martes, 25 de noviembre de 2008

Logic and Love: the new sympathy for the fellows

Perhaps we are starting to live the transition between the old logic and the new logic..the logic of love, the logic based in understanding the other human being, and not only oneself...the logic that lies behind the discover that the fellow human beings around us "are our personal reasons"..... These are the misterious equations of love.

lunes, 24 de noviembre de 2008


Summarizing, until now we know that:

1.- The "ninja" mortgages were producing that the banks around the world were full of garbage and untrust, and every one of use was paying more money every month in the mortgage bill.

But the next question is: How has affected that to the real economy?...In Finland is not still very strong, but for instance, in the U.S.A. 200.000 employments have been destroyed in a month; Spain is destroying employmen at a rate of near 7.000 people/day....the companies in the countries affected have started to have real problems of liquidity, because the work capital has disappeared. How has affected the financial crisis to the companies?....


One aspect of this "transmission" of the financial crisis to real economy is that, when the "ninja" business started to fail, the banks stopped the credit to the normal companies. Why?..because they were not sure about three things:

a) how many money they were having available (that is, how many money have they lost in the investments on "hedge funds" and similar "financial instruments").
b) how could they know what is a good or a bad credit, after the big failure they had had!!!
c) how many money they could ask for to another banks, in case of emergency, because the other banks were in the same or worst situation!!

So, through the restriction of credits of the banks, the money has stopped to flow.

The Untrust, provoked by the lack of consciousness, has created a stagnation of the money flow all around the world.

Now, in other hand, we have to consider that, in parallel, all these years, it was happening something truly important, that I can call:

The incredible rise up of the Emergent Countries!!!: The new star of China!!

Lets try to describe this rise up of the emergent countries plainly again:

  • Every house that every one of us was buying during these years was paid with mortgage money. This money was paid to the constructors.
  • Additionally, in many cases, we were receiving more money than the market value of the house (sometimes 150% of the market value of the estate), so we were spending this money in new cars (do you understand why GM, Ford, etc...are having problems now that the banks are not giving more mortages?....), new technological gadgets, increasing our consumption, going holidays, going to dinner, etc....
  • The constructor, with the money he was receiving, was paying mainly wages, his suppliers, and finally he was retaining some profit for himself. To do what?...probably, to buy a new car, a new house, or to go holidays with his family...and so on...
  • The suppliers, with the money they were receiving, were paying wages again, and retaining some profit for themselves. To do what? you know what for...
  • The workers that were receiving their wages, were paying their mortgages, and spending the rest you wonder what?....yes, you know, holidays, dinners, etc...why?..because they have "extra money from their mortage" or the bank could lend them more money!!..they would pay in the future!...things were going really well!!!
  • Therefore, the main amount of money of the mortgages was going to pay "wages" and "companie profits". Both were destined mainly to increase in an spectacular way the "consumption" of all kinds of goods and services.
Now, the next question is: where are this goods and services coming from (our DVD,s, our clothes, our computers, our plastics, our light bulbs, etc...)?...where are they produced?...

Yes!!! In the emergent countries!!!! China, India, Taiwan, and Korea.

20 years ago, the money invested in China, for instance, was coming back to the western world. why?...becaue there was little amounts of money circulating in China itself. Most of the people was so poor, that the internal consumption in China was almost non existent. So, the Western countries (I will call them the WC from now on...don't ask why.... :-) ) were investing the money to build factories, and then paying miserable wages to the chinese people to produce our "goods", so that they could later sell these goods in the WC's at a much higher price, creating for themselves an excellent profit.

Summarizing: The WC's companies were using the people of the emergent countries as almost slaves, to create high profits back in the WC's. Additionally, the consumers in the WC's were another kind of slaves, consuming more and more and more withour having (or without wanting to have....) the faintest idea about what was happening. The first people (the chinese workers)were unhappy slaves, and the second one (the people in the WC's) happy and addicted slaves.

