Tuesday 18 November 2014

Marley's Meliorism

Disgusting...this mindless and no-end-in-sight hatred killing in the Middle East is deeply disturbing, depressing and in total contravention of all we are trying to achieve in many parts of the rest of this great world we must share - peaceful and cohesive living side-by-side for the eventual realisation that we are all but hurtling towards one unified and inevitable mortal end..must we truly exaggerate the shortened time and despair that awaits many of us by enraging our inner souls against those that do not believe in what we believe, effecting pain, sorrow and unnecessary hardship? Uggghhh..so frustrating when for but just a moment's pause..one sane period of thought..a quick count-to-ten...and so much might be different.

The violence on display across Jerusalem in the last few weeks has not made the headlines until today - there have been tit-for-tat killings on either side, as tensions mount over the future of what are some of the holiest sites to all three of Christians, Muslims and Jews - a flammable trio in any scenario, let alone in a claustrophobically cramped and historically irrational hilly town. The horrific attacks perpetrated by all sides in the run-up to today's shocking killing during Jewish prayers by distraught and revenge-bound Palestinians, possibly the spark of countless unfortunate and most likely futile deaths to come. Easy for us to sit here and wonder at the calm and capitalist grandeur of environments such as London and New York, nibbling at the charity self-fulfilling events to placate the uneasy feeling that we really should be doing more, donating to the likes of BBC's Children In Need extravaganza, downloading Band Aid's 30yr anniversary "Do They Know It's Christmas" (probably just to get Bob Geldof of our backs) and other altruistically intended motions, aiding to satiate the nagging feeling for just long enough that we've done our part to make an orphan's life easier, prevented Ebola spreading or brought a smile to someone, somewhere..desperately in need of one. Nothing can replace getting out there physically (as someone I know impressively did last week) and helping for real though... not even writing about it on an eloquent blog!

There is a word that I recently learnt (yes, even those above the age of 35 can be taught new tricks) "Meliorism" - meaning a belief that the world tends to improve and that humans can aid its betterment. Excuse me? If only..sorry but any cursory look at our current state of affairs would superbly and indubitably turn a MeliorISm into a MeliorISN'T. If only there was some way to make the masses realise once and for all, away from the clutches of overzealous and deceptively selfish religious "leaders", that there is a far greater and insofar narrowly recognised or deciphered reason for our presence on this green land - even Hollywood gets closer than most in expressing this, the recent megablockbuster Interstellar (nope..I haven't seen it yet...and yep..I must be the only one left that hasn't..will rectify soon..allow me to use for creative purposes anyway please), portraying a unified race leaving its troubles behind in pursuit of solving slightly larger issues. Crazy isn't it?...Hollywood actually making us think. A little closer to reality, yet still using space to elicit wonder and stoke ambition, a brief example of what the greater characters (scientists) of humanity may achieve was expressed with the landing of a probe on a comet for the first time in our shoddy and violent history (likened to landing a fly on a speeding bullet - incredible!). Sadly, even that great feat suffered a bumpy landing and for now we've lost contact with the probe..however none of this achievement's profound sense of progress and congratulations have lost communication with every young child watching in awe, briefly being reminded what marvels may await their futures. Truly inspiring.

In the midst of all this darkness, an announcement that Bob Marley's estate have entered into an agreement with a private equity firm to launch the world's first global Marijuana brand.."Marley Natural"..promoting the number one historical and recognisable connoisseur of what he used to call "God's herb", rapidly becoming legal retail fodder across large swathes of the US (70% of the US population now live in a state where Marijuana may be legally acquired) tapping into the, for now, $200bn illicit sales market..ching ching those first growers. Apparently stir-it-up-Bob embraced the herb as it was written in the Bible....ok..I retract what I said about useless religious leadership above! 


Jokes aside, a little more smoking herbs and less smoking guns would help make an incredible difference to the lives of many across some of the more "frustrated" parts of the world...the immortal words of the herb man himself would be well-repeated.."One Love".


