A coin is a flat piece generally made of metal in the shape of a disk, minted by an issuing authority (with the exception of some virtual currencies such as Bitcoin or Ethereum) to prove its legitimacy and value.
But where does the word coin come from? Needless to say, as so many terms, the word coin derives from Latin cuneus (which meant wedge or mint); then the term passed to Old French coigne (meaning wedge, cornerstone); then to Middle English coyn and finally to modern English coin.
Last year I wrote about an awesome workshop held in Barcelona called If we ruled the World. It was one of the best workshops I have ever had the pleasure to attend since I learnt a lot about analytical and creative thinking, team-working, problem-solving and decision-making. It really exceeded my expectations. It surely had far-reaching significance. It was well worth taking it!
As the course page reads:“If we ruled the World is a strategy workshop in which players rethink global systems using tools from speculative scenario planning. Participants will work in dynamic groups. Throughout the course, participants will learn analytical and creative thinking skills while focusing on speculative design and worldbuilding techniques. We will imagine possible worlds based on the reality we’re living now”.
If you follow Financial Translator, you may know that I love foresight studies, which involve critical thinking regarding long-term developments, speculation about future trends and interdisciplinary debates. Forecasting, forward thinking, strategic analysis and networking are key components of this workshop, which is a superb update of Buckminster Fuller‘s World Game (see the link below) . Over the last decade, scenario methods have become widely used in some European countries in policy-making, so if you are interested in future developments and the way you can have an influence on them or even change them, don’t miss out on this unique and far-reaching learning experience:
Economy for the Common Good is far more practical and feasible than its somewhat utopian name may suggest. It is not about building castles in the air, it is a really well thought out and down-to-Earth model. Short and plain: Do you want to produce goods and services flouting labour rights or polluting our planet? No problem: go ahead. Do you want to sell your products or services in our market, too? All right, just do it. Just one thing: we will tax your products 20 times higher than any other respectful products, so yours will be way more expensive on the market. Besides by means of a code (similar to a colour barcode), consumers will be able to see at a glance to what extent each product respects a series of ethical and environmental principles. Isn’t your company transparent? Well, you can’t sell your products or services on our market. Sorry, mate! Thus, if you want to make a profit, you will necessarily increase the common good in the process. Result: if these are the new rules of the game, any entrepreneur, no matter how unscrupulous they are, will be willing to comply with the new legal framework so that their products and services are competitive on the market. It is a system that rewards the good businessperson and punishes predators, with the aim of benefiting the whole community. You can get rich, of course, but the only way to achieve it is by making a positive contribution. Economy for the Common Good calls for reevaluating economic relations by, for example, putting limits on financial speculation and encouraging companies to produce socially-responsible products. So Economy of the Common Good is about changing the rules of the game, not the entire system. It is feasible because it only depends on political will.
So, at the end of the day, It is a model that juggles the legitimate aspiration to prosper and environmental awareness around to fit all human needs in. Furthermore, both liberals and left-wingers could agree upon such principles. How good can you have it?
Guaranteed Minimum Income, Universal Basic Income and Universal Basic Dividend
In the midst of the worst global pandemic since the 1918 flu — inappropriately named Spanish flu, since it didn’t originate in Spain— some countries such as the USA are implementing economic emergency measures or, if you like, actions, to prevent millions of citizens from going bankrupt. In a sense, it could be argued that it is similar to a Guaranteed Minimum Income.
Meanwhile, the European Union, to put it mildly, doesn’t cut the mustard and is disappointing everybody once again: uncoordinated, lacking in solidarity, aimless, drifting… In one word: lame.
It is in this context that we should listen to the ones that got it right during the last financial crisis; people like Yanis Varoufakis, an eminent Greek economist, academic, philosopher and politician.
But before going into further details, we should know what we are talking about. First of all, we must distinguish between the Guaranteed Minimum Income (GMI) and the Universal Basic Income (UBI). Afterwards we can tackle the Universal Basic Dividend brought forward by Professor Varoufakis.
