Posts Tagged ‘The Netherlands’

About Autarky

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

The amount of local cooperative energy-companies in the Netherlands (in 2012) is increasing. It all has to do with the decrease of the price of solar-sells but there is more at stake.

Local energy-companies are part of a movement aimed at Autarky. Autarky is the quality of being self-sufficient.

The word Autarky comes from Greek αὐτάρκεια (autárkeia), itself from αὐτός (autós) = self and ἀρκέω (arkéo) which in its passive form means be satisfied, content or “Out of my own Power“.

Fractal Human Distribution Network

Fractal Human Energy Distribution Network

The need to become self-sufficient has certainly to do with the current economic-, ecological- and energy crisis. People are afraid that the supply of vital energy and food will suddenly stop or become priceless. This is not the only reason.

Some people think we are wasting our money, food and energy by producing nondurable throw-away goods in which the packaging is sometimes more important than the content. They want to create durable products and services. This is not the only reason.

Some people don’t trust the suppliers of their food and energy, their politicians and/or the caretakers of their savings, the banks, anymore. They believe that their food is intentionally manipulated, their savings are wasted, their country is sold out to the rich and their environment is polluted for just one simple reason, Greed, the opposite of “Being Satisfied”.

The people of the autarkic movement want to recreate the necessary functions (bank, energy, food, work, healthcare, government) themselves in a cooperative way in their own living context.

Atmospheric Energy Diagram

Atmospheric Energy Diagram

The local cooperatives  are now joining on a higher (mostly country) level and are  in need of a shared (real-time)infrastructure. The current infrastructure does not support flows that move between many participants (so called peer-to-peer-networks).

The current system is a Hierarchic Top Down System containing Huge Highways that are connected to Big Production-facilities. This makes it impossible to consolidate, share and distribute resources peer-to-peer on a local level.

The Electric Highway

The Top Down System has created Global Markets where the local production is sold  to the highest bidder.

The Global Markets are the playing field for advanced speculators that make a lot of money. After the deal is made the local production is transported to a far away destination. That is the reason why the Top Down Systems are integrated in world-wide Logistic Systems.

If we want to coordinate all the local initiatives we need advanced systems that Up- and download, control, predict, connect, share, balance and distribute vital local resources on the short and long term.

The Panarchy Cycle of an Ecology

The Panarchy Cycle of an Ecology

Examples of these systems can be found in “crowd funding“, “virtual power plants”  and “treasury management” (balancing many small amounts of Money at the short and long term).

In Nature we find comparable (Fractal) Distribution-Systems in the Lungs, the Arteries, Riverdelta, the Weather Cycle and Ecologies.

All of these fysical Flow Systems, that map 1 Resource-> on Many Resources or Many Resources->on 1 Resource,  are based on the third Law of Thermodynamics called Constructal Law.

Virtual Power Plant

Virtual Power Plant

In the philosophy of the Stoics and Cynics of Ancient Greece the perfect human was not only arete (“all-around excellent”) but also independent of every need. Arete was associated with a full life as a citizen of a city.

Later Spinoza (“On Human Freedom“), Rousseau and David Thoureau (Walden) have developed their own autarkic philosophy.

Autarky was the ideal of a complete man who needed no one and no organization. This ideal can also be found in Zen Buddhism, Taoist practise, Early Christians (Nazarites), the Catholic Order of the Franciscans and the Protestant Quakers.

In reality it is almost impossible to be completely self-sufficient as a lonely human being. We need others when we are young, sick and old and we need others because we are specialized (“Talented”). Autarky is a possible aim for a small community.

Resource Balancing in Nature (Lungs, RiverDelta)

Resource Balancing in Nature (Lungs, RiverDelta)

The religious, cultural and political movements at the left and the right aimed at living the “good life” (“Living Slow“) are converging in  the movement of the Cultural Creatives. The Cultural Creatives are the new Elite that is moving to the AND-state (Left AND Right).

They don’t believe in the old Competitive Ideologies (Socialist, Capitalist, Religious, Liberal, Nationalist, Conservative, Globalist, etc..) but want  to focus on the Shared Collaborative Values between all Humans. We all need Love, Food and Shelter.

The Stoic Zeno shows the Doors to Truth and False

The Stoic Zeno shows the Doors to Truth and False

Autarky has always been a major political aim of countries. Autarky is about the possibility to control your own future and to become independent of other powers that could use your dependency to tell you what to do to get what you desperately want.

At this moment the shortage of fossil fuels, especially oil and gaz, is used to influence the policy of other countries and is the cause of local conflicts in the Middle East.

China is buying all kinds of vital materials to make sure their economy will not become dependent on others. If they will succeed and nobody doubts about that, they will become the economic controlling power of the world.

Reaching a state of local autarky, being satisfied with what your environment provides you, has become the aim of the wordwide sustainability movement.

Total autarky is possible when you want to live as a stoic or a survivalist. Most people accept a more simple living, move off-the-grid and build autonomous buildings that make use of  renewable energy.

Allotment Garden

Allotment Garden

Others start to farm in their own backyard, join an allotment garden or move back-to-the-land and practice sustainable agriculture.  To handle their surpluses and shortages independent  local markets are created that make use of  alternative currencies.

A strive for (regional) Autarky pushes the need to innovate to a higher level because not all regions contain the right materials, knowledge or experience to realize everything everybody needs. To become fully Autarkic the Production and Consumption Systems in the Region have to be based on simple concepts and parts that are available everywhere. Simple concepts are concepts that are easely copied.

The only way to combine Simple and Complex concepts is to use the Concept of Self-Reference (Fractals). The only way to make use of parts that are available everywhere is to make use of the Simple Building Blocks of Nature. A good example is the use of algea in food processing.

