It’ll come as no great surprise that the world is an unequal kinda place, principally comprised of the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’. Similarly, no bolts-outta-the-blue that, as well as killing more than two and a half million of us, the coronavirus pandemic has, according to the World Bank, plunged some 150 million people into what that they describe as ‘extreme poverty’ and it’s the poorest in society that have been mopping fevered brows in ICU, wiping a*ses in care homes, restocking supermarket shelves, teaching kids and Deliveroo-ing tasty chicken tikka masala to our collective door.
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For once, I wasn’t actually late to the Bitcoin party, I just didn’t buy any. Rather, I, and several of you out there, chose to invest in a start-up company that operated a back-end transaction process using Bitcoin. We, quite rightly IMHO, believed that for the cryptocurrency to be adopted, and to consequently grow in value, it first needed specific commercial applications that proved the tokens represented both a store of value and a means of exchange.
Many of you will have seen the movie, The Big Short, and undoubtedly watched aghast as the once-feted ‘masters of the universe’ contrived increasingly complex, fraudulent ‘swap’ products of toxic debt which ultimately caused the financial crash of 2007/8 and almost led to the demise of our whole worldwide financial framework.
Last week’s missive concerning friendship made me think it’s about time I applied a little of Marie Kondo’s tidying and downsizing to mine by culling some of the socially-distanced stragglers. Her minimalist mindfulness method is based upon the assumption that the more you own, the less it means.
French essayist and philosopher, Michel de Montaigne, once famously wrote “There is nothing to which nature seems so much to have inclined us, as to society” before informing us that, somewhat contradictorily, we can never have more than one true friend. Author Robin Dunbar, in his new book ‘Friends: Understanding the Power of Our Most Important Relationships’ thankfully expands this number to about one hundred and fifty.
T’other day I was watching a film set in 90s New York and it struck me as strange that, within a short traffic jam, everyone started honking their horns. Firstly, it was a curious noise to hear in these unprecedented times and secondly, in practical terms, each and every horn-honk was completely pointless.
Disruptors? Don’t you just love ‘em. Giving us exactly what we want, when we want it, often without us even knowing we wanted it. And always cheaper. Mind, more often than not their premise is more ‘left’ field than ‘level-playing’ and last week’s unanimous supreme court ruling on gig-economy golden boy, Uber, could not have been more emphatic.
Mark Twain famously quipped ‘Buy land – they aren’t making it any more’ but it wasn’t this maxim that taught us the value of property and the rules therein, it was Elizabeth Magie’s bestselling invention, The Landlord’s Game.
I fully acknowledge my role in the recent downfall of both Debenhams and Sir Scumbag’s Arcadian empire. The former saw a loss of 118 stores, the latter over 400. The blame for John Lewis’s closure of eight of its sites and Boots shutting its opticians stores can also be laid at my door.
The British predilection for queuing is well known and, unlike our once absolute adherence to international law, remains universally respected. It’s not only a sign of manners but an indication of our endearing patience, of how we can clear our heads of clutter, think of very little, quietly stand in line and obediently await our turn. However, next time you’re in one, have a good look around and see what you notice?