Jan 222018

Why are so many Capetonians not willing to ration their own water?

Over the last few weeks a drama has been playing out in Cape Town. That drama has been called Day Zero, a moment in history when 4 million citizens will be time warped from all the benefits of modernity, to a mediaeval existence where life was centered on drawing water from a well in the town square, economic productivity was based on subsistence, and “life was harsh, brutish and short” to quote Thomas Hobbs in his famous book Leviathan published in 1651. Continue reading »

 Posted by at 11:58 am
Sep 282017

Image result for bugatti veyron

While putting out the garbage this morning, the following analogy struck me, regarding this health care fiasco.

Here’s one way of looking at what we are doing, and how ridiculous it is.

We are a family that needs a car. We have a car. It is not the best car, sort of middle of the road. It gets us there and back, sometimes breaks down, but overall it is adequate. Other families have better cars, faster, more roomy, and so on. But ours is the most luxurious by far. Continue reading »

 Posted by at 11:31 am
Jul 162017

Look out below!

wall-us-mexico.jpgHere’s another bizarre twist to the saga of the Mexican border wall. Donald Trump wants it to be see-through. “Transparent”, as he calls it. Why? Here is the answer, straight from the President’s mouth:

“As horrible as it sounds, when they throw the large sacks of drugs over, and if you have people on the other side of the wall, you don’t see them – they hit you on the head with 60 pounds of stuff? It’s over. As crazy as that sounds, you need transparency through that wall. But we have some incredible designs.” Continue reading »

 Posted by at 6:42 pm
Jul 082017

Image result for trumpI try to avoid the subject of Donald Trump. However, right now I am just so disappointed that I have to vent.

In cricket, when a new batsman comes on the international scene, he is normally quite successful in his first few games, and makes big scores. After that, he either settles down to be just very good, or in rare instances, spectacularly successful throughout his career.  Often he fizzles out and disappears forever. Continue reading »

 Posted by at 7:02 pm
Jun 042017

The following rambling treatise is a concise treatment of the thoughts that went through my mind in the last week or so, during which the President of the United States of America, in his wisdom (or lack of it) announced our withdrawal from the Paris Agreement —  an agreed initiative to combat an existential threat to the entire planet.Image result for global warming

To put his decision in perspective: let us imagine that an alien force is threatening to take over our planet, in fact, they already have started to do so. They are ambitious, they plan to wipe out the entire human race. All the nations on earth get together and devise a plan to combat this threat. They will all work together, and the stronger ones will help the weaker ones. This is a good plan, and they all agree to it.

Then the United States, the most powerful nation on the planet (maybe) decides that sticking to this plan will make them “less competitive”, and they pull out.

Continue reading »

 Posted by at 8:02 pm
May 232012

The King of Africa

This is an ancient story from the San people of Africa (slightly adjusted) that can be read as a parable for our present times and troubles.

Elephant and Rain got married. The animals were excited: this was a real power couple. They both enjoyed the attention, paparazzi and all, but it wasn’t long before their egos got in the way of their relationship.

Elephant insisted that he was the original Big Man of Africa, that he was the most powerful. Rain, elegantly dressed in a rainbow, in turn insisted that she was the real Giver of Life, and without her everything died. That would make her more powerful than her husband. Couples therapy got them nowhere. Continue reading »

 Posted by at 6:25 pm
May 232012

Stéphane Hessel (93) with Jane Birkin (remember her?)

A book of just 13 pages, written by a relatively obscure 93-year-old man, which contains no sex, no jokes, no fine writing and no startlingly original message. A publishing disaster? No, a publishing phenomenon.

Indignez vous! (Cry out!), a slim pamphlet by a wartime French resistance hero, Stéphane Hessel, is smashing all publishing records in France. The book urges the French, and everyone else, to recapture the wartime spirit of resistance to the Nazis by rejecting the “insolent, selfish” power of money and markets and by defending the social “values of modern democracy”. Continue reading »

 Posted by at 6:20 pm
May 232012

Real Average After Tax Income

Of all the many banners being waved around the world by disgruntled protesters from Chile to Australia the one that reads, “We Are the 99%” is the catchiest.

It so turns out that it is also supported by some solid economic data. A report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) points out that, on average,  income inequality in America has not risen dramatically over the past 20 years — when the top 1% of earners are excluded. With them, we see a dramatically different picture.

Continue reading »

 Posted by at 6:04 pm
May 222012
Porsche Cayenne

Porsche Cayenne

The search for a deal to save the euro seems futile. George Papandreou introduced some drama into the staid business of banks and governments lending money to each other by calling for a referendum to approve a bailout plan. This maneuver sent Germany and France back to their tents on the French Riveira to sulk, from where they then summonsed the embattled premier to come and explain himself.  However, there is more bad news ahead if the extent of Greek tax evasion becomes known.

Here’s the startling fact: there are more Porsche Cayennes registered in Greece than taxpayers declaring an income of 50,000 euros ($68,500) or more, according to research by Professor Herakles Polemarchakis, former head of the Greek prime minister’s economic department. Continue reading »

 Posted by at 11:55 am