But, after decades, the chinese people and their government had decided that they want to be happy too!!..obvious, isn't it?, the wealth created in decades, has started to be distributed in China, and the people has started to consume. Not so much as in the WC's, but remember that the population of China is 1.500 million people. Do you remember these old say: "If the all the chinese were stepping at the same time, the world would tremble!!" ??...ok, now it has started to happen. They have started to walk together.

So, the money invested in China is not coming back (at least not as before). And wonder something...who has bought the debt that has been issued by the U.S.A. governments in order to have money to save their banks?....YES!!!China!!! interesting, isn't?....

Here you have some info about China on "The Economist":

Here you have a couple of videos on the topic of Chinese development:

We could say that, in the last years, the happy slaves in the WC's were living happy and dreamy lives thanks to the poor and unhappy slaves of the Emergent Countries (that I will call EC's, from now on ), but now this is not possible any longer, so that we have to share the pie with the unhappy slaves of the EC's that have become more happy now that they have a piece of pie.

This is other of the aspects of globalization that noone had talked about before.

The question now is: Are we going to fight for the pie, or are we going to create, to develop, a true global economic model, that is including all countries, and not any longer sustained by poverty-based productivity, but sustained in creativity and innovation because of common vision?

This last possibility is threatened by two opposed tendencies:

  • The first one is that EC's companies and Asiatic Countries (AC's) Companies begin to buy WC's companies, imposing their values and lifestyle. In the EC's and AC's a minority lives in a high standard, and a majority live on extreme poverty. So, they reproduce in domestic scale what the WC's were doing in global scale. Try to imagine the consequences of imposing this lyfestyle on Europe and U.S.A.
  • The second option is that (as the G-20 said in Washington) a new central organism (probably a Central World Bank) is created, to control finances and money in a global level. Connected with that, in a few years it will be created a single world currency. This would mean that economics would be something unreachable for democratic governments, that would impose its rules on all countries and all peoples. This would mean a completely un-human economics. Try to imagine, working 80 hours per week, just because the Central World Bank has said that thw WC's productivity is so low that we can not compete with the AC's, and this kind of decisions, now don't depend on your government. How do you feel imagining it?

Do you still think that we can do nothing about economics?....Do you still think that we can just be sitted in our sofas seeing TV?...

domingo, 23 de noviembre de 2008


What has happened, as a phenomena, provoking the crisis??...

Let' s try to describe the first part of it, following the excellent summary of the Spanish Professor of Madrid IESE, Mr. Leopoldo Abadia ( The title would be something like:


  • All started in a scenario in which the interest rates were going down in the western world, specially in U.S.A.
  • In this scenario, is better to take credit than to invest money, because the interest paid for a deposit is so low that is probable even smaller than the inflation rate. In these conditions, a investor in losing money (for instance, if your deposit pay 2% and the inflation is 2.5%, you are losing 0.5% every year if you have your money invested in the deposit)
  • Thereby, the banks start to promote credit, specially mortages, to make business
  • All of us start to buy new houses.
  • The houses prices rise up.
  • The banks forecast that the business is so good that they have to look for more of this business.
  • They identify a new kind of client that following Mr. Abadia, we can call NINJA (No Income, No job, No Asset). This is the kind of person that you will never lend even 5 Euros, because they can not pay them back!!!..But, suddenly, this kind of client has become interesting because the banks can lend them money and, in the worst of the cases, recover it selling the house some years later, in case of unpayment, because they believe that the real estate market will continue rising up. So, as you can now understand, the risk of the operation is quite high...what if the market stops growing???...
  • The banks give mortgages to the "ninjas", so the mortgage bussines grow.
  • The banks begin to lack money, (the business os going so well that they need more money to lend it!!!) so they look for it. where?..All around the world!! This is a global economy!!
  • The banks that have given mortgages to the ninjas, and that want to continue doing it, divide the mortgages in "little financial packages". This financial packages are composed of three types of mortgages: good ones, normal ones, and "awfully bad ones". This last type, we can call it kindly "garbage" mortgages, because they are the mortgages of the ninjas.
  • Of course they don't sell "garbage" to other banks, but "Mortgage Backed Securities" or MBS's, that is a name that sounds much more better, to say it plainly. In a later post I'll explain other financial instrument that they invented later: the "Structured Investment Vehicle" or SIV, that makes possible to transform garbage mortgages in an attractive investment!!..incredible, isn't it??...
  • Investors and Banks around the world (In England, in Spain, in France, in Iceland, perhaps even in Finland....)invest in "Hedge Funds", that are composed of MBS's and SIV's. That is, they invest on garbage, but they don't know how much garbage is there. They think that have invested in a very profitable international funds. So, in this stage all the banks in the world are full of garbage, but they don't know.
  • Now, the first unpayments by the ninjas start to happen. The illusion starts to crumble down.
  • The banks that start to understand that they have garbage in their balance sheets, understand too that the other banks are in the same situation, or even worse. So they start untrust each other.
  • What does it mean that they untrust? means that in the interbanks market, where they lend money to each other, they ask for an extra interest rate because of this untrust. In europe, this determines directly the Euribor Rate.
  • So, as a consequence of teh untrust created by the garbage that the banks had bought, the Euribor rate is rising up.
  • And finally, as a consequence of the rise up of the Euribor interest rate, you and me pay more money every month in our mortgage payments.
So, summarizing: some guys in U.S.A. sell garbage around the world, and finally, because of the globalizations, and because of our global lack of consciousness, we pay more every month. Funny, isn't it?..

