of choice, and small increases in production mean gigantic increases in internal production.

In India of 1991, the finance minister Manmohan Singh relaxed certain restrictions on doing business. There were no needs for previous permit for each transaction, for importation, for investment, and for increase in production. The Indian economy took off at great strides.

Currently, the GDP of China has surpassed France, Germany and Japan.  Shanghai alone has more high rises than New York and Los Angeles combined or 5,000 high-rises.  It is no secret that ten years after the disintegration of the Soviet Union, China and India were viewed as the main enemies to the USA and Europe.

China and India are two powers that had the technologies, the know-how, and the resources in raw materials and human potential to rival the economies of western nations.

It is no secret that the hurried frenzy of Bush Junior to invade Iraq unilaterally had the main purpose of dominating oil reserves and blackmailing China and India.

Amine Maalouf wrote in “A World Adrift” that Colin Powell told ex-President Bush Junior “You break it; you own it.  You invade Iraq then you will end up with the responsibility of caring for 25 million Iraqis”  Bush Junior didn’t own it alone; the whole world is sharing the price of a financial and economic meltdown.

Iraq alone has more war refugees than most other countries (Somalia, Afghanistan, Yemen…) that experienced civil wars and pre-emptive wars.

In the mean times, China expanded its oil exploration in Africa and built a major pipeline to Russia and Central Asia States.

India built many nuclear reactors and pipelines and are not as affected by energy shortages as Europe that relies on Russia, Algeria, and Libya for gas.

One of the major problems that the world is facing is that in addition to the 50 millions middle class families in the USA and Europe, over 150 millions middle class families in China and India can now afford and demand the same consumer items that the USA and European middle classes enjoyed for a century.

They want their cars, their washing machines, their refrigerators and all the commodities that any human desire to own when he can afford it: They believe under a Capitalist ideology that it is their right and no one can obstruct or make these new middle class desist from their hard earned rights.

If just 50 million families in the USA and Europe almost exhausted earth minerals and energies. then how humanity is going to satisfy the demands of the new added 200 millions “rich families”?

Art of thinking clear?

Non Transferable Domain Dependence:

Profession, talents, skills, book smart, street smart…

You talk to medical professionals on medical matters and they “intuitively” understand you.

Talk to them on related medical examples based on economics or business perspectives and their attention falter.

Apparently, insights do not pass well from one field to another, unless you are not a professional in any specific field

This knowledge transfer is also domain dependent such as working in the public domain or in private.

Or coming from academia and having to switch to enterprise environment and having to deal with real life problems.

Same tendency when taking a job selling services instead of products.

Or taking a CEO job coming from a marketing department: the talents and skills are not the same and you tend to adopt previous and irrelevant skills that you are familiar with.

Book smart people do not transfer to street smart individuals.

Novel published by Literary critics get the poorest reviews.

Physicians are more prone to smoke than non-medical professionals.

For example, police officers are twice as violent at home compared to other normal people.

Nobel Prize in economics Harry Markowitz for his “portfolio selection” theory and applications could not think better than investing his saving 50/50 in bonds and stocks.

Decision making mathematical theoreticians feel confounded when deciding on their own personal issues.

Many disciplines require mainly skills and talents, such as plumbers, carpenters, pilots, lawyers…

As for financial marketing, financial investors and start -up companies… luck plays the bigger role than do skills.

Actually, in over 40% of the cases, weak CEO leads strong companies.

As Warren Buffet eloquently stated: “A good management record is far more a function of what business boat you get into it, rather than of how effectively you row”

Note: Read “The art of thinking clear”. I conjecture that people with vast general knowledge do better once they are inducted into a specific field that they feel comfortable in. These people feel that many fields of disciplines can be bundled in a category of “same methods” with basically different terms for the varied specialties.

 

Your sense of smell controls what you spend and who you love

Does this means when you lose this sense of smell your spending and falling in love habits are thrown into chaos?

By Georgia Frances King 

Smell is the ugly stepchild of the sense family.

Sight gives us sunsets and Georgia O’Keefe.

Sound gives us Brahms and Aretha Franklin.

Touch gives us silk and hugs.

Taste gives us butter and ripe tomatoes.

But what about smell?

