IoT the new frontier

Some recent development shows that we can expect major advances in the Internet of Things (IoT), as major investments are being made in the field right now. SpaceX is deploying the Next set of satellites ordered by Iridium a communication player in IoT space and who wants to be a leader in the new technology. Using multiple polar orbit satellites, it hopes to cover the whole world and provide the next generation of services. By the time NEXT is fully deployed, at the end of 2018, it will include 75 satellites — 66 that are operational satellites and nine as on-orbit spares.

“All 10 new satellites have successfully communicated with the Iridium Satellite Network Operation Center and are preparing to begin testing,” the Iridium Corporation wrote in an update after the latest launch. Iridium promises better tracking than before, using L-band broadband service. L-band service is faster than the current service from satellite ground terminals. As NEXT becomes more powerful, this will generate all sorts of tracking information to benefit customers. For example, tracking shipping containers will increase delivery accuracy and security. Monitoring remote power lines from afar will reduce the time needed to check them in person, Matt Desch chief executive of Iridium said.

The reason why this is really important for the next stage of human development to take place, we will need this and even more infrastructure to track humanity and its activities. When IoT  development is augmented with sensors and actuators, the technology becomes an instance of the more general class of cyber-physical systems, which also encompasses technologies such as smart gridsvirtual power plantssmart homesintelligent transportation and smart cities. This will be a game changer as it will allow us to track and optimize major systems in logistics, energy and communications, on a scale not even imagined today. There is revolution about to happen in how we will live, work, communicate and travel in the future.

Looking in amazement at the launch of the Falcon 9 Rocket, as it took the latest 10 satellites into space I thought to myself “This a wonder and the awe of Space flight is now going to become a common sight, as nations across the globe start competing for this new race. Our Grandchildren will wonder why this is such a big deal to our generation. Their cyber-physical world will be very different from what we have today.”

My only wish is that the next generation’s times be filled with more compassion and happiness, than the world we live in today.  Hopefully as communication increases we can overcome our differences, and strive for the common good of humanity. As productivity and logistics improve, we should also expect to see a growing need, for everyone to come together. The world is going to be far better connected in the future and many things will become much easier to know. Humans will be able to live more closely with each other, by being constantly connected with the IoT. We have to learn to enjoy this new world and be happy,  as it is coming whether we like it or not.

Mass unemployment in developing nations

It is well known that in our 21st century there is currently huge mass unemployment in the less developed and developing economies. The more developed economies on the other hand have severe human capital shortage looming in their future, in Japan, Europe, China and the US. Due to this demographic divide between the have and the have nots, the future of a nation’s economy and civilization, may be thrown into peril. Currently there has been a huge urbanization in the developed economies, with mass movement of labor from the agricultural interior, to the large urban centers. World civilization lives and works in these new Mega urban clusters, formed by modern cities. Shanghai, Tokyo, Mumbai, New Delhi, London, Paris, Frankfurt, New York, Toronto, Mexico City, Brazil to name a few, have continued to grow bigger.

India has the greatest potential for mass unemployment, or mass growth on a scale, which can drive the world economy. The consensus from even Nobel Prize economists is, that India has to grow its Industrial base and urban centers, to provide employment to the million young people, who will join its workforce every month. This trend is likely to continue for a decade or more, as the young population enters its work force.  The new arrivals are just the tip of the iceberg, as there is a mass underemployment in its half a million villages. Most statistics indirectly say that almost 80% of the rural population, is engaged in “agriculture”.  This disguised unemployment leaves a vast labor force, available for taking up the new services, which the world will need.

Indian history does not show a goods exporting nation, but one of ideas and aspirations. The new Digital revolution suits India well, as a first mover, in the computer services industry. The Independent nation of 60 years, is finally throwing off its colonial past, and getting into its stride. There is resurgence of public works which will truly benefit its hinterland. More people are getting Highways, connecting their remote regions to the rest of the world, in this decade, than has happened in the history of the sub-continent. Similarly more people are getting electricity, sanitation, education, health services in the coming decade, than in the many decades since Independence. There is a remarkable will to overcome the past and leapfrog into a green future, and to provide services to its citizens,especially in its undeveloped areas.

