Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Microsoft

Information/Communication Technologies (ICT): Transmitter of crisis and catalyst of global economic restructuring; (Dec. 19, 2009)

Astronomical sums are invested in the technologies of information and communication (ICT). In 2008 alone, over 1.8 $trillion were spent by private and public institutions.

Since 1980, half the total investments by banks and financial institutions have been oriented toward the ICT sectors so that exchange of information and transactions be as fluid and instantaneous as desired on global scale. It followed that banks and financial institutions were drawn to diversification into acquiring factories, lands, real estates, and mines.

Multinational ICT companies were frequently reconfigured to adjust with evolving strategies and global market access.

Before the financial crash, Citigroup hired 25,000 computer programmers and invested 5 billion on ICT technologies and related infrastructure in 2008.  Lehman Brothers was using 3,000 programs on 25,000 servers around the world. 

This run for ICT technologies was viewed as the main tool for “space-time bailout” by channeling capitals to emerging sectors susceptible to inevitable expansion. The age in the 70’s was coined “society of information”.  Thus, in 2007, US multinationals profit from outside investment amounted to 25% compared to only 5% in 1960.

So far, Information and Communication technologies are the two main factors for capitalist global economy expansion and have displaced many traditional economies. For example, Skype (voice on internet) has over 400 million users and is the most important provider of international communication. Skype was the catalyst for the explosion of high debit mobile phone infrastructures and for the demand of internet services to enterprises. Facebook has 300 million subscribers (to be updated to over 900,000?).

Mobile phone is displacing computers and TV markets: there are over 4.5 billion users of mobile phones and the latest generations function as multimedia screens. Apple’s mobile has swept China and South Korea markets; over 100,000 programs were developed for its applications.

Amazon, Apple, and Google (via YouTube) have broken serious barriers into cartels in music, books, video games, and movies. Low priced connections are provoking the centralization of programs, data, images, and emails are frequently stored in “farm servers” belonging to giant operators.

In 2005, 19 out of the 25 first ICT enterprises were from the US and over half the satellites are US. Heavy weight consumers of ICT such as Wal-Mart and General Electric impose standards on information and communication systems that are applied globally.

By 2009, Samsung, Nokia, Nintendo, Huawei, Tate, SAP, Telefonica, DoCoMo, Americal Movil, Vodafone, and especially China Mobile are displacing minor US players among the 250 greatest enterprises. Newer investments are primarily flowing from China, India, and Mexico in ICT.

Although Cisco (the prime provider in web routers) has accumulated financial reserve of $20 billion, Microsoft (the emperor of systems of exploitation) around $19 billion, Google (dominating search engines and on-line video) around $16 billion, Intel (world leader in semi-conductors) around $10 billion, and Apple (programs most prized by elite users) around $26 billion, only China Mobile generated profit of $18 billion in 2009.

Publicity expenditures in 2009 amounted to $500 billion (though they declined by 10% after the financial crash), but multimedia expenditures in the US in 2008 reached $900 billion and are increasing by 2.3%. 

The giant ICT companies are trumpeting acquisition of competitors and setting the stage for an unknown educational, cultural, and economic world.  The capitalist global economy is going ahead and strong because of IC technologies; we have the impression that the world is reduced to a town square.

The European Union (EU): Modern Europe leading human rights; (Nov. 10, 2009)

 

The previous post “European Union (EU) describes Modern Europe” covered a few statistics and then a short description of the EU administrative and legislative institutions. This follow up post will cover what is working, then analyzing what need to be ironed out, and then how the world community is expecting modern Europe to lead.

The 27 European States forming the EU counts 6 States among the twenty leading economy in the world.  By deceasing rank we have USA, China, Japan, India, Germany, Russia, Britain, France, Brazil, Italy, Mexico, Spain, South Korea, Canada, Indonesia, Turkey, Iran, Australia, Taiwan, and the Netherlands. Actually, those six European economies constitute about 90% of the EU in economy and in populations.