The concept of Autonomy not only plays an important role on the many levels of human (personal, organization, country) and animal society (Competitive vs Collaborative (Ants)). It is also a major subject in the research of (Second-OrderCybernetics (Control Theory).

Self Reproducing Systems

Self Reproducing Fractal Systems

Second Order Cybernetics is concerned with the Control of the System of Systems (the Meta-System). Hierarchy is not the solution to this problem because it leads to the logical problem of Infinite Regress (“Turtles on turtles on … all the way down”).

The Meta-System is controlling, reproducing and balancing itself by a Fractal Feedback-Cycle that moves Backwards (Consumption) and Forwards (Production).

The concept of Self-Reproduction is called Autopoiesis or Autocatalysis. The Design Philosophy of Cradle to Cradle is a good example of Autopoiesis.

A System is an Autarky if all its Levels are capable of Self-Reproduction.

If a human wants to become self-sufficient he has to accept and develop his own talent and find complementary people so he is able to create a Self-Reproducing Unit.

The smallest Self-Reproducing Unit in Human Society is the Family living in one House. This House has to produce more than enough Energy and the Garden has to produce more than enough food to support the Family.

Garden City (Culemborg, the Netherlands)

Garden City (Culemborg, the Netherlands)

If we cluster all these Self-Reproducing Families/Houses & Gardens in a small City the chances are high that the combined talents of the families will be able to supply every profession needed if the people of the city want to Live a Simple Life.

It is also possible that the surplusses and shortages of the families can be compensated by creating a Market on the level of the small City or one level higher, the Region.

An Autarkic Movement becomes an Aggressive Competitive Nationalistic Movement when the Citizens of the Country feel that their Country is plundered by outsiders and their Leaders promise to get it all back by expanding the Space to Live (“Lebensraum“) to facilitate everything that is needed.

This happened when Germany was preparing for War after the enormous reparation payments of 132 billion gold marks to the Winners of World War I.

The Autarkic Movement could also become a Peaceful Cooperative Social Movement like the Movement of Gandhi in India when the people accept the Good Life they already live and want to share the surpluses with others who are in a worse state.

LINKS

Dutch Report about Local Energy Companies (in Dutch)

About the house that produces his own energy (Passive House)

The Complete Book of Self Sufficiency

About Close-Loops Systems

About Smart Grids

About Fractal Distribution Systems

Jerry Rifkin: About the Distributed Economy

The John Seymour School for Self Sufficiency

About Entrainment

About the EU Policy of Smart Specialization of Regions

About Darwin and Collaboration 

About Artificial Life

About Smart Technology

About the Thermodynamics of Living Systems

About Worldviews (How to find Complementary People)

A City is an Organism

About the Viable Systems Model of Stafford Beer

About Garden City

Gandhi’s view on Capitalism

The Autarkic Dreams of Germany

 

About the Grand Chessboard of Zbigniew Machiavelli

Monday, November 24th, 2008

I am afraid the big change of Obama will not change anything at all. It looks like the financial elite has placed a new pawn on the chessboard but the game and the players stay the same. The Geopolitical Players are defining a strategy to beat Russia and China.

Obama is surrounding himself with old fashioned politicians who are part of the old fashioned networks of the financial Elite. They are part of the famous World Conspiracy Groups like the Bilderberg Group, the Council of Foreign Relations and the Trilateral Commission.

Obama is announcing the old-fashioned New Deal of Franklin D. Roosevelt to save the US and will use the same money printing machine of the FED to finance his plan.

The big difference with the time of Roosevelt is that the US is completely broke and has to start to pay his debts. Obama is postponing this moment because he knows (and the Elite knows) that the US Citizens are not prepared to move back to a state of poverty.

To save and to create jobs Obama has to Protect the US Economy againts the outflow of jobs to the New Economies, China and India. The emerging state of economic protection will generate huge effects in the World. When the US starts to protect its market others will follow soon.

The big question is if every country in the world will support the new policy of the US. The United States is still befriended with the four oil-rich Gulf States.

The US has already asked them 300 billion dollars to prevent its financial meltdown. The US is still by far wasting the biggest amount biggest of energy in the world and the Arabs need the US to sell their oil.

The biggest adversaries of the US, China and Russia are united in what is called the Shanghai Cooperation. The cooperation is connected to India and Pakistan but also to countries like South Africa and Brazil (BRIC).

One of the important geo-political strategists of the US is Zbigniew Brzezinski. He was one of the advisors of Obama on foreign policy. Brzezinski was also National Security Adviser of President Carter, the creator of the Trilateral Commission and an Associate of Henry Kissinger.

A few citations: “…The last decade of the twentieth century has witnessed a tectonic shift in world affairs. For the first time ever, a non-Eurasian power has emerged not only as a key arbiter of Eurasian power relations but also as the world’s paramount power. The defeat and collapse of the Soviet Union was the final step in the rapid ascendance of a Western Hemisphere power, the United States, as the sole and, indeed, the first truly global power…”

About 75 per cent of the world’s people live in Eurasia, and most of the world’s physical wealth is there as well, both in its enterprises and underneath its soil. Eurasia accounts for 60 per cent of the world’s GNP and about three-fourths of the world’s known energy resources.”"The most immediate task is to make certain that no state or combination of states gains the capacity to expel the United States from Eurasia.”

The strategy and tactics of Brzezinski and his colleagues (Kissinger) have inspired every government of the US until now. It becomes very clear why there is a war in Afghanistan and why Irak had to be destroyed. The aim is to create one dominant power that is controlling the World called the United States.

The power of the Sovjet Union was destroyed by Financial Warfare and Political Instability (Kosovo) generated by the US and its allies (including the Netherlands!).

