What you may have missed in the business news last week:
Obamacare – it’s not going well. Because website glitches are more of a headache than anyone realised; fewer people signed up than hoped for; and now some of the democrats, ever the rats sniffing for the hint of a sinking ship, are leaping overboard.
Also: Obama kind of got caught lying, by making bold statements such as “No American will lose their current health cover. Period. End of story.” Unfortunately, unless you’re CEO of every health insurer, that’s just not really a promise that you can back. And he’s not.
Because of “direct democracy” rules within the Swiss voting system, any constitutional amendment petition with enough signatures can be brought to a mass vote, which, if passed, then becomes law.
Can you imagine what life would be like if every social issue could just be brought to a vote with an online petition poll that goes viral on Facebook? You’d have uninformed South Africans inadvertently voting for the mass extinction of the national wildlife herd.
That small dig aside (I’ve spent a week arguing with people on facebook), Switzerland allows it. You and 99,999 of your swiss mates can get together and draft a constitutional amendment over an afternoon of glühwein, and it’s up for a vote at the next election.
Yesterday’s vote was a proposal from the Young Socialists that executive pay be capped at 12 times the salary of the lowest paid worker. Which the Swiss (fortunately) rejected.
Why, you might ask? Because companies would just leave. No seriously. There’s tough regulation that businesses can just deal with – but limiting executive pay? The executive contingent would have the clearest vested interest to pack up and move to the Caribbean. And take their businesses with them.
Which would have made that glühwein a bit sour in retrospect.
As of Tuesday, the bus driver is now a dictator and can rule by decree.
And he’ll continue to wage his economic war against more than just the electronic stores (which he gutted over the last few weeks with a series of state-imposed price-cuts, causing a hype of bargain shopping hysteria). So be warned if you’re a “capitalist parasite”.
Venezuela’s inflation rate is now at 54% according to some news sources. By my assessment, Venezuela will be in full-blown hyperinflation by January 6th/7th, when the December inflation figures are released.
But speaking of countries that were/are rapidly approaching hyperinflation, it looks like Iran might have some breathing room after yesterday’s talks ended. Iran is going to stall its nuclear program for a bit, while the US is going to suspend sanctions for a bit.
Actually, that was quite boring. Maybe important in the grand scheme of things. But still.
Sometimes, I wonder whether science steps back to question itself. If meditation has been practiced for millennia by more than one culture, all advocating its health benefits, surely that counts as some kind of empirical evidence?
But it seems that something can only be proclaimed true if witnessed via some kind of brain-wave imaging device. Until then, it’s all false until proven not untrue (I’m sure that’s the correct statistical conclusion). And Harvard scientists are in the midst of a 5 year study to prove the neuro-impact of yoga and meditation. The study completes in August 2015.
So not really news as yet – but I’m paying attention because I’m a fan of mindfulness as a lifestyle choice. And I also read this article in last week’s Economist: “Schumpeter: The Mindfulness Business“. The mindfulness movement – apparently it’s a thing!