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17 Sep 17:37

The REAL Reason Britain is Freaking Out About Scottish Independence

by George Washington

David Cameron and the British media have been freaking out about the potential Scottish independence.

They've blathered on about "history", "common defense" and other red herrings.

But it's really all about oil ...

Specifically, if Scotland becomes independent, it gets to keep 90% of the revenues from its huge oil reserves.

The New York Times reports:

Scottish nationalists have long argued that being governed from London has deprived their country of its fair share of the wealth from Britain’s oil and natural gas fields, which mostly lie in North Sea waters off their shores.


“It’s Scotland’s oil” was the rallying cry in the 1970s that helped raise the profile of the Scottish Nationalist Party, which now leads the country and is pushing for a vote to secede in the referendum on Thursday. Alex Salmond, the politician leading the separatist movement, has pointed to North Sea energy as the treasure that would help finance an independent Scotland — ensuring that the country could continue the generous public spending, including free university tuition, that he is promising voters.

Al Jazeera notes:

Massive oil reserves in the North Sea are at the heart of the Scottish independence debate. Many are questioning whether the reserves are just for Scotland or if the rest of the United Kingodm should continue to benefit from their profits.

NBC writes:

The ‘Yes’ campaign … says Scots should have total control of their own affairs and that revenue from Scotland’s offshore oil fields would sustain the country’s economy.


In addition, as Max Keiser explained:

(1) The UK can now borrow cheaply using the giant Scottish oil reserves as collateral


(2) If Scotland leaves, the collateral (oil reserves) is no longer available


(3) So the cost of borrowing money for Britain skyrockets

Scotland’s North Sea oil reserves are slowing running out, and so oil won’t be such a valuable resource forever.  But for now, it is still invaluable (especially as collateral for British borrowing) … and the key to Britain’s panic over potential Scottish independence.

11 Sep 12:38

19 Years of Feeding Animals GMO Shows No Harm

by Steven Novella

Often GMO critics will argue that the biotech industry is conducting a massive experiment with our food supply by introducing genetically modified organisms. The implication is that GMOs are not adequately studied, which is at best debatable, but in a way they are correct. We can look at what has happened in the 19 years of GMO use starting in 1996 to see if there have been any adverse effects.  A newly published study, Prevalence and impacts of genetically engineered feedstuffs on livestock populations, does just that. (Full study, may be behind a paywall.)

The study authors, Van Eenennaam and Young, first review the existing literature on animal feeding studies. They then review available data on livestock outcomes to see what effect feeding them mostly GMO since 1996 has had, if any.

GMO Feeding Studies

The first regulatory hurdle for safety testing of GMOs is to establish “substantial equivalence.” Researchers must show that the genetically engineered crop is essentially the same as the parent variety in all ways except for the desired introduced genetic change. The authors report:

Over the past 20 yr, the U.S. FDA found all of the 148 GE transformation events that they evaluated to be substantially equivalent to their conventional counterparts, as have Japanese regulators for 189 submissions.

The authors point out that the same testing is not required for conventional breeding or even mutation farming. It also cannot be assumed that such techniques are without risk.

There have been instances where plants bred using classical techniques have been unsuitable for human consumption. For example, the poison α-solanine, a glycoalkaloid, was unintentionally increased to unacceptable levels in certain varieties of potato through plant breeding resulting in certain cultivars being withdrawn from the U.S. and Swedish markets due to frequently exceeding the upper safe limit for total glycoalkaloid content.

They further point out that proteins, DNA, and RNA from the food we eat are digested. Whole proteins or genes from GMO have never been detected in the tissue of animals fed GMO feed. There is also no reason to suspect that transgenic genes or proteins present any more of a health risk than the countless other proteins and genes we consume. It is therefore implausible that eating an animal fed GMO poses any health risk to humans. But what about the animals themselves?

Animal feeding studies are a mainstay of testing the safety of GMO plant varieties. The authors summarize this research:

Several recent comprehensive reviews from various authors summarize the results of food-producing animal feeding studies with the current generation of GE crops (Deb et al., 2013; Flachowsky, 2013; Flachowsky et al., 2012; Tufarelli and Laudadio, 2013; Van Eenennaam, 2013). Studies have been conducted with a variety of food-producing animals including sheep, goats, pigs, chickens, quail, cattle, water buffalo, rabbits and fish fed different GE crop varieties. The results have consistently revealed that the performance and health of GE-fed animals were comparable with those fed near isogenic non-GE lines and commercial varieties.

Some of these studies were long term, conducted up to two years, and with multiple generations of animals, 2-5 generations. A recent review of these studies by Snell et. al found:

Results from all the 24 studies do not suggest any health hazards and, in general, there were no statistically significant differences within parameters observed.

Some differences were found, but they were not biologically significant and likely represent background variation. Snell et al point out that 90 day feeding trials show the same results as long term and multigenerational trials, therefore the results of the standard 90 trials are highly reliable. In other words, doing longer term trials has so far not revealed any health risks that were missed during the shorter trials.

There are only a few outliers in the feeding trials showing possible harm, such as the now infamous Seralini study. All of these studies are of dubious methodology and are not published in peer-reviewed journals (Seralini was withdrawn and then republished without peer-review).

The bottom line is that there are many short term, long term, and multigenerational feeding trials with GMO varieties and many species of test animal, many by independent scientists, all showing that current GMOs are safe and nutritionally equivalent to their non-GMO counterparts.

One Big 19-year Experiment

Van Eenennaam and Young then approach the question of GMO feeding from a different angle. Since 1996 90-95% of animal feed in the US has been GMO. Prior to 1996 0% was GMO. This offers the opportunity for a large observational study to see if the rapid and thorough introduction of GMO feed in the US resulted in any adverse health effects for the animals.

This data is observational, meaning the authors are looking at data collected out there in the world and not part of any controlled prospective experiment. Observational data is always subject to unanticipated confounding factors. However, robust observational data is still highly useful, and has the potential to detect any clear signals.

In this case the data is particularly useful for a couple of reasons. First, the number of animals for which there is data is massive – in the billions per year. Second, the industry actually carefully tracks certain outcomes, as it is necessary or critical to their business.

For example, cattle are examined both premortem and postmortem for any abnormalities, such as tumors or signs of infection or other illness. Any sign of illness and that cow is not approved for meat. The percentage of cattle that are found to have such abnormalities is called the condemnation rate, and annual condemnation rates are kept in public databases.

The authors pooled data from various such databases for various animal industries before and after the introduction of GMO into animal feed:

Livestock production statistics for the US before and after the introduction of GE feed crops in 1986 are summarized in Table 4. In all industries, there were no obvious perturbations in production parameters over time. The available health parameters, somatic cell count (SCC; an indicator of mastitis and inflammation in the udder) in the dairy data set (Figure 1), postmortem condemnation rates in cattle (Figure 1), and postmortem condemnation rates and mortality in the poultry industry (Figure 2), all decreased (i.e., improved) over time.

So, multiple health parameters for multiple animals, including billions of animals over about 15 years showed no adverse effects from the rapid introduction of GMO animal feed. If there were any significant adverse effects from GMO it seems reasonable that it would easily show up in this data.

The reason for the background improvement in health parameters is likely due to improved genetics and handling. This slow improvement over time continued without change through the introduction of GMO.


We now have a large set of data, both experimental and observational, showing that genetically modified feed is safe and nutritionally equivalent to non-GMO feed. There does not appear to be any health risk to the animals, and it is even less likely that there could be any health effect on humans who eat those animals.

In order to maintain the position that GMOs are not adequately tested, or that they are harmful or risky, you have to either highly selectively cherry pick a few outliers of low scientific quality, or you have to simply deny the science.

Here is a comprehensive list of animal feeding studies. Many of these studies are independent. The list included systematic reviews, all of which conclude that GMO feed is safe.

There is as strong a scientific consensus that GMOs do not present any novel health risk, that those in current use are safe, and that they pose no health risk to animals or humans, as there is a consensus for the safety and efficacy of vaccines or that humans are contributing significantly to global warming.


29 Aug 18:32

Bolagen som inte betalar en krona i skatt i Sverige

by Erik Thor

Har du någonsin undrat hur företag kan komma undan skatt? Och hur många som egentligen undviker skatt? I USA är några av skattesmitarjättarna Microsoft, McDonalds, ExxonMobile, Läkemedelsbolag, investeringsbanker som Goldman Sachs, Wal-Mart och tobaksbolaget Philip Morris. Tillsammans mäter de upp till 13900 miljarder kronor i svenska mått, som är i princip helt skattefria. Det motsvarar den svenska statsbudgeten gånger tretton. Skulle de ha betalat skatt som alla andra medborgare gör, skulle de betala uppåt en fjärdedel av det beloppet, ungefär lika mycket som man lägger på försvaret. Men det görs alltså inte. 

Sen Vin och Sprit såldes, har bolaget skatteplanerat så att inte en krona av det man tjänar i Sverige på att sälja alkohol, skattas i Sverige. Och problemet är utbrett. Vart tredje storföretag i Sverige betalar nästan ingen skatt överhuvudtaget i Sverige. Sveriges största företag Volvo betalar knappt en krona.

Skattesmitandet är rätt enkelt. Ett exempel är Apple. Apple i USA har en filial i Irland och samma filial i Irland har tecknat sig själv som amerikansk, vilket betyder att de slipper betala skatt i båda länderna, eftersom deras tillgångar är registrerade i vardera land. Skattesmitandet skulle också kunna lösas genom lagstiftning och förändrade skattesystem. En lösning är tobinskatt, vilket betyder att företagen får betala en växlingsavgift när de flyttar över pengar. En annan är regler som förbjuder skatteflykt och skatteplanering. Ofta behöver regeringar samarbeta över gränserna för att lösa problemen.

Betalar företag inte skatt, förstörs alla möjligheter att omfördela resurser, vilket skapar ekonomiska bubblor och ökade risker för krascher och interna oroligheter. Dessutom undergrävs förtroendet för varför vanliga medborgare ska betala skatt om storföretagen vägrar. Skulle man lösa skattefusket skulle man komma till rätta med mycket av varför klyftorna i Sverige ökat de senaste tjugo åren.

24 Aug 12:01

Räkna upp med RPI - Riksdagsledamotprisindex

by (Cornucopia?)
Ett alternativ till KPI, basbelopp och annat för att räkna upp t ex löner, hyror eller avtal med framför allt statliga myndigheter, är RPI - Riksdagsledamotprisindex. Ett ödmjukt förslag är att man börjar använda detta vid alla former av förhandlingar, istället för missvisande indikatorer som t ex KPI.

Ett underlag för RPI hittar man på Riksdagens hemsida, där årsarvoden finns publicerade. Min redovisning av RPI här baserar sig på ledamöternas arvoden i november respektive år, och RPI sätts till 100 år 2006. 
RPI och KPI 2006 - 2013

För jämförelsen med KPI har jag använt SCB:s årsmedeltal ifrån denna tabell och indexerat om till ett värde på 100 år 2006.

Man kan konstatera att RPI räknas upp snabbare än KPI. Extra illa var det 2013, då KPI föll med 0.04%, men RPI steg med 2.57%.

En gång i tiden sattes riksdagsmannalönen efter riktiga samhällsbärarelöner, dvs lärarlönerna. Det slutade man förstås med vid köttgrytorna, i och med att riksdagsmännen själva sätter den egna lönen. En återställning av ordningen vore att antingen höja lärarlönerna till riksdagsledamotsnivå, eller sänka riksdagsledamöternas löner till lärarlönerna...

Idag tjänar en riksdagsman 717 600:- SEK om året, eller 59 800:- SEK i månaden. Till detta traktamenten och sk Stockholmstraktamente om 100:- SEK per dygn för alla stackare som bor mer än 50 km från Riksdagshuset.
12 Aug 18:58

Germany Added A Lot Of Wind And Solar Power, And Its Electric Grid Became More Reliable

by Jeff Spross

To hear its critics tell it, Germany’s ambitious push to switch over to renewable energy has delivered an electrical grid that’s capricious, unreliable, and prone to blackouts. But according to data highlighted by ECO Report last week, the reality on the ground couldn’t be further from that caricature.

Specifically, the availability of electricity in Germany was lost only for an average of 15.91 minutes per customer in 2012, according to figures from the Council of European Energy Regulators. That’s far better than the United States, which saw its electricity become unavailable for a whopping 244 minutes per customer in 2008. Germany also did significantly better than the United Kingdom (lost 81.42 minutes per customer in 2008), the Netherlands (lost 33.7 minutes per customer) and France (lost 95.1 minutes per customer). Of all the countries tracked, Japan and Singapore are the only two with grid reliability to match Germany’s.

And the country has actually maintained this record for several years: 2008 was the last year in Germany when the amount of minutes lost per customer breached 16.

ECO Report pointed to a recent article in Bloomberg as an example of the standard story on Germany. The argument goes that by making a big policy push to move the electrical grid onto to renewables like solar and wind — which produce power intermittently, since no one can control when the sun is out or the wind blows — and by making the purely political decision to phase out its nuclear fleet following the Fukushima disaster, Germany has left itself without the kind of reliable baseload power that can only be provided by nuclear reactors or fossil fuels like natural gas and coal.