The Sovjet Union has recovered and has restored its old fashioned control structure. It is has started a new expansion strategy and slowly moving to the West. Putin knows that NATO is unable to resist his policy because the focus of NATO is in the East.

Putin also knows that the West (especiallyGermany) needs his huge resouces of oil and gaz. He knows that the Pipelines are the most strategic tools to manipulate the EG.

He also knows that Germany is deep within not an Adversary but a Companion. The only thing he has to do is break the EG. This will happen soon because of the big internal differences between the Rich and the Poor Countries.

China has become one of the most powerful nations in the World. An alliance between the two (and with Germany the tree) old fashioned adversaries of the US is a super treat for the dominance of the West.

It is very clear that the US is losing its strategic positions in every part of the world except the Middle East. In this area Iran is the most important adversary and it is very clear why the US together with its ally Israel is trying to play the same trick it used with Irak to start a new war.

What will happen?

The CIA will go on with its destabilization programs. They will create new enemys of the West to justify military activity (Afghanistan). Military activity always helps to stimulate the economy and keeps the focus of the citizens away from the real game.

Financial Warfare has proven to be a very effective tactic. The activities of the FED will be aimed at destabilizing China. Russia is already in trouble. The closure of the US Economy will stop the economic explosion of China. The only thing that is left for the BRIC-countries is to create an internal market and a common currency. Other countries in the world have to make a choice. Will they follow the leadership of the US or join the still growing economies of BRIC. In the End the Old fashioned Cold War between the US and the Communists (Russia/China/India,…) will start again.

The last and the most helpful activity to destroy the enemies and to speed up the economy will be an old fashioned (Third) World War. The battlefield of this war has to be far away from the US to avoid “nasty” consequences. Eastern Europe (Germany, Poland, …) is by far the best place to act. You have to do this without disturbing the relationship with EU. This is simple.

The big trouble is that Germany and Russia have already negociated a secret treaty. They have divided Europe into two territories that have a lot in common with the famous Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact between Hilter and Stalin. The only thing Germany has to do is to break the EG into two parts.  This will generate a high tension between the old adversaries Germany and France.  

The EU will be in big trouble because of the economic crisis and every country will act on its own as soon as the weak countries (Spain, Greece, Portugal, Eastern Europe) really get into trouble. They will protect their economies and this will destabilize the European Union. The only thing you have to do to is to tease the Russians. They just want to be respected as a Super Power. Isolate them and show them that they are a powerless nation and they will become terribly angry.

The geopolitical players and followers of Machiavelli (Kissinger, Brzezinski, Poetin) don’t care about human lifes. They don’t care about democracy. Their only aim is to stay in power and to increase their power.

Machiavelli became famous by his book the Prince. It is a political cookbook for politicians to stay in power. The most important lesson is deceit. The politician has to show all the positive qualities needed to be loved by the people. He has to be merciful, faithful, humane, frank, and religious, but he should only seem to have these qualities.

A politician cannot truly have these qualities because at times it is necessary to act against them. The only ethic that matters is one that is beneficial to the politician in dealing with the concerns of his state. If his country wants a redeemer he has to look like a redeemer but behind the scene everything is allowed. You have to admit Obama is a great Actor and the Role of the Redeemer fits him well.

To defeat your opponents you have to commit them to your cause. If you are blamed. They are blamed also. The best way to beat the Clintons is to make them your partner. Hillary understands and practiced Machiavelli.

Introducing change is the most stupid thing you can do. You have to make everybody believe that the old is new. Everybody believes the New Deal was succesful and Roosevelt was a succesful president. So why not copy his scenario and (re)play his role.

`We must bear in mind, then, that there is nothing more difficult and dangerous, or more doubtful of success, than an attempt to introduce a new order of things in any state. For the innovator has for enemies all those who derived advantages from the old order of things, whilst those who expect to be benefited by the new institutions will be but lukewarm defenders. This indifference arises in part from fear of their adversaries who were favoured by the existing laws, and partly from the incredulity of men who have no faith in anything new that is not the result of well-established experience. Hence it is that, whenever the opponents of the new order of things have the opportunity to attack it, they will do it with the zeal of partisans, whilst the others defend it but feebly, so that it is dangerous to rely upon the latter.”

When his Power is at stake the Prince has to start a war.

A PRINCE ought to have no other aim or thought, nor select anything else for his study, than war and its rules and discipline; for this is the sole art that belongs to him who rules, and it is of such force that it not only upholds those who are born princes, but it often enables men to rise from a private station to that rank. And, on the contrary, it is seen that when princes have thought more of ease than of arms they have lost their states. And the first cause of your losing it is to neglect this art; and what enables you to acquire a state is to be master of the art“.

The big problem are mercenaries. To fight a war you need warriors who are dedicated to You and Nobody Else. Always please the Military Elite.

He who holds his State by means of mercenary troops can never be solidly or securely seated. For such troops are disunited, ambitious, insubordinate, treacherous, insolent among friends, cowardly before foes, and without fear of God or faith with man. Whenever they are attacked defeat follows; so that in peace you are plundered by them, in war by your enemies. And this because they have no tie or motive to keep them in the field beyond their paltry pay

When you want to fight a war fight a war with people who are not thinking in terms of strategy. The Chinese are highly stategic. They practise the Art of War of Sun Tzu. When you apply Sun Tzu you never fight a war. You exhaust your opponent. The best way to create a war is to tease your opponent to destroy himself.

My advice

If the current pattern is sustained my advice would be to find a hiding place. This hiding place has to be outside the area of the big earthquakes. It also has to be rather close to the equator because we will soon experience a new Ice Age. You have to be able to grow your own food so you need seeds and soil. Avoid the contaminated area’s in the world. The last thing is to avoid the battle ground of the last big war (Germany, Poland, Sweden).

