2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,500 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 25 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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My predictions for 2016. Trends in a globally connected world.

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Dear readers,

Time flies. It’s this time of the year again that I would like to share with you my predictions & trends for 2016.

– The sharing economy platforms like Uber, Airbnb, Lyft, etc. are not only disrupting current business models, they are also creating jobs and generating income for unemployed or even low paid people. These platforms establish a new type of professional life away from the norms of current & old labor laws and traditional employment. See this research for referenece: http://mercatus.org/publication/evaluating-growth-1099-workforce

Internet of Things: we hear & read more and more about the Internet of Things (IoT) and how our lifes will be transformed hopefully for the better. All electronic devices that we use daily will be connected to each other and with the world wide web, collecting and exchanging huge amounts of data that have to make sense and offer practical advantages. The IoT is predicted to have a $13 trillion impact on the global economy. Imagine vehicles, house devices, company offices, factories & work sites, all riding the connectivity wave and creating smarter and more efficient products & services. See this article by McKinsey: http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/high_tech_telecoms_internet/preparing_it_systems_and_organizations_for_the_internet_of_things

Social media & education: these global online networks will play a pivotal role in how people present themselves online. The networks people will be creating matter for the information they share thus education will also be networked online. Maybe we get to see more social networks popping up as with over 3 billion users globally using laptops, smartphones, tablets, more networks will be created to serve these people’s needs. Think poor countries for example where a smartphone connected to the internet, will be a great way to be educated, communicate personally & professionally, gain knowledge of the world outside of the local boundaries that sometimes corrupted governments impose.

Artificial Intelligence: Machines are getting smarter with all the big data we feed them. Will machines help us in the future or take over our lives and destroy millions of jobs in the various industries and sectors of the economy? http://www.wired.co.uk/magazine/archive/2015/11/features/wired-world-2016-alain-de-botton-artificial-emotional-intelligence

Intelligence: due to the fast pace of digital connectivity, a vast amount of information and data becomes available to public organizations, research centers, private companies. As we are building the Everest of data, we carefully have to monitor the intelligence spurring from the top of the mountain which will benefit humanity, eliminate the ”noise” (bad data that don’t make sense) and reduce risks that would appear if sensitive data becomes available to the wrong hands. Organizations and companies will have to protect their data through strong cybersecurity measures and proactive implementation of advanced system security & architecture.

3D Printers: 3D printing will lead the very essence of technological & manufacturing disruption across all kinds of industries, using new materials to construct or replicate products in pharmaceuticals, bio-industry, industrial design, space exploration, house building, etc.

Global growth: according to IMF (International Monetary Fund) the global economy is expected to grow in 2016 by 3.6, expecting a calm growth for Europe, the same growth as last year’s for USA and a bit slower for Canada. The riddle of growth will go to China as nobody can actually predict what is happening in this giant economy due to the lack of trust in their statistics. India will continue to grow strong while Japan returned to recession. Recurring global currency wars and the domestic currencies of Latin American countries will create problems in their development.

Greece’s Debt continues to increase, probably in a non-sustainable way. Much has been discussed in global news & media for ways to make it more sustainable and decrease the burden of imposing more austerity measures. The co-founder of Hellene.gr, Sheridan Tatsuno, has published an article on ways for Greece to develop its economy beyond its debt through tourism, exports, technology outsourcing: http://hellene.gr/news/beyond-greeces-debt-trap/

Balkan countries have started providing important business incentives by setting zero taxes for new companies as a way to invite entrepreneurs from other countries. This is what I call long term strategic thinking and planning. See the example of Albania: http://digjitale.com/2015/11/zero-taxes-for-startups-in-albania/

Geopolitical risks: Independent of the exciting news coming from technology, the political problems in countries like Syria, the general turbulence in the Middle East, the involvement of different powers with different interests, will remain a threat for the global markets (refer to the EU stock market indexes when Turkey shot down a Russian jet). The world will also be watching the US presidential election campaign because of the different policies the elected leader will follow on terrorism, homeland security and foreign policy matters.

Because of the interconnectedness of the global economy, national problems become international (see the Chinese stock market crash & repercussions), altering capital flows & investors sentiment. The monetary policy of FED & ECB on interest rates will also play an important role for global growth and development.

My personal wishes to you for health, wealth and happiness in 2016!

Stathis Kassios
Hellene.gr Co-founder
Moovit Operations Consultant Greece
Web Consultant & Economist

 

More taxes more austerity

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The current problems of the Greek government are directly related to decreasing public expenditures through imposing more and more taxes upon its citizens and domestic economy. Under constant pressure from EU’s bureaucrats in order for Greece to receive a new round of loans and re-capitalize its banks, the limited time left to find alternative sources for tax revenues, create a hostile environment for the private sector and the real economy.

Imbalances in the government’s budget, negatively distort the real economy. Companies remain non-competitive because of the amount of taxes they have to pay and because they can not be financed in a healthy way anymore.  Even if a myopic political party achieves to present a significant decrease in the government’s deficit, it can irreversibly hurt thousands of small and medium size businesses, further increase unemployment and establish a new problematic status quo for the employer (more taxes and insurance contributions) – employee relationship (short term job contracts, uncertainty in the workplace, etc.).

There is only one way to properly increase tax revenues and this is the adoption of a national plan for the economy’s growth which can return the fruits of real job creation and enough tax revenues to positively shift Greece’s government budget imbalances and deficits. Greece needs a sustainable tourism and agricultural industry that creates jobs, exports new products & services and pays a fair amount of taxes similar to other developed countries. Imposing more taxes with the side effect of enlarging an existing black market, will only extend the austerity.

In times like the ones that Greece is going through, the cost of desperately attempting fiscal consolidation means Greece’s GDP will continue to decrease and the official unemployment statistics increasing.

Stathis Kassios
Co-founder of Hellene.gr
Operations Consultant Moovit Greece
Economist & Web Consultant
Image source: http://touchstoneblog.org.uk/