As Bloomberg points out, Germany’s domestic electricity has become far more dynamic. Twenty of the country’s biggest utilities are now earning fees in the balancing market, an exchange where firms can earn additional profits by pledging to add or cut electricity within seconds to keep the power system stable. That’s double the amount of utilities that were participating in the balancing market just back in September — and the fees provided by the market can pay utilities as much as 400 times what they’d usually earn with wholesale electricity prices.

The unspoken assumption, then, is that an electricity system that is constantly switching that rapidly between different electricity sources and providers, with swings that big in price, must result in an unreliable experience for the average German consumer. The data from the Council of European Energy Regulators shows that’s not the case. The crazed internal dynamics of Germany’s grid may be stressful for its operators. But the country has managed to stitch all those changes together into a remarkably consistent and reliable stream of electricity for German customers.

There’s plenty of precedent for how this could work. Studies and demonstration projects have shown that by stitching together a diverse portfolio of renewables, and filling in the gaps with a modest amount of natural gas or coal that can be fired up when needed, grids that rely primarily on renewables can actually provide a level of reliability equal to that of traditional fossil-fuel-dependent grids.

For one thing, it’s not completely impossible to predict when wind power, for example, will be available. Operators can generally get a pretty reliable 24-hour notice, meaning they know when to fire up fossil fuel generators to tied the grid over.

Another big reason for this is that there are lots of different forms of renewable energy, and their differences can be complimentary. Hydro and geothermal power, for instance, can effectively provide continuous baseload power just as easily as fossil fuels or nuclear. And while solar obviously produces its power in the daytime, much of the wind blows at night — meaning that solar and wind power can, to an extent, naturally compliment one another in terms of when they feed the grid.

Germany is certainly not out of the woods yet, however. All the added cost from that switching means Germans face higher electricity prices than their European neighbors along with enjoying a greater level of reliability. And in the short-term, at least, the demands of Germany’s internal switching has driven a modest increase in the percentage of the power it gets from coal, by far its heaviest source when it comes to carbon dioxide emissions. Meanwhile, cleaner sources like nuclear and natural gas have declined. In particular, the country’s decision to shutter its nuclear power out of fears of a Fukushima-like disaster has been a self-inflicted wound on the affordability of Germany’s power supply.

But for all that, Germany got one third of its power from renewables in the first half of 2014, a remarkable accomplishment in comparison to its neighbors. For the first time ever, renewables made up more of the grid portfolio than brown coal did. The country also remains committed to the goal of getting 80 percent of its power from renewables by 2050.

Assuming that Germany can keep up the pace at which it’s adding renewables and that storage technology advances to the point it can help out more, then many of Germany’s current issues should smooth themselves out.

The post Germany Added A Lot Of Wind And Solar Power, And Its Electric Grid Became More Reliable appeared first on ThinkProgress.

11 Aug 05:45

Skuldkvoten föll i kvartal 1 – nu på samma nivå som hösten 2010

by Lars EO Svensson


Skuldkvoten – hushållens skulder i procent av disponibel inkomst – är ett dåligt mått på eventuella risker med skulderna, och det finns mycket bättre. Trots detta fäster Riksbanken och andra stor vikt vid skuldkvotens utveckling. För den som anser att skuldkvoten är ett relevant mått på risker borde det vara något lugnande att skuldkvoten föll något första kvartalet 2014, i kontrast mot alla alarmistiska uttalanden om snabbt växande skulder. 

Skuldkvoten föll från 174 procent för 4:e kvartalet 2013 till 172 procent för 1:a kvartalet 2014. [1] Skuldkvoten är nu på precis samma nivå som hösten 2010 och har legat stabilt nära denna nivå sedan bolånetaket infördes i oktober 2010. Sedan dess har således hushållens skulder utvecklats i samma takt som hushållens disponibla inkomst.

Figur 1 visar skuldkvotens utveckling sedan 1996. Den har ökat sedan mitten av 90-talet till hösten 2010 av de orsaker som diskuteras i detta PM av Sten Hansen och i denna denna rapport från Evidens (de två främsta orsakerna är en högre andel hushåll som äger sin bostad samt lägre bostadsskatter, medan lägre boräntor kommer på tredje plats). Sedan hösten 2010 har alltså skuldkvoten stabiliserats runt 172 procent.


Figur 1. Hushållens skulder i procent av disponibel inkomst.
Källa: SCB.

Figur 2 visar utvecklingen av hushållens skulder, disponibel inkomst och skuldkvot, alla indexerade till 100 för tredje kvartalet 2010. Vi ser att skulderna växte snabbare än disponibel inkomst fram till hösten 2010, men att skulder och disponibel inkomst därefter utvecklats i samma takt.


Figur 2. Hushållens skulder, disponibel inkomst och skuldkvot (index 2010q3 = 100)
Källa: SCB

Hur har bostadspriserna utvecklats i förhållande till disponibel inkomst? I kontrast mot alla alarmistiska uttalanden om snabbt växande bostadspriser har dessa i genomsnitt ökat något långsammare än disponibel inkomst sedan augusti 2007, se detta inlägg och figur 3.

Nominal housing-prices-and-disposable-income-1406

Figur 3. Bostadspriser och disponibel inkomst, löpande priser.
Källa: SCB och Valueguard.

[1] Skuldkvoten beräknas utifrån hushållens totala skulder i SCB:s Finansräkenskaper (publicerad 18 juni för första kvartalet 2014) och hushållens disponibla inkomst under fyra kvartal i SCB:s Nationalräkenskaper (publicerad 30 maj för första kvartalet 2014).

07 Aug 17:14

The US Intelligence Community has a Third Leaker

by schneier

Ever since the Intercept published this story about the US government's Terrorist Screening Database, the press has been writing about a "second leaker":

The Intercept article focuses on the growth in U.S. government databases of known or suspected terrorist names during the Obama administration.

The article cites documents prepared by the National Counterterrorism Center dated August 2013, which is after Snowden left the United States to avoid criminal charges.

Greenwald has suggested there was another leaker. In July, he said on Twitter "it seems clear at this point" that there was another.

Everyone's miscounting. This is the third leaker:

  • Leaker #1: Edward Snowden.

  • Leaker #2: The person who is passing secrets to Jake Appelbaum, Laura Poitras and others in Germany: the Angela Merkel surveillance story, the TAO catalog, the X-KEYSCORE rules. My guess is that this is either an NSA employee or contractor working in Germany, or someone from German intelligence who has access to NSA documents. Snowden has said that he is not the source for the Merkel story, and Greenwald has confirmed that the Snowden documents are not the source for the X-KEYSCORE rules. I have also heard privately that the NSA knows that this is a second leaker.

  • Leaker #3: This new leaker, with access to a different stream of information (the NCTC is not the NSA), whom the Intercept calls "a source in the intelligence community."

Harvard Law School professor Yochai Benkler has written an excellent law-review article on the need for a whistleblower defense. And there's this excellent article by David Pozen on why government leaks are, in general, a good thing.

23 Jul 14:57

World Oil Production at 3/31/2014–Where are We Headed?

by Gail Tverberg

The standard way to make forecasts of almost anything is to look at recent trends and assume that this trend will continue, at least for the next several years. With world oil production, the trend in oil production looks fairly benign, with the trend slightly upward (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Quarterly crude and condensate oil production, based on EIA data.

Figure 1. Quarterly crude and condensate oil production, based on EIA data.

If we look at the situation more closely, however, we see that we are dealing with an unstable situation. The top ten crude oil producing countries have a variety of problems (Figure 2). Middle Eastern producers are particularly at risk of instability, thanks to the advances of ISIS and the large number of refugees moving from one country to another.

Figure 2. Top ten crude oil and condensate producers during first quarter of 2014, based on EIA data.

Figure 2. Top ten crude oil and condensate producers during first quarter of 2014, based on EIA data.

Relatively low oil prices are part of the problem as well. The cost of producing oil is rising much more rapidly than its selling price, as discussed in my post Beginning of the End? Oil Companies Cut Back on Spending. In fact, the selling price of oil hasn’t really risen since 2011 (Figure 3), because citizens can’t afford higher oil prices with their stagnating wages.

Figure 3. Average weekly oil prices, based on EIA data.

Figure 3. Average weekly oil prices, based on EIA data.

The fact that the selling price of oil remains flat tends to lead to political instability in oil exporters because they cannot collect the taxes required to provide programs needed to pacify their people (food and fuel subsidies, water provided by desalination, jobs programs, etc.) without very high oil prices. Low oil prices also make the plight of oil exporters with declining oil production worse, including Russia, Mexico, and Venezuela.

Many people when looking at future oil supply concern themselves with the amount of reserves (or resources) remaining, or perhaps Energy Return on Energy Invested (EROEI). None of these is really the right limit, however. The limiting factor is how long our current networked economic system can hold together. There are lots of oil reserves left, and the EROEI of Middle Eastern oil is generally quite high (that is, favorable). But instability could still bring the system down. So could popping of the US oil supply bubble through higher interest rates or more stringent lending rules.

The Top Two Crude Oil Producers: Russia and Saudi Arabia

When we look at quarterly crude oil production (including condensate, using EIA data), we see that Russia’s crude oil production tends to be a lot smoother than Saudi Arabia’s (Figure 4). We also see that since the third quarter of 2006, Russia’s crude oil production tends to be higher than Saudi Arabia’s.

Figure 4.  Comparison of quarterly oil production for Russia and Saudi Arabia, based on EIA data.

Figure 4. Comparison of quarterly oil production (crude + condensate) for Russia and Saudi Arabia, based on EIA data.

Both Russia and Saudi Arabia are headed toward problems now. Russia’s Finance Minister has recently announced that its oil production has hit and peak, and is expected to fall, causing financial difficulties. In fact, if we look at monthly EIA data, we see that November 2013 is the highest month of production, and that every month of production since that date has dropped from this level. So far, the drop in oil production has been relatively small, but when an oil exporter is depending on tax revenue from oil to fund government programs, even a small drop in production (without a higher oil price) is a financial problem.

We see in Figure 4 above that Saudi Arabia’s quarterly oil production is quite erratic, compared to oil production of Russia. Part of the reason Saudi Arabia’s oil production is so erratic is that it extends the life of its fields by periodically relaxing (reducing) production from them. It also reacts to oil price changes–if the oil price is too low, as in the latter part of 2008 and in 2009, Saudi oil production drops. The tendency to jerk oil production around gives the illusion that Saudi Arabia has spare production capacity. It is doubtful at this point that it has much true spare capacity. It makes a good story, though, which news media are willing to repeat endlessly.

Saudi Arabia has not been able to raise oil exports for years (Figure 5). It gained a reputation for its oil exports back in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and has been able to rest on its laurels. Its high “proven reserves” (which have never been audited, and are doubted by many) add to the illusion that it can produce any amount it wants.

Figure 5. Comparison of Russian and Saudi Arabian oil exports, based on BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2014 data. Pre-1985 Russian amounts estimated based on Former Soviet Union amounts.

Figure 5. Comparison of Russian and Saudi Arabian oil exports, based on BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2014 data (oil production minus oil consumption). Pre-1985 Russian amounts estimated based on Former Soviet Union amounts.

In 2013, oil exports from Russia were equal to 88% of Saudi Arabian oil exports. The world is very close to being as dependent on Russian oil exports as it is on Saudi Arabian oil exports. Most people don’t realize this relationship.

The current instability of the Middle East has not hit Saudi Arabia yet, but there is increased fighting all around. Saudi Arabia is not immune to the problems of the other countries. According to BBC, there is already a hidden uprising taking place in eastern Saudi Arabia.

US Oil Production is a Bubble of Very Light Oil

The US is the world’s third largest producer of crude and condensate. Recent US crude oil production shows a “spike” in tight oil productions–that is, production using hydraulic fracturing, generally in shale formations (Figure 6).

Figure 6. US crude oil production split between tight oil (from shale formations), Alaska, and all other, based on EIA data. Shale is from  AEO 2014 Early Release Overview.

Figure 6. US crude oil production split between tight oil (from shale formations), Alaska, and all other, based on EIA data. Shale is from AEO 2014 Early Release Overview.

If we look at recent data on a quarterly basis, the trend in production also looks very favorable.

Figure 7. US Crude and condensate production by quarter, based on EIA data.

Figure 7. US Crude and condensate production by quarter, based on EIA data.

The new crude is much lighter than traditional crude. According to the Wall Street Journal, the expected split of US crude is as follows:

Figure 8. Wall Street Journal image illustrating the expected mix of US crude oil.

Figure 8. Wall Street Journal image illustrating the expected mix of US crude oil.

There are many issues with the new “oil” production:

  • The new oil production is so “light” that a portion of it is not what we use to power our cars and trucks. The very light “condensate” portion (similar to natural gas liquids) is especially a problem.
  • Oil refineries are not necessarily set up to handle crude with so much volatile materials mixed in. Such crude tends to explode, if not handled properly.
  • These very light fuels are not very flexible, the way heavier fuels are. With the use of “cracking” facilities, it is possible to make heavy oil into medium oil (for gasoline and diesel). But using very light oil products to make heavier ones is a very expensive operation, requiring “gas-to-liquid” plants.
  • Because of the rising production of very light products, the price of condensate has fallen in the last three years. If more tight oil production takes place, available prices for condensate are likely to drop even further. Because of this, it may make sense to export the “condensate” portion of tight oil to other parts of the world where prices are likely to be higher. Otherwise, it will be hard to keep the combined sales price of tight oil (crude oil + condensate) high enough to encourage more tight oil production.

