Analysis of the Facebook Libra Token

High level

  • The launching of Libra Token will allow large swath of people access to banking
  • It will also allow corporations with a huge stock pile of cash the access to alternate forms of investment

Libra currency liquidity

Every Libra token that gets created is backed by a reserve of real assets. Close examination of partner balance sheet figures shows approximately USD148 billion dollars of cash and equivalent available for deployment right out the gates.

Libra social impact

One of Libra’s goals is to provide banking access to segments of the world’s population that don’t. Close examination of partners’ reach to this segment of the world shows 7.9million people. This is not including the 204 million African Internet Users on Facebook.

Related References

20190619 – Federal reserve chairman Powell’s speech

Federal Reserve’s two pronged mission

  • Maximum employment
  • Price stability at 2% inflation

Indicators utilized to proxy inflation

  • Unemployment levels
  • wage levels
  • consumption levels
  • Agriculture
  • manufacturing
  • Business investments
  • trade levels

Departments overview

US treasury and Federal Reserve are non-political entities

  • Government
  • US treasury – controls exchange rates
  • Federal reserve focus on domestic concerns only

Observations

  • will not act on sentiment driven from cross currents like Trade war and China’s deleveraging
  • will wait to see more of how trends pan out before acting
  • most countries find it challenging to sustain a 2% inflation rate
  • wage level increases has remained subdued despite increase demand for labor
  • balance sheets of banks are well stress tested
  • balance sheets of non-banks like mutual funds are not well tested

Reflections on the subject of economics

Man as an automaton

The average man eats, sleeps, shits and reproduce.

When presented with environment stimulus that signals more of the above, his brain emits dopamine which elicits are warm fuzzy sensation in his body which he interprets as pleasant.

When presented with environment stimulus that signals less of the above, his brain emits adrenaline which elicits muscular tension and heat in various parts of his body which he interprets as unpleasant.

Physics as the upper bound constrain for economic activities

Economic activity is what man as a collective organism engages in as it goes about fulfilling its above stated needs.

A quantum leap in economic activity is only possible when there is significant break through in the field of physics.

A large increase in numeric valuation of such economic activities without corresponding increase in actual physical throughput volume will result in either an inflation or a subsequent correction.

Characterization of economic activities

Aerobic economic activity is when the environment remains at equilibrium during energy extraction for the above stated needs.

Anaerobic economic activity is when the environment equilibrium is disturbed during energy extraction for the above stated needs.

Framing as a high level principle

He who controls the frame determines what goes within it.

The jug shapes the water.

The player controlling the outer edges of the Othello board generally wins the game

The country which controls the currency for all international commerce control the direction and level of cross border commercial activities.

US controls the global USD supply which majority of foreign economic activities and debts are denominated in. US controls the future economic outputs creditors will receive in the future.

Major creditors for US debts like China and Russia are moving towards Gold as the denominator.

Key take aways from The Governance of China by Xi JinPing

Vision

  • The Chinese dream
    • make country strong and prosperous
    • revitalize the nation
    • make people live better lives
  • 2 centenary dream
    • baseline being the 1840 opium war
    • a moderately prosperous society by 2021
    • fully rejuvenating China to its former glory by 2049

Modus operandi

  • perpetual learning and improvement
  • the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics
  • further develop the theory of socialism
  • system to guarantee outcome
  • holistic view when developing policies
  • A wise man changes his way as circumstances change; a knowledgeable person alters his means as times evolve
  • Employ the way of the gentleman
  • Fostering of core values to ensure population knows what the right thing to do
  • A warlike state, however big it may be, will eventually perish

Strategic objectives

  • System integrity
    • stem out corruption within the public service
    • safeguarding state sovereignty
    • coordinating national security in the environment of rapid technology innovations
    • staying close to the people in the grassroots
  •  Reform
    • figuring out the relationship between the government and the market
    • Free the mind
    • Develop productive forces
  • Progress
    • Education to cultivate young people to boldly strive forth and including overseas
    • Technological invention and innovation combined with social development
      • internet
      • Bandwidth
      • cyber security
      • AI
      • robotics
    • Management know-how
    • Urbanization of rural areas
    • Military build up
    • Energy sufficiency – one belt one road, climate change
  • Consolidation
    • Hong Kong
    • Macao
    • Taiwan
    • All foreign Chinese nationals

Key challenges

  • Allow market to play decisive role in allocating resources and let government perform its function better
  • imposing order on the markets to prevent people seeking economic benefits through
  • dealing with production lags
  • effective competition to yield superior outputs
  • inconsistent market rules leading to rampant protectionism within local markets
  • fiscal and taxation systems to divide power between national and local government
  • management of technology security risk

foreign relations

  • inclinations
    • averse to hegemony
    • averse to war
    • averse to intervention
  • Mexico, Latin America
  • Russia – trade using local currencies and go off the USD
  • US – on cyber security
  • Asia
    • 67% of world’s population
    • aims to become leader in region
    • increase imports from this region into China
    • improve regional security
  • One belt one road
    • Africa – technology transfer and trade via one belt one raod
    • EU – trade
    • Central Asia and Middle East – invesments, trade and oil for energy needs via one belt one road

Related references

  • Taoism
  • Mohism
  • The Mencius, Meng Zi
  • Strategies of the states, Zhan Guo
  • The Great Learning, Confucianism
  • The book of songs, King Wen
  • The book of rites
  • Advice to my son, Zhuge Liang
  • The methods of Sima, Si Ma Fa

Book summary: The Fate of Rome

Climate is both an enabler and disruptor of human endeavors. Nature balances the population it supports. Technology enables increased rate of energy extraction from environment to further human purposes.

