Where do Your Tax Dollars Go?

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Politicians are among the lowest rated public figures when it comes to trust from the general public.  According to the pollsters Ipsos MORI, in their 2018 Veracity Index, politicians rank just above advertising executives in the UK.  In the US, they came dead last, behind cars salesmen as reported by Forbes. Continue reading

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Having grown up in the third world, one is used to ineptitude.  One of the worst examples of ineptitude is that displayed by congressmen.  Opposition parties tend to take the term opposition quite literally, opposing to everything that the Government proposes, regardless of whether its good or bad for the country.  I personally witnessed several referenda where people voted one way, and congress failed to enact it just to spite the sitting government.

This sort of behavior is expected in some under-developed banana republic, but when it comes to the 5th largest economy in the world, you’d expect the representatives to be more hands on and less partisan, working tirelessly to enact the will of the people, right?… Wrong! Continue reading

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RIP First Class

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Air travel has changed dramatically over the past half century or so. Planes have become more crammed, the service has worsened, and what can only be described as a race to the bottom has left airlines offering the bare minimum and customers not expecting much for their money.

In the 60s and 70s, traveling in coach still meant people dressed up, the service was top-notch, and there was enough space to stretch your legs. Service in business and first class involved being offered your own, albeit branded, overnight bag. Proper food was served, and you weren’t expected to cut a steak with a butter knife. You were generally allowed two checked bags weighing in a generous 70 pounds… What happened? Continue reading

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Shifts in the Car Industry

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Donald Trump’s election in 2016, was due in no small part to his promise to revitalize the rust-belt. Then came the tariffs, and now the general geographical distribution of the car manufacturers is shifting. But the shift is not solely restricted to the US.  There are changes happening globally. Continue reading

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There Will Always be War

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Some of my avid readers have asked me why no Brexit posts lately, especially when we are so close to Brexit.  Well, I think the general public has reached saturation point on Brexit related stuff, and unless there is anything interesting to say, I will refrain from saying it.

In the meantime, I have noticed something interesting going on which is mildly related to Europe and the pull Germany has on it.

War is probably the single most reliable event in world history

When I was little, an aunt told me the best businesses to get into are food, medicine, or funerary services, since everyone must eat, gets sick, and eventually dies.  Unfortunately, there is huge competition in those sectors, many of which are over-saturated; and, unless you want to run your own funeral parlor, there aren’t many listed businesses in which to invest.  But she overlooked one of the most profitable businesses in the history of the world: War. Continue reading

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The Option to Lease

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Sweden’s flatpacked furniture giant recently announced a new initiative whereby the company will lease furniture as well as selling it.  I personally think it’s a great idea; however, it is naive to imagine that it will work out successfully in every market.

IKEA furniture is cheap, functional, stylish, and doesn’t last.  It is ideal for students, expats, and furnished rentals.  People tend to keep their IKEA furniture for an average of 3 to 5 years before switching.

Having said that, it is important to point out, that customer’s behaviors change depending on the location.  Factors such as: price relative to average income, transportation costs, assembly costs, resell value, and secondary market, are all major factors that will influence the success or failure of the leasing model. Continue reading

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What Next for Venezuela?

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During my last post: Hail Venezuela’s Libertador, we reviewed the political and social climate in Venezuela, but what are the economic prospects for the next 10 years?

It is very easy to hear left-of-center (to put it mildly) politicians cry out that the whole idea of the US supporting Guaidó is because of Venezuela’s oil reserves.  Well, what about China and Russia? are they doing it for the arepas?

Let’s explore the possible scenarios of a Venezuela recovery based on current events:  Many countries in Latin America have returned from the brink: Argentina, Peru, and Brazil, all recovered from hyperinflation and mega-devaluations in the 80s and 90s.  So, could Venezuela do it? Continue reading

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Hail Venezuela’s Libertador

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The other day I read something curious, some similarities between Juan Guaidó and Simón Bolivar:  They were born exactly 200 years apart (1793 and 1983, respectively); they both ascended to power at 200 years apart (1819 and 2019, respectively), and both were hailed as Venezuela’s Libertador. There were a bunch of other similarities in the article but after a while it gets boring, so I omitted them.

When you talk about Venezuela, the first thing that comes to mind (especially in Spanish) is to say “pobre pais” translation: poor country.  Many would argue that Venezuela is far from poor.  It is one of the richest oil producing countries in the world, yet people don’t have food, medicine, or toilet paper. Continue reading

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Why “No Deal” Is Key

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What? another Brexit post? Yeah… well, what can I say.  I really wanted to write about this for a while.

In the current Brexit debate MPs in Westminster have a plethora of arguments to forward their political agenda.  Some are reasonable, some are wishful, some are quite ridiculous, while others are outright impossible.  But from all of them emerges the ultimate self-harming argument of all – that put forward by the opposition leader and some cross-party MPs: Taking “no deal” off the table.

Why is this the ultimate self-harming outcome from a Brexit negotiation?  Let’s imagine you are going to buy a house. Continue reading

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Nothing is Agreed

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With less than 3 months to go before Britain leaves the EU, everything is sorted: Laws have been repatriated, trade deals with the rest of the world are ready to be signed, the legal status of the EU citizens residing in the UK as well as that of UK citizens living in the EU has been clarified, the Irish border issue has been resolved, the City of London’s situation has been negotiated, the sea borders at Dover are ready to do streamlined inspections at a large scale, and the British government along with the opposition are agreeing on what is best for the country, putting all partisan squabbles to one side…

Except they aren’t.

Continue reading

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