On the other hand we have the economic sceptics, who question every move, and state that the implementation of truly global and far reaching reform, is beyond the capabilities of India’s people. They will plod on at their usual uneducated, undeveloped, unhealthy pace and the promise of a bright future will come, but not now, they claim. They question the competence of its democracy and the will of its public and private sector’s ability, to provide the productivity and investment needed, to provide employment at scale. They fear that a state of mass unemployment is coming, where lack of Industrial growth will hold back employment, and bring untold misery to its farmers and urban poor.

To all these naySayers I can only advise that it is time to read Indian history again. For most of human history till the 18th century, India had the highest GDP in the world. Whenever its people had a stable just and fair society, its people have prospered beyond expectations. The producer of Buddha,Ram, Krishna and the Vedas is a land steeped in time and evolution, of humans themselves. It has reinvented itself many times and still kept its culture and belief system intact. There is a secular society that has prospered in its diversity, from the time of the Greeks at tIndus. Chandragupta who was Alexander’s contemporary and ruled a huge empire left his throne, to seek salvation. His grandson Ashoka the Great renounced his prosperous empire, and started to serve humanity. His edicts and efforts spread Buddhism across the world.  The most dangerous ideas that promote all life, like non-violence, vegetarianism, salvation arose in these lands. These ideas and aspirations come only, after the basic human needs are met.

The service industries will be India’s savior, as our world moves into a new era of prosperity for all. The basic hypotheses is changing as the solution is no longer in Industry, but in the new world of communication and service. Industry is required and China, Germany and the US have mastered it, and other nations will also catch up; based on their investments, and needs. It is in the new world order of ideas, compassion, health and love that change will come. Once the basic needs are filled for the developing world, it is then that India will play its part. Whether it is in providing basic services or in art, music, philosophy and the striving for a higher life, India will have a role to play.  Its demographic dividend will become the world’s greatest asset, as the developed world will welcome Indian’s help, to become better. Currently only about 53% of India’s young people are employed, and the rest are a lotus bearing gift, which will open, when the light shines and the world opens its arms to welcome them. I say the Phillips curve shown above, is going to be severely tested in the future for the good or bad of humanity, based on what steps we take today. India is the diamond in the rough, getting ready to shine (at least it has the diamond cutters, to do so for the world)..

It is in the very nature of the capitalist mode of production to overwork some workers while keeping the rest as a reserve army of unemployed paupers.

Marx, Theory of Surplus Value

The Tolling bell

The Health Protection initiative announced in the latest Indian budget is planned to benefit nearly 10 crore families and 50 crore people (500 million), would be the world’s largest government-funded health protection programs when rolled out. Providing health to the poorest of the poor could dramatically reduce sickness and death, in a positive direction for its citizens. The increased build out of the Medical Facilities required for them, has been acknowledged for the first time, and a rudimentary plan to increase Hospitals, Medical Colleges and Private services for the people has been put in motion.

The new Indian budget also advocates a rise in allocation for infrastructure by 21% accompanied by broadening of corporate tax relaxation for Micro SMEs, a unique focus on generating livelihood creation in agriculture and rural sectors via new Operation Green is important. New incentives to enhance employment in labor intensive sectors of textile, leather and footwear, will ensure a stronger consumption and investment impetus in FY19. This could finally kick start the entrepreneurial spirit of millions and create jobs for the next decade. Improving agricultural income would create a rising spiral for consumption and production,

These measures help to ensure that the citizens of India at the lowest levels of society may finally rise out of dire poverty and helplessness. Each of them will now have a reason to seek a better life as health and happiness has been brought closer to them. Too long was caste and religious stratifications ruled the land. Now the measures are changing and becoming human. No longer is economic incentive based on religion, caste, and backward class distinction but on economic need and basic human dignity. When you are one of a billion then it is important for everyone to help take care of you with no divisions. Each citizen is prized and can be a productive member of society if given basic human inputs.

