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madpenguin

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Everything posted by madpenguin

  1. +1 Though I'm deducting 5 for overuse of the spoiler tag, so -4
  2. Medicine hasn't been offshored but it most definitely been onshored for many years, the NHS looks worldwide for Doctors and nurses
  3. Myself I think it's looking more and more like the reset button is the only option for pretty much all of the Western economies, don't know how the Chinese and the Arabs would react though As has been pointed out many times before QE is a form of default, your giving back less value than you borrowed
  4. Exactly, not just us but Europe and the US too, the US and the UK are just putting off the fateful day, while the Eurozone is provoking revolt in the countries suffering most from austerity cuts, neither are pretty, and if it gets to the stage where UK/US can't borrow anymore what then?, ever increasing debt interest payments can't be sustainable and Governments imposing austerity get voted out The UK government says it was going to cut 6.2bn in 2010/2011, looked at in relation to the debt and the interest involved it's like offering to pay five quid a month on 100,000 debt, it's not even making an effect on the interest let alone getting the outstanding debt down
  5. In a Daily Telegraph today they posted this comparing US Government debt to a households debt: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/debt-crisis-live/9263419/Debt-crisis-as-it-happened-May-14-2012.html#disqus_thread Someone in comments did this for the UK: United Kingdom tax revenue: £437,594,000,000 Total budget: £703,400,000,000 New debt (deficit) £265,806,000,000 National Debt*: £1,003,900,000,000 Budget Cuts: £0 Interest payments: £43,900,000,000 Annual family income: £43,759 Money family spent: £70,340 New Debt on credit card: £26,581 Outstanding balance on credit card: £100,390 Budget cuts: £0 Interest payments £4,390 Sources: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/stats/tax_receipts/tax-receipts-and-taxpayers.pdf http://www.ukpublicspending.co.uk/total_spending_2012UKbn Pretty grim figures
  6. We are already at the same point as Greece, 1 trillion debt (official government figure) 4 trillion (if you also include government pension and PFI deals in the mix which makes us a darn sight worse, only a better industrial capacity and the banking industry keeping us afloat, as well as the BOE printing money and fudging the figures). People talk all the time about cutting "waste" but the truth is there's not much left to cut, at least in terms of normal day top day running the country terms. I did a job for a small city council a few years ago, I was shocked at what they had to work with, they were literally doing string and sealing wax jobs on keeping the city running, look at the cuts to the armed forces, and government departments, are we better employing those people and getting things done or running departments on a shoe string whilst the "surplus staff" languish on benefits Funnily enough if the "waste" is in employing too many staff you are probably saving the country money overall and keeping the local economy going at least. Much of the debt we've incurred is due to propping up banks who have made bad decisions, what value are we getting back from them in return for our money? (and I really do mean our money)
  7. In a boardroom somewhere "I don't understand it , along with everyone else we've offshored over half the workforce but still our profits in the UK keep falling, we obviously need to offshore everything, that will get the money pouring in again".
  8. When I used to go to the coach station out there by far the largest group seemed to be poles and people from Russian states, as well as the Turks who had their own areas, while I was there was a protest march about the Tamil's and I was surprised to see a couple of hundred Indians/asians attend (surprised because you very rarely saw them in the street), in any Western city these days there's a surprising mix of nationalities
  9. Certainly where I was the first thing people said to me was "don't live in this part of town, and be careful if you walk through there at night" everywhere has such areas, don't kid yourself the problems we have in Britain are unique, however they did have more police around than we do and security staff hired by the council (dressed in black overalls with red berets, quite paramilitary looking but not armed like the police who have guns)
  10. The kids have probably hung themselves on the tree outside..... Can just imagine, all false smiles "yes, we live in a kind and loving environment where we are not afraid to express our true feelings" all the time darting nervous glances at Mum and Dad, and furtively pressing notes in your hand with "For Gods Sake Help Us!!!" scribbled on them
  11. When I worked in Germany there were a few Greek lads in the team, some of them are still there. and they never had any trouble at all, Germany's like anywhere else if you work and pay taxes and your bills they are more than happy to have you, it's when immigrants form ghettos which are no go areas and sponge off the state or commit crime they get angry (very unlike us I know )
  12. Got it in one, we work hard when there's a perceived benefit to us or it's a matter of survival, more and more employers and government are removing the incentive of improvement in lifestyle and replacing it with survival. I have worked 12 hour shifts over extended periods when I was younger including both days at the weekends and I found after 3 months I was wandering round wondering what day it was, had I gone home, had I eaten, not an ideal way to live your life, or produce good work for business!
