In the MMIX
How weak we are, slaving under failing profit imperatives and mountains of debt. In a globally interconnected economy abstracted to the point of being incomprehensible, only those who feed on the helpless benefit. We’ve been trying to effect the transformation towards a service economy for ages, and the lean times ahead will certainly help with that. The services rendered won’t be particularly pleasant or even productive.
Not to worry though; everything will be fine. Just avoid carrying debt, save lots, cut costs, increase revenue and spend and invest to keep the wheels turning despite some economists advising doing the opposite.
However, make no mistake: years ending with a nine are often quite difficult to get through. 1929 for instance was a rough one for shareholders and, in 1979, US president Jimmy Carter was attacked by a swamp rabbit.
This year, we must be careful to avoid the giant swamp rabbit that’s looming large over us, threatening to bite the head off of what little confidence there is left in society.
Much of the monetary malaise today was caused by pulling fast ones, as evidenced by the failing banks and India’s Satyam. In light of that, and the massive bail-out packages that we’ll be paying for through tax hikes, it’s easy to forget that there are companies that appear to do well by simply being clever and good.
Apple for instance is standing out in the technology field, with record profits and revenue for the first quarter, despite a sick iJobs having to step down from the bridge. The Cupertino outfit now has US$23 billion in cash and desirable products like iPods that can be mounted on sniper rifles. Say what you like about Apple, but it kind of works as tech biz inspiration.
That’s what we need really: inspiration. Over in the States, Prez Obama is trying to provide just that, through various stimulus packages. There’s one to improve broadband for instance, to the tune of US$6 billion. That’s too little, say critics, for a big country like the US, so maybe National’s billion-dollar broadband bonanza will be adequate to deliver a fibre network for three-quarters of the population in smaller NZ? Actually, when’s that network being rolled out?
Seriously, hurry up National: a good, affordable network connection for Ferrit Mk II, which I’m hoping Telecom will sell to me and a group of investors, who have $7.50 secured in funding already. We need to get this economy rollin’.
This year sees the introduction of all parts of our new Copyright Act, including the nasty Section 92A that allows for you, your business, your school, your library, your local council, anyone and anything with an internet connection, to be disconnected if alleged to have infringed copyright.
No investigation, verification or evidence of any sort is required – ISPs have to disconnect “repeat infringers” the entertainment industry insists. So much for common sense prevailing and negotiations in good faith then; if you’re accused, you’re guilty and that’s that from February 28.
Introducing laws like the above really aren’t helpful in the current climate. Are New Zealand businesses that depend on their internet connections meant to shift overseas, just to safeguard against getting their comms links severed by spurious allegations? That kind of uncertainty does nothing to shore up business confidence or help economic development for the matter.
As the ISP Association of New Zealand points out, the Parliamentary Select Committee got it right when they removed S92A from the Act. There was no reason to put it back in again, and it won’t solve copyright infringement issues at all. Repeal the bad law before the innocent are squashed by it.