The credit crisis erased $14 trillion (McKeef 2008-12-31) from world stock markets in 2008. Where does $14 trillion in world stock markets go? How can that much capital disappear from the market? The infamous year 2008 will be known in the future as the year that fundamental concepts in the moral mathematics of the market were forever changed. This credit crisis was the worst since the Great Depression of the 1930s but its ramifications may be even deeper.

                                                                                                                                                                          
100,000,000 dollars How can we visualize a billion dollars? How much more difficult is it to imagine a trillion dollars?

The most recent wiki entry (2009-01-01) describes how any attempt to visualize numbers higher than a million is complicated because there are too systems of numeric names and the difference between the two scales grows as numbers get larger. Million is the same in both scales, but the long-scale billion is a thousand times larger than the short-scale billion, the long-scale trillion is a million times larger than the short-scale trillion. The short scale system is used in the US and a long scale system is used in the UK. The short scale system of numeric names means every new term greater than million is 1,000 times the previous term: “billion” means “a thousand millions” (109), “trillion” means “a thousand billions” (1012), and so on. Long scale refers to a system of numeric names in which every new term greater than million is 1,000,000 times the previous term: “billion” means “a million millions” (1012), “trillion” means “a million billions” (1018). (wiki).”

6 zeros = 1 million, a thousand thousands or (106)1, 000, 000
8 zeros = a hundred million (108) 100, 000, 000 this image
9 zeros = 1 billion in the short scale system used in the US = a thousand millions or (109) or 1,000,000,000
12 zeros = 1 trillion in the short scale system used in the US = “a thousand billions (1012) or 1,000,000,000,000
12 zeros = 1 billion in the long scale system used in the UK: 1,000,000,000,000
18 zeros = 1 trillion in the long scale system used in the UK is a million billions (1018) or 1,000,000,000,000,000,00


1,000,000 6 zeros = 1 million, a thousand thousands or (106)1, 000, 000

This Adobe Photoshop image posted in my ocean.flynn Flickr account was my attempt to visualize 100,000,000 dollars

 “World stock markets ended on an uptick for the year on Wednesday, after some bourses registered their worst annual losses in history. Global stocks as measured by the MSCI world index ended up 0.76 percent for the day and posted their first monthly gain in seven months, but lost 43.36 percent for the year. About $14 trillion (9.6 trillion pounds) in market capitalisation was erased from world stock markets in 2008 in the wake of the worst credit crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s. “It has been a shocking year, hardly anything was spared in the carnage,” said Michael Heffernan, strategist at Austock Group in Australia. U.S. stocks edged up on Wednesday and saw their first monthly gain in five months, but the year has been the worst for Wall Street stocks since the Great Depression (McKeef 2008-12-31).”

read more | digg story

McKeef, Clive. 2008-12-31. “World stocks end up after historic losses.” Business News. Reuters.

Advertisements

“The Bank of England will announce Monday a scheme which will see it lend money to banks in return for collateral in a bid to help the troubled U.K. mortgage market, U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling said Sunday Wall Street Journal . Following Business and Financial News in 2008 has been an exciting, mind-boggling, incredulous (mis)adventure. It has become difficult to choose those stories that will remain relevant in the future as part of the social and economic history of this chaotic period. See also http://snurl.com/25asj and http://snurl.com/25aus

read more | digg story
“Nice deal… nationalize risk, privatizes profit.”

digg users comments are themselves very revealing. I don’t think active digg users represent a broad spectrum but I am not sure? Are the demographics on digg similar to other services offering trendy tech tools? young male techies writing for young male techies?

Along with evangelical Ron Paul supporters, there is a very active core group writing anarchist, anti-government, minimal government, avoid-banks-buy-gold, avoid-banks-cash-only diggs with some nasty digg between digg users.

Fraser Los (2007) reviewed recent publications by two “religious insiders with long political memories.” He describes Bill Moyer and Garry Wills as sober thinkers with mature experience. Yet they are both stating the urgency to revisit the issue of separating church and state. Debates between secular humanism and religions have been going on for decades but they have taken a strange and serious turn according to Moyer and Wills.

Wills (2006) is concerned with the most conservative fringes of evangelical Christians and Catholics who have aligned themselves politically under the Bush administration to promote extreme views on “education, the environment, the family, gun control and regulation of any kind (Los 2007).” Moyer (2004, 2006) primarily focuses his concern on the concept of the Rapture, a bizarre belief of fundamentalist evangelicals, who believe in literal, temporal and physical salvation and damnation. In their most extreme form this allows them to justify unsustainable ecological behaviour because divine intervention will protect them regardless of their environmental actions.