Guaranteed Minimum Income (GMI), also called minimum income, is a system of social welfare provision that guarantees that all citizens or families have an income sufficient to live on, provided they meet certain conditions. Eligibility is typically determined by the following: citizenship, a means test, and either availability for the labor market or a willingness to perform community services. The primary goal of a guaranteed minimum income is to reduce poverty. If citizenship is the only requirement, the system turns into a universal basic income.
On the other hand, Universal Basic Income (UBI) is a model for providing all citizens with a given sum of money, regardless of their income, resources or employment status. The purpose of the UBI is to prevent or reduce poverty and increase equality among citizens.
That said, let’s pay close attention to what Professor Varoufakis has to say:
So, according to the renowned economist, the Universal Basic Income shouldn’t come from taxation, since it might become a source of conflicts within the working class. He points out that nowadays capital is socially produced, so he brings forward the idea of a Universal Basic Dividend where a percentage of shares of all companies should go to a public equity trust that works as a wealth fund for society. The dividends should be distributed to every member of society equally, so the income comes from return of capital, not from taxation.
Contrary to what many may think, Varoufakis is for a global governance. He is not against free trade, but he stresses that it should be accompanied by binding rules in order to avoid social dumping.
One thing is for sure: something must be done, asap. Countries can’t just let their people and SMEs go bankrupt overnight. We might be about to face the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, and this pandemic and its consequent lockdown could take a while. Util we don’t have a vaccine, what can’t be cured, must be endured, and unprecedented economic measures must be put into effect. A more egalitarian society fits everyone, since it means a more stable, safe, human and prosperous society. For once, let’s be smart. We are in this crisis together and we will come out of it together. There is no other way.
Translators, financiers, copywriters, teachers, coaches… Are they safe?
Here is an estimate of the effect the current pandemic is likely to have on your job. Many people are fearful of the economic consequences Covid-19 may bring about in the near future. Few times has a virus had such a dramatic impact on the world economy.
Even so, I’d like to emphasize that every cloud has a silver lining and that after the storm comes the calm. So… chin up!
As you may imagine, those who are already teleworking are likely to be less affected by the current situation.
On the contrary, those with a customer-oriented job are more exposed to layoffs and hiring freezes.
As for self-employed workers, as in the case of salaried employees, it depends largely on whether they have remote jobs or they need to be physically present in the place where they need to carry out their professional activity.
Those who work from home or remote, such as translators, copywriters, transcriptionists, writers, web developers, social media managers, community managers,designers, virtual assistants, online brokers, bloggers, youtubers, online marketers, remote customer service representatives, online coaches… can breathe a sigh of relief. Their jobs are not particularly at risk. Needless to say, since we operate in an interconnected global economy, remote workers could suffer some collateral damage, but, at the end of the day, they are in an advantageous position.
On the other end, those who have a customer-oriented job and can’t work remote, such as hotel clerks, receptionists, bank tellers, front desk managers, waiters, flight attendants, liaison interpreters or conference interpreters who need to be in situ, account coordinators, client relation specialists, teachers, coaches, event managers, event planners… could go through hard times, specially if they are freelancers.
So the most vulnerable part of the spectrum are self-employed freelancers working in customer-oriented jobs, whereas the safest part are those who work remote for companies which service or activity doesn’t involve a good deal of personal attention or contact.
Manufacturing and construction may wait to make decisions on layoffs. On the other hand, many employees in the tourism industry could be laid off since many countries are closing borders and advising citizens not no travel to avoid catching the virus and spreading it. It may have a dramatic impact on certain countries where tourism is a substantial share of the GDP such as Spain, Greece, Dominican Republic…
For better or worse, health professionals can count themselves “lucky”, at least in the foreseeable future. We can’t thank them enough and I can’t stress enough how important it is to protect our public health care. This virus has been a frightening wake-up call. All developed countries must provide a universal health care coverage, otherwise it is not only unethical and utterly immoral, but also extremely dangerous for both the rich and the poor.
In spite of everything, as Victor Hugo put it, Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise. So fingers crossed and best of luck to you all!