It doesn’t exist only to make us gag over subway scents or tempt us into a warm-breaded stupor.

Flowers emit it to make them more attractive to pollinators. Rotting food might reek of it so we don’t eat it.

And although scientists haven’t yet pinned down a human sex pheromone, many studies suggest smell influences who we want to climb in bed with. (Not a brainer. what of foul breath, sweat, soiled clothes, unclean hair…)

Olivia Jezler studies the science and psychology that underpins our olfactory system.

For the past decade, she has worked with master perfumers, developed fragrances for luxury brands, researched olfactory experience at the SCHI lab at University of Sussex, and now is the CEO of Future of Smell, which works with brands and new technologies to design smellable concepts that bridge science and art.

In this interview, Jezler reveals the secret life of smell. Some topics covered include:

  • how marketers use our noses to sell to us
  • why “new car smell” is so pervasive
  • how indoor air is often more polluted than outdoor air
  • the reason why luxury perfume is so expensive
  • why babies smell so damn good
  • how Plato and Aristotle poo-pooed our sense of smell

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

Quartz: On a scientific level, why is smell such an evocative sense?

Olivia Jezler: Our sense of smell is rooted in the most primal part of our brain for survival. It’s not linked through the thalamus, which is where all other sensory information is integrated: It’s directly and immediately relayed to another area, the amygdala.

None of our other senses have this direct and intimate connection to the areas of the brain that process emotion, associative learning, and memory. (That’s why we don’t dream “smell”)

Why? Because the structure of this part of the brain—the limbic system—grew out of tissue that was first dedicated to processing the sense of smell.

Our chemical senses were the first that emerged when we were single-cell organisms, because they would help us understand our surroundings, find food, and reproduce.

Still today, emotionally driven responses through our senses of taste and smell make an organism react appropriately to its environment, maximizing its chances for basic survival and reproduction.

Beauty products like lotions and perfumes obviously have their own smells. But what businesses use scent in their branding?

It’s common for airlines to have scents developed for them. Air travel is interesting because, as it’s high stress, you want to make people feel connected to your brand in a positive way.

For example, British Airways has diffusers in the bathrooms and a smell for their towels. That way you walk in and you can smell the “British Airways smell.”

It’s also very common in food.

You can design food so that the smell evaporates in different ways. Nespresso capsules, for instance, are designed to create a lot of odor when you’re using one, so that you feel like you’re in a coffee shop.

I’m sure a lot of those make-at-home frozen pizza brands are designed to let out certain smells while they’re in the oven to feel more authentic, too.

That’s an example of the “enhancement of authenticity.” Another example might be when fake leather is made to smell like real leather instead of plastic.

So we got used to the smell of natural things, but then as production became industrialized, we now have to fabricate the illusion of naturalness back into the chemical and unnatural things?

Yes, that’s it. People will feel more comfortable and they’ll pay more for products that smell the way we imagine them to smell.

For example: “new car smell.” When Rolls Royce became more technologically advanced, they started using plastic instead of wood for some parts of the car—and for some reason, sales started going down. They asked people what was wrong, and they said it was because the car didn’t smell the same. It repelled people from the brand. So then they had to design that smell back into the car.

New car smell is therefore a thing, but not in the way we think. It is a mix of smells that emanate from the plastics and interiors of a car.

The cheaper the car, the stronger and more artificial it smells. German automakers have entire olfactory teams that sniff every single component that goes into the interior of the car with their nose and with machines.

The problem then is if one of these suppliers changes any element of their product composition without telling the automaker, it throws off the entire indoor odor of the car, which was carefully designed for safety, quality, and branding—just another added complexity to the myriad of challenges facing automotive supply chains!

Are these artificial smells bad for us?

Designed smells are not when they fulfill all regulatory requirements. This question touches on a key concern of mine: indoor air. Everybody talks about pollution.

Like in San Francisco, a company called Aclima works with Google to map pollution levels block by block at different times of the day—but what about our workplaces? Our homes? People are much less aware of this.

We are all buying inexpensive furniture and carpets and things that are filled with chemicals, and we’re putting them in a closed environment with often no air filtration.

Then there are the old paints and varnishes that cover all the surfaces! Combine that with filters in old buildings that are rarely or never changed, and it gets awful.

