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Archive for the ‘GeoIdeas’ Category

Very briefly.

Data from the OECD research shows that Italy is 21st in terms of broadband penetration, lagging behind anyone, basically. This is a fundamental driver to innovation, systemic evolution and, for Heaven’ sake, a modern country, despite the fact that there are studies determining the impact of broadband on overall GDP (like 1.21% of GDP growth every 10% point in ICT – broadband in this case  – penetration, according to a World Bank document )

Now, provided that data thrown in the conversation count for “food for thoughts”, but still, this is quite an interesting point to raise when discussing about “how to face the challenge posed by the crisis”..

Couple this with  “credit crunch”, mainly addressed to SMEs in a system made by SMEs (90%?? more???), in which bad credits are generally due to the topmost 1% of large companies (53% if I recall correctly), and if you do go down to the top 10% of companies (in size..), bad credits go up to more than 80%…

So, if you do not allow for investments to be made by the largest and healtier part of the economic system, and do not allow for upgrading the economy with the most relevant weaponry, but rather spend your available money in public (useless) infrastructures such as bridges over troubled waters between Sicily and continental Italy, or do not tight up the public expenditure, how on Earth are you going to keep afloat? By serial miracles?? I have been obvious here, but seemingly “obvious” is not that anymore..

Eventually.. we are in Italy after all..

Apologies for being country-centered..

## The Venice Session (2)

Now, this is interesting… PDI Index.. Power Distant Index.. it measures, roughly, the ability of a system to allow those at the lower end of the scale (say in a company..) to comment and disagree the ideas or whatever coming from the top..

Horizontal culture and system, vs verticalism…

• China more verticalised: 80
• France, the first in Europe: 68
• Italy, good second in Europe with 50, and then 40 for the US, 35 for Germany, and the most horizontal society is Israel, 12…

When compared this “index” with the impact of a very horizontal media like the Web.. you do the math, and understand where Internet could either disrupt or die forever..nice food for thoughts, I dare say,..

BTW, numbers quoted by Jacopo Barigazzi, an Italian journalist..

Categories: eWorld, GeoIdeas, Society

## iPhone with x-ray vision???

There we are again… I promise (not that you were dying for this..) that I will try and keep this blog space kind of alive from the darkness again!!

So, to start with something interesting, here we are… as you all know, Japan is potentially the most interesting country in terms of mobile usage. I am talking about the actual mobile lifestyle that is alive and kicking in the streets of, say, Tokyo, and the amount of attention the mobile world absorb.

Since the early days of DoCoMo and its venture into the territory of the revenue sharing models, Japan has witnessed a plethora of interesting, useful and appealing services flourishing and landing over the mobile handsets Japanese provide not to have farthest than a meter from their hands… mobile in Japan is not simply technology, but a prosthesis..

Having said all of the above, a company called Tonchidot (team of six…) has created what they called Sekai Camera. A “camera” function that, geotagging your location whilst you literally walk around, provides your iPhone with information about the object/item/monument/whatever you are bashing into it at a given moment…

Fine.. at TechCrunch 50 the audience went off the roof, seemingly..

What sounds slightly complex is the geotagging capability, GPS based, into a supermarket.. still, impressive how six people, highly focused and with a vision, are able to stirr attention this way!!
Lovely, back to the garage?!??!???!

There is always hope…

## IMF estimates, the economy and that stuff..politics…

The new IMF estimates about the economic condition on a global scale are telling a story where the word “recession” may not be explicitly mentioned, but “subprime crisis” makes the headlines.

Overall, there is a contraction of 0.3%, from a former 4.4% growth rate to the actual 4.1% (and a 4.9% in 2007…), given the impact of the crisis from the “Gekko” dashboard to the real economy. The US economy, unsurprisingly enough, bears the premium of a further reduction, -0.4% over the latest forecast, to a mere 1.5% of, say, organic growth, which will be coupled with some “spill-over” from 2007 to rise the US economy by2.2%.