“As difficult as it is, however, for journalists to fashion a readable narrative for complex issues without depressing our readers and viewers, there is an even harder challenge – to pierce the ideology that governs official policy today. One of the biggest changes in politics in my lifetime is that the delusional is no longer marginal. It has come in from the fringe, to sit in the seat of power in the oval office and in Congress. For the first time in our history, ideology and theology hold a monopoly of power in Washington. Theology asserts propositions that cannot be proven true; ideologues hold stoutly to a world view despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality. When ideology and theology couple, their offspring are not always bad but they are always blind. And there is the danger: voters and politicians alike, oblivious to the facts (Moyers 2004).

Monbiot, author and columnist for the London Guardian, published Manifesto for a New World Order (2004) which unsettled the concept of the new world order as proposed by the first President Bush in which he envisioned the future of the United States after the collapse of the socialist camp. Monbiot (2003, 2004) described how in order to understand the US attitude towards the Middle East you have to understand politics in Texas. Monbiot’s work has been compared to that of Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph E.Stiglitz, who published Globalisation and its Discontents (2002). Whereas Stiglitz is described as a disillusioned academic, Monbiot is described as a cool-headed revolutionary who calls for action (Morag 2003).

Where does this leave moderate civil religions according to Moyers, Monbiot and Wills?

Webliography

Fraser, Morag. 2003. “Review of The Age of Consent: A Manifesto for a New World Order. July 12.

Los, Fraser. 2007. “God and Government.” Alternative Journal. 33:1:36-7.

Monbiot, George. 2003. Manifesto for a New World Order. Flamingo.

Monbiot, George. 2004. “Apocalypse Please. ” The Guardian. April 20.

Monbiot, George. 2004b Interview with Monbiot about Manifesto for a New World Order.” Democracy Now.

Monbiot, George. 2004. “Religion of the Rich.” The Guardian. November 9.

Monbiot, George. 2005. “My heroes are driven by God, but I’m glad my society isn’t.” The Guardian. October 11.

Moyers, Bill. 2004. “On Receiving Harvard Med’s Global Environment Citizen Award.”t r u t h o u t | Perspective. December 1.

Moyers, Bill. 2006. Welcome to Doomsday. New York: New York Review Books.

Stiglitz, Joseph E. 2002. Globalisation and its Discontents. Penguin.

Wills, Garry. 2006. Bush’s Fringe Government. New York: New York Review Books.

Ubiquitous computing and the cyberworld panopticon. How your indelible digital traces can be used against you. Andrew Feldmar, 66, a Vancouver psychotherapist used LSD 30 years ago and published his story. He has not used illegal drugs since but after a US/CA Customs web search found his story online in summer of 2006, he can no longer enter the US.

Feldmar said, “I should warn people that the electronic footprint you leave on the Net will be used against you. It cannot be erased.”

Notes:

For more on ubiquitous computing and the politics on pervasive computing, see Galloway 2007.

Webliography

Galloway, Anne. 2007. “Shepherding the politics of pervasive computing, Part I.” >> Purse Lip Square Jaw. May 3.

Liptak, Adam. 2007. “Web searches at U.S. border bring scrutiny to new level.” International Herald Tribune. May 14.

read more | digg story

February 2, 2007 in Paris 10th session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) agreed on a succinct, accurate report from an enormous body of observations of all parts of the climate system by 2,500 scientists. What are we going to do about it? Will politicians and policy makers be able to face up to unconcerned uber wealthy CEOs?

read more | digg story

The 10th session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) provides a succinct, accurate report gleaned by 2 500 scientists from more than 130 nations from an enormous body of observations of all parts of the climate system for over a decade based on hard science. Based on their combined authority, we can now say with 90% certitude that climate change is man-made. Extreme weather events such as tropical cyclones, hurricanes, heat waves and ice storms will increase, the earth’s temperature will rise, glacieirs will continue to melt. Before February 2, 2007 the debate was public, “Is climate change linked to human activity?” While individuals still have a major role to play, the question can no longer be avoided by politicians and public policy makers, “What are we going to do about climate change?”

See also Nobel Prize nominee Sheila Watt-Cloutier on “The Right to be Cold”

Flynn-Burhoe, Maureen. 2007. Final Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
http://docs.google.com/View?docid=ddp3qxmz_89rqp57p . Google Docs. First uploaded February 2, 2007 to Digg and Papergirls Speechless. Last updated February 3, 2007. Creative Commons Copyright License 2.5 BY-NC-SA February 2, 2007.

Canada’s health care system is similar to most members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The only OECD members who do not have a public health system on par with other members are the USA and Mexico. In spite of that the United States continues to pay a higher percentage of its GNP to its health care system than Canada [1].