Jokes and stand-up comedians on Economy and Finance
Here are 10 short jokes + some extra jokes about economics and economists, some of them made up by economists themselves. Have fun and remember what Oscar Wilde used to say: Life is too important to be taken seriously. So, without further ado, keep calm and let the fun begin!
‘I’m a walking economy, you know’ ‘How so?’ ‘My hairline is in recession, my stomach is always in inflation, and these two together bring me into a deep depression’
Inflation is when you pay fifteen dollars for the ten-dollar haircut you used to get for five dollars when you hadhair. (Sam Ewing)
Did you know economists have predicted sixty out of the last five recessions?
“You know it’s said that an economist is a man who, when he finds something that works in practice, wonders if it works in theory.” – Walter Heller
Q: Why are Women more pessimistic about the economy than Men? A: Because men are in charge of the economy!
There were two economists who were shipwrecked on a desert island. They had no money but over the next three years, they made millions of dollars selling their hats to each other.
Did you hear of the economist who dove into his swimming pool and broke his neck? He forgot to seasonally adjust.
Why was astrology invented? So economics would seem like an accurate science.
How many economists does it take to change a light bulb? Seven, plus/minus ten.
Economists do it with models
“We have 2 classes of forecasters: Those who don’t know . . . and those who don’t know they don’t know. “ – John Kenneth Galbraith.
What did the ruthless businessperson say to their employees? If at first you don’t succeed, you’re fired!
Business is up and down at the moment; I sell yo-yos.
The banker fell overboard from a friend’s sailboat. The friend grabbed a life preserver, held it up, not knowing if the banker could swim, and shouted, “Can you float alone?” “Obviously,” the banker replied, “but this is a heck of a time to talk business.”
My boss asked me to put a joke on the first slide of the presentation…apparently a picture of my pay slip wasn’t what he was looking for.
When I was younger, I really wanted to be a banker…but I kept losing interest.
What’s the best way of making a small fortune in the stock market? Starting off with a large fortune.
A physicist, a chemist and an economist are stranded on an island, with nothing to eat. A can of soup washes ashore. The physicist says, “Lets smash the can open with a rock.” The chemist says, “Let’s build a fire and heat the can first.” The economist says, “Lets assume that we have a can-opener…”
Don’t forget to visit the Humour section of this blog. I wish you a happy Christmas and a happy new year! Hopefully there are far better things ahead than any we leave behind. (Brad Paisley). So learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow (CS Lewis).
Gifts for Economists, Financiers and Accountants 2019
Here is a collection of items related to economics and finance for all tastes and budgets. From t-shirts to kitsch objects, we’ll find all kinds of gift for economists, financiers and accountants. Just click on the description for further details. Updated 2019-2020.
Well, as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, so, without further ado, let’s have a look.
T-shirts for economists, accountants and financiers
T-shirts are a must, a classic gift that never dies. Here you’ll find messages for all tastes.
Bull and bear Stock exchange
One of the most appreciated gifts by financiers are these cufflinks:
Coins couldn’t be missed in this list:
Bills or banknotes, as you like. Here are some curious ones for a gift:
Piggy banks / Money boxes
Fun piggy banks for all ages and tastes:
Fun Toilet tissue
A funny way of wiping your ass….
Wow! These fridge magnets rock!
Settlers of Catan
This post will be regularly updated with new gifts and curious objects.
I attended a conference given by Michel Bauwens yesterday in Barcelona that really went above and beyond my expectations and, to my astonishment, it made me see things through a different and hopeful prism.
Michael Bauwens, the founder and director of the P2P Foundation, is a top figure in the field of P2P economies and the commons movement. He presented his last P2P Foundation report “Towards a P2P Infrastructure for a Socially-Just Circular Society” . It explains how using shared perma-circular supply chains, post blockchain distributed ledgers, protocol cooperatives, and other forms of post-capitalist accounting, could save the planet.
Whether you are a fan of neoliberalism or not, and regardless of ethical and moral considerations, at this point, one thing that few people seem to doubt is that, at the current rate of growth, this system will end up depleting our natural resources and threatening our very existence. As we all know, the logic behind neoliberal capitalism is continuous growth. It just can’t stop growing. It’s like a shark: It has to constantly move forward or it dies. In a world of limited resources, it is sentencing human beings —and along with us many other species— to extinction. So it is not a question of ideologies or ethics, it has become an issue of sheer survival.
