Archive for November 19, 2006

Singapore quickly

Never forget that the time difference between LAX and Singapore is well over a day as I did and hence missed my Dad who left LAX the 11th U.S. time but arrived in Singapore the 13th while I arrived the 11th Taipei time and left the 12th Singapore time. Ahhh the earth so fickle is your rotation. Anyway, Singapore is obviously more diverse than Hong Kong or Japan, while perhaps traces of localism have dissapeared from Japan and other former confucianists, Singapore is one of those countries that seems to have actively grabbed immigrations by the reins and is taking it in for profit. That said, it’s also the only country I’ve been too that specifically asked if you’d been to Africa or South America in the last 6 days implying that the party is reserved for north of the equator countries only and does further reinforce the disneyland with a death penalty concept used to disparage it. The city itself I spent 12 hours in mostly wondering around malls near city hall with a brief stop in the marina. Surprisingly they have light rail running all the way from the airport making them one of the few Asian metropolises to have actually decide their cabbies and bus lines don’t need the added value of thousands of tourists pouring in per day. Singapore is also notable for having tons of archectual value in a small space that’s both spacious, clean, and surprisingly tastifully decrorated. While Shanghai has a slightly naive feeling to it’s design with a well designed and clean inner city, it still seems to have been made to impress while Singapore seems to have been made to be functional and it’s design more elegant compared to China’s bling it’s more macintosh than ice cream shop chains in other words. Picked up Royston Tan’s Shorts and also walked through a huge pile of garbage in a tunnel proving that things have changed since William Gibson walked through what was probably his own oppression (and I might added Shonen Knife is nothing compared to the subversive humor and creativity of Tan’s films.) a few years back. Singapore did feel like some type of camp for the wealthy though, sitting in a coffee shop I watched a young woman diligently hash out equations from an economics text book which is, next to the bioinformatics babes of Taipei, perhaps is as sexy as nerdism can get in Asia, and on my way out I ended up caught behind a group of Indian entrepenuers who were talking with a British expat who was complaing about having to much work in Dubai and not being able to make it in time (a problem we probably all wish we had). All in all, Singapore is perhaps a flat world oasis, but it also has a remarkably different feel from the rest of Asia, While Seoul for instance stocks English language text books in prodigious numbers and Taipei has anything and everything design related or Shibuya-kui Singapore felt more worldly, it’s populos seems to understand that there’s more to like than just engineering or economics etc. It seems to be a genuine creative economy in which film buffs are just as likely to be bank rolling their obsessions through intellectual means as through I.T. or other well known fields. It’s a consultants type of town in which folks are figuring out the holes in industries rather than trying to compete with them. Regardless, I wanna go back and I also picked up Osamu Tezuka‘s Buddha comics in English which is amazing. p.s. Flickr’s Singapore tag for city hall is nice.

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November 19, 2006 at 5:00 pm Leave a comment

Trading taxation and programs

I’m really big on making things tradable and into markets these days. Anyway, this idea is quite simple. Governments could trade programs and the taxation i.e. profits from them. Let’s say the Irish want to bring their welfare program to Ghana. They could desiginate a portion of the population for the program, provide the funding, and then reap the taxes that accumulate from the group over their original level of taxation. Hence governments could trade programs and tax revenue allowing for better programs from different countries to be available in other countries provided each government could agree on controlling factors and a baseline for the taxation (after all Ghana could institute their own welfare reform programs that might exceed that of the Irish etc.)

This would distribute the funding for a program making say welfare dependent on the finnish economy while education could be provided by the french and maybe corporate taxation by the U.S. etc. Take the best of other worlds.

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November 19, 2006 at 4:32 pm Leave a comment

links for 2006-11-19

November 19, 2006 at 3:17 pm Leave a comment

non-profit stock market

in which shares are traded and then the holder receives a tax break based on the non-profits performance. Let’s say Greenpeace has a particularly good year conserving wildelife then it’s stock would be worth a larger tax break than a different NGO. NGOs could be judged off their paticular criteria say elimating a disease, uplifting povery etc. This would mean their value could be judged in terms of the government, how much did say the acumen fund help a government say in poverty relief by funding businesses etc? This would help in two different ways, first NGOs would need to announce and make transparent their ideas for a project and the financing needed. You would then buy a share in a project you think would be usefull. If the project succeeds a bigger break if it fails you would need to sell or take a smaller tax break and hope that the project in the long haul would be more sucessfull. Hence, if a project needed more money to finance itself and was sucessfull it would be valued higher when it introduced new stock and bad projects would find it harder to get funding. Hence NGOs would have a better incentive to make their projects more successfull.

Several problems with this:

1. It would be hard to do in the U.S. right now due to the fact that one donation couldn’t count as a tax credit multiples times. Hence each market would have to expire like a prediction market at a set time (say every quarter).

2. In order for an investor in a more sucessfull project to receive a larger tax credit they would legally need to make a larger investment i.e. pay for money. One way around this is to transfer funds from a less successfull project to a more sucessfull. In other words let’s say project A’s IPO is $5.00 per share, and project B’s IPO is $5.00, but at the end of the quarter Project A meets it’s goal and Project B fails. Part of Project B’s value could be transfered to A, meaning that an investor in project A would receive an e-mail stating their investment and tax credit while investors in B would get a smaller tax credit.

3. How could the value of a stock go up? This would mean that investor A sells to investor B. Does investor A get money back or does their donation stay in the system (I say give them the money and let investor B get the tax credit)? Hence you can make money from giving.

4. Obviously some people wouldn’t like to be on the receiving end of a failed project and also getting out of a project like would be hard.

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November 19, 2006 at 10:51 am Leave a comment


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