The other issue with “tight oil” production (that is, production from shale formations) is that its production seems to be a “bubble.”  The big increase in oil production (Figure 6) came since 2009 when oil prices were high and interest rates were very low. Cash flow from these operations tends to be negative. If interest rates should rise, or if oil prices should fall, the system is likely to hit a limit. Another potential problem is oil companies hitting borrowing limits, so that they cannot add more wells.

Without US oil production, world crude oil production would have been on a plateau since 2005.

Figure 9. World crude and condensate, excluding US  production, based on EIA data.

Figure 9. World crude and condensate, excluding US production, based on EIA data.

Canadian Oil Production

The other recent success story with respect to oil production is Canada, the world’s fifth largest producer of crude and condensate. Thanks to the oil sands, Canadian oil production has more than doubled since the beginning of 1994 (Figure 10).

Figure 10. Canadian quarterly crude oil (and condensate) production based on EIA data.

Figure 10. Canadian quarterly crude oil (and condensate) production based on EIA data.

Of course, there are environmental issues with respect to both oil from the oil sands and US tight oil. When we get to the “bottom of the barrel,” we end up with the less environmentally desirable types of oil. This is part of our current problem, and one reason why we are reaching limits.

Oil Production in China, Iraq, and Iran

In the first quarter of 2014, China was the fourth largest producer of crude oil. Iraq was sixth, and Iran was seventh (based on Figure 2 above). Let’s first look at the oil production of China and Iran.

Figure 11. China and Iran crude and condensate production by quarter based on EIA data.

Figure 11. China and Iran crude and condensate production by quarter based on EIA data.

As of 2010, Iran was the fourth largest producer of crude oil in the world. Iran has had so many sanctions against it that it is hard to figure out a base period, prior to sanctions. If we compare Iran’s first quarter 2014 oil production to its most recent high production in the second quarter of 2010, oil production is now down about 870,000 barrels a day. If sanctions are removed and warfare does not become too much of a problem, oil production could theoretically rise by about this amount.

China has relatively more stable oil production than Iran. One concern now is that China’s oil production is no longer rising very much. Oil production for the fourth quarter of 2013 is approximately tied with oil production for the fourth quarter of 2012. The most recent quarter of oil production is down a bit. It is not clear whether China will be able to maintain its current level of production, which is the reason I mention the possibility of a decline in oil production in Figure 2.

The lack of growth in China’s oil supplies may be behind its recent belligerence in dealing with Viet Nam and Japan. It is not only exporters that become disturbed when oil supplies are not to their liking. Oil importers also become disturbed, because oil supplies are vital to the economy of all nations.

Now let’s add Iraq to the oil production chart for Iran and China.

Figure 12. Quarterly crude oil and condensate production for Iran, China, and Iraq, based on EIA data.

Figure 12. Quarterly crude oil and condensate production for Iran, China, and Iraq, based on EIA data.

Thanks to improvements in oil production in Iraq, and sanctions against Iran, oil production for Iraq slightly exceeds that of Iran in the first quarter of 2014. However, given Iraq’s past instability in oil production, and its current problems with ISIS and with Kurdistan, it is hard to expect that Iraq will be a reliable oil producer in the future. In theory Iraq’s oil production can rise a few million barrels a day over the next 10 or 20 years, but we can hardly count on it.

The Oil Price Problem that Adds to Instability

Figure 13 shows my view of the mismatch between (1) the price oil producers need to extract their oil and (2) the price consumers can afford. The cost of extraction (broadly defined including taxes required by governments) keeps rising while “ability to pay” has remained flat since 2007. The inability of consumers to pay high prices for oil (because wages are not rising very much) explains why oil prices have remained relatively flat in Figure 3 (near the top of this post), even while there is fighting in the Middle East.

Figure 3. Comparison of oil price per barrel needed (Brent) with ability to pay. Amounts based on judgement of author.

Figure 13. Comparison of oil price per barrel needed by producers (Brent) with ability to pay. Amounts based on judgment of author.

When the selling price is lower than the full cost of production (including the cost of investing in new wells and paying dividends to shareholders), the tendency is to reduce production, one way or another. This reduction can be voluntarily, in the form of a publicly traded company buying back stock or selling off acreage.

Alternatively, the cutback can be involuntary, indirectly caused by political instability. This happens because oil production is typically heavily taxed in oil exporting nations. If the oil price remains too low, taxes collected tend to be too low, making it impossible to fund programs such as food and fuel subsidies, desalination plants, and jobs programs. Without adequate programs, there tend to be uprisings and civil disorder.

If a person looks closely at Figure 13, it is clear that in 2014, we are out in “Wile E. Coyote Territory.” The broadly defined cost of oil extraction (including required taxes by exporters) now exceeds the ability of consumers to pay for oil. As a result, oil prices barely spike at all, even when there are major Middle Eastern disruptions (Figure 3, above).

The reason why Wile E. Coyote situation can take place at all is because it takes a while for the mismatch between costs and prices to work its way through the system. Independent oil companies can decide to sell off acreage and buy back shares of stock but it takes a while for these actions to actually take place. Furthermore, the mismatch between needed oil prices and charged oil prices tends to get worse over time for oil exporters. This lays the groundwork for increasing dissent within these countries.

With oil prices remaining relatively flat, importers become complacent because they don’t understand what is happening.  It looks like we have no problem when, in fact, there really is a fairly big problem, lurking behind the scenes.

To make matters worse, it is becoming more and more difficult to continue Quantitative Easing, a program that tends to hold down longer-term interest rates. The expectation is that the program will be discontinued by October 2014. The reason why the price of oil has stayed as high as it has in the last several years is because of the effects of quantitative easing and ultra low interest rates. If it weren’t for these, oil prices would fall, because consumers would need to pay much more for goods bought on credit, leaving less for the purchase of oil products. See my recent post, The Connection Between Oil Prices, Debt Levels, and Interest Rates.

Figure 4. Big credit related drop in oil prices that occurred in late 2008 is now being mitigated by Quantitative Easing and very low interest rates.

Figure 14. Big credit related drop in oil prices that occurred in late 2008 is now being mitigated by Quantitative Easing and very low interest rates.

Because of the expectation that Quantitative Easing will end by October 2014 and the pressure to tighten credit conditions, my expectation is that the affordable price of oil will start dropping in late 2014, as shown in Figure 13. The growing disparity between what consumers can afford and what producers need tends to make the Wile E. Coyote overshoot condition even worse. It is likely to lead to more problems with instability in the Middle East, and a collapse of the US oil production bubble.


I explained earlier that we live in a networked economy, and this fact changes the way economic models work. Many people have developed models of future oil production assuming that the appropriate model is a “bell curve,” based on oil depletion rates and the inability to geologically extract more oil. Unfortunately, this isn’t the right model.

The situation is far more complex than simple geological decline models assume. There are multiple limits involved–prices needed by oil producers, prices affordable by oil importers, and prices for other products, such as water and food. Interest rates are also important. There are time lags involved between the time the Wile E. Coyote situation begins, and the actions to fix this mismatch takes place. It is this time lag that tends to make drop-offs very steep.

The fact that we are dealing with political instability means that multiple fuels are likely to be affected at once. Clearly natural gas exports from the Middle East will be affected at the same time as oil exports. Many other spillover effects are likely to happen as well. US businesses without oil will need to cut back on operations. This will lead to job layoffs and reduced electricity use. With lower electricity demand, prices for electricity as well as for coal and natural gas will tend to drop. Electricity companies will increasingly face bankruptcy, and fuel suppliers will reduce operations.

Thus, we cannot expect decline to follow a bell curve. The real model of future energy consumption crosses many disciplines at once, making the situation difficult to model.  The Reserves / Current Production model gives a vastly too high indication of future production, for a variety of reasons–rising cost of extraction because of diminishing returns, need for high prices and taxes to support the operations of exporters, and failure to consider interest rates.

The Energy Return on Energy Invested model looks at a narrowly defined ratio–usable energy acquired at the “well-head,” compared to energy expended at the “well-head” disregarding many things–including taxes, labor costs, cost of borrowing money, and required dividends to stockholders to keep the system going. All of these other items also represent an allocation of available energy. A multiplier can theoretically adjust for all of these needs, but this multiplier tends to change over time, and it tends to differ from energy source to energy source.

The EROEI ratio is probably adequate for comparing two “like products”–say tight oil produced in North Dakota vs tight oil produced in Texas, or a ten year change in North Dakota energy ratios, but it doesn’t work well when comparing dissimilar types of energy. In particular, the model tends to be very misleading when comparing an energy source that requires subsidies to an energy source that puts off huge tax revenue to support local governments.

When there are multiple limits that are being encountered, it is the financial system that brings all of the limits together. Furthermore, it is governments that are at risk of failing, if enough surplus energy is not produced. It is very difficult to build models that cross academic areas, so we tend to find models that reflect “silo” thinking of one particular academic specialty. These models can offer some insight, but it is easy to assume that they have more predictive value than they do.

Unfortunately, the limits we are reaching seem to be financial and political in nature. If these are the real limits, we seem to be not far away from the simultaneous drop in the production of many energy products. This type of limit gives a much steeper drop off than the frequently quoted symmetric “bell curve of oil production.” The shape of the drop off corresponds to (1) the type of drop off experienced by previous civilizations when they collapsed, (2) the type of drop-off I have forecast for world energy consumption, and (3) Ugo Bardi’s Seneca cliff.  The 1972 book Limits to Growth by Donella Meadows et al. says (page 125), “The behavior mode of of the system shown in figure 35 is clearly that of overshoot and collapse,” so it tends to come to the same conclusion as well.

Filed under: Financial Implications Tagged: crude oil production, interest rates, oil prices, political instability, Russian oil, Saudi Arabian oil
02 Aug 14:42

Ο διαφωτισμός που δεν ζήσαμε

by σχολιαστης

Ενα θέμα κατάλληλο για τον Αύγουστο!

του Χρύσανθου Στεφανόπουλου

Ο διαφωτισμός που δεν ζήσαμε

Πριν λίγες μέρες γιορτάστηκαν τα 40 χρόνια από την αποκατάσταση της δημοκρατίας, αυτό που ονομάζουμε μεταπολίτευση. Ταυτόχρονα, δημοσιεύθηκε έρευνα που διενήργησαν από κοινού το Πανεπιστήμιο της Μακεδονίας, το Διεθνές Πανεπιστήμιο της Ελλάδας και το Πανεπιστήμιο της Οξφόρδης, η οποία έδειξε ότι το 75% των Ελλήνων πιστεύει ότι η κρίση της ελληνικής οικονομίας ήταν προσχεδιασμένη από διάφορα εξωθεσμικά κέντρα.

Είναι πολύ βολικό στις δύσκολες στιγμές να ρίχνεις την ευθύνη σε άλλους, σε κάποιους αόρατους εχθρούς που απεργάζονται ολημερίς και ολονυχτίς ανίερα σχέδια οικονομικής υποδούλωσης της Ελλάδας. Μπορεί πραγματικά κάποιοι να κερδίζουν πολλά από την κρίση αυτή, αλλά αυτό απέχει πολύ απ’ το να μεταθέτεις την ευθύνη σε αυτούς, κλείνοντας τα μάτια στην πραγματικότητα.

Αν κάποιος προσπαθούσε να εντοπίσει τα πραγματικά αίτια της κρίσης που βιώνει η χώρα, θα έπρεπε να ξεκινήσει από πολύ παλιά, από την περίοδο του Διαφωτισμού που η Ελλάδα ουσιαστικά (λόγω Τουρκοκρατίας) ποτέ δεν έζησε. Το σύστημα των κοτζαμπάσηδων ποτέ δεν μετατράπηκε σε ένα ευνομούμενο αστικό σύστημα, αλλά απλά μετασχηματίστηκε σε ένα νέο ολιγαρχικό σύστημα, ελεγχόμενο από το κράτος και τους δικούς του ευνοούμενους.

Δεν θα πάμε όμως τόσο πίσω. Τα βασικά αίτια της κρίσης αυτής διαμορφώθηκαν στα χρόνια της μεταπολίτευσης. Η καταναλωτική νιρβάνα στην οποία βυθιστήκαμε στα χρόνια της ευμάρειας δεν μας άφηνε να δούμε την πραγματικότητα. Κάποιους λίγους πολιτικούς (αποτελούν εξαίρεση) που προσπάθησαν να μας προειδοποιήσουν έγκαιρα, τους στείλαμε με συνοπτικές διαδικασίες στη λήθη της ιστορίας, αποθεώνοντας αντιθέτως τους λαϊκιστές και λαοπλάνους που μοίραζαν αφειδώς δανεικά λεφτά.

