Education

Return of the State-Owned Enterprise

Image result for state owned enterprises

A new investor to Japan once asked CM how to categorise corporate behaviour in the land of the rising sun. CM replied, “Japan is not capitalism with warts, but socialism with beauty spots.

Latest reports confirm the Bank of Japan (BoJ) has now become a top 10 shareholder in almost 50% of listed stocks. In a sense, we have a trend which threatens to turn Japan’s largest businesses into quasi-state-owned enterprises (SoE) by the back door. The BoJ now owns $250bn of listed Japanese equities. It is the top shareholder in household Japanese brands such as Omron, Nidec and Fanuc. At current investment rates, the BoJ is set to own $400bn worth of the market by 2020-end.

The original reason for this move was to boost the ETF market and hope that Mrs Watanabe would pocket her winnings and splurge them at Mitsukoshi Department Store to increase consumption. Sadly all she has done is stuff it under the futon.

Although the government has been very public about the drive for good corporate governance, a stewardship code that drives to unwind cross-shareholdings, improve liquidity and lift returns, sadly the BoJ essentially reverses free-float and confounds the ability of companies to be attractive investments. What will happen if one day the BoJ announces it needs to pare its balance sheet back or that its holdings become too noticeable? These stocks will crater and Mrs Watanabe will become even more gun shy.

We shouldn’t forget that behind the walls of the BoJ, there is discussion to buy all $10 trillion of outstanding Japanese Government Bonds (JGBs) and convert them into zero-coupon perpetual bonds with a mild administration fee to legitimise the asset. Global markets won’t take nicely to wiping out 2 years worth of GDP with a printing press. Such a reckless experiment has yet to hit the Japanese Diet for discussion because such a move will require legislation to approve it. If it happens, the inflation the BoJ has now given up on will turn into a tsunami.

If you think you had a bad day at work…

A poor Belgian technician had a hard time explaining how he fired the Vulcan cannon of a F-16 he was working which destroyed the $70m fighter plane in front of it. Sadly these planes don’t come with keys. The guns fire even on the ground. It was an accident, honest! No one was injured. So if you’re having a rough day at work, spare a thought that it may not be as bad as this guy!

Ohio Democrat suggests heartbeat bill exclude African American women

Ohio passed the “Heartbeat Bill” last week to make it illegal to abort a fetus once a heartbeat is detected. State Rep Janine Boyd (D) proposed an amendment that African American women should be exempted from the legislation. It was defeated.

Her argument?

Black slaves were once treated like cattle and put out to stud in order to create generations of more slaves…Our country is not far enough beyond our history to legislate as if it is.”

Note that 70% of Planned Parenthood abortion clinics are located in low income areas. While African Americans are 13% of the population, 37% of pregnancies are terminated. In NY, more black babies are aborted than born.

Who knew that abortion should be race based?

Peter Ridd wins unfair dismissal action

Congratulations to Prof Peter Ridd, who has won his court case for unfair dismissal. Ridd, who was unceremoniously dumped by James Cook University for challenging the orthodoxy about the deterioration of the Great Barrier Reef, exposed the Marxism rife within our government funded universities.

The whole point of university is to encourage new thought and fresh ideas. Not sack those who disagree. So much for mounting a credible argument to debunk Ridd’s assertions. If anything he has proved the faculty couldn’t disprove him with facts.

He has won on all counts with respect to unfair dismissal. Will the Dean move to sack/sanction/demote those who encouraged the sacking?

Extinction Rebellion – instinctive revulsion

The lunacy is incredible. Carbon neutrality in the UK by 2025. Good luck with that. The Extinction Rebellion (ER) is the next radical left protest movement that seeks widespread civil disobedience, because in the words of one of the founders, “getting arrested can be quite fun.” Some have goals to see inside of a prison cell. CM suggests doing such protests in China where most of the “environmental” problem they fear lies. No doubt President Xi will warmly oblige requests for long stays in one of his many jails.

ER’s manifesto is a collection of web links to climate alarmist sites and comments. Pretty much every maximum alarmist reference has been uploaded. No balance in there.

Sadly they haven’t done much proof checking of the website contents. That’s what happens when one is foaming at the mouth kneeling at the altar of climate alarmism.

Note the following 3 examples

1) under pollution ER notes,

All forms of pollution were responsible in 2015 for an estimated 9 million premature deaths“.

Yet only one paragraph later it follows up with:

the very air we breathe is growing dangerously polluted: nine out of ten people now breathe polluted air, which kills 7 million people every year.

So deaths have gone down? Which is it?

2) The Great Barrier Reef

Corals reefs are suffering mass die-offs from heat stress.  These events are becoming much more common with back to back die-offs on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia in 2016 and 2017.