The economy can only grow when it is an inclusive economy of all classes. The Rich may have to pay a disproportionate share to raise standards for all, but it is an exercise worth doing. The final arbitrator will be the ability of this government to bring true reforms in labor, property, disinvestment and Banking and Insurance. To turn the State’s Public Sector behemoths into dividend declaring contributors to the economic growth will provide much needed relief. At the end of the day can this government truly implement the reforms and programs that it has announced or proposed will determine the common man’s vote. The next toll rests on how they perform for their constituents..

No man is an Island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were; any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee. -John Donne, poet (22 Jan 1573-1631)

FOMO and other phobias we suffer from

Fear has been the greatest force that evolution has unleashed, amongst all living beings and is wired deep into our brains. Despite all the advancements in humans the instant reaction to our environment, is automatically triggered in our reptilian brain, where the decision is made to fight or flee. It is only after that initial knee jerk reaction, that our logical brain takes over and analyses the situation, based on personal past experience and actual knowledge. The adrenaline surge and preparation of the body to fight or take evasive action, happens in milliseconds, and only then do the force of civilization and culture kick in. Unfortunately the truth is that we remain animals first, and only with a great effort rise to becoming humans.

FOMA or fear of missing out was just called by Bloomberg to be the driving force, behind the current and future S & P index rise to greater heights in 2018. It best describes the irrational exuberance which led to the Tulip craze, or Dot com rise, in the past, and the Bit Currency mania sweeping some up today. It is a fundamental force that takes hold of large areas of our populace, and creates an unnatural state of economic and financial bubbles, unsustainable by fundamental economics. Property and commodity booms and busts are similar in nature where by the time the ordinary investor gets in, he/she is just joining the others in the late cycle of a giant Ponzi scheme, which is bound to crash. I am not advocating we stay away from markets, but trying to make the case that they can be a potent tool, for long term human development if used correctly.

Our greatest inventions and achievements were driven by our survival instincts. Humans are inherently weak creatures and there are far hardier living species, who have survived successfully for millennia, even before the arrival of the great apes. Prometheus stealing the fire from the Gods is a great example of human fear, capturing and taming a destructive force, to aid its own survival. The evolution of tools though not unique to humans, has also been driven by fear, to overcome the adverse conditions that seem to overwhelm us, in nature. Modern cities are just an example of how fear pushed us to come together, for our common benefit. Religion and cultural norms are all a result of the paranoia and fear, which we all face when faced with complex phenomena which we cannot explain. Out of fear comes resolution and mental makeup, which helps us to not only survive but prosper in a new reality.

The Hindu sages debated for centuries on what is existence, what is reality, what is our state of knowing, what is life, what is death, what is our purpose, what is the creator, what is the culmination of desire, what is truth and finally what is reality? They distilled this wisdom in Sanskrit in the Vedic and Vedanta strutis memorized and passed down generation after generation.  While the names of the sages may be often lost, the wisdom still remains. A philosophy rose not based on the fear of the unknown, but on the myriad paths to overcome the unknowns. “Agni Miley Purohitam..” starts the first verse of the Rig Veda the oldest of the surviving strutis and talks about the taming of fire by the householder for greater good. In another example “Isa Vasayamidam Sarvam… “ The creator envelops everything and all our individual moments, are only part of the universal movement. By renouncing (the unreal) we can enjoy (the real), do not lust after another man’s possessions. In only 18 verses it lays out the relationship of the soul to our universe, and forces our eyes and mind to what is truth (eternal), and goads us to not stray into the world of untruth (transitory), which leads to fear, wrong karma (thoughts\actions)and braking of our dharma (rightful duty).

I admit it is a long way from obscure Sanskrit texts to the happenings on modern day Wall Street and the state of the human mind today. We have Fire and Fury and God on our side in multiple conflicts, and potential for far greater Fire and Fury if we stay on the current path. The Jewish, Christian, Muslim divide of the Judeo-Christian world, and the destructive Shia-Sunni divide, will not be resolved in our lifetimes. The Middle East burns and each new atrocity, fans the execution of another, more severe retaliation. The Buddhist are committing genocide against the Rohingyas in Myanmar, and the recent Hindu/Buddhist war in the Pearl in the Indian Ocean, is still healing. These are all the outcome of the stroking of fundamental fear amongst communities, bring out the worst in humans. Defenseless woman and children suffer the most, while men announce new victories every day.

