Tuesday, March 30

Finance lessons

Economy - The most stable definition is the cattle class seats that the airliners offer commemorating the wagon tragedy. Do not expect this to change in the near future as bigger and wider planes become available. Because people flying this class are "peasants, so they won't appreciate it. And if the airlines made economy more comfortable, people wouldn't pay for premium"

Economic Growth - How people were gotten into the illusion of growth and prosperity. And in some parts of the world, something to avoid in future. Like the French high school text book Histoire du XXe siècle, that teaches "Economic growth imposes a hectic form of life, producing overwork, stress, nervous depression, cardiovascular disease and, according to some, even the development of cancer," What is needed is "an awareness of the limits to growth and the risks posed to humanity [by economic growth]"

Stock Market - A religion invented in the 20th century (and many people follow this religion across the globe even today) that offers people heaven they can dream in this life itself. The followers are encouraged to invest and create wealth (in stock market terms). The priests of this religion (called CEO, iCEO, CXO etc.) get to amass a lot of physical wealth using these small investments from the public and have full authority on the money thanks to the divided investor demography. 

Insider Trading - The theory goes that people who knows the inside actions of the company should not be allowed to trade their stocks. That protects the ill-informed public from being at disadvantage. It can also be read that you are only allowed to play dice with your stocks. Why am I not allowed to sell my shares if I know the company is going under water? Or why not better limit the number of investors and respect their right of all information? Is Insider Trading really to be blamed?

Friday, March 19

The week that is

"I don't want my tax dollars to be used for a federal funded abortion" Thats a strong reason for many to oppose the health care bill. The bill does not explicitly state that there will be no federal funding for elective abortions. Americans are so strong in faith and do not want to anything that goes against their faith. But do they have good view on where their tax is spent? All the money spent on war - does that align with their faith? A few thousand lives versus a potential threat? Taken. Now an abortion versus a hundred lives?

I am amazed by the depth of the American constitution. The patent rights is part of the constitution. I can fully understand that the constitution written by colonists will have the monopolist patent rights. Any "discoveries" will be protected. But in 200 years I cannot understand the constitution can ignore the responsibility of the nation to get these great discoveries at least in health care to be accessible to all the people. If not a common welfare what is the purpose of a nation?

Try the word socialism. Thats the strongest explosive in the US. It can kill any good ideas. Any thoughts. Socialism - no way. We do not want socialism. I am not sure how many of these people understand what this means though. I always believed democracy can work only if people are educated and are aware of what is being discussed. And I thought US is a great democracy. But its sadly no different. People get carried away just by some terms. Like the word "bourgeoisie" being used by the communists.

Someone has found out the Bible is more violent than the Qur'an. What is violence by the way? I don't see any holy book asking people to be violent. The Qur'an is very clearly against violence of any sorts. The only time war is allowed is when you are being attacked. And that too is to be within a set of limits that safeguard women, children, churches, synagogues, public utilities etc. Do suicide bombs take root in Islam or in LTTE? Who funded the LTTE? Why is west and Islam compared? One is a region and the other a religion. Why not west vs middle east. Or US vs Afghanistan.

Monday, March 8

Wither Japan?

Akio Toyoda was at the Capitol answering the "quality conscious" US congress. He apologized for the quality issues that are plaguing Toyota cars past few months. Beyond all the recalls and money involved, this does not seem to end....

The very next week I was flying to Tokyo. At Narita station, waiting for Narita Express there was this delay announcement. N'EX is 10 minutes delayed as the incoming train is delayed. Apology. Taihan omatase itashimashita....

One evening I went to a cafe close to Shinjuku Sta. No Japanese faces in the crew. All foreigner staff. One of them drops a plate with a loud noise. Others just smile....

The next day my colleague makes it giri giri for a customer meeting. Yamanote sen sotomawari was stopped due to technical issues. Yamanote line and Chuo line delays are no longer a news now. 

Is the focus on quality and customer withering away in Japanese society? While the DPJ government has promised to question every legacy bureaucracy in Japan, is someone questioning the too-much-customer-concern too? Is the Japan of yester years being a thing of past?

The JAL lounge had no signs of wear and tear. And no way does it expose the bankruptcy JAL is in today. When I got back into American Airlines and was wondering about the losing grip of okyakusan in Japan, quality gets a revisit. The flight will be delayed by 30 min. There is a long line for the runway and we are the eleventh. No apologies though. Granted.

I still thanked the JAL lounge and the great food it served as AA skipped the normal juice-snacks and went directly for dinner with a sweet query - "Do you want anything for dinner tonight ?"