How about Spain or Portugal?

Of course I could be wrong. Perhaps he is the real redeemer and I am deceiting myself because I don’t believe in honest politicians anymore. The best thing to do not to wait and see but to Act. The Citizens of the World don’t need big government to get into action. Creating networks is simple and everything you need is somewhere already available (even money). It is all about making the right connection!

LINKS

About Financial Warfare

About the FED Conspiracy

 The Grand Chessboard — American Primacy And It’s Geostrategic Imperatives,” Zbigniew Brzezinski, Basic Books, 1997

The text of the Prince of Machiavelli

Why the Russians always win a war

About the coming Ice Age

About the End of the Stock Market

Monday, October 6th, 2008

The Amsterdam Stock Exchange was the first stock exchange to introduce continuous trade in the early 17th century. The Dutch pioneered short selling and every other “modern” instrument. Until the sixties Government and the Big Companies were controlled by about 200 Rich Dutch Families (including the Royal Family). They controlled Society and took care of Stability.

In the 17th century the Dutch East India Company (VOC) was introduced by the Dutch Government. The VOC was the first multinational in the world and the first company to issue stock. It was the first mega corporation possessing quasi-governmental powers, including the ability to wage war, negotiate treaties, coin money, and establish colonies.

In the 17th century about 200 families, the so called Regenten, were in control of the Netherlands. The families promoted their members in every influential position available.

The Democracy of the Netherlands was in reality an Oligarchy. The “oligarchic way” of decision making, the Dutch Polder Model, is still the most important way to reach consensus in the Netherlands. Everything happens “behind closed doors”.

Until 1917 only the Rich people were allowed to Vote. The Rich Voted with their Money. In the beginning of the 20th century (1917) the universal suffrage for male citizens was introduced in the Netherlands. Two years later (1919) the female part of the country followed.

The Rich not only voted with their money they were also the most important owners of the Stocks. With the power of their stock and their money they helped their families to acquire important positions in the State and the Companies.

Until the Sixties the Rich maintained a very powerful social network based on reciprocity in the Netherlands. This network was not a local network. It was an international network. The influential Dutch Families were connected to comparable networks all over the world.

Around the Seventies the power of the Rich Families went down. They lost their influence in Parliament and in the Companies. The Flower Power Generation took over the Power at every Level of Society. After some time most of them lost their Ideals of Peace and Harmony.

They started to buy houses and shares and were helped by the Rising of the Economic Kondratiev Cycle. In contrary to the Regenten the Baby Boomers acted on their own. They were very Individualistic and never created a Social Network that could support Society.

Around 2000 the stock market started to vibrate and to go down. The same happened in politics. Many voters are now moving from party to party.

Who is controlling Society?

At this moment nobody is controlling Society. Society is taking its own course.

Who is controlling the Stock Market?

At this moment nobody is controlling the Stock Market. The Stock Market is taking its own course.

Not only the Stock Exchange but also the Political System and the Weather System are taking their own course.

Is there and end to this all?

I don’t think so.

Why?

We have entered the Downfall of the Kondratiev Cycle. During this Downfall the Old Institutions are destroyed and New Institutions take over the Power. We are in an “In Between State”. In this state everything is On the Move. Everything is Moving Up & Down, Left & Right. What many people don’t see that even the Center is Moving. The State and the Stock Exchange are not able to cope with the excessive amount of Movement.

What will happen at the End of the big Shake Up?

There are two possibilities. The first one is the return to an old center.  My guess is that we will move back to the State of the Renaissance.

The second possibility is “frightening” for many people. We will jump to an unknown state predicted by many Old Civilizations called the Fifth World or the Golden Age.

The Hopis call our time the “The Fourth Age of Man”. According to them the Earth has been wiped clean 3 times already. First by Fire, next by Ice, most recently by the great Flood approximately 11,000-12,000 years ago. We are now entering the last stage of the Fourth Age called “The great day of Purification“. This stage culminates either in total Rebirth or total Annihilation.

The Degree of Violence will be determined by the Degree of Inequity caused among the peoples of the world and in the Balance of Nature. In this crisis Rich and Poor will be forced to struggle as Equals in order to Survive. The beginning of the Fifth World will be heralded by the arrival of a being known as Pahana, or the lost “White Brother“.

If we believe the Prophecy of the Hopi and many other “Spiritual Movements (Gnostics, Sufi’s)” the only way that will save us from total annihilation is the Creation of Balance. We don’t have much time left. The Great day of Purification will happen at the End of 2012. At that time the “Lost White Brother” (The Center) will return.

Is it possible to Balance the Financial System?

 Yes, I think so.

The only thing we have to do is to Unite Shareholders, Customers and Workers and give them an Equal Share in a Company. They have to Share the Power, the Profit or Loss, the Spirit and the Soul. They have to become Enthousiastic about What is Happening (Spirit).

They have to take care of Nature and the Other (Soul). If we do this we will recreate the Social Power Network of the Rich on a Different Scale (Earth) with other Participants. If we Help the Other we don’t need a Pension!

I am sure You want to put Your Savings into a Shared Enterprise. I am also sure that You will Never Regain the Money you will invest in Shares at the Stock Exchange. The Era of the Stock Exchange is Gone for Ever.

Why I have Decided to Leave ABN AMRO

Monday, September 29th, 2008

I am a customer of ABN AMRO for more than 40 years. Last Friday I received a letter from ABN AMRO. They told me that the local branch office of ABN AMRO will be closed and integrated into a local branch office of Fortis.