My fear is that in the stock market or in society, if we are driven by the basest of emotions then our humanity will be lost. We have to go beyond the boom and bust of our stock markets, or the fear of an imminent nuclear Armageddon. The stock market and our society should be used to bring progress and peace to improve our health, happiness and living standards. We should harness the forces of progress to be funded and unleashed for the collective greater good, and release ourselves from our fears and phobias. We have been given a whole universe by the creator, and our petty squabbles and fears will keep us rooted to this earth, when we have a far greater future to look up to. We all have only one life to live and our end is certain. It is how we live this life that matters, and it will determine the fate of our progeny for eons to come.

When all’s said and done, all roads lead to the same end. So it’s not so much which road you take, as how you take it. -Charles de Lint, writer (b. 22 Dec 1951)

The Great Game

“The Great Game is afoot,” Sherlock would have told Dr. Watson, being a master on world power, and the ways of men. The one who controls the “Stans” controls the world, is an old saying from my childhood. The British and Russian empires fought over them in their heyday, and now Russia and the US have fought for power in Afghanistan and the other states in these regions. India’s time has come and now it is seeking its rightful place, in its own backyard and with countries it has long cultural ties. Too long did its soldiers fight for the British empire and lose its economic might, to a foreign ruler. Now it’s time to redeem itself, in economic history, has finally arrived. For the best part of the last two millennia it had the largest GDP, and was a relatively rich nation, with wealthy citizens. Now it is a poor cousin, and till recently almost broke, with few foreign reserves.

“The International North South Transportation Corridor (INSTC) connecting Mumbai with St Petersburg and beyond – which has been 17 years in the making – is set to be operationalised from the middle of next month with the first consignment from India to Russia. India, Iran and Russia had in September 2000 signed the INSTC agreement to build a corridor to provide the shortest multi-model transportation route linking the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf to the Caspian Sea via Iran and St Petersburg. INSTC has been expanded to include 11 new members – Azerbaijan, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkey, Ukraine, Belarus, Oman, Syria and Bulgaria (as observer),” as reported in the Economic Times.

This is not a small step and its timing is strategically significant in modern history. America and Europe have traditionally controlled political and economic world trade and China has emerged as an economic power now. Russia and Iran have lost their luster and India is still shaking off its half-naked fakir image. Indian democracy is finally maturing into a nation building, efficient government. The ease of business is slowly improving, and its credit rating has also inched up. Slowly it is emerging as one of the fastest growing economies in the world, and has a long runway ahead of it. Its young population is aspiring to join the world citizenship, on an equal footing. This new road to prosperity is linked to its billion people, rising out of poverty, to make a new world order. The answer is open international trade, as was learnt from the success of NAFTA in the Americas, and the EU zone’s amazing growth over the years.

This collection of faded country names and forgotten players in the international game, may be the next economic wonders. The area has enough energy and other resources to bring prosperity for the next century. With Indian industry slowly coming into its own, massive projects can now be undertaken on a global scale, multilaterally. The plans for development in these regions, can bring great productivity and human improvement. The people have suffered enough and are now ready to become part of the community of nations. Equal rights and high aspirations driven from a rising democracy, has great power, as was witnessed, in the last two world wars. Military might can only come from economic might, and nations have often bankrupted themselves, in trying to achieve the first, without the second. The path to prosperity is only through more trade and the use of the best that any human, can bring to the market. Only legal, safe, open trade can make India great again, and this is a wonderful first step. Will the people of the “stans” now rise to the their rightful future, is a mystery, that even Sherlock will have to light his pipe and ponder!