Saturday 1 November 2014

Fight the Fear

Ironically fitting for the horror-themed weekend that Halloween unleashes upon the Western world, the sad news of the fatal crash suffered by Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic, the death of a crew member jarring into focus the sheer audacity and danger of the attempt to bring space travel to the masses, is not only a reminder of the importance of such endeavours but also helps recognise that there are those out there taking risks, pushing boundaries to the limit and ensuring man continues to strive forward, all in the name of innovation and our inherent desire to explore the further reaches of our capabilities.

This extremely unfortunate occurrence should not stop Branson and his team from continuing to do what they dream to accomplish. It is because of risk-takers like Branson and those pushing themselves at the risk of death that we can stand proud as a race and take heart that we are never content with what we have achieved - other great modern-day pioneers taking "moon-shots" (see previous articles) such as Larry Page of Google fame, Elon Musk electrifying us all with his cool cars and increasing numbers of tech entrepreneurs-turned-philanthropic-explorers, add to the delight of continual achievement and a refusal to accept the status quo. No, rather than be frightened to continue, or cowed into pulling back the scale of such projects, now is the time to push on and make proud the memories of those that sacrifice for such undertakings. Fight the fear. Onwards and upwards.

Central Bankers working both-ends-of-the-monetary-easing-candle may be impressive to some (yes, the Japanese certainly appear heroic at present, unleashing further QE resulting in massive gains for equity markets), yet no one can deny that those hurtling towards the outer reaches of the known Universe or testing the very limits of comprehended aeronautic physics, slightly put those pampered bankers - sitting comfortably in their Uber Luxes as they iPad read whilst shuttling from conference to conference - to immeasurable shame!

On a Halloween weekend where the spiritual, pagan and now incredibly commercialised-collide..when exactly did FOMO of trick-or-treat take over London??..the horrors of such set-backs on projects capable of taking us to the next step of an ongoing tech-revolution...imagine flying through the stratosphere from London to Los Angeles in 3hours!..yes, that's what Virgin Galactic will ultimately try to achieve..allow us to once again re-evaluate the truly important from the simply fleetingly entertaining. If man had shied away from reaching beyond the comfort zone in the face of fatal adversity, we would likely not enjoy the fruits of all that surrounds us, all too easily now taken for granted. Who 100yrs ago would have imagined you could zoom across the skies from Singapore to Los Angeles in safety and comfort? Will we look back fondly 50yrs from now and pity those earlier travellers that had to sit for endless hours before reaching their destination, replaced by a literally a short 'hop' across Continents. Who knows what the future holds? The future is indeed a mystery yet what is known for sure, is that without sacrifice and seemingly 'bonkers' visionaries, we are doomed to the death-knell of mediocre satisfaction. 

As we dance and ghoul our way through a plethora of fancy-dress costumes…thank you ladies for all those lovely She-Devil Bikinis..take a moment to think and reflect on how far we have come from those original pagan festival days, where we believed a flat-Earth was the centre of the Universe, realise that without risk-takers and the perennially adventurous, we would probably still be howling at the moon.



Tuesday 21 October 2014

Walk of Life

As some luckily walk around oblivious to the darker side of current events, you really have to wonder just what exactly is wrong with parts of Western civilisation at the moment? - priorities, moral and ethical reasoning, recognition of truly life-changing and incredibly monumental discoveries are seemingly brushed aside and derogated for the fulgent machinations of the latest pretty-looking flavour of the month - fine..we all value beauty but should we allow talk of latest "celeb" flings to blind us to more meaningful and truly life-changing innovators, scientists and Noble prize winners - how many of you even paid attention to the clerisy of this year's Nobel awards ceremony?..what's that?..too busy watching the latest MTV music awards you say?..yeah..thought so!

Nicki Minaj gyrating on stage may well be a wonderful sight, but when it overshadows news so mind-bogglingly awesome in terms of what it means for humanity...the sheer endeavour that science, altruistic effort and raw genius of barrier-breaking procedures provide to all on this great Earth...one must pause and inspect their relative surroundings to appreciate what truly matters.