Since the fall of the soviet bloc, there has been no alternative to predatory ‘capitalism’ (which nowadays is not even capitalism, but an oligarchy exercising economic, social, and political influence out of all proportion). When you look at it, the paradox is that real capitalism was against oligarchic economies, and liberal countries were the ones with more antitrust laws to ensure free competition… That being said, what if ‘capitalism’ , ‘communism’ or any of their hybrids weren’t the only systems under which human societies could be organised? Ever since slavery, including feudalism, communism and capitalism, power has always been centralised. Even under communism, power was centralised in a single political party. Not surprisingly, it has been the source of corruption, plundering of natural resources, abuse and misuse of power, destruction of the environment, inneficiency, inequity, modern slavery, injustice and grievance…
The point is that maybe there is a decentralised way of organizing human societies in an era when states are losing legitimacy and becoming obsolete. It is hard to conceive because we have been born and raised imbued with the logic and spirit of market economy, as if we were born in a Matrix where we can’t even figure out other alternative realities to the old-fashioned post-liberal states. Michael Bawens is not himself an anarchist. He still believes there’s a need for a state and an administration, but a very different one in nature, a P2P state, a commons economy based on decentralised technology —most probably the Blockchain.
So if you want to think ouside the box, beyond the classical paradigms and expand your mind to new, decentralised ways of organising community life, listening to what Michael Bauwens has to say is a must. It actually might save the planet, which is not small feat.
Do you have an idea? Would you like to see it become a reality? Oh, yes, come to think of it, you need to raise money first to take it forward… But don’t worry, I have some great news. There is a ground-breaking new platform called kreatings.com that may come in really handy!
100% Free for fundraisers
It is a new and different crowdfunding platform where you can raise money to make your ideas a reality. Kreatings is a donation and reward based crowdfunding platform. It is a Keep it all platform, meaning that funds can be raised without fees and penalties —as opposed to other platforms— even if the campaign goal is not reached. It charges 0% fees for fundraisers and has the lowest transaction fees on the market. In addition, Kreating is a good way of launching a project, so that you can test a new idea and connect with a community that wants to see it succeed. So it helps you get started not only with funding, but also with your first users or followers. Just imagine having a community even before your idea becomes a reality!
Launch your project with Kreatings!
As you may know, I have written about the blockchain on this blog, so one thing that really blows my mind about this platform is that you can operate with cryptocurrencies. You can receive contributions in various cryptocurrencies immediately from around the world with no fees or fraud problems. However, you can still contribute to the projects you like in fiat money, which gives the platform more flexibility and renders it more user-friendly.
Afterwards you can share your campaign through social networks in a simple way to receive more contributions.
All you need to do is fill in a form provided by kreatings and submit your idea to allow contributors to have a more precise view of the project. It doesn’t take much time.
Last but not least, the icing of the cake: you have access to campaign statistics and technical support, which is crucial to take your fundraising action forward.
I strongly recommend Kreatings because it is not only a Keep it all platform, but also because it is innovative, based on the blockchain and user-friendly.
As Steve Jobs once said: have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.
So… what are you waiting for? Visit Kreatings.com and get the ball rolling!
Which city deserves to be the Capital of the world?
If an alien asked you “What is the capital of your planet?”, what would you answer?
Off the top of your head, you would probably consider the following options:
New York, Washington D.C., London, Montreal, Paris, Berlin, Brussels (capital of the EU), Rome, Bern, Stockholm,Moscow, Istanbul (a bridge between the Western and Muslim worlds), Mumbai , Delhi , Shanghai, Beijing, Tokyo, Sydney, Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires, Santiago, Mexico city, Lagos, Cairo, Alexandriaor even Miami (a city that brings Latin and North American cultures together).
What does google say?
Then you would probably google: “What is the capital of the world?” or “What is the capital of the planet Earth?”. The answer would be clear: London, in UK, is the world’s capital.