  13. The problem with "working hard" is it's an entirely relative term, I can say I work hard at a PC all day but compared to the guy down the loading bay at the local supermarket?, he'd probably rupture something laughing if he could see me at work. Working hard also doesn't automatically improve the economy, guarantee huge profits or business success, look at the number of failed government projects like the NHS IT system, or benefits system, same in some businesses, a lot of people put a lot of work in, but if it was poorly planned, and based on false assumptions all that hard works for nothing. (shows like Dragons Den shows this time and time again, the number of people who have put great amounts of time and money into products or services they think will generate a fortune which they just haven't thought through)
  14. I take your point and I am in full agreement, everyone should have a chance to make a reasonable life (I don't have a degree but I've made a reasonable success of my career in my own terms which is what I consider important ), the problem is in the UK that when the doors slam shut they have left the wrong people on the other side, the caste of politicians the UK has spawned is one of the reasons we are doing so badly, it's all knee jerk reaction rather than planning. We have new housing estates which are like deserts, not a shop or school to be seen, infrastructure not given a second thought, elsewhere governments legislate minimums for this kind of thing, maybe if we had more of this we wouldn't have ministers threatening the reappearance of stand pipes
  15. The big problem for most developers is that it's not possible to forsee bugs or problems which delay launch, but management rather than anger their bosses by putting the launch date back just pile on the pressure, so you get poor sods working into the night to make sure everything ships on time, that and clueless management changing requirements and features at regular intervals. Methodologies like Agile have grown up to try to minimise these problems but in a lot of cases it gives stupid managers more excuses to interfere with daily stand up meetings and burn down charts (yes I know they are supposed to help but in the hands of certain people they become a weapon to beat the programmers with) . I work in application support, and a number of my colleagues have been former programmers and the most frequent compliant is "I loved programming, but you could never do a good job because there was too much pressure to meet dates"
  16. Interesting you mention Singapore, as I understand it legally the person in the post equivalent to chancellor must have a good degree in economics, mathematics or a financial discipline, similarly in Germany Angela Merkel has a degree in physics, what do we have in the UK? Cameron with his degree in politics and philosopy, Osbourne has a 2:1 in modern History, Clegg did Archeology and anthropology, Milliband did Philosophy, Politics and Economics, no wonder the UK is in such a state with that lot running the country, or aiming to, I bet half of them can't balance a cheque book, they are all rich kids bred to go straight into politics. The problem for some time with the UK is we seem to admire amateurs and muddling through, the difference with countries like Germany where engineers and scientists are admired is stark, that is the way we used to think (Brunel, etc.) but not any more
  17. I don't see why the American Indians did so badly if a middle aged officer could break a cavalry sabre on his knee
  18. Human history has shown we ditch certain ways of doing something for new long before the old process becomes less efficient. Main problem is when the majority of work is done by machine who will they sell their products to (assuming they are not cheap essential staples)?, this is the problem we are seeing in the UK after decades of offshoring and onshoring of work to cheap labour, when politicians try ever more desperate measures to get people back in work they are literally flogging a dead horse, if we ever get AI and fully functional robots the majority of the population will end up on the dole, how does capitalism work in those circumstances?