 One day later negotiations started to save Fortis from bankruptcy. Today I read that ABN AMRO has to be sold to another bank. This will not solve the problem at all. It will speed up the Process of Desintegration of the Banking Industry that has started ten years ago.

 Just one year ago I wrote three blogs about the Merger of Fortis and ABN AMRO. Based on my own experience with the Merger of ABN and AMRO I predicted a possible failure of this merger. I predicted a possible failure because I did not believe the Technical Infrastructure and the Culture of both banks could be easily matched. I was Right. The Credit Crunch was the Cause of the Downfall but the Culture and the IT-Systems were the real reason. The Aim of Management was to make Big Deals (to get Big Bonusses) and the Systems were unable to provide the Right Data.

I have been working in the Money Market for a long time. In my opinion the biggest problem in the Banking Industry is the relationship between the Accountable, Bookkeeping, Systems and the Activities of Dealers. A small part of the Dealers are and were taking Enormous Risks by creating very complicated financial constructions (Derivatives). The Auditors (and the Management) of Banks have lost Oversight a very long time ago. This problem increases in severity when banks are merged.

Every time when a New Technology is implemented the Quality of the ICT-systems deteriorates. This has happened so many times that nobody really understands what the IT-Systems are really doing. Every time when a merger is accomplished the financial data of a bank (or other company) deteriorate. Two of more deteriorated systems are connected creating a bigger mess. Every time when a merger is accomplished the people who have an understanding of the ICT-systems know less about the Systems.

When a Merger takes place the motivated and skillful employees leave the “sinking ship”. The people that remain become “apathic”. They perform their duty in a “nine to five”-mode. Innovation stops. External advisory companies (or worse) outside outsourcing companies take over the maintenance and the development of the software. The quality of the software deteriorates again. The problem increases when packages or software layers are implemented. This happened in every bank around the world.

When I worked with ABN AMRO the biggest mess in IT was always created in the US. The main reason was the “opportunistic” attitude of the Management or the entrepeneurs attitude of the Management. They experimented with everything they could find but never finished anything. The US Financial System was far behind the Dutch Financial System in terms of Products and Supervision. Everybody believed the US was the most innovative in everything but they were certainly not the most advanced in Banking and IT.

 ABN AMRO was one of the bad performers in the Consumer Banking Industry in the Netherlands. The personnel of the Bank were not motivated for a long time. The main reason was the Management. Everything was decided at the top in big Staff Departments. The Branches were forced to implement what they had designed.

 The Management of the Bank loved to do Big Deals with Big Companies. ABN and AMRO were Deal-Making companies and were forced to move into the Consumer Market when the employees of all the companies in the Netherlands were forced to open bank-accounts. The Customer was never priority number one.

The decision structure of the Bank was highly complex and changed all the time. Employees at the branches were not allowed to take initiative. When they had taken initiative it took a long time before the decision was made. Most of the time the answer was negative.

The forced merger with Fortis decreased the motivation of the employees. It increased the complexity of the IT-Systems and the decision structure.

Fortis needed money and many parts were sold to other banks. Every time the Organization and the ICT-systems of the bank had to be divided in many parts. Before this process was even settled a new split was announced. This process was repeated until today.

The Consumer Banking Division of ABN AMRO, the “beautiful pearl” Fortis was after, was carefully protected. The integration of this part with Fortis proceeded. Many people moved to Brussels to create and implement a plan. Many outside advisors earned a lot of money again. Nobody had any oversight. A few weeks ago somebody finally decided to merge the branch-offices. They created new organization structures, appointed new managers, talked with the employees and send an announcement to their customers. This announcement was received last Friday! Two days later all the projects have been stopped and the employees of Fortis are leaving ABN AMRO. Nobody knows what to do!

The financial people were constantly trying to understand what the Risks were. Everytime a new problem arose and the Board had to take action. The message to the outside world changed all the time and the investors lost their faith in Fortis. The End of the (Credit) Line was reached last Friday!

A few days ago somebody decided ABN AMRO had to be sold to another bank to create enough cash to pay the current debts. The process of integration has to be reversed and a new process of integration has to be started with another Bank.You don’t have to be an expert to understand what will happen. The end of this process will be Total Chaos.

I am not afraid I will lose my Savings. The Government will take care.

I am not afraid to lose my shares. I have sold them a long time ago.

I am not afraid the bookkeeping systems of the Bank will finally break down and ABN AMRO will deny I am a Customer or present completely different data about my savings-account.

I am sure many things will go wrong. During my time as a customer of ABN AMRO the amount of mistakes that were made increased. Most of the mistakes were small but some of them really cost me a lot of time and money.

I am afraid  nobody will be able to help me when things go wrong. I just want a little bit of Service. Nothing More. I have decided to leave ABN AMRO. I am moving to RABO-bank.

I hope they will not buy ABN AMRO or merge with another bank. If this happens I have to find another Bank but I really don’t know where to go. At that time I probably have to buy Gold or another Object that keeps its value a long time ago. I really don’t know what will be valuable in the future.

Perhaps I have to start a farm and grow my own food at a place that will not be affected by the rising of the sea-level or big tornado’s or big earthquakes or heavy rain or intense drought or intense cold when the Ice-Age starts.

LINKS

 About the Merger of Fortis and ABN AMRO (Culture)

About the Merger of Fortis and ABN AMRO (Software)

About the Merger of Fortis and ABN AMRO (The Bank of the Heart)

About the Crisis in IT (About Software Layers)

About the Crisis in IT (About Outsourcing)

 About the Crisis in IT (About ERP Packages)

About the Crisis in the Banking Industry (Avalanches)

About the Crisis in the Banking Industry (Fraud)

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Sibel Edmonds or How US Intelligence is Stimulating a War in Central Asia

Thursday, July 17th, 2008

Sibel Edmonds was hired, as a contractor, to work as an interpreter in the translations unit of the FBI on September 2001. She reported various incidents of misconduct and incompetence to her superiors. She was fired on March 22, 2002. In reality she was fired for whistle-blowing. Sibel Edmonds not only discovered incompetence she also discovered interesting facts about covert operations of the US Intelligence in Central Asia.