Conducive climate results in bountiful yield and has allowed Rome to rise. Land is cleared and trade networks flourish during the rise of the empire. Clearance of wild lands unlocked microbes into the human civilization.

Microbes evolve to utilize humans and other mammals as vectors of infection. Dense population and connected trading network serve as a multiplier. The worst pandemic is the white pestilence (Black Death). This wiped out more than half of human population.

Trading network collapse as a result of the decimated population. Military rank diminishes both as a result of population decimation. Problem is further compounded by collapse of financial system which makes it difficult to sustain an army.

Grounds are fertile for spread of monotheistic dooms day religion like Christianity. Emperor Justinian converts to Christianity. Classical Greek school of thoughts gets displaced.

Climate change for the worse force nomads with superior military power to migrate westwards into Roman territory.

Roman Empire with decimated population gets further crippled.

Key observations of Chinese One Belt Road Initiative in Africa

Territories observed

  • Egypt
  • Sudan
  • Ethiopia
  • Kenya
  • Tanzania
  • South Africa

Similarities observed

  • Heavy Chinese enterprise involvement in the building of roads and houses
  • Shops with Chinese labels observed in operation
  • In areas where there are construction operations, Chinese supervision and management observed aided by local manual labor
  • Ubiquity of mobile internet connection
  • Ubiquity of Samsung, Huawei and Tenco Android mobile phones ranging from USD50 among local adult and adolescent population

Macro trends

With the rise of the Chinese middle class, there is now increasing domestic demand for goods and services within China. This has driven the need to increase the overall throughput volume of such commodities. It can be speculated that the level of consumption is expected to surpass the level of production within China at some point.

Economic growth in China has for now hit a road block due to the following factors:

In light of these, China needs to start shifting its policy from an export focused economy to a domestic focused economy. To do so, it needs to feed and drive domestic demand for goods and services.

Regional trends

The Chinese government has been observed to enter into agreement with local African government to fund the build out of infrastructure, primarily roads and buildings. At the date of writing 85% of roads in Ethiopia has been completed within the country while in Zanzibar, Tanzania, all major roads are under construction and a sports stadium named Mao ZeDong stadium has been observed.

In exchange for the funding, local governments are restricted to engaging the service of Chinese companies. This safeguards the effectiveness of funds deployment for the operations aspects of the agreement while serving to three specific purposes. It minimizes the actual volume of liquidity that is tied up in loans to local government, while boosting demand for construction services within China and increasing maximum possible throughput volume of commodity exports from the region.

What is not obvious during the time of observation is how effective local governments are at managing funds during the stage between its receipt from China to its payment to the engaged Chinese companies. Discounting the inherent effectiveness of the various projects in driving local GDP, differing levels of corruption and maturity of national identify within the region will result in variance between actual ROI versus expected ROI for these projects.

On deciphering Chinese end goal within the region

At the moment of writing, it is yet clear how Chinese African relationship will crystalize for the future. Two key observations need to be made before we can get a glimpse of it.

Key observation #1 would be how China would react when the loans come to maturity and the local government have yet made sufficient returns from the infrastructure investments to pay off the debt.

Key observation #2 would be how Chinese companies would handle the post construction phase of projects that require ongoing maintenance in terms of knowledge transfer.

Related readings

Symbiotic relationships between man and other species

Somewhere along in time, Man formed semi-symbiotic relationships with selected species of plants and animals. Thereafter this cohabiting social structure was scaled up the world over. 

As the process ran its course, other species were inevitably marginalized due to habitat loss, some driven almost to the brink of extinction.

It is interesting to note, the larger the physical size of an unincorporated specie and the closer it’s distance to the brink of extinction. 

The long term trend tends towards mono-cultures and minification of species. 

Man does not share the position at the top of the food chain well with others.

Key observations in Ethiopia

Addis Ababa, a city under construction

On society

  • 120 million relatively young population
  • 65% of youth graduate from college
  • unemployment rate is 85%
  •  The Youth is hungry for opportunity to advance in life
  • The Youth is highly optimistic and have faith in their prime minister
  • Shifting away from a tribal centric identity to a nation identity is the key challenge for the country. Tribal warfare was observed in Matema region.