Smart bombs

We live in a new world order now and China is extending its reach throughout the world, and Europe and the US have a different hegemony. India is trying to be recognized as the new kid on the block and carve out a piece of its own territory in South Asia. With Pakistan and China as neighbors it has not been easy and tensions still prevail beneath the surface, of deep cracks in the psyche of the nation from past wars. To rise above these and to find its rightful place in the nations of earth the Indian society has to change and adopt a more nationalistic stance. Only a strong nation can survive and there is much work to be done after decades of neglect of real world capabilities. The world has advanced and now India must put its best brains and capabilities into becoming a world player.

I recently read, “The Indian ‘smart anti-airfield weapon’ (SAAW), developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation’s Research Centre Imarat (RCI), other labs and the Indian Air Force, was fired from an air force aircraft.” It has the capability of striking targets within a range of a 100 KMs without crossing the Indian border, with great precision. It can deliver enough of a payload to incapacitate, an enemy’s air capabilities. The development of smart bombs is just the start of the program, as India has a lot of catching up to do. Sadly its defense systems, need modernization on a massive scale. Big data capabilities, artificial intelligence, enhanced internet capabilities, smart weapons, and electronic surveillance are all part of the brave new world. India needs to step up its game to excel in these fields.

The planned build out of the capabilities of the Indian Defense forces, will be a major economic driver for South Asia. If done properly, it will provide much needed investment, labor and scientific development, using indigenous resources. The door for foreign partners is shyly opening up, and will become in the next few decades, a major opportunity for global defense industry corporations. The defense of the Himalayas and the Indian Ocean are at stake, and India has to develop the capabilities to project force, over greater distances. With its great rocket capabilities it now has to augments its ability, to deliver force to face any external force. Only the Air Force can ensure superiority on the battlefield, so any enhancement of their capabilities; is a step, in the right direction. For South Asia to emerge from its shell, India has to play a key role in ensuring, a safe and secure nation.

Improving India’s economy

Arun Jaitley, India’s Finance Minister when asked about disinvestment targets not being met for the State owned enterprises said, “Always remember that privatization is the art of the possible. Therefore it is an exercise which has to be transparent, it has to be acceptable to a cross section of political and public opinion, it is an exercise that must result in a better performance.”
This argument seems false as to provide better infrastructure and build a new and better India, it can only be financed by allowing all state owned companies to go public. His wishing to time the market, and wait for an opportune time, may never come, as markets go up and down randomly in cycles. To presume that the current bureaucrats at the Public Sector enterprises are doing better, at managing their affairs, when compared to other International companies, in the same sector; it seems like smoke and mirrors. The Public sector needs modernization and investments in technology, logistics and global supply chains. He should let his older babies go, as the capital raised from their sales, will help fund the nascent projects of tomorrow.

The legacy of Nehru and Indira for nationalizing and reserving huge economic areas, allowing State Enterprises to have a virtual monopoly in Banking, Finance, Oil, Coal, Energy for so many years. As the Private Sector has grown in India it has taken up the challenge, to meet the consumer needs with more efficiency. The money can be put to more productive use and the more Jaitley can put to work the better it will be for him. It is time for the Modi government to show, how it will pull the Indian economy out of its slump. Regarding disinvestment “the art of the possible,” may be just swallowing ones pride, and letting the Market forces take over. Let the Government get back to governance of its governed, rather than be distracted in running large businesses; best left to the private sector, to grow.

A new trust has to be established where disinvestment of some sectors of the economy, yields investment in Highways, Cities, Logistics, Airports, Railways, Mass Transit and the list is endless. With India needing huge improvements in sanitation, drinking water, electricity and broadband there have to be huge public and private partnerships for improvements. The 11 B disinvestments are not going to be able to fund existing ambitious plans of the different ministries. I am advocating to go for broke and raise 100 B and maybe 200 B over three years and really impact the economy. The digitization of Adhar and direct deposits, is an easy way to share some of these funds, with the poorest of the poor. The ones who need it the most, may also provide the largest productivity gains if they become consumers. We need a helicopter economy.