Κάνοντας αναδρομή στα τελευταία 40 χρόνια και προσπαθώντας να εντοπίσουμε κάποια από τα αίτια που μας οδήγησαν στην κατάρρευση, θα αναφέραμε επιγραμματικά κάποια από τα παρακάτω :

  • Κρατικοποιήσεις μεγάλων ελληνικών επιχειρήσεων μετά την μεταπολίτευση (Ολυμπιακή Αεροπορία, Ναυπηγεία Ελευσίνας, Βιομηχανία Φωσφορικών Λιπασμάτων, Εμπορική Τράπεζα, Ναυπηγείο Σκαραμαγκά, Πειραϊκή-Πατραϊκή, Οργανισμός Ανασυγκρότησης Επιχειρήσεων (προβληματικές επιχειρήσεις), κ.λπ.
  • Κατασπατάληση για αντιπαραγωγικούς σκοπούς τεράστιων ευρωπαϊκών κονδυλίων από μεσογειακά προγράμματα, Α’, Β’, και Γ’ ΚΠΣ, ΕΣΠΑ.
  • Ενίσχυση επιρροής συνδικαλιστών δημοσίου και ΔΕΚΟ και έμμεση επιβολή «συν-διοίκησης» με τη νόμιμη διοίκηση
  • Σημαντική αύξηση του αριθμού των δημοσίων φορέων και του προσωπικού τους, έλλειψη μηχανογράφησης, απουσία στρατηγικών στόχων και μακροπρόθεσμου πλάνου.
  • Παροχή πολλών και διαφορετικών επιδομάτων και πρόσθετων αμοιβών στους υπαλλήλους και τη διοίκηση δημοσίων φορέων και ΔΕΚΟ, έλλειψη αξιολόγησης και σύνδεσης αποδοχών με επίτευξη μετρήσιμων στόχων, εξασφαλισμένη μονιμότητα.
  • Σκάνδαλα και διαφθορά σε όλα τα επίπεδα της Δημόσιας Διοίκησης, συμπεριλαμβανομένων και πολιτικών προϊσταμένων/υπουργών.
  • Δικομματισμός, ρουσφέτι, υπολογισμός πολιτικού κόστους, νεποτισμός, υπερβολικά προνόμια βουλευτών, μαύρο πολιτικό χρήμα, μη ευθύνη υπουργών.
  • Γιγάντωση εταιρειών που παρείχαν προϊόντα και υπηρεσίες στο Δημόσιο και ενίσχυση της επιρροής τους στο πολιτικό σύστημα, ΜΜΕ, τραπεζικό σύστημα.
  • Πολυνομία, γραφειοκρατία, ατιμωρησία, επιδίωξη εύκολου πλουτισμού, μη ύπαρξη λογοδοσίας και ελέγχου σε όλα τα επίπεδα του δημοσίου βίου
  • Γιγάντωση της καταναλωτικής πίστης, της ιδιωτικής κατανάλωσης, των δημοσίων δαπανών και του δημοσίου δανεισμού, ιδιαίτερα μετά την ένταξή μας στο ευρώ και την ύπαρξη πολύ χαμηλών επιτοκίων δανεισμού
  • Δαιμονοποίηση της υγιούς επιχειρηματικότητας και της θεμιτής επιδίωξης του εύλογου κέρδους, δημιουργία γραφειοκρατίας και εμποδίων στις επιχειρήσεις, αύξηση του παραεμπορίου, ύπαρξη κλειστών επαγγελμάτων, κρατικός παρεμβατισμός στις αγορές.
  • Μείωση της πρωτογενούς παραγωγής, με σημαντική συμβολή σε αυτό των κοινοτικών επιδοτήσεων, της αδιαφανούς λειτουργίας των συνεταιρισμών και της ερήμωσης της υπαίθρου από νέους ανθρώπους.
  • Σημαντική υποβάθμιση της ποιότητας της «δωρεάν» δημόσιας παιδείας, με σημαντική συμβολή σε αυτό της προώθησης της παπαγαλίας και της έλλειψης κριτικής σκέψης, των συμφερόντων συντεχνιών περί την παιδεία (καθηγητές πανεπιστημίου, κ.λπ.), της ύπαρξης φοιτητικών παρατάξεων εντός των Πανεπιστημίων, της παντελούς έλλειψης αξιολόγησης δομών/σχολών/προσωπικού, της μη ύπαρξης ιδιωτικών πανεπιστημίων, της ύπαρξης ενός και μόνου πανεπιστημιακού συγγράμματος (συνήθως του ίδιου του καθηγητή), της μη σύνδεσης της τριτοβάθμιας εκπαίδευσης/έρευνας με τις τοπικές οικονομίες/επιχειρήσεις/αγορά εργασίας
  • Παροχή πρόωρων συντάξεων σε παραγωγικές ηλικίες, απουσία σύνδεσης συντάξιμων αποδοχών με καταβληθείσες εισφορές (κεφαλαιοποιητικό σύστημα), ύπαρξη «ευγενών» ταμείων, έλλειψη μακροπρόθεσμου σχεδιασμού συνταξιοδοτικής πολιτικής, μη επαγγελματική διαχείριση των κεφαλαίων των ταμείων, έλλειψη αξιόπιστου συστήματος απογραφής συνταξιούχων, λυσσαλέα άρνηση ασφαλιστικής μεταρρύθμισης (νόμος Γιαννίτση-2001).
  • «Πάρτι» στον χώρο της κατ’ επίφαση δωρεάν υγείας, έλλειψη κεντρικού συστήματος καταγραφής και ελέγχου ιατρικών πράξεων, ύπαρξη πολλών οργανισμών/ταμείων περίθαλψης, φακελάκι, απουσία κεντρικών προμηθειών για όλα τα δημόσια νοσοκομεία.
  • Καθυστέρηση απονομής δικαιοσύνης, παρα-δικαστικά κυκλώματα, δικομανία των ελλήνων, καθυστέρηση/πολυετής εμπλοκή μεγάλων επενδύσεων από προσφυγές στα δικαστήρια, έλλειψη μηχανογράφησης των δικαστηρίων.
  • Φοροδιαφυγή, φορολογική πολυνομία, μη ύπαρξη σταθερού και δίκαιου φορολογικού συστήματος, διαφθορά ελεγκτικών μηχανισμών, έλλειψη μηχανογράφησης και ηλεκτρονικών διασταυρώσεων, απαρχαιωμένες πρακτικές ελέγχων.
  • Δημιουργία κουλτούρας στους πολίτες για ένα Κράτος-Πατερούλη που φροντίζει και είναι αποκλειστικά υπεύθυνο για όλα, έλλειψη ατομικής ευθύνης, έλλειψη αλληλεγγύης μεταξύ των πολιτών.
  • Απουσία ενθάρρυνσης της έρευνας και της καινοτομίας, παντελής έλλειψη υποστήριξης στους νέους επιστήμονες/επιχειρηματίες/οικογενειάρχες.

Σε αυτά τα αίτια θα μπορούσαμε να προσθέσουμε πολλά περισσότερα και να επιρρίψουμε τη βασική ευθύνη σε αυτούς που ο καθένας μας θεωρεί ως πρωταίτιους, βάσει της ιδεολογίας του. Αυτή όμως είναι μια κουβέντα ατέρμονη που δεν τελειώνει ποτέ και μας κρατάει προσκολλημένους στο παρελθόν. Το βλέμμα μας πρέπει να στραφεί προς το μέλλον και τους τρόπους που μπορούν να μας βγάλουν από το τέλμα.

Είναι θλιβερό ότι από την κρίση αυτή επλήγησαν περισσότερο αυτοί που ωφελήθηκαν λιγότερο κατά τη διάρκεια των χρόνων της ευμάρειας και αυτοί κλήθηκαν να πληρώσουν και τον «λογαριασμό». Ξεχωρίζω από αυτούς τη νέα γενιά αλλά και τις μελλοντικές γενιές οι οποίες θα σηκώσουν το βάρος του χρέους που δημιούργησαν οι προηγούμενες.

Θα μπορούσαμε να παραλληλίσουμε την κατάσταση αυτή, με κάποιους γονείς που ξόδεψαν στα μπουζούκια τα δανεικά λεφτά που προορίζονταν για τη διατροφή και τις σπουδές των παιδιών τους και τώρα δανείζονται επιπλέον για να καλύψουν τα καθημερινά τους έξοδα, βάζοντας ως ενέχυρο τα μελλοντικά έσοδα των παιδιών τους.

Δανειζόμαστε από τα παιδιά μας. Πρέπει όλοι να το συνειδητοποιήσουμε και να προσπαθήσουμε να φερθούμε υπεύθυνα προς αυτά. Να δουλέψουμε, να ξεπεράσουμε τις δυσκολίες, να διορθώσουμε τα κακώς κείμενα και να ξαναδημιουργήσουμε μια χώρα για την οποία θα είμαστε περήφανοι, στην οποία τα παιδιά μας θα θέλουν να ζήσουν και να δημιουργήσουν.

Η δημιουργία φανταστικών εχθρών και η άρνηση αποδοχής της πραγματικότητας δεν οδηγούν στη λύση του προβλήματος. Οι λάθος επιλογές μιας γενιάς καθορίζουν το μέλλον των επόμενων. Το παράδειγμα της Αργεντινής είναι πολύ επίκαιρο και αποδεικνύει ακριβώς αυτό. Η εθνική ανεξαρτησία των κρατών καθορίζεται πλέον από την οικονομική τους ευμάρεια και ισχύ και όχι από τα όπλα και τα μεγάλα ιδεώδη.

Ο γερμανός φιλόσοφος του 18ου αιώνα Ιμμάνουελ Καντ είχε γράψει:
«Διαφωτισμός είναι η έξοδος του ανθρώπου από την ανωριμότητά του, για την οποία ο ίδιος ευθύνεται. Ανωριμότητα είναι η αδυναμία να μεταχειρίζεσαι το νου σου χωρίς την καθοδήγηση ενός άλλου. Είμαστε υπεύθυνοι γι’ αυτή την ανωριμότητα, όταν η αιτία της βρίσκεται όχι στην ανεπάρκεια του νου, αλλά στην έλλειψη αποφασιστικότητας και θάρρους να τον μεταχειριζόμαστε χωρίς την καθοδήγηση ενός άλλου».

Ας βρούμε λοιπόν το θάρρος να χρησιμοποιήσουμε την κοινή μας λογική. Δεν χρειάζεται κανένας ξένος να μας δείξει πώς γίνεται αυτό. Άλλωστε, ο Αριστοτέλης το δίδαξε και σ’αυτούς…

*Ο Χρύσανθος Στεφανόπουλος είναι οικονομολόγος, ορκωτός ελεγκτής (ACCA), εισηγητής σεμιναρίων χρηματοοικονομικής και κοστολόγησης για στελέχη επιχειρήσεων σε Ελλάδα και εξωτερικό.



Filed under: σχολιαστής
22 Jul 13:50

Marknad eller politik?

by Henrik Alexandersson
På marknaden har du tusentals val varje dag. I politiken har du ett val, vart fjärde år.
28 Jul 09:28

Hur mycket släpper din mat ut?

by Beatrice Rindevall


En stor studie gjord i Storbritannien har undersökt hur över 55 000 personers dieter påverkar miljön - och köttätare släpper ut nästan dubbelt så mycket som personer som inte äter kött.

Fram till år 2050 behöver vi sänka våra växthusgasutsläpp till två ton per person om vi ska lyckas begränsa den globala uppvärmningen till max två grader. Med en genomsnittlig köttkonsumtion på 134 gram per dag hamnar svenskar i studiens högsta kategori (se faktaruta), vilket ger oss utsläpp på över 2,6 ton per person och år - endast från maten. Samtidigt ska våra två framtida ton inkludera andra saker som energianvändning och transporter. En vegansk diet hamnar med studiens beräkning på 1 ton växthusgasutsläpp per person och år och en vegetarisk på nästan 1,4 ton.

Om vi skulle gå tillbaka till vår köttkonsumtion från år 1990 skulle vi kunna minska våra matutsläpp till två ton per person, en skillnad på över ett halvt ton. 2010 låg våra utsläpp på totalt 5,7 ton per person, exklusive utlandsresor och konsumtion som producerats i ett annat land.

Studien gjordes av sju forskare på över 2 000 veganer, 15 000 vegetarianer, 8 000 fiskätare och 29 000 köttätare i Storbritannien. Sedan 2000 har försäljningen av kött i Sverige ökat med 92 procent.  Det svenska köttgenomsnittet ligger idag på 134 gram/person och dag till skillnad från 1990 då summan låg på 73 gram.

Genomsnittligt utsläpp/dag i kilogram

Veganer: 2,89 kg
Vegetarianer: 3,81 kg
Fiskätare: 3,91 kg
Köttätare <50 g/dag: 4,67 kg
Köttätare 50-99 g/dag: 5,63 kg
Köttätare >100 g/dag: 7,19 kg

Svensk genomsnittlig köttkonsumtion/dag

2012: 134 gram/person
1990: 73 gram/person

28 Jul 12:00

Naturskyddsföreningens 100 klimatpolitiska förslag

by Supermiljöbloggen


I rapporten "Klimatmaxa politiken" har Naturskyddsföreningen sammanställt 100 förslag på styrmedel som de tycker att politikerna borde ta itu med för att lösa klimatkrisen.