Europe will be massively hit by the crisis, considering a reduction from Autumn’s forecast by 0.5 percentage points, an overall 1.6%, and a sliding off path more marked during the last quarter (same thing apply to the US, for consistency purposes!!). China and all emerging markets will slow down a bit, the Dragon will slip back from an initial 11.4% to a current 10%, allowing some overheating pressure over the economy to ease, but more notably the African countries will augment their positive impact on a global scale, posting a nice 7% growth, one percentage point above 2007 results. We saw that coming, supported also by Far East investments and “petro-dollars”. However, the IMF notes that

the deteriorating economic conditions could exacerbate pressures on major financial institutions that have already suffered big losses from the subprime crisis.

A nice warning, but quite off-timing I dare say… we are all wandering what actually is the work done to align risk management practices to the Basel 2 requirements..

Still.. if we apply what happened in the US, and the potential spillover of the subprime crisis to the credit environment (potential??? The Amex results yesterday – 10% decline in net income and some “$438m set aside to cover bad loans” stated the Financial Times) are chanting that story for a supposed above-par marketplace, nevermind the rest…) is it possible that another financial black hole may open up in East Europe?? Quite interestingly, the current Italian political turmoil, according to the IMF, should not affect the overall performance, set over a “healthy” path and stressing that all political conditions are “a worry” but all forecast are made on a pure economic evaluation… as if the two aspect, in a modern ans systemic socio-economic ecosystem, are totally separated and with no area of cross-over and influence!!! It is so incredibly short-sighted not to consider the “system” as the real ruler of all human interactions and the main pillar for a viable and “effective” future… we may need to see a shift in global power and importance towards the East and the South of the World before realising we have missed a chance.. OK, stepping into far too complicated realms to be addressed in a short blog post, yet if anybody is at all interested I am more than happy to take it to an higher level!!!! ## Davos 2008 opening day… January 23, 2008 Leave a comment Today is the opening day of the annual Davos Economic Forum, and the scenario is hard to forget: first of all, a magnificent and perfectly winterly landscape, a tad spoiled by a significant global financial shake off, a ever so complicated balance between the East and the West of the World, a tactical shift of business confidence from developed markets actors to the rampant ones, notably India, China, Russia, Mexico.. also I would add there is the awaiting of Bush’s closing act and the stabilisation of the Persian area, the growing interest in ripping out part of Sub-Saharan Africa from famine and foster a new markeplace (with Chinese and Arabic money, perhaps?!?), the role Europe will take over the global chessboard, given its internal extreme differences, both in economic and political terms and an invisible parallel divides North and South as never before, I would argue.. Climate changes, financial turmoil, political unrest, the ingredients are ready to build up a spectacular first course.. or the perfect storm, this depending on the intelligence and social responsibility level all the top guns in Davos will show… Let’s hope for the best… ## Iran, Sinopec and how to shift the World’s axis.. December 10, 2007 Leave a comment Since long time we have been commenting on how the “nouveau riches” in the World, from a country perspective, are interested in closing up deals and put the flag over unchartered territories, troublesome areas and unwanted pile of sand and rocks, which are nonetheless a hefty deposit of natural resources, brand new marketplaces to pump up or good-for-all reservoirs. Cash-piled countries or aggressive economic systems are making the press thanks to injection of fresh funds into Africa, economic agreements with rising South American oil power-house (or, quite simply, geopolitical pawns..), in a word there is a sort of Robin Hood economic syndrome that may actually lead to a significant shift in global powers. Oil and recipient markets are setting the agenda on “what is important” in the planetary chess game we are all witnessing. To add to the series of smart moves, those with the notation “!!”, is the agreement between Chinese Sinopec and the Iranian government for a$2billion oil contract.

To my very humble and potentially limited analysis, this move yields a number of advantages to China and Iran and complicates “the life and history of G. Bush position over Iran”.

First, from now on, Iran is no longer a World thug, but a strategic commercial partner of one of the largest (if not THE largest) economy on the Planet which has actually fed the US public debt with inflows of fresh cash since … ever, to add to complexity. Claims over invading the Middle East country now are no longer an option, or at least the negotiation price to “buy” a World-wide accepted entrance into Iranian territory is most definitely on the “XXXXXXL” side, particularly when considering that all Intelligence reports denies Iran has got, as of today, an uranium enrichment program to sustain belligerent plans. China is booming, economic growth needs to be fuelled, oil is there and it has been bought. China is shopping for energy independence and pawns. And it will be putting all its weight when defending vital interests… you do the math.

