Friday, April 22, 2011

Young unemployed… and forever?

Again, as part of the “Civil Society”, whatever that means, I am not too sure about that, I was present during the meetings last week in Washington of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. One of the most important issues discussed there, were the frightening figures of the huge youth unemployment in the world and that, from what I gathered, no one is really sure on how to solve. My comments on the issue, made in representation of my yet unborn grandchildren, were:

If youth wants to get employment they need to start demanding it more strongly. I am sure that if there was a Law that established that once the unemployment rate of youth exceeded a certain level there would be a lottery among all government bureaucrats aged fifty or more for instance, so that a large percentage of these would have to resign and give the youth an opportunity older than for instance fifty would have to resign so as to give the young some opportunities, would certainly energize the governments attention to this problem. Inside me I was hearing a little voice reminding me of that not fully confirmed Viking tradition of their elderly jumping voluntarily from a cliff, ättestupa, when not being any longer useful to society.

In the world the regulators have imposed on banks some capital requirements based on the risks of default of their clients, as perceived by the credit rating agencies. Since banks and markets have already incorporated that information when setting their interest rates, that means the same information gets considered twice, resulting in that the banks are excessively pushed towards what is officially perceived as being less riskier, the triple-A and some sovereigns, and away from what is considered as more “risky” like the small businesses and entrepreneurs, precisely those who have more chance of creating the future generation of jobs. The young should oppose this and require that the capital requirements of banks are better aligned with the potential of creating the jobs they need.

If a young person (or an old) have interests that keep them busy when they are without jobs it might suffice with giving them some food and clothing, but if they do not possess any “healthy” interest and could therefore be tempted by something bad, you would also need to place expensive policemen nest to them. In this respect I asked: “If we know that hundreds of thousands or millions of youth will find themselves without employment perhaps for life, what education can we give them?” A Master in Unemployment? In some respect this relates closely to the writings of Thorstein Veblen about the leisure class.

I also heard a very good debate about the recent incidents in some Arab countries. Most of the panelists held that what caused the explosions were not so much the existent inequalities, but the fact that these were perceived as being unjust. Absolutely, the young of nations where their governments have generation after generation wasted the revenues derived from valuable natural resources, like from oil, should demand these be paid out directly to them so as to have the opportunity of putting these to better use.

Something dramatic has to be done, NOW! As otherwise it would seem that the only opportunity many young unemployed will be able to get out of it, is when they move up, or down, to the group of unemployed old.

Translated by the author from El Universal, Caracas

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Do you?

Do you want your children to know about north, south, east and west or do you give them a GPS? (Like in: Do you want your bankers to know about credit risks or do you give them credit rating agencies?)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Something´s terribly wrong

When parents seem to give more importance to their children´s credit score than their school grades, like setting them up to the fact that they will have to work their whole life just to pay interests, something´s terribly wrong

Thursday, April 16, 2009

No taxation of families, without representation of families!

The backbone of a nation is its people, and the backbone of its people is God and families.

Currently in a family, the father has the right to one vote, as an individual, the mother has the right to her vote, also as an individual, but the children have no voting rights at all and therefore the family is underrepresented and should therefore perhaps question whether it should pay taxes.

The seriousness of it all can only be comprehended when one goes to the site of the US Census Bureau, and reviews a report titled “Voting and Registration in the Election of November 2004” which examines the levels of voting and registration in the November 2004 presidential election, the characteristics of citizens who reported that they were registered for or voted in the election, and the reasons why registered voters did not vote.

In this report the citizens are categorized according to their: Sex, Race and Hispanic Origin, Nativity Status (whether born in the US or naturalized), Age, Marital Status, Educational Attainment, Annual Family Income, Employment Status, Tenure (whether they own or rent the house), Duration of Residence at the place where they now live, Veteran Status and the Region where they originally come from.

Nowhere is there to be found how fathers and mothers voted! Clearly the children and therefore the families are of little interest to political analysts and therefore presumably to the candidates.

There is only one way to move forward and that is to empower the families and our future torchbearers by giving each child a right to vote, to be exercised by means of a solemn mandate given to their mother, father, elder sister, elder brother, grandmother or grandfather, in that order.

Anything less would be to ignore the families. Anything less would be to fake our concerns with the future of our country and our planet.

Per Kurowski

A Venezuelan citizen that deeply shares all of your concerns with family and children.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

How mothers and fathers vote…doesn’t it matter?

While analyzing the availability of data on family I happened upon one of the most telling evidences of what is going wrong with our society.

The U.S. Census Bureau, among many other studies and reports, prepares a document that categorizes the citizens in many segments in order to analyze how they voted, for instance during the last presidential election of 2004.

In it the segments used are: Sex, Race and Hispanic Origin, Nativity Status (whether born in the US or naturalized), Age, Marital Status, Educational Attainment, Annual Family Income, Employment Status, Tenure (whether they own or rent the house), Duration of Residence at the place where they vote, Veteran Status and the Region where they come from.