After the fall of the Soviet Union, the super powers began to fight over control of Central Asia, particularly the oil and gas wealth, as well as the strategic value of the region.

Given the history, and the distrust of the West, the US realized that it couldn’t get direct control. This started more than a decade-long illegal, covert operation in Central Asia using Turkish operatives, Saudi partners and Pakistani allies.

The US Intelligence (CIA) stimulated Radical Islam Movements in East Asia. They were sponsoring the Taliban and al Qaeda. The US Army and his allies (including The Netherlands) are fighting enemies they have created themselves.

The funding of the operations comes out of narcotics trafficking, selling nuclear arms. smuggling weapons and terrorist activities. The US sponsored network manages the heroin industry from the farms in Afghanistan to the streets of London.

The network protects the convoys from Afghanistan through Central Asia to their final destination and they coordinate the laundering of the billions of dollars in Central Asian casinos and financial institutions in Dubai and Cyprus.

The Dutch Government is sending soldiers to Afghanistan to fight the Taliban. The Taliban are paid by the profits that come out of the trade of narcotics, weapons and nuclear arms. The US is still a trusted ally of the Dutch Government. Many people believe there is a hidden agenda but the Government is constantly denying this.

The Dutch Government is copying the behavior of their big Ally. They are suggesting a Noble Cause but everybody knows it all has to do with Power Relations and Economic Policy. The Dutch Government is constantly trying to explain to Dutch Parliament and the public why the war in Afghanistan is so important. To extend the presence in Afghanistan they almost had to force the members of parliament of the three parties in government.

For some reasons the people in parliament, the citizens and the press don’t know or just don’t want to know what is behind Afghanistan. They know about these issues or simply don’t want to believe these things are happening because they are simply absurd. They cannot believe that their ally, a democratic state, is doing all these things.

The case of Sibel Edmons started with an incompetent manager of the translation bureau of the FBI. Many of the translators were unable to translate the information they were receiving.

The manager of the bureau was not only lying to his managers about the competence of his staff, he was also trying to get more personnel by preventing Sibel Edmons to do her work. He destroyed her work to show his manager that he needed more personnel. When you are the manager of more personnel you are getting more status and more salary.

When Sibel Edmons just tried to tell her superiors that she was blocked to do her work she was fired. She was trying to help her country by showing Integrity and Courage. She was blowing a whistle and used the right procedures to blow her whistle.

Now she is very angry about her country and she is getting support of other people in the FBI and the CIA who are fed up with the constant manipulation behind the scene. To help them Sibel Edmons created the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition.

 The US is not the only country where the top management is hiding the incompetence and secret manipulations of their managers. In the Netherlands the same things are happening. They are happening in every highly bureaucratic organization and the Army is certainly one of them.

To move up in a bureaucratic organization you have to please your boss and to please your boss you have to hide the mistakes you are making. A bureaucratic organization is a perfect organization. It is managed by Paper and Procedures. The procedures are not created to manage; they are created to veil reality.

Behind the paperwork a power centre is controlling the organization. Everybody in this power centre knows something about the others. They are committed to each other by the crimes they share. It always starts with a fatal mistake but the cover up that is needed to hide the fatal mistake is a crime. When you have committed one crime the next crime is easier.

Naïve people believe bureaucratic organizations are perfect. They are telling and believing the stories that are told. The power network is using them to do the dirty jobs. Sometimes they wake up and see reality. Many of them are afraid to tell the truth. They fear to lose their pensions or are unable to get a better job.

Others accept the manipulations as a fact of life. They know that politics is really dirty business. They know that to manipulate you need intelligence and counter-intelligence.

They know that to keep the silent majority silent you have to tell the story they want to hear. They know that realistic politics is a game and to win the game to have to deceit. They know that whistleblowers are easily blocked and persecuted.

They keep their mouths shut and wait for the final moment, their retirement, when they are free to do what they really want to do.

When even one American — who has done nothing wrong — is forced by fear to shut his mind and close his mouth, then all Americans are in peril.” Harry S. Truman

Sibel Edmons made one fatal mistake. She believed that Government was created to serve the country. She believed she was helping government by telling the truth. Now she has left government and is doing a much better job. She is trying to stop something Harry Truman feared the most.

LINKS

More about Sibel Edmonds

How the US created the Taliban

 More about Sibel Edmonds

About the Real Reason Why The US is in Iraq

More about Sibel Edmons

More about Sibel Edmons

A documentary about Sibel Edmons, Canal +, France

About the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition

A Defence Whistleblower in the Netherlands

Why We Need a Recession to Move to a Social Society

Friday, June 27th, 2008

In the Netherlands there is a discussion going on about a possible shortage of working power. In the near future there will be an abundance of old people (the baby-boomers) and a shortage of young people. The strange thing is that there are really enough people available to do what is needed but they are not qualified to do the job.

Everybody has to work. Parents with young children need external help to take care of their children. To make this possible the government is giving parents a tax benefit. To get this benefit the parents have to use an accredited childcare institution. The tax benefit created a huge demand for accredited child care. The huge demand created a shortage in certified experts. The booming childcare business has created a budget problem.

When I was young life was simple. Mothers took care of the children. Fathers went to work. Mothers were not paid to take care of the children.