On infrastructure

  • One belt one road initiative has thus far rebuilt 85% of all major highways
  • significant levels of Chinese operated construction observed in Addis Ababa where Chinese occupy the management layer while the locals occupy the manual layer.
  • Significant levels of new housing construction in villages by locals. Projects are facilitated by ease of material transport due to improved road conditions.
  • At the moment of writing, Chinese built daily train is in operation from Addis Ababa to Djibouti. Chinese management is in process of doing knowledge transfer to local with the intention of handing eventual management.

On nature and agriculture

  • mixed of highland and grassland terrain
  • lowlands are utilized for the cultivation of wheat, corn and coffee
  • highlands are utilized for the cultivation of potato and barley

On technology

  • Ethiopia’s own version of Uber was launched earlier this year.
  • Country-wide established 3G networks has been observed
  • Majority of people were seen using Android mobile phones like Samsung and Huawei.
  • Tenco is a locally manufactured Android phone ran by Chinese management. Typical phone sells for USD50.

On foreign relations with China

  • China is the largest trading partner where food is the main export.
  • China’s one belt one road initiative in Ethiopia aims to increase supplies of raw materials available to the middle class rich in China by building up critical infrastructure like roads and manufacturing facilities to increase overall throughput volume from this agriculturally fertile region.
  • The approach is to utilize Chinese capital, Chinese management expertise and operations technique gained from the rebuilding of their economy, local raw materials and local human labor.
  • Where maintenance is required knowledge transfer occurs. This serves to help conserve Chinese human capital as they further their initiative across the region.
  • The observed build up of educated youth will likely help facilitate the necessary knowledge to ensure infrastructure gets maintained beyond the time period of the initiative.

Related readings

  • Why the west rules for now, Morris Ian

Reflections on self mastery

The ability to fully master yourself is predicated upon the ability to cut through the narratives thrown off by your limbic brain in situations of stress to tap directly into your sensations and be at peace with them.

The ability to master the environment is predicated upon the ability to physically execute upon a series of actions which in the process yields a corresponding set of sensations and results.

The ability to master other sapiens and mammals is predicated upon the ability to bend them to your will, namely the disciplined application of the carrot and the stick. In Sapiens, it is necessary to utilize narratives to  manage their limbic brain.

Any property in nature brought to its extreme form counter-intuitively appears on the surface to be its exact opposite. High levels of Self-mastery on occasions gets perceived as Sociopathy by the casual observer.

Forecoming social experiment: To practice exploiting the unsuspecting street tout without yielding a single dollar.

References

  • Steve Jobs, by Walter Isacson
  • The Elon Musk blog series, by Urban Tim
  • Titan: the life of a John D Rockefeller, by Chernow Ron
  • Anabasis, Xenophon
  • Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler
  • The everything store: Jeff Bezos and the age of Amazon by Stone Brad
  • The Facebook effect: The inside story of the company by Kirkpatrick David
  • Machina by Sebastian Marshal
  • Be slightly evil, by Vankatesh G Rao
  • Sapiens: a brief history of humankind by Yuval Noah Harrari
  • Why the west rules for now by Morris Ian
  • Analysis of Arabic Street tout aggressive sales technique by Gary Teh
  • Observations in Sudan by Gary Teh
  • Summary of learnings into the subject of Mundfulness by Gary Teh

Observations in Sudan

Orange purchased from road side vendor in the middle of the Sudan desert

Society

  • Sharia law is used as the foundational legal framework within the country.
  • Public venues for prayer are prevalent
  • Majority of males observed to engage in worship 5 times a day
  • Touting is non-existent except at tourist venues as well as bus stations. Prices are fixed.
  • Hospitality of locals is commendable. On multiple occasions they would pay for tea and food if they happen to engage in any form of conversation out of curiosity.
  • Minimal signs of homelessness observed. Streets in Khartoum appear empty past 8pm in the evening.
  • Despite general lack of infrastructure, a strong sense of community was observed amongst the population. Daily affairs were was observed to be conducted in an orderly and peaceful manner.

Technology level

  • Level of technology level in government agency observed is low.
  • Mobile phones are prevalent. Android owns majority of market share. Samsung and Huawei mobile phone users were observed to be prevalent.
  • Facebook and WatsApp are the dominant internet communications medium. YouTube is in prevalent use
  • Internet connectivity is low and generally unstable hovering around 300++kpbs in hotels.
  • The following US based technology solution is not accessible. Use of proxy is necessary.
    • AWS
    • Gmail
    • Stripe
    • Bugsnag

Perception of foreign relations

  • US and western nations perceived still to be harboring colonial masters mentality attempting to meddle in affairs of nation with aim of gaining unfair advantage.
  • The Chinese government is perceived as friendly and fair, genuinely interested in helping the country develop.

Nature and history

  • Water melon was observed to grow wild in the sub-Saharan dessert. Much agricultural potential could be expected if nile is successfully harvested for irrigation purposes.
  • Donkeys, camels and cows observed to roam wild in the sun-Saharan dessert.