Take a look at this video, that explains it really well in an humoristic way:

To be continued....

viernes, 21 de noviembre de 2008

Un poco de humor...

En el entorno de la informática y la tecnología, poco a poco, parece que las cosas tambien están revolución "open source" se aproxima....

reid un poco con este video.... The windows matrix....y estad atentos a la frase final del protagonista!! 


jueves, 20 de noviembre de 2008


The world scenario is changing. We are living a historical moment, that as in many other occasions, is not perceived in the very moment in which it is happening.

Let's try to take a look to the facts. What has happened in the last years?..apparently we had a good life. Our cash flows seemed to be indefenitely sustainable, or even they seemed to grow along the years, and with it we were able to have a better life having better houses, betteer cars, better technolgy, etc...with all this our life seemed to be easier, and it seemed to improved continuosly. And all that was possible thanks to an indefinite amount of credit.

Bit by bit, the crisis scenario was starting to appear. The banks were stopping the credit slowly. ¿Why was it so?..more or less one year ago it begun to appear in the news that the markets were having lack of liquiditu, lack of cash-flow. The subprime mortgages market (literally, mortgages for people that can not pay them) was failing in the United States. But in europe all governments spreaded the message of calm: "That's a domestic problem of the States. That's not a problem of Europe". So, we continued our life, as if nothing was happening. We were in a kind of dream, of spell, created by our governments, but also allowed my each one of ourselves.

Some months later, the news woke us up saying that European Markets were out of cash-flow, and the European Central Bank and other institutions like the Federal Reserve of the United States and the Central Bank of Japan was injecting cash flow, but as a exceptional and unique situation. According to the newspapers, it was not related with the subprime crisis of USA, so... again we fell down in the dream. Nothing happens!!... everything was ok!!... this is not affecting my daily life, isn't it?....

However, it was affecting. And the effects were more and more perceptible: Real Estate prices falling down as a need for selling; Real Estate operators decreasing income dramatically; and the banks, much more cautious, were stopping the credit; But even then, the governments still said: "There is no crisis"...In Spain, the prime minister was accusing anyone who talked about crisis of being "non-patriotic". Pathetic, but real. And after the summer, in just one week, we change from a non-crisis scenario, to the biggest crisis of the last hundred years, in words of some economics ministers of Europe. How is it possible that we all were so sounding asleep?.. this is my main concern. We all have behave like being "economic zombies".

So, now, trying to solve the problems (or perhaps making them worst... let's see) the main governments of the world meet in Washington. They say they are going to re-define the "financial architecture" of the world. This is a very sound expression, but what does it mean exactly??..... does someone know???....