David Kihlberg, projektledare och sakkunnig inom klimat på Naturskyddsföreningen, säger att det viktigaste med rapporten är konstaterandet att det inte finns någon brist på lösningar, varken politiska och tekniska. Han menar att det är brist på politisk ambition som är det stora klimatproblemet.

Vi lägger fram 100 styrmedelsförslag som de politiker som har förstått klimatforskarnas varningar kan börja implementera direkt, säger Kihlberg.

Några av förslagen i rapporten:

      • Avveckla alla klimatskadliga subventioner. Börja med att göra om reseavdraget, avskaffa skatteförmånen på tjänstebilar som inte är supermiljöbilar, ta bort nedsättningarna av koldioxidskatten och ta bort skattebefrielsen på torv (kapitel 3, 4, 5, 6)
      • Inför ett bonus-malus-system för personbilar (kapitel 4)
      • Gör stora investeringar i järnvägen (kapitel 4)
      • Inför ett stadsmiljöprogram (kapitel 4)
      • Skapa en statlig pott för investeringar i cykelinfrastruktur (kapitel 4)
      • Inför kilometerskatt för lastbilar (kapitel 4)
      • Ge statliga lånegarantier för energieffektiviserande renovering av flerbostadshus (kapitel 5)
      • Inför årsvis nettodebitering av småskalig förnybar elproduktion (kapitel 5)
16 Jul 14:13

Taxi Trajectories Reveal City's Most Important Crossroads

The data from GPS navigating equipment is revealing the most important junctions in traffic-clogged megacities.

Here’s an interesting question: how do you identify the most important junctions in a city? One way it is to measure the origin, route, and destination of each road trip through a city and then work out where they cross.

10 Jul 06:32

Why Bookstores live or die

by Ian Welsh

In my experience, this is why they live, if they do:

Munro has since bought the building, which Walker described as an astute move that has provided various options for managing its future.

Bookstores almost always fail not because of e-books, but because of rent increases.  This is true of a lot of interesting, marginal businesses, especially in cities with housing bubbles (and Victoria is not cheap.)  Prices go out of line with income, rents follow, and interesting stores which need low rent die. So you wind up with a whole bunch of chain stores or boutiques operations selling overpriced goods and services who can make the rent.

I shopped at Munro’s many times over the years, as an aside, since my parents lived in Victoria during their retirement, and my grandmother in hers.  A great bookstore, with a good selection, knowledgeable and friendly staff.

But all those things aren’t enough when the rent goes up, and rent is set, in effect, by the value of the lot of land if turned into overpriced condos.

In general bubbles are bad for everyone who isn’t in on the bubble.  If you are winning, they’re great, but the people who don’t participate are screwed.

And bookstores are, somehow, never participants.

Drive enough similar business out, because they can’t make the rent, and soon the great neighbourhood you moved into isn’t, it’s an overpriced condo hell of glass and concrete and soulless chain stores.

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13 Jul 14:29


by (Cornucopia?)
Nedanstående film visar och förklarar varför man aldrig ska betala för likes till en Facebook-sida, inte ens via Facebooks egna, till synes legitima, annonseringsmöjligheter.

Förklaringen ligger i att sk click-farms i U-länder klickar på annonser för att dölja sin betalda aktivitet. Annonsera du på Facebook får du därmed snabbt klick från fejkkonton, som vill dölja sin betalda aktivitet.

Facebooks affärsmodell lider alltså av en omfattande brist, men tills vidare fortsätter sidinnehavare att betala för annonser, även om det tvärt om är destruktivt då de inte får intresserade följare, utan fejkföljare, som minskar andelen legitima följare som får se sidans uppdateringar.

Feministiskt intiativ behöver alltså inte medvetet ha köpt likes från Turkiet, utan köpt legitim annonsering av Facebook. Men då har fejkkonton på turkiska click-farms klickat på annonserna för att dölja annan, betald, aktivitet i bruset av likes från Turkiet.

För Facebook-aktien (NASDAQ:FB) kan man fundera på vad detta långsiktigt innebär. Vad händer när man når en vändpunkt där en kritisk volym av sidägare inser att det är kontraproduktivt att köpa reklam av Facebook? Aktievärderingen är inte direkt förlåtande om affärsmodellen kollapsar ...
14 Jul 15:55

Scientists Just Discovered A New Key Reason Why Cities Get So Hot

Sunset in London during the summer time.

Sunset in London during the summer time.

CREDIT: Shutterstock

Scientists have long been aware of the “urban heat island” effect — the tendency of large cities to get 1.8 to 5.4°F warmer than surrounding areas in the day, and 22°F warmer at night. The assumption has been that this was because all the concrete and other structures stored up heat, and the lack of vegetation reduced evaporation.

But a new study published last week in Nature says that’s not entirely right: convection, or the movement of air through the city, plays a big role in the daytime. The lack of vegetation and the presence of urban structures still matters, but because of their effect on air movement rather than on evaporation: “The ‘rougher’ surfaces of the vegetation triggers turbulence, and turbulence removes heat from the surface to the atmosphere,” said Lei Zhao, a doctoral student at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, and the study’s lead author. “But where there is a smoother surface, there is less convection and the heat will be trapped in the surface.”

Interestingly, this effect on convection actually played much different roles depending on whether a city is found in wetter or drier climates. In dry areas like the American southwest, vegetation is shorter and scrubbier, which makes the rural areas far less adept at dissipating heat. As a result, urban areas actually become comparably more efficient at releasing heat back into the atmosphere, making the cities about 1.5°F cooler. But in wetter climates, urbanization reduces the efficiency of convection by as much as 58 percent.

The study examined 65 different cities in the U.S. and Canada, using satellite data of land surface temperatures and vegetation cover. The researchers then applied various climate models to the data to tease out the contributions of different variables — such as radiation, convection, evaporation, heat storage, and human-generated heat — to the heat island effect.

“One of the major barriers to mitigating the effects of UHI [urban heat island effect] is the lack of quantitative attribution of the contributing factors,” continued Zhao.

One unfortunate take-away from the study is that managing convection effects will be largely impossible, since it would require massive alterations to the height and structural design of buildings in cities throughout the country. An alternative possibility the researchers brought up was changing “albedo” — the amount of solar radiation reflected back out to space from various city surfaces like rooftops and roads — to reduce the absorption of heat in cities. Studies have shown that while both white roofs and “green” roofs — ones planted with vegetation or gardens — have various advantages, the white roofs tend to to the best job of reflecting heat, which also comes with energy savings from the reduced need for cooling. It’s an approach to climate adaptation that multiple American cities are already taking on of their own accord.

Another concern is the danger of future heat waves, and how those will interact with the convection problems in some cities. “There is a synergistic relationship between climate conditions and the urban heat island,” said Xuhui Lee, the Sara Shallenberger Brown Professor of Meteorology at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, and another one of the study’s authors. “This relationship suggests that the urban heat island will exacerbate heat wave stress on human health in wet climates where temperature effects are already compounded by high humidity.”

“This is a huge concern from a public health perspective.”

A recent study by Climate Central showed that U.S. summers are already warmer than in the 1970s, and by the end of this century Boston could be seeing the same kinds of summers that Miami sees now. Another recent granular study of the risks climate change poses throughout the American economy warned that heat waves could have significant impacts on both human safety and worker productivity by 2100, especially in the eastern half of the country.

About 3.5 billion people, or more than half the global population, already live in cities according to the World Health Organization. And by 2050, the group projects that portion will rise to 70 percent of the people on Earth living in urban areas.


This post has been edited for clarity.

The post Scientists Just Discovered A New Key Reason Why Cities Get So Hot appeared first on ThinkProgress.

15 Jul 04:51

прочее от IRS12

13 Jul 23:12

Portugal: Drogerna avkriminaliserades - användningen minskade

by Henrik Alexandersson
1 juli 2001 avkriminaliserade Portugal användning av alla narkotiska preparat.

Sedan dess har droganvändningen minskat, speciellt bland unga människor.

Här är de senaste siffrorna (2012):

Klicka på bilderna för en lite större variant.

Man kan anta att de svenska betong- och batongpartierna inte tänker ta någon notis om detta.

Via MinervaNett och
12 Jul 09:56

Tysklands elproduktion uppe i 31 procent förnybart

by Anders Hellberg


Halvårsrapport visar att solenergin i landet ökade med 28 procent jämfört med samma period förra året.

I veckan kom ny statistik från Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (pdf) som går igenom den tyska elproduktionen. Här framgår bland annat att sol, vind, vatten och biomassa stod för ungefär 31 procent av Tysklands elproduktion under årets första sex månader.

Jämfört med samma period förra året är det främst elproduktion från sol och vind som ökar.





01 Jul 05:34

Metro: (f!) betalade för upp till 45 000 följare - partiet förnekar allt

by (Cornucopia?)
Metros journalist och redaktör för sociala medier, Jack Werner, har plockat upp tråden med (f!):s 10 000 turkiska följare och de följare de köpt via bolaget Viral FB Marketing. Företaget hävdar att (f!) köpte 35 000 svenska följare av dem, medan (f!) förnekar allt och har fått Facebook att ta bort de 10 000 turkarna. Upp till 45 000 av de 100 000 följare partiet tidigare omnämnde som "vi kallar detta demokrati", var alltså betalade för. Och turkar är inte välkomna att följa partiet på Facebook.

Metro har ägnat sig åt journalistik, dvs kontaktat de inblandade och bekräftat det jag skrivit om här på bloggen1.. Viral FB Marketings Robert Price, som förnekat att företaget låg bakom de 10 000 turkarna, säger följande till Metro:
"We have given them 35 000 Swedish likes, these was ''generated'' through the official Facebook ads panel which means that it is more or less organic traffic [...] I am sure it was the official party member who paid us for the likes."
Feministiskt initiativ å sin sida förnekar att de betalat för 35 000 likes, eller ens de 10 000 turkarna.
"Det finns inte i vår föreställningsvärld att köpa likes. Om någon skulle ha köpt likes åt FI så är det ingenting vi bett om. Vi har absolut inte köpt någonting på Facebook. Vi har inte ens råd att köpa annonser i vanliga tidningar [...] Men nu har Facebook tydligen hittat några som inte är autentiska, och plockat bort dem. Och det är ju jättebra, vi vill bara ha följare som gillar oss av fri vilja."
Fi:s följare är inte längre 100 000.
Källa: Social Bakers
Social Bakers har ännu inte
uppdaterat landsfördelningen,
så Turkiet är fortfarande #2.
Antalet likes är nu nere på 93 138, så annonslikes är kvar. Vad Viral FB Marketing sysslar med är olika metoder för att få in fler likes, dels aktivt spridande av länkar i olika forum på Facebook, och dels betalt Facebook-reklam. Dessa 35 000 svenska likes är alltså "frivilliga", men ett utfall av den reklam som (f!) bestämt hävdar att de inte gör.

Ord står mot ord är Jack Werners slutsats.

Men det behöver inte vara så - (f!) kan öppna sin bokföring och kontoutdrag för Werner och tillsammans med en oberoende revisor gå igenom bokföring och kontoutdragen, för att redan ut om några pengar gått till köpta röster, inklusive Viral FB Marketing. Det är dock ingen brådska, då eftersläpande fakturor kan dölja köpen.

Om nu inte (f!) fuskar med sin bokföring...

(f!) går ut på Facebook och förnekar att de köpt likes ifrån Turkiet, men förnekar inte att de köpt 35 000 likes från Viral FB Marketing:
"Det har diskuterats det senaste dagarna huruvida F! skulle ha köpt likes på Facebook. Vi vill vara tydliga: Feministiskt initiativ har inte köpt några likes på Facebook. Politik för oss bygger på förtroende, därför finns det inte i vår föreställningsvärld att göra en sådan sak.

Vi har haft en kontakt med Facebook kring den stora ökning av följare vi hade under några dagar nyligen. Detta för att stävja att andra aktörer köper följare åt oss i försök att skada vår trovärdighet samt våra möjligheter att nå ut med information till de som verkligen är intresserade av oss2..

Om någon skulle ha köpt likes åt oss, så är det inget vi har bett om. Vi vill ha följare som gillar oss av egen fri vilja! [...]
Låt oss åter igen understryka: F! har inte köpt några likes. Facebook är en av våra viktigaste kanaler för att nå ut. Nya följare i Turkiet resulterar i markant sämre möjligheter för oss att prata med de som är verkligt intresserade. Det faller på sin egen orimlighet att vi skulle göra något sådant mot oss själva."
De bemöter alltså inte uttalandet från Viral FB Marketing, ett uttalande som ursprungligen skedde just på deras Facebooksida och censurerades av partiet.

Istället lägger man alltså fram konspirationsteorin att det är någon annan som köpt likes åt dem.

Återigen, det hela är enkelt att bevisa - öppna era kontoutdrag för det senaste 12 månaderna och tillhörande bokföring. Vad är partiet rädda för? Att ertappas som lögnare?

Lustigt nog gick man inte ut med att dessa likes var "ovälkomna", förrän det hamnade i media, utan istället trumpetande man ut vitt och brett att man passerat 100 000 likes.

Och (f!) låter fortfarande uttalandet om att 100 000 likes var demokrati ligga kvar på bland annat Twitter. Trots att de nu raderat turkarna. Tydligen är inte turkar välkomna hos feministerna. Verkar rasistiskt tänker jag.
Dom kan säga: det är bara en like. Vi är nätaktivister – vi säger: det är demokrati!"
Eller köpta likes...