When you move childcare from the “for free” to the “paid” zone of society you have to determine what an expert needs to know and what she or he has to do. You are formalizing childcare. Most of the people that are out of work are unable to acquire a certificate to work in the child-care business. The norms are too high.

You also need buildings, transport, managers, laws, law-enforcers, advisors, quality management systems, controllers, bookkeepers and many others things to create an institution. We are generating a higher level of activity in society than before.

When childcare was not formalized everybody was qualified to raise children. When the norms are formulated it becomes very clear that the people who were doing the task (the parents) can be divided into two groups the not-educated people and the educated people.

This starts a discussion about childcare in general. The end of the discussion is a new institution that is taking care of parents that are unable to raise children and the parents themselves. Again we are generating a higher level of activity in society than before.

What is really happening is a formalization of society. Society is moving from a stage where people were helping each other to a stage where you have to be paid to get help. Every interpersonal activity is changed into a transaction. When interpersonal activities are changed into a transaction people lose the feeling of responsibilty for the whole.

Transactional relationships are aimed at the short term. When you pay a person directly you don’t have to pay back in the future. Transactions destroy long-term reciprocity.

When you are rich you are able to pay for every thing. When you are poor you are unable to do this unless you are helped by others or by government. Government has to create laws and the laws contain conditions. When Government is paying you, you have to do something in return.

When you are out of work you have to do the work government is telling you to do. To work you always have to leave your house and go to another place. When you have to work you are unable to take care of your children.

The real problem is that we are too active in the formalized area of society. We are doing things that could be done in a more natural way. Taking care of others is a natural tendency of the human being. To do this we simply need more time.

To generate work we have created an immense not productive workforce in society, called the social services sector. A social service is really not social at all. It is a formalization of social activities. Social activities are managed by the emotions.

Formalized Emotions are very different from the Emotional Emotions. A formalized relationship is managed by a contract, procedures and norms. A social relationship is for free and is based on friendship and reciprocity.

When I was young life was simple. Children took care of their parents when they were old. The children were not paid to take care of their parents. Now their children are unable to help their parents and their parents are unable to help their children. Both are too busy or unable to help. Some of them are even not allowed to help because they have to stay busy in the formalized part of society.

The people who are unable to get a qualification are constantly trained by government. Many of them are unable to get a “usefull certificate“. Because they have to “work” they are not allowed to take care of their children. The care for their children is taken over by professionals paid by government.

The experts are getting a salary that is much higher than the unemployed ever could get. Perhaps the government could pay parents to take care of their own children and pay children to help their own parents.

I hope you see we are creating a spiralling loop and the end of the line is an imaginary disaster. It is an imaginary disaster because the problem is easily solved by reducing the amount of activities in society until people are able to help other people without being paid.

I hope you now understand why we need a recession. We need a recession to move to a more social society.

LINKS

About Vocation

About Calvinism

About The Consumer Cycle

Wednesday, April 9th, 2008

When I was young my parents were unable to buy a television. To watch television we visited a friend of my father who had to work day and night to pay for this feature. At home we played games, listened to the radio and read books.

My parents always went to the same small shops around the corner. The owners knew my parents very well.

My parents had to pay attention to their financial budget all the time. To buy a television or another expensive product they had to save money for many years. When something broke down it was always repaired. People reused almost everything.

My parents did not have any idea about the outside world. The world ended at the border of my hometown (Leiden, The Netherlands). One week in a year we went to visit the brothers and the sister of my father in Gelderland about 60 kilometers away from Leiden. We went there by train. His brothers were farmers. They never went on a holiday. They had no idea how the countries outside the Netherlands looked like.

The consumer in the fifties (I was born in 1951) were what I call Balanced Consumers. The majority of the consumers had to reflect and to save money before they could buy a product. Products were constructed to stay alive for a long time. The counterpart of the balanced consumer was the isolated craftsman or the isolated local businessman. Most of the shops and the companies were one (wo)man shows. They were owned and operated by a family. The children were more or less forced to help their parents.

Suddenly the first supermarket appeared. It was created by a local entrepreneur. Soon he repeated the concept in many other towns. The supermarket was the next step in a scaling process that went up and up. The producers had to move the same way. Slowly they destroyed the “one man shows” in every area of society.

My uncles had to stop their “one wo(man)” farms because the local market stopped to function. The only way to survive was to get a contract from a meat-producer. In a short time the producer almost owned their farms and kept lowering the prices he wanted to pay. At the end my uncles had to stop farming.

The big supermarkets started to buy their products on a very large scale. In the first step they bought their products on a local level but soon they started to globalize. This stimulated international transport (boat and airplane).

What happened to the customer?

The customer changed from a human being into a concept. The marketing departments of the big companies designed classifications and the consumer was put into a classification. Companies started to specialize to produce for a special target group.

They also started to advertise. Customers started to standardize themselves. The artificial group constructed by the marketeers became a real-life group. The customers started to behave the way the marketeers predicted.

To keep the production-systems running the next innovation in marketing had to be constructed. The impulses of the customer were highly stimulated. The impulses are highly volatile. They react on trends and hypes. The needs of the customer started to fluctuate on a large scale. In the end the market became almost unpredictable. The only way to react was to scale up again, lower the costs of manual production, to automate and to standardize.

The impulsive customer is just one type of customer. They are the target of the producers. The impulsive customer is mostly young.

The creative, conservative, social and conscious customer are forgotten. They are mostly older. The social customers are group-oriented, cooperative and empathic. The creative customers are intelligent. They know how to buy almost everything for free. The conservative customers want to stay in the past. They don’t like impulse-marketing. The conscious customers know that the producers are wasting nature. The complement of the impulsive customer is a forgotten majority.

