If it looks like a turd & smells like a turd…

Libyans celebrate the return of Megrahi

Libyans celebrate the return of Megrahi

As the row over the release of convicted Libyan Terrorist Abdel Baset al-Megrahi rumbles on oil giant B.P is preparing to commence drilling off the Libyan coast in waters slightly deeper than those which have been so grossly polluted in the Gulf of Mexico.

Fueling the controversy this weekend it was reported by the Financial Times that “Michel Williams told a U.S government investigator that an important alarm, which could have detected the build up of natural gas, was disarmed so as not to wake people up at night”

In 2007 B.P signed a $900 million deal with the Libyan government allowing it to begin exploration in Libyan waters.

Megrahi was released in August 2009 on compassionate grounds by the Scottish Government having being convicted in 2001 for the bombing of PAN AM flight 103 in 1988 and the murder of 270 people.

He was given only 3 months to live before release but has made a remarkable recovery since returning to Libya, it is rumoured that he has taken up Highland dancing with gusto and is often spotted out and about wearing a kilt.

Interestingly Megrahi abandoned an appeal which would have disclosed a lot of evidence to the public shortly before his release on compassionate grounds.

The debate about whether there is any connection between the release of Abdel Based al-Megrahi and the commercial deals struck between Libya, B.P and the U.K  Government will rumble on but……..

If it looks like a turd and smells like a turd……………………..



Follow projectsguru on Twitter

United States of ChinAfrica…..

cinafricaRecent data from the IMF supports the view that China and Africa are becoming increasingly entwined as trading partners as China exploits the vast mineral and material wealth of the African continent in return for Capital Investment, machinery and technological know how.

The massive growth and change in China’s economy over the last decade have seen it increase in global power to the point where it begins to overshadow the U.S.A and Europe.

chinafrica2Whilst the U.S and Europe have been mired in recession the Chinese rescue package has ensured that growth in that country continues at a rate of around 10%.

This growth can only be sustained by the continued supply of mineral wealth and mined resources, hence the involvement in Africa.

So, should those of us in the Western democracies be concerned about China’s increasing involvement in this vast continent ?

As China has expanded and exported it’s own particular brand of State Capitalism it shows no signs whatsoever of either promoting or developing democracy.

If Democracy, free speech, tolerance and egalitariasm are to be encouraged as Africa develops as a continent perhaps the U.S.A and Europe need to be more proactive in developing and sustaining their economic development programs in Africa to ensure, by the end of the decade, we aren’t looking at the United States of ChinAfrica.



Follow projectsguru on Twitter

Outsourcing at any cost ?…..

In July 2009 Sun Danyong comitted suicide by throwing himself from his 12th flloor apartment. Sun’s apartment had been ransacked and he claimed in a text, immediately before his death, that he had been badly beaten.

Sun worked for the massive Taiwanese CEM Foxconn (Turnover |$10 billion) which manufactures Apples iconic iphone. He was rumoured to have been suspected in the theft of an iphone prototype. The incident sparked an Audit by Apple but to date no visible action has been taken.

iphoneThis incident highlights the ethical dilemmas posed in Subcontracting. How do we deal with massive corporations which often dwarf our own ?  How do we balance the need to reduce manufacturing cost with the need to deal with undemocratic regimes with questionable human rights records ?

Do we do business at any price ?

Like most dilemmas the answer lies with the consumer. Western consumers are increasingly conscious of the ethical and environmental impact of their actions, where does that food come from, what is involved in it’s manufacture ? Who benefits and who gets hurt ?

This conciousness will extend to all areas of consumption including electronic products and it is those companies which pursue an active, ethical and evironmental policy which will ultimately benefit.


Follow projectsguru on Twitter

Outsourcing trends point to further job losses…

SPA032The outsourcing market is a large, diversified and complex model but it is still possible to discern some notable trends:-

1) The manufacturing industry in the West looks likely to continue to shrink, according to Electronics Times the U.S semiconductor industry lost 107,000 jobs between 2001 to 2009 and some predictions estimate a further loss of 146,000 jobs from 2008 – 2018 – Scary stuff.