Iaf, om något parti hamnar i debatt med Gudrun Schyman, så kan de fråga vad det är för fel på turkar och varför dessa inte är välkomna som följare av (f!):s Facebook-sida. Man kallar rent av turkar för "markant sämre" i ovanstående citat.

1. Samtidigt som jag får cred och nämns vid namn i artikeln, så är det viktigt att understryka att jag fått uppslagen till det hela via läsarkommentarer. Jag har bara publicerat, verklig cred faller på de läsare som uppmärksammade det hela.
2. Klassiskt upplagd konspirationsteori. Mest underligt att de inte beskyller män och de patriarkala strukturerna för detta. Eller Israel.
27 Jun 19:04

A New Wind Turbine Generates Back The Energy It Takes To Build It In Just 6 Months


A new study finds that wind turbines have an energy payback of 6 months, which is comparable to the best solar photovoltaic systems. In other words, in their first six months of operation, large wind turbines produce the same total amount of energy that was needed to produce and install them.

That is the conclusion of a comprehensive life-cycle assessment of 2-megawatt wind turbines by Oregon State researchers in the International Journal of Sustainable Manufacturing (subs. req’d).

The myth that wind and solar power are bad investments from an energy-payback perspective has been around for years. It even turned up in the error-riddled 2009 book “Superfreakonomics,” repeated by Nathan Myhrvold, former CTO of Microsoft.

It’s difficult to compare this to the energy payback time for fossil fuel plants, because not only do they require a great deal of energy to construct and fuel, they also cause climate change and mooch off of millions of years and heat and pressure provided by the earth.

Of course, decades ago, when manufacturers had not yet applied mass-production techniques to those then-nascent technologies, the energy payback time (EPBT) of renewables was considerably worse. That’s clear from this chart in “PE Magazine,” the lead publication of the National Society of Professional Engineers.


The European Photovoltaic Industry Association says, “Depending on the type of PV system and the location of the installation, the EPBT at present is between 0.5 and 1.4 years.”

In general, the more sunlight at a solar installation the faster the energy payback. In the future, we can expect a continued improvement in energy payback. Year after year, renewable energy becomes a better and better investment.

The post A New Wind Turbine Generates Back The Energy It Takes To Build It In Just 6 Months appeared first on ThinkProgress.

24 Jun 18:00

Därför betalar inte pensionärer högre skatt

by Daniel Waldenström

Under valår är det som bekant röstköp som räknas bland de politiska partierna. Sveriges pensionärer utgör en av de största väljargrupperna, och detta märktes tydligt i socialdemokraternas senaste utspel att skatten på pensionerna ska sänkas ifall vi byter regering i höst. Men håller Stefan Löfvens argument om att 1) pensioner är uppskjuten lön och 2) pensionerna idag beskattas hårdare än arbetsinkomster? Svaret är ett klart nej. I själva verket betalar pensionärer lägre skatt än de flesta löntagare. Dessutom är pensioner till huvuddelen inte uppskjuten lön i vårt svenska pensionssystem. Vågar vi hoppas på en snar pudel från Löfven?

Alla som känner till det svenska skattesystemet vet att löner beskattas i flera led. Utöver kommunala och statliga inkomstskatter beskattas löner också via arbetsgivaravgifter. Även om arbetsgivaravgifterna betalas in av arbetsgivaren är det löntagaren som i slutändan betalar eftersom lönen minskar med lika mycket.

Arbetsgivaravgifterna innehåller trots namnet både avgifter och skatter (se vidare Skatteverkets information samt SNS Konjunkturrådsrapport 2013 s 31-35). Delar av avgifterna är kopplade till individuella förmåner, t ex ålderspensionsavgiften, och anses därför inte vara skatter. Vissa arbetsgivaravgifter saknar däremot koppling till förmåner och betraktas allmänt som rena skatter. Det kanske tydligaste exemplet på dessa är den allmänna löneavgiften. En löntagare med 14 000 kr i månadslön betalar via sin arbetsgivare en löneavgift på ca 1 380 kr, knappt tio procent av lönen. Denna löneavgift är därmed större än de 1082 kr som samma löntagare får tillbaka i form av jobbskatteavdrag. Löntagaren får förvisso även en subvention i form av avdrag för den allmänna pensionsavgiften om 983 kr, men mot det kan man ställa det faktum att eftersom uppemot 60 procent av arbetsgivaravgiften är att betrakta som ren skatt (en uppskattning som både finansdepartementet och Skatteverket gjort) och alltså att löntagaren betalar ytterligare runt en tusenlapp i “arbetsgivaravgiftsskatt”. Innan jobbskatteavdraget infördes betalade alltså löntagare betydligt högre skatt än pensionärer medan de idag endast betalar något mer i skatt.

Även i en internationell jämförelse står det klart att Sveriges pensionärer inte är skattemässigt missgynnade. Som Helena Svaleryd och jag visade i en artikel på DN Debatt 2010, visar OECDs pensionsskattejämförelser (Pensions at a Glance) att pensionärer betalar högre inkomstskatt (exklusive sociala avgifter) än löntagare i en majoritet av de undersökta länderna, t ex Finland, Japan och Tyskland. Länderjämförelser är emellertid svåra att göra eftersom systemen skiljer sig åt. I vissa länder, exempelvis Sverige och Nederländerna, är pensionerna internationellt sett höga och beskattas relativt högt.

Men har då inte Löfvén och pensionärslobbyn åtminstone rätt i att pensionen är uppskjuten lön? Faktiskt inte: Till största delen är pensionerna i dagens svenska pensionssystem inte uppskjuten lön! Det är nämligen så att vårt svenska pensionssystem till största delen är ett fördelningssystem. Som Pensionsmyndigheten beskriver detta: “Det betyder att de inbetalda avgifterna används till samma års pensionsutbetalningar. Med andra ord omfördelas inkomsterna från den yrkesverksamma till den pensionerade generationen.” Huvuddelen av de ålderspensionsavgifter som vi betalar in med vår lön (före arbetsgivaravgiften det vill säga) sätts alltså inte in på något konto, utan betalas till dagens pensionärer. I utbyte får vi pensionsrätter, som ger oss rätt till en andel av framtidens pensionsutbetalningar (som dock kommer att justeras utifrån framtidens demografi och välstånd).

En liten del av pensionssystemet är emellertid uppskjuten lön: PPM. I detta fall sätts faktiskt våra avgifter in på ett konto med vårt namn på, som kommer att betalas ut till oss när vi går i pension på framtiden. Gällande PPM har Löfvén alltså rätt. (Ironiskt nog vill Löfvén skrota PPM!).

Det bör tilläggas att det trots resonemanget ovan kan finnas andra goda skäl att sänka skatten på garantipensioner, exempelvis av fördelningsmässiga hänsyn.

Sammantaget är det faktiskt ganska tragiskt att åse det röstköpande som just nu pågår inför öppen ridå i det svenska valrörelsen. Förhoppningsvis kommer den fortsatta diskussionen om svenska pensionärers välfärd vara befriad från grundlösa påståenden om att pensionärer straffbeskattas och att pensioner är huvudsakligen uppskjuten lön. Endast då skapas förutsättningar för en rättvis välfärdspolitik för dagens och morgondagens pensionärer. Även under valår.

24 Jun 09:14

Dags för en ny typ av konsumentverk för data?

by emma

Har ni tänkt på att det alltid ska gå att tjäna pengar på folk? Ur individuella perspektiv är det ganska långt bort ifrån nån slags vardag, men ur ett samhälls- och marknadsperspektiv, så ska man alltid kunna tjäna pengar på folk. Ibland blir det jättetydligt, som det där som Amelia skriver om, att kvinnor av olika orsaker tydligen mår lite sämre på söndagskvällar och måndagsmornar och därför är utmärkta mål att kränga saker genom att sänka självförtroendet lite ytterligare och skapa ett behov.

Det spelas mexikansk musik när det ska krängas tacos i affären, det ställs saker som ska uppmuntra till spontaninköp när man köar till kassan. Vi är alla medvetna om det, men låter oss förföras, på gott och ont. Vår reflex är inte att förbjuda den här sortens strategier, det ingår liksom. Det är bra för samhället, eller nåt, att vi låter oss manipuleras utan att ställa till med bråk eller börja protestera. Vi nöjer oss på nåt vis med att veta om det, och försöka motstå det lite till mans av olika principiella skäl.

Andra gånger är det inte så tydligt. Spelreglerna är inte helt klara här, även om det nu finns nån slags reglering för hur reklam får se ut. Hur manipulation får fungera, har vi ju liksom ingen specifik mening om. Som sociala medie-plattformar, exempelvis. De flesta som hängt med något sånär i debatter kring sociala medier vet att när något är gratis är man själv produkten. Det finns någon slags balans av att “få något” för besväret, i det här fallet en social gemenskap eller så.

I slutändan handlar det om att man ska kunna tjäna något på ens medlemskap på vilken plattform det nu råkar handla om. Man kan välja att inte vara med, sa vi i många år, men det har inte varit riktigt sant de senaste åren. Det är ett högt pris att stå utanför social gemenskap.

Facebook, exempelvis, har nu börjat använda din webhistorik för att “bättre kunna anpassa annonsmaterial” till dig. Nu är inte vi nödvändigtvis konsumenter när vi besöker hemsidor, så det principiella övertrampet här är ganska rejält. Det kommer antagligen inte som en överraskning för de som följer Facebooks utveckling, det finns säkert många som redan nu surfar privat – det finns webbläsare som erbjuder den möjligheten. Andra, som jag, använder tjänster som Adblock, för att helt enkelt stänga av möjligheterna till direktreklam. Det är en hygienfaktor, som jag ser det.

Det finns såklart de som anser att man på något vis “lurar marknaden på pengar” som inte släpper igenom annonser. Det har till och med använts argument som går ut på att man på något vis beter sig omoraliskt som inte släpper igenom annonser. När plattformar som Facebook beslutar sig för att kika in på ens webbhistorik, är det inte många som pratar om moral. I alla fall tycks de inte ha några moraliska problem själva, med att ta den sortens beslut.

Vi är tämligen rättslösa när det gäller marknadens rätt att tjäna pengar på oss i det stora hela när det handlar om datainsamling. Det som görs för att öka kunskapen om hur vi manipuleras och styrs lever en ganska undanskymd tillvaro. När man dessutom kombinerar den här sortens datainsamling med samarbeten med NSA (och FRA) så behöver man fundera lite på konsekvenserna.

Stat och marknad har en direktlina in i ditt liv och det är nog på tiden att fundera över hur det borde regleras. Ännu så länge har all offentlig diskussion gått ut på hur vi medborgare måste ställa upp på att vara helt transparenta, både för poliser och marknad. Vi ska inte fildela, vi ska inte förhålla oss privata. Vi ska liksom inte ifrågasätta behovet av tillgången till våra data över huvud taget.

Allt är inte värdelöst i industrierna som byggs upp runt omkring oss, många tycker nog det är kanon att få specialerbjudanden från Ica. Men det tåls att fundera över vilka som kan ta sig in i våra liv via våra telefoner och datorer inte minst. Databrickan som öppnar porten kanske inte ensamt är värdefullt, men samlat till allt annat är det en guldgruva. Vänta bara tills ditt brandlarm kan lägga till information. Din bil är redan på gång att göra det. Vi behöver bli minst lika medvetna om detta som vi är om när mariachi-musik spelar i speceriaffären, om inte mer.

Nu tycker jag det är fin-fint med marknader som får fart på ekonomin osv — men jag tror det är dags att ställa lite krav på de industrier som använder oss som produkt, vare sig vi gått med på det frivilligt eller inte. Vi är nämligen helt rättslösa idag, och har ingen aning om vilka som tillgodogör sig vilka data. Eller i vilka syften. Eller som konstateras i nedanstående reportage – du är benägen att betala ett högre pris om du måste köpa en flygbiljett för att besöka din sjuka förälder.

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23 Jun 14:27

Πλεόνασμα .. υποκρισίας !

by Δημήτρης Κυπριώτης

Μόνο για το 2014 προβλέπονται ελλείμματα:

Για το ΙΚΑ   :           807,9 εκ. ΕυρώΓια τον ΟΑΕΕ  462,7 εκ.Ε
Για τον ΟΓΑ:           181,3 εκ. Ευρώ
Για το ΜΤΠΥ:            91,3 εκ  Ευρώ
Για το ΕΤΑΑ(ΤΣΑΥ):  39,5 εκ. Ευρώ
Για το ΕΤΕΑ          : 274,0 εκ. Ευρώ
Σύνολο για τους ασφαλιστικούς φορείς:
  1 δις 856,7 εκ ευρώ έλλειμμα μόνο για το 2014!!

Το 2014 είναι η δεύτερη χρονιά "ανάκαμψης", "πρωτογενούς πλεονάσματος", "επενδύσεων" "όχι άλλα μέτρα", "μνημόνιο τέλος" 
        και άλλα ωραία και φαιδρά.
Το 2014 όμως είναι το έτος των προαπαιτούμενων:

  • Για το ασφαλιστικό 
  • για την φορολογία, 
  • για τις απολύσεις, 
  • για την μετατροπή της αγοράς σε πεδίο ασκήσεων για ολιγοπώλια.