In no place could we found the segment that relates to the most fundamental pillar of our society namely fathers and mothers. Could it really be that no one cares any longer how fathers and mothers vote?

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

The environment?

A couple of days ago, in a green meeting, surrounded by environmental activists, I started to argue for the 1C1V with the votes exercised by the parents and they all bunched up against me with their... “forget it!!! ... all those SUV driving parents!!!”.

I responded with "there is nothing like getting the mandate to vote someone else's vote, like your children's, to really start thinking responsibly about the future" and somehow the argument seemed to hit home, which of course is not something easy, or sure either, when talking with activists of any sort… like 1C1V´s activists.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

We need a new deal for democracy, families and children

CATO when commenting on Stephanie Coontz´s book Marriage, A History: How Love Conquered Marriage says:

“Family is a crucial building block of a decent society, but marriage has always been at the center of family formation. If marriage-as-we-know-it is on the rocks, can the family, and society, be far behind?”

That is absolutely right but when do we realize that the main problem is that a family with children gets a lousy political deal. A father and a mother with three children currently have only two votes to bargain with though they should in fact have five.

To think how those who invest so much in what will keep the society in the future are treated is a shame and parents should perhaps start to object paying taxes on the basis of no representation for their children.

We have to give the democracy, the families and the children a real new deal namely “One child one vote!” obviously with those votes exercised by the parents.

One child one vote!

What would you say if they took away the right to vote from the 51 million citizens over 60 years of age in the US on account that they did not have sufficient interest vested in the future of the country? Hate it? Then you should probably reflect on that more than 73 million of your children, with a much longer vested interest in the future, do not have the right to vote.

One child one vote!

Q. What does a child need besides being born and grow up in a loving family?
A. To have a voice of his own and his particular needs represented!
Q. Why do we not recognize the right to vote of ALL citizens, regardless of age?

US legislatures and the courts could assure the recognition of the right to vote of all citizens, regardless of age.

The citizens under the age of 18, as with all other rights they make use of as minors, would in such case be represented at the voting booth by their parents or whoever holds their legal guardianship.

Those accountable for how they represent their child at the voting booths would be made more aware of their responsibilities; and the importance of family.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Don’t give your teacher an apple; offer him a couple of basis points in your earnings instead.

Parent and students need some way of sorting through the reams of college information in order to make rational investments, but may I remind you that even when finding the absolute perfect college that you might benefit from aligning the incentives better.

In this respect what I am currently recommending my young friends when they take off for their MBA is that they offer a couple of basis points on their first 10 years earnings to those teachers they feel could best advance their careers…it makes wonders!

Aligning the incentives could in the long run also be the best way of getting information for the picking of a college to, as education should in fact be a joint venture between students, teachers, and colleges

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Odious debt revisited

I must confess I was blown away when reading the Financial Times editorial “Young, gifted, poor”, June 9, in which Junior, with reference “to the old saying that rather than inheriting the planet from our ancestors, each generation borrows it from the children” now wants to see “some collateral on the loan”. I mean, it sort of puts the whole issue of “odious debt” in a totally new and frightful light.

Honestly, the more I see what we are up to, the more certain I become that sooner or later our whole generation of baby-boomers could be kindly invited to take a field trip to an “ättestupa”, meaning those steep cliffs where supposedly elderly Scandinavians ages ago threw themselves from when they became useless to society.

I repeat again my argument for an urgent revision of our governmental system so as to align them with the true shareholder’s interest. If the average life is eighty years a new born should have 80 votes (exercised by his mother or older brother) someone like me would have 23 votes left, and someone over eighty should count his blessings and be glad if he is allowed to keep one as a memento. I do not want to owe the world to my children, I want to assure their rights as stakeholders and make it all a joint venture.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Yeah "Go out there and raise hell!"

And so Barbara Ehrenreich told the class of '07: Go out there and raise hell!

Well here is my proposal for a start!
“Cars should only be allowed between 18 and 38 years… from there on only public transport for the senior citizens.”
It is tragic-comic when you ask someone to go out there and raise hell under the strict premise that this will only be done according to your very particular perception of what that heavenly hell should be.
If we as the older or quasi older generation do not know what mess we are leaving (and this before the burst of the blissful ignorance bubble of the hedge funds) then we are just plain crazy.
As for myself I am already trying to ingratiate myself (or beg for mercy) with my one-child-one-vote movement. You are all welcome to join (I could tell them you have been in from the very beginning)

Saturday, February 17, 2007

The ‛rights of children’ is anything but a juvenile concept.

Sir, if the average life length of a person in UK were 80 and our democracies had anything to do with representation of interests, as in companies, then a new born should have 80 votes, a middle age 56 year old like me 24 votes and someone over eighty should count his blessings if he is allowed to keep his single vote. Of course the previous is clearly just an exaggeration, but it serves to argue in favor of the one-child-one-vote concept, in which the votes of the children are to be exercised by their mother, father or older siblings.