Wrong again. The reef has been seen to be flourishing. Scientists from the Australian Institute of Marine Science in Sep 2017 surveyed 14 coral reefs between Cairns and Townsville to see how they fared after being bleached and were surprised to find the coral had already started to reproduce.

3) Rising sea levels

2°C warming  would threaten to inundate areas now occupied by 130 million people while increase to 4°C could lock in enough eventual sea level rise to submerge land currently home to 470 to 760 million people globally

Analysis using tide gauges and satellites showed 30 Pacific and Indian Ocean atolls including 709 islands, revealed that no atoll lost land area and that 88.6% of islands were either stable or increased in area, while only 11.4% contracted. What sea level rise? The most experienced is around. 1mm pa.

Maybe we should feel safer in the knowledge that ER co-founder, Gail Bradbrook, flew to Costa Rica to have a high dose of a psychedelic substance (iboga) which induced visions according to the FT. Should we put her eR movement down to the hallucinations and anxiety caused by the drug?

Two certainties.

We can be sure ER will not be a peaceful conscientious objector (charges for property damage already reported) and CM was right to cancel his FT subscription given they thought giving these loonies any airtime was warranted.

You won’t believe how California will help us save the planet this time!

At some point, Californians will end up with a list that tells them what they can do which will be shorter than what they can’t. The Democrat controlled state is banning those single use shampoo and body soap containers. The reason being that too much of this plastic waste ends up where it shouldn’t. So instead of encouraging more sensible disposal, let’s just ban it!

How ironic that at the World Economic Forum of all groups said with regards to plastic,

Many environmental activists are calling for a ban on plastics. However, the very properties that make plastic so dangerous – its durability and long lifespan – also make it a great asset. A material that will not die or be destroyed for five hundred years is valuable. We can reuse it almost endlessly. The problem is not plastic itself. The problem is using it irresponsibly….

…A material that can be constantly recycled is a great help to ecology and the economy, especially when the human population is growing rapidly and our lifestyle demands are increasing exponentially. The solution is not to ban plastic, but to ensure that it is used responsibly and recycled properly.”

Bingo!

Once again leftist governments think more regulation, rather than punishing irresponsibility is the answer.

Like all those who praised the banning of plastic shopping bags as being environmentally ‘woke’ when the facts reveal the opposite. Not to mention that we have to go aisle 7 to substitute the plastic shopping bags for plastic waste bin liners. Maybe our Sulo wheelie bins should be made of cardboard?

CM wrote,

In 2006 the UK Environment Agency did a study on the effectiveness of alternative packaging solutions to HDPE (conventional plastic bags) in terms of lowering environmental impact. It said,

The paper, LDPE, non-woven PP and cotton bags should be reused at least 3, 4, 11 and 131 times respectively to ensure that they have lower [impact] than conventional HDPE carrier bags that are not reused.”

So if conventional biodegradable plastic shopping bags are used to throw out garbage that means 6, 8, 22 and 262 days.

While we’re at it, do people realize that the majority of take away wax-lined coffee cups aren’t recycled even though you can feel good about yourself when disposing of it in the right bin? How many people elect to have their brew poured into a ceramic cup? Look next time – hardly any! The cost to recycle the 500 billion (and rising) coffee cups consumed annually is so astronomical (it is hard to separate the wax that stops the cup disintegrating because of the energy intensity involved to do so) that over 90% end up in landfill. No one talks about that 300 million tons of virgin paper used to make these cups! How many of us give it one thought when we need a shot of caffeine? Right?! Although Starbucks is trialing a 5p latte levy for those that elect to use a paper cup.

All this ban has done has inconvenience people. 60% of mismanaged plastic waste was from East Asia (i.e. China), 11% from South Asia; 9% from sub-Saharan Africa; 8% from MENA; 7% from LatAm; 3% from Europe and 0.9% from North America.

Instead of accepting Americans are 5% of the population and 0.9% of mismanaged plastic waste globally, Californians, at 12% of the US population, would ceteris paribus, be responsible for 0.1% of mismanaged plastic waste! Banning hotel shampoo bottles might lower it to 0.099%?

Way to go California! Your genius knows no bounds! A word of advice. Probably better to focus on the $1 trillion plus unfunded liability in your state pension system.

One reason Boston Globe hasn’t won a Pulitzer since 2016

At what point do mainstream media outlets reach peak Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS)? When will editorial departments seek common sense? The Boston Globe pulled down an opinion article that suggested waiters tamper with Trump officials’ food. Apart from encouraging staff to breach food safety laws, they show themselves to be juvenile in the extreme. Journalistic integrity? Hardly.

If the liberal left media truly believe they represent mainstream America in moral and societal values, which all of the crazy Trump supporters need to follow, tampering with food is not a great benchmark.

If you want a laugh, take a look at the Boston Globe’s stated values! What a surprise it hasn’t won a Pulitzer since 2016!