When people use cleaning products in their home, it’s also putting a lot more chemicals into the house than before. (You should open your windows after you clean.)

We’re therefore inhaling all these fumes in our closed spaces. In cities like New York, we spend 90% of our time indoors and the air is three times worse than outdoors.

The World Health Organization says it’s one of the world’s greatest environmental health risks.

There are a few start-ups working on consumer home appliances that help you monitor your indoor air, but I am still waiting to see the one that can integrate air monitoring with filtering and scenting.

Manufacturing smell seems to fall into two camps. The first is fabricating a smell when you’ve taken the authenticity out of the product and other brands simply enhance an existing smell. That’s not fake, but it still doesn’t seem honest.

To me they seem like the same thing: Because they are both designed to enhance authenticity.

There’s an interesting Starbucks case related to smell experiences and profits.

In 2008 they introduced their breakfast menu, which included sandwiches that needed to be reheated. The smell of the sandwiches interfered with the coffee aroma so much that it completely altered the customer experience in store: It smelled of food rather than of coffee.

During that time, repeat customer visits declined as core coffee customers went elsewhere, and therefore sales at their stores also declined, and this impacted their stock. The sandwiches have since been redesigned to smell less when being reheated.

This is starting to feel a bit like propaganda or false advertising. Are there laws around this?

No, there aren’t laws for enhancing authenticity through smell. Maybe once people become more aware of these things, there will be. I think it’s hard at this point to quantify what is considered false advertising.

There aren’t even laws for copyrighting perfumes!

This is a reason why everything on the market usually kind of smells the same: Basically you can just take a perfume that’s on the market and analyze it in a machine that can tell you its composition. It’s easily recreated, and there’s no law to protect the original creation. Music has copyright laws, fragrance does not.

That’s crazy. That’s intellectual property.

It is. As soon as there’s a blockbuster, every brand just goes, “We want one like that!” Let’s make a fragrance that smells exactly like that, then lets put it in the shampoo. Put it in the deodorant. Put it in this. Put it in that.

If the perfume smells the same and is made with the same ingredients, why do we pay so much more for designer perfumes?

High fashion isn’t going to make [luxury brands] money—it’s the perfumes and accessories.

What differs is the full complexity of the fragrance and how long it lasts.

As for pricing, It’s very much the brand. Perfume is sold at premium for what it is—but what isn’t?

Your Starbucks coffee, Nike shoes, designer handbags… There can be a difference in the quality of the ingredients, yeah, but if it’s owned by a luxury brand and you’re paying $350, then you’re paying for the brand.

The margins are also really high: That’s why all fashion brands have a perfume as a way of making money. High fashion isn’t going to make them money—it’s the perfumes and accessories. They play a huge, huge role in the bottom line.

How do smell associations differ from culture to culture?

Because of what was culturally available—local ingredients, trade routes et cetera—countries had access to very specific ingredients that they then decided to use for specific purposes.

Because life was lived very locally, these smells and their associations remained generation after generation.

Now if we wanted to change them, it would not happen overnight; people are not being inundated with different smell associations the way they are with fashion and music.

Once a scent is developed for a product in a certain market, the cultural associations of the scent of “beauty,” “well-being,” or “clean” stick around. The fact that smells can’t yet transmit through the internet means that scent associations also keep pretty local.

For example, multinational companies want to develop specific fragrances and storylines for the Brazilian market. Brazilian people shower 3.5 times a day. If somebody showers that much, then scent becomes really important. When they get out of the shower, especially in the northeast of Brazil, they splash on a scented water—it’s often lavender water, which is also part of a holy ritual to clean a famous church, so it has positive cultural connotations.

Companies want to understand what role each ingredient already plays in that person’s life so that they can use it with a “caring” or “refreshing” claim, like the lavender water.

Lavender is an interesting one. In the US, lavender is more of a floral composition versus true lavender. People like the “relaxing lavender” claim, but Americans don’t actually like the smell of real lavender.

On the other hand, in Europe and Brazil, when it says “lavender” on the packaging, it will smell like the true lavender from the fields; in Brazil, lavender isn’t relaxing—it’s invigorating!

In the UK, florals are mostly used in perfumes, especially rose, which is tied to tradition.