Global rating agencies are following closely the adherence to the 3.2% deficit financing target and so far Mr. Jaitley has obliged, to a great extent. With his options dwindling he may have to bring all tools in his arsenal to bear. “We are all conscious of the fact that there is importance of the kind of fiscal prudence that is required in the economy,” Jaitley said. “At the same time we are also conscious of the need in such situations of spending and finding the balance between the two.” With GST rolled out and its implementation in progress and it is a game changer, from the previous state and local taxes on distribution. Making India into one market for taxation makes sense and its benefits will be shared with the States. The laws have to be enforced and systems automated and simplified with AI to ensure collection and auditing of the taxes owed and encouraging the growth of the formal economy.

With timely disinvestment it appears that Mr. Jaitley can open the spigot, to be able to spend on Defense and other BJP priorities. The Indian economy has more than enough room to grow for this century, with its young and dynamic youth. Somebody has to become the enabler, of all the Micro to the Macroeconomic needs, of India. Such great opportunities come rarely and only action is required, in the Parliamentary sessions, to take them forward. The Markets have their own mechanisms to provide the price for Assets and these exercises need to start, in a far larger manner that we see today.

Investments in Infrastructure and human capital, provide rich rewards, as seen in the case of China. Education, health and human well being need major investments and the sooner the better. Increasing the productivity of India’s billion people will yield a virtuous spiral upwards, for the poor. It needs fire and fury to awaken the forces of nature on a gigantic scale, which only a modern India can achieve. This talk of balance and improvements in performance sounds good, but it is not the action required on the ground. Speedier and better implementation is the need of the hour and good leaders should be working towards these goals for improving Indian humanity.

The race for the future of humanity

Everywhere I look I see new corporations that did not exist a few decades away leading the charge for the future of humanity. While the middle class in America is very troubled at its shrinking future, there are other areas where America is truly great and continues to flourish and make billion dollar enterprises, with some approaching trillion dollar valuations. The rise of Trump and his denial of climate change, and attempts at reviving coal and fossil fuels,, and the new age successful entrepreneurs embracing green energy and reducing emissions, is a dichotomy approaching loggerheads with each other. People have voted for security as he has fanned their base fears of an existential threat, to our way of life, saying only he can help fix it. The five principles mentioned above by PWC show exponential progress is possible, from our current human condition.

Let us examine the new trends and see if in this time of great change in human existence, to understand if there any hope, for a brighter future. Firstly people in the rust belt are right as the mass secure employment offered by huge assembly lines, and the manufacturing era, is fast vanishing. Automation and robotics are fast replacing manual labor. An example is that the latest steel plant in Germany producing high value products, is run by just 11 people, monitoring all the production on video screens and sensors. The era of the rugged steel worker facing scalding smelting pots, in Andrew Carnegie’s and J P Morgan’s US Steel is now officially over. Machines will carry out the labors repeatedly and with lesser errors, than men and women doing physical labor.

Manufacturing and mining jobs are taking a hit as new systems and machines evolve. The new auto factories have armies of robots doing repetitive tasks, like welding and painting with great precision, 24 hours a day. Machine learning is making the machines ever smarter every day, and they are able to see, feel, adapt and repeat with increased precision and productivity. The glory days of manual human labor is receding and machines are making our lives easier, by doing the work that caused endless repetition and back breaking work, by our fellow beings. We will enjoy the fruits of these advanced machines making products ever faster and more economically; and designers, engineers and visionaries will use the machines to produce products just in time, to meet our needs. Rosy the riveter is now a machine.

Logistics is going through a sea change from what it was, and what it will become. If we go to a modern warehouse we find that increasingly there are no men riding forklifts ferrying pallets and goods, across racked spaces and trying to keep track from memory, where the goods are. Now sophisticated robots store and retrieve goods in huge cavernous spaces, where only sophisticated computers remember where each barcoded or RFD item is stored. Where hundreds worked in labor daily, now a handful monitor and program the arrival and departure of goods. The development of autonomous trucking, will further remove the thousands of drivers, who drive through the night to make a living and keep our stores full. Even the railroads will become autonomous, as trains will move through automated signals and routing, day and night with no human error.