They say it is a crisis of the financial model. And most of the people, that don't understand on Economics (and don't have to....) is asking to themselves: What in the hell is the "financial model"? Why the "financial model" is provoking that my company is firing me?..Why the "financial model" must be repaired with near 800.000 million dollars, that we all are paying to the banks, that have been having profit for years, while I'm not able to pay my bills in the end of every month?

To be continued.....

miércoles, 19 de noviembre de 2008

La Nueva Economia: Adam Smith y John Nash. Del capitalismo neocon al Colaboracionismo Social.

Adam Smith, en su libro "La riqueza de las naciones", deja muy claro que el proceso economico del libre mercado funciona solo en tanto en cuanto cada ser humano es capaz de mantener el correcto equilibrio entre su egoismo personal y la percepción de las necesidades de los demas. Este segundo aspecto, esta conectado con su obra anterior, "La Teoria de los sentimientos morales".

En esta ultima obra, en su capítulo I, Adam Smith refiere literalmente lo siguiente: "Por más egoista que se pueda suponer al hombre, existen evidentemente en su naturaleza algunos principios que lo mueven a interesarse por la suerte de otros, y a hacer que la felicidad de estos le resulte necesaria, aunque no derive de ella mas que el placer de contemplarla"(Adam Smith, "La riqueza de las naciones", Ed. Alianza Editorial, pg. 12).

La coexistencia del egoismo individual con la percepción y satisfaccion empatica de las necesidades ajenas, se hace posible, según el propio Smith, mediante la existencia de un aspecto de la conciencia humana que el llama " el espectador imparcial". Este es el un estado interior, un colocarse por encima de lo "personal", de manera que podamos encontrar el adecuado equilibrio entre nuestros intereses y los intereses del conjunto.

Por tanto, Adam Smith nunca afirmo que habia que ser egoistas, sino que era necesario "ponderar el interes propio con el interés del conjunto". Adam Smith nunca predicó a favor del llamado capitalismo salvaje, ni ataco al estado en si mismo. De hecho, critico duramente a los empresarios mercantilistas amasadores de riqueza, y ataco a los estados que daban "trato de favor" a determinados empresarios. No ha sido Adam Smith quien ha creado el capitalismo, sino determinado aspecto del mundo anglosajon, interesado en presentar un mundo unilateral opuesto a los ideales del comunismo despues de la II guerra mundial. Ese capitalismo salvaje, presentado como el adalid de la libertad individual, es una falacia, una mentira deliberada, del mismo modo que el comunismo de estado es otra mentira social, que ha creado decadas de sufrimiento en el mundo.

Este interesarse por el projimo, por el conjunto, del que habla Adam Smith, se ha perdido paulatinamente desde el siglo XVIII hasta nuestros días, a medida que la humanidad ha ido ganando libertad individual. Es el precio que hemos pagado. La negación del principio de empatia social por parte del mundo anglosajón no es más que el reflejo de su miedo al futuro, de su miedo a perder las estructuras sociales que aun mantienen, basadas en el poder individual que otorga la propiedad privada del dinero. Pero este poder no es más que una ilusion. Las fortunas de hace algunos meses ahora se han evaporado en buena parte con la caida de los mercados bursátiles, con la caida de los fondos de inversión. El dinero en los bancos ya no es tan seguro como antes, o al menos todos vivimos ahora con el pensamiento de que podemos perder nuestro dinero en cualquier momento. Ahora comenzamos a aprender que esta "libertad" individual que el mundo anglosajon pretende defender, no es una libertad de actuación en el sentido clásico; no se trata de hacer "lo que me de la gana", sino que se trata de la posibilidad de actuar de tal forma que la necesidad propia y ajena sean debidamente satisfechas. Se trata de crear el equilibrio entre la necesidad personal y la necesidad del conjunto.

Decir, por tanto, que la busqueda del máximo beneficio va en contra de un proceso económico sano, no es ser un iluso, sino al contrario, es precisamente, reivindicar al así llamado padre de la economia moderna, Adam Smith
. Todos aquellos que defienden este beneficio individual como el unico motor exclusivo del proceso economico basado en el libre mercado, sencillamente son incapaces de entender a Adam Smith, y son asimismo incapaces de entender lo que significa el concepto de "libertad humana". Se dejan guiar unicamente por su miedo y su ambición, en lugar de entender que el único sentido del proceso economico es la colaboración y la mutua cobertura de las necesidades humanas.