The producers try to create a very intelligent production/marketing-machine to sell old fashioned, creative, cheap, trendy, social, green products. This is almost impossible. The one-to-one shops, the craftsman and the old fashioned farmer are coming back. People stop to watch television and start to read a book or play a game. Radio is on its return. The economy is moving down. Inflation is speading up. People have to look at their budget again. The amount of customers that are buying second hand articles is increasing. The Balanced Customer is on its return.

We have moved full cycle.

About Muddling Through

Saturday, November 3rd, 2007

A parliament is a Place where People Talk (Parler, French). There are many places where people talk. They talk at home, in a café, at their work. People talk everywhere.

Most of the time people talk to find out what they are talking about.

In a Parliament people talk about the Actions of Government.

In the Netherlands 150 elected people talk with one person of the Government. Because 150 people are unable to talk with one person most of them listen, sleep or are away. Only when they have to vote and the vote is important they are there. They are also there when they are on Television.

The 150 people are divided in 75+N en 75-N. N is >1 and gives them a majority. The 75-N are called the Opposition. It is their task to ask nasty questions. There are many small parties and to create a majority many parties are involved.

To create a majority many parties have to compromise. The effect of this compromise is that nobody is doing what he really wants to do. To do what they really want to do they use the complexity of the government system. Actions are hidden behind a huge wall of marketing fog.

The Opposition hopes that one day a representative of Government (called a Minister) will make a mistake and they can send him away.

When N+1 people of the others also disagree all the Executives have to leave. If this happens they try to find 75+N people and take over the management of Government.

What are they talking about? They talk about Laws, Plans and the Performance of the Government.

About the 5 P’s

I defined a Cycle-based Approach based on the 5 P’s Possibility, Plan, Performance, Protection and Potential.

The 5 P’s are related to the 5 (!) Seasons and other Cyclic models. The People in Parliament are Playing a Game and according to Will McWhinney they are playing The Analytic Game. The Analytic Game can be played in two ways called Make (Plans are implemented in Reality (Performance)) and Test (The Performance is compared with the Plans).

Outside the Government others are playing other Games like the Game of the Market (Performance vs Potential) or the Game of Politics (Plan vs Potential).

I have to tell you that I am in favor of the Infinite Game. The purpose of the Infinite Game is to continue Playing the Game of Life. The Game of the Market, the Analytical Game and the Political Games are Finite Games. Somebody Wins and many Loose.

When you want to play the Analytical Game and you are in Opposition you have to play the Game of Testing. Testing is a very well developed Game in Western Society. To Test you have to know more about the Method. A Method is ‘a Way of working”. In Government you HAVE TO (!!! A RULE) use a Method called Prince2

When you are using Prince2 it is rather simple to Oppose. The Project is equipped with a Quality System and the Quality System is there to Avoid and Report Exceptions. The exceptions could be discussed in Parliament. This never happens.

The big secret is that almost nobody in Government is using Prince2. Government is not applying its own Rules. It is unable to apply his own rules because The Bureaucracy is not a Project Management System it is a Political System.

Every Minister is controlling a Department and the Departments of the Government are highly overlapping. They fight and most of the time the Minister is unable to understand what is happening behind the Scene. Because of the Fight of the many Departments Projects Fail. Not only the Departments are overlapping. There are also many overlaps with local Authorities and of course the other Games that are played (The Market).

When everything is overlapping you know it is a waste of time to apply a Project Management approach. It is not Practical. You use a part of the method or (better) your Experience. Using something that Suits Your Purpose was called “Muddling Through” by Charles Edward Lindblom (The Science of Muddling Through, 1959).

“Muddling Through” is a “Method” where you try to Find Your Way through the Ever Changing Landscape of Many projects. Step by Step you move through the Mud where projects are suddenly started and suddenly stopped. Where priorities are set and suddenly change. Where money is provided and suddenly is gone. In the Mud you are able to move two steps ahead. Later you have to move one step back. When the result is one step ahead you are happy. When the result is one step back you smile and start all over again. Sometimes a Miracle happens and a project is successfull.

Because the Bureaucracy is not using Prince2 many of the Projects in Government FAIL. Parliament is accustomed to this. When Projects Fail the Minister is often not aware of the real reasons. In Parliament he tells the Story his Department has written for him.

The Representatives in Parliament know this. When you are part of the 75+N you Protect the Executive. When you are part of the 75-N it is easy to attack the Executive but you know that it want help at all because the Executive is Protected.

Parliament was created in the Trias Politica to be a Counterforce to the Executive Power representing the People. In reality the 75+N are a representative of the Executive. Only the Minority represents the People and they are without any Power. Even the Majority is without Power because they are unable to manage the “Muddling Through”.

It is not difficult to see why the People that Elected the members of Parliament to control the Executive Power don’t believe in the System.

I want to tell you my secret. I also don’t believe in a Project Management Approach. It only works when You have Total Control. You have Total Control when Everybody is Supporting You. This happens when everybody believes in a Common Enemy (or Friend). When you use the Method of the Common Enemy and convince people that when you don’t fight the Common Enemy you are a Coward you have a lot in common with a Fascist. They created common Enemies. Democracy was created to avoid this.

Big Changes need the Support of the Majority of the People but at this moment the Wheel of Time is in the State of Individuality. This is the real reason why there is such a big overlap. Everybody wants to do it on his Own Way.

Individuality shows itself in two ways Egoism and Holism, trying to find the Whole again.

Politicians could start to focus on the Whole instead of the Detail.

They could stop protecting the Minister and help him.

They could also stop to ask Nasty Questions when they already know the Answers.

Dialogue is about finding out what you are really talking about.