TonyManfredi's Blog Posts

Replacing Financialization with Innovation

October 10 2008 / by TonyManfredi
Category: Economics   Year: General   Rating: 1

Financialization is a relatively new term used to discuss the emergence of a new form of capitalism in which financial leverage and exotic instruments tends to override capital (equity) and in which financial markets dominate over the traditional industrial economy.

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Will the CERN Proton Smasher Smash Us? - The Spirit of Prometheus Lives On in Man

September 22 2008 / by TonyManfredi
Category: Technology   Year: General   Rating: 4 Hot

Underneath the mountainous Swiss Alps the Large Hadron Reactor was completed, albeit now under repair. A recent news report talks of a young Indian girl who committed suicide after hearing of the smashers potentially devastating effects. In the same country women and children have flocked to shrines to pray it won’t precipitate the end of all terranean life.

According to some this 10 billion dollar behemoth is so powerful it could create mini-singularities, aka black holes, that could gobble up more and more of the Earth’s matter until we and our planet are consumed. Believe it or not some people genuinely think this might happen, and have even filed lawsuits in American and European Courts to stop this device from being turned on. While the probability that this machine will destroy us is as sub-atomically small as the very thing we will use it to study, it raises some very interesting questions for the future. More and more our scientific eye is turning to focus on the most incredible questions underlying our very existence, using technology to research these areas that are little understood.

Depending on your point of view that could be more than just a little frightening.

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Looking for a powerful future economy? Look no further than the Land of the Rising Sun.

September 22 2008 / by TonyManfredi
Category: Economics   Year: General   Rating: 8 Hot

As global economies are shaken by the US financial disaster and rising stars digest their growth, Japan continues to be the world leader in innovation. Could massive investments in areas such as robotics make it the envy of the world?

In the midst of our current economic storm it is difficult to see any light at the end of the tunnel. Leading financial experts are talking about a twenty year stagnation. In the face of this cold economic reality some are calling for the wholesale abandonment of the consumption based economy in order to embrace a system more focused on innovation and quality of life. Thanks to their own stark lack of native resources, the Japanese have been embracing this model for some time, intensely focused on education, infrastructure, and innovation.

For the past ten years the United States has replaced one outlandish bull market with another, allowing itself to become drunk with complacency as the tech bubble and housing bubble each provided false buoyancy to a badly misguided set of principles, or lack thereof. During this time countries such as China became the envy of the world, supplying the seemingly insatiable American appetite for stuff. Now even China, despite its still strong GDP growth numbers, is being forced to deal with the weaknesses offered by an economy devoted to manufacturing. Competition from the likes of Vietnam, Laos, and Bangladesh, environmental degradation, and the rust-belt principle are all slowly chipping away at what were once stellar growth numbers.

During this time Japan has emerged from its own bubble, and has been slowly and steadily rebuilding for over a decade. While all of the media attention has been focused on China due in large part to its incredible growth, Japan has been out of the limelight.

Could it be possible that Japan is quietly poised to be the leading economy of the future? By looking at some interesting factoids on economics and technology, it seems not so far fetched. While most would agree Japans GDP growth rate likely won’t exceed 2%-3% in the coming years, raw growth has proven that it will never replace a stable and innovative economy. Maybe there are other metrics that are more important.

Japan already possesses a manufacturing base that in recent years was larger than that of the United States. For such a geographically small country that is innovation in and of itself. It also is the largest creditor nation in the world, meaning more countries owe it money than any other country in the world. Many of its corporate titans, such as Toyota, are the number one companies in their respective fields. It also has a technological sophistication that few countries can match, producing more patents than any other country.

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Technology as a better building block for the future

September 21 2008 / by TonyManfredi
Category: The Home   Year: General   Rating: 6 Hot

By replacing valuable natural resources and costly labor with technology we can change the very equation around which the inputs and outputs of our built environments are constructed. The justification: we need more for less.

Our environments are poised to become hosts to ever more powerful technologies in the coming years that will seek to cause deep rooted and meaningful change in our everyday quality of life. These technologies will be increasingly pervasive, as they become commonplace in our schools, our offices, and more importantly our homes. Our homes, arguably the most important and widely used of all life’s platforms, are already on the brink of dramatic change. Environmental degradation, a crisis of sustainability in home-ownership, the need for enhanced learning and education, millions of people aging in place, and ever increasing demands on our time are the driving forces that have resulted in these social imperatives:

1. Reduce resource consumption
2. Integrate learning into everyday activity in the home
3. Allow people to live long and healthy lives in their homes
4. Save time and improve decision making through better access to information.

With this understanding major companies and universities are striving to foster a massive convergence of off the shelf and cutting edge technologies with homes of the future.

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