News of a "cure" for paralysis was broken this morning, incredibly pushed to the third or even fourth news item on many of the major media outlets, preferring to lead with the (does anyone really care that much?) sentencing of a convicted murderer (intended or not..Pistorius is still a killer) that happens to have once been a quite well-known international athlete. The irony of the cure for paralysis helping a man to walk once more (incredible!) coming alongside the sentencing of a runner known as the "bionic man"- for the use of his artificial legs replacing those he lost to a birth defect - not lost on the more attuned out there.

Let us all take a moment to think about what this breakthrough really says about us as a people? We have been able to bring back one of the simplest and often taken-for-granted pleasures of being human..the ability to walk and live an independent healthy life. Whenever this is taken from us, be it by natural defect or tragic accident, a fundamental aspect of our evolution from single-celled organism to the wonderful species that now occupies our developed towns and cities, esuriently shopping at WholeFoods, is cruelly expropriated from the realm of human possession. Despite the conversation that may be held centred on allegations of "playing God" and what it means to reverse subjectively viewed as divine occurrences, the sheer audacity of being able to reverse a paralysed person's condition by making use of their own regenerative olfactory cells is enough to lift the souls and capture the attention of even the most fervent two-seconds-attention-span Twitter user - before whoosh...on to the next subject they go. Well...those ingenious scientists and surgeons deserve to take a bow and be recognised for far longer than the attributed applause allowable within 140 characters. 

With tail-ends of storms reaching UK shores and blowing trees down all over leafy-London, volatility in global markets returning with a vengeance, no-clear-end in sight to the troubles across large swathes of western Africa grappling with a frighteningly spreading Ebola epidemic, the only calm port in the storm appears to be Apple's ongoing global..well, richer parts of the global world..iPhone domination. Where are all those profits going one must ask?..$42bn in revenue in three months..wow!..and that's before you even remember an iPhone 6's profit margin is almost 70%.

Yep, you calculated that right..70% of $42bn is indeed over $29bn in PROFIT. In THREE months. Three! Another win for a different type of tech pioneer...after all, who needs man's heroic and truly forever life-changing scientific breakthroughs when that is enough to make any fortunate Apple executive jump straight up out their chair and do a merry dance all the way to the bank! 





Tuesday 14 October 2014

and it goes....POP!

Seems the Bubblicious prediction has popped all too true!

Many major markets are down to their lowest levels since summer 2012, with the more telling fear gauge of the Vix..long slumbering through the peaceful rise of the global indices for the last 24mths..now reaching its highest levels not seen since worries dominated of the collapse of the EU!

My how things change so rapidly...Will Alibaba be remembered as the peak of the market (another prediction) where we trusted those wily central bankers and oh-so-trusting-looking financial "experts" that we were past the worst of the economic troubles and gliding towards a golden conclusion of fun, happiness and profitable investments. We will surely ponder the remarkably calm manner in which we dealt with stubbornly high unemployment numbers, fledgling recoveries across the major economies and stuttering growth of the emerging powerhouses (longingly looked at for some respite from the gloom of the OECD), naturally all now claiming to "have seen it all coming". Well guys, unless you wrote it down and published it, as well as stood by your prediction in the face of the naysayers..it does not count..so allow me the "I told you so!"

Volatility in markets is always welcome - it allows those that were not invested to take advantage of temporary mispricings and the swifter of foot to generate some decent returns with high-volume trading (brace yourselves for the fall-out of surely what has been some seriously risky trading by some hedge funds in the last couple of weeks..desperate to justify their infamous, increasingly exorbitant fees of 2 and 20) and all of us to remember just how incredibly important zees Germans really are!...major falls across the indices were accelerated to the now dangerous looking "correction" territory only when Germany's growth figures and export prowess came into question.