Yet in the US, a rose perfume is considered quite old-fashioned—you rarely smell it on the subway, whereas the London Tube smells like a rose garden.

In Brazil, however, florals are used for floor and toilet cleaners; the smell of white flowers like jasmine, gardenia, and tuberose are considered extremely old-fashioned and unrelatable. However, in Europe and North America, these very expensive ingredients are a sign of femininity and luxury.

Traditional Chinese medicine influences the market in China: Their smells are a bit more herbal or medicinal because those ingredients are associated with health and well-being. You see that in India with Ayurvedic medicine as well. By comparison, in the US, the smell of health and cleanliness is the smell of Tide detergent.

Are there smells we can all agree on biologically, no matter where we’re from, that smell either good or bad?

Yes: Body fluids, disease, and rotten foods are biological no-nos.

Natural gas, which you can smell in your kitchen if you leave the gas on by mistake, is in reality odorless: A harmless chemical is added to give gas a distinctive malodor that is often described as rotten eggs—and therefore act as a warning!

The smell of babies, on the other hand? Everybody loves the smell of babies: It’s the next generation.

Do you wear perfume yourself?

I wear tons of perfume. However, if I’m working in a fragrance house or a place where I smell fragrances all the time, I don’t wear perfume, because it then becomes difficult to smell what is being created around me. There is also a necessity for “clean skin” to test fragrances on—one without any scented lotions or fragrances.

Why does perfume smell different on different people? Is it because it reacts differently with our skin, or is it because of the lotions and fabric softeners or whatever other smells we douse ourselves in?

Cancers and diabetes can be identified through body odor.

Generally, it’s our DNA. But there are different layers to how we smell. Of course, the first layer is based on the smells we put on: soaps and deodorants and whatever we use. Then there’s our diet, hydration level, and general health.

An exciting development in the medical world is in diagnostics: Depending upon if we’re sick or not, we smell different.

Cancers and diabetes can be identified through body odor, for instance. Then on the most basic level, our body odor is linked to the “major histocompatibility complex” (MHC), which is a part of the genome linked to our immune system. It is extremely unique and a better identifier than a retinal scan because it is virtually impossible to replicate.

Why don’t we care more about smell?

The position that our sense of smell holds is rooted in the foundation of Western thought, which stems from the ancient Greeks. Plato assigned the sense of sight as the foundation for philosophy, and Aristotle provided a clear hierarchy where he considered sight and hearing nobler in comparison to touch, taste, and smell.

Both philosophers placed the sense of smell at the bottom of their hierarchy; logic and reason could be seen and heard, but not smelt.

The Enlightenment philosophers and the Industrial Revolution did not help, either, as the stenches that emerged at that time due to terrible living conditions without sewage systems reminded us of where we came from, not where we were headed.

Smell was not considered something of beauty nor a discipline worth studying.

It’s also a bit too real and too closely tied to our evolutionary past. We are disconnected from this part of ourselves, so of course we don’t feel like it is something worth talking about.

As society becomes more emotionally aware, I do think smell will gain a new role in our daily lives.

This article is part of Quartz Ideas, our home for bold arguments and big thinkers.

How Lebanon political system after Taif functioned with the militia/mafia civil war “leaders”?

  • الرئيس عون استدعى وزني وألزمه بالتراجع عن تهريبة التدقيق المالي بحسابات مصرف لبنان***

لا نتجنى على أحد حين نفتح ملفات بعض الملفات الحساسة، ولكن الحيوية للشعب اللبناني، وبخاصة بعدما انكشف ان فريق وزير المال السياسي يسعى الى القيام بتهريبة في موضوع التدقيق الجنائي بحسابات مصرف لبنان،

الى ان ضبط التهريبة مستشار رئيس الجمهورية سليم جريصاتي، فاستدعى حينئذ رئيس الجمهورية العماد ميشال عون، وزير المال غازي وزني الى قصر بعبدا بحضور جريصاتي الذي ضبط وزني بالجرم المشهود؛ فألزمه الرئيس عون على التراجع عن التزوير الذي حاول تمريره،

وتتقاطع المعلومات هذه مع تقرير رفعته المخابرات الفرنيَسيه للاليزه بعنوان: “هكذا نهبوا لبنان”؛

