Abu Dhabi steps up fintech activity

Finextra

I get articles from Finextra every day, they fill up my inbox. This one interests me because of the way it categorizes Fintech activities:

Financial and investment management
Financial inclusion
RegTech
Trade finance
InsureTech
Private capital markets

It also mentions a

Responsible Finance & Investment Foundation “to bolster the growth and sustainability of the fintech ecosystem through financial inclusion and ethical and responsible finance practices”.

Sounds like hype to me. Whenever I see ethics being promoted I suspect the worst.

In short, Fintech aims to change Finance entirely, and also the Economy it controls!

Bad times are ahead!

What is the Place of Man in the World?

The usual reply to this question is “I don’t want to think about it!” The person making this reply, is stating that the proper response to this question, is to deny his responsibility to respond to it.

This is a strange situation for the descendents of the Reformation – who considered this question essential, and responded to it, in great detail.

Something happened to them, that changed them fundamentally – what was it?

Whatever it was, it happened in the 19th Century. And the likely culprit was Industrialization. A huge event so comprehensive it, almost defies our understanding of it.

But its results were easy to see – the American Civil War, WWI, the Depression, and WWII (with its Holocaust). A series of huge disasters.

Instead of analyzing this (as many people have done) I will point to my hometown of Ft. Madison, Iowa, in the Fifties. It was an Industrial town, with the Santa Fe Railroad on the West End of town – and the Sheaffer Pen Company on the East End.

It was typical of the Industrial Midwest – the huge area that produced most of the world’s products. Which is now part of the Rust Belt – where nothing is produced, and from which – ambitious young people, such as myself, fled.

The people still there, have no idea what happened to them. They only know, whatever it was – it was bad, and was somehow the result of mistakes they made – that they don’t want to know about.

Their solution (their reaction to this) was simple – destroy everything!

And they have elected Trump, to do this for them.

The Cold War

The Cold war was a competition between two economies – and Soviet Union, and the USA. Each tried to outspend the other – primarily on munitions.

I was an Electronic Engineer then, and I made a lot of money off that war, with the exotic Radars we had, to detect Soviet bombers armed with nuclear bombs.

The Soviets had no such bombers – but we did, ready to take off on a minutes notice. The crews slept right next to their bombers – and they were programed to bomb a number of targets, in succession. The crews knew they were unlikely to survive one of these missions – but they were going to go, anyway.

The amount spent on one bomber, and its bombs – was unbelievable. But we had plenty of money then – and we were pretty sure the Soviets didn’t.

America’s Competitors Angle for Silicon Valley’s Business

NY Times

Americans continue to not notice how their money is going everywhere else.

Americans, such as myself – made the move from the Midwest – that had no future – to the East Coast and the West Coast – that did have a future.

Eventually, I ended up in Silicon Valley – that seemed to hold the future – for almost everywhere!

Now, this future is not so certain – everyplace else (even in Mexico!) is grabbing parts of it.

What on Earth Has Happened to Us?

I remain convinced that I have lived through a very bad time – that I was lucky to have escaped from. But I also observe that those I left behind, are not only unaware of this – but violently opposed to being aware of it.

What we have to do, first off, is acknowledge that – something bad has happened to us. Something very bad.

Once we have the nerve to recognize that (and it will take some nerve, believe me) we can fill in the details of what happened.

There are so many details, we can start almost anywhere. I have two documents open on my computer right now. One about designing the user interface, and one about the Neoliberal Economy. Two more different subjects would be hard to imagine – but, as I see it – part of the same problem – the Big Problem.

Let me start with the Economy first. The book I am reading is The Rise and Fall of Neoliberal Capitalism. I usually avoid this subject, and refuse to listen to the Economists. And I am normal, in that way.

But I can overcome these fears, if I really work at it. And listen to his message, which is simple – developments since 1970 have created a new kind of economy – one which is not regulated – and unstable by its very nature. Nothing complicated here – even I can understand it.

But the average person cannot understand it – because it is part of the Big Problem, that they avoid entirely.

Their internal logic is simple – if they understand nothing, they understand everything, And heaven’s help anyone who tries to interfere with this logic.  He will be squashed like a bug on a windshield!

Hierarchy

This has been part of human society for so long, people assume that it is necessary for all kinds of things, in addition to the companies, where they spend their working lives – although they may work very little – but spend most of their time, climbing the social ladder – as hard as they possibly can.

It’s time we reexamined this process, and its assumptions. Or we may end up someplace – where we don’t want to be.

The first step, is our recognition of the problem – what is the best way to get things done? We have always assumed that a strong man would arise, chose his subordinates, and conquer all. This is the language of warfare, that we have assumed was necessary. And it was very important to be on the winning side – because it could claim all the spoils.

But Americans, early on – recognized the problems with this approach. And came up with something different. More pragmatic – concerned with getting things done.

In this, they followed the example of England – and its Industrialization. They even fought a war over this – their Civil War – that the Industrialized North won, over the Agrarian South.

This produced a new kind of leader – the Robber Barons – hardly the best of men, but able to amass great wealth – and employ thousands in their industries.

The inequality this produced, late in the 19th Century – the Gilded Age – produced a reaction by those left out – notably the Farmers, in the country – and the Union Members in the cities. This gradually produced a Middle Class that stabilized America.

They had jobs, the most precious of all possessions – and they assumed this situation would last forever. It didn’t.

The Industrial economy, on which all this was based – ended!

It did not end completely – plenty of goods were still available, and lined the aisles of their supermarkets – and were sold in their shopping centers. But there were not many jobs, to furnish the money to buy things with.

The reasons for the loss of all those jobs, were complicated – but one thing was clear, at least to me – Americans did not try to save these jobs – but just watched, as they went away. They were helpless, and stayed that way.

The older generation, who had gone to college, and developed careers – still had jobs. But their children were in bad shape.  Some of them were able to migrate to the Computer economy – but only a few.

The vast majority were stranded – like fish without water. And without the brains to understand what was going on.

Being stupid is never a good strategy – but in Software, where all the money is now being made – it is even stupider.

Cryptocurrency exchange operator indicted over massive bitcoin laundering scam

Finextra

Do I understand this? Not really, but I can understand the main idea – fraudsters are active everywhere – and they can penetrate some of the latest technologies.

“BTC-e was noted for its role in numerous ransomware and other cyber-criminal activity; its take-down is a significant accomplishment, and should serve as a reminder of our global reach in combating transnational cyber crime,” says Special Agent in Charge of the USSS Criminal Investigative Division Michael D’Ambrosio.

Looks like there are still some good guys around – working for the Government, but also working for us.