Friday, September 17, 2021

World Bank, don't silence your Doing Business report

Long time ago, briefly, two years, I was an Executive Director at the World Bank.
Nowadays, I do not speak for anyone except, hopefully my grandchildren.

It’s very hard to have the cake and eat it too.
The amount of successful and unsuccessful pressure exercised for tampering the data in the World Bank’s Doing Business Review, clearly evidences its great importance. Between perfection and relevance what's more important?

In other words:  World Bank, if even China exerts so much pressure to improve its ratings, you must know that with the Doing Business report you have something extremely valuable in your hands. World Bank, just because someone mishandled it, and it's not picture perfect, please don't throw the baby out with the bathwater

If the World Bank is not the most appropriate entity to carry out world wide ease of doing business research, who is? Or is such research not needed?  I assure you that, even with all its possible mistakes, we  citizens in all countries striving to objectively improve our rankings in Doing Business, we sure need it.

PS. We read in the report: "If incorporating Hong Kong SAR's data into China's data, China's ranking in Doing Business 2018, would rise to 70, eight spots higher than the previous year... (fifteen places higher than the originally calculated ranking of 85)". If that's not an extremely important contribution for the understanding of the Ease of Doing Business worldwide, what is?

PS. And why not launch a Doing Bureaucracy Efficiently Review? Billions of citizens around the world would appreciate it

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Adjusting to rough-times in the city

There once was a city so nice that even if they only visited it a month a year many owned apartments there. And since those wealthy owners spent lavishly during their short stay, and accepted to pay any normal property taxes, the city and its long-term residents, all benefited greatly.

But then the city fell on hard times and some not too bright city authorities, decided they should impose a special tax on these 2nd home owners.

And as a result, many short-termers, given the city was for the time being just not as attractive as before, decided they were not willing to pay this extra tax, and put many of these properties up for sale… and so the prices on both 1st and 2ndhome apartments fell drastically; and with-it the assessment values; and with-it the city’s property tax income… and, of course, many of the usual visiting big spenders kept away. The city had been placed on a slippery downward slope.

What could otherwise be done? 

What about an offer of, “anyone spending at least two months in their 2nd home in the city, will get a special rebate on their normal property tax”?

What about a reduction in the tax rate applicable to the rental income of all 2nd homes in the city?


Saturday, June 12, 2021

No remittances without representation!

The June 8 news article "In Guatemala, Harris offers stern words on corruption" reported extensively on Vice President Harris's travel to Guatemala, where the United States, by offering financial cooperation, hopes to reduce the flow of illegal migration from Central America and stimulate better behaviors, e.g., less corruption.

Though those financial contributions are indeed important, they are peanuts when compared with the remittances sent home by the migrant workers. The reality is that what the migrant workers from many Central American nations earn abroad is often much more than the gross domestic product of their home countries. The sad reality is that their remittances help to keep in power those ineffective governments that made them immigrate and that keeps them from going home.

If the United States really wants to help, then look to politically empower as much as possible those migrants in their homelands. For instance, should they not have an important direct representation in their respective congresses? No remittances without representation!

Thursday, February 25, 2021

If someone sells a tractor to pay a wealth tax, who buys it?

Sir, Diego Laje and Anthony Faiola report that Gabriel de Raedemaeker, a land-rich farmer in Argentina, says he doesn’t have the cash flow to absorb an increased tax burden, and might need to sell a tractor to cover the cost. “Argentina sends its bill for pandemic to the rich” Washington Post, February 23, 2021.

A follow up to that could lead to a long never-ending sequel of articles. Who will de Raedemaeker sell the tractor to? What will the buyer do with it? Produce more or less than de Raedemaeker? And if the buyer had not bought the tractor, what else could he have done with his money? And so, on and on and on!

I’ve always thought that it would be great to read a book that followed the money trail left by Louis XX commissioning in 1500 Leonardo da Vinci to paint Salvator Mundi; and how it flowed through the years, perhaps to a Bill Gates, and in the process generating so much wealth that someone in 2017 decided to freeze $450.3 millions of purchase power on a wall with that painting.

But even if Raedemaeker had the cash, unless it was stashed away under his mattress, that does not either mean it was doing nothing. It might be deposited in a bank that used it to finance the purchase another tractor, that could be extracting even more wealth from the so fertile western Pampas of Argentina.


Saturday, January 09, 2021

Big Tech/Social Media & The Political Correctness autocracy, against Trump and the "immature" American citizens

“After close review of recent Tweets from @realDonaldTrump … specifically how they are being received and interpreted on and off Twitter” 

So, Twitter is specifically declaring that Americans are not mature enough to read Trump tweets. I guess we Venezuelans are more mature @maduro_en

Are they still mature enough to vote? Is this a Neo-Inquisition agreement between Big-Tech-Social-Media and the Big-Brother-Political-Correctness autocracy?

“So, we must beware of a tyranny of opinion which tries to make only one side of a question the one which may be heard. Everyone is in favour of free speech. Hardly a day passes without its being extolled, but some people’s idea of it is that they are free to say what they like, but if anyone says anything back, that is an outrage” Winston Churchill

PS. How do you communicate when only either red or blue can be seen? In response to social media’s massive influence, humanity is mutating to suffer specific colors blindness. How far away are Americans from never be able to hear/read/see violet again?

PS. It's now 6:30 pm Saturday night, less than 39 hours away from when Wall Street opens. I just told my wife that Twitter shares will fall 20% at least... and that Jack Dorsey might not survive as its CEO... but, of course, I could be wrong... not the first time... not the last time

PS. If you advertise on Twitter, would you be somewhat concerned?

PS. I just saw Arnold Schwarzenegger comparing some utterly surprised selfie-taking clowns unbelievably being able to enter the Capitol building, with the Kristallnacht Pogrom against the Jews, that which would end with the gassing of millions of them. Mind-boggling!

PS. Instead of allowing Trump to tweet his heart out, they silenced him. Unifying or polarizing? What if Trump’s followers now start taking notice of who advertises on Twitter and Facebook? 

PS. Ron Paul: What if Twitter/Facebook is an old mans only communication with the world, and being able to use these is the only thing that gets him out of bed, is not then sending him to isolate incommunicado down in the basement, an act of sheer cruelty?

PS. Can it be that the Senior Advisory Committee of the Institute of Politics at Harvard does not include even one of those 74 million Americans who voted for Trump? Please tell me I’m wrong.

PS. If the Senior Advisory Committee of the Board of the Institute of Politics at Harvard ignores that Trump got 12 million more votes than when he won in 2016, and except for Biden more votes than any candidate in US history, then perhaps students of politics should ignore Harvard.

PS. Not the first time I have written about the threat of Big-Tech and Big Brother entering into a joint venture.

A different take?

The storming of the D.C. Capitol by some selfie-taking clowns utterly surprised by being able to enter it… is the mother of all tempest in a teapot.