تقرير للمخابرات الفرنسية وفق مصادر من داخل وزارة المالية ومصرف لبنان، يكشف جردة دقيقة بالأرقام،

تؤكد كيف تآمر رياض سلامة مع الراحل رفيق الحريري ونبيه بري ووليد جنبلاط وميشال المر والرئيس ألياس الهراوي ونجيب ميقاتي وفؤاد السنيورة وجمعية المصارف على نهب لبنان ووضعه تحت دين لامَسَ المئة مليار دولار ونهب إيداعات المواطنين اللبنانيين التي تبلغ 186 مليار دولار؛ والنتيجة أن الأموال أختفت دون حسيب او رقيب.

القصه بدأت منذ العام 1992 عندما تَوَلَّى رفيق الحريري رئاسة اول حكومة في عهد الرئيس الهراوي، بتسوية سورية سعودية اميركية،

أتى الحريري بمشروع خطير نَبَّه منه الرئيس حسين الحسيني آنذاك، وشدَّدَ على خطورته، رغم أن الحريري أحد عرَّابي الطائف مع الحسيني.

ما لبث ان غادر الحسيني مجلس النواب واستلم الرئاسة بعده نبيه بري ولا زال.

بأوامر أميركية وبتعليمات البنك الدولي وبحسب خطة مرسومة سلفاً ومُحكَمَة ارتفع الدولار

من 2.4 ليرة

الى 3000 ليرة

ثم هبط سعر التداول فيه الى ١٥٠٠ ليرة وتم تثبيته هنا ضمن سياسة مشروع الافقار الذي جاءَ بهِ الحريري ألأب للسيطرة على لبنان ومقدراته ومنع قيامته ليبقى ضعيفاً في ظل اقتصاد وقوة عسكرية اسرائيلية قوية بجواره.

اشترى حيتان المال اللبنانيون كل العملات الاجنبية الموجودة في المصرف المركزي بعد تعيين رياض سلامة حاكماً له على سعر 2.4 وعندما ارتفع سعر الدولار الى 3000.L.L عاودوا بيع الدولار و شراء الليرة اللبنانية بنفس قيمة العملة التي استبدلوها سابقاً فوصل حد ارباحهم بمعدل 1200٪ ثم أصدَرَ سلامة سندات خزينة بالليرة اللبنانية بفائدة وصلت الى حد ال 45٪ وهي تعتبر جنونية لم يسبق لنظام مصرفي عالمي دفعها من قبل!

وبعد تثبيت السندات ثبت سعر صرف الدولار على 1500 ليرة ايصاً تضاعفت ارباحهم بنسبة 100٪

خلال عشر سنوات وحتى انتهاء تاريخ السندات كانت الخزينة اللبنانية قد تم استنزاف 90٪ من موجوداتها ومنذ اول خمس سنوات بدأت حكومة الحريري بالإستدانة من المصارف لتسديد متوجبات الدين العام الداخلي الذي فاقت مداخيل الدولة عشرات المرات.

هذه كانت الخطوة الاولى لرفيق الحريري ورياض سلامة والمصارف وكبار المودعين وواحدة من الاسباب التي افلسوا فيها خزينة الدولة واوقعوها تحت دين عام داخلي وصل الى الاف المليارات، بدأوا بعدها الاستدانه من المصارف ومن الخارج.

أما السبب الثاني هو الهدر من خلال ابرام الصفقات بالتراضي وتضخيم المصاريف والمدفوعات وعجز الكهرباء المقصود والمنظم.

تقاسمت الترويكا وحلفائهم كل شيء النفايات النفط الغاز البُنَىَ التحتية واحد إلك واحد إلي لغاية الآن وما وصلنا اليه.

أما في جردة الحسابات الدقيقة لكل ما جرى سأكشف لكم واحد من اهم اسرار لعبتهم الخطيرة والدنيئة التي استمر بها رياض سلامة مع شركائه حتى بعد رحيل الحريري ألأب وهي على الشكل التالي…

جمعت الدولة اللبنانية ضرائب من جيوب الناس بدايةً من العام 1993 ولغاية 2018 رقماً مهولاً بلغ بالضبط 149 مليار دولار أميركي، وأيضاً أستدانوا خلال نفس الفترة السالفة الذكر من الخارج ومن المصارف مبلغ 86 مليار دولار   بالارقام الموثقة الصادقة.