As we continue to battle ISIS, deal with the incredible ineptness shown by the powers that be in so far dealing with EBOLA (pray it does not mutate into an airborne contagion)..we will all continue to question whether we really should be shaking hands with someone that presents flu-like symptoms and - if like myself - you should find yourself sitting on a plane whilst sneezing and feeling a little under the weather..not be too insulted when the passenger seated to your right politely makes their way to the back of the plane..ouch. Little do they know of course that, unless you are flying in the hermetically sealed first class cabin on Etihad's new planes, we are all breathing the same air!

Given the state of the rapid fall in global markets, does not seem anyone is coming up far any air at all anytime soon. Yet, hold your breath, disinfect those hands at every opportunity, and get ready to enter a period that presents a fantastic market buying opportunity -  oh doesn’t it feel good to cleanse?!

Plenty more to discuss....







Thursday 2 October 2014

Big Talk, Small Action

Back from an eye-opening and more aptly ear-splitting trip across the U.S. - that happened to coincide with the circus that the UN World Assembly represents, bringing midtown Manhattan to an absolute standstill and making it very annoyingly difficult to grab a Shake Shack burger after dinner on your way home from Nobu on 57th - where a number of charismatic speeches (Obama sure can hit them out of the park) and some more errrmm shall we say..”interesting” presentations made by other leaders (funnily enough always seemed to be the unelected ones..go figure!?) melded into one maelstrom of terrorist bashing, Putin cornering and all-encompassing desire to bring the world together to fight the twin threats of climate change and China - or are those two the same thing?

There will be more to this in the next few days, jet-lag and a number of other dizzying events taking their toll at present, thoughts must be categorised, the peaceful (so far) demonstrations in Hong Kong are of particular concern and awaiting some further conclusive evidence to the effectiveness of the ISIS bombings before passing judgement - could not believe it when the BBC reported on the RAF bombing ONE truck belonging to the world’s most threatening terrorist group - all that parliamentary procedure and procrastination, high-tech weapons at your disposal and a SINGLE truck?..come on!

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Staying Close Apart

“It’s all for nothing, if you don’t have freedom” – attributed to William Wallace

Division, separation, freedom, whatever you may call it – it is happening all around us. Everyone is splitting or threatening to do so and declaring autonomy. The Scots appear to have recently watched Braveheart one time too many, lightly calling for “freeeeedom” from the clutches of the UK inland revenue service..ahemm..I mean government, we all know what the strong-man Putin is trying to achieve with his tough-man tactics in the former USSR satellites (nothing irks a power-hungry leader like a broken NATO promise not to build bases so close to his home), and the CR-ISIS movement has ruptured a line right through the heart of the Middle East by declaring for itself a non-existent border – hold on..is that not exactly what the Allies did themselves after destroying half the world in 1917 and then returning to finish off the second half in 1946? Now we have had Obama and the rest of his super-hero buddies agree on concerted anti-evil action (i.e. bombing ISIS), the Western media have a new foe to report on for the foreseeable future… plus ├ža change…

Whilst the twin global cities of London and New York revel in the midst of high-heels and gorgeous hair during their respective fashion weeks - such a joy to sit in sunny Sloane Square and witness the free outdoor catwalk that the King’s Road strut is - the rest of reality and base humanity dwell in the depths of violence and religious persecution..ohhh when will the masses realise that their manipulation at the hands of supposed religious leaders is nothing more than a high-stakes financial power-struggle (Iran vs Saudi) twinned with an unerring military munitions technology test (Israel vs the World ex US)? How much longer till China goes the same way and begins disintegrating from within?

Trouble in Hong Kong can often be a signal of things to come for the mainland and there are a lot of heated protests taking place there in the face of seeming growing exertion of influence by the Beijing authorities. Are they turning a blind eye to the problem hoping that money will be thrown at the issue and somehow magically resolve itself? It may, it very well likely will not. Since the loss of the teachings of Confucius, the great China Empire has struggled to find a coherent and unifying factor to glue its massive population and diverse ethnic base – money has been that glue for the last 25 years and catalysed its speedily impressive return to the world economic stage, yet greed and corruption are too fallible a sticking agent. Ruptures along the provincial lines are hastily repaired by the central government. Constantly papering-over the crack without fixing the foundation is never a long-term solution though. The world’s most populous Muslim nation is in fact North China (c.120m), given the increasing noise surrounding calls for territorial liberation and precipitous rise in violent action, economic factors are truly the least of the CCP’s worries right now.