In agriculture there are fewer people on the farms, as the new machines are computerized wonders. A modern farmer can single handed do what took hundreds toiling day and night in the fields in the last century. The seeds are genetically improved – a process going on since the Inca and the Maya’s improved corn, by selectively cross breeding large grasses, into what we know today. Cotton production in India improved substantially as an example, from using the new seeds. Pest resistant, drought resistant varieties help farmers to ensure a good harvest, where previously the weather gods and nature dictated the outcomes of an year’s work. New drip irrigation techniques and fertilizer application optimization, is leading to greener farming, with less run offs and environmental damage. We can fight the change, but it is surely coming, as we will need to feed 7 plus billion humans soon with a more nutritious, healthy and assured diet.

The Service sector is the mainstay of any modern society and the changes here are probably the most visible, to the ordinary man or woman on the street. Communication devices have become smaller, smarter and ubiquitous. The ability to mass produce and ensure communication seamlessly globally, is a modern reality and some of the greatest minds are working tirelessly, to make it even better. Modern banking and the cashless society are becoming a reality. The middle men are being squeezed out of the supply chains and the managing of money and assets as machines do not make mistakes and follow instructions instantaneously. Global trade and services will continue to improve despite all national efforts, to control things at our border, as it is becoming a flat world with economies of productivity going, to the lowest cost producers.

Finally our homes and cities are changing at an increasing pace. iRobots, electronic washing machines, fridges, internet connected lighting systems, are all examples of how small machines, can save the drudgery of housework. The Internet of things is developing faster than imagined and the digitization of society will proceed at a faster pace. Our grandchildren will wonder why we owned cars and drove polluting vehicles in our cities killing thousands in preventable accidents. Even our music and entertainment is now delivered 24 hours a day long as we have a connected device and can watch sitting in our own homes. Meals and produce is going to be delivered on order seamlessly and no physical cash or human interaction will be required as drones deliver to our doorstep. We will order from the likes of Alexa and the bounty of our universe, will come to us. Smart cities will emerge making life easier for our citizens.

Even Financial institutions as we know them with their great bastions of secure banking and physical assets and authentication, are changing fast. Blockchain authentication and digital transactions will be at our fingertips and devices. A visit to the bank for doing a transaction will be unknown to our Grandchildren, as the new financial systems and crypto currency evolve. The thousands of bank tellers and service personnel, will be replaced by machines and sophisticated authentication system. Crony capitalism will stand exposed, as markets and transactions become more transparent, and regulators will shrink in number, replaced by ever vigilant machines and systems.

So to conclude the middle class is in a grave danger of shrinking as the jobs of today, will be gone tomorrow, in huge numbers. Yet I have full faith in humanity and the human spirit, as we are more capable than the machines, which will replace us. We will rise to even a better future for our human race as we will find better things to do, than the drudgery of some of today’s jobs. The five principles outlined above will guide us to a better future, as technology will be a great enabler. I remain optimistic that we can and must do better, for ourselves and our grandchildren. We will have to reskill the workforce to meet the challenges of tomorrow’s humans, and that race is now on in earnest. .

Power will flow to enterprises that embrace automation, reduce internal costs, make better use of advanced devices, design modularity into their products and services, and participate in blockchain-style verification systems.’ By John Sviokly who is a principal and U.S. marketing leader at PwC, where he also works with clients on strategy and innovation. He is the head of the Global Thought Leadership Institute.

Trump’s 100 days

President Clinton came to our world stage to champion opportunity for all, responsibility by every individual, and the need for a united community. Barak Obama brought Hope and Racial Equality to the White house. President Bush created regime change in Iraq, from an old ally against Iran, who was in no way connected to 9/11.  President Trump has now crossed a 100 days in office and the world looks on amazed at what these men accomplished in their world views. Clinton brought the festering European sore, of the Balkan religious wars, to a sustainable peace. Barak was steadfastly against outright war and expansion of American troops abroad, but held firm to American beliefs and power by killing Bin Laden.