I say this loudly protesting the title of grownup Christopher Caldwell’s “Why the ‛right of the children’ is a juvenile concept”, February 17 and some of it contents, among it his authoritarian conclusion that “Rights over to children will either belong to parents or to the state”.

Sir, with many of our current problems such as the climate change begging for longer perspectives than next quarter’s results, is it not high time that the children, who are the ones who could really have to live in the heat, should have their interests better represented in our societies? Also, the democracies that are now turning into baby-boomer dictatorships, it could truly behoove them to allow their young to have more say, before they all in frustration decide to carry out a coup and thereafter, hopefully politely, show their elders the way to the nearest “ättestupa”, those cliffs from were supposedly the Vikings threw themselves when they became burdens to the society.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Should not Higher Education be more of a joint venture?

Hearing so many young professionals in the USA describing their problems with debts they incurred while studying, I guess that soon some of them could be suing their Alma Maters for misrepresentation or plain failure in delivering the services offered.

Perhaps the incentive structure of the education system needs to be revised so that at least some of the higher education providers offer to collect a part of their fees through a profit participation scheme, like for instance by receiving a small percentage of the student’s future earned gross income that is above the level that the student could have been estimated to earn without further education, during his first 20 years of work.

How are then the universities going to pay for their professors now? Easy, that is what the financial markets are for. These participations in the future of our youngsters could be securitized and sold in the markets, perhaps even as a good investment for a professor’s retirement fund… of course, that is if the professor delivers on his promises.

For a university to show a willingness to invest in their own students, because they are sure of what they are giving them, might be a better marketing tool than outright grants and “we invest our money in your future” is my slogan. Also, for students, the question of what university offers to invests the most present dollars against the smallest percentage of the expected future earnings... should rank among the first when selecting an Alma Mater into which to invest their own future.

Parents should concentrate on giving their children the best pre-university preparation possible and thereby helping them to negotiate the best conditions possible with the universities. That there are careers needed for the society but where salaries might not be sufficient to pay off the university that is a different problem, and perhaps has to be solved by paying out specific amounts of subsidies or covering set percentages of the costs for different careers.

PS. If I owed a student loan I would ask for a debt to equity conversion, offering a percentage of my after tax earnings over a certain amount for a definite number of years.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Democracia Siglo XXI

No hemos logrado asegurar cuan cierto puede ser que el comando de Manuel Rosales esté analizando el convocar a un referendo para disminuir la edad de votar de 18 a 16 años y al mismo tiempo otorgar el derecho a voto a todos los menores de 16 años, para que éste sea ejercido por su madre o, en su ausencia, por su padre, abuela, hermana o hermano mayor de 16. No obstante, de lograr implementar tales reformas constitucionales junto al programa de "Mi Negra", estamos seguros que Venezuela se colocaría a la vanguardia de las democracias del siglo XXI.

Cada vez que vemos por televisión a una madre pobre contándonos desesperada cómo ha sido defraudada por enésima vez por los políticos, es evidencia de que su voz y voto no cuentan para mucho. Si esa madre, en lugar de hablar por sí sola, hablase en nombre de los votos de sus hijos, su voz tendría más poder.

Siendo los jóvenes los que más tiempo habrán de agradecer o padecer lo que hagan o no hagan los gobiernos, la verdad es que ellos, por principio, no solamente deberían tener voto, sino quizás hasta más votos que los adultos. En algunos países, especialmente aquellos que demográficamente se encuentran en vías de convertirse en unas dictaduras de viejos, la falta de representación de la juventud puede tener serias consecuencias.

En el mundo vemos cómo cada día reina más el interés en el corto-plazo y ya, por ejemplo, hasta oímos hablar de una contabilidad en tiempo real, mientras que los problemas, que se perciben como a más largo plazo, tales como la protección del ambiente, se acumulan como monte por doquier. El asignar representatividad a los intereses de un recién nacido, puede ser la manera más efectiva para recordarle a los electores que también existen a quienes les interesa lo que pueda pasar de aquí a ochenta años.

Por cuanto la democracia es ante nada un sistema que busca igualar las oportunidades, en un país petrolero, como el nuestro, necesariamente debe venir acompañada de una "Mi Negra". En Venezuela, hemos podido comprobar, durante más de cien años, que resulta imposible construir una verdadera democracia montados sobre un sistema, donde las riquezas petroleras le llegan directamente a la tesorería del Estado. Es por ello que necesitamos repartir primero los ingresos del petróleo entre todos los ciudadanos, para luego votar sobre cuánto impuesto nos van a cobrar, aprobarles en qué van a usar tales impuestos y saber quiénes serán los responsables de su uso correcto.

Por cierto, y para que se den cuenta de la importancia del concepto de "Mi Negra", ya en algunos "think tanks" de Washington se analiza la posibilidad de copiarse la idea para llevarla a Irak. Si cada ciudadano de Irak, independientemente de que sea sunita, chiíta o kurdo, recibiese unos miles de dólares, en efectivo, al año por su petróleo se estaría construyendo un ejército de mercenarios por la paz.

El Universal