The pace of divarication is increasing - What exactly is it that is driving this thirst for independence and a recognition of individual rights and land?...flying in the face of “bring the world together” social media and technology. It is as if a backlash against the humdrum monotony of identical Tweets and Instagram postings - where everyone seems to think they are a star just for prettily posing in a bikni or spouting silly nuggets of wisdom that then get meaninglessly re-tweeted ad nauseam – has resulted in a growing dichotomy sprouting the first shoots of resistance and a hunger for change. Whilst the setting for such global events may appear aleatory (after all..why would you assume ISIS have anything to do with protesting Thai anti-government supporters?) a calm and cynical inward look reveals the binding movement of a desire to “belong”. Paradoxically, we may well have moved so far from our own identities, flummoxed by the identity-sapping-banality of modern social obsessions and materialism, that we now only feel unique enough when part of a movement seeking specious uniqueness.

So what exactly is going on, why are we experiencing such a lurch towards freedom of individual rights and practice in some parts of the world when others are almost now umbilical-cord - attached by the proximity of technology sharing? Why exactly do the Scots want to move away? Money..that’s why (a greater share of their own oil and gas revenues). Why was there a rumour that Dubai wanted to declare itself independent from the UAE...Money..(from a desire to introduce and enjoy the revenues of gambling as it happens). Why did Singapore declare itself no longer part of Malaysia in the past?...Money and land ownership…and why do ISIS really want to behead innocent reporters in some suicidal bid for swift global super-power retribution..yep..you guessed it..Money..from controlling the main oil wells. That is how it goes all around us and always has done. We are but a blip in the greater scheme of human history and events. Not for a second should we consider what we are going through as either special or unprecedented, in every chapter of our run through recent civilisation have we witnessed colossal changes in the face of technological advancement.

Why are we kidding ourselves. We are all looking for the same thing. If the only ones to say that money does not matter are those that have plenty of it..well then life is surely about the journey and not the destination. People are so intent on reaching their goals and dreams..tasting that bit of success.. that they truly think it will be that way all the time when they get there. But no..they are sadly wrong it seems...the destination is very rarely as good as the journey (any billionaire’s biography attests to this). Tasting something for a short while is invariably better than living with it. Those currently fighting and struggling for the summit of independence they currently crave, may well be left depressingly disappointed when the reality of ‘being there” proves a barren view.

“Your heart is free, have the courage to follow it”..Mel Gibson’s William Wallace character in Braveheart uttered some immortal lines, resulting in some gruesome (for that time) big screen violence. Today’s move towards independence from recognition-seeking-Scotland to the hinterlands of no-man’s-land-Iraq is taking shape in varying degrees of democracy and sheer barbarism. It would be best for all concerned if braver hearts prevailed and fewer heads were found rolling on the bloodied earth of failed diplomatic efforts.

Monday 15 September 2014

CR-ISIS

Evil has a few names according to the media...whether it be ISIS/ISIL or just plain Islamic State of Terror, the bogey-monster and pariah of choice for our current tech-filled rumour world is a movement that has watched one Hollywood movie too many - stealing ideas from blockbuster actions and turning them into violent sagas of terror, simultaneously catapulting themselves into the horrific imaginations of once blissfully ignorant cotton-wrapped-living-rooms throughout the Western world

Now..the world awaits the heroic effort as 30 states meet to determine the course of action intended to defeat the rising terror of a movement deemed so barbaric that alliances with once seemingly abhorrent leaders now echo the age old adage of "my enemy's enemy is my...coalition partner".

As news filters out of Paris, there will be more to come in the next couple of days...
  