2) The latest Labour Market Outllook report from CIPD suggests that 10% of all UK companies intend to outsource some work in 2010 with 41% of I.T companies planning to outsource key activities.

3) According to the Bangkok Post the Outsourcing market was worth $24.9 billion at the end of Q4 2009 up 8% on the previous year.

4) An interesting observation is that Chinese & Indian companies are looking at Outsourcing within their own National boundaries. This is perfectly understandable given both countries vast size and untapped resource. We may see a gradual migration of economic activity from coastal areas inwards.

All of the above highlights the need for Western companies to accellerate Innovation to stay ahead of the value curve.

It also suggests that Western governments need to look very carefully at their strategy for Manufacturing and Innovation if they want to preserve what remains of the High Technology sector to provide skilled employment in the future.

As per usual Cash is King.



Greedy greedy Cadbury, greedy Cadbury..

chocolateThat was the chant that went up around the U.K following the decision by the Cadbury board to recommend the latest offer from the American company Kraft for the U.K confectionary manufacturer.

Surely, however, the Cadbury board was only acting in its shareholders best interests – and what’s wrong with that ?

Perhaps objectors could answer the following simple questions:-

If you sold your house would you a) get the maximum price you could or b) sell it to the nicest person for a much lower figure ?

If your boss offered you a 20% pay rise would you decline in the better interests of the Company which employs you ?

Thought so.

Why are people who consistently act in their own material interests find objection when others do the same ?

There are genuine concerns that the Kraft takeover will have a negative impact on Cadbury workers jobs, but those workers do not own Cadbury’s they are employed by them and as a result receive generous financial reward; if they are not happy with the results of the takeover they are free to sell their skills and abilities elsewhere.

It may also be the case that Kraft should not be too surprised if their workforce seek and pursue a substantial pay claim, if neccessary employing industrial action to force their claim.

Maybe if we all acknowledged our own material instincts we could be more understanding of the actions of others.




Happy Birthday to Ya !

In 1999 I was lucky enough to visit New Orleans for a business conference. Of course I had a tremendous time, visiting all the tourist sites and  lapping up the nightlife in the French Quarter. The drink was flowing, the music eminated from every bar blending together in a heady mixture of jazz and blues, the mood was exuberant, the colours vibrant, the women beautiful and the food was great too:- Creole Crayfish, Jumbalaya, fresh lobster and spicy chicken.

In the cold light of day more disturbing things were apparent. There was a great deal of poverty outside the tourist areas and the realization that all, and I mean all, of the serving staff were black. The Hotel maids, the shop assistants, the cleaning staff, the refuse workers, all of them were black. In contrast the majority of the hotel guests including myself were white. This was the most racially divided society I had ever been in.

The next moring I was reflecting on this over breakfast when my thoughts were interrupted by 3 loud cracks.  Startled I turned to see a large white man banging his ashtray on the table and demading “S-U-G-A-R” as his coffee was served by the timid black waitress. I have never tasted so much bile in such a sweet word.

On my way home I passed through the huge hub of Atlanta and amid the drkinghustle and bustle I came across a memorial to Dr Martin Luther King Jr and read about that great man and the sacrifices he made for freedom and equality.

troopers-NOLSeveral years later in 2005 I watched in horror as Katrina devastated New Orleans. What seemed worse was that it took the Federal Government 3 days to respond while the poverty stricken people of Loiusiana, the vast majority being black, fought for survival amid the rising tide and chaos. The area was like a Third World country, not The United States of America.

When the state troopers eventually arrived they seemed more intent in shooting looters than helping people.

In 2009 I watched President Obamas inaugration intently.  One particular passage resonated strongly:-

“This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed – why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than 60 years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.”

The tears which rolled down my cheek were warm and salty. I was reminded of Crayfish and Lobster and Jazz.

Happy Dr Martin Luther King Jr Day America !

Home of the brave, Land of the Free, and the Not So Free.