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Posts tagged ‘http://www.davidmcwilliams.ie/’

Inequality: “The richest 1 percent appropriated 60 percent of the increase in US national income between 1977 and 2007.” WTF!

By David Mc Williams

The other day, I went for a coffee with one of the local priests here in Dalkey. Father Declan was chatting about all sorts of stuff, and we touched on the first year of Pope Francis and what it has meant. For millions of Catholics all over the world – whether practising or not – the image of a truly humble man, who says the right things and seems honestly interested in the poor, is a relief.

He has had quite a remarkable effect on the brand and image of the church.

An overwhelming proportion of Catholics in the rich world (America and Europe) are impressed by him. Mass attendance, which had been falling all over the world, has stopped falling. In Latin America, the growth of evangelical Christianity has been stopped in its tracks. The evangelicals had been eating into the Catholic market share for the past decade.

Even The Economist magazine, heralding Francis as the “turnaround CEO of the year”, commends him for grabbing a huge corporate entity like the world’s biggest institutional religion and shaking it up, with immediate positive results.

Some may argue that it is all style over substance. He may now live in a boarding house instead of the traditional Papal palace, he may go out at night and talk to the poor, he may even wash the feet of the downtrodden, but what, the cynics argue, about women priests? Others will point out that he may have swapped the faintly ridiculous and outrageously camp dainty red shoes of his predecessor for normal brogues, but what about gay rights?

But this narrow assessment misses the point. He is the boss of the Catholic Church not the rotating chairperson of a civil liberties lobby group.

Change takes time and the Catholic Church, like any enormous institution, is extremely difficult to change fundamentally; it is also important to understand that in leading, you must take your constituency with you……

full article at source:  http://www.davidmcwilliams.ie/2014/04/21/inequality-the-richest-1-percent-appropriated-60-percent-of-the-increase-in-us-national-income-between-1977-and-2007-wtf

Russian roulette in an unstable world

I am here at Abu Dhabi Airport. My flight was supposed to depart at 2.15am. It’s now 9am and we’ve been told the flight may take off at 11am. So you can imagine the state of the place and the state of me! There’s no point in getting angry at staff, who are trying their best to deal with a mega systems failure. There has been a collapse of the Etihad infrastructure: poor visibility due to fog, lights on the runways have gone out, crews are not able to make their connection and now there is a massive backlog of planes queuing up on the runways with no one to fly them.

Obviously, now that the backlog is into many, many hours, lots of the crew who could work are prevented from doing so as they would be over the acceptable working hours per week or month. Here in the business lounge after 12 hours, it’s like a refugee camp for people with lots of air miles, and the levels of middle-aged male indignation is rising ever higher. The Filipino stewards are doing their best, but they have about as much idea about what is going on as the rest of us. However, their Etihad uniforms makes them legitimate targets for customer ire.

This collapse this morning got me thinking about systems’ failures in general.

Running an airline and an airport that prides itself on being a transit hub is an extremely tricky business and – as everything is profoundly interconnected – when something small goes wrong, like fog in the early morning, everything can collapse. You’d hope that this would not be the case, indeed you convince yourself that this can’t be the case, but it is.

Systems can be very fragile and the difference between smooth organisation and total chaos is, in reality, very small. The possibility of contagion – in this case with flights, connections and crews – is everywhere. Like the ecosystem of a rain forest, each small change can have an amplified effect on activity somewhere further down the food chain.

Deeply unstable set-up

These changes, which on their own don’t seem to add up to much, can profoundly affect the health of some creature or plant. Similarly, the airline network with its web of connecting flights, each one depending on each other, is a deeply unstable set-up.

Financial markets are similarly integrated ecosystems and the question is whether they are becoming more – or less – stable……………………………

full article at source: http://www.davidmcwilliams.ie/2014/03/10/russian-roulette-in-an-unstable-world?utm_source=Website+Subscribers&utm_campaign=e3ce0a49c4-22112012&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_861a00f27d-e3ce0a49c4-266228133

Banks that think they’re casinos put us all at risk

By David Mc Williams

Anyone who worked in financial markets will know that — at its most base — the “market” is in fact only a coked up, whoring 28-year-old from Basildon on hyper-wages, with a Porsche and a Chelsea season ticket.

This is hardly the type of far-sighted leader that we should be depending on, nor the opinion we should be worried about. Has he become the arbiter of economic policy in the early 21st Century? Is this where we have got to? The young lad in London who is “shorting” the European bond market mightn’t easily find Florence on a map and his geopolitical interests might not go further than the price of a footballer’s transfer fees in the closed season and who won ‘The X Factor’…

full article at source:http://www.davidmcwilliams.ie/2011/08/10/banks-that-think-theyre-casinos-put-us-all-at-risk

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