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Bubblicious


POP! No..not quite yet…but close.The S&P has reached a new high, up 200% less than 5yrs post the “great-recession” of our time...and it's not just the US..FTSE All world index is also up 150% since March 2009. What's that you ask? What crisis? Exactly. Sure, we all enjoy living in a bubble, one that the Fed has gladly blown larger and larger akin to an excited teenager testing the limits of their watermelon-flavoured-bubble-gum, pumping once mind-boggling sums of cash into the petrified financial system. We all love the good times when dancing around in the midst of seemingly endless quantities of monetary protection, relishing the cloak of invincibility, oblivious once again to the potential impending disaster of lackadaisical activity in the world’s still fragile financial markets…but nothing lasts forever – just ask Christine Lagarde. Who would have thought that Dominic Strauss Khan – when sat in his NYC holding cell ashamed by his lust for room (ahem) service with a twist – would have the last laugh..ahh..the wonderful manner in which time always turns the tables.

Hence this piece is predicting a global correction before the end of 2014..but one that will slightly dampen the moods of only those that have been lucky (prudent?) enough to make use of the unprecedented and non-symmetrically focused monetary easing.

Plenty have questioned this approach over the years, plenty will continue to do so. It seems we have only papered over the cracks in an otiose effort to protect the common investor whilst selectively rekindling the risk-loving appetite of the upper-echelons of the wealth-class – is it really fair that 70% of home-owners continue to suffer from negative equity when the likes of Bill Ackman generate new billion-figure profits in just 3 months (the wiley investor managed to grill-himself a handsome $200m in just one day from Burger King’s buy-out) and Buffet’s share price equates to a studio appartment? Hmmm..something is off in this “recovery”. The new world of income disparity we find ourselves in has brought gauges such as the Vix to a seven-year low. Given the feeble state many of the world’s largest economies still find themselves in, this unrestrainedly comfortable approach to investing is illogical. As we all know (yet somehow still ignore) once the warm embrace of these Central Bankers begins to unravel, leaving investors to stand alone in this new financial world environment, the shivering will commence, with risk of many submitting to hypothermia at the shock of being left out in the cold.

For now though, the rich out there are simply not frightened. Cozy and warm in fact they appear. Witness the unbounded joy they express in throwing money into risky asset classes, deceptively unworried by the illusion of a protector in the form of political redress. Those that were cash-rich in 2008 have been disproportionately rewarded for doing what they do anyway..great gig if you can get it! The not-so-rich are confused as to what exactly is going on and simply not participating. Central Bankers are faaaar too relaxed it appears, even Draghi has the gaul to crack a smile during his press conferences – ominous signs all around!

The operose discussions surrounding much of the financial industry were once eagerly followed by even those with zero interest in their bank accounts (pun intended) – that has quickly dissipated as we have returned to less weighty subjects of interest for the masses…such as ice-water being thrown over “celebs”…a worthy original cause, now flyblown by the facetiousness of social-media. Recent capital raises by China’s banks, barely noticed despite the eye-watering amounts (>$50bn in the last several months) indicating a subtle attempt at dealing with otherwise extremely worrying non-performing loans. Asset-price inflation and general madness in Africa manifesting itself with $1,500/night rates for barely 2* hotels in Angola (where there are commodities, there are Chinese and price-hikes!). Latin American nations are mixed between recovery (Colombia) and bankruptcy (Argentina) with standards of living beguiling for what we term 1st world nations.   

Are we really as safe as we believe? It is not meant for the hard-working individual looking to provide a decent quality of life for his family to worry about when Yellen will raise rates or how many members of the Bank of England’s MPC abstained in the recent vote..but a worrying degree of apathy has returned to the global conscience as far as the financial markets are concerned. Recent stock performances indicate a plethora of only wealthy investors taking part and taking away all the profits to boot!

This is not equality at is finest, the silver-lining possibly only that when the elasticity of our current bubble is finally pushed beyond its natural gooey-limit, bursting in spectacular fashion, it will only splatter over the faces of those doing the blowing. The rich will become slightly less rich, the less well-off will be..well..they don’t really care do they? They were never part of the Fed’s plan in the first place, were overlooked by the ECB and totally ignored by the autocratic Chinese, left to deal with their own pay-cuts and extra working hours to fill the gap of placing bread on the kitchen table. With so little to show for the last 5 years anyway, the less well-off will thankfully come out of the next bubble splatter relatively unscathed.

