Wednesday, 17 September 2008

The mother of all market meltdowns

This is real propaganda (or messaging)  from the ministry of information in 1939. George Orwell would have seen this no doubt.

I'm surprised so few advertising people are acknowledging that we're in truly remarkable times. It's been a year of credit crunch with Bear Stearns on 'emergency loans',  Merrill Lynch sold to the Bank of America (convenient) Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae nationalised, that's proper nationalised like my heroes Ernest Bevan, Clement Atlee and Tony Benn would have done long before there was any trouble, Lehman brothers down and AIG about to bite the carpet. There's more to come as well.

I've been rereading my Nassim Nicolas Taleb (Fooled by Randomness, not The Back Swan) and although I can see like Johnnie Moore suggested to me that he's a bit full of himself, he has taught/reminded me that we know so little (the past is relatively short) that we've no idea about the future and so I'm not going to make any predictions except some light water colouring.

We're in for a change, I think monetarism might get a good spanking and selling stuff will still be vital but what is sold and how it is sold will change. (although more slowly) I don't think economic growth is the metric by which we can always measure a country's success. Just one example is that they shut the factories down in China for the Olympics and we had the cleanest air in Beijing for a few weeks.
I'm pretty sure someone somewhere in the oxyacetalyne growth obsessed Chinese Politburo must have said 'hang on what's it all for if we have a better quality of life by doing less'? Well greed is intoxicating isn't it so maybe not, and let's not point the finger because we thought we won something when Communism was beaten by the West. What we lost was the chance to grow slower-quicker but that's another post I guess. I absolutely love thinking and talking about those 'what if's'. One thing is for sure I'm sick to death of the word growth being used as if it's a sign of success. It's a sign of intellectual decay. We absolutely need to go slower in life. A rich man is one who goes slowly and takes their time. You can't buy time, you can only spend it so the wealth aquired usually means expending effort so hard that your life slips by before you can really start to enjoy it. I'll say it again. Rich people go slowly.
So that's enough from me for the time being. I sympathise if you're heavily exposed in mortgage on property that will be in negative equity but there's nothing for it but to adapt lifestyle and sit it out till money starts moving around again. Hopefully in a more intelligent way than the neoliberal economics that played on peoples greed and extended many of us way beyond our capacity to operate in harmony with the planet.
Anyone disagree?

Update Lehman just got propped up for 85 Billion Dollars by the Federal Reserve. Partially renationalised.

Status Anxiety

Imagine a society where the people congregated in public areas to sing, dance, skip and play games in the evening. Where they did it publicly and with happiness in their hearts. Where they did it for no cost at all and were unaware that they were so much richer than other people. That they were enjoying life at it's best. Spontaneous and free.
We'd think it was some sort of Nirvana woudn't we? An impossible dream, don't we work all our lives to achieve that kind of carefree feeling for a few remaining healthy years when we retire if we're lucky? Instead we fuel our days with envy of our peers and suffer from status anxiety. I want to thank Grumblemouse for bringing my attention to these videos by Alain de Botton on Youtube and also to share a little video I took two nights ago by Houhai which is a a popular lake area, North of Tiananmen Square and The Forbidden City where I live in Beijing.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

AirAsia - Very On Brand

AirAsia Berhad (MYX: 5099) is a Malaysian-based low-cost airline. AirAsia is Asia's largest low-fare, no-frills airline and a pioneer of low-cost travel in Asia. AirAsia group operates scheduled domestic and international flights to over 400 destinations spanning 25 countries. Its main hub is the Low-Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA). Its affiliate airlines Thai AirAsia and Indonesia AirAsia have hubs in Suvarnabhumi Airport and Soekarno-Hatta International Airport respectively. AirAsia's registered office is in Petaling Jaya, Selangor while its head office is located in Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Air Asia plans to open ASEAN regional headquarters in Jakarta by August or September 2011. The airline itself will maintain its headquarters in Kuala Lumpur for the time being.

AirAsia won the Skytrax World's best low-cost airline award in 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2011. It has the world's lowest operating costs at $0.035/seat-kilometre in 2010. It is also the first airline in the region to implement fully ticketless air travel system.