This morning my brother asked me to tell him what I thought about the news reporting of the Greek issue, he asked about what are the alternatives. The only alternative I see is default, but I wanted to share some background and my views.
Currently the Greeks have a massive public debt because of massive public spending beyond any reasonable amount. Over 60% of the Greek workers are employed by the state, so less than 40% of the population pays for over 60% plus those on state support (pensions etc). Greece imports the majority of its fuel and manufactures very little beyond food. Tourism accounts for a significant portion of income but not so much to balance the entire economy and it has some ups and downs which would add risk.

Greece has been borrowing money since the late 1800s, each time they get close to paying it off some other disaster befalls them and they need another loan. They borrowed heavily after WWII and defaulted (as well as defaulting to some degree a few times before as well), so when they asked for another loan they ended up paying about 120% interest, it was like the other countries were being loan sharks. They are still paying loans with massive overheads and poor terms.

If Greece defaults it is far worse for France and Germany than for Greece, France and Germany have the greatest exposure, the top five French banks would be crippled if Greece defaulted. The Greeks import almost no food and while fuel might get very expensive they are already thrifty (almost no one has more than a 1.6L car) and almost all water is heated with solar boilers. The biggest problem would be currency devaluation for a decade (because they would have to go back to the Drachma), but there is enough import of foreign currency through tourism to help offset it. They have to stop public building projects and lay off lots of public sector workers, but these people are just a stone round the neck of the rest of the people because many of them aren’t productive because they effectively have “Job For Life”.

They have already started getting serious about corruption, so that should help a great deal, but corruption is endemic!
Every Greek born has €31,000 of public debt.
Unemployment is 43% among 15-24 year olds.
Every Greek will evade an average of €3,000 in tax in their lifetime
Europe has demanded €50bn of public assets to be privatised or sold (20% of GDP).

In my opinion Greece should default, and the state should start operating just with New Drachma, don’t convert savings from Euro to Drachma but the government should only pay out in Drachma and should insist on taxes being paid in Drachma. State industries should only accept Drachma. They could sell their assets but it wouldn’t achieve anything. Most of the phone network is owned by the German telecoms company. The power company has an aging infrastructure and horrible regulation which no one would pay much for. Many of the major road developments are already PPP. They don’t have enough assets to sell at a good value! Tourism and natural circulation would restore the value of the Drachma in a decade or two, there could be inward investment and with restricted ability to import products there would be a boost to local industries/production!

In addition: after the push to get Greece into the Euro they fudged their economic data once in to show they were maintaining their financial performance, it was only later, after they were well embedded that it was realised.

My partner and I have often discussed that despite being declared the “home of democracy” the Greeks now have neglected their duty and forgotten about what it really means to be democratic. I believe also they are negligent because they don’t have independent checks and balances. Politicians have the right of asylum in parliament rather than the idea that they should fear even more because they are in the home of democracy! Greek higher education believes it is impure to mix business and academia, they don’t leverage their massive assets (even the waiters in the cafes in Greece have a Masters or higher!) and universities don’t even know what an “Enterprise Unit” is. The agricultural school sells their excess stocks because they have more than their canteen can handle, but that is a rare exception!

Hope that gives you an idea. Every one in Greece seems very subdued and depressed at the moment, but they are getting on and trying to live their lives with an average of 20% less money in their pockets.

OK, any posting with religion in it is probably an unwise and dangerous thing to do but it occurred to me this morning that the computer market is much like organised religion and here I will lay out my reasons:

1) Microsoft = Christianity

Penitent religion that once dominated the social and political map of the world.  Increasingly depreciating in it’s followers enthusiasm although many continue to attend the ministrations more out of habit than out of true faith. Many evangelical sects still exist, some have fractured from the core authority but they still believe in what it stands for. Some orthodox groups exist aside from the mainstream followers and still experience great attendance but without too much wider attention. Not nearly as influential as it once was and has made some serious mistakes in the past.

2) IBM (AIX or OS/2?) = Judaism

Some view them as the originator of a later much more popular group, others avoid the comparisons and associations. Still has a great many fundamental followers but that number is diminishing. Some followers only practice behind closed doors and outwardly show no signs of an allegiance. Others proudly show their support in the window at key points in the year. Well represented in the finance sector.

3) Apple OS = Islam

Often failing to recognise the origins of their group actually stems from a common route with other mainstream groups. There are a core of fundamentalists who insist their way is the only way and all other systems should come to their view or die. More moderate members of the group are satisfied with their choice in life, continue to worship with blind faith. It is the duty of followers to encourage those not following their path to join them.

4) Linux = Hinduism

A group with many deities and various ways of expressing a following. Often peaceful but occasionally a little dysfunctional, with some areas which maintain a legacy in a modern environment but functional most of the time as long as you don’t try to take it in a direction it isn’t prepared for. Having a style which occasionally mixes with other groups but to the casual observer from the outside looks intimidatingly different.

5) Embedded RTOS’es = Various native religions

Quite functional in their own environment and supporting the people with their needs. Often looks very different to the mainstream groups and can be incompatible. Smaller followings but often works well, in harmony with the environment.

6) RISC OS = Paganism

May have pre-dated origins within an unconnected population but was pretty much wiped out as travel and needs of users grew. Of little relevance in modern society but still practised by small groups. These small groups occasionally put on public displays in public spaces, to which some from other groups take offence and others look on with mixed feelings.

The Synopsis

This document aims to describe the current movements in PSB’s (Public Service Broadcasters) and how their circumstances are affecting changes in technology. This is an incomplete document so far and I have posted it here for discussion, I could easily be wrong about so many things, but I have been working on all sides for enough time to have made some observations that need to be discussed.
Continue reading “PSBs in Free To Air Environments”

Anyone who is claiming that the Royal family isn’t a draw for tourists has clearly not spent enough time out of the UK nor actually spoken to many tourists. Perhaps the 2.9 million people who, in 2008, visited the sites managed by HRP were just there for the architecture alone? I spend more time with international people than with British because of my work (unrelated to tourism or royalty) and I can testify that the royals are significant figures internationally.

Continue reading “Why be a Republic?”

DVB-T2 is an 'improved' version of the existing methods we use to broadcast digital television using traditional terrestrial antennas. The idea is to achieve a better than 30% improvement in available capacity.

There is a question that has been circulated to the group discussing the design of this system: "how much will it cost?", the true cost is not the transmission system but the cost of the boxes. Here are some of my thoughts, many of which I have not sent to the DVB-T2 group because they fall outside of the debate I want to involve myself in.

Continue reading “DVB-T2 the cost debate”