We are in a very tricky period. There are those that understand we are currently floating in a bubble, there are those that know it yet avoid admitting it and there are (worryingly) those that remain oblivious. In this case, ignorance is not bliss. Central Banks must carefully figure out a way to embark upon the seismic shift from continued intensive care to general recovery.

As any patient knows, the real-pain comes after the initial dosage has been reduced and the tougher task of rehabilitation commences. Immense effort from all involved is necessary to transition from a bed-riddled economy to one that can stand-up of its own accord.

Shoving deliciously fruity, addictive bubble-gum in their mouth and hoping for the best, won’t stick.

Tuesday 12 August 2014

Young Blood

The sun may be shining on the glitteringly bronzed bodies of much of the world’s self-proclaimed “elite”, lazing by the many pools dotted across the Mediterranean, sipping on premium alcohol as they thank their lucky stars for living in a part of the world where strife, violence and sheer inhumanity do not blight their every action..yet it’s depressing out there. Things look so bad even seasoned comedic actors are ending it all themselves rather than continue living in such an unjust world!..seriously though..Robin Williams, you were a genius of the comedy world and will be sorely missed.

Let’s have a brief look at what exactly is making us all so unable to enjoy the panoramic views from our Trip-Advisor selected sea-view suites…Iraq cannot admit its prime minister must go in order to save thousands of lives (anyone want to remind Maliki of the notion of self-sacrifice for the greater good?), ISIS (or ISIL..whatever they are being labeled at present by panic-waving Western media) continually threaten to bring those Hollywood disaster movies to life and create entire new territories overnight, Gaza (should that be imposed “concentration camp”) deplorably asphyxiated as they thrash for their lives bombarded by the very same belligerent force with one hand around their neck…modern media ensuring the true aggressor is increasingly unable to hide behind their clever PR machine. Ohh..we haven’t even mentioned Ebola…the tiny little potential problem of a disease that spreads as simply as breathing in at the wrong time an infected individual sneezes, rapidly escalating in number across Western Africa and now pitting the money hungry US pharmaceutical firms against the desperate and pleading medically-lacking nations attempting to avert catastrophic outbreaks. Global markets have rocked and rolled, thin liquidity exacerbating movements and likely making for some profitable trading if anyone is actually working (one can trade from their iPhone these days..pheww!). Most worryingly from a personal perspective…Lebanon thrown into fresh threats of fragmentation as sides must chose between a rather unattractive set of alternatives presented by its “leaders”. 

Natural disasters aside, this is one of the noisiest and bloody summers in recent memory. Where we normally prowl the papers for any news of interest in July/August, 2014 has presented an unwelcome cacophony, drowning out the pleasantness of the usual dulcet classical waffles from the Royal Albert Hall’s Proms. Seems our conductor this summer is filled with panic-inducing evil rather than creative spirit.

I have a proposition that may lessen the global malaise. A law should be passed ensuring global politicians are limited to the male population between the ages of 21-26, and the female population of 18-26 (women mature faster than men..no arguments here please..fact!). Why you ask? Simple really..age and so called “wisdom” have shown themselves to be hindrances on the global desire to progress and our species' ability to harmoniously cohabitate the very world we have been entrusted to. Just look around us..Lebanon and its poitical “elite” a perfect example in fact..the very same forces - in many instances even the very same protagonists - that instigated (and now continue) the atrocities of the civil war from 1975-1991, returning to positions of power amidst their own particular Sects, unable to bury deeply-dividing grudges and never truly forgiving and forgetting. The country (and general Levantine region) has moved forwards in only spits and spurts, constantly aware that the very underlying fabric of animosity still runs profound and veritably aggressive. Surely we would be better off if the old-guard were replaced with fresh faces and even fresher memories, untainted with the horrors of the past and only willing to push forwards. Ignorance, widely derided, can often bring bliss if mixed in the right context.

