Gimme Some Respect

It’s a word we have been hearing a lot about lately but is it in short supply?. CNN journalist Jim Acosta was accused of disrespecting the office of the president at president elect Donald Trump’s first press conference after winning the election race.

Although at same press conference many commentators said Trump had brought the office of president into disrepute because of his barracking style. Trump supporters and detractors, Brexit leavers and remainders, student unions and MP’s to name a few have all been accused of being disrespectful.

Lets examine what the dictionary meaning of the word respect is it’s :

“An admiration felt or shown for someone or something that you believe has good ideas or qualities”. Also:

“I have respect for his ideas, although I do not agree with them although many others do”.

There’s not much respect going on on either side of the debate in my previous examples

Many who accuse others of disrespect are being disrespectful themselves but refuse to accept this fact. It’s a mad world but of course it always has been and their will always be those who think that their opinion is right and everyone else is wrong. So it’s OK for them to be disrespectful in their minds.

In business relationships we need people to be respectful but questioning and on occasion challenging both are very important life skills. If we can’t debate and sometimes agree to disagree but still work together on other projects and issues then we will fail to learn and grow.

What has dismayed me over the past year is that people on either side of many debates I thought were level headed, reflective thinkers who used reason, logic and debate. Have shown a side of themselves I have never seen and its not a nice side. They have become argumentative, sulky, bullying, disrespectful and worse. Maybe it’s time we all looked in the mirror and found our self respect and respect for others. Hopefully then we can have useful discussion and argument that engages and is productive.

I do hope that 2017 ends up creative, energetic and productive and not more divisive and disrespectful. I live in hope. Well that’s a rap and I’ll leave it to the kids to teach the adults.

The Respect Rap

Trump Berates CNN Reporter

Meaning of the word respect

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Who is the economic sunshine shining on?

It’s an election year and the politicians are promising us all the earth again, whoever you are whatever you want they will deliver it. Old allegiances are coming out and those well worn sayings like “You have to vote labour if you want to save the NHS” and “You can only vote conservative if you want to reduce the deficit and improve our  economic outlook”.

It may come as a shock to many that governments don’t actually have control of the economy. They would like us to think they have but global economics eats governments and spits them out as Greece has found to it’s cost.

As with all economies we have some good some bad and some conflicting and even confusing economic indicators. Will these change significantly if there’s a change of government? For Britain as a whole we have “the best of times and the worst of times”

I worry that a conservative government on it’s present course if its re elected would continue some of it’s harsher policies against groups in society in should support more. However I worry if labour get in they will revert to tax and spend. Neither of these are good for the country and cohesion in the long-term. Of course if we end up with another coalition that may give more uncertainty for business and individuals.

We have fractured groups in society there are many at the top like Malcolm Rifkind who think they deserve everything because they have worked hard. There’s another group at the bottom who believe they should be able to do what they want when they want to and the rest of us should pay for it. Both groups sense of entitlement is unjustified and a little disgusting.

Some want an economic model that relies on the free market without minimum wages where the majority of us scramble for what we are thrown. Some want salaries and benefits that they are not skilled to attain. We have debacles over zero hours contracts and charities paying below the living wage. Many in work on reasonably good salaries struggle with debt whilst small business owners struggle with mountains of bureaucracy.

Whoever gets into power they need to be mindful of the squeezed middle they are educated and starting to realise the current system is actually working against many of them. The next five years will be interesting politically and economically. Will wealth continue to trickle upward or will trickle down finally begin to happen and make society a little more equal? Government can have put vehicles in place to support this but will they?

The great divergence identified by economists and academics has been talked about by President Obama. This divergence is gaining in momentum here and even some of the super rich see that business as usual cannot continue if people do not have the disposable income to buy goods and services. Long term I believe this will ultimately drive economies downward. As super rich Nick Hanauer says he may earn 200 times more per hour than the average employee but he doesn’t go on two hundred holidays, buy 200 houses or pairs of jeans. So he is not spreading or trickling down his wealth.

Is their a different way?

According to the Billionaire governor of Minnesota there is and he isn’t just saying it he has proved it. The previous governor didn’t raise taxes as he said businesses and people would leave and the state would become bankrupt. Exactly the opposite has happened it has attracted more businesses and has substantially increased the numbers of rich and super rich living there. For those on average incomes they have gone up around 10% and employers in the state pay above the minimum wage.

Whoever ends up in government here for the next term maybe they should give Minnesota governor Mark Dayton a call. They might just learn something useful.

Whilst you ponder here’s a happy ditty about money and one about the economy courtesy of Peter Cook at The Academy of Rock

Fiscal Cliff  –  A Hard Rock song about Hard Times and the Hard Road to Revovery

Statistics are they useful, meaningless or are they there to be manipulated for your own ends?

Not a week goes by without another government department , union, institute or consultancy releasing a plethora of statistics about almost anything you care to think about.  The economy, manufacturing, the service sector and employment; the number of jobless is one area where a government minister will tell us it’s great news the total number of jobless has fallen.  Sounds great doesn’t it we can all take a sigh of relief can’t we?

On the surface that is fantastic but then we get the statistics from the Office for National Statistics which confirms what the minister said. You are dumbstruck at this point aren’t you a government minister actually told us the truth. Yes he did but a version of the truth that suited at the time for that televised soundbite. The real truth is a mixed bag that paints a slightly different picture.  Let’s look at the figures in more detail;

On the Plus side

  • The number of jobseekers dropped by 13,700 to 1.59 m in April
  • The number of people with jobs rose by 105,000 to 29.23m
  • The number of self employed rose by 89,000 to 4.1m
  • Exports rose to a 36 year high

The Government is also putting incentives forward for firms to take on apprentices and the long term unemployed.

On the minus side

  • The number in part time jobs who want a full time job rose by 73,000 to 1.4m.  The highest total since records began in 1992
  • The number unemployed for more than a year rose by 27,000 to 887,000
  • Youth unemployment is very high and a concern
  • The number of self employed rose by 89,000 to 4.1m

 The IMF is telling the chancellor that Britain is not out of the woods and interest rates need to be cut along with the severity of austerity measures There are still significant job cuts to come in 2102/13 in the public sector Another cohort of School, College and University graduates will join the job market in July. The Euro zone crisis will more than likely have a further negative impact on Britain

The picture doesn’t look quite as rosy after reading those statistics as the initial soundbite would make you believe. The figures for the next quarter should prove to be interesting and I wonder what they will show if the above exercise is repeated?  We have all ignored statistics that don’t fit our view so how do you use statistics?