Second, this move is a roundhouse kick to the US claims of Middle East politics thought leadership, since it is putting a strain over one of the most sensitive topics ever: money! The message is clear: do you like to have hefty contracts over the second largest oil reserve on the Planet and get your hands dripping with it? Most welcome, but leave alone some silly claims brought over with the Western winds. It is very much like an open invitation to a going-to-be exclusive club. Again, at least someone will have to counterweight this sort of offer, it won’t be enough to pledge an Atlantic alliance, some lukewarm feeling of Western togetherness, particularly when oil is lurking at $100 a-barrel…. economics need to be fed, words are not enough energy.. So, slipping through US fingers may actually be the ever-so-preposterous idea of invading someone else’s country, some sort of links with a few of Western allies (France, the Netherlands and Spain are already in talks with Tehran..) and to top it up all the global dominance as the World’s spinning axis… I trust we will see more of this, the game is far from over, and some diplomacies are more than able to respond accordingly. But beware, whilst we are here talking about ourselves, the rest of the World is piling up forces to keep growing despite the help (as if…) of those bloated and decadent Western economies. I would go shopping for large suitcases, this xMas season, you never know where life will take you to… Categories: GeoIdeas ## China hottest IPO??? Nope, World’s largest IPO!! November 5, 2007 Leave a comment China got its financial champion!!! It is largest than Exxon and General Electric, the two biggest companies in the World and symbols of a certain economic and corporate power, it grew 160+% on its first trading day, to reach the stunning level of £1,000bn, you put down all the necessary “zeros” .. PetroChina blasted the financial community! So, the Celestial Empire has got its necessary muscles, there should be plenty of cash (the IPO raised$9bn, another record..) to foster and support further “deals” across the World, and we should expect some subtle geopolitical imbalances.. China, as already mentioned, represents for part of the World a substantial threat, a problem, an economic conundrum to some, a natural hazard, a menace.. mainly, it is rather a physical formula that makes China something to watch out for, kinetic energy

$E_k = \frac{1}{2}mv^2$

OK, the physicists amongst you will immediately surge in disgust for my using this formula in such an improper context, but bear with me, the idea is about a great mass taking up unprecedented speed… it will be difficult to stop, as it will be to direct it to a spectacular and sustainable growth path. There are some structural variables of the Chinese phenomena which are not yet displaying their full potential (either supportive or destructive, it depends) but, considering the size, those variables will play a massive role in setting the pace and the faith of the Asian giant and furthermore the destiny of the geopolitical balance of the area (if not considering it could be a global influence we are talking here..). Wealth imbalances, working conditions, energy supply, environmental hazards, financial stability, coherence with social standard at global level, and above and beyond civil rights and freedom, those are aspects that the Chinese bridge commanders have or will have to analyse pretty thoroughly.. and sort out properly.

According to Friedman’s theory of the Golden Arches

No two countries that both had McDonald’s had fought a war against each other since each got its McDonald’s

China and US should be going along if not nicely, at least in a bearable fashion, but as already pointed out there is an issue here about the notion of war… economic, cyber, political, social… are all new forms or permutation of the old mankind sin????

My argument is about the viral destructive power wealth unbalances may have in an unprepared social system, particularly when supported by an increase in communication and permeability to “inputs” on “how it should be” (aka knowledge).. to sustain growth a system has to increase the level of preparedness and thus approach the “capitalist” factors (including productivity, innovation, financial strength) and leverage on those.. but the more you dig into being a capital fortress, the more you older system values crumble down to be replaced by the newest.. if transition is not perfectly driven by the “governors”, an uneven social fabric may be the breeding ground for system instability. This seems to be the case of China, as of today.

From a Western standpoint, the PetroChina IPO is a stunning event, from a geopolitical observation, this is a potential new nail into some unspecified coffin… but the slamming of the hammerhead is quite distinct. And it is unclear who’s working it.