President Trump has out trumped them all with his first hundred days achievements, if one listens to his administration.  He has signed 24 executive orders in the first 100 days a modern day record. One of his signature achievements (literally executive orders) is bent on reversing a Federal Ocean preserve, back to commercial use; a power only the congress has. Another contested one is the State Tax exception removal where Blue States suffer most. Trump, in contrast to the great economic wars fought by Roosevelt and Obama in the start of their presidencies there is no major signature. Trump took office following 75 straight months of job growth, a 4.7 percent unemployment rate, and the wind down of massive, post-Sept. 11 troop deployments.

 

We can have great prosperity in the future with an energy boom and an IOT boom opening up the economy. Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, Tesla are giants of the new digital age that is emerging and powering the US economy along. Oil and gas from Fracking continues its rapid growth ushering in a new energy independent age. Their incredible contribution to rapid economic growth has kept the US economy growing as the Government has had to step back, because of our growing Federal Debt. Now with the promises of lower taxes and help to bring profits back from offshore, Trump may raise the Capital badly needed, to invest in the infrastructure of the US. He hopes to bring in Billions from safe havens back to the US for deployment on the infrastructure and energy systems of tomorrow.

Only problem it is that he seems to be driving while looking at the rear view mirror. The past is apparent in trying to repeal Obama Care and replacing it with less healthcare for all. He has brought together a group of white conservative men to lead his administration; and changed the Supreme Court for years to come, to a more conservative stance. An administration of billionaires will do what is good for them, and the masses will enjoy a trickledown effect. Future generations will fight climate change and women will lose reproductive rights over their own bodies, and racial equality will suffer. The Greatening of America in the first 100 days leaves much to be desired from my point of view, as none of the laws passed can be counted as a “major reform”.President trump

Urban thinking and epidemiology

During the Napoleonic era a great man who pioneered sociology, statistics, epidemiology and gave us perhaps the clearest glimpse into urbanization, was Louis-René Villermé (10 March 1782 – 16 November 1863). I consider him the earliest known man who studied economics, sociology and did research and established statistics that became the base, for many of French reforms for how people lived and worked.  He advocated against child labor when their nimble fingers were busy working the tools, of the first Industrial revolution. We have much to thank him for his studies of industrial workers, prisoners and he established the earliest linkages between hygiene and health, and between poverty and their poor growth, and their early death.

In his great French book “Study of the Physical Condition of Cotton, Wool and Silk workers” a most comprehensive current state of the working people and their moral and physical life, is indeed a gift to our history. With the rapid urbanization that has taken place from the eighteenth to the twenty first century, the evolution of our cities and their populations is truly remarkable. So much we take for granted like safe drinking water, modern sewage systems, hygienic working conditions, reasonable work\life balance, were all unknown in Villerme’s times. He was a modern man and liberal who showed the path for better urbanization, to improve our human condition.

Previous changes took centuries to evolve as we have seen, but in the modern world change is going to arrive faster. Machines are now evolving at a very fast phase to take over the routine drudgery, of modern manufacturing and information flows. More robots and bots are doing increasingly more sophisticated work repeatedly and endlessly, without getting tired, or exhibiting any human error. We have evolved to become masters of a rapidly changing universe. Every day new cures are found or are being actively worked on, for old diseases and human conditions. We have achieved a level of health and happiness in our modern society, with the base needs of food, shelter and security being largely taken care of.

We owe so much to the great thinker who have come before us. The prime example is of Villermé who covered a wide array of subject matter including: children in the workplace, savings accounts, asylum rooms, and drunkenness among the working class. The work was unique in combining health topics with research and social reforms. We have come a long way since that pioneering work but now the need is even greater.

We have to prepare before the next devastating pandemic overtakes us. We have to continually improve our living and working conditions for the billions, who inhabit our earth. We are all of us, in this together, and to ignore development for some, and to allow only the few to enjoy the fruits of what we have achieved, is meaningless in a flat and seamless world. Our path is to Go forward from here. Striving for global happiness through rightful living, should remain our only goal.