Martin P Wilson

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Ideas, Innovation, Inspiration, Insight, IT

Facilitation and Mentoring for Success.

Common Wealth by Jeffrey SachsJeffrey Sachs makes a clear case how to address global challenges in ways that will be economically beneficial, ecologically positive and reduce conflict for all.

How to Prevent Conflict, Poverty, and Environmental Disaster

Every ten years or so a book is published that provides fresh new thinking that challenges preconceptions about sustainable development, global poverty and, more lately climate change. Whilst such books in the past may have had some influence their approach is not sustained in the face of the need for the developed nations to make socially and politically unacceptable changes to their population’s lifestyles.

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How India is Taking on the World; Power Shifts in an Indian Century

India's Global Powerhouses cover - Kimberly GlyderEconomic power is shifting East; to China and India. Review of Kumar's book shows it is not low costs but fundamental factors that drives progress of Indian business.

In the Introduction to India's Global Powerhouses Nirmalya Kumar provides a concise history of how Indian business have become a world force in less than twenty years. He goes on to describe the culture and management style that has led to that remarkable success.

Low Cost, Low Revenue, High Growth - Driver for Efficiency

Whilst low cost has drawn in outsourced services from the developed world there is more to Indian success than being inexpensive. Kumar shows that low cost would not of itself give Indian businesses the financial resources or credibility to acquire business on a global scale. He shows how a low revenue base has driven efficient operations and the management culture needed to maintain high levels of growth.

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How to Manage Climate Change; Create New Era of Progress, Prosperity

Stern_Blueprint_for_a_Safer_PlanetBuilding on the Stern Review of the challenge of climate change this book sets out a relatively painless, but still difficult, response for business and government.

Nicholas Stern conducted the Stern Review for the United Kingdom government into climate change and its implications. He has built on that work and proposed a way forward which whilst still very challenging is less frightening than many proposed alternatives responses. However it will still not be easy for governments and other groups to accept. Stern makes clear that delay will only make matters worse and force much more uncomfortable and expensive change in the not so long term.

Blueprint for a Safer Planet is one of several books that provide a vision for dealing with climate change that does not require wholesale lifestyle changes unlike many commentators who propose rather more draconian hair-shirt responses. In that respect a consensus may be forming that will make action acceptable to governments and the business lobby. Indeed such business friendly approaches may be seen as offering a business opportunity as outlined by Adam Werbach in Strategy for Sustainability.

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History, Causes and Solutions – Saving Capitalism From Itself

Trouble_with_Markets_Roger_BootleThe Trouble with Markets charts the cause of the Credit Crunch or Roger Bootle's Great Implosion. It is a surprisingly optimistic, and well considered view of the future.

It is a delight to find a book on finance and economics as readable as The Trouble with Markets. For once here is a book that explains the whys and wherefores of the Credit Crunch in language that will be readily understood by the interested reader without a background in economics or high level financial services.

The Trouble with Markets or Saving Capitalism from Itself is written by Roger Bootle, one of the City’s top economists with a track record of successfully forecasting major market changes. He wrote the Death of Inflation which is now considered an important work and has become a best seller. He returns to some of its ideas in The Trouble with Markets.

The book is in three parts that map the journey into the Credit Crunch and outlines the likely path out of its consequences. Bootle then moves on to consider the future of capitalism itself.

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Reckless Greed, Ambition and Failure of London's Financial Services

Chasing Alpha by Philip Augar - Oliver Legate/ Julian DegbyA sober history of financial services and the City of London from 1987 until 2008 when financial markets were in turmoil as banks collapsed and the Credit Crunch struck.

Philip Augar’s Chasing Alpha explores a period when it looked as though the City's financial institutions could not lose and light regulation gave greed and ambition its head in the financial markets, and beyond. But then it all fell apart.

Chasing Alpha is a history in three parts.

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Quick Thoughts

Has Military Action Ever Dissuaded Tyrants?

Syria - flagIn his speech before the war in Iraq Tony Blair, the UK Prime Minister, argued that not intervening would send a message that tyrants would feel at liberty to act without consequence. By military action in Iraq, he argued, those who would perpetrate atrocities would think twice. There would not seem to be any evidence, before or since, that would back up that contention.

We now have David Cameron, the current Prime Minister, making essentially the same arguments – do politicians ever learn from history?

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Government Spending is not Driver of Growth

Parliament Square London IC02001If more public spending is the only way to create growth then surely governments have become too large a part of the economy? Government is about spending and has little to do with creating wealth.

The best government can do is move wealth from individuals and business to those who serve government.

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Capped Bonuses, There May be Trouble Ahead

Politicians do not seem to be good at imagining unintended consequences. The cap on bankers’ bonuses, however popular, may be counter-productive in reducing risk.

Dark Stormy Skys and Beauty Often CoexistIf a smaller proportion of a trader’s income is at risk if a trade goes wrong they may pursue high-risk opportunities to get that big win. If it works they guarantee the full bonus and could also use it to negotiate a higher salary (and bonus) for the following year. If it fails the downside is limited by the capped bonus to a smaller part of overall income. At the end of the day traders are competitive and gamblers at heart so will they be more likely to pursue the big win when their own risk is limited?

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