Ένα μπαράζ δημοσιευμάτων, εκπομπών στα κανάλια, συνεντεύξεων, δηλώσεων, μας προετοιμάζουν για την "Εθνική σύνταξη των 360 ευρώ".

Ευτυχώς που έχουμε "πρωτογενές πλεόνασμα" και θα κάνουν "επενδύσεις" οι Κινέζοι!!
21 Jun 22:18

Οι Καταιγίδες Στο Κάνσας

by Θοδωρής

Στις αχανείς, επίπεδες πολιτείες στη μέση των ΗΠΑ ο αέρας κάνει πολύ περίεργα πράγματα.


19 Jun 20:02

Οι ΗΠΑ «άδειασαν» τον Ερντογάν στο Κουρδικό μέσω Ιράκ

by σχολιαστης

Οι ΗΠΑ «άδειασαν» τον Ερντογάν στο Κουρδικό μέσω Ιράκ

Την έπαθε ο Ερντογάν! Ξινή του βγήκε η προθυμία του να συνεργαστεί με τους Αμερικανούς για την υπονόμευση του συριακού καθεστώτος και την ανατροπή του Σύρου προέδρου Μπασάρ αλ Ασαντ! Οταν οι Αμερικανοί εισέβαλαν στο Ιράκ, το 2003, ο Ερντογάν είχε βάλει την τουρκική Εθνοσυνέλευση, το Κοινοβούλιο, να απαγορεύσει ρητά και κατηγορηματικά κάθε είδους βοήθεια προς τις ΗΠΑ. Δεν πέρασε τότε ούτε ένας στρατιώτης Αμερικανός από τουρκικό έδαφος. Η ανατροπή όμως του Σαντάμ Χουσεΐν και η δημιουργία από την Ουάσιγκτον κουρδικού κράτους ουσιαστικά στο βόρειο Ιράκ έκανε τον Ερντογάν να αλλάξει ριζικά στάση. Ετσι στην υπόθεση της Συρίας έκανε τα ακριβώς αντίθετα. Σε τουρκικό έδαφος προσγειώνονταν ευθύς εξαρχής τα μεταγωγικά από το Κατάρ που μετέφεραν κατά εκατοντάδες τους μισθοφόρους κατσαπλιάδες «τζιχαντιστές», οι οποίες καθοδηγούνται πολιτικά από τις ΗΠΑ με έμμεσο τρόπο και χρηματοδοτούνται αφειδώς από τη Σαουδική Αραβία, το Κατάρ και άλλους εμίρηδες του Κόλπου. Ο Ερντογάν νόμιζε ότι μέσω της συνεργασίας με τον Λευκό Οίκο θα μπορούσε να συνδιαμορφώσει το μετά Ασάντ καθεστώς της Συρίας – να αποτρέψει δηλαδή τη δημιουργία ενός συριακού αυτόνομου κουρδικού κρατιδίου κατά το πρότυπο του ιρακινού Κουρδιστάν. Οσο οι ισλαμιστές μισθοφόροι δρούσαν στη Συρία, η Τουρκία δεν είχε κανένα πρόβλημα, πέρα φυσικά από το μίσος των Σύρων εναντίον της. Μετά όμως την παταγώδη αποτυχία των μισθοφόρων τζιχαντιστών να ανατρέψουν τον Ασαντ και την αμερικανική εντολή να εισβάλουν στις σουνιτικές περιοχές του Ιράκ, τα πράγματα έλαβαν μια απροσδόκητα αρνητική στροφή για την Τουρκία.

Πρώτα πρώτα οι μισθοφόροι ισλαμιστές συνέλαβαν δεκάδες Τούρκους διπλωμάτες και άλλους υπαλλήλους του τουρκικού προξενείου στη Μοσούλη του Ιράκ! Ωραία πληρωμή των αιμοσταγών μισθοφόρων προς τους Τούρκους -κατόπιν προφανώς εντολής των Αμερικανών για να ταπεινώσουν και να εκβιάσουν τον Ερντογάν- για την αμέριστη βοήθεια που τους παρείχαν! Αυτό το περιστατικό όμως τελικά θα διευθετηθεί. Το σοβαρότερο είναι ότι η εισβολή των κατσαπλιάδων «τζιχαντιστών» στο Ιράκ με στόχο αποκλειστικά τις επιθέσεις εναντίον μόνο των σιιτικών στρατιωτικών δυνάμεων της φιλοϊρανικής κυβέρνησης του Νουρί αλ Μαλίκι της Βαγδάτης αποθράσυνε εντελώς τους Κούρδους του Ιράκ. Η ηγεσία τους, βλέποντας ότι η χώρα βρίσκεται στα πρόθυρα της διάσπασής της σε σιιτικό, σουνιτικό και κουρδικό τομέα, εκφράζει πλέον ανοιχτά επεκτατικές βλέψεις και σε άλλες περιοχές του Ιράκ! Στις τρεις περιοχές του Ιράκ που ασκεί εξουσία επιθυμεί να προσθέσει ακόμη… τέσσερις (!) με σημαντικότερη βεβαίως εκείνη του Κιρκούκ που έχει πολλά πετρέλαια.

«Το Ιράκ φαίνεται κοντά στην κατάρρευσή του σε περιοχές εθνικές και φατριαστικές», έγραφαν προχθές οι «Φαϊνάνσιαλ Τάιμς» του Λονδίνου. «Είναι καθαρό ότι αυτό γίνεται τετελεσμένο γεγονός», δήλωνε στη βρετανική εφημερίδα ο Αλί Χουσεΐν, επικεφαλής του κυβερνώντος Δημοκρατικού Κόμματος του Κουρδιστάν στο Ερμπίλ, την πρωτεύουσα των κουρδικών περιοχών του Ιράκ. «Αν δεν συμφωνήσουμε, ο καθένας πρέπει να αποφασίσει σύμφωνα με τα δικά του συμφέροντα», προσθέτει απειλητικά. Δεν πρόκειται για αβάσιμους ισχυρισμούς. Την περασμένη εβδομάδα οι Κούρδοι πήραν το Κιρκούκ χωρίς να χρειαστεί να ρίξουν ούτε μια τουφεκιά, καθώς ο ιρακινός σιιτικός στρατός εγκατέλειψε τις θέσεις του στην πόλη, γνωρίζοντας ότι ο ντόπιος πληθυσμός σαφώς διάκειται εχθρικά απέναντι στον στρατό. Οι εξελίξεις αυτές όμως δεν είναι καθόλου καλές για την Αγκυρα. Η εδαφική επέκταση και η πολιτική ισχυροποίηση του ιρακινού Κουρδιστάν, ακριβώς δίπλα στο μεγαλύτερο σε έκταση και υπερδιπλάσιο σε πληθυσμό τουρκικό Κουρδιστάν, προδιαγράφει κινδύνους για την Τουρκία.

Η αναβάθμιση της μοναδικής μέχρι στιγμής εθνικής εστίας των κουρδικών πληθυσμών, αυτής στο Κουρδιστάν του Ιράκ, είναι βέβαιο ότι θα ασκεί ισχυρότατη πολιτική επίδραση στον κουρδικό πληθυσμό της Τουρκίας για να διεκδικήσει και αυτός την ελευθερία και την απόσχισή του από την εξουσία της Αγκυρας. Ενα όλο και πιο ανεξάρτητο Κουρδιστάν στο Ιράκ ασκεί μεγαλύτερη επιρροή στον πολλαπλά καταπιεζόμενο, υπόδουλο ουσιαστικά πληθυσμό των Κούρδων της Τουρκίας να κατακτήσει κι αυτός την ελευθερία και την ανεξάρτητη δική του πατρίδα.


Filed under: σχολιαστής
17 Jun 05:21

«Imagine» в картинках

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19 Jun 13:54

How Dust On Colorado’s Snow Could Ruin Your Salad

Dust on snow in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado.

Dust on snow in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado.

CREDIT: Jeffrey Deems

GOLDEN, COLORADO — The deep snow cover in Colorado’s mountains, well above average this year everywhere except the southern part of the state, is melting and running off very quickly in June. It’s an annual event that is watched closely by farmers who depend on irrigation water, water managers eager to see their reservoirs filled, kayakers and rafters looking for white water thrills, and increasingly by scientists looking at how the West is doing in a warming world.

For about the last decade, a small group of researchers has been studying a particular aspect of the annual snowmelt in the Colorado Rockies: how it is affected by dust that blows in from Arizona, southern Utah, and other points in the desert Southwest and settles in layers on the mountain snow. In part, their research is driven by the huge importance of the mighty Colorado River, which begins high in the Rockies and ends its long journey in Mexico.

Along the way, the Colorado provides water for some 40 million people, and more than five million acres of cropland in some of the richest agricultural regions in the U.S.

“The dust sits on top of the snowpack, it absorbs more solar radiation and you get melting sooner,” said Brad Udall, a senior fellow at the Getches-Wilkinson Center for Natural Resources, Energy and the Environment at the University of Colorado. That dust has a surprisingly large influence on both the timing of the annual runoff and the amount of water that ends up in the already stressed Colorado River system.

A study published in 2010 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that heavy loads of dust in the Colorado mountains had moved the period of peak snowpack runoff ahead by three weeks compared to pre-settlement in the mid 1800s. Accelerated melting is bad news for farmers and water managers who rely on the melting snowpack to deliver water steadily throughout the year; the Upper Colorado basin has few reservoirs to store excess water in the case of a rapid melt.

Researchers studying dust layers in Colorado.

Researchers studying dust layers in Colorado.

CREDIT: Jeffrey Deems

Earlier runoff also means earlier exposure of soils and earlier plant germination, which increases both evaporation of water in the soils and transpiration of water from plants. This phenomenon, known as evapotranspiration, is costing the Colorado River basin about five percent of its annual flow, or some 800,000 acre feet, according to the PNAS study. That is more water than is used annually by the cities of Las Vegas, Denver, Phoenix and Tucson combined.

That news, based on field research between 2005 and 2008, was startling enough, but it quickly got worse. In 2009 and 2010 “unprecedented levels of dust loading on snowpacks in the Upper Colorado River Basin” were observed and amounted to about five times the dust depositions in the 2010 study, according to a 2013 paper published by some of the same authors in Hydrology and Earth System Sciences. The researchers said that the additional dust loading moved peak snowmelt ahead by another three weeks, for a total of six weeks earlier, and reduced the flow of the Colorado River by a total of six percent.

…it does look like it is getting worse over the past couple of decades.

Even though much of the Southwest and Great Basin have been arid for a long time, those areas didn’t produce a lot of dust until the West was settled in the mid to late 1800s and settlers brought in a lot of livestock.

“Most of the land surface in the desert southwest is naturally covered by crusts,” said Jeffrey Deems of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, a joint institute of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the University of Colorado. “Those crusts protect the soil surface from wind erosion and thus make the natural surface not very prone to erosion.”

From studies of lake sediments, Deems and other scientists know what happened when the settlers and cowboys arrived and millions of grazing animals began breaking that soil crust: about a 700 percent increase in dust. By the 1930s, when better controls were placed on grazing by the federal government and herds were reduced, that increase had fallen to about 500 percent and remained at that level through many decades.

Snowpack monitoring by the Center for Snow and Avalanche Studies in the San Juan Mountains of southern Colorado since 2003 suggests that dust is now becoming more of a problem, though Deems says “we are hesitant to say whether this is cyclical or whether this represents a steady increase … But if we observe dust on snow and other proxies, it does look like it is getting worse over the past couple of decades.”

And it’s getting worse at the same time that climate change is ushering in profound changes for the American Southwest that are likely to include more erosion and more dust.

Climate change, according to the USGS, “will have profound effects on water and living systems in the Colorado River Watershed,” where models predict a decrease in precipitation this century of as much as 20 percent and a temperature rise of as much as six degrees Celsius. “Increased warming is expected to decrease runoff by up to 30 percent through the 21st Century,” according to the USGS, at the same time that populations in the region are climbing.

The landmark National Climate Assessment, released in April, had many of the same dire predictions for the future of the Southwest in a changing climate — making the already parched region hotter and drier. “Increased heat and changes to rain and snowpack will send ripple effects throughout the region’s critical agriculture sector, affecting the lives and economies of 56 million people — a population that is expected to increase 68 percent by 2050, to 94 million,” the report warned. “Severe and sustained drought will stress water sources, already over-utilized in many areas, forcing increasing competition among farmers, energy producers, urban dwellers, and plant and animal life for the region’s most precious resource.”

And many of these impacts are not far off in the future, they are already underway. The Colorado, said Deems, “is already a stressed and over-allocated river, demand already exceeds supply, and that is only going to get worse.” In the upper part of the Colorado River basin, Deems noted, there are few reservoirs to store water and the mountain snowpack serves as storage. With dust making runoff come so much earlier, “if you are a water user, all of a sudden you are looking at a two-months longer dry season.”

“The dust is the result of all these human activities, from construction, to off-road vehicles, to grazing, any kind of land use disturbance that breaks up the soil,” said Udall. “This is local, it’s not from China, it’s from the Southwest.”