  19. +1 Best summation I have seen so far As with the house price crash we have seen these things don't happen quickly and dramatically but slowly and over time, and in the end boring men in suits shake hands over something to fix or end the crisis in Europe (except in rare cases like Iceland). The press like Armageddon like crash predictions because it draws in readers and helps to confirm the prejudices of their readership (One particularly annoying trend with the Telegraph at the moment is their habit of inserting "Europe" in headlines of stories which are substantially about the British economy if there's bad news)
  20. Surely this is just another buzzword for telepresence, I notice the media keeps linking this story to teleporting a la Star Trek which it is not but is presumably what the creators wanted to suggest (was very disapointed when I saw what they were talking abouit ). Once properly developed will be very useul for the likes of the emergency services, the military and industries like nuclear, I don't think it will be cheaper than employing someone onshore for a long while, and besides companies can already use Intra Company Transfer to just ship a real human over to undercut the local workforce
  21. I think that's a fairly popular view in the UK, but visit most European countries now and there's a lot of movement and mixing of European cultures, people focus on the cultures they can see or cause trouble or are radically different, but go to most European cities now (including London!) and you will meet lots of people from other European countries just getting on with their lives. I have a German friend who has a house in the South of France, when he goes to the local bar he says almost everyone's British, during the cold spell over the winter his water pipes burst (along with most of the village, freezing temperatures are pretty rare there!), the plumber carrying out the work for him is British. People are following work and better environments now, this isn't like the 1800's any more, I run into other European nationalities all the time, (I live in Amsterdam), just yesterday a girl asked me for directions in very good Dutch, I explained my Dutch wasn't that good and I was English and she came back in native English with a Northern accent, same thing happened in a supermarket the other day and the middle aged woman serving turned out to be Scottish. At any time of the day I hear Italian, German, French, Spanish in the streets, when I was living in Germany 60% of the restaurants were Italian, the rest Thai or Japanese, there was only one Schnitzel bar (which was trying to style itself like McDonalds), and a Hooters (very German ), at work in Germany about 40% of the staff were Italian, my manager was Portuguese and the head of department was Dutch That's not to say that the whole of Europe is melding into one happy 70's coke commercial with everyone holding hands singing, what I'm saying is people are moving around a lot now, and the "them and us" mentality seems to be fading most places I go, you can only hate another people if you don't really know them, and in time you find pretty much everyone is after the same things anyway, haven't met any normal person from any European country who wants anything earth shatteringly different from us. )
  22. Looking to the Telegraph for factual news on Europe is like asking the Klu Klux Klan for a sympathetic policy for racial diversity, or King Herod for tips on child care! They frequently have sensationalist headlines towards any non Dollar/Sterling economy (Europe especially) and the ones you list are pretty normal for the Torygraph, they cater for the Conservative right wing and UKIP. Thats not to say there's not a lot of grief in parts of the Eurozone, but the Telegraph answer to everything to do with Europe is "scrap it totally". Myself I prefer the Independent or foreign newspapers for news on Europe if they do an English edition (Der Spiegel is usually pretty good for English articles and they don't pull punches, at least if the target market is actually affected by the measures proposed you can have more faith in whats written) http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/euro-struggles-can-be-traced-to-origins-of-common-currency-a-831842.html http://www.spiegel.de/international/topic/european_union/ http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/french-greek-and-schleswig-holstein-elections-show-risks-ahead-for-merkel-a-831671.html My attitude is if it's broke fix it, being a lone country these days when trying to cut trade deals with the likes of China, Russia or the US means you're at a very distinct disadvantage, theres safety in numbers
  23. Absolutely, any of the above or maybe even Greece or Cyprus sounds far more attractive, went to Bulgaria the first time in the Winter of 2010, was -12, bloody freezing
  24. +1 Just turned off the TV as I realised "Homes Under The Hammer" was on, nothings changed, if we wave a magic wand and everyone's debt's disappear the banking industry as it exists now will happily start lending ever more generous credit and we end up back where we started, it's earning commission and "growth" that matter now they know they can just scam the taxpayer
  25. Wasn't meant to be an accurate assessment , I have to go to Bulgaria about 2-3 times a year on business, strikes me as being a colder version of Greece (in terms of standard of construction, shops etc.), booze is cheap but not somewhere I'd choose to live, got a lot of Brit pensioners out there, always a few on the plane due to the lower prices for everything out there, don't see it as the place I'd like to spend my twighlight years, winters are bloody freezing
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