As a block, the economy of the EU may surpass the USA with a twist: the three largest industrial multinationals in every sector are US.  For example, in aeronautics we have United Technology, Boeing, and Lockheed Martin; in medical materials we have Medtronic, United Health, and Alcon; in Medias we have Walt Disney, News Corporation, and Comcast; in pharmaceutical/biotechnology we have Johnson & Johnson, and Pfizer; in informatics we have Microsoft, IBM, and Google.  Besides, the US is the first military power in technology, Navy, Bombers, and aircraft carriers.  The EU is totally dependent on oil and gas energies imported from Russia and elsewhere.  France has adopted a policy of being sufficient in electricity via nuclear energy (60% of the total of France production of energy).  Denmark is 25% sufficient in Aeolian technology and Germany about 15%.

The EU is facing problems. First, the “community vision” is eroding: the decade after the fall of the Berlin Wall and disintegration of the Soviet Union sent the wrong message of jumping in the band wagon of US globalization; thus, the well to do citizens wanted to get rich fast by emulating liberal capitalism. Individualism overshadowed the need to resume a common culture of developing institutions that are trained to work toward the common interest and be reformed to keeping the EU spirit intact in human rights and human dignity.

Second, the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 took Europe by surprise.  The euphoric undertaking of uniting East Germany quickly exhausted West Germany with the multitude of social, economic and political problems of this unification and captured most of Germany’s resources and time and prevented it to ponder on the EU necessities.  The opportunity to deepen European consciousness for reformed institutions to expanding eastward was missed.

Third, the EU was discussing the two possibilities: either the strengthening the current union for the longer term expansion or hastily absorbing the many eastern European newly independent States.  The political decision was to go ahead and allowing these tiny states to adhere to the union.  I think that this was the appropriate decision because new States had to root their future into a tangible alliance or fall back into past habit, inclinations, and culture; thus, forming close alliances with Russia. The EU was the appropriate framework for ethnic communication and more democratic realization of social aspirations.  The problem is that these tiny States feel that they should aspire to the same standard of living in no times.  The latest financial crash has left al these States in bankrupt conditions and it is up to the rich EU States to salvage this predicament.  Maybe this fact should remind the EU that not all States should enjoy the same rights until they can show the same capability to shouldering responsibilities.

 

The actual challenges are many. First, there is a political space to reconstruct:  The budget of the EU institutions is merely 1% of the gross GNP while States allocate over 30% to re-distribute to collectivities, social protection, and welfare. The richer States are not that inclined to contribute heavily to the social stability of the poorer EU State members. Second, the EU has unified its currency (it overcame the States’ monopolies to issuing paper money) but is lacking a unified economic government.  For example, the EU lacks common public spaces, no political party or organization has been created or formed to focus on specific EU interests, and the EU Parliament has no power to raise taxes to finance common policies.  So far, the government chiefs are wary of relinquishing their interstates legitimacy and power.

As a block, the EU is still unable to challenge the US on crimes against humanity committed by the US and Israel;  it is fully cooperating with the US on taking Israel off the hook in the UN for daily crimes against human dignity, rights, and apartheid policies in the West bank and Gaza. There are a few States in the EU that are showing trends to opposing Israel’s apartheid practices and boycotting its products grown and manufactured in the occupied West Bank; it is the people in these States who have set the stage for human rights and dignity reversal toward the Palestinian endemic plight since 1948.

 

The world community is on its toes: will the EU refresh its initial objective of “community vision” or will it relapse in petty interstates interest of monopolies and idiosyncrasies?  We need the EU to be the caldron of community communication among ethnicities, languages, and cultures. We need the EU to be the social and political testing ground for viable alternatives in vision, institutions, ecological human survival, human rights and dignity. We need the EU to invent new reasons to living together and reducing man inequality.

The European Union is the most striking political and social achievement in the 20th century.  The backbones of most of the UN peace keeping forces around the world are European contingents; the EU is the highest contributor in humanitarian budgets and for reforming obsolete public institutions in the under-developed States. The EU needs a refresher community vision and the world community should raise its voices and aid Europe in its endeavors.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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