John Nash, el famoso mátematico cuya vida se retrata en la película "Una mente brillante", formuló de forma matemática le teoria de la colaboración (también conocida como teoría de juegos"), por la cual gano el premio nobel años más tarde. Con ella, perfecciona y presenta la validación cientifica de las ideas de Adam Smith. De acuerdo con la teoria de Nash (que durante casi 20 años se ha venido aplicando, por ejemplo, en las rondas negociadoras del GATT), en los procesos económicos, en los procesos de creación de riqueza, y en general, en cualquier proceso social, el mejor resultado es aquel que se logra cuando todos los miembros del organismo social buscan la mejor solucion posible para si mismos y para el conjunto.

¿Como hacer esto?....asociaciones de empresas con formulas de autofinanciacion y movilidad funcional; aprendizaje de capacidades negociadoras; asociaciones reales de consumidores centradas en negociación con productores y distribuidores;...esto son solo algunos ejemplos. Se pueden crear muchos más. Hay que aprender, hay que trabajar, hay que actuar.

Un nuevo mundo se abre ante nosotros: todo esta por hacer!!!

La receta del miedo: Que todo siga igual!!

Despues de la cumbre del G20 abundan los "sabios" economicos en las tertulias televisivas y radiofonicas. El miedo no nos/les deja ver mas allá de nuestras/sus narices, y pretenden volver a lo de siempre, a lo que ya conocemos. Lo facil es decir: "todo esta bien, solo tenemos que modificar algunos aspectos del sistema.". Como decía un conocido locutor radiofónico hace un par de dias, se trata de poner parches y llegar al sistema financiero 2.0, pero manteniendo el sistema operativo.

Esto es lo que se hace cuando se tiene miedo: se vuelve al pasado una y otra vez, porque se tiene verdadero terror de asumir el presente y el futuro. Que se lo digan a los 7.000 parados que se generan cada dia en España; que se lo digan a todos los que no saben como van a hacerlo este mes para no acabar en numeros ultra-rojos; que se lo digan a los que tienen ya empezado un procedimiento de embargo por el banco; que se lo digan a aquellos que ya saben cuando les echan de su casa; a ver si los locutores valientes que saben de pronto tanto de economia, son capaces de mirar a los ojos a una de estas personas, y de decirles que no hay que cambiar nada esencial, solo poner parches.

La cobardia nunca ha ayudado a progresar al genero humano. Busquemos soluciones, miremos adelante aprendiendo del pasado, pero no nos escondamos en lo que ya sabemos. El futuro, por definición, es diferente del pasado. No podemos adaptarnos a algo diferente usando lo que ya sabemos. Hay que descubrir lo nuevo. Aprendamos a hacerlo!!

lunes, 17 de noviembre de 2008


Hemos estado disfrutando de una economia boyante durante casi 14 años, es decir. desde 1994. Si me apuran, desde 1998,cuando el gobierno de Jose Maria Aznar hizo posible que España entrara en el grupo "Euro" en algo más de un año, cuando el actual miistro de Economía, que entonces tambien lo era, Pedro Solbes, decía que eso era sencillamente imposible. En cualquier caso, entre 10 y 14 años de crecimiento economico, de generar dinero, de vivir mas o menos bien.

Durante todos estos años, los precios de las viviendas se han elevado hasta límites insospechados. Nos hemos endeudado en cantidades impensables para poder pagar nuestras casa, porque el tipo de interés nos lo permitía. Pero nadie, ni los constructores, ni los bancos, ni el gobierno, ni los compradores de las casas, se plantearon nunca que consecuencias tendria este comportamiento.