كما يترتب على الخزينة ديون للضمان الأجتماعي. والمدارس. والمستشفيات. والمتعهدين. والمهجرين. مبلغ 15 مليار دولار

أي ما مجموعه : 149+86+15=250 مليار  دولار.

للعلم أن كل هذه المدفوعات كانت جميعها بلا حسابات منذ العام 1993.

انفقت الدولة اللبنانية من العام  1993لغاية العام 2018 مبلغ 24 مليار دولار على الكهرباء أضف اليهم الجباية التي بلغت حوالي 12 مليار دولار. ولا زالت الكهرباء 12 ساعه او اقل من ذلك.مع العلم ان لبنان يحتاج الى مليار دولار لتصبح الكهرباء 24/24 وتصبح ذات مدخول ومُنتِجَة لكنهم لا يريدو ذلك.

كما انفقت الدولة اللبنانية بدل فوائد للمصارف خلال 26 عام على مبلغ 84 مليار دولار دين للمصارف بذمتها.

دفعت فوائد بلغت 86 مليار دولار.!

وكل ذلك بالاتفاق بين رياض سلامة والمصارف ضمن سياسة ممنهجة لنهب الدولة و افقارها وتدمير اقتصادها؟

بالتفاصيل كيف كانوا يفعلون ذلك؟

يقوم المصرف المركزي بالموافقة على قروض مالية ضخمة للمصارف بالدولار الاميركي بفائدة 2٪ طويلة الامد.

تعود المصارف وتودع نفس المبالغ في المصرف المركزي بفائدة 8٪ أي بفارق 6٪ ارباح من خزينة الدولة تذهب هدراً وسرقة مقوننه على طريقة هندسة رياض سلامة المالية كانَ قد استفاد منها كثيرون مثل نجيب وطه ومازن ميقاتي وبعض القضاة والنافذين وابنائهم بينما يئرزح غالبية الشعب اللبناني تحت خط الفقر!

وصلَت مجموع المبالغ التي اقرضها المصرف المركزي للبنوك والافراد الى 32 مليار دولار بفائدة 2٪ اعادوا ايداعها في المصرف نفسه بفائدة 8٪ الامر الذي خَسَّرَ الخزينة 6٪ بلغت قيمتها على مدى 27 عام 70مليار دولار و200 مليون ما يقارب 60٪ من مجموع الإنفاق الحكومي الاجمالي. تقاسموها فيما بينهم ناهيك عن القروض المعفاة من الفوائد والتي اودعوها بفوائد عاليه تدر عليهم الارباح من جيوب المواطنين.

استمر المجرمون حيتان البلد باللعبة والشعب يزيد افقاراً ولم يرف لهم جفن هؤلاء القُساة القلوب المجرمون.

أن 16 مصرفٍ من أصل 76 مصرف يمتلكهم 11 شخص فقط يمتلكون ما يقارب 80٪ من مجموع ايداعات البنوك اللبنانية وذلك بفضل هندسات رياض سلامة المالية المرسومة سلفاً من البنك الدولي بهدف تجويع وتركيع لبنان.

أضف أن شخص واحد من بين المالكين للمصارف الكبرى ال 11 يمتلك 51٪ من كل ايداعات البنوك اللبنانية بمفرده وتبلغ عدد افراد الأُسر المالكة ال11 حوالي 200 شخص يعمل 5 ملايين لبناني واقتصاد دولة بكاملهِ لخدمتهم كعمال وعبيد.

غالبية الشعب اللبناني يرزح تحت خط الفقر ونسبة البطاله تجاوزت ال 33٪

وفي كل عام يزيد العجز بالموازنة حتى وصل الآن الى 15٪.

وعندما كنا نسأل عن الوضع النقدي كان يتحفنا رياض سلامة بأن وضع الاقتصاد اللبناني جيد والليرة بأمان. في كل مرة كان يخدرنا ونحن لا نستفيق وكل ذلك بفضل حكامنا واحزابنا.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

September 2020
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