The viridity of youth versus the highfalutin hubris of wisdom may serve us better. Look around..the young are energetic, full of desire, wet-behind the ears with joy and values mixed with principles that would never be betrayed…well not yet at least..that’s the point. Smarter men out there know of the parable of the mountain climber and his donkey laden with provisions for the climb. As he steadily and mercilessly pushes the donkey along, intent on being the man to make it to the peak, he must drop a number of essential provisions-carrying-bags from the poor donkey’s tiring back – only to find himself at the conclusion of his seemingly successful summit bereft of any of the necessities he had initially accounted for – he may be at the top of the mountain, staring down at the rest from the peak..filled with pride and self-worth, but the road has left him with none of the essentials required to sustain a human soul.

The young still carry all these indispensables. They are happier, less jaded, unable to understand the bitterness that those older than them seem to carry, literally filled with the exuberance and allure of what the elders call naivety – the young do not recognise this trait as they are not filled with it. Sure, they will make mistakes, but those mistakes are no less rippling in their severity than the very same mistakes that are being made by so-called elder-statesmen the world over. A recent example that springs to mind was the positive and life-affirming manner in which JFK and his brother approached one of the world’s major crises in the Cuba Missile Crisis – would a wiser and more hell-bent-on-revenge-leader been able to diffuse such a situation?
The young are responsible for all the good that surrounds us today – they are the driving forces behind technological change and the notion of justice..rallying behind causes they feel strongly about and making their voices (or Tweets as it may now be) heard..all this before they have been burnt by scorn inducing “experience” several times in their lives to submit to the apparent “norm”. There is an invulnerability and sense of infinite potential for achievement amidst the youth – ensuring this can be tapped in positions of power may well serve us all better.

Would the world not be a better place with this type of approach behind the major powers? It would have to be universal – we do not want a couple of grey-haired, black-souled culprits hiding behind their dangerously attuned charismatic smiles and personas, lurking in corners of the world waiting to pour scorn and bitterness over the ideals of the youth surrounding them..envy is a terrible trait. We would need strict rules ensuring that once a certain youthful leader has been “compromised” (i.e. their heart broken due to unrequited love) they be removed from office, lest they direct their hardening hearts to more macabre ostentations of war. Young blood an effective panacea to streets running with bloody violence.

It truly might make for a more Utopian world to live in. Corporations and other facets of society can continue to operate with the sage minds of our elders, understanding trends and mistakes in an automated world of machinery is essential and hardened attitudes to dealing with product cycles a less harmful and more useful skill than a revenge-bent political leader with his finger-on-the-nuclear-trigger..unable to let go of the past and think more clearly of the future and the very aspirations of the young that he no longer represents. Would Gaza truly be bombarded with the same overzealous brutality if the Generals in Tel Aviv were the youth of the country?..cognisant of the fate of their own actions having grown up side by side with the very people they were condemning to death with the push of a button? Would the Chinese be so violent and apathetic towards the attitudes of the new generation if they themselves were the new generation? Would not the entire world embrace change and allow us to develop further and faster, with less hostility and negative influence and manipulation by the begrudged elders? 

The facts speak for themselves. Younger (by demographic) nations are more vibrant and successful if coupled with a strong enough education system. Younger enterprises staffed by the more open-hearted, open-minded and creatively adventurous are materialising our most awe-inspiring innovations..Silicon Valley and other areas of tech-wonder are blessed with the youthful influx of constant immigration, a double positive effect as hopes and young dreams beautifully collide.


The current political status quo may possibly be a blip in our civilisation..where we have provided too much emphasis and grandeur on the elite elder statesmen in the world of politics..we should look deeply into ourselves and remember what the point of being here in the first place is. The young certainly do, contemplating from a fresh, hereto untainted perspective. They are closer to it, they live it day-by-day..well at least until that day arrives where the music being played loses its lustre..then it’s time to simply replace with a younger mind. 

The circle of life…the closed circle of the global political elite would do well to mimic.