Canadians view its medicare system as “a moral enterprise, not a business venture (Romanow 2002:21)” and they overwhelmingly support the tenets of the Canada Health Act which states that need not money determines access to health care. “Canada’s Medicare system since its inception in 1966 has become one of the “most fully socialized health care systems.” In the 1960s medical systems in Canada and the US were similar. Medicare was a$100 billion enterprise in 2002, one of our Canada’s’s largest expenditures (Romanow2002:20). However, this amounts to a smaller percentage of Canada’s national net worth which was $4.8 trillion as of December 2006 (StatisticsCanada 2006) than that of in 1992. Commissioner Ray Romanow’s mandate in 2001 was to “review medicare and engage Canadians in a national dialogue on its future”(Romanow 2002:6). This was accomplished through an 18-month investigation resulting in a report that was evidence-based and values-driven making recommendations to strengthen and improve medicare’s quality and sustainability making it more truly national, more comprehensive, responsive and accountable (Romanow2002:6).” In the 1970s pharmaceutical costs accounted for a small percentage of total medicare costs. By 2002 they were among the highest costs in the systemand they continue to rise. The report did not confirm claims that user fees, medical savings accounts, de-listing services, greater privatization, a parallelprivate system, as proposed by the leaner goverment lobbyists, were the cure for the medicare system (Romanow2002:21).

More surgeries, treatments and tests are being performed, but demands often outstrip their ability to deliver the necessary services on a timely basis. As a participant in the Commission’s “Policy Dialogue on Access”at Dalhousie University put it, long waiting times are not caused by the system performing fewer diagnostic and surgical procedures but because medical advances now allow us to deliver more of these services and to a wider range of people (Romanow 2002:192)

Public and private sector care providers (including fee-for-service doctors) have been part of our health care system since the inception of medicare in Canada.

Whereas in the 1970s medicare costs consisted mainly of physican fees and hospital expenditures (Romanow2002), currently the cost of pharmaceutical expenditures is the most rapidly increasing part of medicare (Lexchin 2007). In his recent Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives report Lexchin (2007) reveals how the cost of pharmaceuticals accounted for $18.5 billion in 2004 and $20.6 billion in 2005. Spending on physicians was c. $18 billion in 2005. It is crucial to note that shareholders in pharmaceuticals enjoyed substantially greater returns than shareholders (20.1% in 2003; 23.5% in 1996) in other forms of manufacturing (10.8% in 2003 and 12.2 % in 1996) in Canada.[2] Canada, Mexico and the United States do not have as comprehensive public plans for pharmaceuticals as do other OECD countries where the greatest expenditures on pharmaceuticals come from the public purse. OECD governments have more control over amounts spent on pharmaceuticals.


A List of Acronyms

CCPACanadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

CIHI Canadian Institute for Health Information

OECD Organisation for EconomicCo-operation and Development

PMPRB Patented Medicine Prices Review Board a part of Health Canada, sets an upper limit on how much companies can charge
for new patented medications.

Footnotes



[1] The US spent more on administrative costs. They also spent more per person $2548 (US) compared to $1886 (US) in Canada. See http://www3.who.int/whosis/core/core_select_process.cfm


[2] Given that pension plans returns are based on the strength of investment portfolios we find ourselves in 2006 with a moral dilemma. How do we ensure the future of pension plans with a healthy investment portfolio while calling for ethical management of that same portfolio?

Selected Bibliography

Lexchin, Joel. 2007.”CanadianDrug Prices and Expenditures: Some statistical observations and policyimplications.” Ottawa, ON:CanadianCentre for Policy Alternatives. ISBN 978-0-88627-520-4.

OECD health data 2004.

Romanow, Ray. 2002.Buildingon Values: The Future of Health Care in Canada –Final Report. ISBN0-662-33043-9.

Flynn-Burhoe, Maureen. 2007. “Nanuq of the North II: Animal Rights vs Human Rights.” Speechless. Uploaded January 3, 2007.

Finally in December 2006 Bush blinks, but why now? The Bush administration took advantage of the way in which all eyes turn towards Santa’s North Pole, where big-eyed talking polar bears, reindeer and seals live in harmony, to announce that they would save these creatures from Nanook of the North. Is this for the environment or for votes? See story.

read more | digg story

Nanook (nanuq Inuktitut for polar bear) was the name of the Eskimo hunter captured on film in the first documentary ever produced, Robert Flaherty’s (1922?) Nanook of the North, — still shown in film studies survey courses. Nanook the Stone Age-20the century hunter became an international legend as a lively, humourous and skillful hunter of polar bears, seals and white fox who tried to bite into the vinyl record Flaherty had brought with him. (The real “Nanook” died of tuberculosis as did countless Inuit from small communities ravaged by one of the worst epidemic’s of tuberculosis on the planet.)

On August 13, 1942 in Walt Disney studios’ canonical animated film Bambi it was revealed that many animals with cute eyes could actually talk and therefore shared human values. Nanook and his kind became the arch enemy of three generations of urban North Americans and Europeans. Hunters were bad. Cute-eyed animals that could talk were good. Today many animals’ lives have been saved from these allegedly cruel hunters by the billion dollar cute-eyed-talking-animals-industry.