In all likelihood, you would take history into consideration, and assume that in ancient times it was Babylon, Athens, Memphis in Ancient Egypt, Rome for the Roman Empire, or Karakorum (the ancient capital of the Mongol Empire), or even Toledo (the capital city of Spain at the height of its empire), Constantinople for the Ottoman empire, or Paris, the city of lights and, for many, the quintessential European city… or even Buenos Aires (which was a rich city in times gone by) and of course London for the British Empire.
If you care about fundamental rights and democratic values standards (e.g. fulfilment of human and civil rights, separation of powers, participation processes…), then you could sift through your results and would probably end up choosing an European or North-American city, depending on what you rank higher: social justice or economic freedom.
The language perspective
Needless to say, language is a key factor when deciding on this issue. The most languages represented in the city, the higher it ranks as the capital of the world. The official language of the city is also a key factor. As we saw on “10 most useful languages according to the World Economic Forum“, English is the current international language, and it is very likely that it will continue to be in the foreseeable future. So it is a central element that can’t go unnoticed. The top 10 languages in the world by number of speakers are 1. Mandarin Chinese 2. Spanish 3. English 4. Hindi 5. Arabic 6.French 7. Portuguese 8. Bengali 9. Russian and 10. Indonesian. But as we saw on the aforementioned post, it doesn’t necessarily mean that these are the most influential.
What about New York?
Even though it is not even the capital of the United States, New York is an obvious candidate, because it boasts an important number of international institutions (most notably the United Nations Headquarters and the Center for International Humanitarian Cooperation), Wall Street and so many people from so many different countries live there… The downside is that it is a major city of a superpower and it would be hard to reach a consensus.
What about Paris?
Paris is another obvious candidate. Institutions like the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the International Energy Agency (IEA) have their headquarters in the city of lights. According to the World Economic Forum, French is still one of the most influential languages in the world, specially for diplomacy, and it is, along with Venice, the most romantic city in the world.
What about the capital of a small country?
If you thought outside the box before answering the question, you might consider a city from a small or medium-sized country, since it would be way easier to reach an international consensus (see position 10 in the ranking below). Cities like Brussels, Singapore, Wellington, Lima, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Montevideo, Vienna, Asuncion, Bern, Doha… could be perfect hosts for a hypothetical world government.
This is the capital of the world
Finally, the moment that we were waiting for… (drum roll). With a population of 8,136 million, London is the most cosmopolitan city in the world, a real melting pot of ethnicities, languages and cultures, with English as the official language, home of Amnesty International, the Commonwealth of Nations, the International Maritime Organization, the Bank of England, the Socialist International, HSBC, Barclays, the city where so many world-famous writers set so many novels and stories, one of the world’s capitals of digital media and, to top it off, one of the world’s financial capitals… In a sense, although it’s one of a kind, it is also the bridge between North-America and Europe. Furthermore, it probably builds a robuster consensus than New York or Shanghai. It is a vibrant and dynamic city. As Dr. Samuel Johnson put it ” When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life”.
… But this could change overnight
However, London could lose the first position on the list after Brexit. Very likely, indeed. Many argue that Britain shot itself in the foot and that it will hurt it in many ways and at many levels, though whether Brits will find a way to roll with the punches and finally succeed making a virtue out of necessity, it remains to be seen. What does look pretty obvious is that London — starting with the City — will lose power and influence. Paris, Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Berlin may be the first to profit from this circumstance in the European Union, New York in America, and Shanghai in Asia. So this ranking is subject to changes.
Top 10 candidates
The following cities have been ranked according to a number of items, such as population, influence in diplomacy and politics, economy and finance, history, current and future prospects, democratic standards, degree of consensus on their candidacy, international institutions headquarters, historical factors, environmental awareness, geostrategic situation, languages represented, influence of its official language, state of development of the IT industry… among 30 other factors.
The capital of a small country (Brussels, Singapore, Wellington, Copenhaguen, Montevideo, Vienna, Asuncion, Bern, Doha…)
So give your two cents! What do you think should be the capital of the world?