En paises como España, además, la cultura general es "que el gobierno lo arregle". Es decir, nadie se siente involucrado o en todo caso con posibilidades de cambiar algo. Simplemente, hay que intentar "sobrevivir" lo mejor posible. Se nos olvida que los gobiernos los pone y los quita el pueblo, y que una sociedad civil debidamente organizada, es capaz de actuar entre elecciones, llamando al orden a cualquier gobernante, y obligando a cambiar lo que sea necesario. Claro, es más "cómodo"echarle la culpa al estado, o al gobierno de turno, que mirarse a uno mismo, y reconocer que, como los de Lehman & Brothers, cada uno hemos buscado, a nuestra medida, el beneficio propio, y por tanto, hemos contribuido,proporcionalmente, a crear la situación actual.

Para explicarlo de un modo muy simple, digamos que cada casa que hemos comprado, ha generado una hipoteca. Cada hipoteca pagaba al constructor, que a su vez pagaba a sus trabajadores y proveedores. Los proveedores, a su vez, pagaban los salarios de sus trabajadores. Con ello, el dinero de nuestras hipotecas, se destinaba a pagar los costes principales del sector de la construccion y de los proveedores de este sector: los salarios.

De estos salarios, el 70% aproximadamente se destina a consumo. El pago de vivienda o de deuda, nunca debe superar, para las rentas medias, el 30% ó 33% de la renta disponible de una familia, como todo banco sabe. Por tanto, el 70% restante, más o menos, se destinaba a consumo. Y la mayor parte de los bienes de consumo del mundo occidental, se producen en Asia, esencialmente en China, Taiwan, Corea, y la India.

Hasta hace no mucho tiempo, el dinero que llegaba a estas economias, volvía al mundo occidental en forma de pagos de deuda, importaciones de productos, etc, es decir, via balanza de pagos. Pero decadas de produccion occidental en estos paises, finalmente, han producido un aumento paulatino de su nivel de vida, generando con ello un aumento de su demanda interior, un aumento de su consumo interior. Gracias a este aumento, ha sido posible empezar a producir para si mismos, lo que antes compraban a los paises europeos. En definitiva, que los paises asiaticos, y también los paises emergentes, han comenzado a repartirse el pastel económico y financiero con Europa y Estados Unidos. Y eso nos lleva a una situación muy simple: el trozo de pastel al que tocamos cada uno, es ahora sensiblemente mas pequeño.

Hasta ahora habiamos vivido en una especie de sueño, disfrutando de un confort basado en la pobreza de los paises africanos y asiaticos, principalmente. Ahora, estos paises han comenzado a levantar cabeza, y reclaman lo que les corresponde. Este es el aspecto de la globalización que casi nadie se esperaba.

El reto para occidente, es ser capaz de encontrar un modelo económico realmente global, que de cabida a los paises Asiaticos, y que a diferencia del pasado, no puede basarse en la productividad que se genera por la diferencia de salarios entre Asia y Europa, sino en la capacidad de incrementar la productividad via creatividad e innovacion.

Este reto se ve amenazado por dos tendencias opuestas y complementarias:

  • La primera es que las corporaciones Asiaticas, comiencen a comprar empresas occidentales y a imponer su modelo social. En Asia, un porcentaje minoritario vive con un alto standard de vida, mientras que la mayoria de la poblacion vive en la mas absoluta pobreza. Es decir, que los ricos son ricos gracias a que la mayoria son pobres. Si esto es lo que va a venir a Europa, empiecen a imaginarse cuales podrían ser las consecuencias.
  • La segunda opción será (tal y como hemos visto tras la reunión de Washington del G-20) la creación de un gran organismo mundial de control de las finanzas y el dinero, y probablemente, antes de lo que pensamos, la creacion de una moneda mundial única. Esto nos llevaria a considerar la economia y las finanzas como algo dictado por una especie de casta sacerdotal economica, por encima de gobiernos y paises, con los que no se puede discutir. La economía considerada como un fenomeno más alla del ser humano. Intenten imaginarse como sería si el Banco Mundial dice que hay que trabajar 80 horas a la semana porque la productividad de su pais o de Europa es muy baja, comparada con China, y esta decision no depende ya de su gobierno. ¿Como se siente al imaginarlo?...

...les van entrando ganas de hacer algo al respecto??.....


P.D.: Algunos link relacionados con este tema...