The White House has once again come to the rescue of these vulnerable at-risk animals. (There was an entire West Wing episode in which a gift of moose meat was rejected by all staff since it came from a big-eyed-talking-animal. See Ejesiak and Flynn-Burhoe (2005) for more on how the urban debates pitting animal rights against human rights impacted on the Inuit.) Who would ever have suspected that the Bush administration cared so much about the environment that they would urge an end to the polar bear hunt, already a rare phenomenon to many Inuit since their own quotas protected them?

When I lived in the north the danger for polar bears did not reside in the hearts of hunters. Nanuq the polar bear who could not talk was starving. He hung out around hamlets like Churchill, Baker Lake or Iqaluit, looking for garbage since this natural habitat was unpredicatable as the climate changed. Some people even insisted that there was no danger from the polar bear who had wandered into town since he was ’skinny.’ That did not reassure me! I would have preferred to know that he was fat, fluffly and well-fed. Polar bears die from exhaustion trying to swim along their regular hunting routes as ice floes they used to be able to depend on melted into thin air literally. They die, not because there are not enough seals but because they need platform ice in the right seasons. That platform ice is disappearing. They die with ugly massive tumours in them developed from eating char, seals and other Arctic prey whose bodies are riddled with southern toxins that have invaded the pristine, vulnerable northern ecosystem. Nanuq is dying a slow painful death. Nanuq is drowning. Although he doesn’t sing he is a canary for us all.

Climate change and southern industrial toxins affect the fragile ecosystem of the Arctic first. The Inuit claimed in 2003,“Global warming is killing us too, say Inuit .”This is why Sheila Watt-Cloutier laid a law suit against the administration of the United States of America. Now the handful of Job-like Inuit who managed to survive the seal hunt fiasco of the 1980s and are still able hunt polar bear, will have yet another barrier put between them and the ecosystem they managed and protected for millennia. When I see Baroque art and read of the Enlightenment, I think Hudson’s Bay and the whalers in the north. It wasn’t the Inuit who caused the mighty leviathan to become endangered. Just how enlightened are we, the great grandchildren of the settlers today? Who is taking care of our Other grandparents?

Since the first wave of Inuit activists flooded the Canadian research landscape fueled by their frustrations with academic Fawlty Towers they morphed intergenerational keen observation of details, habits of memory, oral traditions and determination with astute use of artefacts and archives to produce focused and forceful research. When Sheila Watt-Cloutier representing the Inuit Circumpolar Conference (ICC) was acknowledged with two awards in one year for work done to protect the environment, I wondered how many cheered her on.

I don’t cheer so much anymore. I am too overwhelmed, too hopeless to speak. I myself feel toxic, perhaps another pollutant from the south — my name is despair. I don’t want to dampen the enthusiasm of those activists who still have courage to continue. For myself, I feel like the last light of the whale-oil-lit kudlik is Flicktering and there is a blizzard outside.

Footnotes:

From wikipedia entry Sheila Watt-Cloutier

In 2002, Watt-Cloutier was elected[1][4] International Chair of ICC, a position she would hold until 2006[1]. Most recently, her work has emphasized the human face of the impacts of global climate change in the Arctic. In addition to maintaining an active speaking and media outreach schedule, she has launched the world’s first international legal action on climate change. On December 7, 2005, based on the findings of the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, which projects that Inuit hunting culture may not survive the loss of sea ice and other changes projected over the coming decades, she filed a petition, along with 62 Inuit Hunters and Elders from communities across Canada and Alaska, to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, alleging that unchecked emissions of greenhouse gases from the United States have violated Inuit cultural and environmental human rights as guaranteed by the 1948 American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man.[5]

Digitage elements:

Caspar David Friedrich’s (1824) The Sea of Ice
Tujjaat Resolution Island, abandoned, DEW line station DINA Northern Contaminated Sites Program (CSP) web site
My photo of ice floes in Charlottetown harbour, March 2000
A section of my acrylic painting entitled Nukara (2000)

Selected Bibliography

Eilperin, Juliet. (2006). ““U.S. Wants Polar Bears Listed as Threatened.” Washington Post Staff Writer. Wednesday, December 27, 2006; Page A01

Gertz, Emily. 2005. The Snow Must Go On. Inuit fight climate change with human-rights claim against U.S. Grist: Environmental News and Commentary. 26 Jul 2005.

The Guardian. 2003. ““Inuit to launch human rights case against the Bush Administration.”

DEW line contaminated sites in Nunavut.

www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,1104241,00….

www.grist.org/news/maindish/2005/07/26/gertz-inuit/index….

This will be updated from EndNote. If you require a specific reference please leave a comment on this page.

Creative Commons Canadian Copyright 2.5 BY-NC-SA.