The fact that we, in our land management activities, are responsible for much of the dust in the West means that there are also opportunities to mitigate it by changing the way we do things. “We still have the capability, even if climate change is doing bad things to the snowpack, we still have the opportunity to reduce the impact of dust on snowmelt timing and to preserve snowpack until later in the season,” said Deems.

While satellites make it easy to see where the major dust storms are coming from, the smaller, chronic sources are harder to detect, says Jayne Belnap, an ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey in Moab, Utah. Last year she set out to measure how dirt roads contribute to the problem and found that they produce “a significant amount of dust,” and that the better the roads, the bigger contributors they are.

With the surge in oil and gas development in the West, which is accompanied by lots of road construction to service the drilling and production phases, Belnap’s research suggests that changing the way we build dirt roads can make a significant difference in how dust affects the Colorado River. “The faster you can drive on them, the more dirt” becomes airborne, said Belnap. “We need to keep those dips and doodles and curves in there.”

Belnap has found another significant dust source in fallow agricultural fields in Arizona and Texas, particularly former cotton growing lands between Phoenix and Tucson that have been abandoned because of high water costs. “They were plowed so much they’re like talcum powder…they just blow.” That source can also be mitigated with plant cover, says Belnap, pointing to successes in China with stabilizing moving sand dunes by putting small physical structures in fields to allow native plants and shrubs to take hold.

Dust has to become part of your land management goals.

“You can manage this, you just have to have the political willpower to do it,” Belnap said. “Dust has to become part of your land management goals.”

One of those goals should be conserving big chunks of western land and keeping oil and gas development and off-road vehicle use at bay, said Mathew Gross of the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance. Gross’ group is pushing for creation of a Greater Canyonlands National Monument as a 1.4 million acre buffer around Canyonlands National Park.

“If industrial development comes to the greater Canyonlands, it will exacerbate the effects of dust on snow,” Gross said. “That has consequences all the way to the Imperial Valley of California.”

The relatively small local impacts of dust — multi-car pileups on Arizona highways, health issues like Valley Fever — are unlikely to grab the national spotlight, Belnap said. What will, she believes, is more widespread worry about reductions in water availability and reliability in the Colorado River system.

“If your lettuce doesn’t get grown in California, you notice that in Washington, D.C.,” Belnap said. “So dust in the West becomes a national issue.”

The post How Dust On Colorado’s Snow Could Ruin Your Salad appeared first on ThinkProgress.

18 Jun 11:32

Το μονοπάτι του νέου Γενικού Γραμματέα Δημοσίων Εσόδων

by Πάνος
Προφανώς ο Μάρδας αναφέρεται στην επόμενη κυβέρνηση, γιατί η παρούσα έχει αποδείξει ότι δεν θέλει να αλλάξει ρότα στα φορολογικά (για λόγους που κάποια στιγμή οφείλει να εξηγήσει, στους αγαθούς ψηφοφόρους της). Αν ήθελε, ποιος την εμπόδιζε να το κάνει – αφού και η τρόικα το ζητάει επίμονα, αλλά χωρίς αποτέλεσμα;
Δημήτρης Μάρδας

Το ζητούμενο για τον διάδοχο του κου Θεοχάρη είναι η διαχειριστική κουλτούρα που οφείλει να διακρίνει τη σκέψη του. Μια διέξοδος λοιπόν στα προβλήματα που καλείται να αντιμετωπίσει, δίνεται από τη γνωστή πεπατημένη, που ενδεχομένως μπορεί να προκαλέσει κοινωνικές εκρήξεις στο άμεσο μέλλον. Μια άλλη, αναφέρεται απλά στην εφαρμογή των αυτονόητων, που έως σήμερα όμως αποφεύγονται.

Αν θέλει ο νέος Γενικός Γραμματέας να σεβαστεί τους πολίτες αυτής της χώρας, τότε  πρέπει να ξεφύγει από τα τετριμμένα και να στραφεί σε νέες λύσεις δίνοντας ένα άλλο το στίγμα, αρκεί να ασκήσει πιέσεις στον προϊστάμενο υπουργό του για τολμηρές λύσεις. Ενδεικτικά και όχι εξαντλητικά, σημειώνονται κάποιες από αυτές, εκτός της υφιστάμένης λογικής, που θα μπορούσαν κάλλιστα να αποτελέσουν μέρος της ατζέντας του:

  1. Nα δοθεί ειδικότερα, άμεση προτεραιότητα στην πάταξη του λαθρεμπορίου-νοθείας καυσίμων, με την ταχεία εφαρμογή μέτρων που όφειλαν να υιοθετηθούν από το 2003 και εφαρμόζονται σε άλλες χώρες. Η χώρα θα εισπράττει τουλάχιστον 1-2 δις ευρώ σε φόρους κάθε έτος που τώρα χάνονται, σύμφωνα με τον Γενικό Γραμματέα Διαφάνειας. Τα μέτρα είναι γνωστά και χιλιοειπωμένα. (Βλ. αναλυτικότερα Οι ένοχοι εξίσου γνωστοί και αριθμητικά πολύ λίγοι!
  2. Να περιοριστεί το παρεμπόριο, το οποίο αφορά, κατά την Εθνική Συνομοσπονδία του Ελληνικού Εμπορίου (ΕΣΕΕ), σε ένα τζίρο 20 δις περίπου ευρώ. Μόνο ο ΦΠΑ που χάνεται ανέρχεται σε περίπου 4 δις ευρώ περίπου. Και εδώ οι «παίχτες» είναι γνωστοί.
  3. Να αλλάξει ο προσανατολισμός των ελέγχων των νομικών προσώπων. Έτσι, να πάψουν να ελέγχονται από τους εφοριακούς κουλουράδες, περιπτεράδες, ψιλικατζήδες και να δοθεί προτεραιότητα σε έλεγχους των γνωστών επαγγελμάτων που φοροδιαφεύγουν. Οι εκτιμήσεις του ΚΕΠΕ του ΙΟΒΕ κ.ά για τη φοροδιαφυγή την ανεβάζουν στα 30 δις ευρώ το έτος. Και εδώ οι ένοχοι είναι γνωστοί.
  4. Να στελεχωθούν με πολυάριθμο προσωπικό οι σχετικές υπηρεσίες που ασχολούνται με τις λίστες Λαγκάρντ, των ακινήτων στο εξωτερικό κ.λπ.. Επιπλέον, να αντιγραφούν λύσεις άλλων χωρών (π.χ. Γαλλίας), που αντιμετώπισαν το ίδιο πρόβλημα και συγκέντρωσαν ταχύτατα σημαντικά χρηματικά ποσά, εισπράττοντας τους φόρους των εξαγωγέων του μαύρου χρήματος.
  5. Να εισαχθεί ένα επιλεκτικό «πόθεν έσχες» για εισοδήματα που αναφέρονται σε συγκεκριμένες κατηγορίες πολιτών (π.χ. ατόμων, που συμμετέχουν στις προμήθειες υγείας κ.λπ). Η οποιαδήποτε πολιτική «σκούπας», η οποία επιδιώκει να ανακαλύψει το μαύρο χρήμα σε ένα μεγάλο σύνολο ατόμων, μπορεί να οδηγήσει σε ατιμωρησία. Η επιλογή της επιλεκτικής δράσης, οδηγεί σε χειροπιαστά αποτελέσματα.
  6. Να προσδιοριστούν αδιαπραγμάτευτα πρόστιμα, που αναφέρονται σε ειδεχθή εγκλήματα (π.χ. εμπόριο ναρκωτικών, λαθρεμπόριο καυσίμων κ.ά), έτσι ώστε να περιοριστεί η συναλλαγή ανάμεσα σε ενόχους και τους φορείς που καλούνται να επιλέξουν το ύψος επιβολής ενός προστίμου. Ένας αλγόριθμός και πίνακες με καταγεγραμμένα πρόστιμα ανά περίπτωση, να αντικαταστήσει λοιπόν την διαπραγμάτευση του όποιου προστίμου, που κινείται ανάμεσα σε δυο όρια με μεγάλη απόσταση. Χαρακτηριστικό παράδειγμα μιας τέτοιας εικόνας δίνεται από την παράγραφο 1 του άρθρου 26, του Νόμου 4139/13 περί εξαρτησιογόνων ουσιών, που κάλλιστα θα μπορούσε να φέρει τον τίτλο «Το πανηγύρι της διαφθοράς». Το συγκεκριμένο άρθρο εισάγει υποκειμενικά κριτήρια στην κρίση του προϊσταμένου της περιφερειακής Διεύθυνσης του ΣΔΟΕ, κατά την επιβολή ενός προστίμου σε έμπορο ναρκωτικών. Το πρόστιμο, που θα επιλέξει να επιβάλει ο εν λόγω Διευθυντής, κυμαίνεται από 100 χιλ έως 1 εκ. ευρώ!
  7. Να ασκηθεί πίεση για άμεση εκλογίκευση του συστήματος προμηθειών της χώρας, αρχής γενομένης από τις προμήθειες υγείας. Σύμφωνα με υπολογισμούς της Ευρ. Επιτροπής, ο εκσυγχρονισμός της συστήματος θα οδηγήσει σε εξοικονόμηση πόρων που αντιστοιχούν στο 25% των προμηθειών της χώρας. Αυτό μεταφράζεται σε μείωση των δημοσίων δαπανών της τάξης των 4,5 δις ευρώ για τη χώρα μας.

Μια σειρά από πολιτικές αυτής της μορφής, με αιχμή του δόρατος τον περιορισμό της φοροδιαφυγής των μεγάλων εισοδημάτων, μπορεί να αλλάξει όλο το προφίλ των δημοσίων εσόδων, να εισάγει επιτέλους στοιχεία υπέρ ενός δίκαιου φορολογικού συστήματος και να πάψει να καταδιώκει φαντάσματα, που τα ανακαλύπτει σε μισθωτούς, συνταξιούχους και μικρούς επιχειρηματίες.

Το ζητούμενο λοιπόν είναι ο τρόπος σκέψης, η στρατηγική και το μονοπάτι που θα αποφασίσει να χαράξει ο νέος Γενικός Γραμματέας στο θέμα της βελτίωσης των δημοσίων εσόδων, πείθοντας την πολιτική ηγεσία του Υπουργείου Οικονομικών για αλλαγή πλεύσης !

Το μονοπάτι του νέου Γενικού Γραμματέα Δημοσίων Εσόδων | TVXS – TV Χωρίς Σύνορα.

Filed under: Η πολιτική στην καλύβα
18 Jun 07:41

Har studenterna en ljusnande framtid?

by Robert Östling

I studenttider är numera studentflak med banderoller av typen  ”Idag redlös, imorgon arbetslös” och ”Nästa hållplats: Arbetsförmedlingen” en ganska vanlig syn. Den höga ungdomsarbetslösheten har debatterats flitigt under senare år och gymnasisterna har förmodligen snappat upp att ungdomsarbetslösheten är runt 25 procent. Som tidigare påpekats här på Ekonomistas och annorstädes betyder detta inte att var fjärde ungdom går arbetslös. Detta eftersom arbetslösheten uttrycks relativt antalet ungdomar som ingår i arbetskraften, vilket är ganska få i unga år då många studerar. Dessutom är det många studerande som också är arbetslösa, men det handlar i stor utsträckning avsaknad av feriejobb. I årets rapport från Finanspolitiska rådet finns bland annat en klargörande figur som jag tror skulle ha en lugnande inverkan på de nybakade studenterna. Gissningsvis är det inte så många gymnasister som läser Finanspolitiska rådets rapporter, varför jag passar på att återpublicera figuren här (även om förmodligen bara är marginellt fler gymnasister som läser Ekonomistas).


Figuren visar att andelen unga kvinnor som är arbetslösa utan att också vara heltidstuderande är en förhållandevis liten grupp — och mycket långt från de 25 procent som tycks vara den rådande uppfattningen på studentflaken. Just efter gymnasiet, kring 19 års ålder, är dock arbetslösheten som högst, men det rör sig om i runda slängar 10 procent av 19-åringarna. Figuren ovan ser ganska lik ut för män — en skillnad är dock att andelen heltidsstuderande ökar några år efter gymnasiet bland kvinnor, men inte bland män.

Utifrån figuren ovan kan man formulera en lite bättre tumregel för gymnasisterna på studentflaken. Det är ungefär 80 procent av ungdomarna som är heltidsstuderande i 15-19-årsåldern (och färre än så som fullföljer gymnasiet med kompletta betyg). Efter studenten kommer ungefär en av tio att bli arbetslös och bland de resterande kommer drygt hälften vara i arbete och den andra hälften kommer vara heltidsstuderande. Visst är detta en arbetslös för mycket och ytterligare smolk i den eventuella glädjebägaren kommer sig från att kategorin ”heltidsstuderande” även inkluderar en del som befinner sig i arbetsmarknadspolitiska program (tyvärr hittar jag ingen siffra på hur stor den andelen är bland ungdomar). Men på det stora taget är framtiden ganska ljus för de som fullföljer gymnasiet. Det är framförallt framtiden för dem som aldrig lyckas ta sig upp på studentflaken som vi ska oroa oss för.